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What is Jumping?

Many dogs enjoy greeting their owners or guests when they come home after a long day at work or come to visit. Some owners view this as a way of affection by their dog, but when they do it to guests or even small children, it can become a problem. The only way to stop it from happening is to not allow it with anyone, even the loving owner.

When dogs jump up on people in excitement or as to greet them, they can hurt them by scratching them with their claws, trip them as they are trying to walk in the doorway, or even knock them over. 

Jumping up on people can be an innocent behavior from dogs, but it can turn guests off very quickly and can also cause injury. Reasons that dogs tend to jump up on people are:

  • They are trying to say, “Hello!”
  • They are excited to see someone
  • People are taller than dogs, and they want to see their faces
  • They feel the need for quick companionship
  • They are exhibiting misbehavior
  • They are craving attention
  • They are trying to gain dominance

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Why Jumping Occurs in Dogs

There are several different reasons why dogs feel the need to immediately jump on people – both people they know and love and people they are just meeting. Reasons why dogs do this behavior include:

They are trying to say, “Hello!”

When dogs want to greet their owners or guests, they may want to jump up to try to get a closer look at them. They may be happy and have difficulty controlling their actions, and jumping up to come into better contact may feel as if it their only option.

They are excited to see someone

When dogs are excited, they want to romp and play. Jumping up on people is another way of showing that excitement. Excited dogs are not trying to be harmful by jumping up; however, it can hurt the person or even themselves.

People are taller than dogs, and they want to see their faces

Dogs are accustomed to meeting other dogs (or cats) by being at or close to eye-level. With humans, they may want to get a closer look at their faces so they can sniff and see them better. Jumping up is a way of getting closer to contact.

They feel the need for quick companionship

In order to get attention very quickly, dogs may jump up on their owner or guest to make it known. Dogs crave companionship, and when they have been alone at home for a while, the first thing they want to do is show their owner or guest they missed them while they were gone.

What to do if your Dog is Jumping

If your dog is jumping up on people, you can make him stop. There are several different options, and one of them may be to make an appointment with your veterinarian for a physical examination and even a behavioral assessment. Typically, dogs that jump on people have more of a behavioral issue, and your veterinarian can give you suggestions on how to train your dog not to jump.

One action you can take is to make it known that you will not greet him, or even make eye-contact with him, until all four paws are on the floor. This may be very challenging at first, but eventually your dog will realize that doing so will be the only way he can get attention from you. As soon as all feet are one the floor, give him the greeting. 

You can also train your dog with the simple commands of “sit” and “stay”. Once your dog is very good and consistent with these commands, then use them when you walk in the door after being out. You can even practice each day for a period of time going in and out of the house and having your dog sit and stay before you pet him. Use small treats as a reward for getting it right. Practicing this over and over may get a little tiring and redundant, but it will pay off in the end.

If you need further assistance in training your dog, your veterinarian may recommend a behavioral therapist or a trainer.

Prevention of Jumping

If your dog has not mastered the training or behavioral modification techniques, and is still jumping up on you, or only jumping on guests, then there are some actions you can take to prevent it from happening. 

Before your guests arrive, put your dog in a crate or in another room. Once your guests enter and get settled, you may choose to let your dog free, but only on a leash. Use the sit and stay commands with your dog, even on a leash if you wish. For very stubborn dogs that insist on jumping, it may be a good idea to crate them or put them in another room while your guests are visiting. Leaving your dog on a leash, but in the same room, may be all you need to do to prevent this annoying behavior.

Continue to train your dog or seek the help of a trainer or behavioral therapist in order to prevent the jumping from happening in the future. It will not happen overnight, but with consistency and time, you will see a difference in your dog’s jumping habits.

Cost of Jumping

The cost for a behavioral therapist is approximately between $500 or upwards, depending on the number of sessions and the amount of time per session you need their services. For dogs that are more stubborn and need more time to be trained, your therapist may need to spend more time with him.