Why dogs jump

Dogs jump up to say hello, quite simply. They don’t know how humans prefer to be greeted, and it never occurs to them that they might knock us over or ruin our clothes. Thankfully, consistent anti-jump training can quickly solve the problem for good.

Jumping dog

Anti-jump training when you arrive home

  • Open the door a teeny bit. If your dog jumps up, close the door.
  • Repeat until you can step through the door without your dog jumping up.
  • If he jumps on you, turn away. If he keeps jumping, go back outside and start again.
  • Whenever your dog keeps four paws on the floor, praise and pet him.

Anti-jump training inside your house

  • When your dog jumps on you, turn your back to him. Say, “Too bad” as you turn away.
  • When he stops jumping, turn around to face him. If he jumps again, turn your back to him again.
  • Repeat until he stops jumping. Then pet and praise him.
  • If your dog keeps jumping up when you turn your back, walk away from him, ignoring him completely. If he follows and jumps again, give him a time-out. Either close a door between you or put him in his confinement area for a minute or two. (The point is not that he is being bad, but that you won’t play when he jumps.)

Anti-jump training when visitors come to your house

  • When someone comes to the house, put your dog on leash before you open the door. If he’s had enough practice, ask him for a sit.
  • Open the door and invite the visitor in. If your dog jumps up, tell him, “Too bad” and walk him away from the visitor. Once he calms down, let him try again.
  • Leave the leash on your dog during the visit. You don’t have to hold it the entire time, but if at any point during the visit your dog jumps up on your visitor, grab the leash, tell your dog, “Too bad” and walk him away.
  • Remember to praise and reward him with pets and attention when he keeps four paws on the floor.

Anti-jump training when you meet people on the street

  • As soon as your dog’s feet leave the ground, tell him, “Too bad” and walk a few feet away. When he settles, try again—if the person is willing
  • If you’ve gotten in enough sit practice, help your dog by asking him to sit before he says hello. With time and practice, your dog will automatically sit when he wants to greet people.

Training Tip: The key to anti-jump training is consistency. You can end jump-up greetings for good if you turn away every time.

Troubleshooting: Be patient. It might get worse before it gets better. If your dog has used jumping as his main way to say hello, it will take a little while for him to learn new ways. If he’s a committed jumper, you can try the “one strike” rule: He only gets one chance to get it right with each new person. If his feet leave the ground, he’s walked away or moved into another room without a second chance. That will help get the message through and motivate him to find a new way to say hello—like a nice sit.