Why do dogs jump on you

This is a great way to stop your dog from jumping

We still think it's cute with puppies and are happy that the dog apparently thinks we are so great - but at the latest when the dog weighs a few pounds more and has just jumped through a muddy puddle, the fun stops with us humans . If you want to stop your dog from jumping, you should teach your dog to keep four paws on the ground in any situation.

You can find out how this works and why dogs jump on my blog today.

Do you have to stop your dog from jumping?

Not all jumping off is the same. And if you have to work on your dog jumping off, only you can decide. The only important thing is - your dog shouldn't jump on other people. But you don't always need training for this, in some cases prudence and management are sufficient.

Why do dogs jump at people?

Often the jumping of dogs is immediately classified as a gesture of greeting or exuberant joy. But a precise description of the behavior without interpretation will help you to recognize which motivation and emotions are behind it in your dog.

Because let's be honest - a happy greeting can also take place without jumping. I have not yet met a dog that has jumped at its humans 20 times when greeted with 100% joy and has left bruises on humans in the process. It is therefore important to look at each dog individually and to describe the behavior without interpreting it immediately.

Stress, frustration and conflict behavior

For example, if my dog ​​Paco jumps up on a person, then at that moment he is at a high level of excitement and the jumping is jumping behavior. Jumping rarely occurs and in such a situation there is usually another dog with him, and Paco does not feel 100% comfortable around him. You can see when a dog is torn between two motivations and therefore shows conflict behavior or jumping behavior. It can also jump in stressful situations or when the dog is frustrated. Especially since your dog's self-control quickly fails in such situations.

Defensive jumping

A jump can also be used as a defense to drive people away. When jumping, the dogs often have high muscle tension, use a little more force and you will also see other expressions from the area of ​​aggression.

The tight leash

A tight leash on the dog often increases the level of excitement because the dog's brain has linked: Leash taut = attention, something exciting is happening!

It often happens that we tighten the leash and suddenly the dog jumps up. It might not have happened on a loose leash. That doesn't mean that from now on you just let go of the leash and everything will be fine. You should observe whether a tight leash triggers your dog to jump and implement my training suggestions.

It is therefore important to look at and describe the dog and the situation individually, because the dog's behavior can usually not be pigeonholed. For example, your dog, like my dog ​​Paco, likes being close to people very much, but sometimes would rather leave the situation due to the presence of a certain dog. At the same time seeking closeness to the person, but abandoning the person's dog and walking away does not work. Therefore, you should observe your dog's behavior and the situation and not immediately assign a label such as joy, fear, aggression or stress to your dog's behavior.

Jump is learned!

A dog that keeps jumping has learned it. Something is making the jump stronger. It helps your dog and it is useful to him. And it's not always the fault of the people who greet your dog when he jumps.

As a trick

You can teach your dog to jump on signal. If you are not very specific about introducing the signal, your dog may sometimes misunderstand you and then jump when you don't want to. Ascii, for example, can jump up on a signal to us. We have a very clear signal for this - we tap our collarbone three times with both (flat) hands. We never use this gesture in everyday life - so Ascii knows exactly when he can jump. (Due to its spondylosis and HD, we now almost never use it.)

As an unwanted trick

Your dog may also learn: If the person has a ball in their hand, I have to jump up and then the ball flies. This quickly turns the toy into a signal to jump up - at least for your dog. Or: If I jump fast enough and bump into my person, the ball or food will fall out of his hand.

The dog wants distance

The dog jumps at a person to fend him off. The person then takes a step back and does not look at the dog anymore, because a defensive jump can be painful depending on the strength and weight of the dog. This can increase the defensive jumping, because the dog has created some distance to the people. If a dog jumps at you defensively, you should back off. Please read this article through, because what applies to growling also applies to defensive jumping.

Reading tip: what to do if the dog growls

If the dog jumps up because he is stressed and / or frustrated, the jumping behavior helps him to cope with the situation.

The dog rewards itself

For some dogs, jumping is likely to be self-rewarding and these dogs just enjoy jumping up. No matter how you act and how much you ignore your dog, he'll enjoy jumping.

What you should definitely leave out of training

Pushing away or ramming the dog's knee in the stomach usually doesn't work at all and it has side effects. It can hurt the dog and scare your dog - your dog shouldn't have such experiences with you or with other people. In addition, pain and fear create more stress and frustration again, which can even trigger it again.

Denying your dog any direct contact with other people is also not a solution. Because you can't always avoid it and if suddenly a person comes near you, your dog will jump again. It would also be a shame for your dog if he likes other people and can no longer have any contact with them.

To ignore

Sometimes we can - but often we cannot ignore dogs that jump on us. For example, because it hurts us a lot or is just annoying. And since jumping is likely to be self-rewarding for some dogs, ignoring them doesn't help at all. And if your dog is jumping on strangers, ignoring them is a bad idea.

Training to stop your dog from jumping

Do you want your dog to learn to greet people without jumping at them? So ask yourself: What should my dog ​​do instead of jumping? Should he lie down all the time or can he stand around? Can he look at people? Can he sniff on the ground or on people?

All four paws on the ground!

My goal in training is always for the dog to keep all four paws on the ground. If you don't want your dog to sit all the time or anything like that, that's the easiest thing to do. If all four paws are on the ground, the dog is definitely not jumping at a person.

You can capture and reward the moment when all four paws are on the ground with your marker signal. Pay attention to when your dog has all four paws on the ground and reward it. Your dog must first get to know the alternative to jumping and this alternative must be worthwhile for your dog. Brushing your teeth every morning after getting up is normal for you after many years. You don't even have to think about it anymore. Dogs that have been jumping on other people for years, for example in greeting situations, no longer have to think long about how to behave.

If you think now: "My dog ​​doesn't always jump on people." Great - then you have many chances to reward your dog when he has all four paws on the ground.

Manage your dog!

To stop your dog from jumping, your dog should no longer have a chance to jump on a human. As often as possible, you should organize situations so that your dog learns to keep all four paws on the ground. This is easy, but often not that easy to implement. It takes your attention and prudent behavior. A leash on the dog is of course also mandatory to keep your dog from jumping, because this gives you additional security.

If you know exactly in which situations your dog will jump on other people, you can speak to him beforehand, call him up or ask for another signal from him.

Reading tip: Why behavior disruptors are so important

This is how you train in small steps to greet people without jumping

The triggers for starting are different. Find out when your dog is jumping up and break the whole situation down into small steps.

This is how you train in small steps - your dog will manage to endure the situation with all four paws on the ground.

It is often the case that the closer the person comes to the dog or the more the person is occupied with the dog, the faster the dog jumps up.

Think about what your situation is like and when your dog will show interest in people. Your training should begin as soon as your dog looks at the person, not when your dog jumps up.

You can then make a list and know exactly how to train and how to proceed in greeting situations.

Example - situation or trigger for your dog:

  • People five meters away who are not looking at your dog
  • Human being five meters away looking at your dog
  • A person five meters away who says “potato”
  • A person five meters away who says “Hello”
  • A person five meters away who says “Hello”
  • Human five meters away, walking towards you and your dog
  • People five meters away, waving their arms or making other movements
  • Person five meters away who speaks to your dog
  • A person five meters away who says “Hello” to you and walks towards you
  • A person three meters away who says “Hello”
  • Person at a distance of three meters who speaks to your dog in a high voice
  • A person five meters away who speaks to your dog and walks towards you
  • A person five meters away who crouches
  • ….
  • A person two meters away who walks up to you and greets you

You give the marker signal when the dog looks at the stranger and has all four paws on the ground. When you give the marker signal, the stranger always stops, no longer looks at the dog and no longer speaks to him. This will prevent it from becoming too difficult for your dog. Because your dog should learn to keep its four paws on the ground in small steps.

You start with the trigger “person five meters away who is not looking at your dog”. When your dog looks at this person and has all four paws on the ground, you give your marker signal and reward your dog. It is best to start with food, praise and play. As you become more confident in the process, you can use various rewards there too.

If your dog manages to look at people five meters away (who is not looking at your dog) a few times on a loose leash and keep all four paws on the ground, you increase the level of difficulty.

The person five meters away looks at your dog. (Please do not stare, but look naturally with blinking and look away from time to time.)

When your dog looks at this person and has all four paws on the ground, you give your marker signal and reward your dog.

If your dog manages to look at the person five meters away (who is looking at your dog) a few times on a loose leash and keep all four paws on the ground, you increase the level of difficulty again. And so on.

If you design every greeting with your dog like this, he will learn exactly what you want - keep four paws on the ground. And you get better and better in your timing, in watching your dog and you lose the fear of such situations. And your dog also learns that greeting situations are relaxed and that the leash remains loose.

In order for your dog to keep all four paws on the ground, he needs good self-control. This becomes difficult for your dog in adolescence and under stress and frustration. Your dog needs more support in such a situation and you should then start managing.

Reading tip: 3 things you should know about impulse control in dogs

Get our support during training!

Imagine how much more you can enjoy walking your dog when you can rely on your dog and you are a strong team. You can start training today and make your dog an attentive dog too - with our online course "My attentive dog".

Beware - this is one way you can stop your dog from jumping. It's not always practical and you will have to plan a little more time at the beginning, but I always let my customers and their dogs do it this way when we meet. (At least if the dogs want to jump at me ...) So we almost always manage without jumping and after a few meetings, people and dogs are professionals in the implementation. My customers are always amazed that their dogs are much more relaxed around me.

What if the dog jumps up or on the leash?

If your dog jumps up or on the leash, it was going too fast. You should still choose smaller intermediate steps. Talk to your dog or call him over and take a training step back.

What if your dog doesn't want any contact with people?

If your dog jumps at people to fend them off, I recommend you to get this article from me and a trainer you trust as support:

Reading tip: How to change your dog's aggressive behavior


You can start right away with our favorite exercise and learn to concentrate on your dog's great behavior. We'll help you rethink.