To get my hyper puppy 🐕or dog to stop jumping on me, I would ignore the dog’s jumping and rewarding calm behavior. Of course, that’s more difficult than it sounds!
Dogs jump on us because it’s a natural way to get our attention. It works! Most people pet, talk to or kneel down and acknowledge a dog that jumps. But when a dog jumps on someone, it can be dangerous. It’s also rude and annoying.
Even dog lovers may not appreciate muddy paws, hair and drool all over their clothes. And even a small dog’s little nails can scratch a person.
IN THIS POST:
- How to stop a dog from jumping
- Ignore your dog to stop the jumping
- Act like a tree to stop your puppy’s jumping
- Correcting your dog from jumping
- Kneeing the dog in the chest to stop jumping
- Stop a dog’s jumping with the Doggie Don’t Device
- How to stop a dog from jumping on the furniture
- Should I let my puppy sit on me?
I’m using “dog” and “puppy” interchangeably in this post because the same basic idea applies to stop either a dog or a puppy from jumping.
The following are my tips to stop my dog from jumping on me, but as with all my training posts, feel free to share your own tips. What works for one dog/owner pair will not necessarily work for all dogs.
My dog Remy jumps on me a couple of times per day during his “wild” spells. He leaps up and bites, bounces off of me, then tears around the room. He grabs a toy, growls and play bows, then charges and jumps again. It’s embarrassing to admit and really bad behavior!
I know this is related to Remy’s energy and excitement. His jumping only lasts about 30 seconds, and he is just playing. But it’s also way too rough and I clearly have not gotten control of the behavior.
Usually, when you have a behavioral problem with your dog, the solution is very simple. Not easy, but simple.
The best thing to do is not give the dog or puppy any attention for jumping.
How to ignore a jumping dog or puppy:
- Show no emotion
- Don’t look at your dog
- Don’t talk to your dog or laugh at your dog (don’t even smile)
- Do not touch your dog or interact in any way
- You basically give a cold shoulder!
- Focus on something else, even if you’re pretending (Dogs use this tactic with each other!)
What you need to do is basically become like a zombie – no emotion. You’re not angry or excited or stressed. Stare at your phone or the TV or focus on someone else.
I might calmly leave the room or go to my desk and focus on my phone or something else. I will truly ignore my dog for about five minutes no matter what he does. (He will probably try to get my attention by doing something else naughty like chewing the rug.)
It’s hard! But stay relaxed and calm and act as if the dog is not there.
This means no laughing at his cuteness. No scolding. Don’t even look at him. Just calmly walk right into him if he’s jumping as you go about your business. Pretend to be really interested in the dishes or going through the mail or whatever.
And yes, sometimes turning your back on him works as long as you do so in a calm way.
How older dogs ignore younger dogs
Older dogs will ignore puppies when they don’t want to play with a young, jumpy pup. They will often pretend to focus on a “smell” in the grass. Pretty soon the pup is also interested in sniffing the grass or he gets bored and finds something better to do.
The most popular advice right now is to “be a tree” and ignore the jumping and reward the puppy when all four paws are on the ground.
This is good advice, as long as you go about it the right way.
Have you ever seen an owner (or even a trainer!) keep spinning in an attempt to turn her back on the dog? It usually becomes a fun game for the dog! The dog ends up getting even more excited and jumpy and the person ends up laughing and moving around faster and faster.
So, don’t play the “spinning dance” with your dog. When you first start ignoring your dog, he’s probably going to jump on you more. You’ll have to take a few punches and scratches. Show no response.
Jumping on you has worked to get attention in the past, so your dog is going to try it and he’s going to keep trying. If you give in and scold him or try to push him away, he’s going to learn he just has to jump on you several times to get your attention.
So be strong! Do not give in to the crazy mutt! Haha.
If you ignore your dog for jumping (truly ignore), eventually the behavior will decrease.
Give attention when the puppy is calm
This is great advice, as long as you don’t get the dog all riled up again when you give him attention. Try to keep the reward calm with a simple “gooood boooy” or tossing a treat.
Be calm yourself. Make sure you’re not unintentionally encouraging the jumping through your behavior and body language.
Don’t laugh at your dog or talk to him when he jumps. Don’t pet him or touch him. And, don’t get him excited again with your praise. Keep a calm, slow voice and pet him slowly.
Carry treats to reward calm behavior.
Treats help too as long as your dog doesn’t go nuts over food! A clicker is also a good option for marking the good behavior here.
I’m pretty good at predicting when Remy is going to charge and jump. He often does this when I’m walking across the living room and he does it during the times of day when he’s most excited like before a meal or before a walk.
Instead of ignoring the jumping, I can toss some kibble on the ground to prevent the jumping before it happens. I’m not going to look at him or engage with him when I drop the food. I’m just going to casually drop a few pieces as I walk by, pretending I didn’t even know they dropped. Hopefully, this will help remove the jumping habit.
I might occasionally give a piece of food to my dog Remy when I see he has chosen to remain lying down or sitting rather than jumping.
I don’t want to do too much of this because food tends to get him excited. But an occasional piece of dry dog food for staying calm should help reinforce sitting or standing vs. jumping.
Hand him a chew toy or bully stick. This can work well when people visit. Some dogs will take the bully stick and retreat to their bed for some chew time. Of course, some dogs will just get more riled up and run around with their “prize” so you have to know your dog.
What if ignoring the dog just isn’t working?
I love the ignoring approach, but in the real world some dogs are still going to jump when they get excited regardless of how much they are rewarded for the right behavior.
If that is the case for your dog, here are some additional tips to try to stop your puppy from jumping:
1. Have a plan – decide on your rules.
The first strop to stop your dog’s jumping is to decide on your own rules and be consistent. If you don’t know what is “allowed,” how is your dog supposed to know? All family members and roommates should be on board with the same rules.
For example, I don’t mind if my dogs run up and greet me at the door and show excitement. I like that. However, I do expect them to settle down shortly afterwards, and I do not allow any barking or jumping. Your rules might be a little different.
We discussed this in my post on how to keep a dog calm around visitors. It’s not enough to want your dog to stop jumping. You have to decide what you want him to do instead. Lie on a bed? Sit next to you? Calmly greet people without jumping?
Then figure out how to make this happen, and practice it. Dogs need lots and lots of repetitions in order for a concept to stick, especially with something as challenging as not jumping on visitors.
2. Keep the dog on a leash.
I will step on the leash if necessary to stop a dog from jumping. I know some of you will think this is too harsh, but it works. The dog will think twice about jumping if he is corrected in this way multiple times.
If you’re uncomfortable stepping on the leash, you can at least hold the leash so he’s under control. His usual training collar will also help, no matter what type of tool you normally use. My dog is much calmer when he wears his Gentle Leader, for example.
Another good option is to use a short leash or “leash tab.” This is a short leash 10″ or so. It’s helpful because if your dog wears it, it won’t drag around as long as a normal leash, catching on things.
Then, when people are at the door, you can easily reach down and hold the leash tab to control your dog.
3. Instruct guests to ignore your puppy.
I’ve found that people don’t really ignore my dog when I ask them to unless I give very specific instructions such as “do not look at him or acknowledge him at all.
If he whines, don’t look at him or talk about him. If he comes up to you, just keep on walking like he’s not there.”
4. Practice LOTS of obedience training with your dog.
I know, this is so obvious you’d think more of us would do it. It’s just so unfair to expect a dog not to jump on Grandma if the dog has been allowed to jump on everyone else.
It’s also unfair to expect him to contain his excitement if he hasn’t been walked in a week. We should all be practicing basic obedience with our dogs every day and then slowly looking for more challenges.
You can also give your dog puzzle toys to drain mental energy such as a Kong with frozen peanut butter.
And of course, don’t hesitate to hire a trainer. It’s worth the money if it decreases your stress!
5. Increase your dog’s exercise
60 to 90 minutes of physical exercise every single day! When I take my dog Remy running consistently, he does not jump on me. If we miss a day, he jumps because he has extra energy. Drain their energy in other ways and they’ll have an easier time remaining calm.
Increasing your dog’s exercise won’t magically fix your problems but the less pent-up energy your dog has, the better. Try longer walks with a dog backpack.
Try running with your dog and giving him plenty of off-leash time to burn up energy.
See our post: Exercise ideas for dogs.
Now we’ll get into a few ways of “correcting” your dog or puppy from jumping.
Correcting a dog from jumping could mean several things such as:
- Telling the dog no
- Squirting the dog or puppy with water
- Physically blocking the dog or kneeing the dog
- Using a training tool such as an e-collar
I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t correct your dog. Every situation is a little different.
1. Use a firm “NO!” to stop my dog from jumping on me
I know some trainers will tell you never to tell a dog or puppy “no.” We’ve gone too far with the “positive only” idea.
Telling a dog “no” is a good way to get your point across, for some dogs. For others, it’s just a great way to get your attention. They could care less if you tell them “no.” So it depends on the dog and the assertiveness and consistency of your voice.
A squirt bottle of water. This is another option that works for some dogs. Others (like mine) think this is a fun game. You can get a cheap water bottle for $1 just about anywhere. You would give a quick squirt to interrupt the jumping. Then praise.
Oh the horror! Call PETA!
I’m not saying you should forcefully jam your knee into the dog’s chest to cause pain. Instead, calmly raise your knee to block the dog as you move forward. It tells the dog, “Respect my space.”
Then pet the dog when he’s calm.
I do not recommend forcefully kneeing a dog in the chest. This could hurt the dog.
That being said, if you see a large dog charging you, I’d rather you use your knee or foot in self defense than to lean backward or back away. Backing away is a good way to encourage the dog to jump on you, possibly knocking you over. It’s a good way to get hurt.
Instead, I recommend you stay calm, hold your ground and move forward with your knee out.
It is also effective to yell “No!” while you stand up straight, point at the dog and move into “his” space. Usually this at least stops the dog in his tracks for a second, which is enough to stop him from crashing into you at full speed.
He may still jump on you, but at least he’s not going 90 mph.
If you are the owner of a dog that jumps, please don’t put people in a position where they feel like they have to either pet your dog or push him away. Keep him leashed while he’s still learning so he can’t hurt or annoy anyone.
See my post: The time I kicked an aggressive dog
3. Use a pet corrector, a Doggie Don’t Device or an e-collar.
Sometimes the best thing is to use a tool to stop a dog’s jumping for a split second so you can reward your dog for sitting or standing.
For example, the Pet Corrector blasts air at the dog and the Doggie Don’t Device makes a loud, static noise. You could also try an e-collar with a remote. When all four paws are on the ground, he gets praise.
Now for those interested, I’ll get into some details on how to use the product called the Doggie Don’t Device.
To stop a dog from jumping, ignoring them is a great idea. The problem is, a lot of dogs don’t have the self-control not to jump when they’re excited, and people are not always consistent with which behaviors they reward!
That’s why for certain “bad” behaviors, it’s helpful if you can interrupt your dog just for a second—long enough to stop the “bad” behavior—and then praise.
A device that can help with this is the Doggie Don’t Device, a handheld dog training product that makes a loud, static sound at the push of a button.
What is the Doggie Don’t?
The Doggie Don’t is a training tool that makes an unpleasant sound when you push a button. It is audible to dogs and people (it sounds like loud static, almost like a “stun gun”) and is designed to interrupt your dog’s bad behavior.
Ideally, the sound will cause your dog to stop the unwanted behavior for a second, allowing you to praise her. It is not designed as a punishment.
Have you ever pretended to knock at the door (or rang the doorbell) in order to get your dog’s attention? I have done this to get my dog to drop something in his mouth. It worked because it shifted his attention elsewhere momentarily. That’s what the Doggie Don’t Device can do.
First, give your dog a chance to respond to your command such as “off” or “sit.” Praise your dog if she listens.
If she doesn’t follow your command, use the Doggie Don’t one time to interrupt the behavior. Then, praise her for being quiet or for keeping her paws on the ground or whatever you’re working on.
Examples of when the Doggie Don’t can be helpful
1. To stop your dog from jumping or pawing at you
This is probably the most common problem I hear about! The Doggie Don’t can help stop a dog’s jumping, but it works best if you use it sparingly and as an interrupter vs. a punishment. It’s all about the timing.
For example, when you walk in the door and you know your dog is likely to jump on you, you would ignore your dog and give the “off” or “sit” command.
If he tries to jump, you would push the Doggie Don’t Device button once and repeat “off.” Then praise your dog for not jumping.
See our post: Teach your puppy the word “off”
2. Stop a dog’s counter surfing
Stealing food off the counters is one of those behaviors that will not go away if you ignore your dog. Every time your dog manages to grab food off the counters, she is self-rewarded!
If you have a counter-surfing dog, I recommend you teach her a command like “out” to mean “stay out of the kitchen” or to stay a certain distance from the counter. Then, use the Doggie Don’t if your dog does not move “out.”
3. Stop a dog from barking
I would use the Doggie Don’t for dogs that tend to constantly “alert” you to every little noise or dogs that are obsessed with barking at other dogs, rabbits, etc.
Just be sure you understand your dog’s “triggers” and why she is barking.
For example, if she is barking out of fear, I would find a way to decrease her fear rather than use the Doggie Don’t. But if your dog is barking because she wants to attack every single squirrel, the Doggie Don’t can be a good training option.
See our post: how to stop a dog’s barking
4. Getting your dog to drop items on walks.
Some people have used the Doggie Don’t to prevent their dogs from picking up disgusting or dangerous items during walks.
For example, my puppy tries to eat rocks, garbage, mulch, etc. The Doggie Don’t can be used to distract your dog and prevent him from picking up these items. It can also work to get your dog to “drop it” if he already has something in his mouth.
What NOT to do when using the Doggie Don’t Device
I’ve had a chance to use the Doggie Don’t with my dog, and I have some recommendations on what NOT to do.
1. Don’t use it too frequently.
Dogs tend to tune us out if we’re constantly “nagging” at them with our voice and it’s no different with a sound from the Doggie Don’t. Use it very sparingly and with clear intention. If you have to use it over and over or more than once within a few minutes, re-consider your timing or perhaps it’s just not the best device for that particular issue.
2. Don’t think of it as a punishment.
Think of it as an interrupter.
3. Don’t use this on overly fearful dogs.
You wouldn’t want to use this on dogs that are often afraid, sensitive or dogs that tend to react with aggression. On the other hand, overly confident, determined dogs might act like they don’t even hear it!
4. Don’t work on multiple behaviors at once.
Choose one problem behavior to work on with the Doggie Don’t. Otherwise, you’ll be overusing it and your dog will tune out the sound, think you’re crazy or become desensitized to it.
If you’ve used a Doggie Don’t Device, let me know in the comments.
There’s nothing wrong with allowing your dog to jump up on the furniture such as the couch, a chair or your bed … as long as YOU decide this is OK. The dog does not get to decide!
If you do not want to allow your dog on the furniture, then it’s best NEVER to let your dog on the furniture, starting from when they are puppies. If your dog is already used to being on the couch or your bed, then it’s not too late to train him.
Simply be consistent!
Use a word like “off” and remove your dog from the couch or bed. Reward your dog for sitting on the ground or on a dog bed. If your dog jumps onto the bed again, simply say, “No, off” and remove him.
You might have to do this five or six times with stubborn dogs. If your dog just keeps on trying, then block access to that room or put him on a leash.
Block your dog from the furniture when home alone.
When you are at work or when you can’t supervise your dog, I recommend you block your dog’s access to the furniture that is off limits.
This might mean you have to use a kennel/crate for your dog. Or, it might mean you need to keep your dog on a leash and near you when you’re working from home. Or even use a dog daycare temporarily.
If a dog is blocked from the furniture for long enough, they typically change their habits. Remember to reward your dog for lying on the floor or on their comfy dog bed.
See our posts:
Now, last thing for this article … I want to address a similar issue that is not jumping but related … should you let your dog or puppy sit on your lap?
And now I want to cover a similar topic related to a dog or puppy seeking attention, letting a puppy sit on your lap.
I am curious to get your answers.
When my weimaraner Remy was a little puppy, he would jump and paw and grab at people (oh wait, he still does that). Obviously this is not a behavior I want to encourage, and I don’t.
But another thing Remy did as a puppy was try to crawl into my lap if I was sitting on the floor next to him. He was even more likely to do this if he was holding a rawhide or bully stick.
It’s cute that my puppy wanted to sit in my lap (awww), but it’s also a behavior I didn’t want to encourage.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t let your puppy or dog sit on you. I just don’t want my dogs sitting on people.
Why does my puppy sit on me?
Here are some reasons why puppies or dogs might sit on their owners. I’m listing these in the order I think is most common:
- Affection. This is probably the #1 reason!
- Seeking attention.
- Hogging attention from other pets or from whatever else the person is doing.
- Blocking or “guarding” another dog from the person. Not necessarily in an aggressive way but just by being there.
- Feeling more powerful (think of the little dog sitting on her owner and snapping at everyone).
- Keeping another dog from getting a bone or toy.
- More serious possessiveness/resource guarding.
Note that most of these are all related to “dominance” in some small way but not it’s not so simple as “My dog is trying to Dominate Me!”
Also see my post: Why do dogs lean on you?
Why I didn’t let my puppy sit on me
My puppy is now a big 63-pound dog. That’s basically why I didn’t let him sit on me very often as a puppy. I knew he would GROW!
When he used to try sitting on me, I think it was mostly for security, but also for demanding attention and preventing my other dog from taking his toy or bone (even though no one was actually trying to take it).
I liked when Remy wanted to sit on my lap, but I knew it was not a good behavior to encourage from my particular puppy. Each dog is different.
Remy’s personality was very sweet and friendly, but he also tested the limits with me to see what he ccould get away with.
At four months old, he already used his body to barge in and get what he wanted. Part of that was and still is immaturity, but I also know Remy has a bit of a “pushy” attitude. At least more so than my older dog Ace.
So, I set limits with Remy.
I should be able to sit on the floor next to him without him climbing on me.
Bottom line is the human gets to decide who invades her space and when. The puppy or dog does not get to decide (and either do any other pets, for that matter).
So I tell my dogs to lie down and stay (right next to me is fine), and they get praise for that.
When Remy tries to grab my arms, put his paws on me or climb on me, I block him by putting my knees up or my elbows out or I just stand up and leave.
By the way, I’m not perfect. It’s hard to be consistent.
Teach your puppy the word OFF
We are using the word OFF with Remy which means DO NOT TOUCH ME. So we use it when he’s jumping or when he’s pawing at us or when he’s trying to nudge us or climb on us.
Yes, he’s pushy. He’s constantly invading my bubble, and it’s rude. Mostly, I just want him to learn some self-control so he can eventually leave guests alone.
Of course, jumping and pawing is normal puppy behavior, but it’s our biggest challenge still.
See my post: Stop my puppy from jumping for attention.
Why does my puppy sit on me when he has a bone?
Remy used to try to sit on my lap when he had a bully stick or bone. Now, at 3 years old, he still likes to lean on me when he has a bone. (See my post: Why does my dog want me to hold his bone?)
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this behavior.
Is it for security? Is it too pushy/demanding? Maybe to keep the item away from other pets?
I think yes to all of the above.
I think it’s a fairly harmless behavior but one to be aware of and set some limits depending on your unique dog. Again, the human gets to decide if she wants to hold the bone or not. The puppy does not get to decide!
I’m glad Remy seeks me out for security and that he’s cool with me holding his bone. It’s a nice way to bond with him. But, I don’t like how he barges up to me and shoves his rawhide in my hand. Um, excuse me!
OK, I’d like to hear your take on all of this.
Does your dog jump on people? What did you do to stop the jumping?
Jumping is a serious problem with some dogs, especially if the dog is also nipping at people. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a trainer if you need some help to keep everyone safe.
(Note that it’s normal for all puppies to jump and nip. Don’t be overly concerned if your puppy is doing this.)
Stop dog from jumping on guests (Puppy in Training blog)
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