yourpurebredpuppy logo

Teach Your Puppy to Stop Jumping on People

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books


BeagleJumping on people looks cute when a pup is 3 months old, but it becomes such a serious behavior problem that you shouldn't allow jumping even in a young puppy.

A jumping dog:

  • tears clothing
  • leaves dirty footprints on clothing
  • scratches people with sharp toenails
  • nips people, even accidentally from excitement
  • makes children and frail people stumble or fall

Along with the damage that can be done to people, jumping creates an over-excited  mindset in the dog, which is the very opposite of the calm  mindset we're trying to teach.

Even an active dog feels more secure when he's in a calm, relaxed state of mind.

Perhaps you're thinking, "But my dog only jumps on me,  not on other people."

Even so, he's practicing an excitable mindset that is psychologically stressful. And God forbid, if anything happened to you and your pup needed to be re-homed, fewer people will adopt a jumping dog.

So you really should stop this behavior as soon as it starts. It's not safe or considerate of other people. And it's definitely not good for your pup's all-important state of mind.

Don't try to stop jumping with the following techniques

  • Don't put your hands on a jumping dog – not even to push him off. Because YOU might think you're pushing him off, but HE often views it as petting  or fondling.  From his perspective, those consequences are positive.  He's getting attention and petting when he jumps. So keep your hands off him.
  • Don't turn your back on a jumping dog. That only teaches your puppy that he needs to sneak around to the front before he jumps. Other pups don't care – they're just as happy to jump against your backside and knock you forward.

Three effective corrections for jumping

check markThe first effective technique to extinguish jumping is a knee raise. AS  the pup starts his jump, raise one knee as though you were doing a high-step march in a parade. A larger dog will bump against your raised knee, while a smaller dog will bump against your raised shin, ankle, or foot.

Don't kick him! Just a bump. You want him to conclude, "Hmm, that wasn't the outcome I was hoping for. An uncomfortable bump  and I didn't even get petted!"

Yes. Exactly. If you don't want a dog to jump, you need him to conclude that jumping is yucky to do.

Oh, and don't make eye contact as you raise your knee. Eye contact is positive attention. Just watch the pup out of the corner of your eye so you'll be ready with another knee raise in case he tries a second jump.

Only when he has settled down (wait a good 10 seconds) should you look at him and acknowledge him. In a calm voice, say, "Hello, Jake." If he takes that as encouragement to jump again, repeat your knee raise but this time wait a little longer before acknowledging him.

You want him to learn this pattern: "jump → yucky bump + no attention."

pug dog jumping on owner

check markThe second effective technique to extinguish jumping is a sideways tug  of the leash. If you remember from some of my other articles, a dog with behavior problems should really be on a leash inside your house until those problems have been resolved. Jumping definitely qualifies as a behavior problem.

So grasp the leash about a foot from his collar and quickly  move your hand toward the jumping dog (to create a little slack). Then the actual correction is a tug sideways and parallel to the ground,  which provides a negative consequence to the jumping.

For a sensitive puppy, the movement of the leash can be just a pull that puts him a little off-balance. For a determined jumper, it should be more of a "popping" tug that really gets his attention.

check markThe third effective technique to extinguish jumping is to startle the pup in the act of jumping. Being startled is a negative consequence to some (but definitely not all) pups. Try a spray of water, a shrill sound from the Barker Breaker,  or a puff of air from the Pet Convincer  or Pet Corrector.

The difficulty here is that you need to have the device in your hand when the pup jumps. So you should stage a set-up  in which you hold the device behind your back out of his sight. Then "present yourself" to your pup in a way that might cause him to jump.

white Bull TerrierDon't pat your leg or your chest trying to goad  him into jumping! That would be unfair.

But certainly you can stand still facing him, with one arm hanging naturally at your side and the other hand behind your back. If he jumps, spray the water or activate the device. Many pups will veer away and not want to repeat the jump.

What if your puppy jumps on other  people?

You might have helpful friends who would be willing to do the knee-raise technique. But you can't count on all your guests doing that. Think of Uncle Henry with his arthritis. Or your 4-year-old niece. No, YOU  should be the one to correct your puppy for jumping on other people.

Until this problem is solved, a jumping puppy should be on a leash whenever other people are around.

Either you're holding the leash or he's dragging it. Then you can quickly gain control and administer the appropriate degree of tug if he jumps on anyone. Remember, a gentle tug for very young or sensitive pups, a firmer tug for more determined pups.

Alternatively, if your pup is deterred by a spray of water, sound device, or puffed air device, keep them close at hand.

One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that he is praised and rewarded for calmness, and corrected for excitability. His overall state of mind will stay with him throughout his life, so make sure you guide him down the right path.

My book covertraining program is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. It explains, step by step:

  • How to establish good patterns and routines that govern everything your pup does.
  • How to teach your pup to be calm and to look to you for guidance, direction, and permission.
  • How to make yourself important – the most important thing – in your puppy’s life. How to show your pup the clear, black-and-white rules and routines he is to follow. And how to make sure he does.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.


To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.