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Why Do Dogs Jump on You? 3 Reasons (and How to Stop It)

Pug jumping up on man

Anyone who’s spent much time around dogs has had the experience of dogs jumping up on them. When it’s your dog jumping up on you or others, the experience can be frustrating, to say the least. Dog’s claws are sharp and can easily cause injury. They can also spread mud and dirt all over your clothing. While small dogs jumping up can be frustrating, large dogs can be scary and intimidating, especially if you don’t personally know the pooch.

But why do dogs jump up on people? How do you stop the behavior? In this article, we attempt to answer both of these questions, no matter if you have a Chihuahua or a Great Dane!

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The 3 Reasons Why Dogs Jump on People

1. Greeting

Dog hugging owner
Image Credit: Bogdan Sonjachnyj, Shutetrstock

Most of the time, dogs will jump up on you simply as their way of greeting you. This is especially true if you’ve been away for the day (or 5 minutes!) and your pooch is super excited to see you. You may notice that dogs greet one another by sniffing their faces, so they need to jump up to your face to get a good whiff! Puppies will also jump up to their mothers in greeting and for safety. Since you are now the pack leader, they may simply be mimicking this behavior.


2. Dominance

There are various ways in which dogs display dominance, and jumping up is certainly one of them. This is especially true when a dog meets new faces, and they feel stressed, anxious, and out of control. Jumping up is their way of attempting to gain control of the situation and show their dominance over the new person in their territory. This is usually harmless but can definitely be unsettling for the person being jumped on! Sometimes, the jumping may be accompanied by growling or even humping, a behavior that in spayed and neutered dogs is actually a form of dominance over other dogs and even humans, contrary to popular belief.


3. Attention seeking

Woman training a pomeranian
Image Credit: Gorodenkoff, Shutterstock

Another potential reason for dogs jumping up on people is simply boredom and attention-seeking. The dog may have pent-up energy and is thus easily excitable and jumps up to get attention. They may be bored from not being exercised or interacted with enough and are simply telling you that it’s time for a walk or play session.

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How to stop it

Woman teaching german shepherd to keep paws on floor
Image Credit: Marcin Jucha, Shutterstock

To stop your pooch from jumping up on people, you’ll need to engage in a specific training program. Ideally, this type of correction training should begin from puppyhood, but jumping can also be reversed at any age with enough patience and consistency. There are several different training methods to help stop your pooch from jumping, but you’ll first need to establish why your pooch is jumping before trying to solve it. The solution may simply be giving them enough exercise and stimulation, but if that is already happening, you can try other methods.

The first essential step is to stop encouraging the behavior. You may not even realize it, but if your dog greets you by jumping up onto you, and you greet them back, you are inadvertently encouraging and reinforcing the behavior. To stop this behavior, you need to push your pooch off you and avoid giving your pooch any attention until they’ve calmed down.

If your dog is jumping on visitors, it can be more challenging to stop the behavior. The best way to train your dog to stop jumping is to put them on a leash when visitors arrive and make them sit and stay calm before greeting new faces.

Positive reinforcement training is a helpful method in stopping your dog from jumping. If your dog doesn’t jump or listens to you when you make the command for them to get down, give them praise or a treat to reinforce the behavior. It will help greatly to ensure that your family also follows the rules and ignores your dog’s jumping and to inform any visitors of your training intentions.

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Conclusion

Most of the time, dogs jump on people simply because they are excited and want to greet them. The behavior could also be dominance or attention-seeking, but in any case, it’s usually an easy problem to fix. With consistent training, you can quickly train your dog to stop the behavior — just make sure your family and friends are on board too!


Featured Image Credit: MishuHanda, Pixabay

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