How do I stop a dog from jumping on me or my visitors?

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Answered by: Gina, An Expert in the Dogs - General Category
Many dog owners are frustrated, some even horrified, when their dog jumps up on visitors. They wonder 'how can I stop a dog from jumping?'

What many owners of dogs, large and small, do not realize is that they are actually contributing to the behavior by ignoring it, teaching the behavior by playing games with the dog and some are rewarding the jumping behavior with treats.

Naturally, a person is happy when their dog jumps up on them to greet them at the door when they first arrive home. This may give that person a good feeling to be so loved by their pet; however, this is sending the message to the dog that jumping up on you, or others, is okay or a welcomed act.

There are only a few reasons why a dog will jump up on someone. One is because they want to greet you and the way they do this with other dogs, most of the time, is to smell their face. They cannot reach your face unless they jump up on you. Another reason for a dog jumping on you or someone who has entered your home is because they are trying to assert their dominance over them. If a dog is jumping on the couch or other pieces of furniture that are tall, she is trying to elevate her status and station to be the alpha dog of the house, to be over the others that are taller than she is – which in this case are her owners. When she jumps up on you or others, she wants to be the alpha dog, the tall, dominant one.

By allowing your dog to jump up on you as a greeting, you are encouraging her to jump on anyone and everyone. You have to stop this. It may confuse the dog at first, but she will realize what is going on because she wants to please you. Playing games like tug-o-war or wrestling with the dog are also teaching her that jumping is okay, any time. You can still play with your dog, throw the ball, the Frisbee or run them through some agility courses, but when you engage them in wrestling type activities, they do not know when the activity is over or when it is okay to begin the jumping.

There are several ways to break the cycle and stop a dog from jumping on you or your guests.

Begin when the dog is a puppy or whenever she first arrives at your home and start correcting the jumping behavior immediately and consistently. As soon as the dog jumps up to see you, gently push her down and sternly say "Off" and repeat as necessary. This may take several days of coming in the door and repeating the "Off" command, but it will work. To stop a dog from jumping on you or your visitors with a particularly stubborn dog, you may need to shake a soda can with pennies in it at the dog. Keep it near the door and the dog will get the message.

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