Why Do Dogs Jump Up on You?

If you own a dog, or know someone who owns a dog, you’ll no doubt know that dogs do occasionally jump up on you. How you deal with it will depend on what sort of bond you have with your dog.

The issue is different if your dog jumps up on other people because that is not that person’s choice. In this case, you need to manage the behavior, with a view to training your dog out of the behavior.

Jumping Up On The Pack Leader Is An Instinct

Puppies instinctively jump up on their mothers when she brings food to the litter to submit to her, as leader of their pack. It’s also a way to encourage her to give them some of the food.

Another instinctive reason for puppies jumping up on their mother is affection; it’s a way to get physically close to her.

Jumping Up On You, As The Pack Leader, Is Instinct

Once you become your dog’s owner you are your dog’s pack leader and instincts may play out. Your dog may want to jump on you to show submission or affection. Another reason you dog may want to jump up on you is to greet you.

Dogs instinctively greet one another face to face and sniff. Your dog may want to greet you by getting face to face with you and this means they have to jump up to get closer to your face.

The greeting jump up is far more likely if you’ve been apart from your dog for a while, especially if your dog suffers from separation anxiety.

Jumping up may simply be a case of your dog being bored and having pent-up energy. If you put your dog in an enclosed space for lengths of time, then your dog will want to jump up and stretch muscles, as would you in the same situation.

Active breeds of dog may jump up out of excess energy if not getting enough exercise.

Personality of a dog will also play a part. Some dogs may need more affection or more exercise than others.

If your dog is afraid of you, then submission jumping up may be more regular or it may be unfriendly. Your dog may be trying to assert control out of fear. If this is the case, it’s your behavior that needs changing. You should not make your dog afraid.

Training Your Dog Not To Jump Up On You

If you and your dog enjoy the closeness and camaraderie of your dog jumping up, then you may not want to change the behavior. If you don’t like it, then find a compassionate way to discourage it.

Training Techniques If You Don’t Want Your Dog To Jump Up On You

Don’t give your dog attention for jumping up on you. Turn your back and only pet your dog when all four paws are on the floor.

Teach your dog to do something that is incompatible with jumping up, such as making your dog sit for attention.

Keep greetings quiet and low-key. Ignore your dog when he or she jumps up. Turn and go out the door. Re-enter, and if your dog jumps up, then ignore, turn and go out. Keep doing this till your dog realizes that you don’t want the greeting.

Keep in mind that this may hurt your dog’s feelings, in much the same way yours would be hurt if your greeting was rebuffed. Give your dog a love when lesson learnt.

If you are sitting and your dog jumps up on you, stand up, without saying anything or pushing your dog away. Repeat till the lesson is learnt. Reassure.

Jumping Up On Unfamiliar People

Your dog jumping on other people could be stress induced or lack of confidence around new, or irregularly seen, people.  The jumping up is about asserting some control or dominance. 

It’s a good idea to discourage your dog from jumping on other people; for your dog’s sake and for theirs. It’s your responsibility to help your dog overcome behavior that could get your dog in trouble.

Managing Techniques To Stop Your Dog Jumping Up On Other People

Management is about controlling the situation so your dog doesn’t have the opportunity to jump up until adequately trained not to jump.

Introduce your dog to guests while your dog is on a leash.

Put your dog in another room when guests arrive.

Get your dog to sit or stay before greeting people. If your dog is sitting, he or she cannot be jumping.

Keep one of your dog’s favorite toys handy to distract him or her when guests arrive.

If you use a crate with your dog, then put your dog in the crate till guests are settled.

Training Techniques If You Don’t Want Your Dog To Jump Up On Other People

Ask someone your dog likes and wants to greet to help you. If you have trained your dog to sit then give the ‘Sit’ command when the person arrives. If your dog stands get the visitor to turn and walk away.

Get your dog to sit and then let the visitor try again. Repeat the process till your dog stays seated when the person arrives. At this point, reward your dog.

If you’re out walking with your dog and your dog encounters a stranger and wants to jump up on the stranger ask the person not to approach, give the person one of the dog’s treats if this is do-able.

Ask your dog to sit. Tell the person they can pet your dog and give your dog the treat if your dog remains seated.


It’s instinct for dogs to jump up on the person they consider the pack leader. How you deal with it is between you and your dog. It’s not a good idea for your dog to jump up on other people because it could cause problems for your dog, you and the other people. Manage the behavior with a view to training your dog out of the behavior. If the problem persists seek advice from your veterinarian, a canine expert or a local dog trainer.

Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/behavior/why-do-dogs-try-to-jump-on-you and at https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/stop-your-dog-jumping

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