How To Stop Your Dog’s Jumping

All behavior is performed for reinforcement. So you need to ask yourself: what is reinforcing the jumping?

Why do dogs jump?

Jumping up is a self-reinforcing behavior. Dogs jump up to say hello, quite simply. They don’t know how humans prefer to be greeted, and it never occurs to them that they might knock us over or ruin our clothes. Thankfully, consistent anti-jump training can quickly solve the problem for good.

Is it attention?

Is it the food they managed to grab out of your hand?

Once you know what drives it, then you can address it most effectively.

Sometimes dogs jump up because they are anxious, stressed, or over-aroused in a given situation. Do you need to increase the distance between the dog and the person? Introduce management, such as a barrier?

Or, because the behavior has served a useful purpose for them in the past, such as when someone has patted his head when they did it, he continues to do it for a while hoping for the same reinforcement.

So, how do you stop the dog from jumping?

Tackling jumping up can be done by firstly meeting the need that drives the behavior. If the dog has been alone for a long period of time, they might just need to reconnect and feel safe again. Better to give them that in a constructive way than try to train away valid emotions, as you’ll be fighting a losing battle.

Secondly, using management and thirdly, cueing or capturing and reinforcing an incompatible behavior.

Simply put a dog that’s sitting or standing with all four feet on the floor cannot also be jumping up at the same time.

If they jump on people as they come in the door: prevent him from having access to them as they enter.

If the dog jumps at you, step away or turn your body so they can’t jump on you. Ignoring it generally doesn’t work. And making a strange sound may actually end up making him more excited, making it worse.

If the jumping is so over the top or painful for you that you cannot realistically find an opportunity to reinforce all four feet on the floor, then start with the dog on the other side of the baby gate or some other barrier.

When the dog is calm and has all four feet on the floor, or is sitting in front of you, use an audible marker sound and feed a treat through the gate. Repeat this exercise for no more than 2 minutes.

The dog will quickly learn that jumping at you or the gate doesn’t pay, but four feet on the floor does.


To teach a dog to keep four feet on the floor when greeting (or just in general), you will need at least 30 – 50 treats per session. You can use the dog’s meal and add in some high-value treats, such as cheese or cooked meat. With a piece of food in your hand you approach the dog or let him approach you. With your hand at his eye level, deliver pieces of food in quick succession while the front feet remain firmly planted on the floor. If the front feet or even one foot leaves the floor, then the treat is not given until it returns to the floor.

After about 30 reps of this, you can start to pause briefly with the food in your hand for just a nanosecond before giving it. The fact that the dog has just had 30 treats with front feet on the floor is going to increase the chances of the dog repeating the same behavior except now you are giving the dog a chance to jump, albeit for less than a second. Feet on the floor = treat. Feet leave floor = no treat. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Gradually start to stand up straighter and wait a bit before giving the treat. A few missed treats for feet leaving the floor (you say nothing by the way, just a quiet ‘good’ when giving the treat) and your pup will get the message.

You may need a few such sessions but providing you are consistent and you use only people who will do as you ask your dog will soon generalize to all visitors and greet them without jumping on them.

If you’re ready to get help with your jumping dog, schedule your Initial Behavior Consultation: