Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

Why Puppies Jump Up

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Puppy Jumping Up Jumping up at people is one of the most common problems experienced by dog owners.

If this is accompanied by barking and nipping it can be very frightening for the person on the receiving end. It is the owner's duty to keep their dog under control at all times, especially in a public place.

People have the right to enjoy a walk without being annoyed by an unruly dog. If it is a large dog the situation is even worse. A large dog can knock over an adult, and what if the person is a child?

Your dog's over friendliness could cause a child to be harmed, physically and mentally. Even small dogs can be quite intimidating if they are jumping up at people. More often than not, dogs have muddy paws, and can spoil the persons clothing.

This behaviour does not just appear overnight and is usually the result of poor training on the owner's part.

The reason dogs jump up at people is because they are excited to see them. Dogs greet each other face to face, and for this reason the dog is trying to see your face. Jumping and leaping around is the way canines show excitement. The behaviour is learned when very young. As small bundles of fluff we bend down and pick them up, to cuddle them. Each time we do this we are training the puppy to jump up.

Then as the puppy grows and is jumping up everybody he meets, we decide we no longer find this behaviour amusing and it becomes a training issue or in some cases a reason to get rid of a dog altogether.


Puppies should be taught from an early age to sit and wait until called to greet visitors. If you are experiencing problems teaching the puppy this rule, then enlist the help of a friend to ring your doorbell. Have the puppy attached to his lead and when the doorbell rings, ignore any barking and quietly but firmly ask the pup to“sit/stay.” When he is sitting, open the door to your friend. Only if the puppy has obeyed you is he allowed to greet the visitor.

Your friend should tell the puppy to sit before giving him any attention, and on no account allow the dog to jump up. He must learn that he only gets attention (reward) for good behaviour. Only when the dog is in the sit position do you give him praise, and not after he has moved, because that is not the desired behaviour. A dog can be trained to lie down, or go into its bed at the sound of the doorbell, and wait until called, which is another way to remove the over-excitement which leads to this behaviour.

As with any behaviour problem, it is important to establish why the dog is behaving in a certain way. Is the dog jumping up people through friendliness, or dominance? A wagging tail is an indication of excitement but can also signify agitation. Keep your dog on the lead for at least 15 minutes after your visitors have arrived. Warn them not to pat the dog if he is up on his hind legs, instead they should ask the dog to sit before giving him lots of cuddles. If the dog cannot greet people in a well- mannered fashion at home, he will not do so out on a walk. Keep the dog on a lead until he is trained not to jump up. If you see people approaching you, ask the dog to sit and wait to be petted.

Punishing a puppy or an adult dog for jumping up is counter productive. It could result in the dog mistrusting people, and lead to more serious problems. The best message to give the dog about jumping up people is, he never gets what he wants by his bad behaviour. No petting him, no scolding him, and no talking to him at all until his bottom is firmly on the ground.

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At home the puppy can be given a toy to hold when visitors arrive. Many dogs will go and get their toy themselves as an aid to self-control. It is our inconsistency that perpetuates the problem. Some of the time we tolerate our dog jumping up. Sometimes we ignore it, other times we reward it by petting and talking to the dog, and then we get angry which creates total confusion in the dog's mind.

A golden rule of dog training is to always be one step ahead of the dog. Do not let your new puppy learn to jump up by foreseeing what problems may lie ahead of you and taking early preventative actions to make it less likely to occur in the first place.

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Destructive Puppies
Four Basic Commands
Jumping Up
Obedience Basics
Puppy Training Pads
Training A Puppy's Mind
Why Puppies Jump Up

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