How to Stop a Puppy From Jumping

Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, PhD
By Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, PhD
Updated: 6/6/20242-4 minutes
Puppy jumping

Puppies are fun, exuberant and always happy to meet new people and often come running up to jump on them. While this may be adorable when they’re tiny, once they start to grow, jumping behaviors can be anything but.

When your dog jumps on you or other people, it can be bothersome, embarrassing and, at times, even dangerous. Like many inappropriate behaviors, jumping up can be corrected with proper training, and the sooner the better.

Why Do Puppies Jump on People?

Puppies jump on people for a variety of reasons, but generally they’re being playful and showing their excitement. Oftentimes owners reinforce this behavior by failing to teach their puppy that this is an undesirable behavior. When puppies jump up, they get attention. However, they need to be taught that to get attention, they need to behave by being in a sitting position.

Steps to Curb Puppy Jumping

Preventing unwanted behavior while encouraging desired behavior is an effective plan. Here are some tips to help prevent jumping.

  • Practice “Sit”: A basic command every dog should know is how to sit. Have your puppy sit for everything they enjoy in life from food to petting, from opening a door to throwing a toy. Soon your puppy will learn to associate sitting with everything good and this will give them something else to do besides jumping up.
  • Don’t Reward Jumping: If you pet, hug or respond excitedly when your puppy jumps up, they’ll think you’re enjoying this behavior. When your puppy jumps up, turn away from them if you can, as this both prevents them from jumping up and removes your attention from them. They will have to walk on all four to position themselves in front of you if they want to try again. If you can’t turn away, try taking a step back so they fail to land on you. If your puppy still succeeds, step forward towards your puppy and say “Off!” in a low tone. (“Off” is the preferred command since “Down” is usually used to get your puppy to lie down.) Every time they jump on you or appear to be about to jump up, turn and move in the opposite direction. Whatever you do, don’t praise them directly after they jump up; wait until they’re sitting. Asking your puppy to do a desired behavior that is incompatible with the behavior to avoid is always a good option!
  • Praise Correct Behavior: If your puppy puts all four paws on the floor, immediately give them a treat and praise them calmly. Now direct them to “sit” and again reward them with a treat or praise. If your puppy does not respond, ignore them until they do and then reward them right away with praise or a treat. You may have to practice this several times, so they understand that jumping is not permissible. The best procedure is to practice training these good behaviors regularly, rather than waiting for the undesired behaviors to pop up. You can practice this with your puppy-loving friends who understand training takes time. Have your puppy on a leash when meeting guests so they will be well behaved as an adult when friends come over. If this isn’t possible with some guests, then prevent the issue entirely by crating your puppy when guests arrive. You can always bring them out later when things are calmer.

Remember, patience and consistency are key factors in training your puppy. If you and everyone in your household have a training plan and work together, your puppy will soon learn there are more appropriate ways to interact with humans than jumping and they’ll be one step closer to being a well-behaved dog.

Learn more about puppies and adult dogs from our pet experts on our Pet Expertise page.

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