How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping on Visitors and Strangers

Dogs like to jump up. When young puppies want attention from their mother, they must jump up to reach her.

Later, when puppies go to their new homes, they want to reach their new human mothers and fathers, and so, they jump up.

Most people like when a pup jumps up on their legs to reach them. People usually reward the puppy by bending over, picking the puppy up, laughing, and telling the puppy how cute he is. Some of us even teach our the youngster to stand on his hind legs. The puppy is cute, and it’s fun!

Jumping up is a behavior problem.

But then the puppy grows and gets bigger. If he’s a large breed dog, he’s getting bigger than the children in the house. He might even be able to knock the kids over. If he’s a small breed dog, he might be tall enough to scratch or bite someone’s arm or leg with his sharp teeth. Now, jumping up is becoming a problem. Now, it’s not OK and it’s not fun.

We have to find a way to tell the pup that we’ve changed our mind. Now, it’s not OK to jump up. We need to be clear and show the pup exactly what we want him to do. We need to teach him the new rules.

It’s time for new rules:

  • No jumping up on the kids
  • No jumping up on the adults
  • No jumping up on guests
  • No jumping up on the back door

Next, share the rules with the whole family. Everyone must be consistent. That means that everyone does the same thing, using the same words, every time.

Choose your words carefully so that you don’t confuse your dog. Using the word “off” is best. You might hear some people saying “down”, but that could confuse the dog. He might think you want him to lie down.


‘Off’ does not mean the same as ‘Down’!

  • Use for getting your dog off of you after jumping up. Use when you want your dog to lie down on the floor
  • Use for getting your dog off of the furniture. Use when you want your dog to go lie down in his bed
  • Use when your dog is jumping up at the fence and you want him to stop.

How to Teach “OFF”

Sometimes it helps to plan a special time to teach your dog the word you want him to learn. Then, when he jumps up on you, you will be able to tell him what you want him to do and he will understand.

First, get your dog or puppy to put his front feet up on your lap. Praise him. Then say “Off” in a firm, but gentle, voice and stand up. If you prefer, use your hands to put his paws on the floor. Either one is fine. Praise and pet him some more while he is sitting nicely. Practice many times so that he begins to understand.

Running puppy

To Teach”Off”(with guests who come to your front door)

This is a little harder because you need friends to help you. First, whenever you have people over, practice by having your dog sit for them and then reward your dog.

After he gets good at sitting for lots of guests, make a plan for a friend to come to the front door. When the doorbell rings, put your dog’s leash on, go to the door, and have your dog sit.

Slip your hand under his collar to hold him still and have your guest pet him as a reward. Don’t let your guest touch him until he is sitting very still and relaxed. Do this with as many friends or relatives as possible so your dog gets lots of practice with people coming to your door.
Running puppy

How to Fix the Problem When Your Dog Jumps on You

When your dog jumps up on you or climbs on you when you are lying on the floor, say “off” as you help him off of you. Using both hands, hold his feet, and put them back on the floor. When his feet are on the floor, tell him he’s wonderful.

If he does it again, put his feet back on the floor. Then get down to his level and tell him how happy you are.

If your dog continues to jump or climb on you, walk away and don’t play with him anymore. If he follows you, put him outside , in a crate, or in another room. He will learn that his behavior is not fun anymore.

Does your dog jump up on the door when he wants to come into the house?

Actually, your dog is very smart. He has figured out a way to let you know that he wants in. If you don’t want him to jump on the door, teach him a more acceptable way of letting you know that he wants to come in. A good way is to go to the door and tell your dog to sit. As soon as he sits, reward him by opening the door and letting him in. Of course, your dog must know how to sit first.

Does your dog jump on you when you first get home?

Your dog should be somewhere enclosed before you come home…the yard, a pen, a bedroom, or a crate. Don’t leave him loose in the house. When you arrive, let your dog out, but don’t talk to him. Ignore him for the first twenty minutes you are home. When he has settled down, go to him, ask him to sit, and reward him.  Start working with him on other tricks he may be learning as well.

Remember that training is not always easy. Be consistent and practice everyday. Hang in there and your dog will become a well-behaved member of your family.