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How to Stop a Dog From Jumping When Excited

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Your dog loves new guests. That’s great, right?

Well, you’re kind of in a fortunate position because overexcitement is always better than rejection of strangers but when your dog’s jumping on people, it becomes really annoying.

Trust me, I know what I’m talking about because my Rottweiler pup was very easily excitable. However, we didn’t allow her to jump and it’s working.

Unless you’re carrying something extremely interesting. But that’s a different story.

Every dog will express their excitement in another way. While some might start pacing through the house, others will get jumpy and greet people by the face.

But excited jumps won’t usually end there.

It may be enough to take out a ball and show it to your dog to trigger his excitement.

On walks, your pup might pull to people while constantly jumping up for a pet which is not desirable for most dog owners. Your dog may jump around when seeing other dogs.

Keep in mind that excessive jumping hurts your puppy’s joints too.

Excitement is definitely not a bad thing but it can evolve into a bad habit pretty quickly.

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Why Do Dogs Jump When Excited?

Some dogs naturally get more excited than other dogs. Especially puppies and young dogs are most likely to pull on the leash or jump up on guests.

Your dog can’t channel his emotions in those kinds of situations which then results in undesired behavior.

But the thing with excitement is, that it’s self-rewarding and you are most likely encouraging the behavior unknowingly.

Excitement doesn’t go away by itself and rather builds up over time meaning that your dog will become more and more excited the more his behavior will be rewarded.

Dog jumping up on person.

You might think that your dog must be the happiest pup during these high arousal moments but once a certain threshold of excitement is crossed, it can be very stressful for a dog.

So working on the excited jumps will not only be beneficial to you but also to your dog.

Jumping is a common behavior seen in dogs and it also has natural roots. When looking into canine social behavior, you will recognize that greeting each other mainly happens in the face of another dog.

So greeting strangers or the owners up high is their natural instinct of social interaction.

If you are holding something in your hands, curiosity will get your dog to jump and investigate the object.

This type of jumping is especially concerning if a baby is being carried around the house.

Reasons why dogs are jumping:

  • Investigating objects you’re carrying around (including babies)
  • Trying to get the treat/toy out of your hand
  • Greeting strangers in their face
  • Getting rid of excess energy after exciting events
  • Behavior has been rewarded before

Working on impulse control and some manners will definitely get rid of that problem.

But you will have to brace yourself for many frustration jumps if that was the learned way your dog has received treats or toys in the past.

Are You Encouraging Jumping?

Depending on how long you have already been accidentally encouraging the behavior, training might take a few days or weeks.

The most obvious positive reward would be giving your dog attention while he jumps up on you.

This includes petting your dog when arriving home or interacting with him in any way. But it doesn’t have to be positive interactions.

Negative attention is also a form of reward. So telling your dog “no, don’t jump” won’t really cut it and might even encourage it in the future.

Think about situations where your dog got something he wanted from you whether that’s attention, pets, toys or treats no matter how small it was.

Dogs are fast learners and they will swiftly adapt to behaviors that resulted in their desired outcome.

A common form of this can also be found in barking. Nearly every owner has told their dog to shut up at least once.

Most will just give in and let the dog into the room or pick them up for a kiss. Not a good idea.

Always remember: Your dog is not trying to annoy you. If jumping got them what they wanted in the past, they’re going to do it again.

How To Stop a Dog From Jumping Up On Strangers

First, ask yourself if you are contributing to your dog’s excitement. When you are correcting any behavior, how do you do it?

If you have to repeatedly shout at your dog, the energy you are projecting on him is a very excited one.

If you want your dog to be calm, you will have to be calm yourself. Corrections have to be precise and don’t need to be shouted.

If you yell at a barking dog, he will just start barking louder because he thinks you make noise with him.

Furthermore, you’ll need to communicate clearly. Does your dog know what you want from him?

All this excitement often evolves from excess energy. If you are not meeting your dog’s daily exercise needs, you will be bombarded with unwanted behavior like destructive chewing or jumping.

Make sure to provide your dog with enough physical exercise through walking, playing fetch coupled with obedience training as well as mental stimulation.

Mental exercise is often overlooked, leaving intelligent breeds very unsatisfied.

Working the mind really helps in tiring out your dog through scent games or hide and seek. You can read about some fun brain games here.

My all--time favorite brain toys are snuffle mats.

I often recommend the AWOOF Snuffle Mat and my dog loves it. It has endless possibilities for me to hide treats in and she needs to do some serious nose work to get to them.

So much for the right preparation.

Now, why do dogs jump on strangers or guests?

Dogs jump up on people to greet them in their face because that is where all the action happens. They really connect with our eyes and simply want to interact with us.

Jumping is an attention-seeking problem, so the best way to solve it would be to simply ignore the dog and turning away from him until he becomes calmer.

Put him into a sit, lay down or stay and only reward him when all four paws are on the ground.

Educate any visitors about your training beforehand so they know how to react appropriately. It also helps to train your dog to “settle” when guests arrive.

The command settle will teach your dog to lay calm on his spot instead of jumping up on people.

How To Stop Jumping When Walking

Having a jumpy dog on a leash can be a pain.

This type of leash reactivity is completely self-rewarding especially if your dog was able to reach another dog through pulling and excitement in the past and now jumps on you and nips you or the leash.

I wrote a whole blog post solely about how I managed to calm down my overexcited dog on walks and what mistakes I made.

It really comes down to choosing the right gear and restricting any on-leash greetings at least during the training weeks.

It’s definitely not easy to get positive excitement out of a dog but after a few weeks of dedicated training, you will eventually get there.

Make sure to stay consistent with the steps and reward every little progress on the way.

Jumping and Nipping

When your dog is nipping while jumping inside your house, you definitely need to stop that behavior with the steps mentioned before.

No access to whatever it is he wants.

If you’re playing, you can use a timeout.

Again, having established a clear way of communication with your dog goes a long way in letting him know that even the tiniest bite is not okay.

My Dog Gets Too Excited When I Come Home

It’s very common for dogs to go crazy when the owner arrives home. The best way to conquer this behavior is to don’t react to it at all, showing him that only calm greetings will be rewarded.

Whatever you do don’t encourage the excitement which means no eye contact and no attention whatsoever. If your dog jumps up on you simply turn away without talking to him.

This way you will show him through body language and energy that his craziness will result in ignorance.

Eventually, your dog will try other things like making a calm sit. Once your dog’s four paws are on the ground, reward him with attention.

You will probably have to ignore your dog for a couple of minutes until he has calmed down completely.

When leaving the home again, do not talk to your dog and don’t throw an emotional goodbye. Just grab your things and calmly walk out of the door.

This will decrease the amount of excitement when you arrive at home and it will help in preventing separation anxiety.

How is your dog expressing his excitement and what steps did you take to get it under control? Let me know in the comments below.

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About Danielle
I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.

Phyllis Mullins

Sunday 25th of April 2021

Hi, My five month old boxer goes crazy when we let him out of his kennel. He has scratched me several times and destroyed a lot of my clothing with his excessive jumping. I've tried almost everything to calm him down. Nothing seems to be working. Sometimes I'm only gone for a few minutes, but he does this every single time.

Danielle

Monday 26th of April 2021

Hey Phyllis,

is your Boxer in the kennel overnight or do you mean you're just crating him when you're out during the day (since you said it happens even if you only go out for a few minutes)?

Usually, this kind of behavior is excess energy paired with the fact that he hasn't learned to control his excitement yet. While puppies can't exercise too much due to their developing joints, it's crucial to tire them out as much as possible.

If physical exercise is maxed out, it's time to think about whether or not you're doing enough to tire him out mentally. Puzzle games, snuffle mats, hide-and-seek games - all that works, it just depends on what your dog likes.

For the moments he's jumping on you, just follow the outlined steps of correcting him and counter-conditioning to show him what to do instead.

Hope that helps, Danielle

Joe

Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Hi I have a 20 month old lab/husky that always jumps up at the patio door when he wants back in the house. It worries me because he is running at full speed and I’m concerned he will jump and come through the glass one time. How do I stop him from jumping at the door when he wants to come inside before the glass breaks and him or someone gets cut by broken glass

Danielle

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Hi Joe, I'd proceed in the same way as always, using every possible instance where your dog jumps to teach him that you don't want him to jump. Reward him when he calmly enters - you could try to block the way once you see him running up to the door. Takes a couple of repetitions of course but being vigilant during that time will pay off.

Cheers, Danielle

Darla

Sunday 16th of August 2020

Our Neufy keeps jumping on my husband and then he gets more excited and sort of bites him. I take our Neufy to the dog park every day, so he gets his exercise. I know he is desperately trying to get my husband's attention. Our dog does not jump on me. What can we do?

Danielle

Monday 17th of August 2020

Hi Darla,

have you tried the steps listed above? To solve the dog's jumping on your husband, ignoring him and counter-conditioning him to do the right thing (go to his place, lay down, etc.) should do the trick. Tell him to shield himself from the dog or slowly walking towards him, instead of away which could reinforce the behavior.

However, in the long run, it might be best your husband spends more time with your dog. If he doesn't jump on you at all, but always on him, it might be attention-seeking. Going to the dog park is great but dogs need mental exercise too which can include snuffle mats, toys, etc. but also adventures and bonding time with their humans.

Hope this helps, Danielle

Steve Stanley

Sunday 26th of April 2020

The damaging jumping habits of my dog forced me to evaluate how I could teach him. I tried this training system and it has given me excellent results!

dragan

Sunday 13th of October 2019

Very instructive article.

Generally the whole site provides a lot of detailed information regarding the behavior of dogs.

I really enjoyed this article.

Danielle

Sunday 13th of October 2019

Thank you so much!