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How to Stop a Dog From Jumping When Excited

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.

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 excitement 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 faces 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 turn 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 not to react 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.

Kasia

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

Hi Danielle. I have a 4 months old Labrador and Maremma sheepdog. She is super sweet and gentle towards my husband and strangers, but the same time she bites me and jump on me all the time. She ruined many of my clothes and my arms and hands are scratched and bruised. She spends most of the time with me as I work from home. She follows me everywhere, sleep under or next to my desk. If I leave house she will wait at the door until I come back, even if she is with my husband. During the day I take her for walks or teach her new tricks, we play together so it should not be attention-seeking issue. She started puppy training where she does well but it did not solve the problem. I do not want to be bitten every time I touch her or want to put a leash on her. Any suggestions? Thanks. Kasia

Danielle

Thursday 19th of May 2022

Hi Kasia,

so what you're describing sounds like perfectly normal puppy behavior but it might just be that your pup is in an especially difficult puppy biting phase. You might to read my article on puppy biting as well as separation anxiety.

These two should help with your issue. Mental stimulation and play are essential but of course, your dog needs to learn bite inhibition and not to go for the hands or clothes.

Cheers, Danielle

Terri

Thursday 17th of March 2022

Great post! I'm definitely sharing this one!!! I have a friend who has a rescue dog that is now 4 years old. The dog is still jumping and barking. However, my elderly friend has done very little to correct the behavior and even encourages it at times. While the dog is cute, I have to admit her high-pitched constant barking and jumping has prevented me from visiting more.

I'm sharing this one with all my dog friends...especially those with jumping pups. 😊💖🐶

ADRIAN HORNE

Thursday 24th of February 2022

I have a very reactive Belgian Malinois x GSD of 18 months that has all of the habits you describe. Part is due to attempts at 'protection training' by her previous 'owner', but she hasn't been helped by an absence of positive training and clear abuse. She is beautiful when one - to - one with me but totally overcome when excited or stressed. I adopted her after the deaths of my previous 2 (Snowdog breeds) during the first lockdown and, as with many current adoptions lockdown meant very little socialisation and her types of greeting are on the fine line between excitement and attack mode. It's hard to get her close to dogs or people unless they're VERY aware. I wear a "my dog needs space" tabard for safety, and she is muzzled, but parents still stride towards us so they can introduce her to their 3 year old 'toddler'. I must admit I think your ideas could do her the world of good. Thank You, Adrian Horne.

Danielle

Saturday 26th of February 2022

Hey Adrian, I really hope you'll be able to rehabilitate your dog. Failed protection trainin occurs far too often with both the breeds your dog is a mix of.

Gradually working on that issue and socializing your dog are essential at this stage. Maybe consult a trainer, not only can they help with training, they may also be able to provide a safe space and the appropriate dogs for her to socialize. It's hard to deal with it during daily life since most dogs you'll meet are simply not suitable for learning. Totally understand about the toddlers too, just say no if you think your dog is not comfortable with it or if it impacts your training negatively.

Cheers, Danielle

Holly

Monday 23rd of August 2021

We have 9 month old sibling puppies. They weigh 15 lbs. each. Both are terrible jumpers/scratchers whenever my husband or I come in the door. I believe your methods will work BUT when we try ignoring them, etc. the pups redirect their excitement, jumping and scratching our 12 year old 55 lb dog. The older dog tries to discipline them but they are merciless and act like it’s a game. Then all 3 dogs are barking, and the pups continue jumping and scratching!!!

Danielle

Saturday 28th of August 2021

Hi Holly, for the sake of training you could separate the older dog when arriving for a short time until they calmed down. So once you go through the door, calmly bring your older dog into another room (shouldn't be a punishment, of course). Another solution is calmly bringing the pups into a crate or playpen - no big game or hello routine, just picking them up or luring them there and then ignoring them until quiet.

Hope this works, to avoid stressing out you and your older dog :).

Cheers, Danielle

Ingrid Aitken

Thursday 24th of June 2021

Hi Danielle, We have a four year old golden retriever who is well trained, normally very calm and gets regular exercise. We have trained him early not to jump up on people either visiting or when walking. Recently we have a dog walker who comes once a week for half an hour. For some reason our goldie gets very overexcited when he sees her and greets her jumping up. We recently met her when out on a walk and he was totally uncontrollable when he recognised her. Weighing 35km it became dangerous on the road. He kept jumping up on her and I was unable to walk away, even offering treats for at least 5 minutes. It was a very upsetting experience for everybody. Why is this happening just with the dogwalker and what can we do? Many thanks Danielle for any help!

Danielle

Saturday 3rd of July 2021

Hi Ingrid,

I know what you're talking about. My 45kg Rottweiler is not a jumper at all but if people are carrying something very enticing or whatnot, she does a half-jump and her paws can easily scratch the person. The thing I've found helped best is either staying with them for a couple of meetings until your dog has calmed down or instruct your dog walker to train her not to jump on her specifically.

In both cases, you can either use positive reinforcement only (i.e. redirecting your dog with a treat, ball, whatever) or you use a sharp "NO" (whatever your command is) or the leash as a correction. If your dog knows the command for not doing/getting off stuff, this should work just fine.

It's really awkward if the people you're trying to teach entice the dog to jump but usually that doesn't happen with dog people :).

Cheers, Danielle