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Articles and Advice from our Pet Expert

How do I get my dog to stop jumping up on people?

My year-old dog jumps up on people constanty. I have tried turning my back until she stops, then walking in with a treat and making her sit. This works only until she is done eating it. I am at a loss. What next?
Her name is Sassy and she is a BIG dog of 60 pounds. She is going to be "fixed" next month. Will this help any?.
Thank You,
D. Hanson
Deanna, Sassy really sounds like she’s getting to be a handful! But don’t worry, this is a very common problem that does have a training solution. Having Sassy spayed will probably curtail her energy level and excitement a bit. This should help as you work on modifying her behavior with consistent, tactics.
The reason most dogs jump up on people is because they are happy and excited to see us! Leaping, bouncing and jumping are a few ways a dog can show affection and get lots of attention. They usually learn this behavior when they are young. And when a puppy is young, it’s common for us to sit on the floor, allowing them to wiggle into our laps and lick and nuzzle up close to our face. When they come bounding over to greet us, jumping and stretching up to our knees, again we bend down, pick them up and exchange hugs and kisses. All this time we are training and rewarding the puppy for jumping up. Eventually we decide we don't like this behavior anymore. What used to be cute is now obnoxious and even dangerous if the dog is jumping up on children, the disabled or the elderly.
The reason the problem persists although you have tried ignoring the behavior or rewarding good behavior, is because you probably have been less than 100% consistent, so Sassy knows there’s always a chance she’ll still be rewarded for her goofball behavior!
Our inconsistency perpetuates the problem. Some of the time we tolerate the jumping and ignore it. Other times we reward the behavior by exchanging enthusiastic greetings. But when we're dressed up and the dog's paws are muddy, it's a different story. Reprimanding the dog for jumping up usually does not work. Either the dog misunderstands the reprimand as praise or he gets even more excited and the jumping gets worse. If the reprimand is severe enough, the dog may stop jumping at that moment but it doesn't solve the problem altogether; and it certainly is not a very nice thing to do.
I believe you can put a stop to Sassy’s bouncing behavior in time for the holidays! Talk to your family veterinarian and ask him or her to refer you to a reputable dog trainer that uses positive reinforcement techniques.  You might take Sassy to a class or have a private session. It shouldn’t take long for you to understand the tactics you should use and the importance of being consistent. Have everyone in the family, even friends and neighbors (those willing) to help you with the training to test Sassy’s new manners on other people.  You can also find helpful training tips online at
Kristen Buck60x60

Written by:
Kristen Levine, Pet Lifestyle Expert

December 6, 2009

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