Jumping up by Dogs

June 11, 2002 (published) | November 7, 2014 (revised)

Jumping on People 101 covered the long-term plan for working with a unruly attention-seeking jumper, but what if you encounter a friendly dog jumping on you right now?

If your situation is a big dog jumping up on people, you need first aid! Here are some ways to cope today until training can take full effect.

Please note that none of these techniques are enough to teach the dog not to jump on people in general, and none of them will apply to all dogs. Because dogs, people, and situations vary so much, these are options, but you'll have to decide which ones you can use in a particular situation.

  1. If you see the dog about to spring, but she is still on the ground in front of you, either ask her to sit or take both hands, palms down, and cross the hands, using them to block the path of the dog's face from coming up. Many dogs will stop the jump if you do this.

  2. If someone else has the dog on leash, or for some other reason she can't come forward, step back out of jumping reach. Be careful about doing this if she is not on the ground (such as on a bed, sofa, or table). It will keep her from jumping on you, but could put her at risk of injury from crashing to the floor. Timing is important in these situations, as is the ability to read and predict the dog's movements.

  3. Swivel your hip to face her as she leaps on you. This shouldn't harm her, but it will deflect the force of the jump off of the more vulnerable parts of your body.

  4. If the dog has a collar on and you are side-to-side with (not facing) her, hold the collar without letting your wrist bend. Your grip is stronger this way. Be careful, though, because some dogs become aggressive when you take them by the collar! This response is for the friendly goober dog who just wants to lick your face.

  5. Get closer to the dog initially, even taking a step forward, rather than moving away or even jumping away as many people instinctively do. Don’t lean your head away from her. Tilting the upper part of your body or your head backward actually induces some dogs to jump on you. You may be able to prevent the jump by simply starting your encounter with your hands at the dog’s level and petting.

  6. Give the dog a ball or other toy to hold. Many dogs will learn to go get the toy themselves as an aid to self-control.

Remember, don't encourage someone else's dog to jump on you!

It’s usually unwise, though, to attempt to train someone else's dog to stop jumping on people. Teaching this properly is a fairly long process that needs to be integrated into the dog's life as a whole. Remember that when you attempt quick fix punishment-based training with someone else's dog who is trying to be friendly to you (which is, after all, what jumping up on people means), you risk causing problems for that dog and owner in how the dog will relate to people in the future.

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