Why do dogs jump and how to discourage it

Why do dogs jump when they greet us?

When dogs greet one another, they sniff each other all over including their faces and backsides. As puppies they jump up on their mothers in a bid for food. Your dog jumps up on you because they are trying to get your attention. Often, we inadvertently reward this behaviour by providing attention – be it positive (a ‘hello’) or negative (‘get off!’).Dogs don’t understand that humans don’t like this behaviour, so training them to stop jumping is usually something every dog owner will face. Luckily, it’s not difficult to teach your dog some more people-friendly ways to greet human guests.

Tips to stop your dog from jumping

It’s best not to push or yell at your dog when they jump up on you. This tells your dog that you’re excited about their greeting. Follow these simple steps to effectively school your dog in basic greeting etiquette:

  • Turn your back, fold your arms, and ignore them when they jump – repeat this move until your dog stops jumping and either stands politely or sits
  • Pat and praise your dog once they are calm.
  • If this praise results in your dog jumping once again, turn around and repeat these first step until they stop.
  • Repeat these steps until your dog learns that only calm, polite behaviour will result in gaining your attention
  • Another method is to ask your dog to perform another behaviour, such as ‘sit’ or ‘down’ and then rewarding them for this.
  • For dogs who jump on guests, clip their lead on before you answer the door, or place them in their crate (or another room) with a chew toy, so that they can’t rush to greet the guests.
  • Ask your dog sit politely before allowing your guest to pat them
  • Request that your guest only to pats your dog until when they are calm.


Reinforcing good behaviour rather than punishing bad behaviour is the most effective way to train your pets. Dogs often don’t realise they have broken the rules, but they easily recognise when they’ve been told they’re good dogs, and will respond by repeating the same good behaviour. Your local Greencross Vets can assist you in better understanding your dog’s behaviours. If you have concerns about bad behaviour in your dog, contact your vet today.


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