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How To Stop Your Dog From Jumping on Family

With the holidays quickly approaching, let’s talk about the elephant in the room….or in this case, the jumping dog in the room.

I actually get inundated with people reaching out as the holidays draw near, asking for assistance for just this problem.

Their well-behaved pooch, gets overly excited when family comes to visit….heck even my dogs do it with my parents…never fails.  For the most part, we laugh and think their antics are funny. 

BUT what happens when you have that house guest who is afraid or has frail skin? It is not so funny anymore.

How To Stop Your Dogs From Jumping on Family

Ok, let’s consider why dogs jump.  They do it mostly for attention…it is that simple.  The problem is when they are jumping and we reach down to pet them OR even to push them away, we are reinforcing the behavior.

Any time we look at them, touch them, push them away, these are all reinforcers for the majority of dogs.  Yes, it is important to actually teach your dog how to stay off your guests, but right now what can you do?

Starting NOW, when your dog jumps on you, fold your arms, and ignore him/her.  I would even go so far as to turn your head away and look slightly up and away from your dog.  Think of it as snubbing your dog.


At this point, your dog will have one of two reactions.  The first being his world is crushed and he/she disengages and maybe wanders away.  The second being they reposition themselves for better eye contact with you and try again.  For this dog, you can add in turning your back.

At this point, if your dog is being an angel, then you can bend over and give him or her a ton of love.  THIS is what your dog wanted in the first place and what you want to reinforce.  Just don’t rile them up too much are you will undo the right choice that they just made.

BUT….if your dog is turning into a crazed maniac that is literally losing their marbles, it is time to hold steady.  Yes, it may get worse before it gets better.  The good news is, throwing a tantrum cannot last forever (though it may seem like it).  Wait it out, yes, even if they are barking their heads off.  When that moment comes (and it will if you are consistent) and they stop being crazy, you can then engage them and give them quiet attention, which is what they wanted all along.

To get technical on you, this is what is called an Extinction Burst.  It is important to note that when you engage your dog, do it after they have offered a sit, maybe a down…or just four feet on the floor counts too.  We want to make it clear that you are engaging your dog for making the correct choice.

This will get you started on the right path.  If you need additional training help, check out the links below.



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Easy tips for teaching your dog not to jump


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