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Why Do Dogs Jump On You? 5 Interesting Explanations & 3 Tips to Stop It | Pupford

September 27th, 2023

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While jumping can seem cute when you have a small puppy, it drastically changes when that little pup turns into a full-grown dog. Understanding why dogs jump on you is key to overcoming this challenging behavior!

Our dogs typically jump on us for one of 5 reasons, and we’re gonna dive into each one in this article!

Here is a quick overview of why dogs jump up on you:

  1. Dogs jump to greet you
  2. Nervous or scared dogs may jump
  3. Sometimes, jumping can be aggressive
  4. They just want access to something
  5. Dogs jump up when they’re excited

And of course, we will discuss 3 tips to help reduce your dog jumping up on guests, strangers, or you!

Let’s get right to it 👇


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Thanks for sharing, now let’s dive into why puppies and dogs jump up on you! ⬇️


Before we jump (sorry, had to) into each specific reason that dogs jump, here is a quick overview. Just in case you don't want to read it all. 😉

Here are 5 major reasons your dog jumps up on you:

  1. Dogs jump to greet you
  2. Nervous or scared dogs may jump
  3. Sometimes, jumping can be aggressive
  4. They just want access to something
  5. Dogs jump up when they’re excited

Alright, now let's get into each one in-depth below. 👇

🐶 Need extra help with jumping and other challenging behaviors? Sign up for the 100% free online class, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Get started here! 🐶


dogs often jump up to try and greet you

A study found that dogs were 13 times more likely to jump on you when you come home vs jumping up on you when you were holding food.

This is often the biggest culprit for a jumping pup.

There are a few reasons why your dog wants to jump to greet you when you come home, here are some.

  1. They want to be closer to you
  2. They know that praise and verbal reinforcement come from your mouth and want to be closer
  3. Your hands (which are often higher than where your pup is) provide treats, pets, and love and they want that affection
  4. Your upper body (mouth, nose, armpits, etc.) holds a lot of your smells and information that your dog wants to “read”
  5. They’re excited (more on that later) and don’t know what else to do, jumping is natural for them

While that isn’t a comprehensive list, it should provide insight as to why your dog jumps on you when you come home.

Simply put, our dogs want to be close to us after being left alone, and jumping up makes that a reality for them!

Plus, it’s just natural for them! Think about how they greet other dogs… it usually involves some face-to-face interaction!

But that’s of course not the only reason a pup jumps… ⤵️


While any size dog can do it, many smaller dogs will jump up when scared or nervous.

When something frightening happens it can lead your dog to seek comfort and safety in your arms! Dogs that are used to being held (often smaller breeds) will often try to signal that they want to be held by jumping up on your legs!

some small dogs will jump out of fear or anxiety

As a note, in some instances, it is necessary to pick up your small dog when they jump for safety reasons. Just know that the more frequently you give into your dog’s jumping by picking them up, the more they will do it in the future (that IS dog behavior in a nutshell).

So if your dog is jumping on you seemingly for no reason, try to determine if they may have been scared by something in their environment!


While not extremely common, sometimes jumping can be a form of aggression. The act of aggressive jumping is often associated with nipping, biting, and/or barking.

If you believe your dog is jumping on you or others as an aggressive move, it’s best to contact a certified dog trainer in your area. Aggression is best dealt with early before problems get worse.

And while it’s not always easy to know what is aggressive or not, you can generally read your dog’s general body language cues to understand if your dog is jumping aggressively or just out of excitement.

Remember, that what proceeds and follows the jumping will often be your biggest clue!


a dog jumping up to try and get a treat or toy

Pulling out a new squeaky toy makes my pup Scout turn into a pogo stick! She just wants to get that new toy so badly, and she believes jumping will help that happen.

And really, how can you blame her? She only stands a couple of feet tall and jumping can help her get close to a toy being held at human chest level…

If you really wanted something a foot or so out of your reach, wouldn’t you jump to try and get it?

Our pups are opportunistic creatures, and they do things that they believe will help them achieve their goals (obtaining food, freedom, etc.)!


just like kids, dogs jump when they’re excited

Remember when your 1st-grade teacher announced that there would be a pizza party tomorrow and kids were literally jumping out of their chairs with excitement?!

Replace 1st graders with puppies and pizza with d*ng near anything in the world, and you get the picture.

When our dogs get excited you’ll often see behaviors like barking, jumping, intense tail wagging, running around, and other high-movement behaviors! Our pups often just don’t know what they’re “supposed” to do, so they do what comes naturally.

And actions like jumping and barking are very natural for our pups (don’t forget that)!

This leads to how we as pup parents can overcome the challenge of jumping. ⏬

🐶 Need extra help with jumping and other challenging behaviors? Sign up for the 100% free online class, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Get started here! 🐶


A jumping dog can be embarrassing and even dangerous when it comes to children and guests who aren’t stable on their feet.

The key to stopping your dog from jumping is to teach what you DO want them to for greetings instead, and reward the correct, calm behaviors!


the four paws game can help your dog stop jumping

The Four Paws game is one you can (and should) play at any time and in any location. Here is a basic overview of how the game works. 👇

  • Whenever all 4 (or 3, if that’s your dog’s case) of your dog’s paws are on the ground, you praise and reward (can be treats, pets, or play) heavily.
  • As soon as one or two paws come off the ground, the praise and rewards stop completely. That means turning your back to remove attention, removing yourself from the room, or even walking back out the door you just came through.
  • To take this one step further, try practicing with a friend or neighbor. ⬇️
  • With your dog on a leash, have them get into a sit position. Mark and reward.
  • Have your friend approach to greet your dog. If your dog starts to jump up, have your friend turn around and walk away. Then, redirect your dog back into a sit.
  • Continue this until the person can come up to your dog while still in a sit, and pet them under their chin or neck.
  • With repetition, your dog will start to understand that the person they’re wanting to greet ends up further away when they start to jump up or break their sit.

You can also play this every time you come home. If four paws are on the ground, give plenty of treats and praise. As soon as any paws lift off the ground, all the praise and rewards stop.

It’s a simple game that can be practiced frequently and in a variety of situations!

PS- If you want a full level-by-level breakdown of the Four Paws Game, with accompanying gif and text instructions, check out 21 Impulse Control Games!


to reduce jumping you can teach a replacement behavior like place or settle

One of the keys to overcoming the jumping behavior is to provide a replacement behavior for when your dog typically jumps.

If your dog jumps every time you come through the door, think about what you’d rather have them do and teach that!

In our home, we have chosen to replace the jumping-laced-door greetings with laying on their place/bed. So instead of rushing to the door and jumping up on us, we have taught our dogs to settle in their place.

Once they are settled in their place, then (and only then) do they get all the praise, pets, and a plethora of treats!

Learn how to teach your dog place here!

Teaching your dog to settle in their place can be accomplished through the following steps:

1. Lure and reward for stepping on⁣⁣ the mat

2. Lure and reward for sitting on the mat

(Bonus Tip: use the “ok” cue to release them off consistently)⁣⁣

3. Lure and reward for lying down on the mat

4. Point to bed (with no food in hand) and capture an offered down on the mat

5. Slowly work on adding duration on the mat - reinforce every few seconds for staying on the mat before releasing them off

6. Over time, slowly add in more duration, distance, and distractions while your dog is on the mat

If you don’t want to teach the place behavior, you can also just use sit or lay down as replacement behaviors. I will say though that the place behavior helps create a clear distinction as to what are “proper” manners for door greetings.

But none of these tips matter if you don’t follow tip #3 below…

🐶 Need extra help with jumping and other challenging behaviors? Sign up for the 100% free online class, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Get started here! 🐶


the key to stopping your dog from jumping is consistency

If you don’t want your dog to jump up on guests or strangers, you cannot let them jump up on you.


Our dogs aren’t capable (in almost all cases) of knowing if certain people are or aren’t okay to jump on. Our dogs generalize behaviors and think that if jumping up on their dog mom is okay, then it’s okay to jump up on any human!

So if you don’t want your dog to jump up on other people, you cannot let them jump up on you.

Trust me, I know how hard it can be to be consistent with this! When you come home after being away from your pup, you just want to be close to them and give them all the love… Even if that involves them jumping up on you.

But you have to stay consistent. To truly stop the jumping behavior, you can’t allow it at any time, in any situation, and with any person, including you!

One thing you can do is to teach your dog the “up” or “hug” behavior. That way you can still get that love from your pup when you come home, but it must be asked for!


dogs jump for many reasons including being excited

Dog jumping can be a challenging behavior to overcome! It is a very natural behavior and happens for many reasons. Here, again, are some major reasons why dogs jump up on you:

  • Dogs jump to greet you
  • Nervous or scared dogs may jump
  • Sometimes, jumping can be aggressive
  • They just want access to something
  • Dogs jump up when they’re excited

And while many of those reasons have similarities, each one can be approached slightly differently.

The key to overcoming your dog’s jumping behavior is to stay consistent and only give attention and rewards when all four paws are on the ground. Here is a quick recap of some ways to reduce your dog’s jumping:

  • Play the Four Paws Game
  • Teach replacement behaviors like settle or place
  • Stay extremely consistent, if you don’t want your pup to jump on guests then don’t let them jump on you

Training a well-mannered pup is a lifelong endeavor that takes patience and practice. If you want some more in-depth training help with videos and an eBook, be sure to check out 30 Day Perfect Pup.

It’s a 100% free (no credit card required) online dog training class taught by Zak George. Learn more and sign up for free here!

What has helped your dog overcome the jumping behavior? Tell me in the comments!

🐶 Need extra help with jumping and other challenging behaviors? Sign up for the 100% free online class, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Get started here! 🐶


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