What to Do If Your Dog Jumps to Greet You?

You come home from a long day to open the door and find a jumping, pouncing, excited Dogalini. The Dog Trainer has 3 easy tips to keep your jumping pooch on the ground.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
2-minute read

We’re often given the advice to turn our backs and walk away from dogs who jump to greet. The basic idea is a good one – to demonstrate to Dogalini that jumping is not a successful way to interact with us. Unfortunately, what it often gets us is … a dog jumping on our backs as we walk away. A couple of years ago, I suggested a training plan that works really well – but you need a helper to make it happen.

At times when you don’t have anyone to help, try these 3 tips (you can mix and match!):

  1. Preempt Dogalini's jumping by dropping several small, tasty treats on the ground to her side as she approaches you. When she’s done eating them, hand her another one at the level of her mouth so she doesn’t have to move upward to get it, then ask her to sit and make a big social fuss over her when she does so. With repeated practice, you can cut down on the number of treats you toss, and cut straight to the sit-and-moosh.
  2. If food on the ground doesn’t derail her jumping, what about a favorite toy? Have the toy in your hand when you come in the door, and as Dogalini gets near, hold your arm out and wave the toy at her, then throw it for her to pounce on and run around with – or maybe fetch. If she brings it back to you, you can practice a trade in exchange for a tasty treat. Now you’re training two important manners behaviors at once.
  3. Set up practice sessions with Dogalini behind a baby gate, or tethered. Invite her to interact, but if she starts to bounce, say “Oops!,” fold your arms, and turn away for 5 seconds. If Dogalini can’t follow you, she can’t jump on your back, either. The disadvantage of this approach, though, is that all by itself it doesn’t teach Dogalini what you do want. So be sure to practice lots of sits, and to praise her and give her treats when she complies.

Check out more tips on how to raise a well-mannered dog in The Dog Trainer's Guide to Happy, Well-Behaved Pet.

About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).