How to Stop Big Dogs From Jumping on You

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Dogs jump on humans for a number of reasons, mainly out of affection and to seek the attention they want and don't feel they are getting. Unfortunately, this behavior can ruin clothing, knock people over (especially children and the elderly), and be plain annoying.

It's bad manners for dogs to jump up on people.

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If you allowed and encouraged this type of behavior when your dog was a puppy, she might continue this jumping and kissing into adulthood. Fortunately, you can easily train dogs that jump on you and others to end this behavior but still show her affection in other ways.

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Look for patterns

One way to correct a dog that jumps on people is to try to understand why the dog is doing it. Try to see if your dog jumps on people in specific situations. For example, does your dog jump on people indoors but not outside? Does he jump on new people or only people he knows? Does he jump on children but not adults? Does he only jump on you when you're sitting or lying on a piece of furniture?

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Talk to a professional

Before you begin your training, talk to your vet or a dog trainer to find out why your dog might be jumping on people. Give the professional as much specific information as possible. If you found that your dog's jumping behavior follows one or more patterns, such as jumping on new people versus familiar friends or jumping on kids vs. adults, share that information. The more information you can provide, the more clues a vet or trainer has to evaluate the situation.

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Train in the right situation

As you begin your training, try to recreate the trigger that is causing the jumping behavior. For example, if your dog jumps on people only at the door, train your dog near the door using your entry or someone else's entry into the house or apartment.

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If your dog only jumps on newcomers, ask a friend or neighbor who the dog doesn't know to help with your training. If the dog only jumps outside, don't try your training in your home. Work out your training techniques beforehand so both of you are proactive and not reactive.

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Make sure to use positive reinforcement when you train a dog. Shouting at or swatting a dog isn't a good idea. The dog will change her behavior temporarily to avoid punishment rather than adopting a new behavior because she knows this is the right way to act.

Common training techniques

One way to correct a dog who is jumping on you is to let your arms remain at your sides and not react. Ignore the dog and see how she reacts. If the dog remains on you, make eye contact and say "no," "down," "sit," or another command that you commonly use with the dog, such as a finger snap or toy squeak. When the dog gets down, make it a positive by giving the pooch a pet, hug, or treat or saying "good dog!"

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If the dog jumps on you when you are sitting down, immediately stand up and ignore her again. Repeat the process described above. Each time the dog approaches you while you're sitting in the future, use a hand signal (although not a threatened swat) or command. Reinforce good behavior with a positive verbal or physical reaction.

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Another way to stop a jumping dog is to turn around and start walking away. Don't use your hands to push down the dog; try to ignore the dog by turning and moving away. If she moves to get in front of you and jumps again, repeat the turn-around. If the dog moves in front of you and does not jump on you, use your positive reward techniques.

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Don’t confine dogs that jump

If you put your dog in another room when guests arrive, the dog won't learn the correct behavior. If you put the dog on a leash when people come over, he will just struggle against the leash while the guests are present. The dog will realize the leash is restraining him but won't learn that jumping is bad behavior.

Just make sure you let visitors know in advance that your dog is a jumper, that you're training him, and that they should not pet, hug, or speak to the dog if she jumps on them.

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