How to stop a dog jumping up at people | Expert canine behaviour advice
Jumping up can be a real nuisance. Dogs have
muddy paws and not everyone appreciates being
accosted by a strange pet. Meet Border Collie
Heidi. She’s just over a year old and she’s
turned jumping up into an art form.
So Anette, then, tell me about Heidi, what’s
If I bring people in and they sit down here,
or if they’re just standing up in the doorway,
as soon as I let her in she just goes at them
and just – not aggressive or anything like
that. She just jumps up because she likes
to give them attention and then wants cuddles
And do the people normally cuddle her?
They do a lot of the time. But the thing is
if they’ve got their best clothes on, they
don’t want dog hair or dirty paws on, so it’s
best to – if I can learn how to keep her on
the ground more.
Okay. What about if people come into your
Again, she tends to, if anybody walks past
she’ll run straight at the gate and she jumps
up quite high at the gate.
What about on walks? What’s she like if you
pass people on a walk?
If they’re quite close, then even though she’s
on the lead she’ll be jumping up, she’ll be
standing on her back legs. So we try and keep
her as short as possible.
So you’re pulling her off them?
Yeah, I’m pulling her off.
Always keep in mind that your dog doesn’t
understand that jumping up is an inappropriate
behaviour. Very often the problem starts in
puppyhood. What happens is the puppy rushes
up to us, it jumps up, and because it’s small
we don’t mind and we greet it. Therefore we’re
giving attention for jumping. What’s important
to remember with puppies is that you go down
to their level and greet them when they’ve
got all four feet on the floor.
Okay, well, I think it’s time we met her.
Go and get her and bring her in.
Hello. This is quite normal, is it?
Is she allowed on the furniture?
She does when it’s just me and her.
Alright, so do you want to just – Hello, Heidi.
Hello. Hello. Right, okay. This is her normal
way of greeting people is it?
If you’re dog-friendly that’s nice, if you’re
not dog-friendly it’s a bit
It’s a bit overpowering.
– it’s a little bit overpowering. That’s it.
An exercise called ‘Sit to Greet’ is ideal
for solving the visitors; problem. First – make
sure you’ve got some tasty treats to hand.
She doesn’t necessarily have to sit. As long
as she’s not mugging me, that’s what I’m looking
for. So I’m going to get some treats out.
And you think about that we’ve just come in
and we’re going to go, ‘hello’. That’s appropriate
behaviour, that gets a treat. So what you
need to do is you need to get all of your
visitors to practice the same behaviour. They
come in and say, ‘hello.’ And you can even
pretend to be someone really excited. ‘Hello,
hello!’ When she stays there, she can get
a treat, and then they can greet her. What
they don’t do is they don’t greet her if she’s
jumping up at them. So even if she thinks
they’ve got a treat and they say hello and
hiya, ‘hello’. Oh good girl. You can have
a little treat and have a little greet.
Alright, so appropriate behaviour gets the
reward and the fuss, inappropriate behaviour,
the jumping up, gets nothing.
Sit to greet is a really useful training exercise
because it gives the dog that’s previously
used to jumping up an alternative behaviour
pattern. Initially it’s sitting because it’s
expecting that treat. But what the dog does
want is to be greeted by the visitor. So eventually
you can fade the treats and it can get the
attention it wants from the visitor, just
for sitting appropriately.
Jumping up with strangers in the street is
a slightly different problem. You can’t control
the situation as easily as in your home. Let’s
see how Heidi reacts to strangers. As Heidi
approaches a group of gardeners she jumps
up as usual. In petting her, this lady is
rewarding the behaviour Annette wants to stop.
When you’re outside with your dog it’s important
that you take control and intervene before
she jumps up at visitors or people that are
walking by. Give her an alternative behaviour
such as the sit, or even the down, and reward
the dog for being in that position. If you
keep that up, then the dog will soon realise
that she gets a treat for appropriate behaviour
but nothing at all for jumping up.
So the appropriate way to deal with it – if
we could use you again then, ladies – is to
say hello to her and you can just – instead
of aiming for there, aim for under her chin,
and you can just help a little bit by just,
you know, you can put the thumb in that collar.
You don’t have to sort of grab her. But if
you can just say, ‘hello’ and just tickle
there. Do you want to come and say hello?
Heidi, Heidi. Hello.
There that’s much better. So the fact that
you’re down there means it’s not necessary
for her to jump up at you and you can greet
Heidi is a friendly dog and so you can go
down to her level. However, this method is
not suitable if your dog is apprehensive around
people, particularly children. It’s also important
for Annette to realise that it’s her responsibility
to control the greetings ‘-not Heidi’s.
Put your hand in her collar and then just
stroke her under the chin.
So that’s beautiful greeting, that’s really
nice. That’s very gentle, very calm. Just
watch your face there though. So that’s what
children tend to do. We know she’s friendly
– I would have been quite rude about that
with an unfriendly dog. It’s your responsibility.
It’s not the strange’s or the visitor’s.
The good new is that jumping up problems in
dogs are quite easy to resolve. If you”re
consistent with your training methods you
should start to see results in a matter of
You think that’s been a help?
Definitely, yeah. I’ve just got to carry it
out now and make sure she keeps her feet on
Alright, good. Well, good luck, and let me
know how you’re getting on.
Thank you. I will.