Your dog jumping on strangers is another annoying habit. It can be so embarrassing when you are out enjoying a peaceful walk with your dog. And then a stranger appears and your dog wants to jump all over them. It is one of those annoying doggy problems that just have to be stopped.
As your dog ages, their habits change for no reason at all. Other common habits in dogs that are so infuriating could be eating his own or other animals poop, always digging in your yard, constant barking for no reason and many more.
What does a dog jumping on strangers tell you?
Jumping on strangers is common in dogs, however, it becomes a problem when he cannot stand strangers. This will be inconvenient and embarrassing, especially during walks. Your dog may scare the strangers away, especially if he is a big dog. Big dogs can actually go ahead to injure the stranger with their body weight.
This does not mean that dogs jump on strangers to scare or intentionally hurt them. In most cases, your dog is excited to a point he cannot contain himself. He is eager to greet you or even the strangers at your door.
We actually encourage this behavior when we pet our puppies as they jump at us. He grows up knowing that the only way to greet people is by jumping at them. This makes it hard for him to stop the habit even when he is older.
For instance, once your puppy sees you, he is excited and wants to greet you. However, he becomes overwhelmed and jumps at you and what do you do? Your pet and play with him, and thus encouraging his behavior.
However, it is important to note that your dog does not understand why he cannot do it. It is his best way to say hello, or welcome his master home and thus shouting at him is unlikely to work. However, jumping on strangers is usually unappealing to those on the receiving side.
Training your dog out of this habit need to be done at an early age.
I mean, a dog cannot spend his entire life jumping at people for greetings and then train him to stop at an older age. It can be done but then it can turn out to be a little difficult than training a younger dog. However, training your puppy not to jump on strangers will ensure that you don’t have to encounter such problems in the future.
I want you to picture this, a 120lbs German shepherd dog jumping at strangers and guests at your door. This could be brutal, even though your dog did not mean harm to the victim. This huge dog is capable of knocking you off your feet easily.
It could also be undesirable to have your dog putting his paws on your guest’s laps in efforts to socialize. This could be embarrassing to you and the manners of your dog and it might be considered impolite. However, this is a behavior you should be able to control.
9 ways to stop a dog from jumping on strangers
- Reward training
- Ignore them
- Train more polite greetings
- Avoid punishment
- Get their attention
- Don’t play with them when jumping
Like in any other training, reward-training has for years proved to be effective in shaping the behavior of our pets. Dogs are actually the easiest to train, which has enabled domestication of the canine companions. In reward training, you offer your dog a treat/reward every time he doesn’t jump at you when you come home.
Dogs jumping on strangers is a behavior that starts with jumping at you. Unfortunately, we are not able to resist the temptation of petting them when they do so. Or perhaps we are usually as excited as them and we end up hugging them and playing with him. At the end of the day, you will only be encouraging the behavior into his adulthood.
Does your dog jump whenever he sees you approaching the house? You should understand that he is all happy and jumpy because he wants to come to you. He is excited that his best friend is finally home. However, do not open the door until he calms down.
Usually, you can do this by giving him a moment to calm down while you are on the other side of the door. After a few seconds, you may open the door and if he is still jumping, close it.
Do this repeatedly until he agrees to calm down and then you can open the door. Once he gets used to this, your dog will eventually get that you don’t appreciate him jumping at people. You can then offer him a treat to reinforce training and good behavior.
2. Ignore him
Sometimes our dogs engage in certain behavior with the hope to get our attention. Ignoring a dog does not always work, especially in older dogs. However, this is a trick that can be used to train puppies out of this habit.
This means that you will not be able to pet your puppy whenever he is jumping up at you. Instead, make sure that his paws cannot rest on your laps when you sit down. Most people do this by getting their knees to the chest and thus there is no room for him to rest.
Whenever your puppy jumps at you when you come home, you should not pay attention to him. This has to be the worst training ever, right? Imagine coming home and your puppy is just so excited jumping and you have to get past him without petting him. This feels horrible but it could be necessary. Once your dog feels like you don’t care, he will eventually stop.
Older dogs, however, might not fall for this trick. In fact, the more you ignore him, the more he will jump to get you to give him what he needs; attention. Well, if you are a dog owner you should already know how needy dogs are, especially of your attention.
3. Train him more polite greetings
Most dogs are friendly and they want to keep their master happy as well as other human companions. However, a dog jumping on a stranger is not exactly imply politeness or anything close. It is mistaken for hostility and lack of discipline which makes it embarrassing.
Instead of jumping, you could teach your dog how to shake hands with strangers. This might take a lot of time to train but believe me it is the best thing. No matter how overwhelmed your dog will be, he will resist jumping at strangers.
You can do this by offering your hand for a handshake after you have managed to calm him down. For instance, when you come home, you should make sure he is not jumping and then offer him your hand. You may also reinforce this training by offering a treat every time he gets it right.
4. Avoid punishment
Now, this is something we need to emphasize every time; you cannot punish your dog to stop him. It does not work that way. Whether or not your dog is disobeying you and jumping at strangers after you say no, punishing him will not work. Instead, you will need to find more creative ways to correct this behavior.
For instance, if your dog jumps at your guests, you may consider keeping him away from the door until they are settled. In most cases, dogs will start jumping up and down whenever they see someone their love. If your friend/guest has already made friends with your dog, he is bound to jump at them on sight.
Instead of yelling at your pup, you may use the counter-conditioning method to control him. This means that you will have to find means to stimulate your dog at the sight of a stranger. However, offering him food to stop jumping might work temporarily but also create problems later. Your dog could get used to being compensated for not jumping and thus he will only stop after being offered the reward.
Well, this might actually provoke different views in that some people do not agree with putting their dogs on leash. This especially when he is at home, most people will let their dog roam freely in the compound.
However, picture this; your dog is roaming around your compound and a stranger is approaching your house. The truth is, if your dog jumps at people, he will definitely run towards the stranger. The person might not find your dog cute for jumping at them.
If you have guests coming over your house, you may consider putting your dog on a leash. However, you cannot always do this whenever you have people at your home. He needs to learn how to stop the habit on his own.
This is a common method used to control undesirable behaviors in dogs. The dog is exposed to the stimuli but at a distance until he is used to it. For instance, to control your dog from jumping at strangers, you can expose him to the person that makes him want to jump.
You can be able to do this with the help of your friend where you can instruct them to stand at a distance. Make sure your dog can see your friend and if he is jumping, deny him permission to get to your friend.
This should be done repeatedly to make your dog get used to the presence of your friend. This way, he is going to slowly stop getting overwhelmed, or even better, he will be able to control his excitement. You can also reinforce this by offering him treats every time he learns something.
7. Get his attention
Distractions actually work well with training dogs, especially if you can manage to get his attention. This could be quite helpful for dogs that are over-friendly during walks that they jump at strangers. This could be scary for the other person and very embarrassing for you.
You can use whatever means you prefer to get his attention whenever you come across a stranger on walks. Most people have reported success by shifting their dog’s attention. You can do this by simply telling him to look at you.
Alternatively, you may carry a ball or bone toy and throw it for him to get under your instructions. This way, you will distract his attention from the stranger to getting the toy. The goal here is to distract his attention and he will eventually learn to leave people alone.
8. Don’t play with him when he is jumping
As mentioned earlier, we have a habit of condoning our dogs jumping at people whenever we allow them to jump at us. You should deny him the excitement that comes with jumping by refusing to play with him.
As a matter of fact, some dogs will jump at their owners to initiate play. We find it cute and play with our little puppies but believe me you don’t want to play with an adult dog. I keep playing with him just because he initiated it, you are going to have problems controlling his jumping.
Instead, you should always walk away from him whenever he plays that game. However, this does not mean that you should not play with your dog at all. You may, however, play with him when he is not jumping or engaging in other attention-seeking behaviors.
This will work on dogs that are hard to train, or probably you do not know how to do it yourself. You can restrict him from accessing the front door even after hearing a knock. This way, you will be keeping him from meeting strangers at a close range.
Not only is jumping on strangers an undesirable character in a dog but also impolite. It should not be hard to control him as it should start with you. For instance, do not enter your house until he calms down and then you can greet him. Most dog owners struggle with this behavior but with training and management, you should be able to solve this problem.
If you have a gentle friend, you can ask them to help you train your dog, especially if they jump at them. A good example would be to have your friend approach to the direction of your dog. If he gets up, tell them to retreat and go away from the dog. You will have to do this often until your dog stops the habit.
It is usually hard to train older dogs out of the habit of jumping at strangers but you can definitely use other methods. In fact, most people live to manage this behavioral vice rather than stopping it completely. It does not matter how friendly he seems to be, do not let your dog keep up the jumping behavior.
I know it can be hard to resist the calming effect that comes with petting an overwhelmed dog. However, if you don’t want him jumping up and down at people, you will have to refrain from doing so. You may go ahead and pet him later, whenever he is not jumping. Once he starts jumping, you should stop playing or petting him immediately. This way, you can keep a well-mannered dog.