Of all the frustrating little canine quirks that exist, jumping up seems to be one of the most common complaints of dog owners. Nothing muddies up nice pants like puppy paws planting down on a human’s legs. When barking, running and tail-wagging don’t seem to get our attention, trying to get as close to our faces as possible is a dog’s next best bet, so up he will jump! If you want to keep agitating your visitors with the pesky habits of your exuberant pet, by all means do nothing to intervene. But if you are ready for the vertical prancing to desist, here are some great tips on how to help your dog obey whenever you command, “OFF!”

Communicate hierarchy. What does that mean? Make sure your dog knows YOU are the pack leader, not he. This means you do not get a day off from training him, or exerting authority. If you come to sit on the couch, and your pup is in your space, command him to hop down. When you take him for a walk, teach the dog to heel, and walk right alongside you, not ahead. When you tell him to do something, follow through with it so that your pup knows who is boss. Don’t just be “too tired” to engage or enforce rules and boundaries of the house, or your dog will become as lax about obedience as you are about training. Recognizing you as the pack leader will assure the dog that if you tell him to get down, you mean business.

Be clear in your communication. When the dog jumps up, grab his paws and say “OFF.” If he does it again, repeat the gesture and the command. Keep a treat in your pocket, and instead, have him sit. Some pet trainers encourage people to also hand their arriving friends a treat so that when they walk in they can command the dog to sit and reward them afterwards. Whether your dog is an eager Labrador, or a puffy small Pomeranian, size should not dictate the rules. Jumping up ought not be tolerated in any case.

Don’t encourage the behavior. Ignorance might be bliss, but ignoring your dog is the surprising secret to success in this endeavor! Most dogs jump up on their human when they walk through the front door at the end of the day. It can be very hard for a pup to contain his or her excitement when they see their favorite person has just come home. Even if you have been looking forward to petting your pooch all day too, remember that you cannot respond positively to this rambunctious greeting or he will never learn that this behavior is unwanted. Rather, when you walk in, if the pup tries to jump up on you, shake him off and continue on your way. Ignoring your dog will teach him that this action never proves successful at getting your attention.  

Focus on more intentional training. A great way to ensure that your dog will not be inclined to tackle every visitor that walks through the door, is to increase his training on some basic commands. Really practice the art of “sitting” and “staying.” If you get your pooch to the point of unflinching obedience, this is will limit the chances that your dog will be unruly around others.

Avoid the problem altogether. If the dog is not displaying reliability when it comes to obeying the restrictive commands you give whenever visitors arrive, remove the temptation. Put your dog in his crate, play pen or the backyard when you have people over. If in training the dog becomes more responsive, practice having him come and sit patiently on his bed with a chew toy or bone during dinner. If he can do so without scampering around or excitedly jumping up on people, then he may be allowed to stay. The moment any jumping begins, put the dog outside or in the crate immediately.