If your puppy loves nothing more than jumping all over you (and your guests!) whenever you walk into a room, then you’re almost certainly not alone. Puppy jumping ranks alongside teething and scratching as one of the most common unwanted behaviours.
In this article, we’ll walk you through why puppies jump, why it’s a good idea to stop puppies jumping and how to stop a puppy jumping on you and your friends when they’re overexcited.
Why do puppies jump?
Puppy jumping occurs for a variety of reasons.
Smelling people – As curious young dogs, puppies love to explore and experience everything around them. Given that a puppy’s strongest sense is its sense of smell, it’s no surprise that dogs love jumping on people as a way of investigating their new surroundings. They’re just trying to get a better sniff!
Natural excitement and enthusiasm – Most puppies are naturally very excitable and energetic by nature. Jumping on people is just one of many ways that this youthful enthusiasm may be displayed.
Not enough exercise or entertainment during the day – If a puppy doesn’t get enough exercise or stimulation, they may release their pent-up energy by jumping on people and generally being very over-excitable. If your puppy is jumping very frequently, then it might be a good idea to exercise them. Whether it’s playing, or walks in the park, it shouldn’t take much to tire out your pup and reduce their jumping. Remember your puppy must be over 12 weeks old before you can take them on walks.
Learned behaviour – There may have been a time when your puppy wanted attention and they jumped and then got picked up. After having shown your puppy affection, they now believe that jumping is a shortcut to receiving the attention they want.
Why it's a good idea to stop puppies jumping
While now it may seem like adorable behaviour, if your puppy keeps jumping into adulthood it can become a lot more difficult to stop, and even dangerous. For a quick idea, just imagine a Great Dane bounding towards you and then throwing themselves at you. Affectionate or not, it’s still going to take a good deal of strength to stay on your feet!
Even if you don’t own a bigger dog breed, jumping can become a very irritating habit over time. For example, it may become hard to invite guests round because your dog won’t stop jumping on them. Alternatively, it may be hard to walk around your house unobstructed because your dog will not stop jumping. By stopping puppy jumping early, your dog is much more likely to stop jumping altogether.
How to stop a jumping puppy
Don’t pick your puppy up – ‘When I pick him up, he calms down’. Does this sound like you? Picking your puppy up when they’re jumping sends the message that jumping brings the rewards of attention and affection. Over time, this will become more and more ingrained as a behaviour and will be more difficult to discourage.
How to stop a puppy jumping on guests
If you give your dog attention you’re signalling to them that you approve of their behaviour or at the very least are acknowledging it. If your puppy’s goal is to get attention then they get the message that their efforts are obviously working.
For this reason, it’s best to give your puppy no attention whatsoever. You can do this by not touching, talking or making eye contact with your puppy until they have stopped jumping. If your puppy jumps, instead of stepping back as most people tend to do, move forward (being careful not to step on your puppy). Stepping back gives your puppy the room to jump whereas moving forward sends the message that they should stop.
While this method can prove very effective, your puppy may start jumping again if a new person comes into the house. It is important to let guests know that they’re not to acknowledge your puppy when they are jumping. If your puppy carries on jumping while guests are present then remove them from the situation until they calm down.
Stopping your puppy jumping isn’t as difficult as you may have thought. By simply ignoring your puppy’s jumping, you can help to discourage the behaviour before they reach adulthood and it becomes more of a problem. It’s always important to remember that puppies, by nature, are naturally energetic and so there’s always going to be some level of excitability. However, by following our guidelines, your puppy should be much less inclined to continue jumping.