Jumping Up Behaviors in Dogs

Learn about causes and corrective actions for dog jumping up.

Signs of Jumping Behaviors

Signs of Jumping Behaviors

  • Happily jumping up on people in greeting
  • Forcefully jumping against owner or other people
  • Leaping and grabbing at a toy someone holds
  • Placing front feet as high as possible on owner or other people and making eye contact
  • Jumping up on or putting front feet on counters or tables searching for food
  • Jumping on door wanting to go outside

Causes and Corrective Actions for Dog Jumping Up

Attention Seeking

Puppies instinctively jump on momma dog seeking attention and food because in the wild their dam would have eaten and regurgitated her litter's meals.

ATTENTION SEEKING Corrective Actions: Never reward your puppy or dog for jumping up by petting, talking nice to or offering attention — even pushing the puppy off encourages some to continue jumping up. Train and always insist on an acceptable behavior such as "Sit" before rewarding with attention.

Counter Surfing

Jumping up to peruse the counter or table for food occurs repeatedly when the dog finds food.

COUNTER SURFING Corrective Actions: Oft recommended noisy "traps," like a piece of hotdog on the counter edge tied to a pop can filled with coins can startle a dog into stopping counter surfing, but consider your dog's temperament before doing this since it can reinforce noise sensitivity. Train "Leave it" that tells your dog to leave whatever has his interest alone and move on. For the safest option to ensure your dog doesn't eat something that might cause serious digestive problems, gate your dog out of the kitchen when you cook and never leave anything where your dog can reach it.

Dominance/Prey Drive

Putting feet solidly on the owner or other people and making direct eye contact can indicate a dominant attitude as can forcefully jumping against the owner during play. Dogs that retain a naturally strong desire to chase and grab prey often extend this behavior toward toys and will jump up to try and grab a toy from your hand.

DOMINANCE/PREY DRIVE Corrective Actions: If dominant or prey-driven dog shows signs of aggression, seek immediate help from a professional trainer. For non-aggressive dogs, train obedience using positive methods combined with consistent rules to reinforce your leader position. Never pet or greet dog after he jumps up, insist on an acceptable alternate behavior, such as sit, and reward compliance. Ensure dog receives adequate exercise to keep him relaxed. If dog jumps against you or after a toy you hold during play, attach a 20-foot line to dog's collar, say a firm "no" when dog jumps and stop all action for a brief time out. If dog persists, quietly walk him back to his confined area for a longer time out and try again afterwards. Alternatively, stop the game and work obedience to remind your dog to exercise self-control.


Nervous and/or excitable dogs often leap around without paying attention to what might be in the way and knock someone down, break something or hurt themselves.

EXCITABILITY Corrective Actions: Provide ample physical and mental exercise through training, interactive games and running or swimming in safe areas to help dog relax. Leaping, spinning dogs often excel at learning and performing tricks, a fun activity that provides the dog an acceptable focus. Train reliable obedience commands and break the reactive cycle by insisting the dog sit down until he acts calmer, then give him a treat-stuffed rubber toy or chew bone.

Potty Signal

Dogs sometimes learn to let you know they need to go potty by jumping at you or at the outside door.

POTTY SIGNAL Corrective Actions: Train an alternative "alert" behavior like ringing a bell hung on the door.

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Candee   Little Rock, Arkansas

6/7/2013 8:35:38 PM

Teaching a dog not to jump is not as simplistic as some would have you think. Turning your back and ignoring a 20 lb dog is do-able. Turning your back and ignoring a 9 mo old lab with long nails when you are wearing shorts is just not feasible. Dogs jump because they want attention or affection for the most part. Dropping food bits on the floor will point the dog's nose to the floor. It cannot jump if it's nose is pointed downward..

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skiw9748   Hartford, AL

11/24/2012 9:47:38 AM

2458881 - Good information !

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liz   new york, New York

10/31/2012 3:30:21 PM

I have worked with hundreds of dogs over many years. I developed a completely humane and non threatening device to train dogs not to jump. You never make contact with the dog, and you get immediate results. To view a video demonstration, or to purchase "Down Rover" Jumping Shield, please visit www.petwiseproducts.com

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