All dogs—big and small, young and old, every breed, and every disposition—are likely to jump up when they're excited.

If you've managed to find the one dog who doesn't jump on people at inappropriate times, then you my friend are lucky! (And also, what are you doing reading this article? Did you just come here to show off?)

Most advice on how to solve jumping doesn't work because it's incomplete.

It's not that ignoring your jumping dog or turning away from her is wrong (advice I'm sure you've heard if you've ever researched how to stop jumping), it's just only a small part of the equation. This guide gives you the other parts.

6 Dog Training Techniques to Solve Jumping

Here are our 6 favorite techniques for teaching your dog not to jump:

  1. "Feed the need"
  2. Teach an incompatible behavior
  3. Remove the reinforcement for things you don't like
  4. Reinforce good behaviors
  5. Develop a calming protocol
  6. Put jumping up on cue

"Feed the need"

Pet your dog before he jumps on you

This is the most overlooked and one of the easiest techniques for solving jumping. It's a term coined by Jennifer Arnold in her book "Love is All You Need."

If you know your dog is about to jump on you, bend down and pet him before he can jump. It works even better if you use both of your hands and really massage his whole body. The reason this works is because dogs have a need for affection and jumping on you is one of the ways they give and receive it. If you give him the affection and attention he needs then you remove his need to jump.

Teach an incompatible behavior

Teach your dog to do something that makes it impossible for him to do the unwanted thing

Dogs don't understand "don't" because "don't" is a concept. They do understand "do" though. What this means is, instead of teaching your dog "don't jump" you teach your dog to do something else instead that makes it impossible for your dog to jump.

If you've ever told your dog to sit when he jumps on you then you've tried this. Your dog can't both be sitting and jumping at the same time, so sit is an incompatible behavior. It's a weak one though (as you've probably seen) and there are easier ones to start with, like "place."

At Harper, we believe teaching an incompatible behavior is the single most effective way to stop jumping.

Remove the reinforcement for things you don't like

Don't accidentally encourage jumping

This is the advice given most often for how to stop jumping. When people say "ignore your dog if he jumps on you," what they're saying is "if your dog is jumping on you because he wants your attention, don't give him your attention because that rewards the behavior and actually encourages it."

While that's true, it's not the only reward your dog is getting for jumping. Your dog also might just like jumping on you—even if you're ignoring him. This is called a "self-reinforcing" behavior and it won't go away just because you ignore it.

That said, this is still a useful part of the stopping jumping solution. It's just not the only part.

Reinforce good behaviors

Give your dog a reward when he does something you like

This is also common advice. If you have a piece of food in your hands and your dog sits instead of jumping on you to get the food, you might want to reward that behavior to encourage it to happen again. Rewarding behaviors like this is tricky though. Sometimes the reward makes your dog excited and he gets so excited that he jumps on you. Oops. The plan backfired.

Develop a calming protocol

Design a routine that calms your pup down

Sometimes dogs can go over their arousal threshold (in other words, they can get way too excited) and they're almost incapable of doing anything you ask. During these times it's often useless to ask for a sit or to call your dog to you.

Instead, the best course of action is to follow your "calming protocol" to get your dog back to a more even emotional state. That might mean removing your dog from the situation that has him excited, or just asking him to lay in his bed until he calms down, or distracting him with a series of repetitive and easy requests.

Put jumping up on cue

Teach your dog to jump but only when you ask

If you have a lot of experience working with dogs, this can be another great solution. By teaching your dog to jump on you when you give the cue, you have more control over it. You can practice having your dog jumping on you and also jumping off of you. In this way, he learns to wait until you ask him to jump on you (because that's usually when he gets his reward) rather than just doing it automatically.

I don't recommend this technique for a beginner.

There are usually easier solutions to implement and it can backfire. Your dog might feel more comfortable jumping on you regardless of whether or not you asked him to.

7 Dog Training Recipes for Solving Jumping in Different Scenarios

Below are what I call "recipes." Much in the same way you follow a recipe to bake a cake, you can follow these recipes to teach your dog not to jump up on you.

Just like there are lots of recipes for cakes, there are lots of recipes for solving this problem. This is just one way. If it doesn't work for you, that's okay. There's always another recipe. Just reach out and we'll help you find the right one for you!

When you walk in the door

Incompatible behavior: Teach your dog to go to his "place" (for example, his dog bed) when you ask him to. Use very high value treats to teach this behavior so he really wants to go there (think hotdogs and cheese).

Reinforce good behaviors: Once your dog is great at going to his place, put it in sight of the door. Also, make sure you have high value treats with you whenever you walk in. When you do walk in, ask your dog to go to his bed. When he does, give him a treat.

Remove the reinforcement for things you don't like: If your dog jumps on you, ignore it. Wait for him to go to his place. If he won't go to his place, when you come home, then continue practicing the place behavior in easier scenarios.

Feed the need: With your dog still in his bed, go to him and give him all the pets and massages. Even though you rewarded him with treats, remember, he still wants your affection too. If he can get both by being in his place, then he's much more likely to go there.

When other people walk in the door

This recipe is very similar to the one for when you walk in the door, with a couple changes:

Incompatible behavior: Teach your dog to go to his "place" (for example, his dog bed) when you ask him to. Use very high value treats to teach this behavior so he really wants to go there (think hotdogs and cheese).

Reinforce good behaviors: Once your dog is great at going to his place, put it in sight of the door. Also, make sure you have high value treats ready to go whenever someone walks in. Before your friends come in, ask your dog to go to his bed. When he does, give him a treat and keep giving him treats for staying there.

Remove the reinforcement for things you don't like: If your dog jumps on your friends, ask them to ignore him. They can turn away or just not give him attention. Either works. Wait for him to go to his place. If he won't go to his place, in this scenario, then continue practicing the place behavior in easier scenarios.

Feed the need: With your dog still in his bed, go to him and give him all the pets and massages. Ask your friends to do it too if they're comfortable with dogs. Even though you rewarded him with treats, remember, he still wants affection from you and even new people too. If he can get both by being in his place, then he's much more likely to go there.

When you sit down on the couch or a chair

Incompatible behavior: Teach your dog to go to his "place" (for example, his dog bed) when you ask him to. Use very high value treats to teach this behavior so he really wants to go there (think hotdogs and cheese).

Reinforce good behaviors: Once your dog is great at going to his place, put it in sight of the couch. Also, make sure you have high value treats ready to go whenever you are about to sit down. Before your dog even has a chance to jump on you, ask him to go to his bed. When he does, give him a treat and keep giving him treats for staying there.

When you or others have something in your hands your dog wants

Remove the reinforcement for things you don't like: Whatever you do, don't let him get the thing he wants out of your hands. This would be very reinforcing and cause him to try it the next time too.

Incompatible behavior: Teach your dog to go to sit, or "say please" for things he wants. You can also teach a place here, especially if it's a situation when you're cooking in the kitchen and you're going to repeatedly have stuff your dog wants in your hands, but, if you're just doing something like carrying your dog's food bowl, a sit should be a strong enough incompatible behavior.

Reinforce good behaviors: If appropriate, you can use the thing in your hands as the reward for sitting (for example, you can give your dog his food bowl after he says please). If it's not appropriate, it still good to reward the sit, even if it's just a vigorous pet, but a treat or a toy is probably better.

When your dog is on a leash and you're walking towards someone (especially someone they know)

Remove the reinforcement for things you don't like, part one: Because your dog is on a leash, you have a lot more control here. If your dog starts pulling towards the other person either stop or start walking in the other direction. Walking towards the person is a "treat" for your dog, so you're removing the treat because he's pulling.

Incompatible behavior: Once you can calmly reach the person, ask your pup for a sit (or if the person is walking towards you, then ask for the sit and make them hold the sit as they approach).

Reinforce good behaviors: Give your a dog a treat for holding the sit.

Remove the reinforcement for things you don't like, part two: If the dog leaves his sit, ask the other person to ignore the dog and not offer pets or attention.

Feed the need: If your dog holds the sit, then invite the person to give your pup all the pets and body massages he deserves. If he gets out of his sit, then the person should stop petting. Similarly, even if the other person doesn't want to pet your dog, you can feed his need yourself with pets.

When your dog is just really excited

Calming protocols: This is actually a separate recipe all its own (like when there's a separate recipe for the cake's icing). There are lots of different ways to develop a calming protocol but they always have some form of an incompatible behavior, and they often also involve removing the reinforcement for things you don't like.

Feed the need: A quick solution in these scenarios is to bend down and give your dog the attention he's seeking in his overexcited state. You can start with vigorous pets and then make them slower and slower until you're calmly petting your pup. In these scenarios, your dog often mimics your mood so as your pets become calmer, he becomes calmer.

When you're playing together

Incompatible behavior: If your dog jumps on you while you're playing, the best recommendation is to play something else. If you're playing a game of chase and he jumps on you, try playing "outdoor relays" instead.

Remove the reinforcement for things you don't like: For example, if your pup jumps on you while tugging, then have a rule where jumping on you ends the tug game. If you're consistent, your pup will pick up on this new rule.

Calming protocols: Sometimes play can be overstimulating. In these situations, it's best to dial things back by implementing your calming protocol.

Quick Links to Useful Harper Games and Courses

You can search for these training tools inside the Harper app, or, if you're reading this on your phone, you can click the link to go there directly.

Course: Might as Well Not Jump

Course: Place

Game: Polite Greetings

Game: Polite Approaches

Game: Say "Please"