How to Stop Big Dogs From Jumping on You

When big dogs jump, they can knock you right over, put a hole in your shirt and leave you looking as if you just encountered a monster with claws. The trick to dealing with the large, tail-wagging canine's behavior is to ignore and reward.

Step 1

Ask your pup to sit when you greet him, if he isn't already jumping. Most dogs don't jump every time they're greeted. Their behavior sometimes depends on how long you've been gone, and largely on how you greet them. Make each greeting seem commonplace. Don't get excited or clap your hands. Just walk in, tell him to sit and then pet him if he does. If he doesn't, ignore him until he complies.

Step 2

Turn around when he jumps. When big pups throw themselves onto people, they can rip clothes, tear open skin and generally make each encounter painful. Turning around forces those big paws off of you and back onto the floor, at least for a second or two, and that's all the time you need to start correcting the behavior. But don't yell at your dog or tell him to get off when turning around. Remain silent.

Step 3

Praise him when his paws touch the floor. Immediately after he launches himself back off of you, tell your big guy he's a good boy, and give him a small treat. By doing this, you're telling him that paws on the ground means good things are going to happen, while paws on people means nothing will happen.

Step 4

Begin telling your pup to sit even when he jumps. After about a week of consistently correcting your pup this way, it's time to stop rewarding him for simply getting off of you and only rewarding him for sitting on command. The fact that you started telling him to sit when he wasn't jumping will make this part a lot easier. As soon as he jumps off of you and his paws touch the floor, tell him to sit. Because he didn't get his usual reward when jumping off, he might get all worked up and jump again. Turn around, make him jump off and reinforce the "sit" command. Only reward him and praise him when his butt touches the ground.

Step 5

Leave your dog's basket of toys -- or even one toy -- near the door when you leave. Some dogs don't respond to the "sit" command when you greet them, because there's literally so much energy flowing through them, they can't control themselves. That's where the squeaky toy duck, or whatever toy your pup loves, comes in. If he doesn't go for the toy on his own, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests directing his attention to the toy immediately after you come in, or throwing the toy in another room.

Step 6

Stop everything and ignore your pup if he jumps during playtime. Some dogs get a bit too excited during playtime and might throw their big paws right on your chest if you're holding a toy they want. The trick to this is don't hold your pup's toy high enough where he will be tempted to jump for it, and if he jumps on you out of excitement, end the game, turn around and ignore your dog for about a minute. The idea is similar to ignoring a biting puppy: he'll learn that playtime only continues if he's on good behavior.

Tips

  • If you give your dog attention when he jumps on you, even if that attention is yelling at him to get off, he'll become even more excited.
  • You'll need the help of your guests as well. Tell them to do exactly what you do when they enter your house. Your pup needs to be respectful of everyone that comes in. You can also opt to condition your pup to sit each time he hears the doorbell or a knocking at the door by simulating the noise, then rewarding him when he sits.

Warnings

  • Do not smack your dog if he jumps or stick out your knee. Physical punishment does not work to correct his behavior, and you could injure your pup or cause him to develop a fear.
  • Never ask your dog to jump for a treat or toy. You're just reinforcing the behavior and making it much more difficult to stop.

About the Author

Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.