Stop Jumping: Training Your Dog to Greet Calmly is reader supported. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission at no cost to you.


Picture this: You’re out for a leisurely walk in the park, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Suddenly, a stranger approaches, and your dog goes into full-on jumping mode. They’re all over the place, trying to get a closer look at this new person. It’s embarrassing, isn’t it? You wish they could just greet others in a more composed manner.

Dogs are more often than not just hardly ever being bad. They’re mostly just doing what they think they’re supposed to do.

Dog’s Way podcast, episode 115

But here’s the thing: you can teach your dog to greet calmly. It’s not as difficult as it may seem. With a little bit of patience and consistency, you can transform your overly enthusiastic greeter into a well-mannered companion.

So, how do you go about it? Well, first and foremost, it’s important to understand why your dog is jumping in the first place. For them, it’s a way of showing affection and excitement. They’re simply trying to get closer to you or the person they’re greeting. It’s a behavior that can be redirected and modified with the right approach.

The Negative Effects of Allowing Your Dog to Jump Up on People

While it may seem harmless, allowing your dog to jump up on people can have several negative effects. One of the most obvious risks is the potential for injury, especially to children or elderly individuals. Dogs can accidentally scratch or knock over people, causing bruises, cuts, or even broken bones. This is particularly concerning when it comes to children, who may not have the strength or balance to withstand a dog’s jumping behavior.

Allowing your dog to jump up on people also reinforces the unwanted behavior. If your dog receives attention or affection every time they jump up, they will continue to engage in this behavior because they have learned that it gets them what they want. This can make it difficult to break the habit and teach your dog alternative behaviors.

We want a dog to ultimately get the idea of like, Oh, you mean just stay on the ground and get petted? Like, I didn’t know that was a policy at all

Dog’s Way podcast, episode 115

Teaching Your Dog to Sit and Stay as an Alternative to Jumping Up

Teaching your dog to sit and stay is a valuable alternative behavior to jumping up. This command can be used in various situations, such as greetings or playtime, to redirect your dog’s behavior and keep them grounded. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to teach your dog to sit and stay:

1. Start in a quiet and distraction-free environment. Have some treats ready as rewards.

2. Stand in front of your dog and hold a treat close to their nose. Slowly move the treat upwards, causing their head to follow and their bottom to lower into a sitting position.

3. As soon as your dog’s bottom touches the ground, say “sit” and give them the treat as a reward. Repeat this several times until your dog consistently sits when you hold the treat above their head.

4. Once your dog has mastered the sit command, you can move on to teaching them to stay. Start by giving the sit command and then take a step back. If your dog remains seated, immediately reward them with a treat and praise. If they get up, calmly guide them back into a sitting position and try again.

5. Gradually increase the distance and duration of the stay command. Start by taking a few steps back and gradually increase the distance over time. You can also increase the duration by gradually increasing the amount of time your dog needs to stay seated before receiving the reward.

6. Practice the sit and stay commands in different environments and with increasing distractions. This will help your dog generalize the behavior and understand that they need to remain seated and grounded regardless of the situation.

Building a Strong Foundation

In building a strong foundation for training your dog to greet calmly, clarifying the relationship and establishing yourself as the leader are essential. By setting clear boundaries and expectations, you create a framework for effective training.

Teaching basic core skills like loose leash walking is a fundamental part of this foundation. It is crucial to establish rules and boundaries for your dog to follow, creating a structured environment for learning.

Working on these foundational elements not only sets the stage for addressing jumping behavior but also fosters a stronger bond with your dog. This bond forms the basis for successful training and paves the way for addressing other behaviors.

The Approach and Retreat Method

Establishing a strong foundation for training your dog to greet calmly through relationship clarity and leadership sets the stage for implementing the approach and retreat method to address jumping behavior.

This method involves approaching the triggering person or situation while maintaining a loose leash, correcting the dog’s behavior with a quick leash correction if they attempt to jump, and then retreating by walking away.

In the meeting people scenario, gradually increasing the level of interaction helps the dog learn to stay calm. When coming home alone, ignoring the jumping and redirecting the dog’s attention to a more suitable activity is advised.

Consistency, patience, and a strong foundation are essential for success in using the approach and retreat method to address jumping behavior.

Meeting People Scenario

When meeting people, it is essential to use the approach and retreat method to teach your dog not to jump. Correct their behavior when they start to jump and retreat if necessary. Gradually increase the level of excitement from the person your dog is meeting to help your dog learn to stay calm and not jump in more stimulating situations.

Consistency is key in addressing jumping behavior in this scenario. It’s important to reinforce the desired behavior by using the approach and retreat method during dedicated training sessions.

This approach, combined with patience and a strong foundation, will help in effectively addressing jumping behavior when meeting people.

Coming Home Alone Scenario

Upon arriving home alone, ignore your dog’s jumping behavior and redirect their attention to a more appropriate activity, such as sitting or fetching a toy.

It’s important to set aside dedicated training sessions to work on teaching your dog not to jump when you come home. During these sessions, use the approach and retreat method to reinforce the desired behavior.

Consistency, patience, and a strong foundation are essential in addressing jumping behavior in this scenario. By consistently redirecting your dog’s attention and reinforcing the appropriate behavior, you can effectively teach them to greet you calmly when you come home alone.

This approach not only helps in addressing jumping behavior but also strengthens the bond between you and your dog, creating a more harmonious and enjoyable greeting experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Treats to Train My Dog Not to Jump When Greeting People?

Yes, treats can be used to train your dog not to jump when greeting people. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as offering treats for calm behavior, can help reinforce the desired greeting behavior while also strengthening the bond between you and your dog.

What Should I Do if My Dog Continues to Jump Even After Using the Approach and Retreat Method?

If your dog continues to jump despite using the approach and retreat method, evaluate if the corrections are consistent and timely. Consider seeking professional guidance to address any underlying behavioral issues. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key in modifying jumping behavior.

Is It Okay to Use a Specific Command to Signal to My Dog That Jumping Is Not Allowed?

Yes, it is acceptable to use a specific command to communicate with your dog that jumping is not allowed. Consistency in training and reinforcing the command with positive reinforcement will help your dog understand and comply.

How Do I Prevent My Dog From Jumping on Guests When They Come Into My House?

To prevent your dog from jumping on guests, establish a strong foundation by clarifying your leadership role and teaching basic skills. Utilize the approach and retreat method, correcting and retreating as needed, while gradually increasing the level of stimulation. Consistency is key.

What Should I Do if My Dog Only Jumps on Certain People and Not Others?

When your dog only jumps on certain people, it’s essential to maintain consistent training techniques. Use the approach and retreat method to correct jumping behavior, establish yourself as the leader, and reinforce rules and boundaries. Consistency is key.


In conclusion, training dogs to greet calmly requires a strong foundation in relationship clarification, leadership establishment, and fundamental skills.

The approach and retreat method, along with consistent training, can effectively reduce jumping behavior.

By redirecting attention and conducting dedicated training sessions, dog owners can cultivate a calmer greeting behavior in their pets, strengthening the bond between human and canine.

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