How to Train Your Dog Not to Jump on Visitors
The doorbell rings – there’s an unfamiliar voice – oh my goodness, it’s a visitor! Yay, Yay, YAY!
This is what runs through my head when we get visitors at our house. As a yellow lab, I tend to be very friendly, and I get the impression that I’m sometimes a little TOO exuberant when greeting new faces at the door. I’ve learned over time that jumping on visitors is OFF LIMITS!
Although it may seem like an impossible job to train your dog to not jump up on visitors, it can be done! Here’s how.
Reinforce the Good, Ignore the Bad
This should be your training philosophy. When your dog does something you like, reinforce that behavior with verbal praise, physical touch, or a small treat so that your dog is more likely to repeat that behavior. When your dog does something you don’t like, ignore it. Don’t give them attention, because that’s what they want!
Practice the No Jumping Rule on Yourself First
Maybe you don’t want your dog to jump up on guests when they come to your home, but you don’t mind it when your pooch jumps up to greet you when you come home after work. Can you see how this might be confusing? It’s going to be easier to train your dog not to jump on guests if they also know not to jump on you.
What you want to do is withhold attention from your dog when they jump. So you come home, put the keys in the lock, open the door, and your dog goes nuts and start jumping. Don’t pet them, don’t talk to them, and try not to look at them. Instead, go back outside and wait for about a minute or so while your dog calms down inside. Go back inside and do the same thing over. Keep doing this until your dog no longer jumps when you enter. At that point you can use verbal praise and pet your dog.
Do this as many times as necessary until your dog understands that they will not be rewarded for jumping behavior. I’m not going to lie, this could take a while. But be consistent, and it will work!
Then Practice with (Willing) Visitors
You can employ the same tactics when visitors come over. At first you may want to hold your dog at a distance from the front door as guests enter or even keep them behind a baby gated area so they can’t physically get to the door. When a visitor approaches, your dog will start to jump. The visitor should not interact with your dog and instead walk away and only come back when the dog is calm.
Clearly this is a tactic that’s best used with good friends, especially good friends who are dog people. If you’re having your boss over for dinner, it may not be the best time for a training session! But if you do have a friend who’s patient and understands what you’re trying to do, their help will be invaluable in teaching your dog that jumping on ANYONE is not tolerated.
Train an Alternate Command
When you think about it, you’re not really training your dog NOT jump, you’re training your dog TO remain calm when people come through the front door. Using this idea, you can train your dog to do something else and use that command when you have visitors. This might be a simple “sit” or “down” command, or it could be “go to your bed” or “back up.” Any one of these commands can be used once the doorbell rings or when you come through the door. It gives them something else to do in place of jumping.
When it comes to dog training, there are no shortcuts. It takes dedication to the goal, patience, and perseverance. But isn’t it worth it in the end? Yes!
Good luck training! You’ve got this!
Kia is a full-sized dog living with a full-sized family! She's full of energy and loves to romp with kids, so whenever Kia is around, you know you're in for an exciting time!