How To Stop A Dog From Jumping On People and Furniture?

11 Minute Read
Updated July 20, 2022

Do you have a dog that jumps? Dog jumping up on people is more than just bad manners, it can be dangerous. Find out how to stop a dog from jumping up on people, furniture, and more.

Your dog's bad jumping behavior can be annoying and embarrassing, not to mention, it can be dangerous. If your dog jumps up on someone who is carrying something fragile, a small child, or a dog jumps on a person with a medical condition, it can easily damage or cause injury.

In this post, we will discuss how to stop your dog from jumping on people coming into your home, strangers, and furniture.


Why Do Dogs Jump Up?

Dogs jumping is very normal behaviour. However, that doesn't mean it's a dog behaviour you should accept and continue to allow. The reasons why dogs jump are quite simple. However, fixing the behaviour can be a little more tricky.

For the most part, dogs will jump on people because they’re excited, want attention, or because they've learned it was 'good' behaviour. Many people unknowingly encourage jumping behaviour based on how they respond to it.

For example, if when your puppy or small dog jumps, you pick them up, this is a reward in their mind. This means when they want to be picked up or have you engage with them, they'll do what has worked in the past, jumping.

Jumping on furniture happens for similar reasons with one additional reason. Being on top of a couch, bed, or chair gives them a better view of what's happening around them and better access to you. When they're up on furniture, they can keep an eye on what's going on in their environment.

If they're jumping on the couch while you're sitting on it, it's likely because they want to be close to you and receive some dog attention/affection.

Now let's discuss some of the not-so-obvious reasons why it's bad for dogs to jump.


Is It Bad For Dogs To Jump?


Now that you know why dogs jump, you might be wondering, what's the big deal? Yes dog jumps might be annoying, but its not hurting anyone, is it? Well, maybe not yet, but the potential for danger or damage is there. 

Aside from the fact that it's often considered impolite when your dog jumps, there are a few safety reasons why you shouldn't allow your dog to jump on people or furniture.

Your Dog Could Knock Someone Down

Dogs that jump on people are more likely to accidentally knock someone over, especially if they're a large breed. This could lead to injuries, both for your dog and the person they knocked over. Small children are also at a high risk of injury if your dog decides to meet them at eye level.

Your Dog Could Damage Your Furniture

Dogs that jump up on furniture are more likely to damage or scratch the furniture. This is especially true if your dog is in need of a nail trim. Depending on the fabric, their nails could tear the material. Or their nails could get caught in the fabric and break, which can be very painful. 

Dogs Can Be Dirty

Another reason you might want to keep your pooch off the furniture is that they're more than happy to lie on the dirty ground outside. They tend to bring dirt and debris to your couch or bed. Which is unhygienic for you and requires more frequent cleaning.

Your Dog Could Get Injured

Jumping can also be hazardous to some dog breeds' health. For example, dogs that are more prone to hip dysplasia, spinal issues, and arthritis should be adamantly discouraged from jumping. This is because the added strain on their legs and back can contribute to injury or worsening of their condition.

Small dogs that jump up on furniture or counters could fall too. While it might seem like a short distance to you, an extra small or toy breed could easily get seriously injured if they land the wrong way. 

Most people are flattered to have a happy dog greeting behaviour at the door, but when jumping is in the mix, it makes the experience a little less enjoyable and a little more dangerous.

Breaking this habit won't happen overnight, but like any other type of dog training session, you can help your dog unlearn this nuisance habit and replace it with more positive and appropriate behaviours. 

Keep reading to learn about the four most common dog jumping behaviours and learn how to put a stop your dog to inappropriate dog jumping.


1. How To Stop a Dog From Jumping On Furniture


The best way to stop your dog from jumping on furniture is to not allow them on the furniture in the first place. This means not letting them on the furniture when they're a puppy, so they never learn this is okay behaviour, to begin with.

If you have an adult dog that's already allowed on the furniture and you're trying to transition them to not being on the furniture, it's best to start by not letting them on the furniture when you're home.

This means if dogs jump on the couch while you're sitting on it, you get up and leave the room. Likewise, if they jump on the bed while you're sleeping, you get up and leave the room.

The goal is to make it so that being on the furniture is not rewarding for them. Instead, you want them to associate being on the furniture with you leaving the room and not getting attention.

This means no petting, no talking, and no eye contact. If this isn't working, you'll have to take matters a little further and place objects on your couch or bed to make them unable to jump up.

For example, if you have a two-seater couch, put a big cardboard box or chair on the cushion you're not using. This will make them unable to jump up. Also, when you get up from the couch, you'll want another big box or chair to place on the other cushion you were using.

This is a less-than-ideal situation, but it will help break the habit as they physically won't get up. After enough time has passed when they haven't been able to get on the couch, they'll lose interest in trying and eventually understand the couch isn't a place for them to relax.

To prevent your dog from feeling neglected, try putting a comfortable bed dog, like a donut dog bed, near the couch so he can be close to you while you are relaxing. 


2. How to Stop Your Dog From Jumping on the Counter


Sometimes, your dog's habit of jumping on furniture in the house has nothing to do with getting close to you. Dogs that jump on tables, kitchen chairs, and counters are often less concerned with getting your attention and more concerned with getting your sandwich. 

Even if the food is safe for dogs to eat, they still shouldn't be consuming or chewing on anything that you don't give them, especially when unsupervised. Your dog could eat something toxic or choke. 

The first step is to remove open or loose food from the area that your dog is accessing. While it may not be convenient, keeping human foods tucked away in cupboards, containers, or the fridge will help to discourage your dog from jumping up to reach them.

Once a bad habit is built, it can be challenging to break, so even after the dog food is gone, your dog may still jump up on the counter out of habit.

Much like keeping your pet off of other furniture, placing objects like cardboard or tinfoil on your counters will help deter them from trying and, in time, break the annoying habit. 

If your dog's motivation isn't food-related, then he may be getting on the counter to get a better view of his environment. Kitchen windows give a nice view of the yard or neighbourhood, so your dog may just be looking for a better vantage point. 

Making sure your dog has access to a different window in a safer area of the house will help you redirect this behaviour to something more appropriate. You can place a comfy dog bed near the preferred window or make that spot into a play area where your dog can be comfortable. 

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3. How To Stop a Dog From Jumping On People and House Guests

The most important thing when it comes to stopping a dog from jumping on people coming into your home is to make sure everyone is on the same page. Everyone has to agree to adhere to the new rules you're making.

If just one person allows jumping, it sends mixed signals to your dog, making it difficult for them to understand proper behaviour.

This is difficult because it's hard not to give them attention when they're so excited. But, if you can be consistent, it will pay off.

First, you must not allow them to jump on you when you come into the house. If they jump on you, you turn around and ignore them; you can even try leaving the house. The bottom line is no petting or talking to them when they're jumping on you.

The first few tries will be the most frustrating, as your dog will repeatedly try to jump to get your attention. If they follow you and continue to jump, turn away again. Try crossing your arms to show your pooch that you are not going to interact. 

If they're jumping on other people who come into the house, have those people do the same thing. It would help if you let them know what you're trying to accomplish by asking ahead of time. Ask your guests to play along with your new rules.

This means asking them to turn around, ignore, and possibly leave the house if your dog jumps.

The goal is to make it so that jumping equals people leaving and ultimately not getting any attention.


4. How To Stop a Dog From Jumping On Strangers


This one is a bit more difficult as you can't control how strangers will react to your dog. But, if you're consistent with the rules you set at home, it will eventually pay off.

The best way to avoid this is by what you teach your dog at home. If you allow them to jump on anyone who enters your home, they won't see a problem with jumping on strangers.

When you curb this behaviour inside your home and teach your dog, then it will be much less likely to jump up when they're excited to greet a stranger.

Another thing that's great to have on hand when you're out and about with your dog is high-value dog treats. These kinds of treats are great for getting your dog's full attention. But they have to be high-value treats, not just any ordinary treat.

Often, the smellier, the better. Some examples of high-value treats are Benny Bully's Liver Chops or Tilted Barn Bacon Treats. It's different for every dog, but once you find a treat pouch that your dog absolutely loves, you can get their attention in most environments. No matter what's going on.

Practice vocal cues like 'sit' or 'wait' at home too. When your dog has a good grasp of these commands, you can use them to prevent your dog from getting over-excited and jumping on strangers. This will also hint to the stranger that you don't want your dog jumping up. 


What To Avoid When Your Dog Won't Stop Jumping

When it comes to training methods to teach your dog not to jump on you, you want to avoid being physical with them. This means no pushing them off you, kneeing them in the chest, or grabbing their four paws on the floor.

If you're physical with your dog when they jump, it will only escalate the bad behaviour. They'll either get hurt, which can harm your relationship with them, or think you're playing a game and will continue to jump even more. Not to mention, it's just not nice to be physical with your dog like that.

Check out Force Free Dog Training Tips for more information on training techniques for your dog using positive and safe training techniques.

Another thing to avoid is picking them up when they jump. People often do this with small dogs, but it's not a good idea. If you pick them up when they jump, this is a reward for your dog in their mind because they're being held by you and getting attention. This is more than enough reason to continue jumping in the future.

The best way to avoid these things is by using force-free, positive reinforcement training sessions with your dog. This means rewarding them when they listen to you and do what you ask.

For example, if a dog sits instead of jumping, give them a treat or praise. This will show them that they're doing what you want and will encourage them to continue listening in the future.


No More Dog Jumping

Jumping is a normal and instinctual behaviour for dogs, but it's one that requires training to stop. Otherwise, they'll continue to jump on people and furniture and potentially cause damage or hurt someone.

You can eventually stop them from jumping altogether by using positive reinforcement, training your dog consistently, and ensuring everyone's on the same page. It might take some time and patience, but it's definitely possible.

If you struggle to teach your dog to stop jumping, it might be time to consult a professional dog trainer. They can provide you with techniques and routines to help you train your dog effectively.


Frequently Asked Questions 

Why does my dog jump on people and furniture?

Dogs often jump as a form of greeting, excitement, or to get attention. Understanding the reason is essential for addressing the behaviour.

How can I prevent my dog from jumping on guests?

Train your dog with commands like "off" or "down," and practice these commands when guests arrive. Reward calm behaviour and discourage jumping by turning away from and ignoring your dog when they jump.

Is it necessary to provide an alternative behaviour for my dog to replace jumping?

Teaching an alternative behaviour, like sitting or staying when guests approach, can redirect their attention and energy away from jumping.

What should I do if my dog jumps on furniture?

Ensure your dog has designated spaces like a bed or crate, and use positive reinforcement to encourage them to use these areas instead of furniture.

Are there training aids or tools that can help stop jumping behaviour?

Tools like leashes, harnesses, or training collars can be used with professional guidance to teach your dog not to jump.

When should I seek professional help for my dog's jumping behaviour?

Consider consulting a professional dog trainer if your dog's jumping persists despite training efforts or becomes aggressive or problematic. 

Hurtta Trick Pockets

Written by

Alec Littlejohn

Alec Littlejohn is the founder of Pawscessories. He grew up in a family of vets and is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.


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