Help! How do I stop my dog from jumping on visitors?

Author picture Jessica  - updated: 04/06/2017

Bouncing up to give you a big sloppy kiss is one of the most common challenges for any dog owner. You want to give a good impression to friends and family, as well as the pet sitter popping over for a meet and greet….so what do you do when your big adult dog leaps up in guest’s faces?

It’s important to remember that this behavior begins in puppyhood, so the earlier you intervene the better. As with any habit, it can be tricky to undo, but with patience, consistency and cooperation from your visitors, you can calm even the bounciest pooch!

One way that dogs greet each other is by licking and exploring each other’s muzzles - they likewise want to greet you this way too because they LOVE YOU! Whether you’ve been away for months or just up at the shops getting the milk, it’s sweet to think that they’re so thrilled to be back in your company. But it can really be overwhelming, especially for anyone who is frail or a bit fearful of dogs.

We don’t recommend kneeing your dog in the chest or punishing them for this behaviour which has, after all, been reinforced since they were a pup (even pushing them off you gives them that physical contact they love and crave). A kinder approach is to nip the behavior in the bud by integrating greeting training into your dog’s daily life. This needn’t be complicated either – just consistent, remembering that you’re just teaching your dog that one action will cause a certain reaction from you.

Keep it calm…

When you get home, keep it zen and bring down the energy. Avoid over-exciting your dog or using a loud, high voice to get them hyped up.

Don't reward the jump

When your dog leaps up to greet you, lift your arms to your chest and stand up straight, looking straight ahead or turning away if necessary. Once your dog is back on solid ground, give them a pat and a hello. This approach might take a good few months….and it might seem like it isn’t working (your dog might even jump higher to get attention!), but stick with it. Your dog will soon learn that praise and rewards come when they are planted and not giving you a mid-leap face lick.


Leave a toy or some treats near the front door so that your dog can have something to play with or chew when visitors come over. This will dissipate that initial excitable behavior from the first greeting and give them another source of focus until everyone is inside and settled.

Get the whole team involved

Make sure everyone (and we mean EVERYONE!) consistently helps maintain this training. If you know you have a guest that won’t be onboard and will encourage jumping, keep your dog on a leash when they come over and turn your dog gently away when they jump. Or, to be safe, keep them in a separate space until you know they’ve settled. 

Burn that energy! 

Take your pup for a well-deserved walk before visitors come around! This will get some of the nervous energy out and your dog will be happier and healthier for it – but don’t fret if you can’t fit it in, that’s what we’re here for! Find a trusted local Pawshake dog walker to take your dog on an outdoor adventure today.