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Why Do Dogs Jump On You?

Why Do Dogs Jump On You?

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Dog Jumping
As a dog owner you would have noticed, that your dogs enjoy jumping on you, when they see you. This occurs sometimes when you least expect it. It can be quite annoying sometimes especially when you are in your Sunday's best and they mess it up. Also the resultant scratching that occurs as their claws pinch into your skin. If you are visiting and you see a dog approaching you ready to jump on you. You immediately get a sense of fear, as you think is the dog jumping to attack or just to say hello? Let's see why dogs jumps on people.

Why Do Dogs Jump On You?

Dogs are very intelligent creatures and they jump on you as a way of communication. They tend to jump on you to greet you, showing they are happy to see you. They also jump on you to gain your attention towards them to show you what they have found or let you know it is time to play. Lastly, they jump on you to exert dominance in a threatening situation.


Personal Experience

  • Smokey

Smokey our Alsatian dog is quite trained and disciplined. It will usually not jump on you unprovoked. It understands the word done and if you point your fingers downwards, it understands not to jump. So if you find Smokey jumping on you, it is most likely to let you know there is a problem somewhere and you need to listen and follow him. Also if you are a stranger, you better not venture near our residence uninvited or when Smokey is not in his home. Smokey is quite a gentle charismatic dog and we tend to allow it walk around the compound of the house, as it does not show any untoward vicious behaviors.

However I clearly remember the day a visitor just walked straight into our compound, because we were standing outside and didn't think much to it as everywhere was calm. All of a sudden we hear Smokey running on full speed and charging towards the visitor. The poor man with quick reflexes had to jump on top of the car that was parked in front of him until we got Smokey back under control.

The funny thing is that were the man was standing, Smokey did not see him, it was because he spoke and immediately Smokey knew that was a stranger and had categorized him a threat. It just goes to show how extremely loyal and protective a dog can be towards it's family when they perceive threats.

  • Skido

Skido on the other end enjoys when you give it head pats and cuddles when it is chained down. If it is not chained, it will rather prefer to wander around exploring the surroundings looking for secrets more like a hunter dog. When Skido is chained down and you are done patting it, it just stays smiling but no real show of excitement like most dogs will. However, once you get up to live, guess what, Skido springs up and jumps on you for you to continue the patting and greeting.

    Why Do Dogs Jump On You?

    1. To Greet You

    2. To Exert Authority

    3. To Grab Your Attention

    1. To Greet You

    We had this Hungarian Shepard dog that was large and had some good weight to her. Once she jumps on you to greet you, if you are not standing well rooted to the ground, you are most likely to fall down. The bad thing is she does it when you are unaware. To hold on to her when she jumps on you also takes a good amount of energy.

    So yes, greeting is a major reason why dogs jump on you. They have missed you since you went out and are happy to see you have returned. Among dogs they touch each other faces to play and cuddle. You will see puppies jumping to touch their mother's faces especially when she brings in some food. It is the way they show affection. The jump on their owners and family as their way to reach your face and great you. You make notice that once you are face to face with them, they tend to lick your face, showing their affection. Also if you have a treat in your hand, your dog is likely to jump to try to reach it.

    2. To Exert Authority

    When dogs feel threatened, unsafe or notice the presence of a new individual, their instinct is to let you know that you have crossed a line. This is about them exerting dominance. You may see the dogs jumping up and down or jumping on you. If they perceive you are threat or a thief wanting to hurt their family. They will jump on you to take you down and usually will hold onto you with a firm bite.

    However if it is simply about marking territory, they will jump on you with out hurting you, as they do this to other dogs as well. While this might be a frightening situation for the person being jumped on, just keep your cool. Better still ensure the dog is tied down before entering their territory. Toy dogs especially like to jump on strangers the good thing though is that they are not as scaring compared to much larger dogs.

    3. To Grab Your Attention

    Sometimes your dog may need to alert you to a situation. They may have discovered something which they want to show you. To alert you and sure you the urgency of the situation they will jump on you. This is usually followed with them running towards the direction you should follow. You will notice you dog run and stop a short distance to be sure you are following them behind. 

    In other cases, it is just pent up energy. Either it has been long since you have taken them for a walk/exercise or tired of just being on their own. Jumping on you may be their call for you to play with them. So take note when you see them jump on you and try to figure what why?

    Should You Stop Your Dog From Jumping On You?

    Jumping on you is a dog's natural instinct. It is how they alert you to certain situations. Stopping it in totality may not be what is best for you dog. You want the to be able to effectively communicate with you. What you can do is train your dog to know when not to jump on you. This training is best done when the dog is a puppy as it is easier for them to learn and follow instructions. However it can be done at any age.

    Knowing why your dog jumps on you can help in crafting a long term solution. Know their activity level and organize exercise and walk sessions to meet it. If they are jumping on your guests, you may need to get a leash for your dog. Positive and negative reinforcement come into play in controlling this behavior. Positively reinforce appropriate behaviors by using food treats and endearing words, pats and hugs. For inappropriate behaviors you want to make use of negative reinforcements such as scolding and walking away. 

    When you dog jumps on you in your Sunday's best and you pat it on the head and great it, you are encouraging this behavior. To prevent it, put the dog back down with a stern warning. If you continue to this. The dog will learn it is not a wanted behavior. Instead, encourage the dog to come near you when they say you with out jumping. When your dog does this give it a treat or good patting to reinforce this desired behavior.

    Final Words

    Dogs are called men's best friend for a reason. They exhibit this in their eagerness to greet us and gain our attention. When your dog jumps on you or strangers, it is your duty to teach it the right social etiquette while not over compromising the dog's ability to follow its natural protective instincts. That said, you should be aware that when dogs jump on us they do so to greet us, get our attention or show their protective authority.

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