Jumping Up to Greet: Teaching an Alternative

Jumping up to greet is a normal dog behavior that we may find annoying, or we might not. If you don’t want your dog jumping up you can teach them an alternative such as keeping four (paws) on the floor or sitting. Sitting may prove to be a bit fussy and hard for some pups if this is the case for your puppy start with four on the floor instead.

If you don’t want your adult dog jumping start by preventing your puppy from jumping. Do this by staying far enough away from his target, keeping the line short enough so he can’t make contact, and feeding treats. Delivering them to the ground versus his mouth may be helpful in this situation.

If you don’t want your adult dog jumping up to greet start by teaching your puppy.

Do this exercise on the street when the puppy encounters people. This should be easy as most people are naturally drawn to a puppy, they will make a beeline for your pup asking if they can pet him. This is a perfect training opportunity for more than one reason! You are socializing the puppy, and you have the opportunity to teach the dog how to greet people.

At any local business where you take the puppy, practice teaching the puppy how you want him to greet. Teach in any situation where the puppy will be meeting someone or where he may be tempted to jump up to investigate or say hello.

When you introduce the pup to people, it helps if the person is standing upright for the initial greeting. Once the puppy is tuned in to you have the other person bend down and say hello. If they want to cuddle and pet the pup, have them get down low to the ground. This will serve as the cue to your puppy that it is acceptable to get closer, jump around, get petted, and say hello.

Begin straight away and continue on until it is an automatic response on the puppy’s part. With thoughtful and consistent effort, you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your pup will learn.

Meet, Greet, and Treat

To teach the pup to sit or stand versus jumping up to greet. Tips: Use high-value food. Coach your helper or whoever is meeting the pup to remain standing up and avoid high-pitched happy talk that will promote jumping.


 As a person approaches, or when you approach a person, put the treat against the pup’s nose and lure him into a sit or feed the puppy treats on the ground. If the puppy is pulling to get to the person prevent access with the leash and by standing far enough away. 

Keep those treats coming to help accomplish this.


When he is holding the sit or standing still, by all means, have the person he is meeting offer him a treat as well. When you are practicing this provide frequent breaks for the pup by moving away from the person and then back for another go. 

TIP: Food for Thought

How many times have you met a cute little puppy on the street and kneeled down to pet him? If that puppy is into interacting with you what does he usually do? He jumps up. And what do we do? Even if the person that belongs with that pup is attempting to get the puppy off of us we say “Oh no that’s okay, he is so cute.” (Pet, pet, cuddle, cuddle.)

What just happened here? The pup is being reinforced for a behavior that after he hits six or seven months old, may be considered far less desirable (especially if he is muddy). And all of a sudden, the people who were all for the jumping, won’t be. This is confusing and stressful for a dog. This is why you see so many dogs planting themselves when they see a person on the sidewalk.

TIP: More Food for Thought

While you are working to teach your puppy how to greet people, you will certainly encounter some who will not support your efforts. Insisting that it is okay for your dog to jump on them. Offering words like ‘we are in training’ may be helpful for you in these situations.