Your Dog Problems Solved

Jumping Up And Pawing

Dogs that jump up can be a nuisance, especially if they put muddy paws on clean clothes. They can also cause damage and upset to those they jump on, espeically to those who are young, elderly or infirm. However, with the right approach, even established jumping and pawing habits can be broken, leaving you with a well-behaved dog that keeps all four feet on the ground.



For puppies younger than 6 month of age, go to 'Puppy Jumping Up'

  • Jumping up

Why do dogs do it?

Dogs that jump up and put their paws on people are usually very social and are trying to get our attention.  These behaviours are usually learned during puppyhood when their aim is to get close enough to lick our faces, a normal and natural greeting for a puppy.  When this is rewarded by humans with fuss and attention, they learn to do it each time they want to make contact with us or when greeting people.

To punish or not?

Many people scold or tell their dog off for jumping or pawing. This usually has only a temporary effect and the dog jumps up or paws again soon afterwards. Many trainers recommend the use of various forms of mild punishment for jumping up. Unfortunately, it takes repeated severe punishments to stop a well-established behaviour.


The side-effects of this type of punishment are often the development a fear of hands, knees, legs, or feet, depending on the choice of action. This can cause a happy, out-going dog to become withdrawn, wary, frightened and even defensively aggressive, and so it is not a good choice of treatment for this (or any) problem.

Play time?

Some lively dogs jump up and put paws on people when trying to get them to play. This is common in young energetic dogs that play unsupervised with children.


Jumping up and play-biting often results in some lively squealing from the person, making the game very exciting for the dog.  Dogs that do this need to learn to play with toys rather than use people's bodies for this purpose.  Go to 'How to Teach Your Dog to Play', and 'Play Biting In Adult Dogs' 

No more jumping or pawing

There are various positive methods that will be successful depending on the dog and how established the habit is. Simply ignoring the jumping or pawing, turning away, and rewarding when all four feet are on the ground works well for some dogs, although the problem may get worse before it gets better with this treatment.  Other dogs may respond well to training for a behaviour that is incompatible with jumping, such as sitting, while some owners may need to use a line for a while to control the jumping or pawing so they can reward the behaviour they want.


The important thing is to only ever reward your dog with attention when all four feet are on the ground and allow time for your dog to develop new habits. Control will also be needed around visitors and children until good habits are established. For seasoned jumpers or pawers, a phyisical exercise and mental stimulation programme may be required, as well as lessons in self-control, to help speed up the process.

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