How to Stop a Dog From Jumping on Guests

Posted by Derek Vore on 6/19/2012

Many of us have had this happen. You're sliding the pan of jalapeno poppers into the oven, and there's a knock at the door. Before you can stand up to shut the oven, "WOO WOO WOO WOO!" Next thing you know, you're in a full-fledged wrestling match with your dog while trying to open the door with your pinky finger. Your flustered guest slowly tries to squeeze through the front door of your home while you grunt out a "hey, how's it going" and keep wrestling your dog back with purple fingers wrapped tight around their collar.

It doesn't have to be this way. Dogs that lack a leader will try to lead themselves. It's the same as in human society. If there's no leader, someone will rise and take the lead. Someone has to. When there's a knock at the door, and you're yelling at your dog and running for the door, your dog thinks you're panicked and out of control. To you dog, you are just making frantic noises and running chaotically toward the door.

To correct their behavior, you have to let them know who's in control. While they frantically bark and run around in front of the door, you should calmly walk to them, position yourself in front of your dog and move your dog backward away from the door. Get your dog to sit and calm down. Maintain eye contact with them, and hold your hand up while telling them to stay. Slowly open your front door and quietly tell your guest to stay calm and not pay any attention to your dog, then lead them through and pass your dog without paying any attention.

Your dog needs to understand that you are in control of these situations, and that they can sit back and relax. Let them know that they have nothing to worry about, and that you have it under control. It will take doing this consistently every time someone comes to visit, but they will soon understand.

If your dog is very persistent, use a leash to better control their behavior. Sit them at the door, stand on the end of the leash so it's almost tight, then let your guest in past your dog. If the dog tries to jump, the leash keeps them down. Then verbally correct them by saying "no," and direct their attention away from the guest completely. Soon your dog will realize that it's unacceptable for them to bark and jump on visitors. Make them stay sitting while you walk away with your guest. Use training treats if they are too easily distracted to focus on your directions.

Good luck!