How to Keep Dog from Jumping on Kids

20 Aug

I walk my dog through our community of 100+ homes, many of which have children under 12. My dog is big and shaggy and lovable, and kids always want to pat him. The problem is that he jumps on kids. I don’t want to scare them or hurt them (liability is an issue here, too). I’m working with Peabody on training him not to jump on people, but in the mean time, is there a tactful way to warn kids that he jumps?
R.H., Salt Lake City, UT

Dear R.H.,

I’m glad you’re getting the jumping under control. Those of us who allowed our large-breed pups to jump on us when they were little often find it more difficult to deal with this problem when they’re not so little. The fastest way to deal with a dog who jumps on people is to involve a professional trainer. Then, anytime you run into someone during a walk, consider it a training opportunity. Be prepared to spend some time working on this issue with your dog in the beginning. As he realizes that jumping is not acceptable, you’ll have fewer instances of it and will be able to cover more ground on your walks.

Meanwhile, here’s an idea that may help you. Involve the kids in Peabody’s retraining. As children approach you, say something like, “I wonder if you would help me train my dog not to jump on people.” Almost any child will eagerly agree. Any who are afraid of dogs will likely back off. Ask the children to stand with their hands at their sides until Peabody is in a proper sit before they pet him. Make it a game. Their positive reinforcement is good for the dog. You’re also 1) warning the kids that he jumps and 2) teaching them a little bit about dog behavior and training. You might even consider getting Peabody a vest or t-shirt that says “dog in training” to help communicate to people that it’s not helpful for them to rush up to him and pat him.

A dog who is otherwise well-behaved should be able to break this habit in a couple of weeks at the most … if you have the help of a professional trainer.

Got a question about dog etiquette? Send it here.


Posted by on August 20, 2006 in Dog Etiquette


6 responses to “How to Keep Dog from Jumping on Kids

  1. Janet Beale

    August 26, 2006 at 8:08 pm

    Our Am Staf gets so happy and excited to see another dog that he literaly leaps, jumps and basically goes nuts. Due to his size it is hard to keep control and the other dog owners are scared of him. He is friendly and does well with other dogs and has a dog friend at home. In public he is just too excited and nobody ever wants to play. We are now using a nose halti for control but with all the tail wagging and such it does not stop him for wanting to play. Any ideas?

    NOTE FROM MODERATOR: I recommend you watch Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, on National Geographic Channel. He shows dog owners how to maintain control over their dogs with compassion and in terms that the dog can understand. He’ll show you how to help your dog say in a calm state of mind even with distractions. He has done this with dogs who were terrified of children, dogs who were obsessed with balls and rocks, and dogs who were jacked up and excitable all the time. Buy the first season on DVD and watch the techniques he uses. You have an especially urgent need to get your dog to display good manners at all times, because people will be more afraid of your dog than if it were a Cocker Spaniel doing the same behavior. – L.W.

  2. Vanessa Hajek

    September 25, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Try distracting him with a treat. Something that he really loves. Most dogs will love human food like hot dog slices or beef jerky. The average dog will not work eagerly for the same kibble he eats every day.
    When a person approaches you and your dog get your dog’s attention by saying his name and come when he looks at you hold the treat out to him and act really excited. Most dogs will forget about the person when faced with a treat. Also walk backwards while doing this. Do this every time and maybe even ask people like friends to help out. You must be consistent or your dog will not pick up what he is supposed to do. Soon you can start phasing out the treats and just use praise. Your dog should start to offer a behavior like looking back at you or completely turning around and walking towards you hoping to get a treat. This is what you want. Reward this behavior.

    –Imzadi Conformation and Obedience Training

  3. Carolyn

    April 5, 2007 at 5:51 am

    My opinion is that the professional trainer is the fastest surest solution.

  4. april

    April 15, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    I have a Rhodesion Ridgeback I got from from a friend when he
    was around 4 years old and he is a jumper and he likes to run and have a look at other dogs leash or not 😦 and it was a pain to get him to stop well i got him to stop running after things but i tell people who come up to us that he is going to look you in the eyes if you come any closer and he does i warn them before hand . I like the idea of getting the kids involved and the vest dog in training i got to get me one 🙂 Dog Behavior Problems

  5. Marcus

    June 14, 2007 at 5:13 pm


    Thanks for the info, even though our kids love it when the dogs jump on them and give them attention. Luckily they are not violent so it wasn’t a danger to anyone. They grew out of it after a while.

  6. German Rottweiler breeders

    August 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Good advise, ceser millan does give good tips.

    Vom Bullenfeld German Rottweilers


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