Preventing Labrador pups from jumping

Reinforcing bad behaviors

A jumping labrador pup who greets this way is usually over-excited. They "jump for joy." Jumping behaviour is instinctive. Puppies in a helping box will climb & jump over one another to get their mother's attention. 

Behaviours are reinforced during greeting times. When a jumping dog is met by an excited owner who praises and plays with them, the jumping has been rewarded and reinforced and it becomes part of their routine.

They may be trying to establish dominance

Dogs jump up on each other is known as "teeing off." They rest their head or paws on the shoulder and exert a downward pressure of another dog they want to dominate. Because we are higher, it is more difficult to tee off on, nevertheless, the motivation is the same. The dog may be trying to establish dominance. In these instance, they may jump up and lean on you.

Identifying Dominant Behavior

It's important to identify this behavior by seeing it in the context of your relationship. A disobedient labrador isn't necessarily a dumb labrador. If they don't listen to you. If they push and pull you around, they may have decided not to recognize you as their the pack leader. They may still thinking the world of you as a companion. Whether male or female, a labrador that consistently jumps up may be exhibiting one of many behaviours of the Alpha dog.

If you suspect that the jumping is an expression of dominance, then your training will need to involve stronger corrections. You will need to do more than ignore the dog their jumping. For instance, water squirting, sharp "growling /aghhh". You might even force the labrador down and holding them there until they are still.

Use Your Hands

To prevent your labrador from jumping up put both hands out in front of you and hold still. A labrador will respond to this gesture reasonably quickly with training repetitions. As with any training technique, do not introduce any verbal commands until the correct behavior has been demonstrated. For example, don't start using the "down" command until your dog gets down of its own accord. They learn the command, by associating the right action with that command.

How To React

You'll have to know the proper response if your labrador starts jumping up. This means knowing 'what not to do'. If your dog is a problem jumper, certainly don't be over-enthusiastic during your greetings. This reinforces the bad behaviour. Likewise, don't push the dog away or they will interpret this as play. Dogs instinctively push. They pull on a leash because they are encouraged by the force exerted on them.

Ignore the Dog

When your dog jumps up, just turn your back and ignore it, Then calmly ask him to sit. When the dog has calmed down, and responded to the sit command, then you can you turn and greet the dog. If it starts jumping again, repeat the process. You might even raise your knee towards the dogs chest and put it off balance. Turning your back and stonewalling the dog is better if you can. Be patient and you will send the right message in your body language. Nevertheless, the dog will take several training sessions to catch on

A Calm Dog

Always greet a calm dog "at its level." Squat or kneel down then open your palms toward the dog. This is a non-threatening posture that dogs associate with praise. We all like it when people try to meet us on our level. Dogs are no different.

You Are the Dominant Member

If you have established your position as the dominant member of your pack, then your dog should never be allowed to position himself in front of you particularly when you open a door. You are the Alpha Dog. Give a calm and firm "stay Down" warning before you open the door. Your dog will respond to your sense of composure and assertiveness.


If you have tried and failed to stop your dog from jumping up, then you will need to increase their exercise. Dogs need more exercise than we think. If they have no outlet for their energy, they will find one, and this may include indiscriminate digging and jumping up and down uncontrollably. You will need to keep their legs and lungs pumping. Take your dog for controlled walks then pay ball and fetch.