Lissa (my dog) jumped on me while walking.
That’s why I wondered (like you) why dogs do this.
In this article I’ll share my findings.
- 7 reasons why your dog jumps on you while walking.
- 3 simple and proven tips if you want to stop this behavior.
- And more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog jump on me while walking?
The most common reason why your dog could jump on you while walking is to get your attention. It might be because they want to play, they’re anxious, frustrated, overstimulated, and were previously rewarded by you for jumping. Jumping also shows a lack of training typically stemming from puppyhood.
7 reasons why your dog jumps on you while walking
#1: Looking for attention
By jumping on you, all that your dog wants is to get your attention.
And you might be giving them some-and you’re totally unaware of it!
If you don’t consider scolding and pushing your dog gently aside as forms of giving attention, you’re wrong.
It might be negative attention but it’s still attention. The more you say ‘NO’ or raise your voice, the more persistent your dog could become.
That’s because whenever you attempt to stop them from jumping on you, you look them in the eyes, you talk to them, and sometimes even touch them.
But hey, let’s try to put ourselves in the shoes of your dog for a moment, shall we?
Your dog has been staying home alone all day…
When you come home to take them out for a walk, you could perceive this time as nothing more than a part of your daily routine.
But for your dog this is an exciting time! It’s what they’ve been waiting for.
So, don’t get too surprised by the fact that they want to interact and be showered with attention by you.
After all, if you had been separated by your friends for months on end, wouldn’t you burst with excitement the next time you see them?
I thought so.
Remember, dogs are social beings and even though the day could go fast while you’re doing certain tasks at work, for your dog it might feel like an eternity to stay home alone with nothing to do.
#2: Initiating play
Some dogs would show you they feel like playing by jumping at you or biting on their lead.
Bear in mind that these are not signs of aggressive behavior.
The reason this is happening is your dog is full of energy and they need to put it into action.
And although they mean well, jumping on you could hurt. Especially if your dog is big and has long sharp nails.
By jumping on you your dog may be prompting you to play fetch or unleash them so they could run.
#3: Feeling anxious
Your dog could get anxious due to a variety of triggers. A couple of which could be crowded and noisy places.
Lissa (my long-haired Chihuahua mix), for example, doesn’t like it when there are a lot of puppies around her.
She’s small in size and even though puppies mean well, she feels like their presence is too much for her.
To indicate she feels fed up with that, she starts jumping at me, and is looking me in the eyes while barking.
What she wants in certain situations is for me to get her out of there either by continuing our walk or by me holding her in my hands so puppies won’t be able to reach her.
#4: Feeling frustrated
‘What could my dog be frustrated about during a walk?’ you ask yourself.
Well, the frustration could be triggered by the presence of another person or a dog.
This happens mostly when your dog is leashed. They get frustrated due to the fact that they’re restricted.
Even if your dog expresses certain interest in a fellow canine or another human being, they have limited freedom to act based on that.
So, your dog can’t go to them or has limited time to smell them and interact. Then, before you know it your dog starts jumping on you or pulling the lead with their mouth.
And this is how your dog manages to express their frustration on the matter.
#5: Being overstimulated
If your dog is overstimulated, they will most probably not only jump but also nibble on you.
This behavior is typical in puppies when they’re feeling tired. While in this condition, they can also become a bit grumpy (just like an employee who hasn’t had enough sleep, woke up early, and didn’t get a chance to buy coffee yet).
#6: You’re encouraging the behavior
Anything from scolding your dog to calmly talking to them with the aim of making them stop jumping, is reinforcing the behavior.
Petting them or scratching them behind the ears has the same effect.
You will not calm your dog by doing so. Chances are you’re only going to make it worse for yourself.
Dogs do know how to take advantage of an opportunity that has presented itself. So if they see they get a reaction out of you, they’ll keep testing your boundaries.
#7: It’s a habit from puppyhood
Since dogs seek company, they’re always enthusiastic about seeing their human after a long work day.
Puppies show their affection and excitement by jumping on their owners. That’s how a puppy could get close enough to their human and express how they feel.
Dogs choose to jump and remain vertically positioned towards us because we’re taller. This is as close as they can get to our faces, provided we’re not bending to pet or scratch them.
And to be honest, most people don’t mind a puppy jumping on them – they even find it cute.
But as soon as the dog grows up and becomes bigger, and heavier, people start viewing the behavior as an issue.
What dog owners often fail to realize is that they have communicated to their dog this behavior is okay ever since the dog was a pup…
So, when all of a sudden the owner starts being frustrated about their dog jumping up, the dog doesn’t understand what’s wrong.
What to do about it?
You’ve probably already tried a variety of strategies you could think of. But none of them worked…
And that led you here.
After all the things you’ve tried and the unsuccessful outcome, you might feel you’re about to give up.
Don’t. The solution is more simple than you can imagine.
To stop your dog from jumping up on you during walks you shouldn’t do anything.
That’s right, all you have to do instead is…
#1: Ignore the dog
Don’t show that your dog’s jumping is bothering you. You can do that by not reacting to your dog at all.
This method is referred to as ‘negative punishment’ in dog training but when we leave the name aside, there’s nothing bad about it.
Ignoring the dog serves to diminish the unwanted behavior.
Understand – no eye contact, no touching, no talking from your side.
To make this even more effective, you can turn your back to your dog as soon as they jump on you.
The idea of this is to present yourself as boring to your dog. They can’t really interact with your back, can they?
You should bear in mind that if you were previously ‘rewarding’ your dog with attention for jumping on you and suddenly start ignoring them, they might jump even more…
Imagine this – you cross the road each day and press the traffic light button without much thought. One day you press it but nothing happens.
What would you do?
You’d most likely press it several times in a row and harder while you’re at it.
That’s because you’re used to it working. And as soon as it doesn’t, you’re wired to ‘try harder’. It’s the same for your dog.
In this case, it’s important for you to not let your guard down. Just consider this as part of the process, and even as progress.
Soon enough you should reap the fruits of your labor and your dog will learn that jumping won’t get them what they want.
#2: Redirect the behavior
Besides ignoring your dog, what also works very well is directing their attention and effort to another activity.
You have positive reinforcement at your disposal to achieve results.
Simply ask the dog to perform a command such as ‘sit’ or ‘lie down’, and reward them for doing so.
As soon as your dog starts obeying the orders, give it treats and repeat over and over again. This will ingrain the right type of habits in your dog’s overall behavior.
So, next time they want your attention or a treat, this is how they can attempt to get it.
Reward your dog for activities such as sitting or walking beside you on the leash without pulling.
#3: Exercise your dog
Exercising is not only beneficial for your dog’s physical health but also for their mental one.
By exercising your dog, you’re lowering the chances of the dog misbehaving at home or during walks.
With daily exercise your dog will be more relaxed and happier. Plus, more receptive to listen to you and learn with ease.
In case you’re worried to unleash your dog just anywhere, try to find a suitable park or a fenced area for dogs.
If you don’t have the time or your dog has high levels of energy, you could simply consult with a dog training professional.
Then, you can sign up your dog for agility training.