Last Updated/Info Checked on October 17, 2023 by Scott
Pets look up to us for love, attention, food, and shelter. They are completely dependent upon us for these things, after all.
In providing them with these things, we develop a special bond with them.
So, if you are wondering what does it mean when your dog jumps on you, it does because it’s exciting to see you. It wants to smell where you have been and possibly what you are up to. But more serious reasons include separation-related behaviors such as separation anxiety, hyperattachment, poor training, seeking rewards, and so on.
Let’s explore them one by one.
Why do dogs jump on you?
Owners who are not careful in maintaining a healthy distance between themselves and their pets often suffer the consequences of hyperattachment.
But before dogs reach that phase, there are subtle signs that tell you that they are on that road.
Hyperattachment isn’t a good thing for your relationship with the canine.
It could lead to serious problems such as separation-related behaviors, where separation anxiety is the most notorious one.
In all fairness, the sudden jumps on you when you get home could be the latter leg of separation anxiety.
Dogs experience that get overly anxious when you leave and over-excited when you return.
Of course, that’s the worst-case scenario.
Here are the reasons that may not raise alarms but are still worth considering should you wish to correct the dog’s jumping behavior.
Each dog exhibits this behavior to some degree. In my whole wide career, I have seldom seen a dog that’s reserved and does not get super excited to see its owner after some separation.
The dogs that didn’t show excitement were broken and had to be repaired with plenty of love (and positive reinforcement).
How to know if your dog is excited to see you?
- It will crowd at the door before your arrival.
- It will bark, wag its tail, and hind legs, hold its ears back, and maintain a low posture.
- Then, it will jump on you at lunge at your face for kisses a.k.a licking.
You shouldn’t crouch if you don’t want the kisses. Research published in Science Direct1 found out that dogs licked owners who crouched when they entered the home.
2. Seeking Rewards
Pets can easily get addicted to the reward system you’ve introduced to them.
I don’t know about others but dogs are suckers for rewards. That’s particularly why treats work so well in obedience training. As you’ll read ahead, that in turn, works great in correcting your dog’s behavior of jumping.
Coming back to the point, your dog will expect pets, kisses, hugs, and “good boy” chants when you enter.
You’ve been feeding it all that every day when you return and thus, the behavior.
3. Poor Training
Obedience training does work. But nothing works if you don’t try it at all.
The dog will become unruly and do what it wishes. You could say that when there’s no training, the dogs will play at their whims.
But poor training may not mean the absence of training in your case. In your case, you might have spoiled the dog’s behavior with hyperattachment.
4. Hyper Attachment
Research published in the AVMA Journals2 has found that dogs get super attached to single owners – 2.5 times more than having multiple owners.
However, there’s a huge difference between just attachment and hyperattachment.
As the prefix suggests the research confirms that hyper attachment is when the dog starts following the owner everywhere.
It cannot seem to live without them.
The dog will exhibit signs of nervousness and anxiety when the owner starts to leave and be excited well beyond healthy thresholds when they are back.
But in all fairness, it is our hyper attention that’s feeding the K9 that kind of attachment.
Our unconditional love spoils the dog. They have the intelligence of a 2-year-old human child.
You may have an experience with them. They want immediate results – punishment or reward.
Either way, the outcomes are what you choose.
Why does my dog go crazy and jump on me?
Your dog goes crazy and jumps on you because it may have separation-related behavioral problems.
However, before we rule that out, see for other signs that the dog presents when you’re not home.
They include howling, barking excessively, destroying things, urinating and pooping in unauthorized places, eating their excrement, pacing, anxiety, depression, and shaking.
So, if you come to a house where you see broken glassware, torn sheets, and pillows, or a chewed sofa, with poop lying around, you know you’ve got a dog suffering from a mental breakdown.
That behavior also manifests in excessive jumping on you or other family members. And the jumping doesn’t just stop when you come home.
You may see your dog lunge at you while you’re lying, follow you everywhere, and get super fidgety when you’re performing departure rituals – picking up keys or wearing shoes.
If you don’t see these signs, then the dog may be okay. It may be acting out of love because the bonds dogs form with us are akin to children-parent bonds.
They have a hard time seeing you leave. Why wouldn’t they cheer when you come?
Why does my dog lunge at my face?
Lunging is a normal behavior of dogs. They do that to greet each other, lick, or show affection. Your dog lunging at your face means exactly the same.
They don’t have hands like us, so they make do with their faces.
Don’t worry about it much but if things are getting out of your hands, you may seek your vet’s recommendation or advice.
That’s because they learn a lot from your response. If you start screaming, pushing the dog away from you because you’re scared, it may think that you’re enjoying it.
Thus, the intensity of the whole process increases with time.
The dog may shift from licking to biting. Even the force of the bite may also increase to the point where you may get hurt.
Therefore, always try to avoid overreacting to its advances.
Instead, try to ignore them to avoid increasing their intensities.
That’s exactly what we’re going to do to stop it from jumping or lunging at your face.
How can I stop my dog from jumping on me when I get home?
While there are many ways you could stop your dog from jumping at you, obedience training works better than all4.
That could either be negative reinforcement or positive reinforcement.
You could also try to tire it out more often. Increasing the frequency of exercise has many positive effects on the mood and well-being of a dog.
Let’s explore all your possible chances of discouraging the dog from jumping at you when you return home.
1. Positive reinforcement
In obedience training, positive reinforcement has had a major contribution to negative reinforcement.
However, we shouldn’t rule out the hand of negative reinforcement when training an unbelievably stubborn dog.
Anyways, positive reinforcement conditions a dog to associate a certain behavior with a reward.
Now, the behavior could be right or wrong, depending on how you perceive it.
In the case of jumping, you may have had enough.
So here’s what you should do:
- Ignore the dog’s overt attempts to get your attention.
- Do not reward its show of love.
- Let it kiss you, jump on you, or do other attention-seeking things. Do not overreact.
- When it finally calms down and sits away from you, feed it a treat.
You see, with the help of treats, you’re going to tell it that it should sit like this when you come home to get the treat.
2. Negative reinforcement
Dogs learn obedience with negative reinforcement as well. As compared to positive, this one tells that dog that if it does something unlikable, it will receive punishment.
That could be a hard reprimand, the “bad dog” commands, or physical stimulation such as using training collars such as shock collars or prong collars.
You may think that these methods are cruel or too much for the dog.
Yes, they could be when you try to take revenge on the dog. For example, shocking the dog every time it barks. Or, let the kids use the remote to the collar.
That could potentially hurt the dog’s skin and behavior. After all, fear-based corrections do not last long.
Instead of using the shock collars alone, I couple them with positive reinforcement. Using the two kinds makes it easy for the dog to learn the cue and recall it.
How to do it?
- Make sure you know how to use a shock or a prong collar.
- Correct the dog’s behavior only when it shows it. In case of jumping, give a mild shock when it jumps at you when you return home.
- Do not punish it in any way or take revenge.
- Use collars with three modes of correction – tone, vibration, and shock.
- Use tone and vibration as a warning and then shock as a correction if the dog ignores the first two.
3. Stop making a drama of your arrival
Calling a dog by its name when they come home; rewarding it with their love; and spending ample time with it right at the door are some of the things I’ve seen owners do.
And then they blame their dog’s behavior for being unruly.
How to do it?
Whenever you come home, make less of the drama of your arrival, ignore the dog, and just be off with your daily routine.
You’ll see that with time it will lose interest in your arrival times. Even if they greet you, it won’t be with the same intensity as before.
In short, they won’t jump on you or lunge at your face.
4. Tire it out
To tire out a puppy, it could be anything from walking it out frequently to playing tug of war or fetch.
The idea is to tire the dog out per day to reduce the abundance of its energies.
You may know that a tired dog is a quiet dog.
How to do it?
Of course, you can’t do that when you aren’t home. Since you need to stop it from jumping the moment you enter the house, ask for the help of a family member or a friend.
They could help in exercising your pooch before you arrive.
How do you train a dog not to jump on you?
Choose positive reinforcement for all the things available to you. Or, if the dog has come straight from hell, use negative reinforcement such as shock collars or prong collars.
They do not hurt the dog if you use them wisely. So, read the manual, tie the collar, and use the remote.
There has been research on the efficacy of positive reinforcement.
For example, Sophia Yin et. al. found out that their food dispenser reduced barking, jumping, and other behaviors exhibited when someone’s at the door by feeding them when they behaved well.
Compared to them, the dogs that were not trained under the protocol did not show improvements in their behaviors.
You already read how to perform both types of reinforcement.
The choice is yours, really.
But no matter what you do, keep the mental and physical health of your companion in consideration.
See for any possible signs of distress and contact your vet. You never know what’s going on under that fur.
Here’s a dog training video by Cesar Millan to stop it from jumping.
Why Does My Dog Jump On Me When I Get Home? Conclusion
Dogs make close associations with their humans – almost like a 2-year-old child would make with their parents.
That kind of attachment could either get spoiled by your repetitive rewarding actions or you could use it to your advantage.
Learn the root cause of the behavior from the article above and then follow obedience training protocols devised by your vet to set things straight.
You could also work on what I’ve shared but remember that this knowledge is to educate you about the possible reasons for the dog’s jumps.
It doesn’t tell you what goes on the inside of the pooch.