My Dog Attacks With Love!


Active Member
Hi all! I'm new here, but I'm in dire need of your help.

My dog is an otherwise well-behaved Australian Cattle Dog mix. She was presumably neglected in her early life, so now she craves human attention wherever she can get it. She'll wag her tail at everyone we pass on our walks; she trusts everyone, and it's quite sweet! But it leads to some major problems...

Whenever we go to the dog park, she will immediately go up to the people and start jumping on them to get them to pet her. A lot of them kneel down and pet her or reinforce the behavior by petting her while she's jumping. But it's not just the jumping--she'll paw at you too forcefully, or climb in your lap and lick your face if you're sitting down, and she's so rambunctious and excited that it's just a bit much. While she's only 40 lbs., she gets people's clothes dirty at the park, and I've gotten to the point where I'm too embarrassed to take her there!

I realize that this is a common problem, but most of the advice I've heard hasn't helped me much because she never jumps up on me; it's only strangers. I've tried to tell some of them to push her down or not reinforce the behavior, but it's a little presumptuous for me to tell strangers what to do when my dog's basically attacking them, right? I don't know the right way to handle it, but I know I've been way too easy on her. Do you have any advice for me--and not just in terms of the jumping, but is there some way I can get her to calm down around people in general?



Honored Member
Staff member
Welcome Janis! Lovely dog! :)

Several things you can do, but will take lots of work and consistency. Consistency is very important with dog training.

As for jumping, there are multiple methods, but the one I use most is to cross my arms and turn around when the dog jumps on you. For dogs that are really bad jumpers, if turning around a few times doesn't work, sometimes it's best to leave the room. When it's not enough to just turn away from them, it's usually enough to physically remove yourself from them. (Step into another room or something. Just give them maybe 10-15 seconds then re-enter and try again.)
It's a good idea if she has a behavior to replace it with--if she knows how to sit on command, then once you can get her to chill out enough to not jump, start asking for a sit. Heavy rewards when she doesn't jump on you, and super great rewards when she sits. The second she tries to jump again--party's over. No attention again.

As for incorporating this with other people, you'll need a volunteer. Have her leashed and sitting at your side. Have your volunteer walk towards you, and the second she breaks her sit, the person turns around and walks away. Try again. Work your way up, and pretty quickly you should be able to get her to stay sitting with person getting pretty close to you. After she's able to sit nicely with the person right in front of you, then try shaking hands and/or talking to the other person. Same thing--if she jumps or breaks her sit, person turns around and walks away. She learns that every time she gets up, the fun ends--her potential friend leaves her. If she's a really bad jumper, you might have to break this up into tiny baby steps. Once she's able to sit with the stranger walking right up to you, have them reach for her(no petting yet unless she stays put). She'll probably break her sit. Stranger turns around and walks away. Try again. When the person actually does get to pet her, if she gets up--no more attention. With practice, she'll learn that the only way to make friends is to stay grounded.

If possible, try to recruit people of all sizes--kids too. Be very clear with your instructions for your helper--no jumping is tolerated at all. She doesn't get petted, period, unless she's down. The second she breaks her sit, they "leave"(turn and walk away). This sounds strict, but understand that if she's allowed to stand up, it's that much harder for her to refrain from jumping.
If you go to Petsmart or the park or something and someone wants to see her, don't be afraid to tell them, "[Dog's Name] is learning good manners, would you mind helping me teach her to not jump on her friends?" Or something to that effect. If they don't want to help they don't pet the dog. Plain and simple.
At the dog park she's probably going to be unleashed and the situation will be harder to control, so until she's got the hang of it I would visit regular parks where her visits are more controlled and you can recruit some volunteers to help. :) When she's making big improvements, try to go to the dog park when it's not very busy, and tell the other visitors what you're working on with her. Just ask them to turn away from her if she jumps on them.

As for mauling you on the couch, stand up. If she's really not giving up, go to another room and shut the door. Being a pest means you get to be all by yourself. Maybe teach her to shake, so that you can replace the punches ("pawing too forcefully") with a nice, friendly handshake. :) If that doesn't work same as the others--no attention for being pushy.
But do understand that it is good for her to be able to replace this "bad" behavior with something acceptable. She doesn't know it's bad, she just knows it gets her attention. :)

Right now I'm working with a 1-year-old Lab who sounds much like your girl. He was a terrible jumper, and when he started learning how to wave he became a puncher too. I just started stepping away from him when he'd "punch," and I started rewarding him before the punch so it was easier for him to make the connection that sitting was what got him what he wanted, unless I was ASKING for a wave. I've only worked with him three times, and his owner has been really good about working with him. He hasn't jumped since the first day I met him and hasn't "punched" in a week, so we're on the right track. :)

Also pushing her down is reinforcing the behavior--it's attention.
Don't give up, she can learn to greet people in an acceptable way. :) Just be consistent and patient with her.
Hope this helps, and welcome! Such a cute dog. ^^


Active Member
Thank you so much for the thorough, thoughtful response! I'm going to recruit volunteers and begin her jumping rehabilitation right away. This was incredibly helpful, and I'm so glad I asked instead of continuing to reinforce the jumping with negative attention.


Honored Member
Great post Tx! Tx is right, you will need some volunteers, since your dog only does this to others.

Here's a video on it:


Honored Member
Here's same trainer, Kikopup, who is positve only trainer who focuses on behavior issues primarily,

with another short, quickie video on helping dogs learn calmness:


Honored Member
i also taught my dog to sit whenever i open front door. Wasn't that hard to teach, it wasn't. Some of this training, i didn't even need any volunteers, apparently, my dog gets just as excited whether *I* knock on the door, even if he can SEE me knocking on the door!:ROFLMAO:

I want and allow my dog to bark nonstop til i get to door, so in case we are not home, whoever is at the door will know there IS a dog in here.
Also, it helps me realize someone is at our front door if i am outside or in garage, basement, etc.

But, when i get there, i tell Buddy sit,
and i open the door, and he has to stay seated til i release him. "okay"

Helps jumper dogs be in more calm mood to greet visitors. I'm assuming your dog also jumps on visitors to your front door. (mine did, too)

To teach this, you do the knock, (dog gets excited), and then put dog in a "sit". The door will not open til he sits. (he WANTS that door to open). ONce he ever sits, click/treat.

Begin to open door, just an inch,
if dog breaks his "sit", close door, ask again for sit.
Once dog sits, click/treat.

Begin to open door, just an inch..........and so on.

ONce dog has mastered holding his sit for an empty door fully open,
up the ante by having actual visitor there, and so on.



Honored Member
Hi Janis and welcome!
I know excactly what you mean:D. My girl jumps on everybody too. Because she has lightblue eyes, people thought she was very special and gave her attention, even if she was misbehaving... Now I have to be carefull, because she will jump up at anyone who looks at her...
A few weeks ago she even jumped in the lap of some lady in a wheelchair:oops::rolleyes:. This lady turned her wheelchair right in front of us, to look into a shopwindow. Jinx thought she was looking at her, so before I knew it, there she was... in the ladies lap... Fortunately the lady laughed and pet her(wrong I know, I know)She told me what a lovely dog I have. Yup, sometimes too lovely:D
I do tell people that want to pet her, to only give attention, when 4 feet are on the floor, or else they will meet the clawing paws, or dirty paws(since my dogs have a fondness of mud and water)
I must confess, I have given up on teaching her not te jump, since most people will ignore my instructions. Some even encurage it... Well, they suffer the consequences, not me:rolleyes::cool:
Tx and Tigerlily give good advice, that will work. But you will have to keep instructing the people she meets.
Good luck.

Oh and your dog is sweet!!


Experienced Member
TX_cowgirl is absolutely right. This method is great and most dogs catch on really quickly. Another variation on this method is instead of holding your dog's leash, tie a knot it in, slide it under a door, and close the door. This way the knot is keeping her from moving and both your hands are free to demonstrate (I ALWAYS talk with my hands, so holding a leash while talking is very difficult). This is also nice if your dog pulls so much that your arms or shoulders begin to ache.


Honored Member
Staff member
Let us know how it's going! :) She should be able to greet people nicely in no time. Good luck!


Active Member
Thank you so much, everyone! What a wonderful online community. Sophie (my human-attention-craving dog) has an all-day dental cleaning today (:( poor baby) , so I'm going to put all your suggestions into practice this weekend. I'll let you know how it's coming!


Honored Member
Aw, pooor doggie!

Yes, don't give up on this, once you teach Sophie to sit for incoming visitors, and to not jump on some volunteer pals,
Sophie can generalize these doggie manners to strangers, too!!!

cuz everyone here is soooooooo right, we can't control the strangers!!:ROFLMAO: They WILL do what they want. Even one of my best friends would not listen, and she'd pat herself and call Buddy to jump up, to MAKE my sitting dog jump up on her for a hug.:rolleyes: Everyone loves Buddybudman...and he STILL jumps up on her, and on her only,
as i have given up trying to get her to quit making my dog jump up, and she always always always lures Buddy to jump up for a hug.

But, Buddy won't jump up on anyone but HER.

but, this wasn't that hard for my dog to get concept, it really wasn't.
It didn't take Buddy too long to put it all together, "oh, i jump on the volunteers.... i get nothing...i sit nicely, i DO get that praise and love that i so crave." It is not that hard to teach, really.

KEEP US POSTED if you need to trouble shoot it,
and if you have a pal like mine, keep her AWAY til training is over!!!:ROFLMAO:
and good luck with the doggie dental care!