How to avoid getting jumped on by a dog


It's hard for me to fathom, but there are some people who just don't like dogs for whatever reason.  And it's easy for me to see that there are a lot of poorly trained dogs.   So what if you have to visit a friend with an iffy dog, or what if you see a strange dog off leash?  Even dog lovers don't like being jumped on.  And it always seems to be the uneasy people who get jumped on the worst.  How do you avoid getting jumped on by a dog whose training history you do not know? 

Avoid the jump

In dog society, the jumping behaviour is a joyous greeting.  A dog meeting an old friend will jump up joyously and so will the friend.  They bump chests and then go through a sniffing ritual.  Why wouldn't humans do the same?   Now imagine the body language an uncomfortable person projects to a dog.   He is slightly tense, maybe an aroma of fear is coming out of him.  He eyes the dog uneasily and of course, makes eye contact.   If the dog is friendly, it wants to put the person at ease so what does it do?  It greets him, doggie style.  Putting your hands up makes things worse because now the dog (if it tall enough) has a ledge to put his paws on, so he can add insult to injury by licking your face. The dog is saying,  "It's OK I'm friendly!" but the uneasy person doesn't understand the message.  Hopefully we are smarter than dogs.  The thing to do is ACT, don't REACT. 

Some people advise telling the dog to "sit" but that assumes that it is an English-speaking dog and that it has been trained to sit, and also that it takes orders from people other than its owner.

Every dog should know how to sit (whatever word you use for it) but it is surprising how many don't.  Even those that do, many dogs naturally only respond to voice commands from their owner.  And for those easy going dogs who do whatever anyone says, some of them have been specifically trained to ignore orders from anyone but their owner.  So it is generally not a good idea to assume that a strange dog will do what you tell it. 

If you know the dog is basically friendly, you can go down on one knee, putting yourself at the dog's level, taking away his urge to jump.  You want the dog to view you as large and in charge. What ever motions you make, go forward confidently. Greet the dog, human style, by speaking to him in a friendly tone and scratching him on the chin. He may just sit there, or he may roll over on his back, submitting to you and allowing you to scratch his chest.  Once you've done this, the greeting ceremony is usually over and the dog will relax and go on about it's business. 

If you are unsure of the dog you still need to appear confident.   My strategy for unknown dogs is to stride toward them confidently but do NOT make direct eye contact.   Keep an eye on them out of the corner of your eye.  If they appear to be coiling for a lunge, or actually making one, merely turn your hip and shoulder toward them and change direction to an angle from your original direction.  Direct your gaze in the direction you are going and pretend to be interested in anything excpt the dog.  If the dog is a large one, lift your knee up high as you turn.  This will usually deflect the dog.  If he goes through with the jump, he will sideswipe you or miss you altogether. 

Turning away  sends a message in doggie language that says, "I am going about my business and not going to pay any attention to you."  Most dogs wil respond:  "Well then I am not going to pay any attention to YOU either."  I don't think turning your back on a strange dog completely is a good idea because then you can't see what it is doing. 

Most dogs that I see out and about are friendly.  A dog owner with a mean or biting dog *should* muzzle it and/or have it on a very short lead when it is out somewhere  where it might meet strangers.   Most mean dogs are so nasty that their owners don't take them out much.  Responsible owners take precautions when walking a vicious animal.  After all, we are a litigious society.   But once in a while a normally nice doggie will go ape-spit (such as my neighbor's dog when I tried to pull a porcupine quill out of its nose) , or a bad dog gets loose.  If you see that type of situation brewing, your best bet is to avoid the situation. 

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Comments 15 comments

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

Hot Dorkage, good tips. Didn't like the term "ape-spit" so much though. As for people who are afraid of dogs, it's hard to train them to change their behavior, since it's not rational in the first place.

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 6 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Haha. well you know it isn't really "ape-spit" anyway. Political correctness applied to our simian friends hasn't caught on big time yet, but as more and more apes learn to talk and be offended by the implicit slight in expressions such as that, I'm sure they will eventually lobby congress for ape-neutral language.

Sometimes people's irrational fears can be overcome if they understand a little about the object of their fears and how to overcome them under non combat conditions. I was bit by a dog when I was very small, and for a while I was afraid of all big dogs but then a Newfoundland won me over.

2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Pat writes - as soon as I spotted the title of this Hub I had to read it immediately. I do not dislike dogs, but I very much dislike being jumped on. One of my friends used to have a very friendly, bouncy dog who at least once knocked me over.

This is very useful information! I will be reading is again, and pointing it out to Tricia.

Thanks for helpful information.

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 6 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Let me know if the method works for you & Tricia. :)

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Hot dorkage: I am sort of afraid of dogs, not terrified, but dogs without a leash or ones that jump, make me nervous, yet I find dogs are cute too. I watch Dog Whisperer nowadays and wish I could be like Cesar Milan. LOL! In the rural town I live nowadays, the random owner let their dogs walk without supervision, and one time during one of my walks in town, a dog accosted me, circled around me while barking furiously; needless to say, my hair was on end, as I didn't know what to do, (this was before I started to watch Dog Whisperer) thankfully after a few minutes, he walked away. For this reason, I don't walk in town nowadays, its not like NYC where I used to live, and could walk for miles.

Thanks for the tips!

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 6 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Violet: Don't let irresponsible dog owners scare you away from walking! Call animal control if you see an unsupervised dog wandering around, especially if it makes you uncomfortable. They will impound the animal, and if the owner cares enough to wonder where his dog is they he have to pay a fee to get it out. Who knows why that dog behaved in that way. Maybe you walked too close to something he considered "his". Maybe he sensed your unease and wanted to friend you.

People should train their dogs not to jump. Friends can help by doing what I suggested in the article. My own sweet chocolate girl (named Violet!!!) learned it quite well, but after seven months of us being away, she learned that my son did not discipline & reward her so now she is pulling and jumping again. She does know what to do, she's just testing me at the moment and I'm sure I will have her back the way she was in a couple more weeks.

In NYC I am more afraid of the freaky homo sapiens that wander around the streets unsupervised! Write a hub that tells us how to deal with those creatures!

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

LOL! I chuckled at your suggestion to write a hub on the freaky homo sapiens in NYC! It is very true, one has to be street wise to survive the streets of large cities.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Thanks for this sensible advice, HD. There's a lot of bad advice out there, including hitting the dog and screaming "no" at it.

I am far from an expert, having come to not fear dogs only in the last few years. My teacher is my old Goldie, Cinnamon, who came to me when she was 8 years old. She was a jumper in her former home. A trainer helped me stop Cin's habit, with much the same advice you give.

Since I've had Cin, I have never had a dog persistently try to jump on me. Preparedness is the key. No eye contact, arms crossed tightly over the chest or straight down at the sides, and a quarter or half turn away from the dog. The dog will try to jump, but almost immediately gets the message and the game is over.

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 6 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Oh lord, never hit a dog! It just pisses them off. Screaming at dogs is almost as entertaining to them as it is to children. They'll escalate, just to watch you scream more.

I'll bet Cin is a great companion for you Sally. At 8, you avoided the puppy stuff like chewing and having an attention span of a microsecond. Almost all dogs are jumpers unless they are trained not to. It's part of their socialization as dogs.

Violet is almost 100% now when it comes to jumping. There's just this one friend of my daughter's who seems to have a sign on him that says "Jump on me" in dog. He doesn't mind but I do. Also she will jump on another dog if it jumps on her first. Not sure I want to train that out of her.

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

I loved this hub, and I love your style of writing. We had a dog called Taggs a medium sized terrier cross he was a lovely dog and a real character.

One day my husband and I called in to see our young American minister and his wife with our dog Taggs in tow, when in the middle of my conversation with his wife, the minister said "Gee Maggie I think your dog likes me" when I turned to look much to my embarrasment my dog was humping the minister's leg.

I had never seen my dog do anything like this before, so why oh why the one time he that he does do it does he have to do it to the minister?

Fortunately for me the minister and his wife are both dog lovers and thought the whole thing was just a hoot!

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 6 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Haha! Too funny! Good thing your minister had a sense of humor. Who knows, maybe he had accidentally brushed against something that a sexy girl dog had just rubbed on moments before.

oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 6 years ago from australia

hot dorkage.Hi.What a great hub, with excellent information and tips,will read it again so that it all sinks in.Thank you.:) :)

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Great ideas. Not everyone trains their pets properly and it's good to know what to do in this situation.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Voted up, hot dorkage! And useful. This used to be one of my pet (no pun intended) peeves...dogs jumping on me. I love animals, but not to the point of having to dance the tango with my dog after a long, hard day at work. I no longer work due to being diagnosed in 2003 with fibromyalgia and neurothopy, I stay at home all the time now. I am so glad that I found YOUR hub. Great work.

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 5 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Thanks kenneth. I read and enjoyed a couple of your sweet southern hubs this evening.

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