Huskies are excitable dogs and a common way Huskies can express this excitement is to jump up on you or other people.
If your Husky greets you or other people by jumping up, this behavior can be changed. Training a Husky to not jump on you or other people can be challenging, but it’s an important thing to do for other people’s safety.
Once you read this guide, find out about important training principles in this guide.
Why Does a Husky Jump On People?
Before we look at how to stop a Husky from jumping on you or other people, it’s important to understand why Huskies do this.
Once you properly understand why a Husky jumps on people, it makes it easier to train your Husky to stop this behavior.
Huskies jump on people for three possible reasons. They jump for attention, they can jump because people are unknowingly encouraging them to jump, or they may jump due to fear.
As you can see, these are three very different reasons, so let’s go through each one.
Jumping for Attention
This is the most common reason why Huskies jump on people.
When you or somebody else arrives to greet a Husky, they are likely to become excited. Huskies are easily excitable, so it’s no surprise that they want this excitement to turn into attention.
A Husky will run up to you to get attention, but running up to you probably isn’t enough. Jumping up to greet you makes sense as a sure way to get attention.
If you give your Husky any attention when they run up and jump on you, then you’re rewarding this behavior.
Even if you tell your Husky “No!” or “Down!”, they’re still getting attention and you’re unwillingly rewarding this behavior.
This is why so many Husky owners have issues with their Huskies jumping on people.
If your Husky is jumping on you or other people for attention, giving them any attention (positive or negative) rewards the behavior.
This is covered in more detail later on as it’s important to understand.
Jumping Due to Encouragement
A big reason why your Husky may jump on people is that they’re unknowingly encouraging your Husky to jump on them.
This is a hidden reason why Huskies jump and it affects so many Husky owners.
I first noticed this when one of my friends met my Husky.
She was afraid of him jumping up on her, so she lifted her hands up to stop him from trying to jump and lick her face.
Think about the body language signal this gives a Husky.
By lifting your hands up, you’re redirecting the Husky’s attention up higher.
Instead of keeping your hands down low and giving the Husky an opportunity to receive attention without having to pat, raising your hands encourages a Husky to jump up to get attention.
Raising your hands up signals to a Husky to jump.
Once I learned this, I started noticing it all the time when other people would greet my Husky. They would lift their hands and arms in hesitation or to try and block my Husky, but they didn’t realize that signaled to my Husky to jump.
It explained why my Husky never jumped on me or my family members and only other people.
Take a look again at the photos from earlier of my old Husky jumping on a stranger.
Take a look as what his eyes are fixated on while jumping up on him:
You can clearly see that his eyes are fixated on this person’s hands. Many times it might seem like your Husky is just being overly excited, but if you pay close attention to the body language of a person getting jumped on, you’ll often find clues as to what motivated your Husky to start jumping.
Now that you know this, you’ll start to notice how many people are unknowingly encouraging your Husky to jump on them.
Jumping Due to Fear
This is the least common reason why your Husky may jump on you.
If your Husky randomly starts jumping on you, it could be due to fear or something being wrong.
The key difference between this type of jumping and jumping for attention or excitement is that it can happen at any time without warning.
The situation should be enough to tell you whether the jumping is due to fear or attention.
How to Train a Husky to Stop Jumping
There are two aspects to training your Husky to stop jumping on you or other people.
You not only need to train your Husky to stop jumping, but you also need to train other people from encouraging your Husky to jump.
Other people can quickly undermine your training efforts, so we’ll cover training other people in the next section.
There are three methods I recommend using in combination to stop your Husky from jumping.
Preventing Excited Jumping
Think about when your Husky is the most likely to jump up on you. It’s most likely when you arrive home.
When you arrive home, your Husky will be excited to see you and will be looking for attention. The chances are you will have reinforced the jumping by giving your Husky attention when you get home.
Even if you enjoy greeting an excited Husky after a long day at work or school (who wouldn’t!), you need to train your Husky to not get overly excited.
Your goal should be to have a calm Husky greet you at the door. Your Husky may still be excited on the inside, but calm on the outside.
The first step is to deny your Husky when you first get home. This means changing your routine temporarily.
If your Husky jumps like crazy at the door like in the below photo, then this is the perfect time to train your Husky to stop.
Step 1: If your Husky is an indoor dog and normally greets you as you walk in the door, don’t walk in if your Husky starts jumping. If your Husky is an outside dog and you normally go out to greet them, don’t immediately go outside.
Step 2: Back out and close the door. Wait at least 30 seconds before moving to the next step.
The idea here is to break the habit and not reward the behavior.
Your presence elevates your Husky’s excitement levels, so removing your presence will help calm your Husky down.
You want to train your Husky to stay calm when you arrive. Removing your presence will help train your Husky to not get overly excited when they see you.
Step 3: Wait 30 seconds then slowly open the door again. If your Husky starts jumping, close the door again and wait.
Slowly open the door again. If your Husky is still jumping, give the ‘sit’ command (only say it once). If your Husky doesn’t sit, close the door and wait another 30 seconds.
Depending on how hyper your Husky is, this may take a few repetitions.
Continue to check on your Husky’s excitement level and keep closing the door and waiting if they’re too excited.
This may be annoying at first, but it will make a huge difference in your Husky’s behavior if you do it properly.
Step 3: If when you slowly open your door your Husky is sitting or will sit immediately on command, then you can slowly enter and immediately reward your Husky while they are sitting.
Don’t give your Husky a chance to get up and start jumping. Rub your Husky’s chest (keeping your hand and body language low). Why you should rub your Husky’s chest and not pat the top of their head is explained later.
You want to train your Husky to think that they don’t need to jump to get attention. The goal is to train your Husky to greet you by sitting instead of jumping.
It’s going to take quite a few days or weeks of repeating this training before your Husky learns not to jump when you arrive home.
Be consistent and patient. The longer your Husky has been jumping on you, the longer it will take to change this habit.
Ignoring Attention-Seeking Jumping
The above method aims to break the habit of your Husky jumping when greeting you. But what if your Husky randomly jumps on you at any time?
This is attention-seeking behavior and requires a different training approach.
The first thing to consider is whether your Husky is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.
If your Husky hasn’t had enough exercise or mental stimulation during the day, they’re more likely to seek for attention by jumping on you.
Going for a morning walk or giving your Husky something mentally stimulating such as something to chew on can help reduce attention-seeking jumping.
In addition to making sure your Husky gets enough exercise and mental stimulation, you can train your Husky not to jump by ignoring them.
Step 1: If your Husky randomly starts jumping on you, immediately turn and walk away from them.
It’s important that you give your Husky zero attention, so that means don’t say anything or even glance at your Husky.
If you say “no” or “down”, you’re giving them attention and reinforcing the behavior.
Simply turn and walk away. Walk to a different room and close the door if possible.
Step 2: after 30 seconds, go greet your Husky. If they remain calm, reward them. If they start jumping again, walk away again without saying anything.
This can be hard to do and your approach will need to adjust based on the situation (eg: in public vs at home).
The key point to remember is that you don’t give your Husky what it wants when they jump.
Over time, your Husky will learn that there’s no point jumping because it won’t get them any attention.
Training Other People (Really Important)
As mentioned earlier, other people can quickly ruin your training by reinforcing your Husky’s jumping behavior.
Most of the time, other people won’t even realize that they’re reinforcing the jumping.
You need to train other people to do their part to prevent your Husky from jumping on them.
Here are a few quick ways to nudge other people in the right direction and stop them from unknowingly encouraging your Husky from jumping on them.
“Keep Your Hands Low”
As explained earlier, it’s common for people to lift their hands up when they think a dog is going to jump on them.
This has the opposite effect and signals to your Husky to jump.
Take a look at the below photos and think about how each one looks from a Husky’s point of view:
If a Husky was running up to me and I pulled one of these poses, the Husky is going to respond very differently to each pose.
My hands are targets to a Husky, so it’s no surprise that the photo with my hands up encourages a Husky to jump as I’m raising the targets.
People are likely to lift their hands (like in the above right photo) away from a Husky’s reach. But they don’t realize this encourages a Husky to jump up on them.
By keeping your hands down low, your Husky is more likely to stay low to receive attention.
Explain this to other people and tell them to keep their hands down. Simply say “keep your hands low”.
Your Husky may still jump to try and lick the person’s face, but if you can get other people to stop lifting their hands up, it will make a big difference.
Don’t Pat The Top of Their Head
A common mistake people make is to want to pat a dog on the top of the head.
You may have noticed that the reaction most dogs have to this is to lift their nose up or maybe grab the hand. Other dogs see this as an invitation to start jumping.
Patting on the top of the head raises your Husky’s attention higher.
In the below photos, you can clearly see a big difference in how my Husky reacts to trying to pat the top of her head and under her head.
If a stranger tries to pat your Husky on the top of the head and your Husky tries to lick the hand, the stranger may instinctively pull their hand back. This will immediately encourage your Husky to jump.
You can avoid this by teaching other people to rub your Husky’s chest and not pat on top of the head.
Patting a Husky’s chest keeps the person’s hand low. You will notice that your Husky’s head will stay lower compared to when people try to pat the top of the head.
The best way to do this is to get your Husky to sit before receiving a pat from a stranger. Getting your Husky to sit will also significantly reduce the chances of them jumping.
Sitting combined with a chest rub is the best combination to prevent your Husky from jumping on other people.
Mistakes to Avoid When Training Your Husky Not to Jump
If your Husky has been jumping on you or other people for years, it can feel almost impossible to change this behavior. But don’t give up, it can be done!
Here are a couple of mistakes to avoid when training your Husky not to jump.
Scolding Your Husky
Telling your Husky off for anything is a poor training approach. Telling your Husky off for jumping can have the opposite effect.
The most likely reason your Husky is jumping is due to excitement and attention-seeking. Telling your Husky off for jumping is providing them with attention.
One of my family members used to repeatedly say “don’t jump!” over and over with our first Husky. He would raise his voice and get louder each time.
It’s no surprise that it did nothing to stop the behavior.
Telling your Husky off for jumping simply gives them the attention they were looking for.
If you really want to tell your Husky off for jumping, turn and walk away. Don’t give them the attention they are looking for.
Physically Punishing Your Husky
It’s common knowledge to professional dog trainers that positive training is the most effective approach. Negative training (punishing your dog) can do more harm than good.
Imagine an excited Husky greeting their owner at door. The Husky starts jumping because they’re excited and that excitement is coming across as jumping.
If the owner hits the Husky or physically pushes the Husky down, that physicality adds to the excitement levels in a negative way.
Punishing an excited Husky makes the situation more intense.
This can quickly lead to other bad behavior such as biting or growling.
Your goal when dealing with a jumping Husky is to lower the excitement levels and get your Husky to calm down. Punishing your Husky does the opposite.
Don’t punish for bad behavior – train your Husky to use positive behavior instead.
If you want to change a behavior in your Husky, you need to be consistent with your training.
You can’t ignore the jumping one day, allow the jumping the next day, then expect your Husky to not jump on the third day.
If you want your Husky to stop jumping, you need to commit to training from here on.
Don’t give up if you’re not seeing results in a week or two. Keep going.
Make sure everybody else follows the same training approach and nobody allows the jumping to continue.
If all of your family or friends follow the same training methods, you’ll see results faster.
Learn more about overcoming the difficulty of training a Husky in this guide.