Why Does My Dog Jump Up On Me (And Not My Husband)

Why Does My Dog Jump Up On Me (And Not My Husband?)

Last Updated: August 20, 2023

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Why Does My Dog Jump Up On Me (And Not My Husband?)“.

My dogs know me inside and out because I own them. 

I see their highs and lows the things they get excited about and the things that scare them.

Why Does My Dog Jump Up On Me (And Not My Husband)

In their own way they are as familiar with me as I am with them.

I know exactly where my limits and red lines are!

These details are not unique to me but apply to everyone who lives in my house with my dogs.

Each of our dogs has a unique relationship with each individual.

Our family is not a robot and we all interact with our dogs differently.

Its also not the same location as my wifes red lines.

How can we explain why dogs jump on some people but not others when we ask questions such as “why do dogs jump on some people but not others?”?

I am going to start by looking at all the reasons our dogs jump up 

Eight reasons that dogs jump on people

On top of my head I can think of nine different reasons why a dog might jump upon its owner. 

Here are their names:

  • A dog is excited
  • A dog is nervous anxious or jealous
  • The dog is bored
  • The dog is trying to dominate
  • A dog is a puppy
  • You are holding something of interest
  • Your dog is encouraged to jump up
  • if it hasnot been properly trained not to jump up

This list has a lot of overlap which I appreciate. 

Can you tell the difference between a dog thats excited and one thats nervous for instance? 

I’ll detail each of them in more detail in order to point out some important differences.

1. A dog is excited

The most common reason for a dog to jump on people is this. 

Due to its inability to control its excitement. 

Many of us have been the victim of this when one of our own dogs jumps upon us or when we are walking through a park (with or without our dogs) and a strange dog jumps upon us. 

When I come down to the house first thing in the morning or after they have been left alone for a couple of hours this usually happens to my dogs.

2. A dog is nervous and anxious 

When we were out on a walk and we sat down for a few minutes on the way my dogs would jump up when they were nervous or anxious. 

That would be all it would take for the dogs to believe that the area where we sat was now theirs and that it must be protected. 

Any dog that came near caused our dogs to bark a lot and for them to jump at me or my wife. They did this especially when they were young and we were mixing with other dogs. I even dared to give them some attention. 

My dogs would jump up at me in a desperate attempt to get my attention if they could not barge the other dog out of the way. 

3. Jealous dogs jump up

The same emotion has caused my dogs to jump as well. 

They simply are jealous so thats why. 

It happens when I give strange or unknown dogs or people too much attention for too long. 

That kind of antic does not go over well with my dogs! 

4. Bored dogs jump up

Dogs that are bored jump up just as quickly as those who are overstimulated. 

If they jump up they will get a reaction from you. 

They do not care whether it is positive or negative as long as they are paid attention to. 

5. Aggressive and dominant dogs jump up

My dogs have never shown such behavior perhaps because they are Golden Retrievers which is one of the least aggressive breeds available.

That does not mean this type of behavior does not exist though. 

Any dog larger than a medium-sized dog that jumps up can be a bit frightening since their heads are so close to ours. 

Add to that a bit of aggression which means that they may make more noise they may snap their mouths open and shut and their claws may be digging into your skin..

Making this kind of behavior not just annoying but downright frightening. 

6. Puppies and untrained dogs jump up

The obvious will be stated in this section.

The most common offenders in this situation are puppies and young dogs.

The majority of puppies jump up on people far more than more mature dogs. 

The reason might be that puppies are much more exuberant than older dogs and puppies havenot had the chance to learn that jumping up isnot appropriate. 

Consequently dogs who havenot been effectively trained to not jump up will also continue to jump up. 

This leads me neatly to.

7. Rewarded dogs 

Surprise surprise dogs who are encouraged to jump up will do so.

This type of dog is usually praised and given kisses and strokes when it jumps up.

Nevertheless just as a dog will jump up if it is positively reinforced by strokes and kisses a dog that is negatively rewarded will also jump up.

A lot of shouting and arm waving is usually involved.

I mentioned earlier that bored dogs might jump up – desperate for any kind of attention (even yelling) they might jump up.

There is also another frustrating and worrying context in which this happens.

Most people who are afraid of dogs tend to raise the tone of their voice and make their voices louder when a dog approaches while waving their arms about at the same time.

Although the intention is to scare a dog off it often gets the dog more excited and therefore more likely to jump up. 

8. You are holding something of interest

Dogs who in most situations wouldnot think of jumping up might forget their manners if you are holding something they really want.

If your dog is a dog I’m thinking here of balls or sticks (if your dog loves to fetch) or biscuits.

Why does my dog jump on me and not my husband? 3 considerations

Now that we have almost written a book on the many reasons why dogs jump up lets turn our attention to the reasons why dogs jump up on some people but not others.

There are virtually no limits to the combinations that can be made here. 

Your spouse husband son daughter mother or a stranger might be jumped on by a dog.

I want to focus on a married couple (or an unmarried couple).

Dogs jump up on wives but not husbands.

1. Dogs are more likely to jump up when they are feeling an extreme emotion

The previous section made it clear that dogs are more likely to jump up when they are experiencing extreme emotions.

Strong emotions like happiness excitement anxiety or aggression may cause a dog to jump. 

So with that in mind let me move on to another important point to consider.  

2. Dogs display strong emotions in how they react to people 

When a dog jumps up more often when it experiences a strong emotion we know it displays strong emotions in how they react to people.

This is the positive emotion of excitement and happiness for most dogs in their relationship with their human family.

However for some dogs (even those living in loving homes) their emotions can be negative as they display fear and anxiety.

The last piece of the puzzle needs to be explained. 

3. Dogs are more likely to jump up when they are rewarded for jumping up

In the previous section I explained that a dog is more likely to jump up if they are encouraged or rewarded to do so. 

What are the implications of considerations [1] and [2]?

Heres how it works.

Dog is more likely to jump up when they are feeling an extreme emotion and they can show strong emotions when they see people.

The final piece of the puzzle is that they jump up to people who encourage them to do so.

The actions we take in an attempt to stop a dog from jumping up can have the opposite effect as we learned in the previous section. 

Dogs perceive behavior that we might find offensive as open invitations. 

Behavior such as shouting and waving our arms about.

Is it because a dog jumps up on you and not your husband?

There are two things you are doing wrong.

When you behave in a way that makes your dog very excited (and there is nothing wrong with this) 

Added to this is the fact that 

By rewarding your dog when it jumps up you are rewarding it.

As a result your husband isnot getting your dog so excited (or anxious) and then rewarding it for jumping up by accident or intentionally.

We still need to answer one important question. 

How to stop a dog from jumping up? 

Answering this question can be broken down into three parts.

The first step is to ignore the behavior that you wish to stop.

We are trying to prevent the dog from jumping up.

The second step is to reward your dog as soon as they behave appropriately.

Here the target behavior will be that the dog does not jump up and keeps four paws on the floor. 

Thirdly all of this is accomplished calmly without exaggerated gestures or loud voices.

Although you can get a little more excited when you praise the dog!

What does this look like in practice?

Here is a step-by-step guide to preventing your dog from jumping up

You can ignore a dog that jumps up by turning your back on them or raising your knee up to block them. 

In an ideal world you would not need to speak when doing this. 

Alternatively if turning your back or raising your knee does not work you can add the word “no”.

Nevertheless its more important to listen to the tone of your voice than the volume.

If you do not want to shout it lower your voice and say it with sincerity. 

When your dog stops jumping up and has four feet on the ground praise and stroke him. Speak in a soft voice and stroke him gently. 

Stop immediately if this praise causes your dog to jump up and turn your back or raise your knee then wait for your dog to stop before praising them and stroking them.

You may need to repeat the process if necessary.

It is only possible to train this behavior when and as it occurs (jumping up). 

If you know what I mean do not encourage your dog to jump up so that you can then teach them not to jump up. 

This will make your dog completely confused as he will think it is a game. 

Three situations where your dog is most likely to jump up

Let me conclude this article by listing five scenarios where your dog is most likely to jump. 

As I wrote in the previous section if you want to train your dog not to jump up then you must do it when the behavior actually occurs.

It is my hope that by briefly explaining these different circumstances you will be better prepared and ready to implement the steps described above.

1. When you arrive home

The most common situation is probably this one.

As our dogs love us and miss us when we go out it is easy for them to go overboard with their reaction when we return home.

On the rare occasion that she is left alone for longer than a couple of hours my five-year-old dog will still do this.

This raises the question can dogs measure time? Can they tell how long you have been gone?

It seems to me that part of the jumping up has to do with the time around which we feed them.

As for my dogs they are good at estimating dinner time.

2. When we are out walking

I believe I mentioned this earlier in my article.

Two reasons cause my dogs to jump up while we are walking.

The first time it happened was when they were much younger and I stopped and talked to them.

Whenever I chatted too long they would let me know they were bored or jealous or both.

The second context in which my dogs might jump up when we are out walking is if I am throwing a ball for them repeatedly and they are so excited that they are jumping up between throws to grab the ball or to prompt me to throw it again. 

3. When I stretch

I injured my back a couple of months ago.

The sciatic nerve bothers me and every couple of years I end up aggravating it.

Combining stretching and ibuprofen seems to have helped me get back on track.

However have you tried stretching in a house where there is a dog?

Even if I try doing it in a room away from where they are they seem to sense that something is wrong and find me.

Where are we now? Is Dad playing a new game with us?

When I stand and stretch I am hijacked by a few faces (and tongues) trying to sniff and lick my face.

As for lying down forget it as it is impossible to stretch when a dog (or two) is sitting on you.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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