Does your dog like to jump and mouth? Try this simple tip from an expert trainer

Dog jumping up on young woman
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dogs use their mouths to help them make sense of the world and interact with other things. You’ll see your pup carrying things in their mouth, and using their mouth to play with you, other dogs, and their favorite toys.

Often, as humans, we don’t like it when our dogs jump out and mouth us, but our dogs don’t realize that they’re doing anything wrong. They don’t understand that we don’t interact in the same ways as they do and that we're perhaps not as robust as some of the best dog toys!

So, what can we do to stop our dogs from using their mouths when they interact with us? Certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman of Mission Pawsitive has some advice that she’s shared in a recent Instagram post – let’s take a look.

“Turn it into a game that’s fun for both of you that teaches them to control their impulses,” says Goodman. She’s working with a dog, Hank, who gets stimulated by children running around, so she aims to recreate that at a lower intensity, catching him before he has a chance to jump on her. Hank is a mix of boxer, German Shepherd and terrier, all of which are bouncy breeds, often stimulated by movement.

Goodman explains in the caption, “Once a dog understands what you want them to do and that pays off well for them, problem solved! Hank lives with young kids, and he gets very stimulated when they are running around, so I created a game that still allows him to run around with the kids, but keeping all four paws on the floor is how he gets his reward.”

What you need to do is start at a level that’s not too overstimulating for your pup. “I set him up to succeed and I have good timing with the treats to prevent the unwanted behavior,” Goodman adds – the idea is to catch them before they do what you don’t want them to do. “Once he understands the game, I can increase my movement and level of excitement.”

In the video, Hank stops himself when Goodman stops. She asks him for an alternative behavior, too, like his ‘touch’ cue. This helps to keep his paws on the floor and his mouth closed – exactly what she’s looking for!

Is your dog still a puppy? If so, you might find this guide on how to stop a puppy biting, mouthing or nipping useful, too. And, if jumping is the main issue, rather than mouthing, you might want to check out this article: I tried everything to get my dog to stop jumping up, here’s what actually worked.

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Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.