A jumping dog is a really common problem for dog owners? It’s rarely a problem for the dogs themselves – in fact, jumping seems to act as a reward in itself. It’s different for the exasperated owner, who’s forced to deal with a new set of muddy footprints/gouges in their skin and clothes/offended guests/scared children!
Are You Rewarding Your Puppy
Many owners inadvertently encourage jumping dog behavior from puppies: when a small puppy comes gamboling up to us, wiggling with excitement and making small, clumsy leaps at our knees, it’s almost natural to lean down and respond in kind.
Effectively, we reward that puppy’s “jump-y” greeting by reacting with exuberant affection, hugs and kisses. The puppy learns a fast lesson: jumping is a good thing, because it results in plenty of positive attention and physical contact.
Your dog doesn’t understand the difference between a jump as a small, cute puppy, and a jump as a huge, hairy adult. To a dog, a greeting is a greeting, and just because he’s aged by a few months is no reason to stop jumping – at least, not voluntarily.
You’ll need to take matters into your own hands, and make it perfectly clear that jumping dog behavior is no longer an option.
When Is Jumping Not Appropriate?
Obviously, it all comes down to personal preference.
Many owners of smaller dogs actually expect them to jump up – among toy dog owners, jumping seems to be viewed as a sign of excitement and affection on the dog’s behalf. The good news is that these dogs aren’t likely to knock anyone flying when they’re feeling rambunctious, and they’re small enough that their size usually won’t intimidate any but the youngest of children.
On the other hand, there’s rarely a time where strangers will actively welcome being leapt up on by an unknown dog, regardless of the dog’s size; really, it’s just plain good form to teach your dog the “off” command, so that you’re prepared for those incidences when you’re not directly on hand to stop the jumping dog behavior.
Really, any kind of jumping that involves anyone apart from yourself is just bad form.
Is It Joyful Jumping Or Dominance?
The main reason for most jumping dog problems is simply out of excitement: it’s an enthusiastic greeting, reserved for times when adrenaline’s running high and the dog’s happy about something.
Many dogs don’t jump at all, except for when their owner returns home after a prolonged absence (like the average workday). If your dog is leaping up on you in these circumstances, there’s no sinister motivation at work here: he’s literally jumping for joy.
A less common, but more serious, reason for some jumping dogs is to exert their dominance over you (or over whomever they’re jumping on). Dogs are pack animals: they live in designated hierarchies of social rank and order. When a dog needs to assert his dominance over a lesser animal, one way of doing so is to declare physical superiority, which is usually done by “jumping up”: he’ll sling one or both paws over the other dog’s shoulders.
You’ll be able to tell the basic reason for your jumping dog simply by considering the circumstances surrounding the event. If he only jumps up in periods of great excitement (like during play-time, or when you return home from work) then he’s clearly just demonstrating joy.
If the behavior occurs in a variety of situations, then it’s more likely that he’s expressing dominance over you, a more complex issue – the jumping’s just a symptom of an underlying attitude and communication issue. You’ll need to make some serious adjustments to your relationship with your dog, and brush up on your alpha-dog techniques.
Four Paws On The Ground, Please!
How you react to your jumping dog plays a big role in whether or not the behavior is repeated. You’re going to need to make a prolonged effort to be consistent in how you choose to deal with this problem: for your dog to stop jumping, he needs to be taught it is never ever acceptable for him to do so.
This means that you can’t allow him to jump sometimes, but forbid him from doing it at other times. Your dog can’t understand the difference between a playful and an irritable mood, or your work and play clothes: all he understands is that, if you allow him to jump up on some occasions, he’ll try to jump up on you whenever he feels like it, because he doesn’t know any better.
Stopping The Jumping Dog
Most trainers agree the most effective way for you to weed out unwanted behaviors (like a jumping dog) is also the easiest: all you have to do is simply ignore him whenever he jumps up.
Here’s how to implement this training technique: whenever your dog jumps up on you, turn your back straight away. Since dogs understand body language a lot more clearly than they do the spoken word, you’re going to be using your posture to convey the message that such behavior isn’t acceptable here: fold your arms, turn your back, turn your face away from him and avert your eyes.
You’re still going to react; but your reaction is for you to actively ignore him.
When To Praise
When all four paws are on the ground, then – and only then – you can praise the heck out of him!
It’s perfectly OK for you to react with wild enthusiasm the very second that his paws touch the ground, even if you were cold-shouldering him the split-second before.
Correcting Dog Behavior Problems
For more information and help with your jumping dog or understanding and correcting dog behavior problems, visit the link below.