Stop your Dog Jumping
Jumping is a really common problem among dogs – or rather dog owners? The dogs themselves aren’t bothered. But you’re the one dealing with muddy footprints, scratches and scared children!
Many people mistakenly encourage jumping behaviour in puppyhood. A small puppy gambolling up, wriggling with excitement and making small, clumsy leaps at our knees, makes us react with exuberant affection, hugs and kisses – a fine reward from the puppy’s point of view.
He learns fast: jumping leads to plenty of positive attention and physical contact. Unfortunately your adult dog doesn’t understand the difference he is now big enough to bowl you over. To a dog, a greeting is a greeting, and just because he’s older is no reason to stop jumping. You need to take matters into your own hands, and teach him that jumping is no longer an option.
Why does my dog jump?
Most jumping is from pure excitement: his adrenaline is running high and he’s happy. Maybe you have just got home form work and he has been missing you. If your dog is leaping on you like this, there’s no sinister motive here: he’s literally jumping for joy.
A more serious, though luckily less common reason dogs jump is to exert their dominance. Being pack animals dogs live with a code of social rank and order. One way a dog can assert his dominance is to display physical superiority: he’ll jump up and sling one or both paws over the other dog’s shoulders to make himself appear taller.
You’ll be able to tell the basic reason your dog jumps simply looking at the circumstances surrounding the event. If he only jumps up when excited like during play-time, or when you return home from work. Obviously he’s just demonstrating an exuberant frame of mind. If the behaviour occurs in a variety of situations, then more likely he’s trying to dominate. A more complex issue – as the jumping is a symptom of an underlying attitude and communication issue.
When is jumping not appropriate?
Obviously, it’s up to you whether you allow your dog to jump up on you. Many owners of smaller dogs actually like them to jump up – it can be viewed as a sign of excitement and affection, and being little these dogs aren’t likely to knock anyone flying, and they’re small enough not to scare any but the smallest children.
On the other hand, few visitors will welcome being leapt on by an unknown dog, regardless of size. Basically, it’s good manners to teach your dog the “off” command.
If you have a large-breed dog such as a German Shepherd the ‘off’ command is vital. Big dogs are often taller than adults when on their hind legs (imagine it from a child’s point of view, a dog’s slavering jaws looming above your head!) – and often they’re heavy enough to knock over smaller adults. At the very least, a large dog’s paws can rip cloth and scratch flesh. Bruising and scratches are unpleasant enough to deal with when you receive them; they’re much worse when your dog has inflicted them on someone else!
If your dog has a habit of jumping you need to give some serious thought to your overall relationship with your dog, brush up on your alpha-dog techniques and regain control of the situation.
For help understanding and solving dog behavioral problems Secrets to Dog Training has just about all the information you’ll ever need. A fantastic resource on coping with a dominant dog, dog psychology, canine communication how-to’s, practical advice for dealing with problem behaviors, and detailed step-by-step guides to obedience training.