Simple training solutions to stop dogs jumping on people.
Why should you bother trying to stop dogs jumping on people? After all, dogs are naturally enthusiastic, boisterous creatures, so this is quite acceptable canine behavior, right? Wrong!. At best, this behavior is downright embarrassing. A friend of mine was once showing her apartment to a potential buyer when her one-year-old Sheltie jumped up and pulled her skirt down. Ouch!
At the other end of the scale, a dog jumping up is potentially dangerous, especially a large dog that jumps on a child or an elderly person. Or a dog that jumps on you when you’re carrying something breakable. So it is a behavior you’ll want to address quite urgently.
Stop Dogs Jumping on People: The Reasons
There are, generally speaking, two possible reasons for dogs jumping on people. One results from submissive behavior, the other from dominant behavior. Let’s begin with the submissive behavior.
If you have a dog that jumps up, I’m sure you’ve been through this scenario. You return from work, or shopping, or some other chore. Before you’re even through the door, your dog is jumping up, barking and trying to attract your attention.
Now, while it feels wonderful to receive such a warm welcome every time you come home, you need to nip this behavior in the bud. In a minute I’ll share a training method for addressing the problem of dogs jumping on people. But first, let’s look at dominant jumping up.
Ever watched two large dogs rough-housing? Notice how they rear up on their hind legs and spar like boxers? What they are doing is challenging each other for dominance. If your dog does this to you during play, you haven’t done enough to establish yourself as the pack leader. He believes you’re there for the taking, and he’s laying down a challenge to you.
Stop Dogs Jumping on People: Training Solutions
There are different dog training methods for addressing submissive and dominant jumping up. Let’s look at the submissive cause first. A dog that jumps up every time you enter the room likely has issues with separation anxiety. He’s been waiting anxiously for you to return, and when you do, he has this massive release of energy.
Many dog-owners unconsciously feed this behavior by lavishing the dog with attention at this moment, baby-talking him and joining in his little dance. If this describes you, you need to stop rewarding your dog for his bad behavior. Turn your response on its head and only ‘reward’ your dog when he is in the calm submissive state you desire.
As you enter the room, ignore the dog entirely. Don’t greet him or make eye contact. If he’s running around and jumping up, that’s fine. Just go about your business and don’t pay any attention. Eventually, the dog will calm down. When he does, give him the sit command. Now is the time to give him praise and attention. Scratch him behind the ears and tell him what a good boy he is. Maybe give him his favorite treat.
Stick to this routine every time you come home. He will soon learn that he receives praise and attention when he is calm. When he is excited he is not even acknowledged. Dogs crave attention, so he’ll soon alter his behavior.
For dogs that indulge in dominant jumping up, the first thing you should do is to cut out any dominance based games. Games like tug-a-war or play fighting only trigger his dominant response. Instead, spend the time teaching him basic obedience commands like “sit” and “down”. This serves two purposes – one, you establish your dominance, and two, he learns to back down (sit) on command.
Of course, not all dogs are created equal. Some dogs, and some dog breeds, in particular, are more dominant than others. If you are inexperienced with dogs or feel you are not able to address your dog’s dominance issues you may want to call in a professional trainer because a large, dominant dog can be dangerous.
Whether you decide to call in a professional or not, it is important that you address the issue and stop dogs jumping on people.
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