Down, Boy! Why Do Dogs Jump?

by March 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT] She is  she is the owner of K-9 Divine and a professional dog trainer.


No jumping allowed. (Rachel Jones)

Jumping up is a very common complaint from dog owners. A jumping dog can be anywhere from mildly irritating to quite dangerous, depending on its size. It is very important to stop your dog from jumping for both practical and behavioral reasons.

In any canine society, pawing, jumping and shoving are considered rude and pushy behaviors. All dogs are born knowing that only the alpha of the pack should be able to get away with physical solicitations like jumping and pawing.

When your dog jumps or paws at you, he knows he is being rude and that he is doing something he should not be getting away with. He also knows that he is not the alpha in your household because he can’t obtain food and shelter for you.

Therefore, when he jumps on you and gets away with it, he doesn’t feel as though he’s climbing the social ladder in your family. What he does feel is confused and anxious. Dogs crave an established social hierarchy to follow and when they get mixed signals about the social order, they become anxious.

Training Your Dog

How do you stop your dog from jumping? If she is not reinforced in any way she will stop. This means no petting, shoving, talking or scolding when the dog jumps. A dog that jumps is seeking attention, and he doesn’t care whether the attention he receives is positive or negative. That’s why scolding, swatting or kneeing in the chest doesn’t work.

When the dog jumps, simply push her off with your body (hips, shoulders, legs), NOT your hands, and then ignore her until she offers you a nice behavior like going away or sitting. Once she is engaging in the non-jumping behavior, praise her and shower her with attention. If you are very consistent with this, your dog will catch on to the fact that she gets nothing from jumping and she’ll stop.

Everyone feels that it is unacceptable to have a 150-pound dog jumping on people. However, from a behavioral standpoint, it is just as problematic for a 2 pound dog to jump. All dogs will feel relieved when they are not allowed to get away with jumping or pawing. If you eliminate jumping, you will notice a pleasant change in your dog’s behavior overall. He will become less anxious and will spend more time lying down and relaxing.

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