A Jumping dog is a really common problem for pet owners, although it's seldom a problem for the dogs themselves, as a matter of fact, dog jumping appears to act as a reward in itself.
It's a different matter for the infuriated owner, who's forced to deal with a new set of muddy footprints on their clothes and furniture. A lot of owners unwittingly promote jumping behavior from puppyhood.
If a small puppy comes frolicking up to us, writhing excitedly and making small, clumsy jumps towards us, it's instinctive to lean down and respond kindly.
In effect, we reward that puppy's greeting by responding with excessive affection, hugs and kisses. The puppy discovers a fast lesson, jumping is a beneficial thing, since it results in a good deal of positive attention and physical contact.
Your dog doesn't differentiate between a jump as a small, cute puppy, and a jump as a huge, heavy adult dog. To a dog, a greeting is a greeting, and just because he's grown and aged by a few months is no reason to stop jumping.
You'll need to train your jumping dog and make it absolutely clear to your dog that jumping is no longer allowed. Many owners of smaller or toy dogs actually expect them to jump up. Amongst toy dog owners, jumping seems to be deemed a sign of excitement and affection on the dog's behalf.
The thing is, that these dogs aren't likely to knock anyone off their feet when they're feeling boisterous, and they're small enough that their size normally won't intimidate anyone apart from the youngest of children.
Having said that, strangers don't usually welcome a jumping dog, regardless of it's size, so really, it's just plain manners to teach your dog the "off" command, so that you're ready for those instances when you're not immediately on hand to stop the jumping behavior.
For owners of larger breeds of dogs, the "off" or "down" instruction is compulsory. Large dogs can often be taller than humans when they rear up on their hind legs, so they're frequently heavy enough to knock smaller adults over.
A large dog's paws can easily tear a hole in clothing and scratch exposed flesh. These problems are unpleasant enough to contend with when they're your own, but they are much worse when your dog has inflicted them on somebody else. Apart from the embarrassment, it can be very expensive. All dog owners with any responsibility should train their dogs accordingly.
What's the reason for dog jumping?
The primary reason that most dogs jump up is merely out of excitement. It's an enthusiastic salutation, restrained for times when adrenaline's running high and the dog is happy with life. Many dogs don't jump at all, except when their owner returns home after a comparatively drawn-out absence like the average workday.
If your dog is jumping up on you in these circumstances, there's no threatening motivation at work here, he's just happy to see you. A rarer, but more serious reason that some dogs will jump is to exert their dominance over you, or over whoever they're jumping on.
Dogs, being pack animals, live in specified pecking orders of social rank. When a dog wants to affirm his dominance over a lesser animal, one way is to announce physical superiority, which is generally done by jumping up.
He'll throw one or both paws over the other dog's shoulders. You'll be able to tell the most common reason for your dog's jumping merely by looking at the circumstances surrounding the event.
If he only jumps up in periods of great excitement such as during play-time, or when you return home from work, then he's understandably just exhibiting a high-spirited frame of mind. If the conduct happens in an assortment of situations, then it's more likely that he's conveying dominance over you, which is a more complicated issue because the jumping is just a symptom of an inherent mental attitude and communication problem.
Basically, you will have to make some serious alterations to your overall relationship with your dog, and read up on your alpha dog methods.
Secrets to Dog Training has some marvellous resources on dealing with a dominant dog. How you respond to your jumping dog will decide on whether or not that behavior gets repeated.
You're going to have to spend some time, be patient, and consistent in how you decide to deal with this problem. If you want to change your jumping dog, he needs to be taught that it is never ever acceptable for him to do this.
This means that you can't let him jump up sometimes, but forbid him from doing it at other times. Your dog can't interpret the difference between a playful and an cranky mood, or your work and play clothes, all he realises is that if you allow him to jump up on some occasions, he'll try to jump up on you whenever he wants to, because he doesn't know any better.
Stopping the Jumping Dog
Just about all trainers agree that the best way for you to stop unwanted behaviors, such as jumping in your dog, is also the easiest. All you have to do is simply ignore him whenever he jumps up. The idea is to snub him. Withdraw all attention, even negative attention, so don't shout or try to correct him.
Here's the best way to carry out this training technique. Whenever your dog jumps up on you, turn your back immediately. Because dogs interpret body language a lot more distinctly than they do any verbal communication, you are going to be using your posture to get across the message that such behavior is not acceptable.
Fold your arms, turn your back, turn your face away from him and avert your eyes. Don't make the mistake of confusing ignoring the behavior, with ignoring the dog. You're not snubbing the behavior, that is you're not carrying on with whatever you were doing as if the jumping wasn't happening, you're ignoring your dog.
You are still going to react, but your reaction is for you to actively ignore him. The snub is a truly effective way of communicating your displeasure to a dog, he'll get wise to this very quickly.
Without the encouragement of your attention and your reactions to his behavior, he'll calm down very quickly. When all his four paws are on the ground, then you can praise him. Don't be bewildered by the proximity of the positive reinforcement to the negative.
Dogs have a very short training memory, and are only able to associate a reaction from you with whatever behavior it is they are demonstrating at the time of that reaction, so, it's perfectly OK for you to praise him the very second that his paws touch the ground, even if you were cold-shouldering him the instant before.
For more information on understanding and resolving canine behavioral problems, you'd probably be interested in checking out Secrets to Dog Training.
It's a complete how-to manual for dog owners, and is packed with just about all the information you'll ever need on dog psychology, canine communication how-to's, practical advice for dealing with problem behaviors, and detailed step-by-step guides to obedience training. To visit Secrets to Dog Training, just click on the link below.