HOW CAN I STOP MY DOG FROM JUMPING UP?
Dogs bring us much joy. But sometimes, they behave in ways that are quite inconvenient, and even unsafe. A large dog that is jumping up on people, for example, can knock them to the ground and cause injury. And even medium-sized canines can accidentally hurt elderly people or children. In this article, we provide simple methods to stop dogs from jumping up. First, however, let us see why so many dogs seem compelled to jump up on people.
WHY DO DOGS JUMP UP ON PEOPLE?
Essentially, jumping up and trying to lick someone’s face is a sign of affection. In nature, canine mothers leave their young in the safety of their den whilst going out hunting. Upon their return, the puppies nuzzle the mother’s snout, nudging and licking. In this way, they activate their mom’s reflex to regurgitate some of the food she has eaten on the hunt.
And this behaviour persists throughout a canine’s life. Once they are old enough to join the pack on hunting excursions, young canines stop nuzzling their mother’s snout for food. Instead, this behaviour becomes a way of showing affection to other members of their group.
Domestic dogs are born with the same instincts to target the nose and mouth of their mothers and other members of their family group. Dogs that are friends use this nose-licking as part of their greeting-ritual. The same licking and nuzzling can be observed in dogs living in the same household – especially when they are reunited after a brief separation. For example, if you take one dog for a walk whilst the other stays at home, you will probably see mutual nose-sniffing and -licking when you get back. This behaviour “tells” a dog where the other one has been, and what they may have been eating. In the wild, this information is important, as it tells the pack whether or not there is food available nearby.
But unlike canines, we humans walk upright, and our mouth is not easy to reach for the average dog. Therefore, they try to cover the distance by jumping up on us. For them, this is the only way to deliver their “kisses”. So, jumping up is not an aggressive gesture at all, on the contrary: It is a friendly greeting, and a display of affection. Dogs that jump up on complete strangers essentially accept them into their circle of trusted humans. This is important to understand.
HOW TO PREVENT DOGS FROM JUMPING UP?
Nevertheless, as our dog’s loving leaders, we want to channel their affection into more convenient behaviours. Many dogs rudely jump up on their owners when they come back home. To change this behaviour, train them to sit down instead. Teaching a “Sit and Stay” is useful for many occasions. But what about very boisterous and energetic dogs – how can you possibly get them calm enough to sit down? After all, many dogs are in an over-excited state of mind when their owners return home.
1. Teaching “Sit & Stay”
As a first step, we recommend working on your dog’s obedience during calmer times of the day. Performing a good, solid “Sit” on cue is a skill that every dog should have. It could even save their lives one day: Stopping and sitting down can prevent dogs from running out into the road, for instance. The cue “Sit and Stay” is also the foundation of teaching your dog impeccable manners. Ideally, all dogs should sit and wait before running out of doors, eating, or jumping on furniture. With consistent practise, sitting down and waiting will become a habit for your dog. And once this habit is formed, stopping any jumping is easy. To do that, we recommend using the 3-step formula of correcting, redirecting and reinforcing. So, whenever your dog is jumping up, either ignore them or verbally correct them. Then, ask them to sit and stay. Once they have sat down and are looking up to you, reinforce this desirable behaviour with plenty of praise.
2. Using Dog Training Tools
But what if your dog simply is too excited to calm down and respond to verbal corrections? In these cases, we recommend using a slip lead. Our Ragnar Slip Leash is an ideal tool for such instances. Jumping up is a self-rewarding behaviour for dogs. But in blocking it with the Ragnar Slip Leash, you can effectively break this habit. Easy to handle and suitable for dogs of any age, the Ragnar Leash is very safe to use: Unlike conventional slip leads, this model has an adjustable metal plate. This feature allows you to control how far the leash contracts. In this way, you can communicate with your dog without worrying about their health. Once you have corrected your dog’s attempt to hump, you can redirect them to sit down. If they refuse to do so, simply pull the slip leash up a little. This method works equally well for energetic puppies and excitable adult dogs. And after a few repetitions, your dog’s jumping up should already have diminished. Be patient, be persistent, and you will succeed in stopping your dog’s jumping habit.
3. Establishing Calm, Consistent Leadership
The Ragnar Slip Leash is perfect for holding any dog that tries to jump up away from you. In doing so, you claim your own space. And at the same time, you ask the dog to respect your personal space. You are setting a boundary, and you are ensuring that your dog respects this boundary. Well-mannered dogs do not barge into people’s personal space and jump all over them.
And this ties into the most important thing you must do to keep your dog from jumping up on people: Building calm, consistent canine leadership. Such leadership is the bases for the amazing relationship we all want to enjoy with our dogs. But unless your dog respects you as their leader, this relationship will never be perfect. Your dog’s jumping up habit is an indicator that the foundation of leadership is currently missing: Dogs do not jump up on their leaders – instead, they respect their leaders’ personal space, and only enter it when invited.
Jumping up is a common behaviour for puppies and older dogs. Perhaps you personally do not mind being jumped up on by your dog. Nevertheless, being able to stop the behaviour on cue is useful. We hope that the advice contained in this article proves helpful to you and your dog. And now, we wish you all the best for your journey with your canine companion. Be the calm, consistent leader that your dog needs to be happy. And soon enough, their bad habits will be a matter of the past.