Jumping Dogs It Might be More than an Excited Greeting

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Jumping Dogs It Might be More than an Excited Greeting

by Martin Olliver

Down Spot! Down Princess! Down Rover! Down Peaches! ? Down Comet! Down Cupid! Down Donder and Blitzen! I?ve heard that command many times, from many desperate dog owners, directed at many determined dogs. The jumping dog is a universal problem, but a better understanding of what?s motivating the behavior can go a long way toward addressing it.

Dogs jump up on people for two reasons mainly. First, and probably most common, is the jumping dog who greets this way. This can simply be from over-excitement - they ?jump for joy.? Dog behaviorists also point out that this is partly instinctive. Dogs lick each others faces when they want to give a super nice greeting, a likely reflection of lower ranking members of a wolf pack licked the faces of the higher ranking wolves returning from the hunt. In addition, puppies in a den jump over one another for their mother?s attention. More specifically, they target her face, as a mother typically regurgitates food for her litter, another reflection of the wolf pack.

Also, this behavior can be positively reinforced during greeting times, when a jumping dog is met by an excited owner who immediately praises, feeds, walks and/or plays with their pet after getting ?jumped,? so to speak. Jumping becomes part of this routine. It is rewarded and reinforced.

Another reason for jumping, which is less commonly the case, is that they may be trying to establish dominance. Dogs jump up on each other through what?s known as ?teeing off.? In particular, they rest their head or paw (or both paws) on the shoulder of a dog they want to dominate and exert a bit of downward pressure. Because we walk on two legs, we?re more difficult to tee off on, but the motivation is the same. The dog may be trying to express his dominant status. In these cases, they often jump up once and more or less lean on you.

It?s important to identify this behavior by seeing it in the broader context of your relationship. First, realize a disobedient dog isn?t necessarily a dumb one. If they don?t listen to you, and push and pull you around some, they may have decided not to recognize you as their superior in the pack hierarchy (while still thinking the world of you as a companion!) Whether it?s male or female, a dog that consistently jumps on you may be exhibiting one of many behaviors of the signs of Alpha dog.

You should learn more about Alpha dog behavior, and if you suspect that the jumping is in fact an expression of dominance, then it is likely that your training will need to involve heavier corrections. This just means you might need to do more than simply ignore the dog while jumping and train them to Sit and Settle before getting your attention. For instance, water squirting, sharp ?growling,? or even forcing the dog down and holding them down until they are still are all corrections that will short circuit this behavior.

Martin Olliver has over 12 years experience in dog training and is a proud member of the Kingdom of Pets team (http://www.kingdomofpets.com). For more great articles on problem jumping, visit: http://kingdomofpets.com/dogobediencetraining/articles/jumping_dog.php.

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