Jumping up is a common problem with bigger dogs getting themselves into more trouble than smaller dogs (for obvious reasons) but it is the same issue regardless of size.
As with most behaviour modification it is important to understand the reason or motive behind the behaviour in that particular situation.
Dogs will jump for many reasons
- Lack of confidence
- Because there has been a history of reinforcement
Dogs are hardwired to jump up. It normally starts in puppyhood when they are small and us humans don’t mind or don’t realise the knock on effect to such an innocent action. Dogs can use jumping for play purposes which can be transferred to humans.
Studies have shown that by using punishment i.e force and aversive methods, is less effective than positive reward based techniques. We must remember that every dog is an individual and every situation is unique. However, we can do the following:
Control the environment
It is sometimes easier to make changes to the environment than a dog. If your dog has a habit of jumping up at visitors whilst they enter your house could you have baby gates to help you or could you shut your dog into a separate room?
Anticipate situations and set the dog up to succeed
If you know your dog likes to launch his goofy self at a passerby, the moment you spot the person, get your dog to focus on you. If necessary put some distance in as they approach you.
Teach an alternative
If you don’t like your dog jumping up ask yourself the question ‘what do I want my dog doing instead?’ It could be going to his bed, focusing on you, standing, going to find a toy etc. The list is endless but once you can answer this we need to teach the dog.
Never take wanted behaviours for granted
So often I see dogs approach people appropriately and they are ignored but the moment the dog starts to jump people tell them off. Dogs will use behaviours that work. If they are ignored for keeping their feet on the floor and then rewarded (yelled at, pushed off) when they jump, guess which one the dog will choose!
If you are struggling with your dog jumping up why not contact me to book a one to one so I can help you and your dog. Just click on the Contact Us page.