Why does your dog jump at you?

BY SIMON GOODALL
Last updated 08:00 26/04/2010

I often go into people's houses and get greeted by extremely enthusiastic dogs that jump all over me. As a dog trainer that's what I am there for. However, is there a place for it and why does it happen?

I'm just saying hello!Most people tend to believe that dogs jump because they're dominant. There's a certain part of jumping that is, but for the most part not really. The real reason behind jumping is just to say hello.

Put it another way. If I came and said hello to you and looked at your shoes, what would you think? I have to maintain eye contact to keep the interest on you. The face is where we put all our expressions on, where we speak from and give directions from. This is the place where our dogs can tell what is going on. A scowl can mean go away, a stare can mean a challenge, a smile can mean hello. What other part of the body does that?

Dogs are only trying to say hello to us. We walk in the door after eight hours of work and they're so excited to see us it's beyond happiness, it's ecstasy. When I come in from a few days working, my children jump at me and get a cuddle. Should I expect any different from my dogs?

The answer is yes and no. First of all, it's socially acceptable for a kid to have a hug but not for my dogs. Do my dogs jump? Better not - but they can jump up on command, which means they still get that same interaction.

And how, just how do we stop the jumping? I want this blog to be interactive so I want you to commit to try this out and then I'll write on more topics. If you're going to try my methods, say so below, just a yes or no.

Stopping jumping

When a dog jumps, what's the typical human response? First the person may say no, may say to get down, and may tell the dog to sit once it has jumped. The issue with all of these is that everything revolves around what happens when they jump, not before that.

I want your dog to think. It's strange to think of a dog as not an object but as something with spirit and spunk. Your dog is intelligent, so I want him to think about cause and effect.

For example, when your dog jumps it gets a response. When you ignore it your dog may jump more because you clearly didn't notice it! How about we try changing the cause and effect? When your dog jumps, you walk out the door and leave it for two minutes. You then come back in and repeat the command. Your dog will hopefully soon learn that the way to make you leave is by jumping. Now this is the last thing your dog wanted to happen but it learned that the way to make this happen was by jumping. We now have an effective cause and effect relationship.

Give it a whirl a few times when you get home tonight and see what happens. Remember to put below if you're going to try it as it is the only way for me to work out if you're enjoying the information given.

Simon Goodall is director of  Dog Guru Ltd. Dog Guru has branches throughout the country and is now open in Christchurch. On Facebook or Twitter? Check out DogGuruNZ.

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Picture: Reuters

78 comments
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Christina   #1   08:19 am Apr 26 2010

Yes!!!

Sonya Bennetts   #2   08:28 am Apr 26 2010

We have a five month old wee girl, who is always extremely happy to see us when we come home.....really jumpy! We will try your suggestion over the next few times we come home....Thanx

blaze and molly's mum   #3   08:36 am Apr 26 2010

when i come home i have 2 very excited dogs they have learnt that i will ignore them until they sit then they get cuddles and a fuss mad over them, Blaze is great and knows to sit as soon as i walk in but we have had him since a pup and have done a LOT of trainig with him, Molly is learning but as we only got her as a 1yr old in Novemeber it is talking her a bit longer, while she no longer jumps she stands there and whines and what i can only describe as waves her front leg.

dogman   #4   08:44 am Apr 26 2010

i say jump, he barks 'how high'

LaDi   #5   09:02 am Apr 26 2010

I've always tried to ignore my dogs for a few minutes when I get home each day until they are calm. Sometimes it works and sometimes not so will definitely try this tonight and see how we go...

Chaz   #6   09:08 am Apr 26 2010

Great idea! I don't have a dog, but I walk the ones at the SPCA a fair bit. If I had a dog at home, I'd definitely try this - one day! :)

Rachael   #7   09:09 am Apr 26 2010

Will definitely give it a go tonight!

dog lover   #8   09:21 am Apr 26 2010

My dog jump when I come home because they are happy to see me. We all agree on that. Why is this such a bad thing? I ask them to sit and then we have a cuddle. Why is it such a big no no?

Anna   #9   09:25 am Apr 26 2010

YES!! I am so pleased you talked about this as it is seriously annoying!! My dogs don't do it all the time but they seem to know when a). I am dressed and ready to go out and b). when they have dirty paws!! It's also horrible for people who visit, especially elderly friends and family! I'm not sure this will work as my dogs mostly stay outside and, when I come home and they do it, I'm a bit trapped by them. But, will see how I go. Thanks :)

Jj   #10   09:26 am Apr 26 2010

Will definately be trying this as my Foxie x and Jack Russell leap about barking and trilling and talking like nut bars when I arrive home and frankly they do this to everyone else too so we desparately need to do something about it. I will let you know in a few days how it has worked. Thanks


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