If American Eskimos were people, they would be the people who get up before the sunrise to go on a run and will still probably hit the gym after work later that day. Energy and activity define this breed, and if you are the kind of person who thrives on moving and playing, then an American Eskimo could be the perfect companion for your runs and home activity. Of course, with all of that energy, there needs to be a constant outlet. Just like you might get fidgety after not being able to go on a run, your American Eskimo might act out or display undesirable behaviors simply because it feels cooped up in the house. One such behavior is jumping, a trait that seems common in undertrained, energetic American Eskimos. Here’s why American Eskimos jump, and what you can do to bring your dog down to earth.
The Root of the Behavior
American Eskimos come from a family of Spitz dog breeds that trace their lineage back to the frigid Arctic regions of the world. They are affectionately referred to as “Eskies” by those who love the breed, and Eskies are equally as affectionate of their humans in a household setting. Everything about American Eskimos relates to their high-spirited, high-energy lifestyles, including their tendency to jump excessively and run around crazily. The jumping behavior in particular seems to be more common the less training a young Eskie has received. While it can be somewhat easily corrected, it is best to watch for the behavior early on and dissuade your American Eskimo while it is still young.
The Humane Society suggests that in general, dogs jump in order to attempt to greet humans nose-to-nose, the same way that they would greet a dog friend of theirs. Since American Eskimos tend to be assertive and dominant dogs, jumping seems to be consistent with attempting to get onto your level. American Eskimos may jump on strangers without pause, which can lead into a dangerous situation where kids are involved. In general, jumping is one of the least desirable traits among dogs, even if you find it cute while your dog is young. In response to your dog’s jumping behavior, you will need to be a confident and self-assured leader, and will need to let your dog know that jumping is not okay.
Keeping your American Eskimo calm may prove to be a challenge, since they are generally a hyperactive breed. If they are allowed to become bored, they will take out their energy in ways that are often destructive, including barking, chewing, and jumping around the house. Locking a hyper American Eskimo outside is not a good idea either, as these dogs prefer to be inside with you, and will begin to experience a number of social and mental issues if left alone consistently. The best course of action is to be a strong, confident leader who can make sure that your dog is getting all of the attention, exercise, and direction that it needs to thrive.
Encouraging the Behavior
Training your American Eskimo not to jump on you or other people should be a relatively simple task since Eskies are known to be highly intelligent and highly trainable dogs. The key is to ignore them whenever they attempt to jump on you and to teach others to ignore your dog when he tries to jump on them. Once your Eskie stays still long enough for the reality to sink in that jumping is not a behavior to be praised or rewarded, you can then reward your dog and praise him for staying still. Since Eskies tend to be smaller dogs, a lot of people will say that they don’t mind being jumped on, but consistency is key in cementing the behavior and making sure that your dog has learned not to jump on people across the board.
Attention is one of the reasons that an American Eskimo will jump, and the two worst things that you could do when trying to eliminate the behavior would be to give them the attention and punish them. It can be cute when dogs, especially smaller dogs, jump up and paw at you, but the behavior can quickly become annoying. Punishing your dog not only confuses your dog, but it is also a form of attention that may contribute to the action. Ignoring and then correcting tends to be the best solution, for example, if your dog is in the habit of jumping on you while you sit, the best course of action would be to get up and ignore him instead of letting him jump on you and then cuddle with you. Follow up with rewarding your dog for sitting at your feet and waiting to be invited onto the couch.
Other Solutions and Considerations
American Eskimos can also jump and become hyperactive when they are overstimulated; their destructive behaviors are not limited to times of boredom. When guests come over, or when you start becoming more active in the house, your Eskie may jump up and suddenly expect it to be playtime. This quickness to become active and alert is one of the hallmarks of the American Eskimo breed. If you are not equally as active, and equally capable of providing your dog with outlets for his energy, then you may end up with a destructive, overly energetic dog on your hands who jumps for your attention. These behaviors are rarely permanent, but you should make efforts sooner rather than later to ensure that your dog is physically and mentally stimulated throughout the day.
Your Eskie can be a constant source of fun and happiness in the house if it is balanced with obedience and positive behaviors. You may even find yourself challenged to new levels of activity just to keep up with your American Eskimo! Just be sure that while you are keeping up, your Eskie is keeping down.
By a Australian Shepherd lover Jonah Erickson
Published: 03/29/2018, edited: 01/30/2020