If you spend much time around canines, the chances are at some point you will experience a dog who jumps up on you. And when you do, you may wonder if they are greeting you or attacking you. It may be that it is your dog who is the jumper and he or she jumps on almost everyone. This can make you wonder and ask yourself, why do dogs try to jump on you? Or other people? It is a reasonable query and one that is quite simple to understand. Although there are a few reasons that could be behind the behavior most experts do agree the act of jumping is quite common.
The Root of the Behavior
From an early age, puppies learn to jump up on their mothers. If she is bringing food to the litter, they may jump up and lick her face as a means to 'ask' her to drop the food. Since she is their pack leader at this stage they can't simply take the food from her. Jumping up to lick her face lets the mother know that the pup wants food in a more submissive manner. It is a natural instinct that is deeply rooted in the puppy's nature. Additionally, a puppy will also jump up as a loving greeting to their mother in order to feel closer.
Another instinct that dogs possess is how they greet one another. You will notice that dogs usually walk up to each other face to face and sniff. The same manner of greeting is what your dog may be attempting with humans. And since we are so much taller they will need to jump up to reach your face. This allows them to be closer and greet you affectionately as their pack leader, the same as they would have done with their mother.
If your dog seems to mainly jump on strangers or people whom they do not see very often, it may be that the jumping is something else. When a dog feels stressed or a lack of confidence around an unfamiliar person they may jump on them. This is a means of trying to regain control and asserting their dominance over a new member of the pack. This can be quite unsettling for an unsuspecting guest, especially if the person is not as steady on their feet as you may be.
Dogs can also just get bored. If your pup has way too much pent-up energy and gets over excited, he or she may become a jumper. The excess energy can be from boredom, being in their kennel or crate, or just a more active personality. Their feelings of overexcitement can be related to how a human would feel when seeing a loved one after a long separation. Or how you would feel if you just won the lottery!
Encouraging the Behavior
We can all agree that allowing your dog to jump on people is sometimes a very bad idea. And since it is always better to be consistent you should decide if you are going to allow this type of behavior. There are some training methods that are recommended for deterring jumping by your pooch. It is up to you as the pack leader to correct the problem.
If your dog seems to jump more when you come home from work at the end of the day there are some things you can try to stop the jumping. Wait until your pup has calmed down before giving him or her any attention. If you immediately show affection while they are jumping, you are actually rewarding the behavior. Once their paws are firmly on the floor and they have a calmer demeanor then you can reward them with attention.
Training your pup not to jump on guests or strangers is also something you need to think about. One method is to always introduce your pup to new people while they are on a leash. Having firm control of them and making them sit or stay before greeting is a highly recommended approach. You may also want to keep one of their favorite toys handy as a distraction.
Other Solutions and Considerations
When working with your pup to stop undesired behavior such as jumping there are a few tips on what not to do as well. You don't want to show excitement when your dog is jumping. The calmer you remain when correcting the behavior, the calmer your dog will be as well. Be firm but gentle with them and keep your composure.
And it should go without saying that you never want to use any training method that would cause pain or discomfort! This includes kneeing your dog in the chest, pinching their toes, or stepping on their paws. The only thing this will accomplish is to frighten and hurt your precious fur baby. None of us ever want to do anything to cause harm to our babies.
If you have concerns or are unsure about the best method of training your dog, consult with your veterinarian or another canine expert. A local dog trainer will be happy to point you in the right direction and can be an invaluable resource for grooming a well-behaved pup. Be sure to utilize all of the resources available to you.
By a English Mastiff lover Dena Withrow
Published: 02/15/2018, edited: 01/30/2020