How does your dog greet you when you return home after a long day at work? In an ideal world, your furry friend would calmly sit down wagging their tail, and eagerly wait for you to freshen up. And they’d have a broad and happy grin across their face as you shower them with affection.
But, if your pooch is like most dogs, chances are they start jumping and licking on you as you step inside the front door. Most pet dogs get excited at the sight of their favorite human and jump on them to greet them. But as a dog parent, it’s natural to wonder “why does my dog jump on me”.
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Moreover, you may not be the only human at the receiving end of this behavior. If your dog is a serial jumper, they’ll likely pounce on new house guests as well. However, not everyone will be equally receptive to this behavior.
Worse still, if your pooch jumps on an elderly or differently-abled person, they could get seriously injured. Likewise, your dog’s jumping could scare young children and make your house guests feel uncomfortable.
It is, therefore, essential to use appropriate techniques to change their behavior. However, you should first understand what prompts dogs to jump. In this blog, we’ll explore the various reasons dogs jump on their guardians and other humans and how you can change this habit. Let’s get started.
Why Do Dogs Jump Up? – The Root of the Behavior
Why does my dog jump on me? If you’re a dog parent, chances are this question has crossed your mind more often than you can count. But it’s worth mentioning that jumping is fairly normal behavior for dogs. Here are a few possible reasons they could be doing this:
They Want Your Attention
Jumping on you is a dog’s way of showing affecting and seeking attention. Also, it comes naturally to them, considering that they’re used to living in packs, typically headed by their mother. When the mother brings food to the den, young pups often jump at her and lick her to ask for the food. It’s the same instinct that motivates them to jump on their favorite humans at times.
So, if your dog starts jumping on you while you’re walking with them, it could simply indicate they’re being playful. Likewise, if you’ve been away from them for a while, they could jump on you as a means to get your attention.
They Want to Greet You
Also, if you’ve ever observed a pack of dogs, you’ll notice that they greet each other by licking their faces. Since your dog perceives you as one of their friends, they want to greet you in the same fashion. However, they can’t easily reach your face because of your height. This, in turn, prompts them to jump every time they want to greet you.
They’re Asserting Their Dominance
Adolescent dogs, especially those belonging to larger breeds, often feel stressed or threatened by the presence of a new guest or family member. Consequently, your dog might jump on them to highlight their dominance and regain control of their territory. It’s similar to when dogs in the wild jump on a new member of the pack to demonstrate their power.
They’ve Got Pent Up Energy
If your dog hasn’t been getting enough exercise lately, they’re likely going to have a lot of pent up energy. They might start feeling bored and jump on you as a way of venting the extra energy. Alternatively, they could just be trying to communicate that they’re yearning for playtime. Talking them out for a walk or to play fetch will solve the problem.
They’re Anxious or in Pain
If your dog is usually calm and jumps on you all of a sudden, it could indicate they’re feeling anxious or fearful. Worse still, they might be in pain due to a leg or paw injury. In such cases, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian whenever your dog exhibits such atypical behavior.
How to Stop the Jumping Up?
Instead of asking “why does my dog jump on me”, you should figure out ways to control and modify this behavior. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Know What Not to Do
Many self-proclaimed “canine experts” will tell you to use punitive or aversion techniques to prevent your dog from jumping. This involves kneeing or dog or yanking their leash every time they jump on you. Some people might also advise you to step on their toes or pinch them. Needless to say, these techniques will cause pain and injury to your pooch.
Also, when you knee your dog and knock them down, they might perceive it as a playful gesture. This, in turn, will encourage them to jump on you instead of dissuading them from doing so.
2. Be Patient
As with any other aspect of canine behavior, you can’t expect overnight success with your dog’s jumping. Irrespective of whether you’re using behavioral modification or commands, make sure you persist with the training. Also, don’t lose patience if your dog takes time to adjust to the techniques you’re implementing.
3. Withhold Attention
Have you ever tried rebuking your dog from jumping at you? While you may not realize it, even when you’re scolding them or telling them not to jump, you’re still rewarding them with attention. That’s why scolding your dog isn’t the best way to weed out jumping.
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Instead, you should stop reacting, cross your arms over your chest, and turn your back every time your dog starts jumping on you. Or you could try walking out of the door when you see your dog approaching you. Repeat this until your pooch calms down and stands on all four paws.
4. Reward Good Behavior
Nothing modifies canine behavior faster and more effectively than positive reinforcement. Whenever your dog calms down after a round of unwanted jumping, reward them with a treat or a word of encouragement. It’ll gradually train them to greet you by patiently sitting on four paws instead of abruptly pouncing on you.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
Identify situations where your dog is most likely to jump on you. Next, simulate those situations and withhold attention to get them used to the behavior. Lastly, don’t forget to reward your dog once they’ve calmed down.
6. Add a Sit Command
Settling on four paws isn’t enough. If you want your dog to stop unwanted jumping, you must train them with a “sit” command. As soon as they are on their paws, ask them to sit down, and reward them with a treat. This will gradually train them to sit down and patiently wait for you once you come back home.
7. Practice with Other People
Training your pooch to not jump on you isn’t enough. You must also ensure that they’re calm around other people, especially strangers. The best way of doing this is to involve other people in their training. Also, make sure they’re on a leash when you’re introducing them to new people.
How to Train an Alternative Greeting Behavior?
With the effective use of the aforementioned techniques, you’ll never have to contemplate “why does my dog jump on me”. But as a dog parent, you likely look forward to being greeted by your canine companion after a long and tiring day at the office. Just because they can’t jump on you, doesn’t mean they can’t greet you at the door.
Use a command like “hug me” or “give me a hug” to program your dog to hug you after you’re home. However, make sure you first control their habit of jumping on you by withholding attention and turning your back.
Conclusion: Frequently Asked Questions
Jumping in excitement comes naturally to most dogs. Also, there are various ways to modify this behavior in your pooch. However, as a new dog parent, you might have a plethora of questions regarding your dog’s jumping. Here are a few common questions that’ll come to your mind:
How Can I Train My Dog Not to Jump Using a Disruptive Stimulus?
A disruptive stimulus, such as a shaker can, ultrasonic trainer, or air horn can come in handy to prevent your dog from jumping. All you have to do is distract your dog with a loud noise and give them a command to calm down and sit. Then, you can reward them with a treat or praise to reinforce the behavior.
Why Dogs Greet by Jumping?
When dogs are in a pack, they greet their friends by licking each other’s faces. Considering that you’re significantly taller than your pooch, they can’t easily access your face to shower you with affection. This, in turn, prompts them to jump every time they want to greet you.
Why Does My Dog Jump on Me While Walking?
It’s likely that your dog is just being playful and wants your attention. Alternatively, they might feel over-excited if they’re stepping out of home after a while. Or your dog is feeling anxious in a new environment and seeks protection by embracing you.
Why Does My Dog Jump at Me When I Get Home?
It’s a combination of excitement and affection. Or they’re craving your attention and want you to play with them. It could also be that they’re trying to communicate something.
Why Does My Dog Jump on Me and Bite Me?
Most dogs jump on their favorite humans as a means to show their love and affection. It’s the same reason small puppies jump on their mother after she comes back to the den with food. However, if your dog tends to bite you as well, it’s likely that they’re trying to assert their dominance.
What techniques have you tried to stop your dog from jumping on you? Share your views in the comments section below.