Why dogs do it and how to curb their enthusiasm.
Every dog has jumped up at some time in his life. Whether dogs are jumping up on people to greet them or jumping up on the furniture, our canine companions sometimes have trouble keeping all four feet on the floor.
Although jumping up is a natural behavior for dogs, it can cause problems for humans. When a dog jumps on a child or elderly person, he could cause serious damage by knocking that person to the ground. Even small dogs can hurt someone by jumping up and accidentally scratching the person with sharp nails.
Jumping up on the furniture is another natural behavior for dogs. While some pet parents don’t mind their dogs on the couch, others have a strict “no furniture” policy. If you don’t want your dog on the couch, you have the right to enforce that rule.
Because dogs naturally jump up on people and furniture, they have to be taught that this behavior is unacceptable. Before you teach your dog not to jump up, it’s helpful to understand why he’s doing it.
When dogs are excited, they want to let you know it. From a dog’s perspective, flinging his body at you with full force is a great way to express his joy. If he’s a small dog, he probably wants to get as close to your face as possible to give you some licks.
Dogs who jump up on the couch are doing it to get close to you or to just find a more comfortable place to sleep. Your dog sees you sitting and lying on the couch, and figures it’s available to him, too.
When it comes to teaching your canine companion not to jump up, it can be challenging to recondition a dog who has been doing this his whole life. That said, it’s still worth a try. Start with basic obedience training so your dog sees you as the leader. Enroll in an obedience class and tell the instructor you need help teaching your dog the “off” command. If your dog is still a young puppy, get him into puppy kindergarten class as soon as he’s age-eligible (depending on the training school’s requirements). Do not allow the jumping-up-on-people habit to start. Your instructor will help you teach your puppy to avoid developing this behavior.
If your dog jumps up on the furniture, you have a tougher road ahead in training. It’s difficult to get a dog out of the habit of jumping up on the couch once he’s been doing it as part of his every day routine. At the very least, you will probably have success at keeping him off the couch when you are present. Do this by telling him “off” as you take him by the collar and lead him down to the floor. If you are consistent, he’ll catch on. However, don’t delude yourself into thinking he won’t jump up on the couch when you’re not around to stop him. The only way to prevent this is to confine him to a different room, an exercise pen or a crate whenever you’re not home.
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com and hollywoodhoofbeats.net/