Does your dog or puppy jump up when they are excited? Perhaps you have a small dog who climbs into your lap in an effort to feel safe and secure.
- We understand that jumping and pawing up can be frustrating to experience. Our human instinct is to eliminate a behavior with punishment rather than asking: “Why is my dog jumping?”
- By watching their body language closely, you can determine the reason why your dog is pawing up or jumping.
- If we eliminate behavior without identifying the underlying cause, your dog not only feels frustrated and is denied their needs, but it can break down the bond you have worked so hard to create with your best buddy.
Jumping for Attention
- Teach your dog an alternative behavior like “go to your mat” instead of jumping.
- Use treats to reinforce a desired behavior, but be sure to also offer praise and petting in a calm manner when jumping ceases.
- Use the desire for attention to your advantage. If your dog is jumping up for attention, attention can actually serve as a reward for an alternate behavior.
- Identify situations where your dog is likely to jump. Stop them from jumping by using management tools, such as a baby gate.
- Ask family members and strangers not to reinforce your dog’s jumping.
Pawing Up Because of Stress
- A dog who is seeking safety is not necessarily seeking praise or treats.
- It’s okay to console your pet if they are nervous. Your reassurance will not reinforce their feelings of anxiety or fear.
- Teach alternate behaviors such as sitting behind you or backing up between your legs.
- Introduce your pup to food puzzles and teach new games at home to boost your dog’s confidence.
- If your pup is having a difficult time learning a new cue, practice something easy in a safer space or take a break and try again later.
- Note when and where your dog’s stress level rises. Avoid those environments until you are able to practice more training cues and confidence-building skills that will allow your dog to feel safe.
Turning your back on a jumping dog or punishing your dog for jumping will likely make your dog more frustrated and lead to more undesired behaviors.
We are always here to help! You can find additional behavior and training resources at pasadenahumane.org/behavior.