One of the lesser considered parts of the dangerous dogs act is jumping up. Whilst there isn’t specific legislation relating to jumping, the act describes certain behaviours which could include jumping up. See the wording below:
It is against the law to let a dog (any breed) be dangerously out of control, anywhere. Out of control is described as:
- If it injures someone
- If it makes someone worried that it might injure them
- It attacks someone’s animal
- If the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal.
For more information follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public
Can jumping up injure someone?
I personally have a scar on my stomach, from a claw mark received from a dog who jumped up at me. This happened in the winter and I was wearing 3 layers of tops. Sadly a client of mine has an order on their dog after he jumped at a child and the child was scratched from the jump.
So in simple words, yes a jump can injure. I have heard many stories of people being knocked over by dogs jumping up at them. This is particularly challenging when the person is more elderly or less steady on their feet.
If you look closely at the wording of the advice, your dog doesn’t actually have to cause and injury for it to be considered ‘dangerously out of control’, just in the same sense that you don’t actually have to have a crash to be charged with dangerous driving. If someone believes that they may be injured when your dog jumps up at them (or runs over and barks) technically they could report you. For people with Cynophobia (who are afraid of dogs), jumping up is one of the biggest triggers, and the jump could potentially cause an attack of anxiety.
Why do dogs jump up?
Jumping up is a very natural behaviour for a dog. It is a ritual in which they raise their height – usually during a greeting, to assert their physical size and therefore status in relation to the person or animal they are being reunited with (or meeting for the first time). They are also seeking to discover whether they will get attention on their terms. How we respond to it makes a huge difference on whether or not they continue to jump up.
If we respond with attention – even if that attention is to tell them ‘no’ or to ‘get down’ then they are highly likely to repeat the behaviour in the future. If we allow them to remain ‘up’ (paws on us) they are highly likely to continue to do it. Whereas if we do not respond to them directly, merely calmly pushing them away without interacting, we are not encouraging it. If we walk away from them and into another room, closing the door behind us if they persist, then they have learnt that this behaviour ‘loses’ the pack.
Consistency is key
With any attempts to change a dog’s behaviour you must be patient and consistent, otherwise you will not get the results. The action described above works best when done in combination with all the other leadership signals that a dog intuitively understands. For more information on this, read “The Dog Listener” by Jan Fennell.
If you are worried about the Dangerous Dog’s Act, then you should know that it is more complicated to stop a dog jumping up at visitors and jumping up on the walk, but it can be done. I have a blog on each subject – the links are above. I’d also recommend seeking the help of your local dog listener. Visit janfennellthedoglistener.com/listeners to find out who is close to you.