Isn’t it embarrassing when you invite an acquaintance round, and they come in to be greeted by a dog jumping up at them. There are numerous problems with this, which will vary depending on the size and intensity of your dog! Including…
- Ripped/snagged clothes
- Brusing/scratched visitors
- Visitors feeling scared to come round
- Children learn to become afraid of dogs
- More frail visitors could be knocked over
- Anxiousness and stress for you as the owner when the doorbell rings
- Feeling confused as to why your dog won’t ‘stay’ when asked, or leave your visitors alone
For many, the dog is already beside itself, either barking or whining before you’ve even opened the door, and the visitor actually comes in, and this in itself can be very stressful for you as an owner, before you get to the above problems. If you have more than one dog, then it is more than likely that if one dog has a tendency to act in this way at the door, then the others will follow suit. Double, or triple the trouble!
So why do dogs jump up at visitors….? Well their natural understanding is that you are a pack, and live on a territory. When someone comes to the door, they immediately get an adrenalin reaction, due to anticipation of why this person is coming to your territory and whether this visitor is friend or foe. The adrenalin reaction is a flight of fight response – similar to the ones we get as humans in high stress situations. They help us to cope with the demands of the extreme situations. When the visitor comes in your dog takes charge and goes about finding out whether they are friendly, and also whether they are responsible for your visitors while they are there. The jumping up is attention seeking combined with an attempt to gain height, thus showing higher status (like the heights of the podium increase from bronze up to gold).
Dogs will also jump up at their owners when they return home to clarify status after a separation. If your dog is doing any of this, he or she feels that she is responsible for maintaining the safety and hierarchy of your pack. In other words, they are acting as the leader. If your dog considers itself the leader, then I can help you. Training you how to show your dog clear leadership, in a way it understands. Owner training, rather than dog training! Over the last 6 years, I have help hundreds of owners overcome all manner of different problems with their dogs, and jumping up has always been up there. Even if your dog is only small, if it is jumping up, it’s thoughts are just the same as a big dog, so it needs you to step up and take charge! Leadership is stressful, we only have to look at how much Tony Blair aged while he was PM to acknowledge that…