How to Deal With a Jumping German Shepherd
Learn how to deal with a jumping German Shepherd right now! This is a really common problem among many dogs and dog owners. It's a problem that many dog owners inadvertently encourage beginning from puppyhood. Just try and see if this situation sounds familiar to you.
A new GSD puppy owner brings home their new puppy. It's so cute and excited and jumps and leaps at our knees, over and over. In response to the cute jumping puppy's antics, the new owner leans down and pets the puppy.
That new puppy owner just rewarded their new puppy for jumping by reacting with all sorts of affection, and love. The puppy quickly learns that jumping is a good thing because it results in plenty of positive attention.
To your dog there is no difference between a jump as a small puppy or a jump as a huge adult dog. To your dog, a greeting is a greeting is a greeting.
It is your job to take matters into your own hands and make it perfectly clear to your dog that a jumping German Shepherd is not an option.
So, why does jumping happen in the first place?
Many GSD's simply don’t jump at all, apart from when their owner returns home after a relatively prolonged absence (like the average workday). If your dog is leaping up on you in these circumstances, there’s no sinister motivation at work here: he’s literally jumping for joy.
Many owners of smaller dogs actually expect them to jump up on them. On the other hand, there's rarely a time where strangers will enjoy being jumped up on by an unknown dog, no matter what the dogs actual size. Personally, it's just common sense to teach your dog the "off" command, so that you're prepared for those incidences when you're not directly on hand to stop the jumping behavior.
For owners of large-breed dogs, like our beloved German Shepherds, the “off” (or “no jump”) command is mandatory. Big dogs are often taller than humans when they rear up on their hind legs (and just imagine the experience from a child’s point of view, with a dog’s slavering jaws looming above your own head!) – they’re often heavy enough to knock smaller adults head over tail. At the very least, a large dog’s paws are heavy enough to gouge long rents in cloth and exposed flesh. Bruising and scratches are unpleasant enough to deal with when they’re your own problem; but they’re much worse when your dog’s inflicted them on somebody else!
Really, any kind of jumping that involves anyone apart from yourself is just bad form. All owners with even pretensions of responsibility should arm their dogs with a reliable recall to the “off” command – just in case.
This is where a lot of people make a mistake: they confuse ignoring the behavior with ignoring the dog. You’re not ignoring the behavior - i.e., you’re not carrying on with whatever you were doing as if the jumping wasn’t happening; you’re ignoring your dog. You’re still going to react; but your reaction is for you to actively ignore him.
The cold shoulder is a really effective way of communicating your displeasure to your jumping German Shepherd – he’ll catch on very quickly. Without the encouragement of your attention and your reactions to his behavior, he’ll calm down very quickly indeed.
When to praise the jumping German Shepherd
When all four paws are on the ground, then – and only then – you can praise the heck out of your "non" jumping German Shepherd!
Don’t be confused by the proximity of the positive reinforcement to the negative – dogs have a very short “training memory”, and are only capable of associating a reaction from you with whatever behavior it is they’re exhibiting at the time of that reaction.
So, it’s perfectly OK for you to react with wild enthusiasm the very second that his paws touch the ground, even if you were cold-shouldering him the split-second before.
For more information on understanding and solving canine behavioral problems, you’d probably be interested in checking out SitStayFetch. It’s a complete how-to manual for dog owners, and is packed with just about all the information you’ll ever need on dog psychology, canine communication how-to’s, practical advice for dealing with problem behaviors, and detailed step-by-step guides to obedience training.
Visit SitStayFetch to learn even more about dog behavior training. In fact, I highly recommend them.
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