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Keep Your Dog from Leaping on Visitors

November 1, 2014

Your big Labrador retriever, Bouncer, is training for the Canine Olympics high jump event. Like clockwork, anyone who visits your home becomes an unwilling participant in Bouncer’s practice sessions. When you open the door, Bouncer launches himself at your visitor, stretching up on his hind legs and joyously licking their face. While Bouncer might have gotten away with these antics during puppyhood, he’s now a two-year-old bruiser who should modify his greeting behavior. Team up with your Leesburg veterinarian to give Bouncer some much-needed behavioral training.

Why Your Canine Athlete Loves to Jump

Like most other dogs, Bouncer jumps when he anticipates something good is coming his way. Perhaps you’re greeting him after a long day at work, or you’re grabbing his leash for a walk around the neighborhood. When Bouncer sees his bowl full of his favorite food, he jumps in your face when you place the bowl on the floor. Bouncer also looks forward to visitors. From Bouncer’s perspective, he can probably get in a jump or two before you banish him to the other room.

Rein In Your Dog’s Jumping Behavior

It’s time to short-circuit Bouncer’s out-of-control bid for attention. Study his body language, and identify that moment when he’s tensing his entire body for a spring-loaded jump. Right then, say “No!” very firmly, and turn your attention elsewhere. When Bouncer doesn’t get what he wants, he’ll take a minute to regroup and plan his next move. While he’s quietly sitting or standing there, praise him for his good behavior. Make sure you take the same action every time he prepares to jump.

Obedience Training and Exercise Are Key

Assuming Bouncer has graduated from basic obedience training class, it’s time to give him a much-needed refresher. Regularly practice his “Sit” and “Down-Stay” behaviors, especially when you think he’s gearing up for a leap. Remember, he can’t jump very well from a crouching position. Also, give Bouncer enough exercise for his breed type and physical capabilities. If he expends his energy on flying disc and fetch games, he’ll be too worn out to jump on your friends.

Finally, set the tone for your friends’ visits by gaining control over Bouncer before you open the door. Leash him up, welcome your friend, and give Bouncer a chance to display his reformed behavior. If he ignores your commands, give him just enough leash to complete a “Sit” or “Down-Stay” action. Stand on the remainder of the leash to prevent Bouncer from a relapse. Eventually, Bouncer will likely give up the ghost and adopt a more refined behavior. When Bouncer next visits his Leesburg vet, report that your rambunctious pooch has turned over a new leaf.