Dear Brandy,

My dog is constantly jumping on me when I come home. It has gotten so bad that we don't even like to go into the back yard with her. She is a 9 month old Golden Retriever. What can we do?

Dear Golden:

The first part of any problem is understanding why our dogs do things. Your dog is jumping on you for a couple of reasons:

  1. Goldens, like most dogs, crave attention. Being away from you all day, she has saved up all that excitement she gets from being around you.

  2. Jumping on you is her way of displaying that love for you.

  3. She doesn't know any other way to express her affection or to get any in return.

Jumping is a common problem that is relatively easily fixed.

  • In the short term, if your dog is about to knock you over, you can respond by pulling up your knee so that if she jumps, she runs into you knee with her chest. Say "Off" in a strong voice. You are not trying to kick at her with your feet.

  • Work on teaching your dog to sit on command. When she runs to you, ask her to sit and reward her when she does. (If she doesn't, put her in the sit and then praise). Whenever you pet your dog, get her to sit in front of you.

  • Kneeling or bending to your dog's level as she approaches in order to pet her encourages her to keep all fours on the floor.

  • Try to make time each day to interact in a fun way with your dog. The more time you spend with her, the better she will get.

When she learns that she can get the attention she wants without jumping, she will learn to stay off. Teaching the dog what you want, instead of just yelling at her when she annoys you, will give her other avenues of expression that will make it easier for her to stop unwanted behaviors.

Of course, getting your dog into an obedience class is one of the best ways to gain control over this and other aspects of "attention on demand" behaviors.

Copyright Kim Crenshaw
Last modified: August 22, 2007 02:10:37 PM