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Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Jumping and nipping puppies

Recently I've had lots of questions about puppies that jump and nip. For those of you with new puppies and who haven't had puppies before, please let me reassure you that this is perfectly normal for puppies. It might seem full on and sometimes even deliberate, the way they charge at you and bowl you over, but it is just play on their part. If they had done the same to another puppy, they would most likely have got a great chase game out of it, but when they do it to a human the response is usually not very positive.

So how do you solve the problem? It is a natural behaviour for them, but we can't live with them behaving like that...

For the jumping up, I would set up as many training sessions as possible, with as many different people as possible, to help your puppy generalise that you should greet all 2 legged creatures without jumping.

Set the training up at home, where you can work with one person at a time. When they come through the door they should be prepared to turn their back on your puppy, if he/she jumps up. They should turn their back and make sure they don't talk to, touch or look at the puppy until he/she has all 4 paws on the ground. Lots of fuss if they puppy comes up with all paws on the ground from the beginning. You can alternate this with setting your friend up with a bag of treats before they come through the door and instruct them to be ready to drop a handful of treats (can also be the puppy's dry food) on the floor, before the puppy reaches them. This will give the puppy a chance to stay on all 4 paws, eating the treats, while the guest gives them a gentle stroke over their backs and moves along into the house, settling into a chair. This will teach the puppy that they don't have to greet guests by jumping up. Dogs often jump up to get to the corners of our mouth, to lick us there. It is their way of showing us that they are not a threat, that they are submissive. That is why it is so hard to get rid of the jumping up issue. The more aggressively you try to teach them not to jump up, the more need they feel to jump up! Poor things will be utterly comfused...

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