How to calm a jumpy dog

HAPPY DOG PAWS. How to calm a jumpy dog

Whether dogs are jumping up on people to greet them or jumping up on the furniture, our canine companions sometimes have trouble keeping all four feet on the floor.

Although jumping up is a natural behavior for dogs, it can cause problems for humans because they could cause serious damage by knocking that person to the ground. Even small dogs can hurt someone by jumping up.

They have to be taught that this behavior is unacceptable. However, it is helpful to understand why they are doing it.

When dogs are excited, they want to let you know it. It is a great way to express their joy or that they want to get as close to your face as possible to give you some licks. Also, when jumping up on the couch they are doing it to get close to you or to just find a more comfortable place to sleep.

However, jumpy behavior could also be an overreaction to certain stimuli, typically due to fear and anxiety. Observe your dog over a period of days to determine the source of the jumpinesss. The doorbell or vacuum cleaner are common environmental causes.

If your dog is still a young puppy, do not allow the jumping-up-on people habit to start because it can be challenging to recondition a dog who has been doing this his/her whole life.

Start with basic obedience training so your dog sees you as the leader.   

Ignore your dog if he/she reacts in an anxious, jumpy manner and reward passive calm behavior.  

Hyperactivity can cause jumpiness and vice versa. You can help your dog get over these problems with play, training and counterconditioning.

Increase the amount of exercise you give your dog. Make the exercise mentally stimulating too, so their minds are as tired as their bodies. Tug-o-war, fetch and agility training all provide mental and physical stimulation.

HAPPY DOG PAWS. How to calm a jumpy dog

If a dog is vision or hearing impaired, they will not notice people approaching and may become startled more easily. Consult your vet if you are concerned.

Adjust your habits and behavior. If you are a bundle of energy, they will react with the same energy level. If you are sitting calmly, they will follow your lead.

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