My dog Remy jumps on me a couple of times per day during his “wild” spells. He leaps up and bites, bounces off of me, then tears around the room. He grabs a toy, growls and play bows, then charges and jumps again.
It’s embarrassing to admit and really bad behavior!
I guess you could compare it to how an 8-week old puppy might act during one of those “psycho” moments. Only, my dog is 60 pounds with big teeth, big paws and hard nails. I get new scratches from him almost every day.
I know this is related to Remy’s energy and excitement. His jumping only lasts about 30 seconds, and he is just playing. But it’s also way too rough and I clearly have not gotten control of the behavior.
Thankfully, he only seems to do this to me. He’ll jump on people (also bad) but not with this kind of intensity. I suppose this is because he’s usually leashed if we have people over so he does not get to that level of arousal.
How to stop my dog’s aggressive play jumping and biting
This isn’t a general “how to” post on how to stop a dog’s jumping in general. This post is specifically about my dog’s aggressive play jumping and biting. Feel free to add to the discussion in the comments or read the most general posts linked to below.
More general posts on jumping:
- How to stop a puppy from jumping and biting
- How to stop a dog’s jumping (more general how-to post)
- Stop my dog from jumping on guests (Puppy in Training blog)
- The Doggie Don’t Device (to stop jumping)
So, back to Remy …
Remy is a 16-month, 58-pound weimaraner.
He jumps on me a lot but rarely jumps on my husband Josh.
I think that is for a few reasons:
- I’m the one who’s with Remy all day. We interact more.
- I’m usually the one who plays with Remy which equals excitement!
- I talk to, look at and show more emotion (excitement) around the dogs.
- Josh is larger, calmer and more assertive.
- Josh shows no emotion if Remy does jump on him. He’ll give a calm, firm correction in the form of a bop on the nose, a calm “no” or snapping his finger and moving forward. Remy respects this.
- I tend to get angry and emotional when Remy jumps, and he thinks this is a fun game! (See below)
So there you have it. Dare I admit I need to be more like Josh and just be calmer and more assertive around Remy?
Usually when you have a behavioral problem with your dog, the solution is very simple. Not easy, but simple.
In my case, I think my best bet is to stop reacting to Remy.
This is difficult for me because even though he is just playing I view his jumping as rude and disrespectful. So I get angry!
Sometimes I’m able to ignore him, but sometimes I lunge right back at him trying to shove him away aggressively (usually missing). Or I’ll try to grab his collar in a huff. Or I’ll scold a frustrated “NO!” at him or shove him in his crate as he’s fighting and biting the whole way there.
Like I said, it’s embarrassing! Not so much my dog … but how I react as well!
A high-drive, excitable dog paired with an overly emotional human can be a bad combination. So Remy and I are both working hard to help the other chill the fuck out.
He’s teaching me about patience. I’m teaching him about patience too.
It’s a work in progress.
How to stop my dog’s aggressive jumping
Here’s my personal plan for decreasing Remy’s jumping on me.
1. Not to engage at all with Remy when he jumps. Give him the cold shoulder.
It doesn’t work when I try to scold Remy. It’s best if I ignore his jumping. This means not acknowledging him in any way.
I might calmly leave the room or go to my desk and focus on my phone or something else. I will truly ignore him for about five minutes no matter what he does. (He will probably try to get my attention by doing something else naughty like chewing the rug.)
2. Carry dry dog food as a prevention method.
I’m pretty good at predicting when Remy is going to charge and jump. He often does this when I’m walking across the living room and he does it during the times of day when he’s most excited like before a meal or before a walk.
Instead of ignoring the jumping, I can toss some kibble on the ground to prevent the jumping before it happens. I’m not going to look at him or engage with him when I drop the food. I’m just going to casually drop a few pieces as I walk by, pretending I didn’t even know they dropped. Hopefully this will help remove the jumping habit.
3. I’ll use the food as a reward.
I might occasionally give a piece of food to Remy when I see he has chosen to remain lying down or sitting rather than jumping. I don’t want to do too much of this because food tends to get him excited. But an occasional piece of dry dog food for staying calm should help reinforce sitting or standing vs. jumping.
What about corrections?
In my case, I’m not going to give any corrections for jumping as of now. We will see how this plan goes.
Like I said above, it seems to work well for Josh to give a calm correction but I tend to become too frustrated and emotional. In my case, I think it will be better if I truly ignore Remy’s jumping.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t correct your dog. Every situation is a little different.
If my above plan does not seem to be working, I will think about using a tool to correct Remy such as a squirt bottle of water, the Doggie Don’t Device or a shock collar. These kinds of corrections are more consistent than my voice and will help me remain calm while letting the tool do its job.
But for now, I’m going to stick with my plan of ignoring Remy and using food.
It will take consistency and patience on my part, but I should see some progress quickly.
Some additional tips if your dog is jumping:
- Make sure he is getting enough exercise. Try longer walks with a dog backpack.
- Work on basic obedience in general.
- Give your dog puzzle toys to drain mental energy such as a Kong with frozen peanut butter.
- It’s OK to keep him leashed when you have visitors over.
- Don’t hesitate to hire a trainer. It’s worth the money if it decreases your stress!
Do any of you have dogs that do this kind of aggressive jumping?
What has worked for getting control of this kind of behavior?
Let me know in the comments!
-Lindsay, Ace & Remy
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