If you’re the proud owner of a retriever, but are having problems with your Labrador jumping onto others… Don’t panic! Help is at hand! Unlike some other breeds, your Labrador isn’t likely to be making any territorial claim, or trying any kind of dominance play with this gesture, it really comes down to the fact that Labs are an especially social type of dog and will try to interact with all different types of people in what they feel is the best way possible. Unfortunately for you (as their owner), it’s not uncommon for them to becoming a little bit too excited over the whole thing and hence why we have the problems with your Labrador jumping. With some other dogs it can be annoying, but bearable, but to the large size of a fully grown Labrador, this can cause quite a problem for owners… and for any guests who are on the receiving end as well! Labs are a friendly type of dog and they like to show that affection when they can, which is part of their personality. But even dogs need to understand about good manners, and if you find your Labrador jumping at inappropriate times, it’s a bad behavioural trait which you should try to correct as soon as possible. A word of caution though, before we go on. Just remember that their jumping is usually a sign of affection and excitment, so it is important that you take care of your dog’s feelings when you’re training it not to jump. That being said, the points to consider around this problem are:
Damage and Injury
As you’ve probably seen for yourself, Labrador jumping can be a frustration problem to deal with. It doesn’t matter how friendly or how good their intentions are, it doesn’t change the fact that they are large, powerful dogs, who are capable of injuring people and damaging property. The other point to think about, is that if your Labrador is jumping around in a small, cluttered space, then they also run the risk of hurting themselves as well. Not only with your pet be a little worse for wear, but so will your wallet if you’re having to pay to get avoidable injuries fixed! This isn’t always a BIG concern of course. Most Labradors are agile enough to look after themselves, and avoid doing TOO much damage. But when they’re young and still finding their feet they’re a lot more at risk and likely to knock things about when they’re jumping around.
So not only is there the issue of breakages, but anyone especially young or old might also find themselves on the ground if a boisterous Labrador gets going.
The early Labradors were trained and bred for getting out in the wild with their masters to go hunting. So even though most Labradors today don’t participate in game hunting they do still have the physical attributes of their retrieving forebears, which means that they are extremely athletic and love to engage in physical activity. If your dog is not getting the necessary amount of exercise, however, they will likely try and burn off some of that excess energy in an inappropriate way, like literally bouncing off the walls. An abundance of energy is the usual cause of Labrador jumping, which means that an easy solution is to simply get the dog so tired they don’t want to jump around any more. We’re not just talking about a walk around the block here either I’m afraid. To really wear your dog out they’ll need at least two big walks every day, or better still, a lot of running around and playing at a park or on a beach. If you do any hunting they’d gladly tag along, although you want to make sure they’re well and truely ready before getting involved in that type of thing.
Two ways to Discourage Labrador Jumping
So it’s all very well for you to take your dog out and exhaust them into not jumping, but what if they’re already in the habit of jumping up at you and your visitors? What can you do? To be honest the techniques are pretty simple, and are a pretty common type of technique used in all kinds of training. It basically comes down to discouraging the behaviour you don’t want, and rewarding the behaviour that you do. It can take a bit of work (as all good things do) but you should find a significant improvement, quite quickly if you stick with it for a week or two.
The first option will have you taking no notice of your dog when they begin jumping up on anyone, and it is actually a very effective method. So whenever your Labrador leaps up at you, you ignore them completely. Some people call this “Becoming a tree”. You don’t look down at your dog, and you have your arms stay at your sides. You shouldn’t look in their direction if possible, and you shouldn’t say a single word to them. What you are doing here is helping your dog realise that their boisterous greeting is not the way to get a response, and after a while they will stop making that approach. As with all other methods, this method needs to be repeated several times in order to be effective.
What you do with this method is wait until the exact moment your dog is about to jump and you turn away. This requires impeccable timing in order to be effective! You have to watch your Labrador jumping and quickly turn just as they make their move. You’ll find that your turning will deflect your dog’s jump and yet it won’t result in any pain either. Your dog will lose interest in jumping up on you as a greeting once they realize that it isn’t the right way to say hello.