If your dog keeps jumping on your back, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you five common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog jump on my back? Possible reasons why your dog jumps on your back are excitement, encouraging the behavior yourself, not enough training, or wanting something from you.
It is actually possible that there is a combination of multiple causes. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Reasons why your dog jumps on your back
Below are a number of common causes and what would make each of them more likely.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause could be that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats, when it jumps on your back, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
A lack of training
If you have not given your dog much training, it will likely behave the way that it feels like behaving. The way that it feels like behaving is unlikely to be the way that you would like it to behave. This is why it is important to give it lots of positive reinforcement training by starting with the basics and building up from there.
The cause could be that it is showing its excitement. This would be more likely if it jumps on your back more in situations such as when you arrive home or when you’re playing with it.
One reason why excitement could be a cause is that it might want to greet you at the face. It could also be because puppy’s mothers would feed them from the face and they would jump up to get the food.
It wants something from you
The reason why it does it might be that it wants something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around a certain time such as when you would normally feed it or give it exercise.
Often, people jump to the conclusion that their dogs do it because they are trying to be dominant. However, the alpha/beta dynamic has been disproven in studies showing that wolves take turns in taking the lead.
Despite that, it could be doing it due to bullying behavior which would be more likely if it tries to get you to move and if it shows signs of aggression when doing it. In this case, it would help to avoid giving it reasons to feel threatened and to get it to learn to behave the way you want it to with training programs such as NLIF (“Nothing in Life is Free) dog training.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always jump on your back, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as learning that the behavior is rewarded, suddenly giving it less attention or if you started getting very emotional around it causing it to become very reactive.
What is different when your dog jumps on your back
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to do it more. For example, if it only does it when you arrive home, it would be more likely to be due to something such as excitement or separation anxiety. In this case, it would help to give it positive reinforcement training as shown below.
What to do about your dog jumping on your back
Below are a number of options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been encouraging your dog to jump on your back by rewarding the behavior. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not jump on your back, to stop giving it attention when it does it and to wait for it to be calm.
Give it training
You could also train it not to jump on your back using positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward it when it does not jump up and stop rewarding it when it does.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop jumping on your back, do as follows:
- Get some treats that your dog likes
- Get it to sit. If you haven’t taught your dog how to sit yet then you can do this by luring the treat above its head until it sits naturally
- Tell it to stay and then wait for half a second then give it a treat. The idea is to reward it for staying sat and keeping its attention on you so you want to reward it before it has a chance to fail.
- Do the same as above but increase the duration each time you get it to stay.
- When your dog is able to stay for over 15 seconds start to introduce distractions such as the squeaking of a toy. Start out with minor distractions such as simply showing it the toy and then build up to harder ones such as rolling the toy in front of it.
You can watch the video below to see how it is done.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to direct its focus towards something else when it seems likely to jump on your back. Things to direct its focus towards could include toys or a bone. It would be important to redirect its focus before it starts jumping otherwise you might teach it that jumping results in it getting rewards.
Give it exercise
In order to keep your dog fully stimulated and to reduce how hyper it becomes, it would help to make sure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise.
If you’re unable to get it to stop and it does it excessively, another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and what you can do to get it to stop.