Expert Q&A

Only one of my two dogs seems to be jumping all of the time. Why are some dogs so skilled at jumping?

BY: The Dog Daily Expert

All healthy dogs come into the world with a certain amount of jumping ability. The behavior goes back to puppyhood, when puppies must jump to obtain solid food from their mother’s mouth. This happens during the transition from nursing to self-feeding.

As dogs develop into adults, they associate jumping with a social greeting. Most dogs will therefore happily jump on you, guests or other welcome individuals. It’s a friendly gesture, demonstrating their openness to you -- body, tummy, paws and all. Jumping like this can become a problem, however, if the dog is too enthusiastic or the guest cannot tolerate such attention. As Bobby Pitt -- author of the book Dog Training -- points out, the person could be young, elderly or disabled, so there are good reasons to train your dog how to handle social jumps.

Beyond enjoying jumping, certain breeds were raised to emphasize leaping ability. Newfoundland water dogs, for example, were bred to jump into fishermen’s boats to grab nets. Certain dogs, because of their leg length or muscle strength, also just seem to be smoother jumpers than others. Border retrievers, poodles and collies take jumping to new artistic heights, since they leap in a beautiful, rounded arc manner.

Jumping is key to a dog sport called “agility.” Hurdles are included in agility courses, with dogs going over them like human track stars. If your dog has an inclination to leap and enjoys outdoor physical activity, you might consider joining an agility group. The United States Dog Agility Association offers good basic information concerning rules and regulations, training, events and more.


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Tags: dog behavior , dog training

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