German shepherds are popular for their defensive nature. Anytime they spot a new face near their owner, they might act aggressively to protect their master. Most often, they might jump on the stranger as a way of protection, while in other times, they might jump on a stranger due to over-excitement.
Regardless of their reason for jumping on strangers or guests, it’s frightening, offensive, and threatening.
In this article, we help you understand the reason(s) behind your German shepherd’s behavior and the best ways to put it to a halt.
Reasons Why Your German Shepherd is Jumping on Strangers
When your German shepherd is bored and is feeling ignored, he can jump on strangers to get your attention. You will in turn get angry and make him stop. Either it’s positive or negative attention, you will have done exactly as he expected.
Some give their dogs food as a way of distracting them, which only makes it worse. If your dog knows that he gets rewarded after jumping on strangers, he will continue with the behavior.
It’s German shepherds’ nature to be protective. If your dog suspects that a stranger is likely to cause harm to his owner, he will jump on them to scare them off. This can be an issue when the strangers are your guest because they will feel unwelcomed.
Not enough training
When you don’t train your dog in socialization at an early age, it will be a problem for him to relate with other people with ease. They will always be aggressive to strangers.
A tolerated behavior in puppyhood
At an early age, it’s normal for a puppy to jump on people and lick their ears while playing. If puppies are not trained otherwise, they will grow up thinking it’s okay and normal to do so.
Encouragement from strangers
Some strangers /guests make it hard for us to stop the jumping behavior. This is because they will always let it slide assuring us that it’s okay. In some cases, they even offer treats making the habit even worse.
Interpreting your punishment as a joke
When you push, pull or squeal at your GSD, your dog may interpret that as a game. You will be pulling or yelling at them and they are enjoying it, making him repeat the behavior. Don’t get me wrong- I dont advocate for heavy punishment. Rather, make your dog know that you are punishing him for certain bad behavior.
At times, your GSD will be excited to see a stranger and his way of expressing his joy is by licking their faces and ears. Since people are normally taller than dogs, the only way they can reach the stranger’s faces and ears is by jumping on them.
How to Stop Your German Shepherd Behavior of Jumping on Strangers
1. Postponement of greetings
When you get home, your dog gets overexcited and jumps on you as a form of greetings. Do not accept the greetings until he is calm. This will make him understand that greetings should be done in composure.
It’s not advisable to lock your dog in a room when you are expecting guests as it will make him more anxious. Advice your guest not to give your dog any kind of attention like petting or giving him treats until he is calm.
Ignore your dog when he jumps on you, do not show any kind of attention be it positive or negative. Advise your guest to do the same. When your dog gets the message that jumping on people won’t get him any attention, he will stop it.
This method might not be effective if your dog is jumping very high to a point of reaching your face, it’d be very hard for you to ignore him especially if he is causing pain.
3. Distract your dog
Distracting your dog can stop him from jumping on strangers. Try giving him his favorite toy or blanket to hold anytime they are greeting you. This method requires consistency and patience.
Encourage your dog to hold the toy in his mouth and bring it to you as a gift. Give him treats for a good job. If you persistently follow this method, your dog will be bringing you the toy at the door as a way of greeting. This habit will later progress to guests’ visiting.
4. Use the leash
Whenever you are expecting guests, put your German shepherd on the leash to control how he behaves around them.
5. Train sit command
If you have you train your GSD the sit command, it will be easy to control him around guests. You should not tell your German shepherd to stop without being followed by a sit command. It will be demanding for a dog to stop and standstill.
Dogs jump on strangers due to several reasons. The best tactic to stop them is by training them. Never punish your dog for jumping on strangers because he will be more aggressive. Be patient and persistent in your training and you will have a disciplined friend.