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How do I stop my dog jumping up?

(Q) I own a bouncy 11-month-old Labradoodle who has a heart of gold, but each time she greets a stranger during a walk she either jumps up or bumps into their knees. I’d like some training tips to avoid this, but I’m also concerned about the legal implications. Is there a chance she would be taken away from me? How can I give her off-lead exercise but keep others safe?

What you need is a combination of training and management. You need to teach your dog an acceptable alternative to jumping. For instance, if she is sitting she can’t be either jumping up or crashing into people. If you have a leave command she will return to you rather than approach the stranger.

A dog liable to offer overenthusiastic greetings should be under control when he is likely to meet strangers. A long line will help you to manage the situation. While it’s preferable to allow your dog free-running exercise, it’s not acceptable if she’s going to cause injury to other, possibly non-dog owning, members of the public.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure you find a knowledgeable training group that can help you to put this into practice. They should be able to help you set up some realistic situations where you can teach your dog more acceptable behaviour.

I’m not a lawyer but I would think it unlikely that your dog would be taken away from you on the first occasion unless a case is brought against you under the Dangerous Dogs Act. However, you know that your dog behaves in this way so it is up to you to deal with the situation through reward-based methods. The safest way to avoid litigation is to help your dog to develop self-control, and the fastest way to do this is through training.

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