Help! My English Bull Terrier keeps jumping at me and hurting me!

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The power of ignorance

First of all, remember to keep head, jaws and noses away and protected from the dog (even when cuddling).


Then: Any jumping that occurs during interaction (play, cuddling, greeting …) leads to an immediate interruption of ALL interaction.

If you are at the same level with the dog, stand up, turn away from the dog, don’t look at it, instead ignore it and any attempts of engaging you for a few minutes.

If your dog keeps jumping at you, step aside or turn away, so it will jump into thin air. 

If necessary, in a very neutral manner guide or push your dog into another room or its kennel or cage and close the door for a few minutes. Ignore whining.

This may seem cruel. But look at it from this perspective:

You are now allowing your dog to calm down and refocus, to think about the events and connect the dots up to the eventual conclusion: Jumping does not get me anywhere near my goal, which is continuing interaction.

Of all aversive training methods ignoring is basically the only one that I personally really approve of for myself to actively correct different unwanted behaviors versus waiting for the wanted behaviors to happen and reinforcing those.

  • Reason one: It is painless and does not use force.
  • Reason two: It provides a real learning experience for the dog.

The dog learns that applying certain behaviors will NOT lead to the desired goal, which most of the time is attention, interaction or food.
The penny, of course, will probably not drop after ignoring has happened one, two or three times.

EVERY training and learning from experience require time and repetition and repetition and repetition ….

Be prepared to go through this situation consistently for a while. That while can be a few days up to weeks, depending on individuals, the situation and your consistency.

Learn more about different training techniques on the next page.

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