Does you cockapoo jump and bite all the time? Do you sometimes think your pup might be crossed with a kangaroo and a snappy crocodile? The good news is you’re not alone. Jumping and biting are two of the most common behavioral problems when it comes to dogs. More good news that will have you jumping up and down (but hopefully not biting) with joy, is that there are ways to resolve both.
But before we get into that, let’s look at the reasons why your cockapoo is jumping and biting.
Jumping for joy
In most cases, a dog jumping on a human is just their way of saying hello. Unfortunately, the height difference between a human and a dog is one of the main reasons that they jump. After all, it’s the only way they can get in your face, literally, to say hello, I’m here.
Dogs also explore the world through their sense of smell. You’ve probably noticed when you’re out on a walk with your fur-legged friend, and they spot another pooch, they won’t only sniff each other’s bums, they’ll also smell one another’s faces. Jumping up at your face is merely them wanting to get a good whiff of you and your pheromones.
If you’re a doggy person (is there any other type) it’s easy to understand this behaviour and let’s face it, sometimes there’s nothing better than a big sloppy welcome home lick after a long, hard day. But for strangers who might not necessarily know this is normal, a dog jumping at them can be scary. And if your pup throws in a bit of biting too, it can be truly terrifying.
Love at first bite
Just like your cockapoo will jump with excitement to show her affection, she will also nip and bite to let you know just how much she loves you. And for her there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, for a puppy, nipping is absolutely normal. It’s one of the ways they learn about boundaries and interaction with their siblings. And just like a parent will teach their toddler what acceptable social behaviour is, a pawrent should do the same with their pup with training.
Nipping it in the bud
As we mentioned earlier, biting and jumping is completely normal canine behaviour but it’s best to nip it in the bud as soon as possible.
The first rule is to never react. Your dog’s jumping and biting is her way of playing and you reacting, positively or negatively only reinforces the “game”. On the other hand, shouting and wagging your finger will make them confused, thinking they have upset you when all they want to do is play.
Cockapoos are especially smart, which means training them to stop jumping and biting will be a fairly quick process. The key is consistency so that your pooch doesn’t get mixed signals.
Chances are your pup is jumping because they want to get your attention, or they want to get at whatever is in your hand, be it a toy or a treat. You need to show him the only way he’ll get either is by sitting patiently, with all four paws on the floor.
When your pup jumps on you, turn away without saying a word, If you’re sitting or kneeling and he jumps, you need to stand up and turn away. This teaches him that his bad behaviour won’t be rewarded in any way, and as long as he’s misbehaving, his human is boring and unresponsive.
Wait for him to stop jumping. Depending on the levels of excitement, this could take a few seconds or a couple of minutes. He may stop and stare at you, or he might get bored and run off. This what you want.
It is essential that redirect his behaviour. Tell him to sit and as soon as he does so, reward him with what he was wanting, be it your attention or the treat or toy that was in your hand.
Should he start jumping again, turn away immediately. Remember, the key is consistency. It won’t take long for your cockapoo to learn that jumping equals a boring, uninterested human and sitting means treats, praise and play time.
A pup bites because it’s fun, but his siblings and mom keep him in check, letting him know when it’s getting out of hand. You need to carry on teaching him the difference between biting and “soft mouthing”.
When your cockapoo bites hard, you need to make a loud sound, like “uh uh” or “ouch” and then turn your back to him and walk away. This teaches him that biting means no play time and no interaction with his human.
Wait a little while, giving him no attention at all.
Once he has calmed down, show him other ways to get your attention. This could be him touching your hand with his nose, mouthing your hand softly or even pawing you. If he goes back to biting, you need to go back to being boring, getting up and walking away.
There really is no reason to panic if your pup is jumping and biting because, with the right training, both issues can be sorted out relatively easily and quickly. Taking your pup for socialisation classes will show him what is acceptable behaviour, whether it’s interacting with other dogs or with people.