There are usually two main problems or issues that people want to fix when it comes to their German Shepherd jumping:
- How To Stop Their German Shepherd Jumping On Them and Other People
- How To Stop Their German Shepherd Jumping Over Their Fence
Both these problems are easily solved with a little patience, work and the right information.
German Shepherd Jumping: On Me, Other People, and Over Fence!
German Shepherds are large, athletic and energetic, so it’s only natural they are going to want to jump on things.
You don’t want them accidentally injuring people (especially little children, pregnant women and the elderly), messing up people’s clothes, or escaping your house and wandering the streets causing havoc.
So, here’s how to solve those two issues:
A) How High And Far Can German Shepherds Jump?
Firstly, we want to get an idea of what we are working with when we are talking about a German Shepherd’s jumping capabilities.
We must understand, German Shepherds are among the most athletic dog breeds out there.
They were originally bred for working and herding, but some lines have been used in protection and military fields of work which has meant the breed has become super athletic in Eastern European lines and types.
Below are two videos that exhibit the jumping power of the German Shepherd.
The first is of a German Shepherd jumping and climbing a 6ft high common house fence:
The second is of a German Shepherd jumping over 10ft in a dog sports event called dock diving:
As you can see, if you don’t curb the jumping behavior of your GSD early as a puppy, they have the potential to turn into a fast paced missile as a full grown adult dog.
1) How To Stop My German Shepherd From Jumping On Me and Other People
Would you believe that German Shepherds jumping on their owners and other people is an extremely common problem, and one that is corrected very easily!
Before we explain to you how to stop your German Shepherd jumping, you must first understand the two main reasons/motivators a German Shepherd puppy or dog will jump on someone:
- It wants attention (dogs usually greet other dogs at face level, so this is a way of getting a taller human’s attention down to their level so they can greet and interact with people)
- It wants food
When you understand the above two motivators, training becomes a 7 part process:
- Prepare a handful of treats in your pocket.
- Have a family member, friend or fellow trainer stand 6-7 feet (2 metres) away with your German Shepherd puppy or dog on a short lead/leash. You can check out The Best Leashes and Leads for German Shepherds here.
- Approach your German Shepherd slowly/one step at a time with treats in hand (show them the treats and let them smell them beforehand), and attention at the ready.
- If your German Shepherd jumps as your approach, you take a step away and say ‘No’ in a calm but firm voice.
- If you are able to keep stepping forward without your GSD jumping, feed him or her a treat and give them a pat/attention. You eventually want to move to rewarding your GSD with just your attention, and not have your GSD motivated by food rewards.
- Always keep calm, relaxed, patient and don’t overreact or get frustrated when training not to jump.
- Stay consistent and repeat until you form a habit.
Below is a video tutorial of Training a GSD to Stop Jumping On People:
2) How To Stop My German Shepherd From Jumping Over My Fence
We’ve already discussed how great the German Shepherd is as an athlete. They know how to jump up to and scale/climb 6-8 foot fences with ease.
When it comes to your German Shepherd jumping your fence, the best and most inexpensive way to stop this behaviour is prevention.
Prevention is best achieved in two main ways:
- An overall strong obedience/training foundation early on in their life as puppies and adolescents, where they identify you as their owner and their leader. You are the one who teaches them acceptable and not acceptable behaviors.
- Plenty of mental and physical stimulation for your GSD.
You’ve got to remember with German Shepherds, that they were bred for their ‘serious loyalty and fidelity’ to their master, and require regular exercise and stimulation.
A GSD that is well trained and gets plenty of exercise/is mentally stimulated will rarely have reason or inclination to jump fences and either a) disobey their owner or b) search for new stimulation outside the fence to interact with other people and animals.
So, if your GSD is jumping your fence you have to ask yourself about your GSD’s level of obedience to you as their owner (obedience and training is your responsibility!), and whether you are giving it enough exercise and things to do first and foremost.
Are you, or have you done the following things for your GSD?
- Basic Obedience (Taught to sit, drop, come, stop, walk on a leash and obey your commands)
- Socialised your GSD with other animals and humans
- Maintain discipline with your GSD around the house (no eating from the table, jumping up on furniture or chewing things, and generally respecting the pecking order in the house)
- Take your GSD for half an hour to hour walks daily
- Give your GSD mental stimulation during the day in the form of bones to chew on and toys to play with
If you are doing, or have done all of the above activities and your GSD is still jumping your fence – seeking a professional trainer to correct the behavior is much easier and better for you and your dog in the long term than a short term fix of modifying your fence.
Contact your local dog association or German Shepherd club for a reference on a reputable German Shepherd trainer.
If you are interested in reading further, German-Shepherd-US.com has written about how to ‘German Shepherd Proof’ your whole house.
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