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I have a 3-yr. old neutered male Beagle mix who has one very bad behavior I can't seem to find any help on. Whenever I walk across the yard, he jumps up on me from behind, sometimes hitting me in the middle of my back, sometimes nipping at my hand, once he jumped clear up to my shoulder. He is very high-energy and has a hard time calming down, even in the house. He does know basic commands and is responsive, but you have to get his attention first, which isn't always easy. His jumping used to be only occasional, but recently it has become an every-day thing, and it's getting very tiresome. I have only been able to find information about dogs jumping up on you from the front, which he doesn't do, only from behind.

How can I prevent what I can't see? I know he's going to do it, but the moment I turn around, he runs away, so he hasn't learned anything but to run when I turn around. He nips and has drawn some blood, and has torn and ruined several shirts and sweaters. This behavior can't be allowed to continue. What can I do?
 

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How much exercise does he get, both mental and physical? It sounds like he has a lot of pent up energy and is getting really excited. Does he spend most of his time outside? Is he and inside or outside dog? Most dogs want to be with their people, and beagles are very social dogs.
 

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He gets lots of exercise. We have a large yard, and another dog, a mini Schnauzer-terrier mix (she's the one in my avatar), who is also very energetic. They play in the yard a lot. They also both go for leashed walks every day, from one to as many as 6 miles a day. He also plays fetch with a ball each afternoon, without the other dog, just him (we take turns with them). We'll play for as long as 20 minutes. He is outside during the day, but inside at night.
 

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Start teaching him to jump up on you on command. You really do not want to squash this urge to make contact with you, it's a positive state of "social attraction", and it is the same attraction that makes a dog come when called. You never want to punish a dog for jumping up, nor should he be rewarded for jumping up unless he has been asked to.

Show him a treat or a toy, hold it up by his nose and move it to your knee or higher wherever his paws naturally reach on your leg. As he jumps up, say "Okay up". Once he has jumped up and taken the treat, twist your body away and say "Okay off'. Both commands should be said in a pleasant, friendly tone. When learning new behaviors, even though it sounds counter-intuitive it is best to say it after the dog has already obeyed.

Do this for a couple of days then add a twist, when he gets the okay to jump up, hold his collar and don't let him get down, hold him in place for a second and then let him go while saying "Okay off".

Then change it up even more: pat your knee (or thigh), but don't say "up", just encourage him to jump up without giving the command by using the treat and hand gesture, when he tries to jump up, take a step back or twist sideways and don't let him make contact. Do this two or three times and as soon as he starts to show uncertainty about what you want him to do, then pat your knee and thigh, say "Up" and praise and pet him when he obeys.

Do this for a few days and you should find he no longer jumps up at you unannounced, but it keeps his attraction to you strong.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
He never "naturally" puts his paws on me (he isn't allowed to). He takes a running leap at me from across the yard. And it's not in front of me, at my knee, or anywhere else, it's behind me. He plants his feet in the middle of my back and has nearly knocked me down. He only weighs about 24 pounds, so you know he has to moving pretty quick to knock me off balance. This is NOT playful, social behavior. He's not greeting me excitedly after I've been gone for the day. Although I wouldn't approve of that either, at least I could understand it. He does this early in the morning, right after I've let him outside.

About a half hour after I let him out, I go out to feed our chickens, and that's when he lets me have it. He's already been outside for half an hour or longer, with our other dog, and has had time to run around the yard and stretch out and let off energy after having been in the house over night. He already knows "off" (and sit, down, wait, come, heel). He does just fine, except in the yard. In the yard, he is completely out of control.

I really don't want to teach him to jump up on me in front, since he doesn't do that now. He never jumps on my legs, or tries to jump on me when I'm sitting down. I don't want to teach him to do something that he isn't doing and I don't want him to do. He's jumping up on my back. No, he's leaping on my back! After taking a running start.

(As an aside, he is also coming very close to jumping the 4-foot fence in the front yard. He has no reason to do this, as we have a quarter of an acre and another dog to keep him busy. It's just a hyperactive behavior that we can't find a way to stop). Fortunately we have a large enclosed dog (30'x40') pen we keep them in when we aren't home, because otherwise I think he would have made it out long ago.
 

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You teach a dog to jump up to stop them from jumping up when you don't want them to, they learn to only jump up at your command. Your dog is jumping up at you from behind because he is wanting to make contact and you don't allow him to do it from the front. You want him to have that kind of attraction to you, but obviously you don't want him doing it the way he is.

As I said, you should never punish a dog for jumping up (nor praise him either).
 

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You could place him in an enclosure while you feed the chickens if that's when it is happening to start. Then either set up a game like find the hidden treats around the yard or use an alternative behavior like being calm on a mat or sitting at the fence with occasional treats to focus him on something else. It sounds like he's a bit anxious about you feeding the chickens and frustration at the barrier.
 

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It sounds like the dog is trying to channel his chicken-energy into the OP. I stand by my suggestion. Although "pushing" would probably work better.
 

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Was that to me? I'm not contradicting you, I was just offering my thoughts on the OPs post. I'm not qualified nor have enough experience in this to offer any thoughts on the 'natural dog training' philosophy.
 

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Was that to me? I'm not contradicting you, I was just offering my thoughts on the OPs post. I'm not qualified nor have enough experience in this to offer any thoughts on the 'natural dog training' philosophy.
No, it was not to you. But I overlooked the chickens, so they could very much be the reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow, I have already done exactly that, Chas. I keep him in the dog run now while I go out in the morning, and I DO play a "find the treats" game with him every morning, because I know beagles are scent hounds and love to track things down. And he loves the game. But it has NO effect on his leaping up at me. He jumps on me BEFORE I get to the chicken coop. He does it right out the gate from the dog run.

The dog run is connected to (and is really an extension of) the carport, which is enclosed, and connected to the house at the back door. We go out the back door, through the carport, into the dog run, and out the gate into the back yard. And after I have gone only a few steps into the yard he (his name is Gus) has run out and circled back around me, and leaps on my back. He does the same thing to my husband.

So for the past few days I have left him in the dog run and just taken the other dog out with me. And when I do it this way, Gus just sits quietly at the gate watching. No whining or whimpering or barking, no signs of distress at all. He just sits there. They always get a small early morning treat, and he still gets his, even though I don't let him in the yard with me. When I'm done outside I come back in and it's time for their breakfast.
 

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To everyone: NO, the chickens are not part of the problem. Gus couldn't care less about the chickens. He actually likes the chickens, because he likes to eat chicken poop! And he apparently also likes to leap on my back. I don't think he's channeling his inner chicken.
 

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To everyone: NO, the chickens are not part of the problem. Gus couldn't care less about the chickens. He actually likes the chickens, because he likes to eat chicken poop! And he apparently also likes to leap on my back. I don't think he's channeling his inner chicken.
No, not channeling his inner chicken but his prey instincts towards the chickens. Then the issue is his desire to make contact with you.
 

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Wow, I have already done exactly that, Chas. I keep him in the dog run now while I go out in the morning, and I DO play a "find the treats" game with him every morning, because I know beagles are scent hounds and love to track things down. And he loves the game. But it has NO effect on his leaping up at me. He jumps on me BEFORE I get to the chicken coop. He does it right out the gate from the dog run.

The dog run is connected to (and is really an extension of) the carport, which is enclosed, and connected to the house at the back door. We go out the back door, through the carport, into the dog run, and out the gate into the back yard. And after I have gone only a few steps into the yard he (his name is Gus) has run out and circled back around me, and leaps on my back. He does the same thing to my husband.

So for the past few days I have left him in the dog run and just taken the other dog out with me. And when I do it this way, Gus just sits quietly at the gate watching. No whining or whimpering or barking, no signs of distress at all. He just sits there. They always get a small early morning treat, and he still gets his, even though I don't let him in the yard with me. When I'm done outside I come back in and it's time for their breakfast.

So it's as you walk into the yard? Is he looking for attention? Is there anything you do soon after that could be rewarding him? Have you tried a calming exercise before letting Gus in the yard?
 

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Cool, thanks for clarifying I get a bit worried about stepping on people's toes.
Not at all. Your suggestion was good. In NDT, you wouldn't put an animal who doesn't have control of its drive in a situation where they could hurt other animals. But the OP says it isn't the chickens.....
 

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The dog jumps on me as I enter the yard. In the morning. After he has been in the house for the night. He's been inside with us, socializing and sleeping, so I don't see why he would need "attention" first thing in the morning, after he's been in all night. I let him out in the morning to do his business and have a chance to stretch and let off some energy after being inside all night. And he does run around in the yard in the morning. THEN I go outside, and within moments he leaps on my back. The chickens are NOT the problem. If the chickens are out in the yard, the dog ignores them. He doesn't try to herd them, he's not a herder, and he sure doesn't try to kill them. Can we get over the chickens? The chickens are just the reason I go out in the yard that early. Otherwise I would have no reason to go until later in the day.

"My animal" has no predatory drive. He's not stalking me and trying to kill me or the chickens, or my other dog, or my cats.

He only leaps on me when I enter the yard. As I'm leaving the yard he doesn't pay any attention to me at all. I have tried various methods. I will leave him in the dog run and go take care of the chickens, then let him out. But he will still leap on me if I go back into the yard. And he ONLY does this in the morning, and at no other time of the day. If I go in the yard later to do some work or watering etc. he does nothing at all. He just wanders around in the yard sniffing and doing his thing. NO leaping on me! Oddly enough, if my husband goes out in the yard later in the day, the dog DOES jump on him.

So, again: the dog leaps on me in the morning when I go to feed the chickens. He gets LOTS of regular exercise during the day, from walks, to treat hunting, to playing with our other dog, to a rousing game of fetch. He's not a chewer, so he doesn't have chew toys, and he's not a digger. So his exercise is limited to actual exercise, and not nervous hyperactive behavior such as chewing and digging. He doesn't have neurotic habits such as chewing and licking his feet or chasing his tail. In the house he's well-mannered and behaves just fine. He does NOT get on the furniture or sleep in our bed. The dogs have their own beds, in the living room and also in the bedroom.

Both dogs go for rides in the car, we take them to parks and to the rivers, and off-leash dog parks. We take them to parades & festivals in the area. They go shopping with us at PetCo & PetSmart and are quite socialized. They are a very obvious part of the household. They are probably with us more than most dogs. You all seem to have the idea they languish in the yard day and night and only see a human face when I go to feed the chickens. Nothing could be further from the truth!

If I take him in the yard on a leash he's fine. Take the leash OFF, he goes into high-jump mode. For now I've settled on the "leave him in the dog run" solution, although it's not really a solution at all. In fact it's preventing a solution, but we have been trying for more than 6 months to find a way to stop his jumping up behind us and so far no luck.
 

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@DixieDooDog your dog does have predatory instincts, all dogs do, what you need to tap into is his drive so that he will be working with you. You are right he is not stalking you because you give off predator vibes, ie big and upright, but he is (IMO) trying to make contact with you, this is not a bad thing, just how he does it is unfortunate. He sounds like a great dog and I am sure he and your other dogs have a wonderful life.

I have told you what I would do, and I would have him jump up at you on command at the door before you enter the yard to feed the chickens. That way he makes contact with you first, he is then on your "team".

If you are happy with leaving him at the door while you deal with the chickens, do that, as you have said you have tried everything else.
 

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I think the point Ghostic Dog is making is that you need to pre-empt the jumping by teaching your dog to perform an alternative task before he goes for the leap. Maybe you don't want to train your dog is jump, but think of alternative behaviors that you want to train your dog to perform. It sounds to me like he needs a job to do.
 

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Getting a dog to jump up on command when you want to stop unwanted jumping up, satisfies his need to make contact and promotes attraction to owner and flow. If you teach an alternative behavior, like sit, it isn't going to fulfill the dogs need and get him into flow. You could also try playing an enthusiastic game of tug with him before going out, and teach him to carry the toy with him when you go out. A dog with a toy in his mouth won't be jumping you from behind.
 
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