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Canine Behavior/Springer springing


Hi, I have a 9 month old Springer Spaniel ( Murphy). Since he was a tiny pup, I have trained him that he must sit as soon as he gets to anyone or he will get no attention. He happily does this however as he moves away, he jumps up and uses the person as a launch pad to bounce away. I am finding it impossible to deal with - I am always dirty and my guests are too. I say 'down' and often turn him on his back and hold him there fir a while to show my displeasure ( he just lies still and grins at me). He is a very exhuberant, happy and very affectionate dog and I love him to bits, he is just driving me a bit mad! I would really appreciate some help. Thank you.

I'm uncertain why you are "always dirty" because the dog "bounces" off you....I don't now how those in your culture live with their dogs.  Perhaps he is outdoors alot, alone?

Answer, please, these questions:

When did this begin, to your best recollection
What do you, and your visitors, do when he "springs" off you (squeak, scream, etc.)
What is the dog's reaction to this behavior?

This is an adolescent dog with a huge amount of energy and it appears he has a wonderful temperament.  DO NOT HOLD THIS DOG DOWN ON HIS BACK.  You are not seeing a "GRIN" you are seeing a FEAR GRIMACE and you are making the situation far worse.  Until you have responded (please use followup), put a lightweight leash on the dog.  When he prepares to "bounce", step on the leash so he cannot, pick the leash up, no eye contact, put him behind a closed door for ten seconds, open door, ignore dog, go on as usual.  This is "and now for something totally different" protocol.  Dog soon associates his "bouncing off" people with silent isolation (no more than ten seconds).  DO not yell; DO not roll him over (ever again, for any reason); DO not squeak, jump around, get excited: this is a GAME, the young dog perceives it as participation and happiness then followed by anger (roll over) and unfair forced submission.

This is a good dog going through a phase.  We can fix this.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

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Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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