Some dogs are diggers, and some dogs are jumpers. Either method works to get to the other side of the fence when no one is looking.
Speed, agility, strength, and endurance are genetic markers in dogs. After all, that adorable couch potato pooch sprawled out on the sofa has a 99.9% DNA match to wolves.
People have engineered dogs into all types of shapes and personality traits to make them excel as working, sporting, or companion dogs. Still, some dogs don’t let a fence or other obstacle stand in their way when instinct kicks in.
The Guinness World Record holder (2017) jumped 75.6 inches (6.30 ft). That was quite an achievement for Feather, a Greyhound who runs and jumps with the grace of its namesake.
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A Dog’s Jumping Physicality
While dogs are powerful animals, jumping isn’t part of their natural design. Their body mass ratio makes them too heavy. Because of this physical disposition and inflexible spines, jumping dogs may be more prone to injuries.
Dogs are excellent runners; their hind legs are powerful drivers. Dogs also approach a jump differently than, let’s say, more agile felines that can leap from sitting onto a tree. Cats can also autocorrect in mid-air, which dogs aren’t naturally skilled at, and often land on their faces.
Some dogs, however, want to jump. They like to get a running start, and their head and strong front legs get them airborne. Some dogs are experts at using a wall or fence to propel them higher.
That’s when Rover makes it over the wall and harasses the neighborhood.
How High Can an Average Dog Jump?
Dogs are athletic. Their DNA imbued them with a naturally high energy level to sustain them on a hunt. We don’t like to think of our beloved dogs as predators, but they are.
Young dogs have energy in spades, and keep them occupied mentally and physically challenging. Some dogs jump 5-6ft.
If leaving your dog to its own devices becomes worrisome because your fence doesn’t keep them in, it becomes pertinent to solve the issue for their safety and well-being.
Most homes are surrounded by six-foot fencing, which may not be enough to secure your dog. Other people install invisible fencing, which is a deterrent for digging and jumping pooches.
Tips To Dissuade Your Dog From Jumping
Dissuade in this context implies training. Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation. A fence isn’t going to prevent them from behaving in a manner that they aren’t trained to correct.
A dog desires to please you. A dog owner’s job is to protect them and guide them. The modern training method is positive reinforcement and a persistent commitment to work with your pup.
If dogs don’t understand the rules, bad habits form. Training is a great way to build on your bond. It takes commitment and time, and a lot of dog treats for good behavior.
How To Overcome Fence Jumping?:
- Teach strong commands
- Accompany your pup outside and monitor its behavior
- Correct your dog instantly with positive but assertive commands
- Install a fence extension to increase the height (last resort)
- Keep it on a leash when it does its business until the problem is corrected
- Don’t leave it unattended
- Install a dog run with a top
(Note: Typically, I use the pronouns him/her when I speak about my dogs.)
The chances are that dogs that jump are bored.
Size often impacts the height a dog can jump. A Mini-Poodle may clear the standard AKC 24 inch jump height. On the other hand, a Greyhound may be part kangaroo and clear a fence before you can yell, ‘Rover don’t!’
However, size alone doesn’t mean your dog can’t jump. Agility dogs like Border Collies and German Shepherds are natural jumpers, but a few small breeds make the list of prolific jumpers.
- Staffordshire Terrier
- Shetland Shepherd
- Rat Terrier*
- German Shepherd
- Australian Kelpie
- Border Collie
- Doberman Pinschers
- Jack Russell Terrier*
Larger sporting or working dogs have the energy to burn. If they jump fences, learn to find activities for them to help burn that pent-up energy. Enroll them in agility or Schutzhund training and take them for long walks, play frisbee or toss the ball endlessly.
*Jack Russells Terrier, Papillon, Whippets, and Rat Terrier are small (small-medium) dogs who may not clear a six-foot fence, but they have a natural desire for jumping.
Even fluffy Labradoodles might jump from excitement. Some breeds do it to get attention. Your job is to find a method to help your dog understand your boundaries.
Perhaps many other breeds should have bragging rights for clearing six-foot fences. Each dog is unique.
Dogs have personalities. It’s what millions of dog owners love about their dogs. We are drawn to specific breeds for several reasons aside from the cuteness factor.
They fit into our lifestyle.
Will Jumping Hurt My Dog?
The answer is that it can. Dogs are athletic, but gravity will eventually have an impact, and your dog may land on sharp objects, fall awkwardly, injure a leg, or break a bone.
Agility jumping and fence jumping are two different things. Agility includes jumping while your dog performs in a controlled environment. Fence jumping may be a behavior issue that needs retraining.
Dogs need exercise. It’s in their nature to be physically active.
Statistically speaking, someone gets a $1000 veterinary bill every six seconds. A pet receives emergency medical treatment every 2.5 seconds in the USA for many reasons. That means your dog’s chances of getting hurt from jumping the fence are high.
Is It Harmful For Puppies To Jump?
Puppies are bundles of joy and overactive energy that come in bursts. Jumping isn’t bad for them but may lead to destructive behavior, accidents, and injuries.
While an adorable pup bounding toward you and jumping to lick your face is cute, the cuteness factor diminishes when that pup weighs 100lbs. Also, while your pup may love everyone, some children and adults are intimidated and afraid of jumping dogs.
Puppies should receive moderate exercise and other fun activities to bond them to you and teach them appropriate behavior. Another reason to be cautious about jumping puppies is that their bones haven’t fully developed.
Like a child, puppies have a growth season until about 12 months, where growth plates need time to develop into adults.
Benefits of Agility Training
Certain breeds are more agile and better at jumping than other breeds. Agility training is a fun activity for you and your dog. Border Collies are infamously good at agility, as are Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Jack Russell Terriers, and many other breeds.
As a pet owner, you can take agility training to the competitive level or just enjoy it as a bonding exercise with your dog. It’s an excellent way for your dog to receive mental and physical stimulation and may curb jumping.
Agility Training at Home
If you suspect that your dog has a natural aptitude for agility, introduce a few fun games in your backyard. There’s no law saying you need to join a club. Plan activities like navigating through cones, scaling ramps, or jumping through hoops, but introduce them slowly.
For dogs with a penchant for jumping, agility training with lots of jumping activity may work twofold. It may help burn off steam and teach your dog that it’s okay to jump when you say it is okay.
A jumping dog is merely a dog who doesn’t understand the ground rules and is bored. You know the saying, the grass is always greener on the other side.
Working on correcting this behavior can be fun for both of you and is a great way to rekindle that affection that makes the human and dog bond so unique.