are dogs aware of heights

Are dogs aware of heights? (Stop them jumping from heights)

Are you worrying at each time your dog is climbing down the staircase or going to the balcony? Today I am going to eliminate your worries about heights and your loving dog.

Are dogs aware of heights? Yes, Dogs are aware of heights, But to some extent. It’s a thing they acquire from experiences with age. Proper training can develop their sense of heights. The best way to protect your dog from heights is to decrease his exposure to the risks as much as possible.

Making your dog aware of heights is vital for pet owners living in urban areas and for the pet owners in rural areas due to the risks associated with cliffs.

Can dogs understand heights? (Do dogs know not to jump from heights?)

If you ask me the question, can dogs understand heights? I have to answer it regarding puppies and dogs separately. First, we will take a look at the dogs. As I mentioned above, dogs are aware of heights, But to some extent. 

Dogs achieve a sense of heights with their life experiences with age. You plainly know the fact that every dog varies in its individual experiences. So, this sense of heights or not to jump from heights depend on the individual.

Checkout this Labrador puppy is overcoming her fear of height

Do puppies understand heights?

Do puppies understand heights? No, puppies do not understand about heights similar to the human babies.

They are not fully mature in understanding the concept of distance. Also, they do not possess many experiences regarding heights. They do not know about the consequences of jumping off a balcony!

So it is a must you should block them from accessing balconies, windows in upper stories, or deck railings. You can use things like baby gates to block his access to those places.

If you are a person who normally visits higher places such as cliffs, you must be very careful about your pup’s safety. It is better not to accompany your puppy on those journeys until he gets matured.

How high can a dog jump down?

It depends on the dog breed and health of the individual, the landing conditions. So, it’s difficult to emphasize the exact value.

Dog breeds like Corgis, Dachshunds, bassets, etc. The sighthounds (Greyhounds, whippets, etc..) and individual dogs with joint or forelimb problems should not be allowed to jump down often.

When considering the health of the individual, overweight or obese dogs find it difficult to jump down. Dogs who receive an adequate amount of exercise and a healthy diet daily find it easier than obese dogs.

Dogs can jump from a much higher height to water without causing any injuries. Taking off from a surface does not cause injuries, but landing causes the injuries.

It’s due to the fact that during landing, forelimbs suddenly get increased amounts of the load, causing strain. If the landing surface is a smooth surface, dogs are more prone to get injuries.

When landing on the smooth surfaces, they can collapse over, causing twists, strains, and sprains.

Do dogs normally jump off from heights?

No, Dogs normally do not jump off from heights. But be careful as puppies might! They do not understand about heights similar to human babies.

They are not fully mature in understanding the concept of distance. Also, they do not possess much experience regarding heights. They do not know about the consequences of jumping off a balcony!

But some man-made situations make them anxious, which results in jumping off from higher windows, moving cars, and so on.

Especially on festive days, their terror of fireworks makes them jump from open windows. (Do you believe the fact that this self-defenestration’s reach its peak on July 4 th!)

The doorbell ringing, the owner’s arrival, or a stranger can also make him jump down from the furniture like a couch, chair, or bed. In my experience, I have seen dogs jumped off from the cars and open windows due to small animals like squirrels or to engage in some dog fight.

The mental condition can have an impact on throwing themselves out from windows. Massive blows like separation from the owner or another pet can result in anxiety, which makes their reactions unpredictable.

How to stop dogs from jumping off from heights? (Balconies, upstairs, etc.)

There are some proven tactics that you can adopt to stop your dog from jumping off from heights.

Here is the list,

  • Training of specific commands.
  • Limit access to the balcony.
  • Train him to use the staircase.
  • Never leave him unattended if it is a mental condition.
  • Again, the training of specific commands.
  • Limit access to the bed.

Training of specific commands.

 First, train him the ‘sit’ command, if he/she responds positively, teaches the ‘stay’ command, and trains him to be in the sitting position. Then train to another command to release him.

You can use a command like ‘Okay’ for this. If you see him reaching a risky place, you can use these commands to prevent him from getting hurt.

Limit access to the balcony.

Be mindful of your dog, and do not let him to the balcony alone. (especially if your balcony fence is too low!). Make sure someone is with him when he is visiting the balcony.

If you are a person who goes to work, leaving your dog at the house, you must take necessary precautions to limit access to the balcony. 

Train him to use the staircase.

At first, make sure there is nothing on the stairs. Next, do not force him to go and down the stairs. Instead, try to divert his attention on happy talk or a treat and get him to walk the stairs with your help.

If he/she is responding positively, encourage him by the physical and verbal appraisal, and use treats. Also, to increase his enthusiasm, you can place some of his favorite toys or treats in various places on the staircase.

You must be careful to train him to use one step at a time. Otherwise, your entire attempt goes in vain.

 Then let him go through the stairs alone. You can play a small trick here. First, place him some treats on the bottom of the stairs. If he picks it up, then place some on the next step.

Remember to use a lot of positive reinforcement here. If he is proceeding through the steps, place treats on the next steps also. Reverse it to go down the stairs.

Most injuries caused due to the staircases occur due to the dogs tend to jump off from the last 4 or 5 steps to reach the bottom.

So, you must take extra care when you train your dog to climb down the last steps. On the last 4th or 5th step, make him wait for some time by training to the command’ wait’ and make him climb down the stairs one by one.

If all these are not possible, you can use a ramp to the staircase.

Never leave him unattended if it is a mental condition.

Be due to separation anxiety. In this type of If your dog suffered a separation in the near past, his abnormal behavior of self-defenestration can condition never leaves your dog unattended.

You must have experienced that your dog tends to jump off from bed, couch, or chair often. This is kind of a serious issue that you should concern about.

I have seen many miniature dog breeds suffering from fractured forelimbs. Some are due to jumping off from bed, couch, or chair. There are some early precautions that you can take to prevent this.

Again, the training of specific commands.

At the ground level, first, train him the ‘sit’ command. If he/she is responding positively, teach the ‘stay’ command, and train him to be in the sitting position.

Then train to another command to release him. You can use a command like ‘Okay’ for this. Then shift to this bed. Make your dog ‘stay’ in the bed and lift him and place him on the ground.

Limit access to the bed.

Train him to use his bed instead of your bed. Block access to the bed. Also, if it is impossible to keep himself away from the bed, use some baby stairs or ramp to support the bed. 

If you feel that he needs some extra support in these training sessions, it’s better to hire a professional trainer.

How to teach agility if your dog is afraid of heights?

Agility includes both benefits and drawbacks. I am focusing on this because it includes a great deal with heights and jumping.

Before enrolling your dog in agility classes, there are some training methods that you can adopt, especially if he is afraid of heights.

Positive reinforcement.

This is the major key to eliminate his fear. Use physical and verbal appraisal in every successful step achieved by him/her.

Train to focus.

Train him to concentrate on the main target without focusing on distractions and exciting surroundings. You can use a command like ‘look at me’ to get his full attention.

At first, train him to focus only on you in a calm, quiet environment. Then gradually train him to focus only on you in noisy surroundings.

Things to be aware of when training/participating your dog in agility?

Here I am going to discuss how to minimize the injuries associated with jumping off and landing during agility.

So, be aware of these things,

  • Make sure your dog is physically fit.
  • Overgrown nails.
  • Warming up.
  • Past experience.
  • Never continue with injuries.

Make sure your dog is physically fit.

Ensure your dog is not overweight. If you are unsure about that, let your vet check and tell your vet that you expect to engage your dog in agility.

Overgrown nails.

Trim his nails before engaging in agility. It can cause injuries to footpads caused by inappropriate landing severe.

Warming up.

Engage your dog in a warm-up session before the action. A gentle running would be better. It will warm up his muscles. Also, engage him in some practice jumps after the warm up session.

Past experience.

Suppose he has bitter experiences, such as falling down from a staircase. In that case, it is your choice to decide whether to engage him in sports like agility, which includes a lot of jumping and landing.

Never continue with injuries.

If diagnosed with diseases like spinal problems or arthritis, never engage him in agility.

Things to be aware of.

In my experience, Heights is a serious issue that every dog parent should concern, Specially the puppy parents. It is because jumping off from heights can cause life-threatening injuries.

Continuous jumping from the furniture.

If your dog does it as a habit, it can lead to serious health conditions later in life.

Older dogs.

You must be concerned about your old buddy as they are more vulnerable to injuries if felled off from heights. Disease conditions such as arthritis come with age. So, life-threatening injuries can occur if they fell off.

Individual behavior.

Every dog varies in its personality. Some dogs are naturally afraid of heights. So, you must take extra care when raising up these types of dogs.

Past experiences.

Bitter experiences such as falling off from a staircase, the cliff can make them afraid of heights later in life. Patience, positive reinforcement, and proper training can minimize these types of behaviors.

Mental condition.

The mental condition can have an impact on throwing themselves out. Separation from the owner or another pet can result in anxiety, which makes their reactions unpredictable.

Be due to separation anxiety. In this type of If your dog suffered a separation in the near past, his abnormal behavior of self-defenestration can condition never leaves your dog unattended.

Internal injuries.

Although your dog looks perfectly okay externally after an accident of falling off from a height, he can be suffering from internal injuries like damage to lungs, so it’s better to consult a veterinarian after such an accident.

Never use harsh punishments.

Never use harsh punishments to prevent him from going to dangerous places or when training to higher places.

Conclusion 

Here, I would like to emphasize to you the fact that every dog is unique in their personality and experience. As the owner, it is your responsible duty to understand his opinion about dealing with heights and act accordingly.