TIP #1: WALK AFTER EXERCISE
Try practicing loose-leash walking after your dog has had some vigorous exercise. He will be much easier to work with after he expends that excess energy.
TIP #2: HOW YOU CAN SPEAK DOG
Communicating with your dog is a two-way street. While you're teaching her to understand and accept primate language, you can also learn and use canine body language. This will greatly enhance your relationship and your training program, since your dog can respond very quickly when she realizes you are speaking Dog. It's also a useful skill to have for when you're meeting or interacting with a strange dog.
The following tips on humans' body language are applicable when interacting with any dog, but are especially important when dealing with a fearful dog, or any dog who appears worried or unsure about an interaction. Adopt these mannerisms and teach others who interact with your dog to do so as well.
1. Let the dog come to you. If a dog is frightened, she must be allowed to decide whether or not to approach. It's never a good idea to restrain a dog and force her to accept contact from others. Remember the "fight or flight" response; if the opportunity for flight is taken away, a dog's choices are limited.
2. Turn to the side. Facing a dog directly is more confrontational than keeping your body turned partially or completely to the side; even turning your head to the side will make a frightened or worried dog feel less anxious.
3. No staring, please! A direct stare is a threat in the animal kingdom. It is perfectly fine to look at a dog; just soften your expression and don't hard stare directly into her eyes. Do not allow children to put their faces near your dog's face or to stare into her eyes. Adults who insist on direct eye contact with strange dogs also tend to get bitten.
To be continued next week!
- Whole Dog Journal
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI