We are giving away a copy of Training Your Dog the Humane Way: Simple Teaching Tips for Resolving Problem Behaviors & Raising a Happy Dog by Alana Stevenson. Read this excerpt and leave a comment below for your chance to win the book!
Humans tend to use intense body language when interacting with other animals. As primates, we reach in front of us to grab and touch objects, and we face individuals directly. Direct frontal body language can frighten and inhibit many dogs. It can also intensify anxiety and aggression, increase mouthiness, and cause a dog to jump on you. By being cognizant of your body language and modifying it around dogs, you can help them be more relaxed and comfortable with you.
Angle yourself slightly when interacting with dogs, as opposed to facing them directly or leaning over them. Stand or kneel next to or parallel to them, or at a perpendicular angle to them. Pet your dog under his chin and on his chest. Try not to face him directly as you pet him or to pet him on his head.
When he approaches, sniffs, or kisses you, avert your gaze slightly for a moment. Your dog will find this a friendly gesture. If he gets too excited around you, turn your back on him and cease all eye contact. Only pay attention to him when he calms down.
Memorize this statement: “Life happens on all fours.” Give your dog all the attention he desires and deserves, but only do so when he has all four paws on the ground. Try to catch and reward these behaviors (such as standing, sitting, and lying down) before your dog feels it is in his best interest to jump. If he needs to show you that he is sitting by jumping on you first to get your attention, you will end up reinforcing the jumping — not sitting.
If your dog jumps on you, pivot away from him and end all eye contact. You may have to do this a few times before he calms down. When he is on all fours again, give him attention, eye contact, or whatever else he is wanting. If you have something that your dog wants, and he jumps on you, remove the item or turn away from him. When he is on all fours again, offer him the item.
Use this same approach when sitting on sofas or chairs. The instant your dog jumps on you, end eye contact and pivot your legs away from him. Give him attention when he is back on all fours. Do not give him attention too quickly after he jumps. Wait at least three to five seconds before you are seated, stand up and turn your back to him. Withdraw your attention until he calms down.
Excerpted from Training Your Dog the Humane Way: Simple Teaching Tips for Resolving Problem Behaviors & Raising a Happy Dog by Alana Stevenson. Published by New World Library.
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