Oh my!! Are you in my space, again?
We love our dogs and our dogs love us but what if they really didn’t like the invasion of their own space without proper etiquette? What if it was vice versa?
There are a few things that have helped me during my profession as a dog behavioral trainer and I would like to share them with you. I like to teach a personal space class. I have 2 classes that teach personal space. One is in my Kids and Canine Classes and one is “Can I get a minute alone in here please?”
In my kids and canine classes I show kids how uncomfortable it is to be their dog during certain circumstances. Kids drape themselves over their dogs a lot of the time. A lot of dog’s do not like their personal space invaded. My class starts with the kids sitting on a stool in the middle of the room, and then I come lean over them with heavy body weight. I will drape my body over theirs and smooch at them with a big puckered mouth. I say “Kiss kiss, hug hug, smooochie smoochie” and so on. I mess up their hair, I put my head on their shoulders, and at times I have licked their cheek (depending on the cleanliness of the kid of course). I am trying to show them how it feels to be their dog! I will ask them to stand up and then try and pick them up inappropriately and usually without warning them. I act like I am going to lift them but can’t hold their body weight so they slide or fall out of my arms. I try and pick them up with their weight not balanced so one leg will be picked up and they are off balance and usually fall. I explain this is how we pick up our dogs and do they like it? Do they think their dog likes it? The consensuses 99% saying NO! They do not like it nor do they think their dog likes it, success!! During the kids and canine class they get a break and have a cookie and some juices, AAAhh this is another opportunity for me to show them how it feels to be their dog! I sit about an inch from their face and try and grab the cookie, they always say STOP! I continue ha haha. Their eyes might get wide and they try and stand up or escape the annoying situation I have put them in. I then have an opportunity to explain that is how your dog feels when they are eating or enjoying a bone. They want to be left alone too!
During the class I teach the kids hide and seek games to play with their dog. I want them to have a relationship with their dog. The person who plays games with the dog is the most important person to the dog! We also teach scent box games and how to throw a ball for a dog to want to retrieve it. We teach drop and the proper way to play tug-o-war. The game is not taking the toy during the tug-o-war away from the dog the game is giving back of the toy with the words “take it.” The dog is constantly rewarded by getting the toy back if it drops it. All you have to do is hold the dog’s collar while he is tugging backwards. Do not engage or pull the toy back just hold it. The dog usually only wants to tug and when that is taken away with the kid not responding by holding the dogs collar the toy is released. The second it is released the toy is given back to the dog with GLEE in a big happy “take it!!” The class is very successful in changing the relationship of the kids and their pups by allowing them to experience what the dog feels and how they now personally understand the need for “space” in their dog’s life. Next blog we will visit the other class I teach ” Hey, Can I get a minute alone in here please?”
“A trained dog makes a happy owner”
And a trained owner makes a happier dog!”
Susie Aga –
Susie, is the founder of Atlanta Dog Trainer. Her passion for dogs stems from her mission to want to teach people how to communicate with dogs. With 15 years of working with canines, Susie has refined the science of behavior modification by adding her own unique techniques. She has provided learning strategies for numerous families, countless foster families, rescues organizations, non-profits groups and government agencies that work with canines. She lives at home with her two four legged son’s Hezikia and Jeramiah. Her life has truly gone to the dog’s and that is just the way she likes it!