Your positive training program will go much more smoothly if you’re good at interpreting what your dog is saying to you and communicating to him in a way that he can easily understand. Dogs are superior body language communicators.
We often reach for our dog’s collars over the top of their heads… They see this is as a direct threat, they duck away in submission (or they bite) and learn to avoid us when we are trying to catch them. We follow or chase them, intimidating them further or, alternatively, teaching them that if they take the lead, we follow. The more we try to catch the more they avoid us.
Start by associating gentle touch and restraint with which he is comfortable. Feed him a tiny tid bit of something wonderful, and remove your hand. Repeat this step until he turns his head eagerly toward you in anticipation of his tid bit when he feels your touch. Whether you are reaching out for their leash or for a hug, the more your dog accepts your touch, the more quickly you will be able to move through the counter conditioning and desensitization process.
Whether you’ve never trained a dog or are just switching over to positive training, Pat Miller’s book, The Power of Positive Dog Training will show that training your four-legged friend with positive training tools is easy, fun and effective. Available now at Whole Dog Journal.