Thursday, October 7, 2010
Ask The Trainer - Demanding Dog
Question: Tag is feeling better after his neuter and wants a lot of attention. He tells me that he wants me to pet him by "grabbing" my arm with his mouth--he doesn't bite down, but it would be dangerous for children and quite frightening for them if they don't know that he's not trying to hurt them. He also tends to jump up at your face to lick you, but hits you with his teeth. How can I stop him from doing this--teach him a different way to "tell" me he wants attention.
Teach him sit, down, shake, roll over, and any and all tricks and commands you can think up. This teaches him that you are the one in control. Teach using a minimum of reinforcers (treats) as you want him to understand that what you say is what he does, no matter what.
Do not free feed him. Feed him on a schedule and make him work for his food. Pushing is the best way to make him work for it but doing a routine of "tricks" will work as well.
Get him out for exercise twice a day. Real exercise, not a walk where he's allowed to stop and smell everything or pee on every tree and post. This can include a great 1/2 game of fetch or fetch/tug, flirt pole, swimming or a treadmill if you have one.
I noticed that you said "I think he would do best with older kids, as he does occasionally "heel" me." on his writeup with TCWN. Yes, this is typically heeler, but it's also the way a heeler controls the animals it is herding. For it to do so with a human again means that he thinks he's in control.