Dogs in the wild often claim objects to prevent other pack members from coming too close or going in the wrong direction. A dog claims using energy and body language. Since all dogs respond to this type of blocking instinctually, it is a valuable training technique to correct many behavioral problems. To successfully claim an area you must have the right amount of energy and body language. This takes practice, so don’t give up!

1) Be quiet. Exercise your ability to use energy and body language only. No words. 2) Claim the space. Get in-between your dog and the object or area that you are attempting to claim. 3) Project. Put your hands on your hips or out to the sides and project yourself in such a way that says to your dog “this is my space, move back please”.  4) Take a step toward your dog, invading his space. 5) WAIT for your dog to respond. Ideally when you claim, your dog will move away from your body, sit or lay down, and give you eye contact. If your dog simply walks away from you, that is NOT successful claiming. If your dog walks away, follow him near his head, continuing to project calm leadership and wait for him to sit and look at you. If he stops the unwanted behavior but is standing still and not looking at you, don’t move. Wait until he sits or lays down.  Waiting for a response from your dog is following through and is essential to successful claiming. Sometimes waiting for a response can take upward of 10 minutes the first time, but it will get better as your dog begins to understand what you are asking.

With practice your dog will understand that what you want when you are claiming something is respect of your space. They will love you more deeply for understanding your rules and boundaries.  Claiming can help you tackle these common behavioral problems:

Jumping on people and furniture (Claim the person being jumped on or the piece of furniture)

Nipping (Claim the person being nipped)

Going into forbidden rooms-such as a bathroom or utility closet (Claim the doorway)

Getting up on the table (Claim the table)

Coming near another dog with too much excitement (Claim the other dog to make your dog give it space)

Running laps in the house (Stop him by standing in front of him and claiming the space)

Barking out the window (Claim the window)

Jetting through an open door (Claim the doorway)

Chewing unacceptable objects (Claim the object)