Last week I mentioned my abhorrence to tension on the leash and people who “muscle” their dogs. So this week I want to expand on that a bit more to explain what I mean by getting your dog to do the muscle work, not the owner.

The number one way you can get your dog to do what you want is patience. You are trying to communicate with your dog and often it just needs a few more minutes to sink in. When trying to get your dog to sit one option is to press down on their rear end, but that’s you doing the hard work. Try these options instead: raise a treat just above your dog’s head (often they will sit down on their own), or you can also claim your space and just stand in front of him. If you wait long enough he will eventually either sit or lay down, then all you have to do is say the name of the action when he does it to help him put two and two together. When your dog tends to bombard people with jumping and licking when they enter the door, do not muscle him by holding him back. Instead get in-between the dog and the closed door and point away from the door. Claim the door with your energy and body language, thus sending the message to your dog that the best place for him to be when guests arrive is calmly waiting on the spot of your choice away from the door (more on claiming here). It also helps to teach your dog that an open door does not mean go through it.I mentioned last week that I’ve seen people lift their dogs off the couch. Much better to claim the couch or use your arm to swipe your dog off the couch. By muscling your dog, you’re not teaching them anything. But by making them do it themselves, they are getting the message! Please comment if you have any success stories or other thoughts to add! Lead your dog!

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