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Ask a Trainer Question Answered

Author: Andrea Miller | Date: March 13, 2012

Here’s the next round of answers for our Ask a Trainer feature on our new website. It’s your chance to get dog training advice from the pros at AnimalSense. Stay tuned for more questions & answers, and if you have a burning dog training question, just “Ask a Trainer”!

I read Carol’s post about getting your pet used to handling, but it addresses your dog being uncomfortable being touched in certain places. My dog is the opposite–she gets overexcited by being touched. Would the same techniques work for her?

Being excited by touch is not uncommon for dogs. It can actually amp a lot of dogs up! The key for dealing with easily excitable dogs is that you need to handle your dog in very small increments and before she reaches her “threshold”. That’s a clearly defined point where your dog’s behavior changes and it’s usually a line that’s crossed between desirable and undesirable behavior. Each dog’s threshold is different, so it’s important to pay attention to the signs that your dog is becoming aroused. For instance, if your dog gets overexcited when you pick up her paw, take the touch back a bit and just touch her paw and then give her a treat as a reward for calm behavior. Your touch should be low-key and very short in length. Work in very small steps toward having your dog be relaxed as you touch them.

Some dogs need a different kind of touch.

Lots of our clients with excitable or anxious dogs have found success with the Tellington TTouch method, taught in seminars by PetKidDo’s Betsy Lane.

Basically, TTouch is a gentle training method that can help relieve stress, increase body awareness, build confidence and reduce or eliminate unwanted behaviors. You’ll use a series of light touches, various body wraps as well as experiential groundwork activities to help your dog remain calm. It in invaluable for times that your dog may not handle their environment well, such as thunderstorms or fireworks events.

TTouch can help an older animal find a greater degree of comfort, and a younger animal achieve a calm focus. It is also an excellent way to help animals overcome specific or generalized fears and become more resilient in any type of stressful situation. Not to mention, it deeps the bond that you and your pet share. They become more relaxed and comfortable, and you get a better behaved dog!

AnimalSense’s next TTouch workshop is in Glenview on Wednesday, April 18 from 7pm-9pm. Learn more about this seminar.




    1. […] can read a little more about threshold in this Ask a Trainer blog where I found that great definition of the […]

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