In dog training, it is as rare I answer a question with something other than “it depends,” as it is to make absolute statements. And today I am breaking both these rules. This exercise does not depend, it is an exercise you can do with every single dog. Every person can do this exercise, and it is appropriate for all dogs, of all shapes, sizes, personalities.
This exercise will help safe your dog’s life, teach them consent and control, and make them more cuddly.
I don’t even like to call it exercise, it should be more of a way of life. Google says other synonyms I could use include lifestyle, habits, movement, and practice. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. Pick your favorite word because what matters is that you do this!
This exercise is, I think, the easiest dog training exercise there is. Every single person who interacts with a dog should do this with every dog they interact with.
Off the top of my head and without digging deep I thought of 7 different benefits of this exercise. And there are so many more, including:
- Prevent your dog from biting someone
- Keep your dog, your family, and your community safer
- Teach your dog to ask for attention in a constructive (i.e. not annoying) way
- Your dog becomes more cuddly
- Improves your relationship with your dog
- Allows your dog to learn how to give consent, it also helps people practice asking and waiting for consent
- Teaches your dog how to make choices
- Improves communication between you and your dog
- Teaches puppies not to bite and mouth
See, my list is at 9 and I could keep going! But, what I want you to take away from this is that you should be doing this with your dog.
- Teach it to your kids!
- Teach it to your parents!
- Teach it to your elderly relatives!
- Your Friends!
- Your Mail Carrier!
- Your favorite cashier at the grocery store!
Ok, so, here it goes….
When you want to pet a dog, only pet them for 3 seconds at a time.
Then pause, see what they do.
If they ask you to pet them again, you pet them for 3 more seconds. And again you pause.
When you pause, and they no longer tell you that they want more pets, you stop.
It is that simple, but it can be hard to do in real life! This exercise is not designed to take away any of the love and affection you show your dog, nor is it supposed to prevent you from cuddling with them. It is supposed to transform the way in which you do interact.
But what will my dog do when they want more pets? – Good question! I’m glad you asked!
They might move towards you, they may hit your hand with their nose, they may look at you
What will they do if they don’t want any more pets? – Another important question!
This can be a little easier to judge, basically if they stay perfectly still, or if they move away you stop. Moving away can be very, very subtle. It can be turning away, sniffing the ground, or getting up and moving across the room.
The more you do this, the more you will learn how your dog communicates.
When I brought Dustin home, he did not like to be touched or petted. When I petted him, he would often mouth me and then move away. Now, he frequently is not satisfied unless I am petting him with two hands. I achieved that by using this technique.
In this video, I pet Dustin for 3 seconds, then when I pause Dustin puts his nose to my hand, indicating that he would like me to continue petting him. At the end of the video, you can see him move his head very slightly down and to the side so I did not pet him again.
We can see a big difference in Dustin’s body language and response in this video. I pet Dustin for 3 seconds, and he stays still. His nose does not come to me, his weight does not shift forward, and he does not ask for more pets. I respected his request and did not pet him again at that moment.
These 3 Seconds Will Solve All Your Problems *
Ok, almost all your problems
© Leash and Learn 2022