WHEN a dog is underfoot
Does your dog get underfoot? Are you constantly trying to maneuver yourself just right to avoid tripping into a mix of disaster for both you and your dog?
For my dogs I have a “send out” cue. What’s that? I tell them “go on” and point where I am sending them. Wouldn’t that be nice to say one phrase and point and you didn’t have to play a version of the game Twister in your kitchen?
A dog’s perspective
First, to understand how this cue works, you must understand how dogs interpret body language.
If you have ever watched a dog herd, he will move in the direction that he wants the flock to go. Dogs understand movement in a completely different way than humans. Dogs use a combination of body movement, pressure and release of pressure to get the herd to move.
Dogs understand movement in a completely different way than humans. When walking him on the leash, rather than moving your arm to communicate the direction you would like him to go, you must move your entire body.
If I wanted you to move closer to me, I would take steps close to you and you would naturally take steps toward me. Dogs are the opposite. If I take two steps toward a dog, he will take two steps back. Have you ever noticed when you start to walk toward your dog, he will back up?
To communicate in a way that your dog will understand, you must use your whole body movement in the opposite direction that you want him to go.
HOW TO TEACH A SEND OUT CUE (AKA MOVE IT!)
For formal sessions
Grab a handful of treats. Take a step toward your dog (walk into him). As soon as he takes a step back you will say “good” and deliver a treat. Continue to add more steps. Do 1-3 minute sessions for three days.
After three days start adding a cue like “go on” and point as you say it. Use a lot of praise and treats.
FOR informal SESSIONS (every day life)
In your every day life when you need space you will walk into your dog and say your cue like “go on” and point in the direction you want him to go. Continue moving into him until you get the space you desire. Be sure to use a lot of praise.
If you are consistent with the cue every day as you need your dog to move or backup you will see consistent success.
Does your dog get underfoot? Share your experiences in comments below.
Building the bridge of communication between dog and pet guardian.