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There is nothing like a good rainstorm to wash away the dirt and grime, leaving behind a fresh new world filled with beauty. Sounds good so far, doesn't it? At least, that is, until you have to take your dog out in the rain to do his business. To make matters worse, it's really not the taking him outside that's a problem. No, it's that massive shake off he does the moment he gets inside. This despite your best efforts to convince him to do this outside, where all that water won't bother anyone.
A dog can shake up to 70% of the water in his coat off, leaving him much drier. However, if you are like most pet owners, you really don't want this 70% spread all over every room in your house. The good news is that with a little hard work and training, you can't teach your pup to shake his body on command.
No one wants to deal with having their wet dog shaking himself off all over them and the rest of the house. So, this leaves you with a few choices: you can train your pup to shake himself off on command, use a towel to dry him off the moment you set foot in the door, or you can keep living with the status quo. Remember, this is a perfectly normal behavior as no dog wants to walk around soaking wet.
The goal is to reinforce this natural behavior while at the same time teaching him to shake off outside on command rather than bringing all that water in the house. There are various methods you can use to train this behavior, all of those listed below have been found to be quite effective. The most important part of any training program is perseverance. Oh, and plenty of your pup's favorite treats.
You can teach this "trick" to virtually any age dog as long as they have first mastered the four basic commands of 'sit', 'stay', 'come', and 'down'. Teaching your pup these commands first not only allows you to control your pup more effectively, but it also establishes you as the pack leader. This is an important step if you want your pup to always listen to you. For this training you may need:
- Treats: As rewards and incentives.
- Leash: For walks in the rain.
- Tub: Or a pool or shower for bathing your pup.
The rest is all about having the time to work with your pup and the patience to keep working with him until he masters this very important skill. Once training is complete, your pup should be able to stand outside and shake off the water on command, leaving you--and the inside of your home--much drier.
The Stand and Wait Method
Start with one wet dog
The first thing needed for this training is one wet dog. So, whether you take him out in the rain or get your pup nice and wet in the tub (the best training location), he needs to be wet enough that he wants to shake.
Into the tub
For this training, we are going to use the bathtub since it may not always be raining where you live, or you may not be able to count on rain. So, into the tub with your pup where you can soak him down using a pitcher or a long hose extensions with a sprayer on it.
Soak him down
Now all you have to do is soak your pup thoroughly and wait. Make sure you do not let your pup get out of the tub before he shakes off.
Introduce your pup
Introduce your pup to the command "Good shake!" Use something like this to avoid the confusion that could arise from trying to use the 'shake' command used to teach your pup to shake hands. When your dog shakes himself off naturally (which, given time, he will do) be sure to give him the cue word as he starts to shake.
Keep repeating the above saying "Good shake" each time until he starts to match the cue words with the desired action. The rest is all about repetition. If you work with your pup every day over the course of a few weeks, he will soon learn what is expected of him when you give him the command.
The Clicker Method
Gather the goodies
For this training, you will need a training clicker (available at your local pet store), some treats, and plenty of good old-fashioned patience.
Observe the behavior
Your pup will naturally shake his entire body several times a day, he does this to shed water, hair, pests, dirt, and debris. Watch carefully and when you catch him doing so, praise him and give him a treat.
Each time you catch your pup shaking on his own give the cue "Good shake!" use the clicker, and praise him. This helps him to associate the cue "Good Shake!" with what you want him to do. The clicker is used to reinforce the behavior during training.
By now you should be able to simply give your pup the "Good shake!" command and watch him go to town. Each time you give the command, be sure to click and reward him for getting it right.
The rest is all about repeating the training until you can take your dog out for a walk in the rain or give him a bath safe in the knowledge he will shake off the water with a simple command, leaving your home safe from the bulk of his water spray.
The Pool and Hose Method
Prepare a kiddie paddling pool, a hose, some treats, and your dog.
In the pool
Have your dog climb in the pool and make him lay down in the water. If he won't go in the water voluntarily, you can use his leash to walk him into the pool.
Soak him down
Take the hose and finish soaking your pup down until he is thoroughly soaked.
Let him get up
Let your pup get up. His first natural reaction is to shake the water off. The moment he starts to shake, give him the cue work "Good shake!". Praise him and give him a treat.
Rinse and repeat
Rinse him off again and repeat the training using the cue word. Each time he does what he is told, give him a treat.
Now you can work on having him stand in a specific spot to shake off. The rest is all about repetition. Keep working with your pup until he will shake every time you give the command. Be patient and generous with the treats until he will shake himself off no matter where you are the moment you give the command.
By PB Getz
Published: 12/21/2017, edited: 01/08/2021