Max is a beautiful Golden Retriever, who is adored by his family and loves attention. When Max was young, he wanted to be petted all the time, have his ball thrown all the time, and just generally wanted attention--all the time! If family members did not pay attention to him, Max learned that he could put his paw on their leg, or paw at their hand, to get their attention. Because the kids in Max's family thought this was a cute and human-like gesture, they responded in the worst way possible: by giving attention to Max. Even though mom and dad tried to discourage Max from putting his paws on people, the kids, and guests responded positively to Max's pawing, so Max learned that if he just kept pawing to get attention, sometimes it would work.
One day, a friend came over for coffee and brought her 3-year-old daughter. The little girl was sitting in the family room playing with some toys and mom was enjoying a coffee in the kitchen, when friendly Max went over and put his paw up on the child in an effort to get some petting, inadvertently scratching the girl's face. Max's owners felt terrible, the child was hurt and scared, and the friend... well, she hasn't been back for coffee since.
My lab has been pawing my husband and I since we first taught her how to shake. Problem is, NOW she doesn't stop! We have stopped asking her to shake, we have given her the cold shoulder with no attention When she uses her paw, not even a no. So we are at a loss. When we play, she HAS to use her paws roughly. She will scratch almost intentionally, like she's holding on. She is a very passive dog, as soon as she sees another dog, she rolls over. But when that dog accepts her, she will paw their face. (Which ultimately makes the other dog hate her). My husband and I just found out we are pregnant and we are worried she will paw the new baby! Please help!
Hi Logan, Since simply removing attention has not stopped the behavior I would do a couple of things. First, whenever Browning comes over to receive attention give her a command such as sit or down before petting her. The more you encourage a desirable behavior such as sitting or downing, the more likely Browning will be to do that instead of the pawing to receive a reward, especially since that is how the pawing began. Secondly, teach browning an "Out" command, to use when she is pawing. To teach her the Out: 1. Go stand in a narrow space, such as a narrow kitchen or hallway. Bring treats or a few favorite toys with you. 2. With Browning by your side, toss a treat or toy several feet away from you and her, while pointing with one hand towards the direction that you tossed the item and commanding "Out". Make sure she sees you toss the item. 3. After she has gotten the item, tell her OK! in a happy tone and invite her to come back towards you by acting happy and welcoming. 4. When she is by your side again, repeat the process until she begins to walk or run into the area that she anticipates the item will be tossed BEFORE you toss the item, but after you have pointed and commanded Out. When she does this, toss the item to her after she is there instead of ahead of her. 5. Repeat this until she will go away from you, to where you point, when told Out regularly. 6. If she does not "Out" after she has shown that she understands the command or if she tries to come back towards you before being told "OK", walk towards her, blocking her way, until she backs away enough to reach the area where she was originally told to go to during the "Out" command. If she tries to dart past you then block her way and stand firm until she gives up. If when you back away after having walked her to her location, she tries to follow you, stop and step towards her again until she moves back to where she should be. You may have to repeat this several times to help her learn to stay back. Doing the walking towards her and blocking her will help communicate through your body language that she is supposed to stay back. 7. The Out command means go away, towards the direction you point. Once the dog reaches that location the dog does not have to stay right there, they can completely leave the room or area even more if they choose, but they cannot come back to where they were told to leave from until told OK. Once Browning knows the Out command then when she paws at you you can use the out command to clearly communicate to her to go away, doing this will also remove the attention, which should make her want to do the pawing less. It is important to also have her sit or down or do another behavior that you approve of when she comes over to you though. Combining the Out and the sit type behavior will give her two choices. She can paw and have to leave or she can sit and receive attention.
I love this! Thank you so much. We will start this training TODAY!
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My dog Sasha is a great girl but she paws at me and guests A LOT. How do I effectively train her to stop?
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