I was in Canton last weekend working with a new Home Dog Training client and his one year old Dalmatian named Henrietta. Being just one year old and also a Dalmatian, Henrietta was pretty high energy and very active. One of the issues that my client was experiencing with Henrietta was that she always loved to go after the pant legs of anyone who would pass her. They would pull and try and tell her “no”, but that seemed to just make matters worse. He needed help and that is the topic of our discussion today.
“Pant leg grabbing” is something that many dogs seem to love to do. As we think we are fixing the problem, we are actually making it worse. The first question I ask a client with this problem is if they play Tug of War with their dog. Their answer is normally “yes”.
“Tug of War” is a game that all dogs naturally play. It is something that they were taught as puppies and is a learning process to help them develop their understanding of social structure. It is based on dominance and who in the group should be the one getting the group’s focus.
Our dog’s rule for playing Tug of War is whoever has “it” last is the winner. As the winner, you are the boss and can do whatever you want. The rest of the group is required to give you focus and to respond to your commands instantly.
Now, as most clients play Tug of War with their dogs, they might let go because they get bored, need to answer the phone, or become otherwise distracted. They (the humans) believe that they just called a Time Out and that they can come back to the game with no negative consequences.
As you can see, that is not the case with their dog. Every time they play Tug of War and it doesn’t end with them having the object passively in their hand and then calmly put the object away, they loose and they have told their dog not to pay attention to them.
So, the first thing I told my client to do to stop Henrietta from pulling his family’s pant legs was to stop playing Tug of War.
I also noted that when Henrietta was nipping and pulling at their pant legs, this was also a form of Tug of War. This needed to stop.
I demonstrated a great little exercise that he and his family could use to discourage and eliminate the pants tugging. It is based on being proactive and maintaining leadership & dominance.
- As a family member approaches Henrietta, they are to let her know that they are “large and in charge” by voicing a low, stern “No”. This will get her attention and let her see that they are facing her and “standing tall”. This is a natural canine dominance stance and something she will naturally understand.
- As they pass Henrietta, they are to turn so that they are constantly facing her. This means that, for a short period of time, they will actually be backing away from her.
- This action maintains their focus and dominance over Henrietta. In canine body language communication, facing another animal shows dominance; turning way shows submission.
- They should continue to back away for about five to ten feet. After that, they can probably turn around and walk away normally.
- During this entire process, they should stay calm and focused on Henrietta.
If the family members consistently practice this little exercise in a calm and focused manner, it reinforces their leadership role over Henrietta while proactively telling her that “grabbing pant legs” is wrong. They will be amazed at how fast this will work.
Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Canton Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Canton Georgia.