Restraint

The importance of a dog accepting restraint was discussed in chapter 3 under "Teaching Commands: Sit, Stay, Okay and No." This exercise will further develop your dog's ability to accept restraint, this time in a lying down position.

Sit your dog in heel position, and kneel beside him. Have him lie down. Once your dog is down, gently roll him over onto his side. Press his head down flat against the floor. Tell him to stay and repeat the command as necessary. Hold him there with one hand on his neck and one on his hindquarters. When he relaxes, you can just quietly pet him as he lies there. Gradually work up to having your dog stay in this position for one minute. Release him with an "okay" and give him a reward. This is easy to practice while you are watching TV.

Teaching your dog to accept restraint can prevent aggressive behavior when your dog is groomed, examined by a veterinarian, or hugged by a child. (English Springer Spaniel)

Some dogs may strenuously resist doing this. It is important to be more stubborn than your dog is. He may even be frightened. If he is, it is important for him to learn that he will not be hurt, so don't give up. If your dog struggles strongly, it may be helpful to try a different position. Kneel so that your dog's back is against your knees and his legs are facing away from you when he is on his side. Hold the front and back legs that are closest to the ground. Hold your dog in this position until he relaxes. When he does, praise him quietly, release, and reward.

If at any point in doing this, you think your dog might bite you, stop immediately and seek the help of an experienced dog trainer.

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