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Collar Grab

Gotcha

 

Many dogs are uncomfortable with being grabbed by the collar, and some will be uncomfortable enough to aggress.  However, there will be times in the dog’s life when we need to quickly take hold of the collar, and, too, since the dog is likely to come across people who are not sensitive to him and who do things they shouldn't, clearly we need to help our dogs get comfortable with collar grabs.

 

In treating emotionally “hot” issues in dogs we often employ “systematic desensitization.” That is, rather than exposing the dog to the arousal/fear/aggression-producing-thing at full intensity, we expose him to it sub-threshold, so that he is aware of it, but does not respond in an adverse fashion.  For example, you might have the dog look at a scary man from 30 feet away initially, then when he is relaxed and tail-waggy with that, decrease the distance to 25 feet, then to 20 and so on.  So, find your dog’s comfortable starting point with Gotchas.  Can you touch his neck without his showing any tension?  Good. If not, what can you do that he is comfortable with?  Can you hold your hand 6 inches away from his body?  Then start with that.

 

We will also be “counter-conditioning”.  That is, by associating the formerly scary thing with something wonderful, like treats and playful praise, we will change the dog’s attitude towards the formerly “icky” thing.

 

Work with a slightly hungry dog, and  yummy treats.  Do many repetitions, clicking the calm, happy dog, then delivering his treat.  Once he is showing a "yippee” response (wags, relaxed , happy facial expression…whatever your dog’s version of "yippee” is…) then , and only then, go on to the next step, which should be only just a bit different than what you just did.  If you can touch the dog’s neck for .5 seconds, then perhaps you will just rest your finger tips against the edge of his collar for .5 seconds, the  click and treat.  Repeat ‘til he is clearly, happily anticipating your touch and the treat.  Then slide one finger just barely under the collar, and click and treat.  Repeat til he is happy.  Gradually, over several session, add vigor to the collar touch, until you can tug the collar, click. treat and praise cheerfully.

 

If your dog seems tense at any point, you are pushing too fast.  Give him a break then start again with a much easier step, and proceed more slowly up the gradient of difficulty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using the training log may help you to be more analytical, and therefore more accurate, more effective and quicker in your training efforts.

Questions about it that we did not cover in class?  Call 949 497-7050 or e-mail Penny. New! Download (revised) Training Planner (as a Word Document).

 

Training Log

 

Date

Behavior

Standard (Describe):

# Repetitions

Observations:

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