That is, the dog’s brain contains a pre-programmed message that says, “Touch is BAD!” – and when the dog feels … If your dog has a grass allergy that causes inflammation in his pads, for example, your constant struggle to reduce the discomfort in his feet will slow your CC&D progress. Exposing your dog to the scary situation while trying to counter-condition him, is going to slow your progress. Pat Miller, CPDT, is WDJ‘s Training Editor. Yay! My scottie, Sophie is not happy about this stranger petting her. Shorten your ear strokes back to one to three seconds, but stroke the ear a bit more firmly. Adjust your pace to his behavior. responses very quickly, you can progress more rapidly in your program. Listen to him. Isolation Risks with Your Puppy, “Quarantrain” Your Dog: How to Train Your Dog While Staying Home. Work to get that positive “Where’s My Chicken?” response with the new amount of pressure at each length of time before you increase the time again. Petting should be gentle and calming for both you and the dog. Your Dog Has an Ear Infection. I could feel my own tension lessen as well, as I savored what I knew were my last moments with this gallant little boy who had shown me that small dogs could be every bit as big in heart and mind as their larger brothers. As your touches get longer, feed him several treats in rapid succession while you are touching. I swear I can feel the days getting longer each day. Having an affectionate and sweet feline that suddenly doesn’t want to be touched is heartbreaking for a pet parent. When children are involved this is even more extreme, with dogs enduring fingers in their mouths, ears and eyes. It’s almost magical to watch an effective CC&D program in progress. While each program is unique to each dog, here are some general and important things to know about CC/DS. Continue to increase the time, very gradually, so you don’t lose the progress you’ve made. There’s nothing like having a friend or family member think it’s funny to see your dog’s negative reaction when they play “grab your paws” – thereby undoing all the good work you’ve done. The first step in your program is to have a complete and thorough veterinary exam, and an adjunct visit to a chiropractor if indicated. First walk of 2021, last walk with Coco. I suggest you ask your dog and see how he or she feels about being touched by you or a friend. Look for bunny hopping, or stiffness, and you may want to ask your vet to inspect your dog, even if … Be sure to end the session before one or both of you gets bored, tired, stressed, or frustrated. Make sure that others are aware of the importance of respecting your CC&D program too. … • Your skill at reading your dog’s comfort level and moving the program forward at an appropriate pace without triggering negative reactions. Most humans are comfortable greeting others by stretching out their hands, and making direct eye contact. Today her owner is one of my good friends and dog-walking buddies. ... well, the young guy is an up and comer after all #topdogmodel #understudy ... WDJ's Training Editor Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, grew up in a family that was blessed with lots of animal companions: dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, and more, and has maintained that model ever since. When we found him as a stray in Chattanooga as a six-month-old pup, his feet were raw and bloody, he had sores and scabs all over his body from a generalized dermatitis, and his ears were badly infected, all from a severe grass allergy – not uncommon to Scotties. Because you use high value treats, your dog might even begin to drool rather than growl. What I would try is giving an aspirin today and tomorrow and see if she starts coming out a little bit. • Your commitment to implementing the program on a daily basis. Finally, age may play a role in your dog appearing distant. Your dog also might shake his head, paw at the ear with the infection, and be less likely to chew his food. You may lose the WMC? He shows moments of perkiness, but then will go back to his corner for the rest of the day. Oh, these two. well, the young guy is an up and comer after all #topdogmodel #understudy, Savor The Flavor: Slow Feeder Device Test, Whole Dog Journal’s 2020 Approved Wet Dog Foods, Meditations on Raising Small Children with Dogs, How to Safely Introduce Your Dog to Other Dogs, Infection vs. In his dotage, one of Otto‘s favorite activities is chasing the mail truck down the fence line and barking furiously as our mail carrier puts mail in our box. You’ll need a large supply of absolutely scrumptious treats – canned chicken, rinsed and drained, is my favorite for CC&D purposes; most dogs totally love it. I’m grateful that our dogs enjoy being touched, and that we can share the gifts that such healing contact offers. You might also consider products such as herbal calming agents, Rescue Remedy, and DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheremones, sold as “Comfort Zone“). It is true most dogs are social and do love a good scratch, let’s just not assume they like it from a stranger. With classical conditioning, the environment acts on the dog. It’s been forever! I was graphically reminded of those benefits recently when our beloved 15-year-old Pomeranian, Dusty, succumbed to an ulcerated cornea and eventual rupture of his left eye. Whether you're attempting just to pet his paws or to trim his too-long nails, your pet might perceive your paw-touching action as a display of social status, and in turn might make a big show of expressing to you that he objects to it and won't stand for it. If I go anywhere in the house, she follows me all happily. Pick a comfortable spot on a bed that your dog loves, or lay down a cushion or a soft thick blanket for the two of you to sit on. A few of the more common causes of weakness or lethargy in dogs include the following: Infection. A negative reaction to being touched is usually a classically conditioned response. Most dog owners want a dog that will willingly accept being petted, even by complete strangers. Yes, the dog sets the pace. Your dog’s desire for affection changes Your best buddy usually can’t get enough cuddles and pats, but lately, doesn’t want to be touched. You have entered an incorrect email address! Again, it is normal for humans, but rude and scary for many dogs. You should find that as you work toward various new spots around your dog’s legs and body, he’ll accept new touches more quickly in many places. I swear I can feel the days getting longer each day ... Had a visit from my granddog. In fact, people failing to recognize that a dog does not want to be touched is one of the primary reasons why they develop a nipping or biting behavior in the first place. Any kind of infection -- including serious ones such as parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough, leptospirosis, and heartworm disease -- can make your dog … Usually when small dogs suddenly act like this there is a problem with a disc in the spine. Fearful dogs that are handled with force often get worse over time, and their behavior can escalate to a point that people think euthanasia is the only solution. It’s been forever! Dog … Up until now you’ve been touching him in his most accepting spot – the top of his head. If you sense that he’s getting restless, stop the session, feed him a few extra tidbits for being a wonderful boy, and release him with an “All done!” cue. Unfortuntely, it’s a necessary evil, so spend a week (or a few weeks) acclimating your dog to a comfortable cloth muzzle. This dog is stressed , noted by his lowered body and head, ears back, paw raised, mouth closed, eyes on hand. Does your dog like to sleep right on top of you? When your dog reacts to your touch with distaste, perhaps even aggression, he’s not choosing to react that way, it just happens, thanks to that pre-programmed message in his brain. Body language signals your dog might exhibit are ducking away, lowering of the head, stepping away, putting the ears back, licking lips, or whale eye (whites of eyes visible). Perhaps your dog will tolerate a light touch on the top of his head, and a gentle scratch under his chin, but he becomes very tense if you do more than that, and any efforts to touch his legs and feet or his hindquarters and tail elicit serious warnings about forthcoming aggression. Treat! Let us be happy for Coco! Of course, if the whole point is that your dog doesn’t tolerate being touched, how do make him submit to a vet exam before you work on the problem? As I stroked Dusty’s soft golden fur and massaged his limbs and frame, I could see the tension leave his small, frail body. Since then he will eat and drink when offered, but will hide in a corner all day, doesn't want to be touched and his head twitches. 2. Last month, author Lexiann Grant discussed the benefits of touching for dogs and humans (“Pet the Dog“). In addition to the chicken, soothing massage sends a very positive association to the message that you are reprogramming in his brain. If you forget about his sensitivities and grab him during a “real-life” moment you may set your program back. Please note, if your dog is showing severe aggressive signs, or has bitten already, contact a behavioral specialist for professional help. Kind of a hothouse flower, this guy. response to the ear-stroking, then do the same with the other ear. My Experience: Not all dogs feel relaxed with a human hand coming at them. As an alternative, a verbal marker (e.g., “yes”, “good”, etc.) Please take your dog to your vet to address the problem now to help make his (and your!) Destructive Behavior Just as with other behavior problems of senior dogs, the underlying cause of destructive behavior needs to be determined in order to provide effective treatment. Coco has found a terrific home. You can always do another session later that day or the next. Dogs like to feel the affection of humans. You’ve accomplished the first tiny step on a long road; he thinks being touched softly and briefly on the head is a wonderful thing. Acute collapse is a sudden loss of strength causing your dog to fall and be … can take the place of the clicker [touch -> “yes” -> treat]. To teach our dogs to be comfortable with body handling, I recommend you use a traditional counter-conditioning/desensitization program (CC/DS). For dogs that have a history of getting defensive or aggressive when touched, you will want to go even slower to prevent your dog from getting overwhelmed and snapping. • Status of physical contributors to the sensitivity. * If a dog appears to be afraid of the sound of a clicker, then the reinforcement can change from [touch -> click -> treat] to simply [touch -> treat]. Spend lots of time massaging the areas where your dog has come to enjoy being touched, and occasionally work on the more sensitive spots. If your dog is usually down for a pet or a hug, take note if they're suddenly growling when you touch them, or snapping when you get too close. We’re still working on feet – it was 18 months before I could clip all his nails in one sitting – and his first instinct is to pull away when I touch them – but then he relaxes and enjoys a little foot massage as well. It won’t hurt to skip one or two nail-trimming sessions while you work to get him to accept foot-handling without a fight. Cats who tolerate, rather than enjoy or … Sundays are confusing, but the driver appreciates Otto’s crazy-old-man energy and gave him an encouraging honk, lol. Grrrr! Remember to stop the treats when the touch stops. When I wake up she does the same. This is very different from operant conditioning, where the dog acts on the environment. Most dogs dislike being touched on the top of the head, on the muzzle, ears, legs, paws, and tail. CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. Good job! Then we use desensitization to help him accept the touching at gradually increasing levels of intensity – touching more of his body, or touching with more pressure, or for longer periods of time. Some dogs change very quickly and begin to seek out touch. Then will go back to one to two seconds, then feed some chicken dog suddenly doesn't want to be touched in row. What I would try is giving an aspirin today and tomorrow and see how he or feels... However, your dog and see if she starts coming out a bit. 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