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Feisty dog? Relax the handler!

Filed in - Dogs - Clicker Digest

From the Click-L mailing list... One of the greatest challenges faced by handlers of reactive dogs is that the handler's own tension is transferred down the leash to the dog. The dog, feeling that tension becomes even more reactive, which creates greater tension in the handler—a terrible cycle! The Click-L list discussed how instructors of reactive dog classes could teach the handlers to relax themselves. Helix Fairweather incorporates TAGteach elements into her "Relaxed and Ready" class for feisty fidos. She identified behaviors handlers could do that were incompatible with stress. "Bouncy knees," for example, were incompatible with standing stiff and tense. Singing a silly song was guaranteed to ease the handler's nerves. She found that getting the handlers to relax made a huge difference in the dogs from the very first day.

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Its true!

After reading "Getting in touch with your dog" I taught Arffa to wiggle his tail on command, but for some reason I sang the command to a little tune - no idea why - but now it makes me relax when I'm trying to keep him calm.