Monday, May 23, 2011

Ask the Trainer: Muddy Paw Woes

Lowcountry Dog Magazine

by Susan Marett on Monday, May 16th, 2011 at 11:55pm filed in Ask the Trainer Training

The Problem: I have a 5 month old Irish Wolfhound named Remus and 3 young children (2-6). Remus gets up and has a run in the yard before my daughter goes to school but the bad thing is that he likes to stand up and put his paws on us when we come out in the morning. We end up taking my daughter back in to change her muddy paw print clothes. He gets LOTS of attention and is always around us. Is there any way I can stop him from pawing us constantly? I really dont mind it, but one day he will be almost as tall as me on all fours so it might be a good idea to teach him not to "climb" the kids. He can already reach my shoulders with his front paws!

The Solution:

One solution for school mornings would be to leash walk him before she's dressed. He then won't be muddy or overexcited from running in the yard. When he's finished with his walk, use a tether in the house so that he is prevented from jumping. A good place to use a tether would be in the kitchen secured to a sturdy place or doorknob. Ask for a sit, then pet him only when all four feet are on the floor. If he jumps, your daughter can step back slightly and wait until he is grounded and sitting. A good resource for tethers is

A good way to teach polite behavior to puppies is to ignore unwanted attention-seeking behaviors like pawing, and only reinforce polite behavior such as all four feet on the ground. Having Remus sit for all rewards and petting would help to teach him good manners.

If you have a question for Susan Marett of Purely Positive Dog Training, email your question to using the subject line: Ask A Trainer.

Susan Marett has 14 years of full time dog training experience. She has appeared on local radio show Pet Docs, the South Carolina Public Radio Business Review, and local TV Channels 4 and 5 to present training methods and answer questions on dog behavior. Susan has also authored numerous articles for local publications on training and behavioral issues, and spoken to Charleston area shelter and veterinary staff on behavioral problems.

Susan is also a Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator for the American Kennel Club and a trainer mentor for Animal Behavior College. Her dogs have titled in Agility and Rally Obedience, and earned Therapy Dog Certifications. Susan is an Honors College graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Film.

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