OK had a client this morning with a Jack Russel Adult that would get overstimulated when getting pets and then very quick get frustrated and growl (no biting but scary to the owners and I am sure for those doing the petting)… Many of you know I am the “Hand Feeding” freak and yes there are ways to work this kind of behavior with adults and even better with puppies (while in that critical developmental period) While the techniques are pretty much the same the reasoning can be very different!
- Puppies (8 weeks to 15 weeks or so): for these guys just pair all touch with food and help wire the brain that touch is safe, fun and rewarding!!! Pretty much just do it. Make sure it is you and plenty of other folks (men, women, kids, folks wearing uniforms… You name it just do it and always pair with food!
- Adults (older that 20-25 weeks): These dogs are already out of the socialization period and are on their way to the Juvenile/Adolescent stage or are already adults. So they might already have some baggage 🙁 So go slow and do not push. This would fall into that Under Threshold (not growly bitey behavior) Short duration (5-10 minutes tops) High Frequency (3-5 times a day) training I always talk about!
If the dog has issues with over stimulation or anxiety/fear with touch, especially with the hot spots (feet, face, teeth or tail) then move slow and reward the snot out of the contact… Obviously if you have a dog you are concerned will bite, this is not something I would recommend doing without professional help!!! Call us or call another positive reinforcement trainer to help you along with the process!