How To Use Body Language to Teach a Restless Dog to Calm Down

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Marko loved jumping around, he was a terribly restless pup. Once upon a time when I was training him, I happen to watch his body language closely. I figured out how to make him keep paws on the ground.

dog-training-body-language

PHOTO: The Bark

It is truly amazing how dogs subtly and expectantly communicate with us. During my consultations, I see dogs trying frivolously to interconnect, using body language of course.

Very often owners complain that dog bit us out of nowhere. But it’s NEVER out of nowhere. I refuse to believe that dog didn’t give any signals. These signals may include:

  • Licking his lips
  • Huffing and puffing
  • Lifting his front paw
  • Tucking up tail
  • Eyes becoming wide
  • Barking for no reason
  • Becoming restless
  • Jumping about in agony

Dogs are trying to communicate with us all the time. It is us who aren’t listening.

There was this one pup called Marko. His owner came with a complaint that Marko jumps up when greeting people. He generally doesn’t follow commands to sit and stay.

Since Marko was a rescued pup, perhaps this was an enforced behavior with previous owners?

However, I got to work. I began teaching him the usual sit and stay commands. It didn’t get any better. Marko still leapt up out of nowhere and just could keep all his paws on ground.

Frankly speaking, I was becoming less and less hopeful that I can positively change Marko. But then it hit me. Why not utilize the body language technique? Dogs communicate with us through body language how about we try to do the same!

dog-training-body-language

PHOTO: Wikipedia

After making clear that I’d like him to sit, I stood at the door of the room. As soon as he got up from his sit, I didn’t say anything but I went behind the door and closed it, hence separating myself from him.

After a couple of minutes I repeated the exercise. But this time as I was about to close the door, I took a quick glance at Marko. He wasn’t barking, huffing or vocalizing his emotions but her eyes and standing-up ears told me that he’d be distressed if I stepped outside the room.

I told him to “sit and stay!” and when he did I came back into the room closing the door behind me.

“Good boy” I said as I patted him. I knew she got the message. I didn’t have to utter a word. My body language was enough to convey Marko what I wanted from him.


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