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Collar Hold

This is about making a connection without adding pressure.  The collar hold is the first step of loose leash walking and the first step of Reactive Dog work. It will be your liaison between you petting him and allowing others to touch your dog as well.  The dog needs to learn to work through you and with permission verses making its own decisions.  


When reaching for the collar, it is important to not reach over the dog’s head, but rather under the chin, from the side or from behind.  It is a loose connection, so 3-4 fingers under the collar and the thumb is extended or the thumb under the collar and the fingers are extended.  The extension of fingers is key to having a straight wrist that goes into a rounded elbow with open shoulder to make that proper connection. 


Touch and let go.  See how the dog responds to this touch when there is nothing else going on to add extra stimuli.  How does it respond to you taking control?  In human terms its like us putting an arm around each other.  If it is an intimate bond, the dog will be relaxed and allow the connection to happen.  If the dog is questioning your authority, it will stiffen up, sit down and face you or whip its head around as if to say…what are you doing?  If the dog rolls over and shows its belly, that is not a sign or submission but rather, get off my back.  We shall build on this as we move forward and condition the response that when you touch the collar, the dog will calm down and let you be in control.



Massage is based on shiatsu techniques, and I encourage you to search "shiatsu massage for dogs" in order to see the benefits of this hands-on approach.  How we touch a dog means different things.  Patting a dog is reward.  Long strokes are an intimate bond and can create trust and relaxation.  People should always pet a dog on the back and from the side if they don't know the dog.  


Have the dog lengthwise in front of you or to your side.  Start over the eye and with medium pressure stroke the dog to its hindquarters.  If the dog gets fidgety, then do shorter strokes and work into longer strokes.  In between the eyes and two points at the base of the ears are called the bowling ball hold and these are calming points.  Rub these points in circular direction to calm the dog.  The area at the back of the skull cap on the neck along with long strokes up the ears is how dogs receive affection.  Along the muzzle are lots of nerves as well as the paws.  This helps to get the dog use to having mouth and feet touched for grooming and examination.


Attached are brief videos demonstrating the techniques.  They should be practiced randomly throughout the day. If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.




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