Want To Train Your Dog? Try The Chin Scratch and Knee Nudge

Some dogs have bad habits – they jump, they bark, they beg. So, here’s how to make them stop. These tips come from Paul Owens, author of “The Dog Whisperer: A Compassionate, Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training“:

  • The magic chin scratch. When you’re greeted by a friend’s barking dog, stand facing the samedirection they are, and let them approach you on their own terms. Once they’re quiet, don’t do the head pat, pet them under the chin or on the chest instead. Why? Animals view a face to face approach as confrontational, and can act defensively. But if you turn your body sideways, like animals do when they’re trying to be friendly, they won’t feel so threatened. And a chin-scratch makes pets feel more in control, because they can see exactly where your hands are. Animals don’t like to have a hand coming over them from above.
  • Then there’s the knee nudge. If a dog jumps against you while you’re standing, try this: Raise one knee, and lean slightly toward them. Dogs view anything straight up and down as a good bouncing wall. But an angular object triggers what animal behaviorists call a “looming response” your leg will be looming in front of them, making them unsure enough to back off.
  • Dogs tend to bug dinner guests, because they hope you haven’t been trained not to feed them. To subtly shoo them away, turn your upper body toward them, and hold their gaze for 5 seconds. Why? It’s called a “broadside display” that’s when an animal makes itself appear as large as possible to scare off a rival. And adding sustained eye contact is a sign that you mean business.


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