Everyone Hits His Dog
As your frustration increases daily you start using your hands to accomplish what your voice is failing to do. You start hitting the dog. I will define hit the way your dog sees a hit: If you use your hand, or an extension of your hand such as a rolled-up newspaper, to either reject your dog or display your displeasure, you have hit your dog. Yes, that little shove when you were trying to tie your shoe, or that one-finger tap on the nose for playful biting was a hit. How many times have you pushed her aside while reading the paper when your dog puts her paws up on you for attention? Those were hits. And you thought you never hit your dog. Once dog trainers learn the dog's own definition of a hit, which includes a shove, canine education will be revolutionized.
The dog has a marvelously efficient mind. But she cannot comprehend the difference between the shove and the stroke. The dog generally has no ability to unconditionally trust the hand when one time it is used for praise or love and another time for rejection or reprimand. I know that many dog trainers allow the striking of the dog, and I know that I will cause a great big stink by holding to this definition; however, I spend most of my time teaching dogs to trust the hand that has so confused them. And this includes the shove or push as demonstrated by Cesar Millan for jumping. Do not be confused: You CAN use your hands when you are playing and the dog is playing. There is no limit to your using your hands for love, attention, affection and play.
You can do two tests for fear of the hand. First, with palm open, FAKE a fast hit to the dog's face. Does she flinch? Does she jerk away? Do her whiskers quiver or her lips curl into a snarl? Or does she just blink? Second, move your hand toward her shoulder while you are facing her. Does she drop her head even slightly while stretching her neck forward? Do her pupils dilate? Does she close her mouth? Does she make a fast movement toward the approaching hand? Does she jump up or away? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, your dog has developed a fear of the hand. How long before she grabs that hand? Or perhaps she bites your neighbor's hand or the child in the park that runs up quickly to hug your little ball of fur? Do not think for a minute that your little darling is incapable of biting.