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Teach Your Puppy Gentleness

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books


SamoyedWhen food appears, many dogs are so eager to grab it that they become oblivious to your existence.

With this simple routine, you teach your pup that treats do not fall from the sky to be snatched up the instant he sees one.

Rather, treats come from the leader's hand, which should be "treated" (pun intended!) with respect.

  1. With your puppy in front of you – doesn't matter whether he's sitting or standing – hold a treat in front of his mouth. Grasp it between your thumb and index finger.

    Don't hold it too high, else he'll jump for it, which is not the calm behavior you're trying to teach.

  2. Say, "EEEE-zee." Draw it out as a long cautionary word. If he tries to snatch at it, say, "AH-Ah" and either (a) pull it back or (b) leave your han where it is but twist/rotate it so he only sees the back of your hand and can't see or reach the treat. Caution again, "EEEE-zee" and give him another chance to be polite.
  3. You might see his facial expression change when he realizes that he can't get the treat when he grabs with his whole mouth. He will probably try something else, such as reaching out carefully and taking the treat gently, using mostly his front teeth.
  4. Only release the treat when he takes it gently. Add a single reassuring "Goooood" as he takes it nicely.

This gentleness routine helps your puppy pay closer attention to your existence and treat you with thoughtful respect.

Also, "Easy" is a word you can use in other circumstances. I use it as a control word  that cautions a pup to be calmer and gentler. For example, I use it when I introduce a pup to something that he must be careful with (like a new kitten) so that he doesn't get excitable or engage in rough play.

My book covertraining program is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. It explains, step by step:

  • How to establish good patterns and routines that govern everything your pup does.
  • How to teach your pup to be calm and to look to you for guidance, direction, and permission.
  • How to make yourself important – the most important thing – in your puppy’s life. How to show your pup the clear, black-and-white rules and routines he is to follow. And how to make sure he does.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.


To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.