PULLING/HALTING ON LEASH
Dogs pull for many understandable reasons: They are faster than people, they engage the world more enthusiastically than we do, and they have their own agenda as to where they wish to go. The number one reason dogs pull is because it works, and fixing this is a matter of not permitting it. For a dog that is a particularly tough walk, get a hold of a head halter collar to go with your four-foot leash.
Head Halter Collars
The head halter is an excellent tool for pullers, reactive dogs, and hyper dogs. It goes around the dog’s head and over the nose. It is similar to a horse’s halter. It attaches to the leash from just under the dog’s chin and allows the handler to lead the dog from the cockpit (its nose). Some people irrationally balk at using halter collars because they mistake them for muzzles, which are used on aggressive dogs. Although the halter attaches to the dog’s muzzle it is not a muzzle, as dogs can open their mouths, which allows them to consume treats and play with tug toys or balls (also recommended to ease the transition). Dogs will often rub and paw at the halter to get it off their face. It is an adjustment not dissimilar to that of a child who resists wearing a retainer. Start by using the halter for short periods and keep the pace brisk, as dogs are less prone to fuss with the halter when moving at a faster clip.
Once a dog gets into pawing at the halter, it can become an obsession. Should the dog paw at the collar, give the leash a gentle shake. Issue a warning like “ehh-ehh,” and redirect him to a toy or treat, or begin to jog so he acclimates. This adjustment can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
The first thing to do with a pulling dog is to stop in your tracks and wait. Give the dog time to figure out that pulling is getting him nowhere. This may have to be repeated any number of times before he catches on. I’d guesstimate that this number is roughly equivalent to the amount of times the pulling was successful.
Slow the Walk
Some dogs begin by subtly pulling and inching ahead or slowly changing direction. A little leash pressure and course correction helps, but simply slowing down, not giving in, and letting the dog fall in line is more effective.
The Active Walk
The active walk combines walking and the use of the heeling technique, as described in Chapter 7, “Command Central.” This helps the dog’s concentration, offers him some treats to work for, and slowly lets him know that you are leading. With time, the dog will recognize that his job is to be a good partner by walking calmly alongside you. It is also a great way to work some training into a walk.
Frustration sets in pretty quickly in dealing with a pulling dog. Tension can quickly manifest, and before you know it, the walker is unwittingly exerting excessive leash pressure. That leash is a lightning rod, so give calm to get calm, and allow the leash some slack.
Do not leash up an excited dog and expect a calm walk. Encourage a calm mind state by having the dog sit as the leash is put on. It’s good practice to have the dog stay for a moment before heading out the door.
Halting is the opposite of pulling. This is when a dog puts the brakes on and refuses to walk. It is very common in puppies and dogs that lack confidence.
Toys, treats, enthusiasm, and the company of other dogs can be just the ticket. Once the dog is moving, look for signs that the halting is coming. Dogs tend to fall into routines as they go into halt or even shutdown (remember Harry the bulldog?). Identifying the signs enables one to pull the dog through the funk by breaking into a trot or run. Always continue to motivate a dog with an enthusiasm that says, “Hey, we’re having fun.” An upbeat attitude can keep the dog from getting stuck in the quicksand. You might also try walking at a faster clip or jogging.
Do not falter when that meditative two-hour walk just isn’t happening. Start with short walks to build time and confidence. Take more walks, which can be as short as a trip to the mailbox. Short walks help to build confidence for longer walks, and the more the dog is on leash with you, the more it will catch on to the joys of walking.
I used to take my friend’s uneasy dog to a deli where the owner would give him a bite of roast beef and I would mark it with the word “deli.” After a week, if I grabbed the leash and said, “Deli,” the dog would all but bound there. Bring treats.
Temporarily stay away from “bad places.” Should a dog freeze up in a specific place, he has associated this spot with halting. Pick him up and take him a few dozen yards away and begin walking. Once some progress has been made, return to the scene of the crime and move him through.
Eating feces (coprophagy) may be disgusting to us, but it’s natural for some dogs. And a chicken bone on the sidewalk? No one can blame them. Some dogs just can’t say no to anything that has a smell and fits in their mouth.
Check with a veterinarian to make sure the dog’s diet is providing the sufficient nutrients, as a deficiency can occasionally be the cause. Many dogs will eat their own feces around the backyard or at a dog park. Monitor this behavior and do your best to keep the area devoid of fecal matter, because a dog can’t eat what’s not there. Redirect with the “leave it” command. When your dog encounters an edible that is not “kosher,” say, “Leave it,” walk the dog away from temptation, and then reward.
I trained a dog that ate goose excrement near a pond where she was able to run freely off leash. The first thing I did was to teach the “leave it” command, keeping the dog on a twenty-foot training leash. The next step was to have the owner keep the dog away from the pond for two weeks. After the two weeks were up, they returned to the pond, where the owner monitored the dog for any attempts at unwanted eating. After a few visits, the behavior ceased.
BARKING AT THE DOORBELL AND COMPANY
The number one perpetuator of this behavior is the dog owner who barks back at the dog. “Shush! Stop it! Stop barking! Knock it off !” delivered at decibel levels louder than the dog’s is not a deterrent. The message to the dog is: “When the bell rings, we all begin to bark.” Other culprits are inadequate socialization, insufficient exercise, and no understanding of the “down” or “stay” command.
The Doorbell Game
It is not bad for a dog to bark and effectively say, “Hey, someone’s here,” when the doorbell rings. Excessive barking and carrying on is another thing. The protocol should be to thank the dog for alerting you that there is a guest at the door. The dog should then be led to a designated spot and be able to wait while the guest is greeted. Once the guest is inside, the four-legged family member should be called over to say hello.
■ Use the “go to spot” command followed by “stay.”
■ The destination spot should be a few yards from the front door and provide an unobstructed line of sight for the dog.
■ The spot should be something the dog likes to sit on that is accessible. Do not use anything that requires climbing into.
Use the “go to spot” command followed by “stay” and have someone ring the doorbell. Moderate barking in response to the ring is fine so long as the dog stays in the designated spot. Reward the dog for staying and being less reactive to the sound.
How to Play the Game
Instruct the dog to stay in the designated place. At first, use the leash to bring the dog back to the spot if he moves off it. Holding eye contact with the dog, walk backward toward the door, return, and reward. Repeat, but this time knock on your own door and/or ring the bell yourself before returning and rewarding. As progress is made, eye contact won’t be necessary and you can try allowing other people to ring the bell. To raise the stakes, ring the doorbell multiple times and swing the door open. When the dog stays, reward and repeat. Should the dog still be struggling, do it quietly and retain eye contact. As a final exam, have a short conversation with an invisible person outside the door. Reward the dog for positive behavior.
When you’re eating, use the “sit” and “stay” commands in a designated spot so the dog makes the association as to where it is supposed to be while people are eating. Don’t forget to reward the dog; you may be getting up and rewarding every few minutes at first. With each passing meal, extend the time between rewards until you can sit through an entire meal uninterrupted.
Give the dog a treat that takes some time to consume. Freezing the previously mentioned rubber toy filled with peanut butter makes the treat last. Have the dog consume the treat in a crate or behind a gate during meals.
Time and Space
Timing is key. Know when the dog’s bladder is full and have him in the appropriate place when he is ready to relieve himself. (Thank you, Professor Obvious.)
In or Out
When dogs are young, elderly, disabled, sick, or confined to an apartment that offers no outdoor outlet, pee pads may be necessary. For healthy dogs, pee pads give the message that it’s acceptable for a dog to relieve itself indoors so I’d advise against them.
Never scold a dog for going in the house, under any circumstance, or the dog will look for remote areas of the home to do its business. Punishing an animal for going to the bathroom is abusive.
There’s that word again. After the dog is done eating and drinking, figure out roughly how long it takes until he needs to go, then take him outside.
When you are not at home, a dog should have its own place, like a crate or gated area. It won’t compromise the integrity of its space unless forced to. Upon returning, take the dog outside immediately to relieve itself.
No unattended play indoors, since excited dogs are more prone to relieve themselves.
When using pads, keep them in the same place so an association gets formed with a particular spot. For puppies, close to the front door works, since they’re one step away from the great outdoors.
If the dog makes an effort to hit the target but misses, the effort is still worthy of a reward.
Keeping a little urine on the pad or taking the dog to the same spot outside is a way the dog can identify this as the place to go.
Keep dogs away from areas and furniture where unwanted marking is occurring. If there is a certain spot on the rug, roll it up or keep the dog out of that room until properly house trained.
Urinary tract infections, dietary changes, separation anxiety, excitement, or submissive urination can impede progress.
FOOD AGGRESSION/RESOURCE GUARDING
For anything other than minor issues, please see a professional. It’s natural for dogs to be protective around toys and food, so food aggression/resource guarding can be a difficult issue.
It does a world of good to regularly hand-feed your dog, have the dog earn its meals via training, and put treats into the dog’s bowl while it is eating. Practice the “leave it” and “drop it” command with chews and toys so it becomes accustomed to relinquishing things upon your request.
Respect the Dog’s Boundaries
Less is more in this case. Make only necessary contact while the dog is eating. You should not be afraid to approach your dog, either. My rule is a dog should be no more tolerant than a person would be if someone were to pet her while she ate: I don’t expect the dog to like it, but aggression is unacceptable.
While the dog is eating, stand a few yards away and say, “Hi, puppy!” before tossing a few treats. Repeat this every ten to fifteen seconds until the meal is finished. Perform this with each and every meal until there are no signs of guarding or aggression. It may take anywhere from a week to a couple of months, so patience is a needed virtue.
With time, move closer to the bowl when you drop the treats. Monitor tension levels and keep pushing the boundary, so long as it doesn’t elicit any aggressive or defensive responses. In approaching a highly reactive dog, it is wise to remain on the opposite side of a gate or tether the dog.
Once you can stand next to the dog’s bowl while the dog is eating, greet her and offer a treat from your hand or a lick of peanut butter off a spoon and then walk away. Return and repeat until the meal is finished. When the dog is comfortable with this, stand next to her, say, “Hiya, puppy,” and gently touch her back. As the dog looks up, offer a treat.
After she’s eaten, have her walk a few feet away from her food bowl and sit. Pick up and handle her food bowl as she watches. Place a treat in the bowl and have her consume the treat while you hold the bowl. From there, place another treat in the bowl and put the bowl on the floor in front of the dog. When she finishes, say, “Good dog,” have her sit, pick up the bowl, and place another treat in it. Perform enough repetitions to feel comfortable before moving on. Finally, while the dog is eating some mundane dry food, place a more exciting food (such as a piece of chicken) in the bowl. Once you’re able to contend with the above scenarios, guard against relapses by periodically touching your dog and dropping a treat while the dog is eating.
Excessive and strange behavior patterns can surface for no apparent reason. These behaviors run the gamut from odd to comical to exhausting, disturbing, and harmful. A few common ones follow. If your particular issue isn’t on the list, pretend that it is by identifying with the family of behavior. When I first got my dogs, I was easily convinced that any hiccup was unique to my dog. Dog anxieties, compulsions, and obsessions fall into categories of behavior and standard treatments do apply.
Excessive barking, licking or chewing of self or objects, biting at the air, chasing tail or spinning, whining, scratching of self or objects, chasing, staring or barking at objects, shadows, reflections, digging on hard surfaces (floors), fixating on objects, destruction of household items, marking, pacing, and thousands of others.
The first thing is to visit the vet to rule out medical problems. Do not punish or scold a dog for compulsive or obsessive behaviors, as it is likely already stressed. Do not coddle or baby the dog when it acts out.
Inadequate exercise, boredom, lack of socialization and structure.
The first treatment is always increased exercise with the owners. Long walks replete with commands, playing games, and the general redirection of anxious energies onto exercise are the first steps. In many cases, the pattern is a script being followed, so breaking the routine is essential. Additional socialization is also typically needed. Trips to the dog park will help and setting up playdates with other dogs can thwart the onset of these “cabin fever”–type symptoms.
Keep your dog company and try to catch it as it enters into its compulsive script. The dog may offer a window where redirection can occur. For example, a dog that licks compulsively will often stare at the target body part before commencement. It is possible to redirect the dog’s attention onto something like a loud squeaking toy and lure it into some fetch. Enormous patience can be required here; once the dog goes into the “zone,” it can take a while to unwind.
I once worked with a Westie named Molly who would bark uncontrollably at reflections being cast on the kitchen ceiling. Her bowl was made of stainless steel, and whenever there was light in the kitchen, it would reflect off the bowl onto the ceiling. Using a matte plastic bowl did not do the trick, because there were always reflections from incoming light. I took Molly just outside the kitchen and had her sit/stay before introducing her favorite ball. With Molly watching from just beyond the kitchen, I held her bowl in my hands and used it to create a momentary reflection off the ceiling. Before she could react, the reflection was gone, but she still wanted to engage the compulsion. She was torn between the reflection and her desire to play ball with me. After creating a few more reflections, she was far less reactive and finally, she sat quietly. As a reward, I tossed the ball into the living room and played with her some. I continued to make the reflections last longer, and would only toss the ball when she was non-reactive. Finally, we found our way into the kitchen and practiced some more. Within an hour, she was good. Molly’s owner continued to practice with her for about a week before the reaction was entirely gone.
Separation anxiety is as it sounds—a condition where dogs have difficulty being separated from their owner. Very often, these dogs react stressfully to the departure of anyone they know. In minor cases, it can be endearing. A dog we work with named Gustav (pictured here) appears to have separation anxiety from people he just met. He’ll pull on the leash and watch near strangers walk away as if he knows they’re headed off on some fateful voyage. What makes this okay is that once the person is out of sight, Gustav transitions very quickly from his state of longing to his usual “what are we doing now, right now, this moment is everything” disposition. When dogs do not make this transition, they often go into states of panic and stay there. Please make sure to find your way down to “Jealous Behavior,” as the two very often go hand in hand.
For severe issues, please consult a professional.
Previous abandonment, spoiling, insufficient exercise, lack of socialization, no “job.”
When a dog sees a door closing behind a person, it has no knowledge that the person is ever coming back. The moment someone is out of view and scent range, to the dog, that person is potentially gone forever. Considering dogs’ domesticated dependence on us, it is not unreasonable that anxiety can occur in such a situation. Many rescue dogs that were previously abandoned are predisposed to this anxiety/panic disorder. In such cases, their behavior would appear to be perfectly reasonable and entirely rational. Among dogs that weren’t abandoned, those who are coddled and spoiled are prone to separation anxiety. Allowing a dog to be all over its owner is a form of spoiling, as is a dog that does not “work” in some capacity to earn its keep. Work for a companion dog entails going for walks, training, and having something to do (even if that means lying on its bed, like Maya) in enough circumstances where the dog feels it has a function. That said, the major culprit in separation anxiety is owners who constantly coddle their dogs, and we’ve all seen them. The dogs are constantly in their owner’s lap and follow them everywhere. The owner often finds this cute and equates this behavior with love. It’s not. It is a dog feeling unsafe and worried. This behavior only worsens with time.
Separation anxiety is torturous for the animal experiencing the problem, and conscientious owners can be held hostage by it. Neighbors will be privy to constant barking and howling when the dog’s owner runs to the grocery store. Behaviors range from moderate whining and barking to excessive barking and crying that literally does not stop. When left alone for too long, dogs will often injure themselves and destroy the household. I’ve seen dogs destroy their teeth by attempting to chew their way out of metal crates. I even worked with a dog that jumped out of a second-story window. They also soil their environments and take on all sorts of compulsive behaviors in an effort to distract themselves from the emotional discomfort.
Separation anxiety can be cured. Dogs can learn a sense of independence and security as well as they can learn commands. Predictably, it begins with the dog being left alone in very small doses and building time as you go. The greatest challenge often lies with the owner who has confused a dog’s hyper-dependence with love. It is sometimes very difficult for a person to let go of a dog for any stretch of time. In some cases, separation anxiety exposes the codependent nature of the owner, as loving a dog is always safe. In these cases, it is especially important to remember that the dog feels unduly burdened and is in a perpetual state of panic. To love a dog is to allow it a measure of independence.
Always exercise the dog before you leave the house, for two reasons: 1) to bring down energy levels; and 2) the dog will need to be crated or gated, and at first this may feel confining. Exercise will allow the dog to associate coming home with resting and unwinding.
It will be necessary to crate or gate the dog in a small room. (Crate/gate training is described in Chapter 10, “Tips, Tools, and Tidbits.”)
A dog must be able to occupy itself and cope with being alone. In desensitizing and reconditioning, the initial exposure to being alone should be short and successful before time is added.
To begin: with the dog crated or behind a gate, walk around while still in view. When you go out of sight, make a phone call so the dog can hear your voice.
From there, quietly go in and out of a room just beyond the dog’s view. Progress to walking out of the door for less than a minute. As the dog’s confidence builds, you can add time accordingly. Build with blocks of five to ten minutes and work up to an hour.
It is advisable to take advantage of weekends so you can train throughout the day. There is no such thing as a saturation point in working on separation anxiety—for the dog, anyway. When I’ve worked with extreme cases, I will take the dog out for a ten-minute walk every hour, followed by crating, and then have the owners leave for ten minutes.
Always have a rotation of special chews and frozen treats when crating the dog.
The “stay” command is effective for working with a dog that is already triggered. It is necessary to show the dog that it’s safe to be apart, even if it is just a few feet. Preferably, the dog should stay on a dog bed, in a crate, or in a gated area when the initial separation occurs. Offering a chew stick will keep the dog occupied. Remember, draw on your patience and be disciplined enough to ignore any protestations.
A dog with separation anxiety must not be allowed to sleep in its owner’s bed, with no exceptions. Even if the dog panics when kept in a separate room, the transition can begin by crating the dog in the bedroom before moving it just outside the bedroom door and eventually into another room. Try placing a gate in the bedroom doorway and putting the dog bed on the other side so the dog can retain line of sight.
In many cases, a dog’s anxiety levels will rise when it sees its people readying to leave the house. Watching you get dressed, grab your keys, and take purposeful strides toward the door can panic a dog. To desensitize the dog, simply perform some of these activities and don’t leave. When actually leaving, pretend you hate long goodbyes, since big and extended departures only add to the anxiety. Just leave without fanfare and try not to look back. The same principles hold true upon returning. Do not make a show of it. The goal is to communicate that comings and goings are no big deal.
Another ticket out of the hell of separation anxiety is socialization. Exposing a dog to other people and other dogs expands its world. This experience can have a profound impact on its well-being. I suggest hiring a dog walker who will take the dog out with a pack, and try to convince friends and family to take the dog for a walk.
In my travels I’ve noticed that people working from home often end up with dogs that have separation anxiety. It is essential for these people to get needed time apart from their best friend. Building relationships with fellow dog owners and tending to each other’s dogs is great for dogs and helps owners manage their schedules better. Hitting the dog park allows dogs to explore the world away from their owner, even while the owner is present. It may require a gentle nudge to get your dog to mingle, so be prepared to initiate the socializing by playing with other dogs if yours is behaving like a “cling-on.”
Separation anxiety has become pandemic in this country, and the solution is largely common sense. While dogs are supportive they should not be our support systems.
I do not wish to directly advise anyone with a dog that has been genuinely aggressive toward people. I can say that these dogs are not hopeless, but without being able to physically see the dog, I cannot in good conscience provide much guidance. I strongly encourage those individuals to contact a professional. I have worked with many aggressive dogs that have gone on to have full lives without incident. I emphatically suggest researching a trainer who has proven success with this issue.
For the sake of this writing, I am equating aggression and territorial behavior with strong reactivity that easily eclipses what I described in the “home reactivity” section.
Some dogs are more reactive than others. It is that simple. Among reactive dogs, aggression is just one of the available options among flight, fight, and freeze. It does not say anything negative about the dog’s character.
On- or off-leash aggression, either inside or outside the home, toward dogs, people, small animals, children, and objects—skateboards, vehicles, and the vacuum, of course.
Typically, dogs that have aggressive reactions can be reconditioned through normal exposure as long as they are kept at a safe distance. Use redirection techniques around the triggering stimulus. Pace and patience are everything, so go slowly. For dogs that experience introduction aggression, see Chapter 8, “Just to Be Social,” and reference the sections “Intros and Outros” and “My Dog Is Trouble.”
Owners have a tendency to heighten the dog’s reaction by being nervous. Although it is an understandable response, give calm to get calm, and keep about a foot of slack on the leash. Commands (provided the dog has a sound handle on them) can override some aggressive and territorial tendencies.
Lack of socialization and inadequate exercise. Aggression/territorial behavior is a learned socialization issue wherein dogs have misunderstood their role, not been properly acclimated to their environment, or reacted in a justifiable way to abuse and violence. Be aware of environments that are not appropriate for your dog, as some dogs are generally fine but have particular trouble in dog parks or in crowds and similar high-energy places. While I don’t normally support outright avoidance, depending on how challenged the dog is, sometimes the simple solution is to avoid these places and situations.
Some dogs will attempt to claim possession of their owners and consider anyone who wishes to spend time with them a threat. It is not uncommon for a dog to dislike a new boyfriend/girlfriend; I’ve even worked with a few dogs that took a clear side in a marriage. A threatened dog might take on the role of protector and will be reactive toward the exchange of affection between a man and a woman. These behaviors are highly common in dogs with separation anxiety but “jealousy” can be a stand-alone issue.
Constantly rubbing against the owner, sitting too close to the owner, growling or snapping at other people or animals that enter the owner’s proxemic space, policing other animals or children in the home, and stealing toys or food. Dogs with jealousy issues are always vying for their owner’s attention and often become reactive when their owner shows affection toward another person or animal.
Spoiling a dog and insufficient socialization are often the cause, as well as owners who are unaware of the message they are sending in the daily activities with their dog.
Setting up boundaries is a key. Have a dog sit/stay in a destination spot with the leash on, and reward even a moment’s patience while you show affection or interest in another dog or person. Do not test the dog by becoming exceptionally demonstrative or make baby talk. Add time as you go. Crate/gates may be used. Consistently have the dog spend time with other dogs and people, both separately and together.
Although it may seem small, I’ve noticed that literally all the people I’ve worked with who have jealous dogs are terrible walkers. Without exception, they let the dog lead. The dog is the first one out the door, on and off the elevator, and generally walks ahead of the person. Please be mindful of this and try to notice where the dog may be getting the message that it needs to be in the role of guardian.
NOTHING TO FEAR
Confidence is a skill that can be cultivated. I’ve helped dogs get over issues ranging from aquaphobia to fears of horses, brooms, thunder, and even spoons. The most common misstep people make is attempting to allay the dog’s concern by consoling it with kind words and affection. While well-intended, baby talk and conciliatory petting often communicate that the fear is real and the response appropriate.
An owner’s support comes from not sharing in this fear and, as per usual, by confidently but slowly exposing the dog to the trigger.
Fears of loud vehicles, thunder, and fireworks are common.
Using thunder as an example: With the dog on a leash, do not let it run to a hiding place. Maintain a happy attitude and monitor tension levels. Redirect the dog’s attention onto some worthwhile treats and attempt to play with the dog. Tug toys, for whatever reason, have worked especially well for me. Have realistic expectations. Some dogs will never be thrilled that the sky is booming and that’s okay.
Practice desensitization by cranking up some music while you play with your dog. Bang on a table now and again, and be sure to play with the dog to create a positive association.
Fears of Objects
Skateboards and vacuum cleaners head this list, but it includes any common item that makes its share of noise, such as blenders, lawn mowers, and even running water.
Desensitize and redirect: Objects with wheels and noisy appliances can inspire fear in a dog. Desensitize by first exposing the dog to the object while it is not in use. Reward the dog for not reacting, and once it is comfortable around the object, momentarily introduce the triggering sound. Reward again. Build some tolerance to the sound and then walk by the noisy object with your dog. Once the dog is successfully performing a walk-by, try to see if the dog can be comfortable with the sound from a reasonable distance (distance depends on the object; a lawn mower is typically more threatening than a blender) for an extended period of time. Once the dog is more comfortable, use the sit/stay command around the trigger.
Be very generous with rewards when desensitizing. Having top-notch toys at the ready when a vacuum is turned on is a good idea.
Fear of Riding in Cars
With the car engine off, have the dog get in and out of the vehicle, and be ready with treats or toys. Once this is mastered, get in the car with treats in hand. The dog will likely consider joining you. Once inside, turn the engine on and off a few times before letting the dog out, provided it is not terrified. Lure the dog back into the car with treats, and when the dog hops in, start the car and drive a very short distance. As the dog gains confidence, try a lap around the block and go from there. Close destinations such as dog parks will help create positive associations.
Aquaphobia for Dogs: Fear of Hoses and Faucets
A dog may have a fear of water, but in nearly all cases, hoses, faucets, the sound of loud running water (the shower and drawing a bath), and getting in the bath are what frighten the dog.
The aim is to get the dog into a dry tub. For this, lure or bribe or manipulate your dog with treats. When the dog is comfortable with being in the tub, run the faucet until there is an inch or two of water. Add water accordingly. Getting a dog used to being in the tub with running water is no small task; frankly, it is a big support job. It is one of those rare instances when coddling, holding, and continually praising the dog actually sends the right message and works effectively.
Dogs are often more afraid of the faucet than the water. Fill the tub before the dog enters the bathroom. Should you need to run the faucet, have the dog face away from it.
An active hose can spook a dog, so turning it on and hunting the dog down is a no-no. Allow the dog to sniff and investigate the hose when it’s not running. Introduce the running water slowly, and redirect the dog primarily with toys and secondarily with treats. Once the dog is getting wet, hold him and offer support. It is best to begin by wetting the dog’s backside. Before long, this can become a favorite activity.