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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone else use this method? Maybe I made it up. It probably only works on dogs that really thrive on any sort of time spent with their humans, but basically Goldilocks has a lot of excitement and energy and my fiance and I are pretty low energy couch potatoes. I recently discovered that I can use a method on her that I use on kids in my kindergarten that don't want to nap.
I usually try to make sure she's had some exercise first, but I invite her on the couch and then hold her in such a way that she can't nip or paw at me, and can't get away (with the kids there is also the concern around nipping and pawing, strangely enough). She'll struggle for 2 or 3 minutes and then settle, lean into me, droop her head over my arm, and snuggle up to me. She can then generally be convinced to nap in my lap or right next to me for an hour or two while I get homework done. (she's doing it right now). It's the sweetest!
 

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Hey JoliBear,

That's a cute photo! However, I have to be honest and say this 'forced cuddle' sounds like an accident waiting to happen and is actually really unfair on your dog, how would you like it if someone held on to you like that despite you protesting?! That's what your dogs doing, the fact that she 'struggles' means she isn't enjoying this encounter and she wants to get away, why would you ignore that?!

I would rather teach Jax to spend time with me in a positive way, I wouldn't want him on my lap if it meant holding him there, I want Jax to see me as something safe in an already scary world, you run the risk of getting hurt and effecting the relationship you have with her, please, respect your dogs feelings and instead teach a solid 'time out' in her bed, the most important thing you can do for your dog is to allow her to make choices not take options away, I beg you to reconsider!
 

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@Laus2002 is correct. You are damaging your relationship with your dog. Forcing her to cuddle will eventually make her distrustful of you. Can you imagine someone doing that to you? She may eventually start to tell you just how much she dislikes this, whether that be growling, or eventually biting you.

You can achieve the same thing by reinforcing calm behavior with treats. Reinforced behaviors become offered behaviors.

Better method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wesm2OpE_2c
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think you guys missed the part where she relaxes.
Forced sounds bad, I know, and I used it to be sort of funny, but at no point is she stressed or fearful. She "struggles" not to get away but to chew or wiggle or play. After very little time she settles and naps, so I really don't believe that this is stressing her out.
If anything, this seems to be strengthening our relationship. Instead of previously, where the only way to get her to settle was to crate her, she is learning how to settle around us. We've named the couch as a place of cuddling and rest, and so any time she's on it, she has to cuddle and rest with us. The couple times she hasn't settled quickly, I've gotten up with her and worked with her.
I do a lot of work with her throughout the day, both physical exercise and clicker training. Sometimes I'll sit in the chair next to her crate and toss treats in until she goes in, and then drop one whenever she seems very settled in there. She's also in a class now, so we have homework to do every day (more mental stimulation).
Ultimately I see this as a positive way of showing her what we like to do during our down time. Once she's realized it's time to settle she's very relaxed and content and snuggly, so I don't see what's negative at all about it.
Laus, as far as the nipping during playing goes, as you can see from what I just wrote, I do a lot of other things with her to keep her busy and engaged, but she's a very energetic puppy and desires a lot of play time. We don't have another dog for her to play with, so I feel it's only fair that we teach her to play nice with us so that she has someone to play with. She has improved greatly from when we first got her by just a "no" or "ow" and a short break and no longer is as careless with nipping or landing on us. But again, she's a puppy and lacks focus and is not perfect.
 

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This may be why your dog nips you. I've only had to force hold 2 dogs. One was a Boston terrier that had tried to swallow that little plastic tab that comes off of a milk jug and was choking (it was hanging half out of his mouth) the other time was with my Shepard when I had to nearly sit on her to hold her down after she sliced her paw. She was freaking out and shaking it, making it bleed all over.

Forcing a dog to be still like that is asking for a mauling.

A much better way to calm the dog is to keep commanding it to lay down and rub either the front of the neck/breastbone or the shoulders (most dogs will respond to those two) until the dog is in a calm state. Keep a calm voice, yawn and say a word that means calm or stop. Each time my dog got excitable I would spend 3-10 minutes correcting her. Sometime several times a day. For my current dog the word is "bedtime". Regardless of if she has to go to bed, she knows "bedtime" means that she is to lay down and not be in the way. It took a few years for her to be 100% responsive to only a vocal command and "never" need to have a "Reminder" training session.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The nipping during play is entirely accidental, she gets too excited and misses the toy and lands on my hand. Also, read above about "force" (she's not stressed while I'm holding her in any way, if she were I would not be doing this). And, I've started using this method in the last day or two, whereas the nipping has happened every time we play since we got her, and has only lessened.
 

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The nipping during play is entirely accidental, she gets too excited and misses the toy and lands on my hand. Also, read above about "force" (she's not stressed while I'm holding her in any way, if she were I would not be doing this). And, I've started using this method in the last day or two, whereas the nipping has happened every time we play since we got her, and has only lessened.
At some point "accidents" become what my brother coined the "accidentals purposely". For instance clearing the the supper dishes and practicing his karate moves between the table and the dishwasher. Your encouraging nips in this way. Plus cause =/= affect. Dogs will get less nippy as they grow...it's just a phaze of being a puppy. Children put everything in their mouths from around 6 months to a few years, but we don't see many adults with oral fixations on that level.

Stress in dogs is VERY subtle. It also builds. As others have stated you're using learned helplessness. It's not something you want to do. First, it puts the dog in a fear state and second it teaches the dog that it should do what you want because you're bigger and stronger. Eventually, even a toy poodle will challenge this, usually against someone or something they have a chance of physically beating--like a small child.

After only 2 days a dog has learned not much and certainly doesn't have the capacity to self-regulate. That's what I taught my dog. And self-regulation is a big process.

What you're doing is applying a psychiatric type hold to your dog. I had to do this to my niece after her father left and she was so rage-fully mad she'd hurt her mom or herself. Eventually she calmed down. And eventually she learned to sit on her own and calm herself down. However, that's because she's a rational being and we were able to talk it out afterward. You don't get to talk it out with a dog. The dog appears calm but you've just diverted the behavior and showed a level of dominance that's not healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just to follow up, I've continued this for about a week now. I let her go if she's trying to get off the couch, but if she's just trying to chew on me, I hold her so that she can't. Now she only gets on the couch when she wants to cuddle, or at the very least she'll hop up and just sit, instead of having to rough house or chew on everything. She usually falls asleep or at least settles within a minute or two if she's in our arms, if I ask her to get on the couch instead of letting her choose it for herself.
All I'm asking her to do, all I've ever been asking her to do, when I say "forced" is to not chew on me or rough house when she's in my arms.
 

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'Forced cuddles' on my dogs is the best way to make them flip out and becoming snarling little monsters. They hate being forced to keep still. I agree with others, this is not a good technique for most dogs and people.
 

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As the others have said this is a mauling waiting to happen. No dog i've ever met likes to be 'forced' to sit still. She may seem to calm down however you are stressing her out and causing her to be afraid of you. Dogs show subtle signs of stress in their body language and I suggest you research this. Tension in the face is one sign of stress or nervousness, for example. I suggest looking into this book, as it helped teach me how to read my chow mixs body language, which i needed to help curve his aggression.

 
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Hi JoliBear,

As I read this thread, I'm guessing that you are probably feeling criticized. But, as a third party, I see a lot of concern. And, the concern is that you might unwittingly be causing your dog to feel constrained and uncomfortable with you.

What we all want is for your dog to voluntarily join you on the sofa and to contentedly lie beside you. And, that means that she's doing all of this with her own free will. If your dog starts to chew or engage in any unwanted behavior, then I would suggest that your response should be to immediately disengage and leave her. You'll want her to make the connections that:

calm behavior = closeness
chewing = disengagement

If are consistent in disengaging with her, she'll learn that chewing gets her nothing.

Like the others, I'm concerned that she'll start to rebel at your attempts to restrain her or force her into contact. Even my small, very happy-go-lucky, senior dog will express his displeasure at being picked up and held in an uncomfortable manner. There's a reason that the best, most reputable dog trainers do not teach or promote the "forced cuddle."
 

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I work with children too, and what you are descdibing you are doing to them would not be allowed in australia.
Thre are other ways to get dogs and kids to settle voluntariy, and force them to. If you are doi g this to children i am questioning your attitude towards children and wondering what else you would forcefully do to them.
 

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Sonkos, I don't think that you can extrapolate that.

I hope that we can all offer suggestions to the OP on how she can forge a stronger relationship with her dog and elicit the kind of behavior she desires rather than make critical comments.
 

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I work with children too, and what you are descdibing you are doing to them would not be allowed in australia.
Thre are other ways to get dogs and kids to settle voluntariy, and force them to. If you are doi g this to children i am questioning your attitude towards children and wondering what else you would forcefully do to them.
SusanLynn said:
Sonkos, I don't think that you can extrapolate that.

I hope that we can all offer suggestions to the OP on how she can forge a stronger relationship with her dog and elicit the kind of behavior she desires rather than make critical comments.
I agree, probably can't really fairly draw conclusions but yeah...
Definitely not something allowed to address restless, fidgety little kid behavior at the school my husband and I work at....

Anyway, the video Gilliandi shared is a good place to start, if looking for alternatives. As are these! Easy to tweak for other positions and in general lots of tolerance and even enjoying handling. :)
 

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Thats why I said, that I am 'questioning' and 'wondering'. And yes, when one applies one kind of forceful behaviour to another child/partner/human/animal/..., I can very well question their attitude.
 

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Anyone else use this method? Maybe I made it up. It probably only works on dogs that really thrive on any sort of time spent with their humans, but basically Goldilocks has a lot of excitement and energy and my fiance and I are pretty low energy couch potatoes. I recently discovered that I can use a method on her that I use on kids in my kindergarten that don't want to nap.
I usually try to make sure she's had some exercise first, but I invite her on the couch and then hold her in such a way that she can't nip or paw at me, and can't get away (with the kids there is also the concern around nipping and pawing, strangely enough). She'll struggle for 2 or 3 minutes and then settle, lean into me, droop her head over my arm, and snuggle up to me. She can then generally be convinced to nap in my lap or right next to me for an hour or two while I get homework done. (she's doing it right now). It's the sweetest!
My lab isn't big on cuddling so I don't force it. Maybe one day when she's older she might want to snuggle up. If I force it, it ends up turning into a nip feast and her trying to wiggle away. If I need to get something done, Lucy is crated till I can watch her. She plays with her crate toys or naps and then we have playtime lol
 

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Hey JoliBear,

That's a cute photo! However, I have to be honest and say this 'forced cuddle' sounds like an accident waiting to happen and is actually really unfair on your dog, how would you like it if someone held on to you like that despite you protesting?! That's what your dogs doing, the fact that she 'struggles' means she isn't enjoying this encounter and she wants to get away, why would you ignore that?!

I would rather teach Jax to spend time with me in a positive way, I wouldn't want him on my lap if it meant holding him there, I want Jax to see me as something safe in an already scary world, you run the risk of getting hurt and effecting the relationship you have with her, please, respect your dogs feelings and instead teach a solid 'time out' in her bed, the most important thing you can do for your dog is to allow her to make choices not take options away, I beg you to reconsider!
My question is this,

is it out of the relaem of possibility that the dog or dogs in general are actually tired & choose to “Fight” their sleep? Similar to how children fight their sleep because they don’t want to miss anything?! It’s totally fine for us to be the judge of our child needs to go to sleep, I don’t see what’s so wrong out the problem with doing the samr exact thing, but to a DOG! Not trying to be a smart ass. Just really asking, I’ve never own a dog. I’ve recently watched one for about 2 weeks and bored in watching another for 2 months. So I’ve been reading up on dogs and their behavior. So any insight will be helpful....!!! Thanks in advance!

sincerely ,
-NELL
 
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