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Constant pawing

475 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  DaySleepers
hey there, I recently adopted a 4 year old English mastif and she constantly paws. Had her about a month now. Even if ur petting her with both hands she still paws. How do I fix that behavior
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I'd also consider a couple other things to help with controlling the behavior (but ending interaction when you're pawed at is a good start!).

First, teach the dog a 'go to bed' cue, so you can tell her to go to a bed, mat, crate, chair, etc. when you can't be 100% on top of withrawing/ending interaction every time. Ideally she'd get rewarded with treats, attention, play, etc. for staying in her spot, which might help her learn that going to this spot and waiting politely gets her more goodies than pawing at you. Putting her outside or in another room is also a good management method when you need a break, but the 'go to bed' technique means she can choose to perform the alternative behavior herself, which might help her learn more quickly that the bed behavior is more effective than the pawing.

The second suggestion is a little counter intuitive. Teach her to use her paws on cue. Shake, 'high five', paw targeting (she touches an object with her paw), etc. will give you and her a 'legal' outlet for this behavior. By putting this on cue, you suddenly have better control over when and how she paws, and should help her learn that she only gets a reward (including attention) from you if you've asked her for a paw behavior. It should also help you modulate how she's pawing. IE if you're asking for a 'shake' and she slaps your hand and/or claws at it excessively, that doesn't get a reward. Only 'polite' shakes with soft paws get rewarded. If she's overenthusiastic you may have to do this in stages by only rewarding the softER shakes, kind of like when teaching bite inhibition where a puppy will start biting less hard before they stop biting entirely.

My poodle's way smaller than her, but also a 'handsy' breed. He's responded very well to putting the pawing behavior on cue, and to impulse control training where he has to back off to get a reward. I'm sure she'll get there once she understands a better way to get attention and other goodies!
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