Got a jumping social butterfly of a dog? This simple little trick is a great solution to dogs who jump or are just over excited to see others. Also it’s a great solution to keep your dog quiet and under control when you need to take a phone call, check out at the Vet or get a cup of coffee.
A few years ago, I learned this little trick from Kay Laurence, a fabulous trainer and teacher of dog trainers from the UK. It’s a very simple little trick, but oh, so handy. Kay calls it “PARK”. I say “park your dog”.
I hope you will find this as handy as I have! It looks like this:
When your dog is on leash, the dog is next to you, you are standing with both feet on the leash. Your dog can sit, stand or lie down.
On the surface this technique appears to be only for the benefit of the person. The dog is anchored by the leash under your feet while you take care of human business. A great technique to use when you need to attend to human business and also to keep your dog from jumping on others.
Rules of Parking:
1. The leash must be at least 6 feet. One hand is to remain on the leash so you can still maintain a good grip on it while standing upright. The foot anchorage is not 100% reliable, so it is a safety requirement that you also hold the leash.
2. The dog must be able to choose the behavior that is most comfortable to them, sit, down or stand.
3. Good shoes are critical. Bare feet and flip flops may be ineffective. The surface needs to be stable, sand, gravel or sloping ground could be unsafe.
4. Use common sense. If something is charging you, flee!
How to Park (with dog on left side)
1. With the dog on leash, invite your dog into your hand and take hold of the collar with your left hand.
2. Have your right hand through the end of the leash with a firm grip.
3. Let the middle part of the leash drop to the ground.
4. Step on the lead with both feet.
5. Stand up tall and breathe.
6. That’s it, no words are necessary.
7. Be sure that the dog can sit, down or stand all comfortably.
8. When exiting Park, take hold of the dog’s collar, step backwards (very important!)
9. Use your “walk” cue and move forward.
When to use Park
1. You are on a walk and you stop to talk with someone. – here’s the thing, if you are talking and your dog is on any kind of leash and and see’s something that gets him excited and you aren’t ready for it, you can get pulled over or your dog can hog tie you all.
2. At the Vet when you are talking with the receptionist.
3. You need to stop and take a phone call or take your jacket off.
4. At a food cart, or checking out at the pet store.
5. Do not use park to have your dog meet people or dogs. This would be a compromised position for your dog, not appropriate.
Parking is not a punishment or a “time out”. It’s a time for the dog to settle and there will be no interaction from you. Remember to practice park in very short sessions at first. A few seconds, work up to a minute or two by adding 10 -15 seconds each day. Many times the dog will just lie down and relax.
Resist the urge to reward your dog in any way, this includes treats, words, noises. For many dogs the opportunity to earn treats is very arousing. Let the break from their concentration on you and the world be its own reward.
The first few occasions may be a little confusing , but your dog will quickly recognize that your focus (keep your chin up) is elsewhere and you are relaxed.
I hope you find this helpful and “park” when appropriate.