I'm having a bit of a challenge with Zeke. He is very paw oriented. He paws for attention, greeting, when he's excited, etc. If I pointedly ignore him when he is attention-seeking he will give a vibrating sit waiting for my response, but unless he gets that "cue" of me ignoring, he will paw. He has pawed Joel's face a couple of times now and it's really hard to manage with his size. I know that his energy and excitement are inherent in the breed. I knew that there would be times when the kids got knocked over or whatever, but I need some help with ideas to keep him from pawing us. I have bruises all over my legs. And that's the biggest issue... Not reacting to the pawing is next to impossible. He always gets a reaction. If I ignore him trying not to give the "cue" type of ignore, he will paw harder and I can't ignore him if he is hurting me. I take him to his crate when he does this, but it isn't seeming to make a change in his behavior. At class yesterday, we were talking about putting unwanted behaviors on cue and then gaining stimulus control over them. I don't want to encourage any paw type behaviors though for fear that it will make the behavior stronger. We also started touch nose targeting over his head so he can lift his feet of the ground. He only gets clicked if he keeps his feet off of me, but if you could see him, he is all legs and has no control of his body. A lot of this is self-control and maturity. Body awareness etc. but in the meantime, I need to keep myself and especially the kids safe from his chaos.
Here's my thoughts and I would love feedback or ideas for specific training that might help keep his unruly paws to himself.
I will probably have to keep him in his crate whenever we are all home and my attention isn't 100% focused on him. I was trying to let him have the kitchen/living room as free space, but that isn't working.
Get up early and take him for a more vigorous walk. This is where we are struggling. I am timid to allow too much exercise with his leg issue history. He is not exercising enough so pent energy is a problem. I am afraid added crate time will exacerbate this issue.
Spend time focusing on nose targeting various things. Shape a leg bump with his nose, etc. Perhaps getting more rewards for nose use will decrease the paw use.
Personal issue of mine is to dedicate more specific time to training. Schedule it and stick to the schedule even if housework or other things crop up. I am super busy with an unexpected move happening. I am committed to our dog classes, but have been slacking on homework for the classes because I have too much going on. I need to personally commit to cutting out personal free time to use more productively.
Any thoughts on increasing his exercise safely, and even more, creating an environment where he isn't rewarded for pawing and we can get it to stop?