Teach your dog to respect people’s personal space with this trainer's simple piece of advice

Dog sniffing woman's face
(Image credit: Getty)

There is never a dull moment for those who own very lively and playful dogs. However, as much as you may love the attention your dog gives you, you won't always want them pawing at you or jumping up persistently. 

Even worse, you won't want to scare off visitors to your home or fellow walkers when you're out for a dog walk in your local park. If you've tried exhausting your lively pooch with some of the best puppy toys and had no luck bringing any zen to your dog, you'll be glad to hear that canine trainer Joana Stanford has some practical advice for building healthy boundaries with them.

Stanford shared, in an Instagram post, how to teach your dog to play only when it is invited and what you can do during this training method to claim back your intimate space. You can watch her video below or keep reading to reveal this dog trainer's secret recipe for success.

Before getting into Stanford's exercise for teaching a dog social boundaries, she says that in order to claim back your intimate space you must remain calm, confident and avoid flinching.

She relates back to when she first got her dog Jaxx. You just had to look Jaxx in the eye and he'd jump up or put a hand out to pet him, and his mouth would dart up to it. But it's what Stanford did next that got rid of these habits.

"I ignored him until he wasn't doing it anymore and then we slowly build up to sessions like this," she says, "Where I put my hands out and address if he wants to go near my hands. I don’t move my hands. I keep them in the same place but I address with a ‘shoosh’ or a ‘hey’ so that he backs up."

Stanford explains that the energy behind the hey and the shush shows intention, calmness, and confidence so that the dog understands what you mean and that you aren't playing around.

"I never pull my hands away when he’s doing that (backing up)  because it only makes him want to chase them. So the more I play 'keep away' with my hands the more he wants to get them so I keep them right there so that he learns to move his mouth away from my hand instead of my hand moving away from his mouth."

It's important for a dog to practice an exercise like this in order for them to learn to respect everyone's personal space and only play when invited. 

Stanford adds, "That said, employ other people who can follow directions to help you with this exercise. So your dog learns that the rules don’t just apply to you but to everyone else as well," she says, "Eventually, through everyday lifestyle activities and little sessions like this, you’ll have a dog who is respectful of everyone’s intimate space."

If you own a high energy dog breed that is harder to train, there are always options to seek professional 1:1 advice from a professional trainer or behaviorist.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.