Push Me Pull You
You’re trying to teach your dog to sit, your cat to wave or your bird to hop on your finger. When your companion animal doesn’t seem to be “getting it” your temptation may be to help them by pushing on their hips, pulling them toward you or somehow physically manipulating them to do what you want. Does this help speed things up?
Not really and in fact, it can actually slow things down. Why? One, the animal can become dependent on the touch and need to feel the touch every time before he/she will do the command. Two, for some animals touch is distracting and will greatly slow down the learning process. Three, you may find more “ignoring” of your commands…they’ll learn that you don’t really mean “sit” unless you’re touching them. And that’s hard to do from a few feet away. And finally, especially for younger animals, sometimes pushing can actually hurt them, and that certainly won’t help them to behave.
So for the best behaviors hands off! Use hands for petting and rewards only. Things will go much better!