When your puppy resists
Your puppy either immediately or after a few minutes will start to struggle, whine, bark, cry, or all of the above. This is called a resistance phase. It’s to be expected. The more dominant or spoiled the puppy, the more the puppy will express its displeasure. Ignore the puppy and hold on. The right-hand behind the ear prevents the puppy from throwing his head in your face and hitting you with his teeth. When the puppy quiets down, don’t say anything.
When to stop
If your puppy is still struggling after 30 minutes, just keep holding on until he quiets and holds still. The time can really vary with each puppy, but the pup will eventually take a deep breath and lay his head down and go to sleep. At which point, you have just won! You have just proved to the puppy that you are the boss.
When else to use this
During the day, when the puppy is out of control and/or biting – or you are ready to kill this little furry ball of energy – just sit down and put the puppy in the hold. If you have done your homework, the puppy will say to itself, “Darn! You ARE the boss.” He will then settle down quickly. In this position, they just can’t bite you. If they can, you are doing it wrong so check those hand positions.
Get other family members involved
At any point in the exercise when the puppy is not actively resisting, gently release the puppy or pass it to another family member. Teenagers should have no problem doing this hold, but parents should supervise. Younger children may be able to do it if they are stronger than the puppy, but the better plan is to have the younger child sit close on your left side while you do it. The puppy will pick up the scent of the child and won’t know who is actually holding him. This hold also creates and reinforces the bonding process between the two of you.
Adapted from articles by Carol Crouch previously published in Benchmarks.