My Dog’s Head Jerks When My Hand Gets Near – Phoenix Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
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I have worked with a number of dogs that will flinch or jerk away when you try to touch them about the head. What’s that all about?

The first concern is whether the dog is in any kind of pain. Thus, your first step would be to have your dog examined by your veterinarian. It could be a vision problem, sore tooth, neurological problem, neck problem, hormonal problem or something else. If it is medical, then if there is a cure, the behavior should go away.

Once the medical issues have been eliminated as a cause, then it’s time to hire a dog behaviorist. I’ve seen rescue dogs that flinched because they were beaten. I’ve seen dogs that flinch because they are afraid of people. And so on.

A good behaviorist will give you suggestions as to how to proceed. When I see this kind of thing, I will test the behavior, and then I will give you homework to address what’s going on. I consider this a moderately serious problem. A dog shouldn’t be flinching and jerking when you reach for them. If it gets worse, your dog could start running away from you, or start biting hands that come too near. This is especially a problem if there are children in the home. Kids don’t read dog behavior very well, so they need to be supervised and shown how to best interact with this kind of situation.

Usually, with good homework and patience, this can be overcome in a period of weeks.