A Dog’s View: Tip #3 – “Tap Out”.

  tommy‘Hey There’! My name is Tommy. How did you ring in 2014? I hope your year started better than mine did. On New Year’s Eve, I listened to Harry Connick, Jr. on the stereo, fastened my blue bow tie about my neck and steered it out for an evening of merriment. Rather than dancing the night away with the cute Boxer down the block, I landed in a shelter.   To my dismay, no one ever came looking for me.   I don’t want you to ‘cry me a river’ because my human friends at the shelter have been great to me.   In the six months I’ve resided here, they’ve taught me to sit, lie down and play some ridiculous game called cookie drop. I don’t know where that name comes from because no one ever drops the cookie. I sit like a gentleman and wait for them to lower it to my mouth.   It should be called ‘Oh, ain’t that sweet’ game, because when the cookie reaches my lips, I’m thinking “sweet”.

Until someone comes to rescue me, I’ll hang with my dawgs. In the meantime, My trainer Laura taught me something new this week.  Please enjoy Tip #3 – “Tap Out”. 

Dogs sometimes roll over on their backs in an evasive maneuver referred to as a “tap out” to avoid certain handling.  The term “tap out” comes from wrestling jargon for the flat-handed tap a wrestler might do on the mat to signify he wants to quit the match.  In dogs, though it may look like a request for a belly rub, it is really a form of passive resistance, or passive submission, given in response to something that is being done.  The maneuver often happens when you’re trying to put on a leash or manipulate a collar, harness or head collar – your dog is trying to turn off your collar-grabbing behavior, for instance. To persist may only drive him to escalate his protest because, from his perspective, his wishes are not being heard.  As a result, he may protest with a growl or even a snap. 

 So, instead of insisting on continuing, help your dog gain more ease with what you’re trying to do. If it’s a concern about collar grabs, teach him “gotcha”. If he consistently taps out when you’re putting the harness or head collar on, teach him a “get dressed” exercise to have him put the equipment on himself.


I hope this tip is helpful for you and your pet. Before I bid farewell, I wondered if you understood the quoted terms above. If you guessed that they are all Harry Connick, Jr. song titles, you have great taste in music. Until next time, here is ‘a wink and a smile’ from me to you. Fondly, Tommy!


tommy2About the Author: Tommy is a two-year old Hound/Pit Bull. He is vet checked, vaccinated and has tons of love to give. He’d be happiest in a home with a yard so he can burn off his puppy energy. At night, he’d love a forever friend with a warm lap to snuggle into.   To meet Tommy, contact the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh.


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