dog too close

How to Tell Your Dog You Need Some Space

Dog may be man’s best friend, but sometimes even your faithful pooch can get a little too close.

If you’re a dog owner, you probably love those moments when your pet curls up into your lap as you sit on the couch. The bond between humans and dogs is inseparable. But what if the dog never leaves your side, and you’re like “enough is enough!”? You’re practically tripping and falling while making dinner because the dog is constantly under your feet? He’s hogging your side of the bed. He’s perched on your knee under the table hoping for a scrap to fall. He’s hopelessly staring at you as you shower. Ugh… annoying!

Tom’s dog is a good boy, but sometimes Tom wants him to scoot over an inch… seriously, just an inch!

It was a hot summer day, and Tom had been outside working on a carpentry project. He came into the house to cool down and grab a glass of water. Wiping the glistening sweat from his brow, Tom gulped down his water and sat down on the couch to cool off. Suddenly, the family’s chihuahua terrier Kermit leapt into his lap and began turning in circles, trying to nest into Tom’s moist groin area.

“Oh, not now, bud, I’m roasting here!” Tom wailed. But Kermit was all situated, pressed firmly into Tom’s side. He nestled his snout into Tom’s crotch. Soon Tom was even warmer than when he had first come in the house from 98º weather. This had to end.

Tom suddenly realized how badly he had to go to the bathroom and stood up. Kermit had been pressed so firmly into his master’s side that he rolled over a full time and a half when Tom stood up. Tom shut the bathroom door partially, then stood at the toilet and began to pee. Before he knew what was happening, he heard “slurp, slurp, slurp.” It was Kermit, standing right between Tom’s legs, drinking hot urine straight from the flow. “No, boy! Bad!”

Would this dog ever get the fricking hint that Tom loves him but doesn’t want this dog at his side 24/7?

How can you tell a dog “I need my space!”

  • This is the time to be thankful for the art of trickery. If Tom wanted to get his dog off his lap, he could yell “squirrel!” and his dog may take off running to the window. Likewise, he could pretend to throw a ball.
  • Bribery is a fine tool, and will get great results. Carrying around a treat can work wonders. Tom could have tossed a treat across the room, sending Kermit scrambling while Tom made his escape.
  • Not leaving enough room for your dog in the first place is a popular option amongst pet owners polled. Sit right up against the edge of the couch, put a pillow on your other side, and your computer on your lap. Sorry pooch, no room for you!
  • Training a dog to give you your space only sometimes is going to be difficult, but it can be done, according to one trainer. A code word such as “move”, or a gesture such as pointing away will tell the mongrel it’s time to step off.
  • The great thing about dogs is they are loyal to a fault, so being a little rude to them in a time of frustration will soon be forgotten and forgiven. Shouting “Get the fuck off me!” while flipping your dog off your lap may cause him to cower and slink away, but your mission has been accomplished, and 20 seconds heals all wounds. That’s pretty mean, but effective. Not for everyone, sure. But something to consider.
  • And of course, there’s the gentle nudge. Rather than angrily tossing your dog aside, consider carefully picking him up and move him over.

It’s a tough thing for many dog owners. Dogs are treated equally to children in many homes. But almost every pet owner has their breaking point. It’s all about finding an effective method that works for you and your dog.

My Hot Take

In case you hadn’t figured this out, I was basically Tom, and my beagle Baxter was basically Kermit in the story above. There are times where a beagle nestled between my legs in bed is a welcome thing, but in central Texas in the summer, it’s most definitely not. I’m to the point with my dog where if he’s sidled up next to me, I don’t feel too bad just abruptly standing up and watching him fall head over heels. He sure hasn’t held it against me.

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