for the Suspension Technique
To The Place
Probably the very best time to do suspension
is when greeting a new puppy on
the pet’s first visit.This gentle
leadership with cooing and a cookie
is a great ice breaker for both the
pet and person. The pet parent sees how pets
are loved and enjoyed, and the pup learns
that this place is full of “friendly
powerful cookie givers.” Every
member of the team can repeat this
process as often as time permits. As
long as the pet is not fearful and a
cookie is included, this technique cannot
Care Activity - Puppies 12 Weeks and
If you offer “Day Care,”
then everyone is encouraged to
stroll through and if the
kennel card indicates “Day Care,”
take the pet out (even if quietly resting)
for suspension, followed by
a cookie. This is great fun
and great socialization and bonding
experiences for the pets.
The Veterinary Nurse and DVM will find
that if they first take a few seconds
to suspend, the pet will often be much
easier to examine. The reason is that
through suspension, the handler has
communicated leadership, strength, and
lack of threat.
Barking is an instinctive method of
solicitation, and the puppy often uses
it to get attention (even if negative)
and so escalates the kennel barking.
Bribing with food may reward the barking,
and punishment increases the stress,
which is relieved by increased barking.
Elevating this pup helps quiet
it in some (not all) cases. The suspension
is a reminder of the strength and leadership
of the handler, which is calming to
Suspension is one technique on a menu
for the owner as a response to puppy
biting. The fact that the pup is touching
the family member with its teeth is a concern.
After bite inhibition training, the
second best technique to teach the
family to respond to puppy biting, with suspension.
The goal is to communicate to the puppy
that the family member is calm,
strong, safe and may be
touched with the tongue but not with with teeth.
When teaching this technique to the
family, it is important to emphasize
that lifting the pup for 5-10 seconds
allows a cooling off period (“time out”)
and helps establish calming.
This is not a punishment, and any punitive
efforts (shaking or yelling) are somewhat
dangerous (similar to shaken human babies).
Adding anything punitive to suspension
only increases fear and distrust, while
losing the opportunity to communicate
a positive message.
Interruption For Any Unruly
outcomes from learning about suspension
during puppy class. One person
reported that her now one
year old poodle tended to bark inappropriately
in several situations. Without yelling
or punishing, she found that if she
merely suspended the dog, it calmed
hime down and he subsequently followed her instructions.
It seemed to her as if the pack hierarchy
had just been reestablished with a calm
clear maternal message.