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Hi Dog Nanny,

Our 8-year-old lab mix has adopted a behavior that is driving us crazy.  She will stand or lie directly in our walking path.  She goes out of her way to do this.  Sometimes she will attempt (pretend?) to move out of the way, only to come to a slow stop STILL directly in our path.  When she does the slow stop, she will turn and look back over her shoulder back at me - so she clearly knows I am there.

I'm convinced it's because she likes the attention/physical contact each time we say, "move" or bump her so she moves out of the way.

 I've tried giving up and just stepping over her or going around her, but she seems to escalate her behavior when we do this.  Plus she's medium-sized, and I had knee surgery a year ago so I would prefer to not be stepping over her repeatedly.  I'm a stay-at-home mom, and she's an inside dog, so we are together most of the time.  We have a fenced back yard that she is let out into whenever she asks to be let out, and she signals when she wants to come back in.

We have other animals that she gets along with fine.

At first her behavior was just annoying but now it's to the point where I'm going to have to start shutting her in a room while I cook dinner so I don't trip over her and fall on the stove or on a knife.  I shoo her out of the kitchen constantly while I'm cooking, but she sneaks right back in.  

Her safety is also compromised - I've accidentally stepped on her feet or tail many times, yet she continues to do it.  

Punishing her or even becoming very upset does not deter her for longer than an hour or so.

She gets lots of petting and attention normally.  

How can we correct this behavior?  Thank you so much, any advice at all is greatly appreciated.

Answer
Hello Amanda:

I note you mention she does move when told, but returns with-in the hour.

Even though she is 8 years old a Senior, I wonder if it's boredom and thus the attention seeking.
You also mention your a stay at home mum, so I am wondering if she has become overly attached and relies on your constant presence.

Forced separation, in short time outs, may work..........

Next time she blocks your path, immediately put her in her crate or a small room for 5 minutes, Do not speak to her or say anything just take her by the collar and remove her, then let her out.
The hopeful effect is that if she blocks you she looses the privilege of being in your presence.

A couple of other considerations to take into account because of her age, would be that her hearing or sight is failing and she feels safer closer to you.  

Another method would be to continue the "Move" Command, and reward with a treat each time she moves away.  You would have to be 100% consistent.

Or work on blocking her access to with-in say 5-10 feet of you when you are in the kitchen.  This will be a re-training exercise and again you must maintain this rule 100% of the time.

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