Keep in mind these are short descriptions of techniques. For more detail do further research, consult a trainer, or ask us any questions you might have. Below are some of the most common issues we see. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to correcting some behavior issues. It can be important to know the dogs behavioral issues and its history before creating a rehabilitation plan, but these tips can be helpful.
Putting on the collar/leash –
Many dogs get all excited, jump around and generally make it difficult to put on their collar and leash.
They do this because they have been conditioned to do this. People act excited, they talk in a high-pitched, excited voice, and transfer the excitement to the dog.
To change the dogs behavior, when you get the leash/collar, be quiet, be calm and wait for the dog to be calm before you try to put it on. If they show excitement, stop and wait until they are calm. At first you will need to be very patient, quiet and calm. After a number of attempts over a few days the dog will learn that to go for a walk or get the collar/leash put on, they need to remain calm.
Going outside –
Never allow your dog to go out or in a door before you. An open door does not mean it’s ok to go through. Train your dog to “sit” and “wait” at a door whether it’s closed or open until you say “ok” to allow him to go in or out. Your dog should always follow you through a door, not lead you.
Walking on a leash –
Walking your dog on a leash is one of the best things you can do to establish that you are his leader. Some dogs pull and are difficult to manage while walking on a leash. They do this because they have been allowed to.
When you walk your dog, be calm, yet be assertive about what is acceptable. When they pull, stop, be still and wait for them to calm down, then start walking again.
Another tactic that can work is when they start to pull, turn around and go the other way, repeatedly turning around when they pull. This helps teach them to follow, not lead. Or try walking in a square, so they don’t know which direction you are going to go.
And yet another technique is to carry some of your dogs favorite treats with you and let them know you have them. As you start to walk give the dog a treat. Many dogs will stay right next to you, even looking at you as you walk, waiting for a treat.
Remember, only treat the behavior you want.
Also, keep the leash short until they learn. Only give them about 1-2 feet of leash so they can’t pull ahead of you. When they try to pull, pull up on the leash, not back, otherwise keep the leash slack, but short.
A hands-free leash can be a big help for training a dog to walk correctly on a leash. This type of leash comes with a belt that a leash clips on to. This will eliminate the jerking of your arm or shoulder when a dog pulls. You can attach the leash to your dog and let him/her follow you around all day, even in the house, for a week. This will train your dog to stay by your side when on a leash.
Do not pull backwards on the leash. Pulling straight up on the leash will cause the dog to stop. A short jerk of the leash sideways will redirect your dogs attention away from distractions like other dogs, barking or pulling.Do not choke the dog, just a slight pull to get his attention and provide direction.
Remember the leash should not be tight from your hand down to the dogs neck. The leash should be slack and there should not be any tension on the leash when walking.
Finally, whoever is out in front on the walk is the leader! You should always keep your dog at your side.
Over-excitement when they see you after being away –
If you experience a lot of barking, yelping, jumping and even urinating when you first arrive after being absent from your dog here’s some techniques to help.
When you first arrive, do not look at, talk to or touch your dog. (No look, no touch, no talk). Wait for them to calm down before you give them any attention. Remember, whatever you give attention to is a reward for that behavior.
The best time to give attention and affection is when your dog is calm and relaxed. This rewards them for being in a relaxed state instead of rewarding them for being in an excited state.
How you feel is how your dog feels –
It is important to remember that however you feel, your dog senses that. If you are excited, the dog will be excited. If you are nervous, anxious or sad, your dog will pick up on that and act the same. When going to a vet or boarding kennel, you should be calm and happy. This will help your dog to view this as a pleasant experience and remove negative emotions.
Nearly all behavior issues are the result of the humans behavior, not the dog. It’s sometimes hard for humans to accept, but if your dog behaves in ways you don’t like, it’s because you allowed it and even encourage it. If you have a shy dog or aggressive dog, remember not to reward that behavior. If your dog gets scared, or shows aggression, never hold him close, pet him, and say things like “it’s ok, good dog, etc” because that is rewarding that behavior.
Aggressive dogs –
If you have a dog that is aggressive to other dogs or to people it’s because of how you raised him or experiences he had before you got him. Dogs must be socialized to other dogs and humans. Never introduce your dog to another dog or person unless both dogs are on a leash. You must allow another dog to sniff the rear of your dog. If your dog is aggressive to other dogs then you need to hold him still to allow another dog to sniff his rear. This is what dogs do.
If your dog is aggressive to people it’s often because he feels like he must protect you or something has caused him to fear people. This happens when a dog doesn’t perceive you as the leader so they take over the leadership role. He should never be rewarded for this type of behavior.
Tip – A dogs ears should be back when they are in a calm or submissive state. If you see your dogs ears point forward and or lick his lips this is the first sign he may be about to become aggressive. Watch him closely, if you see him point the ears forward immediately correct him and leave the situation before he becomes aggressive.
If your dog growls, do not correct him and make him stop. Dogs growl as a warning to say: “if you keep doing what you’re doing I’m going to bite you”. If you try to stop your dog from growling, they may stop doing it and instead just lash out with a bite without warning. If your dog is growling you need to calmly remove them from the situation causing them to growl.
Many cases of dog aggression can be fixed but extreme cases may require the help of a professional.
If your dog knows you are the leader of his pack, he will be much better behaved –
Having a well-behaved dog can make the relationship even more special and enjoyable than it already is. There are numerous issues pets and their owners sometimes have and this isn’t an attempt to address them all or provide a lot of detail. Just keep in mind if you want calmness, you need to be calm and ignore your dog until he becomes calm. Silence is a very effective technique for working with your dog. They really do not understand most of the things you say but they will respond to the way you say something. One word commands are just about all you need for communicating verbally with your dog.
All dogs should have rules, boundaries and limitations, just as children do. You must be consistent and always be the leader. Never try to train or discipline your dog if you are angry or frustrated. A calm, patient approach will be more effective.
If you have any issues with your dog and would like some advice on correcting them, let us know as we would be happy to discuss in more detail some approaches that may help. There is never any charge for giving suggestions or advice, we are happy to be of service.