dog behavior Houston, Jim Burwell's Petiquette

Dog Invades Their Space

 90# Dog Invades Their Space, A Huge Problem!

dog behavior Houston, Jim Burwell's Petiquette

John and Mary were concerned that their 18 month old male German Shepherd dog invades their space all the time.
He also pushed his way into their children’s space and also visitors. It was no laughing matter.

Blaze, the German Shepherd was a whopping 90 pound problem!

John said, “My dog still invades our space even after we shipped him off to 6 weeks of board and train. Blaze knows how to push my buttons!”

Isn’t Respecting Personal Space Taught in Dog Training?

Blaze learned to listen to the trainer and respect his personal space. That did not mean it transferred to John and Mary’s home environment with the kids.

John and Mary picked Blaze up from boarding school. The trainer was proud as he demonstrated how Blaze would heel by his side and do a great sit/stay.

The trainer could even drop the leash, walk around Blaze, bounce a tennis ball and roll it by Blaze. Blaze never broke his sit/stay command.

Upon arriving home, John and Mary were thinking, “How do we apply the training at our home?”

No “How To’s” Were Given On How to Keep Their Dog Out of Their Face

In Blaze’s mind, life returned to normal once he got back home.

All his initial jumping got hugs, because they missed Blaze.

But, all their greetings and hugs just fueled Blaze’s thinking that jumping to greet is okay.

Then it hit them: Their dog’s lack of respect for their personal space had returned. Truth is, it had never left.

There were no instructions of how to manage Blaze’s bad manners on a day-to-day basis in the home.

Mary was concerned because once John left for work, she was the one responsible for managing Blaze’s bad dog behavior all day.

Mary’s list of concerns with Blaze:

  • Her dog invades her space and jumps on her
  • Her dog invades the space of her kids eating in their in high chairs
  • Knocking them over when they are on the floor
  • Counter surfing in the kitchen

Step One: Lesson on Intruding on Personal Space

We made a temporary 4’ square on the floor with painter’s tape.

Jim Burwell's Petiquette, Dog Behavior Houston

This was a visual space boundary for Blaze that defined Mary’s personal space boundary for Blaze.

Next we did training exercises with Blaze by having Mary stand in the square with very high value food treats.

As Blaze began to encroach into her defined personal space box, Mary lunged forward before he could cross the line.

I told Mary not to say anything, just use lower body language.

After 10 minutes of trying all around the square, Blaze finally gave up.

I asked Mary to put the treats on the floor between her feet to increase the temptation for Blaze.

Finally, after many futile attempts all around the square, Blaze gave up again.

Step Two: Stay Out of My Space Everywhere

We took the exercise out of the square and repeated it many, many times in different rooms.

What made this work out of the square?

Here’s the key.

Mary’s work in the square gave Blaze, a visual approximation 0f Mary’s personal space boundary.

For Blaze and Mary, this was easier to transfer and remember anywhere in the house. It worked well with repetitive practice.

For the next 15 minutes Mary practiced with Blaze all around the house.

She continued this every day for a couple of weeks testing Blaze.

If Blaze got sloppy with his boundary work, Mary just briefly went back to her square for “reminder practice.”

Other Space Boundaries to Enforce

We even put blue painter’s tape around the high chair her toddler uses when he eats. Now Blaze stays a safe distance away from the high chair.

Mary thought that was such a great idea, she decided to tape off the kitchen to prevent counter surfing.

Surprise! The foundation work with the tape used for her and her toddler’s high chair made quick success with the kitchen boundaries!
After two weeks of daily work, not only has all the tape gone but so has Mary’s stress.

Important, Critial Personal Space Tip to Remember

Teaching your dog not to invade your space or anyone else’s for that matter is great.

But, you must give your dog something else to do INSTEAD, that works for both you and your dog.

In Mary’s case a down stay worked for her. We taught Blaze a down and stay on leash. He is happy at a safe distance while Mary works in the kitchen.

Mary keeps the leash on Blaze during his supervised time in the house. Mary can then quickly circumvent any issues and redirects to a down/stay.

Blaze now greets friends on leash at the door and remains in a down by John’s feet until he gets used to the visitors. Once the initial excitement is over, Blaze is allowed to roam and relax, which he does quiet well.

Mary’s Take-Away from This Personal Space Lesson was Simple.

  • All Blaze needed to know was what to do and when to do it.
  • Mary learned about consistency. Giving Blaze a daily training routine on personal space requirements meant much less stress.
  • Blaze was also happy to turn over his leadership role to her.
  • When Mary found out dogs learn by instinct, trial and error OR training, she was glad she finally chose the latter for her and Blaze.

What will your choice be?

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

You got your dog for a reason. You wanted to share your life with a happy and loving dog. But now, your dog has big problems and life is not happy.

I can help you get that happy, well behaved dog back no matter where you live. We’ll do private lesson in your home OR we can do private video lessons where geography is no longer a roadblock.

2 replies
  1. Derek
    Derek says:

    I adopted a super loving American Pitt Bull that has absolutely no respect for personal space. I can’t wait to try “the square boundry.” He is sugh a quick learner and this seems like great advice. I can’t wait to put it to use, thanx!

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