Does bad dog behavior have you so beat down most days it seems you have totally lost control of your dog?
Usually the culprit is an out-of-control bossy type dog or young dog with no boundaries, taking control of your whole house and everything in it.
Where Did It All Go Wrong
Before you find yourself thinking you need to join some kind of 12-step program that always starts off with: “Hello, my name is John and I’m an owner of a really bad dog”, don’t throw in that towel just yet!
How about a short 3-step program in the privacy of your own home?
You won’t have to join anything or say your name.
It might take some soul searching and self-commitment to a slightly different way of life with your dog, but I think you’ll find it worth it when you take and use these steps to help change your dog.
Step 1: Start with the golden rule
Your dog has been controlling the system far too long and from your perspective, the system is broken. The system needs to be fixed.
The first step in fixing the system is to begin teaching your dog the golden rule, “You must give before you receive.”
That’s done by simply teaching your dog to sit for everything. Once you know he can sit, begin to extend the sit to 5, 10 and 15 seconds.
I know what you are going to say, “He knows how to sit but he won’t hold a sit! He’s always jumping back up looking for the treat!” Hold on, I’m going to tell you how to fix that too.
Step 2: Retraining the sit command
You just need to retrain the sit. Remember your goal. You want a sit and he wants a treat or a happy “good boy”!
The big difference is letting him know when he’s done what you ask.
How do you do that?
Simple! You say, “Good!” right when his butt hits the ground. Then he gets his treat. Right now I don’t care if he gets back up after you say, “Good!”
Now here’s what makes the difference
Once you get a sit, slowly begin to pause two seconds before you say, “Good!” Then 4-5 seconds. Eventually wait 10 – 15 seconds before you say, “Good!”
Always praise and treat after random lengths of time for which he has been required to hold a sit.
By varying how long you wait to say, “Good!” you are conditioning him to understand that the sit isn’t over until he hears, “Good!” Bell rang, school is out!
Now you are teaching patience and tolerance. That’s the beginning of control.
To help you speed up your training, put your dog on a leash and step on the leash, just enough to keep him from jumping up.
You’ll discover that your dog will be more controlled and focused which allows you to more quickly achieve your goal.
Later you worry about other commands. For now we keep it simple – just a sit. Stretching it out to a longer sit is the key.
Step 3: Control everything in your dog’s life
Be stingy. Don’t give things out easily or too much at a time. Tough love you think? Dogs respect tough love. You are building a strong working relationship with your dog.
Bonus for you and your dog- Important
Most of these bossy dogs haven’t been out to new places with you because quite honestly, they are out of control and it’s embarrassing for you. It’s just not fun.
When he begins to listen to you, now you can show him you are in control in a different way. You’re in control of great new places to explore.
Frequent weekend day trips to the beach, parks or hiking trails will keep him challenged.
New settings will open his mind to wanting to learn over and over again with you. Don’t forget, make him sit to get out of the car – and back in of course.
He will soon want to be a good pack member to earn the right to go with you again.
Remember, you want a new dog and a new life.
So go and show off your new well behaved dog. You both deserve that happy ending. It’s easier than you think!
When you’re ready to go further my Ground Rules for Great Dogs will take you step by step to a truly well – mannered dog.
Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you. Don’t be a stranger. Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear what you think.
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.