“Its like my dog is possessed!” Have you ever thought this? There is so much written about dealing with and training puppies but so little on managing the next stage of mischief, canine adolescence. It’s almost as if sometimes you don’t know why your dog does what he does. He should know better!
Get a leash – get a grip
Problems associated with adolescent dog behavior can develop in your dog very quickly if you do not take the time to train. At the very least, teach your dog to respond to “No,” “Sit,” “Come” and “Settle.” Not getting a grip on your dog’s behavior with obedience training and ultimately your dog’s adolescent behavior is setting your dog and you up for years of problems down the road. My recommendation: Get a leash – get a grip.
What’s a leash got to do with it? Well, I’ve said this for years in all my writings about dog behavior, but most don’t think of, or just flat won’t put a leash on their dog in the house to start controlling their dog. It’s too inconvenient. They will put up with the behavior before stopping the behavior – which is what you can do with a leash.
A dog off leash gets to make its own decisions about what to do. When a dog is on leash he is simply more compliant and responsible because he now knows you can reinforce the behavior for which you’ve asked.
Instead of allowing your “possessed dog” free rein to jump on you, put a leash on your dog and require him to settle down by your foot. A foot on the leash will go a long way to settling down a rambunctious dog. Practice this a few times a night for just a couple of minutes each night—just for a couple of weeks. Increase the amount of time you require your dog to settle. You will have a changed dog.
I also get many complaints about adolescent dogs going absolutely crazy when you get the leash out to go for a walk. Some have claimed it takes 5 – 10 minutes or longer just to get the leash on – and then it’s a struggle when you try to exit the door for your walk. These goofy juveniles want to charge out the door – over you, through you, around you but definitely not after you!
Yet another area people often perceive as “bad” behavior with their dog, when in actuality it is usually just normal dog behavior is time to go walkies.
It is true that many dogs get extremely excited about going for a walk! Finally we get to do something other than sit around. “Okay, let’s go!” Somehow your dog thinks that by acting half crazed running around and jumping and biting at the leash, the walk will start sooner. What’s the solution?
Preparing for the walk – the fakeout
This quick fix worked for one dog owner. She was the proud owner of three dogs – Labrador retrievers – and all their leashes and gear hung on a vertical coat rack by the front door. The trigger for their crazed insanity was her approaching the coat rack full of leashes and gear.
This is the solution we came up with. She approached the coat rack a dozen or more times each evening removing one or two leashes and jingling the collars and then immediately hung them back up and returned to her seat.
After many repetitions each night for a week, the dogs didn’t even began bother to get up, they just laid there and yawned, because she never completed the loop of putting the leash and collar on any dog. They began to get desensitized to her going to the coat rack and so they stayed calm.
Once she achieved the calm she wanted, she leashed up her dogs and went walking. The dogs learned that by being quiet, they got their walk. Being loud and crazy got Mom leaving the gear on the rack.
Train your dogs to give you the behavior you want – whether it’s a simple sit or a settle. The trade off is they get their needs satisfied. Pretty soon they will be offering you the good dog behavior all the time.
I’m really interested to hear if you have this problem. Do you? – I’m here to help.
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ 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.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your dog understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.