You know there is nothing more irritating and frustrating than unwanted dog behavior.
Dealing with inappropriate dog behavior like jumping is bad enough when you’re the one being jumped on by friends’ dogs. But, that same bad dog behavior is even worse, when it’s your own dog constantly jumping on or nudging your house guest. Talk about embarrassing!
It’s time to do some dog training.
It’s time to train your dog to do something other than jump and nudge your house guest. It sounds like a lot of work, right? Well, it’s not!
Remember, I’ve always said that dog training doesn’t take as much of a commitment of time as it does consistency and repetition.
Do I have your attention? I thought so. Let me explain the art of “feed training.”
Let’s say that you feed your dog 1 ½ cups of dog food twice daily. Your dog gets breakfast before you go to work and dinner when you get home from work. He does a quick sit before his face hits the bowl.
I’m suggesting that you redistribute part of or all his evening meal one kibble at a time.
Pick a behavior you like
Let’s say that your preferred behavior with house guests would be for him to go to his dog bed. So, let’s take my “kibble at a time” activity and every evening you put half or all of his evening meal in a zip lock bag so you’re simply distributing it to him differently.
Hang with me, here’s what I’d do.
As you are relaxing in front of the television, begin to toss a piece of kibble on his dog bed which is positioned close to where you are seated. When he goes to get it, praise him the second his foot touches the bed and just before he gets the treat.
Repeat this until your dog figures out that being on his dog bed is a good thing. Dogs do what works.
But You Have To Ignore the Unwanted Behavior
Ignoring your dog’s nudging you helps him to understand that the bed is the better deal, because the bed is where the reward is.
In fact, to really make this work for you in practice, do these two things to control the nudging:
1. Position yourself in a single cushion chair so that you can cross your legs (ankle on knee) and better block your dog’s access to you.
2. DO NOT look at, talk to or touch your dog. This is difficult for most dog owners because of our tendency to nurture.
As he walks away from you (and he will) toss a kibble on his bed and as he steps onto his bed, click/praise right before he gets the treat.
When you can anticipate each time he will go to his bed, add a command like, “Place” or “Go to your bed.” Pretty soon you will have the behavior you want.
Next, add house guests and practice more so that he gets really good at his new behavior.
Train your dog every evening in this way. He will get the same amount of food he normally would get just a kibble at a time.
Don’t forget, this new practice of “feed training” can work on everything. Use his food to praise/treat being quiet. If you go to your office room to work on your computer and he follows and lies down by your side, praise/treat for doing that.
Occasionally praise/treat him with his food for that same good dog behavior as he stays there quietly by your side.
As you begin training better behaviors in your dog, just make a list of all the things he does that you like so that you can remember to praise/treat his good behavior.
It’s a different way of looking at training because it is not structured training sessions.
It’s an ongoing barrage of earning the food he would normally gobble up in 60 seconds but stretched out over the course of the evening.
Try and do this every evening – weekends included. If you have to skip an evening, he gets his kibble in his bowl that night. Resume the next night.
It’s actually a lot of fun for both you and your dog!
If you are used to feeding two meals and struggling with working in structured training sessions, try this informal approach of reward for good behavior as you see your dog doing them. He will do them more often the more consistent you are with rewarding him.
I know old habits are hard to break. You’re in the habit of reinforcing behavior (he nudges–you pet) because it feels good. Break the old habit and don’t be afraid to try a new approach. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain for you and your dog.
Thanks for letting me share my dog training tips with you. I truly hope you got some great ideas and hope for helping your dog.
Please come over to my Facebook page to let me know how this article impacted you. Are you looking at training a little differently?
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, Houston 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.