You’re Asking Your Dog: When Are You Ever Going To Get A Brain?
This conversation comes right after a big failure on one of your house rules.
He jumped on you, counter-surfed or stole some of your stuff.
His response is always a blank stare back at you.
Maybe you thought he had learned the rules, but either he didn’t OR it’s just not sticking.
In other words, the light bulb hasn’t come on yet.
Looking for That Light Bulb Moment
Jeb is a little 5 month yellow lab puppy.
On my third training visit, I walked into Mary’s home and little Jeb greeted me with a bark and a slight hop then a sit.
“He didn’t jump!” I said.
Watching Jeb have his light bulb moment was amazing.
I could see the wheels turning as Jeb was thinking through the exercise of “sit to greet.” He started to jump (that was the hop) and he self-corrected himself and sat.
Mom just beamed.
I love it! The training finally “clicked in his brain.” This was his light bulb switch!
Even with 4 kids she make this light bulb moment happen. As we sat and talked she listed some things you may want to write down.
When All Else Fails, Listen to Your Dog Trainer
The advice I give is solid and works if you do it.
I also realize sometimes doing things like keeping a leash on your puppy can be inconvenient.
Let’s look at what worked to help little Jeb have that light bulb moment.
These tips also work well with a full grown dog – so listen up!
Control your puppy. Crate him at night and when you’re gone from the house. When you’re home and can’t train or watch him on leash, put him in an exercise pen where he can observe your activity.
Your pup needs to learn (at least until he is trustworthy) to be okay in his exercise pen with family or people activity in the home. That includes no barking.
Redirect your puppy or dog. Work on sits and downs and use them to redirect jumping. Have lots of legal chew toys and food dispensing toys. Jeb gets most of his meals from toys he has to work at to make the food come out.
Remember sits and downs create mental fatigue. While you are training your dog on these commands, here’s what’s happening:
- He’s learning appropriate behaviors
- He’s getting mentally tired in the process, and
- He’s learning to work for you rather than you working for him
Do daily set-ups with your puppy or dog. This means teaching your puppy to choose to do behaviors that work for him and for you. That’s a win-win.
Reward behavior you see him offer. If he chooses to lie down for a moment, praise and treat him for that behavior.
Instead of biting you or the kids, give him super-interesting toys that will keep him busy. If he loses interest and decides to jump or bite, then immediately redirect. If you don’t have the time to supervise him, put him in his exercise pen (with his favorite toy.)
Make Activities Predictable for Your Puppy
Here’s what Jeb can count on:
- Feeding happens twice daily at the same time. He has to earn it with a sit and down.
- After the kids get off to school, there’s a walk with Mom, then she has her coffee and reads the paper while he has his stuffed Kong Toy.
- Nap time happens at the same time every day while she does her chores.
- There are three, 2 minute training sessions each day at the same time.
- There is playtime with the kids after homework and also with Dad after dinner.
- There is also a scheduled evening walk with most family members at the same time each night.
When he did this— there was this clicking sound.
The Light Bulb Came On. Jeb Found His Brain.
Help your dog find his brain, won’t you?
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. We’ll work together at your speed and both you and your dog will have fun every step of the way.