Dog Training: I Did Most of What You Said

It’s usually on the second dog training lesson that I hear, “I did most of what you said!”

We start off really well. The dog owners are motivated to fix their dog problem.

Then there’s a shift. The owners tend to view the training program much like an “a la cart” menu in a restaurant. They choose the easiest and most convenient exercises to do and discard the rest of the dog training program. Why is that?


Here’s an example

Let’s say you, my client, have an adult dog has some mild separation anxiety. He’s relieving his stress with destructive chewing and peeing in the house.

In my evaluation I discover that you dote on your dog constantly when home. This includes a lot of lap time. Plus he sleeps with you. On top of that there has been no structure in his life with you and he rarely gets long walks, just potty walks.

My training program might include:

  1. Requiring your dog to earn everything with sits and downs
  2. Dialing back on the love and affection to just brief pets and praise for sits
  3. Give him his own bed to sleep in
  4. No lap time for about 6 weeks 
  5. Scheduled obedience training sessions
  6. Breaking the cycle of house soiling in your absence with crates/gates, etc.
  7. Enriching his environment with busy toys in your absence
  8. Ramp up his walks to twice daily for about 30 minutes each and finally,
  9. Desensitization exercises for his stress anxiety caused by your absence 

If out of all these recommendations in your dog training program, “you did most of what I said,” here are the areas you chose to not to do:

  1. Dial back on the love and affection to just brief pets and praise for sits 
  2. Give him his own bed to sleep in
  3. No lap time for about 6 weeks
  4. Ramp up his walks to twice daily for about 30 minutes each and finally,
  5. Desensitization exercises for his stress anxiety caused by your absence

The fallout

It’s very difficult for most dog owners to give up love and affection. You may try it a little while, but sleeping with your dog, lots of lap time and having him in your bed continues.

This then begins to confuse your dog.

Many people are very pressed for time. Finding an extra hour in your day to spend with your dog on a walk is difficult – especially, if you have critical work demands or sports activities with kids.

The most folks can do is two to three walks a week.

Dogs simply need more good long healthy walks. If you can’t do two walks daily, then do at least one long 30-45 minute walk daily.

The most critical thing is that the good walk be consistent each day and at predictable times for your dog.

Desensitization exercises can also be difficult to do every day consistently.

Example: If you have a jumping problem when house guests arrive, it can be very difficult to have enough people each day to visit just to accommodate your dog training.

If you’re like most folks, you have very few if any visitors and bothering the neighbors is always a hassle. Unfortunately, not doing these set ups breaks down your dog training program.

Get in your training set ups with your kid’s friends and hubby when he comes home from work. Just have him come in the front door and exit and re-enter two more times. That gets you 15 repetitions in a 5 day work week.

The bottom line

A good dog training program will include behavior modification, obedience training, exercise and structure in the home for your dog.

All parts are designed to work together to provide you with the best end result: Dog behavior problem solved.

With positive reinforcement dog training methods built into the program, not only will you’ll gain a willing dog, you’ll get the behaviors you want as an automatic response.

Here’s the most important part: You have to change your behavior in order to change your dog’s behavior.

Let me say that again: You have to change your behavior in order to change your dog’s behavior.

It doesn’t take a lot of time but it does take a commitment to consistently work the entire dog training program daily. Don’t short change your dog. He’s counting on you.

We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from. I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this. I’m here to help.

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you. Don’t be a stranger. 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.

His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have, easy step-by-step process to helping your dog. Be the dog owner your dog needs to be a great dog. Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.

1 reply
  1. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    Man, I really don’t want to stop having my dog on the couch with me. Isn’t there anything else to do?

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