Getting any dog, even under ideal conditions, does not guarantee a well-adjusted dog. Most new puppy or dog owners take a group obedience training class and figure – done!
But it takes more than just obedience training. Here’s what one such owner had to say about her newly acquired adolescent terrier mix just after finishing a group class.
“My dog is a little too excited all the time He does not follow commands and seems to have a mind of his own when I want him to pay attention to me. Often I just feel like yelling at him or I tell him to do the same thing over and over again. It doesn’t work. Everything seems so complicated and overwhelming.”
Dogs will not be changed into great dogs with a single group obedience training class. Dogs can learn to sit, down and come if taught. But, unless you actively put these commands to use in your home every day in practical situations, it will have little every day value.
You begin to gain real every day value when you actively work your dog daily to sit for greetings, sit to eat, sit for affection, and sit to go out to pee or come in from the back yard.
And of course it helps if everyone is on the same page in your home. In other words, when your dog turns to interact with anyone else in the family he should be required to at least do a sit.
Sitting begins to set a strong foundation of expectations or rules to follow. This helps your dog to look to you for direction on his behavior instead of making decisions “like a dog”. If you practice setting simple rules for your dog you will be amazed at the “long term” results.
Don’t expect over night success
Even though you want it, your dog will not be transformed over night. He will need constant daily reminders and work.
Don’t allow your dog to be pushy. What do I mean by this? If your dog tries to run out the door ahead of you, that’s pushy. If, when following you around the house, your dog anticipates your destination and darts ahead of you, that’s pushy.
Instead of allowing pushy, promote politeness. Teach sit at the door. Proceed through the door and release your dog to follow you. The same would apply to stairs. Teach your dog to sit or wait at the top or bottom of the stairs until you get up or down. Then release your dog to follow.
While you can see very encouraging results in days or a week of training, do not get over-confident. Remember to work your dog around natural distractions that are relevant to your every day lifestyle. It will take approximately 4-6 weeks of daily work around distractions for your dog to “get it.” Also, to better help you achieve a polite dog that everyone wants around all the time consider using your leash in the house to reinforce the behaviors you want from your dog.
For example, if your dog is always jumping on the couch and into your personal space “without” being invited, teach “settle” by your feet on the floor in front of the couch. After 5 minutes of “settle” ask for a sit and then invite your dog up next to you.
Teaching this “settle” command to your dog is probably best accomplished on leash for optimum results. If done correctly and consistently the results will be nothing short of amazing.
Dogs that jump on me when I enter someone’s home are trying to get my attention.
I teach the owner to leash the dog and allow him to sniff-greet through a 2” crack in the door (door not opened all the way to greet.) This is followed by a sit off to the side and a “settle” while you are talking with your guest in your family room. Give your pup a stuffed Kong toy if necessary to redirect his well-intended attention away from your guest.
The bottom line
When you experience what you perceive as “bad” behavior the reality is, it is usually just normal dog behavior. It just doesn’t match up with how you think your dog should act.
As you begin looking for strategies and solutions that work, straight-forward, simple to understand concepts and principles of obedience training will be easy to implement.
Being consistent with obedience training every day in every way may be more challenging but it begins to provide you with every day practical value. Obedience training is something your dog will carry with him the rest of his life and make you proud.
Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you. I truly hope you found answers and hope for helping your dog. Don’t be a stranger. I’d love to hear what you think.
Please come over to my Facebook page to let me know how this article helped you and the way you think about training your dog. Are you looking at it a little differently? Remember:
“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.