I admit it. I have zero control. This little guy jumps, ignores my commands, demands attention, and I always find him on top of the counters. I turn around and he is into something – every time. He is not housetrained and puts everything in his mouth. I’m constantly pulling stuff out of his mouth. Every time I open the door he does his best to bolt out of it and the race is on. Spencer is his name and he is two years old. He was a good boy when we brought him home but as he gets older, he is giving me a run for my money. I’ll keep working with him but some days I am just rung out by the end of the day. My wife Rachael says he will be fine as he gets older and out of diapers. Lucky he is my son.
The above story is not much different than what I hear from new dog owners every day. Having a dog can be a workout when you don’t have control. In my classes I always talk about the three levels of control you need over your dog.
You need control in:
- The house
- On leash
- Off leash
Getting control over your dog in the house is easy with most dogs and can be accomplished within ten to fifteen minutes.
On leash can be a little more work but it is well worth the effort. Your dog has to go for walks, to the vet’s office, the groomers, etc. There is nothing worse than having a dog drag you all over the place. You need to get control over your dog on leash. A dog who walks on leash without pulling has a better life. The dog will go more places and get more exercise. Once the dog is under your control, you’ll never dread going places with him.
So here are some tips to help you:
- A completely wired dog is difficult to walk (no duh Mr. Amazing Dog Training Man). My point is this, if your dog has just come out of the crate, throw the ball down the hallway for a few minutes, play tug, do some obedience, and then go for a walk. If your dog goes to daycare it will be much easier to walk your dog.
- Try to avoid triggering opposition reflex. When you put pressure into the leash your dog will feel it and naturally pull away from you. Common reflex in animals and humans. Works physically and mentally.
- Understand teaching your dog to walk with you requires two important steps: Teaching your dog what you want them to do (walk at your side). And what you want them to STOP doing (pulling).
- Understand for most dogs positive reinforcement has its limitations. EXAMPLE: If you are offering your dog a slice of cheese to walk with you, your dog may decide the squirrel is more positive than the cultured milk product you’re offering and take off after the squirrel.
- You are going to have to introduce a negative consequence for pulling.
- Once you override the dog’s desire to chase the squirrel you switch back to positive reinforcement to reward your dog.
- If you need help, seek out a highly qualified dog training professional with striking good looks, a great sense of humor, and years of experience. Please contact me if you need a referral for a trainer with those qualities.
Or if you’re struggling and need help fast, bring your dog to the next group class I’m doing at Diamond in the RUFF located at 111 Middle Road in Acushnet. I’ll show you how to get your dog under your control in the house and on leash.