“I don’t know if I can keep this dog.” I hear those nine words every week. It is followed with: “I love this dog but I can’t live with him. He jumps, bites, grabs the leash making walks impossible.” With tears in their eyes they add how their dog can be really good at times but when he gets excited and overstimulated, they can’t handle him.
I really do understand what the dog owners are going through. They feel guilty, frustrated, depressed, and angry all at the same time. In many ways it is NOT the dog owner’s fault. The information they have been given produced a dog they did not want.You see, dog owners are told they must constantly keep their dogs engaged and active.
- “Walk your dog three times a day.”
- “Don’t let your dog get bored.”
- “Never use the crate for punishment.”
- “Never say NO to your dog.”
- “Never use any negative consequence with your dog.”
So much of the advice swirling around is confusing and contributes to out of control, overstimulated, crazy dogs. Your dog does need exercise, physical and mental. But your dog also has to learn to be calm. When I meet with dog owner and tell them we are going to get their dog under control they are often skeptical and give me the “I’ve heard this before” look.
Here is what you must understand. Your dog needs to be taught calm behavior. Remember the three most important words in dog training:
ON YOUR TERMS!
My terms are simple. My dogs must be calm in the house. Outside in the yard, go crazy. At the beach or hiking, have at it. In the house… calm, calm, calm behavior. No jumping, limited barking, no stealing food, no mouthy behavior, and so on.
One of the best commands to teach your dog is place. Your dog is taught to lay down on a bed and stay on it until released by you. This is the fastest way to teach your dog to shift into calm behavior. You can use place for so many situations. Place is better than a crate at times because the dog is mentally confined instead of physically confined. This works your dog’s brain and helps him learn calm behavior. I still use crates, but place is a great command to teach your dog.
Place is one of the commands we’ll be teaching at the Canine Good Citizen class I’ll be doing at Diamond in the RUFF in Acushnet, MA on Saturday, October 28th at 10:30 AM.
I know many of you reading this can’t attend because you live in other parts of the world. I did not forget you. I will make a video showing how this command is taught and share it with you so stay tuned.
If you’d like to attend the Canine Good Citizen class I need you to call Kelli today. Space is limited so we can provide individual attention to each person and dog attending. You can register by calling 508-763-5351.