Your Dog and Your Family --- The Dynamics

My Uncle and I both got puppies from the same breeder at the same time.  When we got them, they both appeared to be just alike.  Now, my Uncle's 1 year old Terrier is as calm as calm can be.  Wolfie, his brother, is just a complete crazy nut.  What happened?

The answer is pretty simple, but sometimes the simple things are the hardest to recognize.  From our experience in training over 2,000 doggies in South Florida, family dynamics has a great deal to do with how they are going to act.

If the family is made up of older adults who are normally calm and lead structured lives, their doggie will normally be calm and sedate.  If the family lives an active lifestyle, has children who love to play and chase them, and are always having friends and neighbors over, they will probably have a more active, social, engaging, and (sometimes) annoying doggie.

Remember the old saying, "You are what you eat"?  Our doggies will often adjust to our environment so they "Are who we are".  Since most people are just fine with their calm, well behaved, and sedate doggies, let me focus on some times for the crazy, annoying doggies:

  • Don't go nuts with Wolfie in the house.  He will get used to chasing you, barking, jumping, and stealing things from you in the house all the time.  He doesn't understand that he can't do it all the time and will find the most inopportune time to display these annoying traits (that you actually taught him).
  • Be sure to find at least 30 minutes every day to play and go nuts with Wolfie in the back yard or any large, enclosed area.  Throw the Frisbee, toss tennis balls, scatter feed, or do anything else that gets him engaged and drains the adrenaline.  Do not play games that might encourage general bad behavior such as tug-of-war, chase-me chase-me, or jump-on-me with him.
  • Have your children pet Wolfie calmly by stroking him from the back of his head to the middle of his neck.  This is a very calming and soothing experience for Wolfie.  It also teaches your kids and Wolfie how they can engage each other without going nuts.
  • Ask your guests to ignore Wolfie for the first few minutes when they come over.  Wolfie sees your guests entering the house as "new playmates" and will almost instantly engage them by barking and jumping.  Have them ignore Wolfie so he will understand that his behavior is inappropriate.  After a few minutes after Wolfie has calmed down, they can then engage in calm interaction in the house or they can go outside and play fetch, etc.
The main focus here is to manage Wolfie's adrenaline through your example.  If you are calm with Wolfie, you will not encourage a spike in his adrenaline that leads to the annoying crazy stuff.

If you have more questions, we would be more than happy to provide additional information.  You can contact us through our web site at South Florida Dog Trainers.



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