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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sometimes Dog Training Starts With The Family (And Not The Dog)

My dog is just crazy and doesn't listen.  I have taken him to dog classes and even sent him away for a week to a special “boot camp”.  He came back and was OK for a day and then went back to being crazy.  He doesn't listen, nips at people and won’t leave my kids alone.  What happened to “man’s best friend”?



As dog trainers, we hear this many times.  Yesterday I was at a new client and they asked me what is the hardest dog to train.  I told them that the answer is really quite simple.  It is almost never the dog, it is the owner or family.  Our dogs are often mirrors of us.  We must assure that we provide them with the correct image.  Here are some things that you should consider if you have a crazy dog:

What is the temperament of your family?  Are things always crazy and are people always running in and out?  This is providing too much stimulus to your dog and he is simply responding through dominance actions (barking/jumping) and heightened adrenaline.  If this is the case, place your dog in a quiet space if things are getting a little too crazy.  The back yard with some of his favorite toys is a perfect way to redirect his energy and focus away from you.

Make sure that your kids aren't always playing or bugging your dog.  They might think it is fun, but it is only teaching him that it is always OK to demand play from anyone.  Limit play time to specific times of the day and only have them play with your dog in the back yard.  This will help your dog to understand where and when “crazy time” happens.  It will start to reverse the crazy behavior in the house because it just doesn't happen in there.

Never let your dog tell you what he wants you to do.  If he rubs his nose in your palm, don’t pet him.  If he brings over the leash, don’t go for a walk.  If he steals a sock, don’t chase him.  The more you let him tell you what he wants to do, the more he will ignore your commands and only demand things from you.  When you don’t give him what he wants, he will ramp it up to barking, jumping, and (sometimes) nipping.  None of these activities are things you should allow in your house and with your family.

If you want to be on the right foot to having a great dog, be calm.  Don’t run after him and yell and scream.  Don’t do what he is asking you to do.  Make sure that everyone treats the dog in the same way.  If you don’t want him on the furniture, you can’t let him on the furniture with your kids. 


I know this doesn't sound hard, but you would be amazed at how many of our clients had crazy dogs just because of the situations I have mentioned above.  Once we were able to rectify these situational issues, resolving any misbehavior of the dog was a piece of cake.  If you have any further questions about this, please feel free to contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in SouthFlorida.  

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