People are often looking for an instant fix to something they don’t like.
I’d like a magic wand to wave over life’s problems. Trouble is, people come to me thinking I can wave a magic wand over their dog’s problems and they won’t have to do a thing.
A recent query was along the lines of, “My dog runs around barking all day in the garden. How can I stop him?”
You don’t have to be a genius to see that your first step must be - don’t leave him unattended in the garden! You can’t hope to change his behaviour until you’ve changed things enough to prevent him indulging in it.
My dog keeps … [insert annoyance here]!
Here are some starters for you:
• Jumping up on the furniture
• Raiding the bin
• Running off on walks
• Destroying shoes
• you name it
Whenever someone tells me one of these things, I have one (smug) question:
“Where were you when he was doing all this?”
If you cannot yet trust your dog in any of these areas, then you shouldn’t give him the freedom to carry on doing what you don't like!
Practice makes Perfect - this doesn’t just apply to piano and tennis!
Every time your dog indulges in one of these annoying activities he’s getting more fun from it, and getting better at it. It becomes a habit - and we all know how hard habits can be to break.
The good news is that good habits are just as hard to break as bad ones.
- If your toddler had a fascination for the oven, you wouldn’t be leaving her unattended in the kitchen.
- If your 6-year-old is a danger on his bike, you wouldn’t let him out on the road on his own.
- If your teenager was beginning to mix with the wrong crowd, you wouldn’t be cheerily waving him goodbye of an evening, knowing you’ll be finding him in the police station later that night.
So if your dog is doing something you don’t like, the first thing to do is make sure he can’t do it.
- You can shut the door to the front room when you’re not there (this will prevent chewing the furniture and barking at the window).
- You keep your dog in the same space (room/garden) as you so he can’t chew shoes, raid bins, dig up the flowerbeds, bark at the moon.
- And if he runs off on walks - you use a long line so that he can roam but not ramble.
That's just for starters ...
Now that isn’t the end of the story. And none of this should be forever.
Once you’ve got a measure of control over the situation, and you’ve removed the frustration and the yelling, you can start to re-teach your dog what you’d like him to do.
Dogs don’t exist in a vacuum. They can’t NOT do something - they’re doers.
So once you’ve eliminated what you don’t like, the way is open to change your dog’s habits to what you do like.
So come and join our free 5-day Workshop today! 5 days of free online training, with videos, text, and live broadcasts. You’ll get to meet a host of other lovely dog-owners who are looking to improve the connection between them and their dogs.
Check out my new online Dog Training Course and Puppy Training Course teaching new dog and puppy owners to achieve lasting results through six weeks of dog-friendly coaching