I have been working for the last few months with a Home Dog Training client in Gainesville and her 7-month old Jack Russell named Lily. We had originally worked on potty training, socialization, and simple obedience commands. Everything was going great and my client and Lily were creating a great bond. Last week I got a call from her saying that Lily had turned aggressive and was biting her all the time. Whenever she sat down to the computer or was making lunch in the kitchen, Lily would jump and (she called) bite her. I went out the next day to see what was going on.
When I arrived at her condo, Lily greeted me at the front door, jumping and barking. I quickly corrected Lily and we all proceeded into the family room. As soon as my client sat down, Lily came over and nudged her had for a pet. My client pet Lily and then began to talk with me. Lily wasn’t happy about the loss of attention, so she jumped in my client’s lap. My client gave her a pet and then stopped. After a moment, Lily wanted more attention. Not getting it immediately, she gave my client a slight nip on her hand. My client became excited and quickly moved her hand back. This excited Lily and she continued to bark and jump.
I had seen enough, knew what the problem was, and knew how to fix it right then and there. After I stepped in, corrected Lily for jumping and directed her off of my client’s lap and back onto the ground, I explained the situation.
I told my client that two things were going on with her and Lily. For the last several months things had been going great between the two of them. Because of that, she unknowingly began to let her guard down and was letting Lily get away with things that were not allowed in the past. I pointed out that at our last lesson, we made sure that Lily was not the one answering the door. This was telling Lily that she was the boss over my client. Besides that, my client was letting Lily do inappropriate things such as demanding attention and stealing supremacy from my client. These was giving signals that my client wasn’t the boss and that Lily was.
Next, I explained that Lily is now about 7 months old. This is often equivalent to our “tween years”. This is the time where we sure that we knew more than any adult and that we could do whatever we wanted because we were right. If we didn’t get our way, we would demand and go nuts. Lily was simply acting out her “tween” and my client was completely giving into it. It had probably been ramping up over the last several weeks, but my client simply hadn’t recognized it.
So, what did I do to fix the problem? The answer, as with most dog training issues, is very simple:
- I told my client that she simply needed to consistently reinforce the rules that she had established with Lily over the last five months.
- As soon as Lily began to misbehave, she needed to become assertive and consistently correct in order to get Lily’s focus and passive attention.
- Do not allow Lily on the sofa. This has been giving Lily an ascendancy to her level of authority that Lily is misappropriating. It is also putting Lily in a position to easily nip.
- Keep Lily on a leash around the house to easily control her and direct her focus.
- Perform more “quick pop quizzes” where she has Lily perform obedience exercises such as sit, come, walk, and sit.
- Do not play any sort of game with her in the condo that would encourage adrenaline and excitement.
I told my client that what she is doing is putting Lilly in a “passive time-out”. She is keeping her calm, taking back control, regaining focus, and enforcing rules. As she consistently does this, it will redirect Lily’s actions from “I am the boss” to “I am a member and you are the leader”.
Lily’s nipping was a direct result of this lack of perceived leadership and was really a heightened communication of “HEY I AM THE BOSS, DO THIS” than physical aggression. I told my client to follow these simple actions and everything should be fine within a few days.
Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Gainesville Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Gainesville Georgia.