We were in Forsyth County working with a new Home Dog Training client and her Welsh Corgi, Diana. Diana was about two years old and our client had recently rescued her from the local Rescue Group. We worked through the general obedience and behavior issues and the Welsh Corgi was responding very well. Our client had a good understanding of the bond that she needed to establish with Diana in order to let her know that she had finally found her real home. After several hours, Diana began to get tired and lose focus. This was our queue to bring that day’s lesson to a close and to plan our homework assignment and next steps.
One of the issues we did not have a chance to address at our first lesson was Diana’s fear of strangers. When my client first brought her home, she was skittish of everyone, including my client. After several days, Diana began to “warm up” and trust my client. Even after just a few hours, she began to warm up to Robin and myself.
What I needed to communicate to my client were the actual steps and reasoning needed to get Diana behaving and not going nuts around other people.
The most important thing that we needed to initially establish was a bond of trust and focus between Diana and my client. She needed to understand that, whatever happens, my client will always keep her safe, secure, and properly cared for. This means that my client must be Diana’s resolute leader. In order to accomplish this, she must:
- Establish clear, consistent, understandable, and enforceable house rules. Some examples are (1) Don’t jump on people, (2) Not on the furniture, (3) No begging for food, (4) No incessant barking, (5) Don’t run out the front door, (6) Pay attention to my client, etc.
- Always clearly enforce those rules.
- Never to anything that scares, hurts, or frightens Diana.
- Always maintain Diana’s focus.
Next, she needed to understand how to properly communicate her wishes to Diana. She must:
- Be calm and stand up when addressing Diana.
- Use a single, unique sound to audibly gain her focus.
I also wanted her to keep Diana on a leash when they were together. This will allow her to easily get and maintain Diana’s focus, if needed. It also acts as a constant reminder that she is the boss and not Diana.
After a week of this socialization, my client and Diana should have established the appropriate bond to expand their experience to “strangers”. I told them to proceed as follows:
- My client and Diana will be in the front yard with Diana on the leash.
- A stranger will approach from the sidewalk and stop about 50 feet away.
- If Diana begins to adrenalize, my client corrects and redirects Diana’s focus back to her.
- Once calm, the stranger continues to approach in a circular manner; stopping every few feet as he becomes closer to Diana.
- My client continues to direct Diana back to her if she begins to focus to intently on “the stranger”.
- Once the stranger has approached to within five feet from Diana, the stranger backs up and goes into the house.
- My client allows Diana to watch.
- The stranger will find a place in the house that is in sight of the front door, but away from it (preferably in another room).
- My client slowly brings Diana into the house, allowing her to look at “the stranger”. If she begins to adrenalize, she directs Diana away until she calms down.
- Once Diana and the stranger are in the same room, the stranger sits down and my clients sits down, holding the leash.
- My client slowly “gives Diana” more leash, allowing her to move around.
At this point, my client’s dog has experienced a safe and calm experience in meeting a stranger while focusing on my client for safety and direction. This exercise now needs to be repeated daily for two to three weeks in order to build up the consistency of action and socialization among different “strangers”.
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 Forsyth County Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Forsyth County Georgia.