I was working with a Home Dog Training client in Hall County last week with his American Bulldog, Harley. We had started the training program several months earlier when Harley was just a puppy. We worked on all the regular “puppy things” such as pottying, not nipping, coming, listening, etc. Things had been going very well, so my client had not called me back to continue the training for several months. Like most things, procrastination got the better of my client as Harley got bigger and bigger. Harley was now jumping on everyone and just not listening. (Too much puppy play, I believe.) I was there to fix the problem.
In today’s world, we are pulled in many directions and never seem to have enough time to really get things done. Case in point: When you have a frozen food, how often do you simply microwave it when it also gives you instructions to cook it in the oven?
We can’t blame ourselves; there is just so much to do and so little time to do it. This is the problem that my client was facing with Harley. American Bulldogs are really cute and playful puppies. Whenever they do anything wrong, it is just so hard to correct them. They just want to play. As time passes, this is the environment Harley has come to expect. He can demand “Play” from my client any time he wants. Now, he is no longer fifteen pounds, he is eighty-five pounds of muscle and crazy adrenaline. He really doesn’t want to hurt anybody; he just wants to play “tackle football in the living room all day long”.
My client needs to get control of Harley immediately and have Harley respect him and focus on his commands. He needs to take charge of when play time is and when “be good and quiet” time is. He also needs a simple and quick way to get it done.
After training dogs for over eleven years, I have come up with a super neat way of solving my client’s problem. It is easy, fast, and always works.
Whenever Harley was misbehaving, I needed to have my client say to Harley (in dog terms) “Stop it and be good”. The beauty of my technique is that I don’t really care what the “bad thing” is. I am most interested in giving my client the ability to gain Harley’s focus and direct the bad behavior into good behavior; as defined by my client. Sound difficult? No, not at all.
I told my client that whenever he was home, he should have a standard, six foot leash attached to Harley’s collar. This leash will be the tool to get Harley’s focus to my client whenever my client desires.
He should let Harley walk around the house, as usual. Just for fun, I want him to step on the leash at random times. I want Harley to think “So what is that?” He will look back and see my client standing there, calm, still, confident, and forthright. From a canine perspective, this is telling Harley, “Oh, there is the boss”.
Now, whenever Harley starts to do anything wrong, my client is to do the same thing. He steps on the leash to stop Harley’s action. If needed, he can pick up the leash and calmly walk Harley away from the situation. This will remove Harley’s focus on whatever was causing the inappropriate action and have him focus on my client.
Since my client is calm and forthright, it will tell Harley “Oh you are the boss” and also show him that being calm and focused on my client is the appropriate action.
I explained to my client that HE MUST do this every time his American Bulldog started to misbehave. As soon as he started to jump on a family member, direct him away and calm him down. As soon as he started to run to the front door, direct him away and calm him down.
He must also do this action at the exact moment he sees Harley start the inappropriate activity. Catching the act at the moment it starts (or about to start) will minimize Harley’s adrenaline. This makes it easier for my client to redirect Harley and calmly succeed.
Simple, calm redirection with the result of respectful focus is the key through all of this. This is the key to teaching and a great tool he could successfully start using immediately.
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 Hall County Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Hall County Georgia.