I was at a revisit training for a Georgia Dog Training client in Flowery Branch that I hadn’t seen for probably six or seven months. When I first trained him and his Old English Sheepdog, Shiloh; the issues were mainly puppy behavior and pottying. Everything went great and after two visits; he was very happy. Shiloh was doing everything he wanted so he hadn’t called me back. Now, many months later, Shiloh is no longer a puppy and he had become lax in some of the training and behavior routines. I told my client not to worry because this happens to many puppy owners. They love their puppies so much that they are blind to the inappropriate actions that start to sneak in.
My client told me that Shiloh was still a great dog and he loved everything we had taught him. He said that Shiloh’s problem was that he was just “too friendly”.
I have to admit that when I came into the house, Shiloh jumped on me and then did that with the rest of the family as we entered the family room. As soon as we sat down, he was on the sofa and wanted my client to pet him. I didn’t say a word because I wanted to see how they would respond to Shiloh’s actions.
Well, my client simply pet Shiloh as soon as he asked for attention and then let him lie in his lap as we continued to talk. After a minute or two, Shiloh got bored with my client and then went to other family members asking for attention and pets.
I couldn’t hold it any longer, so I asked my client what he thought of Shiloh’s actions. He said that he really didn’t mind it. The problem is that some of his guests and his kids’ friends didn’t like it when Shiloh did those things. They try to push him away or tell him “no” and Shiloh doesn’t pay attention to them and continues to annoy them. My client said that he thought the problem was that Shiloh was just “too friendly”.
The problem is not that Shiloh is too friendly. Almost all dogs are friendly. That is why we have dogs. The problem lay in the fact that my client and his family were sending Shiloh mixed signals. They did nothing when Shiloh was all over them. This sends a signal to Shiloh that attention seeking behavior and their focus on him were correct and appropriate actions. When friends and guests try to tell Shiloh that they don’t want to engage in that type of behavior, that confuses Shiloh.
Dogs are great in learning and obeying simple rules and actions. I told my client that he needed to establish clear rules that would be in place for everyone all the time. That means that Shiloh shouldn’t be on the furniture with the family, friends, or guests.
Dogs also must have a clear leader or authority figure. The way that they establish the leader is to figure out who in the house is giving the commands. When Shiloh tells my client and his family to pet him by giving them a “hand nose rub” and they respond, they are doing what Shiloh has requested. This makes him the leader. I told my client that, in order to become the clear leader over Shiloh, they must always make sure that every interaction they have with Shiloh is their idea. This will assure that Shiloh sees them as the leaders.
I next suggested that they work on my “good behavior at the front door exercise”. This is a wonderful tool in showing Shiloh that my client and his family are the leaders of the house and his clear focal point the moment “new people” come into their environment. I told them to:
- Make sure someone is at the door, waiting for the doorbell to ring or knock on the door.
- They will establish a rule that Shiloh is not allowed within a specific area around the door when they are greeting guests or friends.
- The doorbell now rings or door knocks.
- They are at the door and facing Shiloh. If Shiloh starts to approach the door and their “don’t be here when the I am answering the door” area, they correct Shiloh and guide him away from the area.
- Once Shiloh is calmly away from the door area, they slowly open the door while still facing Shiloh.
- If Shiloh approaches, they correct and guide him away.
- Once the person is inside the door, they close the door and praise Shiloh for staying back.
- They can now enter the house with their guest. If Shiloh starts to adrenalize or jump, they can now correct that behavior.
I explained that this is a great exercise to let Shiloh know that they are the ones in charge of allowing people into the house. Shiloh’s submission to their actions clearly shows he has recognized their authority. The proper execution of this exercise minimizes or eliminates Shiloh’s escalation of adrenaline and, in turn, keeps him calm and focused on them. They are now are in a far better place to keep Shiloh from going crazy.
I emphasized with my client that this exercise and the adherence to the steps I outlined does not take any of Shiloh’s natural happy nature away. It simply allows them to decide when it is time “to be friendly”.
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 Flowery Branch Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Flowery Branch Georgia.