I have a Home Dog Training client in Ball Ground who has two Yorkshire Terriers; Nala and King, who just have a big problem with any other dog they come into contact with. When I started with them, they would bark and go nuts when they were in the back of the house and heard a dog walking down the street in front of the house. This was a big problem for my clients because it was just making them go nuts. I am really happy to say that just after two lessons; they are 100% better than before. People in Georgia are living closer and closer these days and this type of problem is becoming a much bigger issue with dog owners than just ten or fifteen years ago. I would like to share what we did in order to help other dog owners who might have this problem.
The first thing that any dog owner must accomplish before they can fix any problem with their dogs is to take control of the situation. In order to accomplish this, they must get their dogs’ focus and attention. In the case of Nala and King, that was a big hurdle to reach. Both of them would just start going nuts and they would just build on each other. In order to take our first step, we had to “divide and conquer”.
- I used one of my five dogs as “the distractive dog” in the front so that we could actively work on their initial issues.
- We put both Nala and King on leashes and took them into the back of the house.
- I had one of my clients’ friends slowly walk my dog up and down in front of the house. Nala and King were far enough in the back so that they were not aware of my dog in the front.
- We took Nala and slowly walked her into the front of the house while we kept King (on a leash) safely in the back.
- As soon as Nala would start to become distracted with my dog (walking up and down in the front), we would correct her (little tug on leash and low, stern sound) and guide her back into the middle of the house where she could give us focus. We praised her with a high, encouraging tone to let her know that she did a good job.
- As soon as Nala was calm and focused on us, we would walk her back on the leash into the front of the house. If Nala began to bark or overly focus on the front door or windows, we would repeat our correction and praise activity.
- After about fifteen minutes, Nala was sitting quietly in the front room with my dog walking up and down in front.
- We now brought King into the front room. Of course, he began to go nuts. (Nala remained calm). We allowed King to observe Nala and we then corrected him and guided him in the same way we did with Nala. Because of seeing Nala, he calmed down much faster.
- Once they were both calm and sitting, we walked them around the room on leashes and then through the rest of the front of the house. My dog was still walking up and down in the front.
- As they continued to give focus to their handlers, we dropped their leashes and sat down. We allowed them to passively do whatever they wanted to do. They were still calm and not paying attention to the activity in the front.
What we have accomplished is to have Nala and King understand that their owners are their central point of focus and to obey them when requested. We were now ready to “ramp it up.
- I opened the front door and brought Nala up to about six feet from the open door. She could see about a 45 degree angle of what was going on outside. This allowed her to hear my dog walking on the sidewalk but only see him for a very short while. When she watched him pass with no craziness, she was praised. When she started go jump and bark, she was corrected, redirected away to refocus her, and then brought back.
- Once she could watch my dog walk back and forth calmly, we repeated the process with King.
- We repeated the above process with both Nala and King by moving to the front door, going about four feet out of the front door, and then sitting in the front yard. Each step allowed us to increase the intensity of the engagement by increasing the line of vision.
- Our final activity for the session was to drop the leashes (the front yard was completely fenced in) and allow Nala and King to roam freely while we walked my dog on the other side of the fence on the sidewalk.
- As soon as either began to bark or become overly focused on my dog, one of my clients would step on the dog’s leash and then redirect him away. As soon as the dog was calm and focused on the client, he would get praise and the leash would be released.
- By the end of the session, Nala and King could sit in the yard and my dog could walk up and down in front of the house. I even had my dog stop while we had a conversation with the client on the other side of the fence.
All we have done here is to:
- Establish the leadership role of the clients by having the dogs give them focus when requested. This allows the clients to be in the natural role of “command giver”.
- Socialize Nala and King that other dogs are “no big deal”.
- Kept it simple and consistent.
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 Ball Ground Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Ball Ground Georgia.