Robin and I just got back from a new Home Dog Training client in Big Canoe helping him with Thomas, his one year old Jack Russell. When our client talked to Robin over the phone, it appeared that Thomas’ issues evolved around not listening and bad behavior. When we arrived at our client’s home, we did what we always do at initial visits; we reviewed what we needed to work on and accomplish that day. The conversation quickly turned from not listening and behavior to the fact that Thomas seemed to be afraid of our client. We were grateful that our client admitted this to us as we started the lesson and told him that he had nothing to worry about…
Unfortunately, we have seen this often during our dog training careers. Most dog owners try to be good and loving towards their dogs, but sometimes they just loose it and get super mad. They yell and scream, and sometimes even hit their “best friend”. We have seen that bad experiences can often leave very strong impressions with dogs and can last a long time.
Life happens and the good thing is that our client knew he messed up and is asking us for help. They want to get back on the right track and have a great dog and great experience again. We now come in to help fix the problem.
One solution we offer our clients is to practice a program that we call “V Feeding”. This is a process where the client has small treats or kibble and used them to entice their dog to come to them, feel safe, and and then go on about his daily business. The importance of this exercise is that the client is actively engaging with their dog and their dog, under his own actions, can take part and feel safe in the environment and with our client. We have our client do the following:
- You first have to get some dog treats your dog really, really loves.
- Be about eight feet away from your dog. Throw a treat to the left of your dog about seven feet from you and close to him. Stay perfectly still and allow your dog to go and get it.
- Next, toss a treat to the right of your dog about six feet from you. Continue to “act like a statue” and allow your dog to go and get it.
- Repeat this process of tossing a treat to the left and right of your dog, slowly closing the gap between your dog and you.
- When you and your dog are about three feet apart, you should kneel down low to see if he will come to you. If he does, that is great. If he does not, that is not a problem.
- Finally, start tossing the treats to your left and right, increasing the distance between you and the treats.Once your dog is about eight feet away from you, let your dog know he is a good boy by saying, in a high voice “Good Boy!”. Stay still for a moment or two and then walk away.
We tell our clients to do this several times a day. Since we don’t know what caused the dog’s fear of the client and, many times, they don’t either, our goal is to simply remove that experience as a focal point of the dog’s recognition of the client. We are repeatedly and consistently replacing whatever the problem was with a new and happy experience.
When things are really going well with the exercise, we suggest that our client begins to pet their dog when they and the dog are close. They should not make any fast movements and extend their hand slowly, below their dog’s head. Once their hand is next to their dog, they should take it around and below the dog’s head and start to rub them on the lower neck and upper back. This will emulate a grooming sensation for their dog. Grooming is a sign of respect and the dog will become calm with that action.
What we have done is to “reintroduce” our client to their dog in a non-aggressive way. We have allowed the dog to come to the conclusion that our client will not harm him.
We hope you will call us at (770) 718-7704 if you are in need of any dog training help. We have many more great dog training tips at Best Dog Trainers Big Canoe Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Big Canoe Georgia.