I was with a Home Dog Training Client in Norcross yesterday teaching him how to properly walk his dog calmly through the neighborhood. While we were on the lesson, one of his neighbors approached us with a question. His neighbor has an eight month old Pit Bull named Randy. He got Randy as a puppy and his dog has always been “over the top” when it comes to energy and excitement. He also mentioned that his job was in Atlanta and often required long hours. He often traveled on three and four day business trips. He saw what great things we were accomplishing with my client’s dog and wondered if there was any hope for him and Randy.
I first explained that proper training is always the most important action whenever you have a problem with your dog that you can’t resolve on your own. With that said, I told him that the most obvious issue he is probably facing with Randy is lack of socialization and bonding time. Formal training is one thing, but simple “fun and play time” is also very important in a dog’s (and our) personal development. Since he is working long hours and away from home from time to time, my guess was that he was not managing his time to spend quality time with his Pit Bull.
Quality time with an eight month old puppy isn’t greeting him at the door with a pet and watching TV with him at night. Larger breed puppies (and especially Pit Bulls) need a way to drain their adrenaline in a productive manner. Randy was simply a little school boy that had been sitting in his seat in class all day and hadn’t been able to get to recess to run and play with everybody else. Until he got Randy de-adrenalized; proper and effective behavior and obedience training could not be accomplished. I offered some simple tips and alternative suggestions to help him and Randy with their situation:
- Actively create quality time with your dog. Even if you work long hours, proactively schedule thirty minutes when you get home to spend with him. As soon as you get home, take him in the back yard and play catch with him. Take five or six tennis balls and throw them one at a time. As soon as he reaches the first ball, throw the second, then the third, etc. As you are throwing the balls, calmly walk around and pick up the discarded ones so that you can continue the process. As Randy is going nuts running around the back yard, you are calmly walking around. Do this for about ten minutes and then slowly calm him down until you can sit down in an outside chair. Give him a goodie to chew on calmly. We always suggest Deer Antlers. These are great because they are natural, safe, and last a very, very long time. Once you have spent some quiet time with him outside, calmly walk with him back inside and continue your evening.
- When you have dinner, feed Randy at the same time in the same room. Passively building a respectful bond is very important in your relationship and the “breaking of bread” is important with any animal. Make sure they you never feed him from the table or allow him to jump or beg at the table.
- Just like many kids love going to Summer Camp, most dogs love social interaction and excited play with other dogs. Find a good Doggie Day Care in the neighborhood that has both an inside and outside play area. This assures that whatever type of weather you may be experiencing; the dogs still have a place to naturally interact. Take Randy there once or twice a week. It is best if you take him on the same days so that he will be with the same dogs all the time. He will build up relationships there and will look forward to the experience. As his care giver and provider, you are enforcing that where ever you take him, he is always safe and secure. If there is nobody at home when you go on business trips, you have already established a “home away from home” for your dog.
- If your days are “extra long”, have a dog walker come in and walk/play with Randy in the middle of the day. This breaks up the extended period of absence, helps with his socialization, and helps to minimize any separation anxiety that might occur.
I told my client’s neighbor that these ideas should get him moving in the right track to have a great bond and relationship with Randy. Building a strong bond and lasting, trusting relationship is based on time and can’t be rushed. Having Randy experience that early in life is very important.
He thought that these ideas were great and was going to implement them with Randy as soon as he could.
Please call Robin or Bruce at (770) 718-7704 or (770) 718-7716 if you have any dog training questions. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over fourteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.