Mama Sally: One of the first things I encounter at every single lesson, is putting a leash on the dog that I am training. However, in many, many homes, this is where the craziness begins! Dogs often recognize that the leash means “walk” or “outing” and they just do a happy dance! It’s a lovely problem, but frustrating for many owners. Add to that difficulty, also putting on a collar or harness, if those are involved as well. If the dog is a puppy, don’t forget to throw in play biting with all of that excitement. It can be exhausting to just get ready for the walk, and that’s before you’ve even left the house!
Here’s an easy way to stop all of the nonsense! When you get out the leash/collar/harness, if your dog responds in any behavior other than calm, simply put your leash back where it was and walk away. Don’t say a word to your dog, don’t look at him or acknowledge him; just completely ignore him and walk away. If you can sit down and wait 2-3 minutes, that’s great. Then start over. If your dog explodes with excitement, walk away again. Just keep repeating your behavior. Ignore the dog completely, and walk away.
Here’s the beauty in all of it. Your dog really wants to go for his walk, so he really wants to see that leash! When you walk away, that’s the last thing he wants to see happen. Dogs watch for patterns of behavior from us, but also from themselves. When you walk away time after time, ignoring the dog, he’s going to start connecting the dots! He will begin to figure out that his crazy excitement is making you walk away! Over time, he will simply stop doing the excited craziness, and when he’s calm, you can reward him by putting on the leash and taking him for his outing! It honestly won’t take long at all, if you’re consistent with walking away once the happy dance starts!
What you want your dog to do, is produce calm, relaxed behavior for you. You want to stop all of the sharp peaks of craziness, so that your dog is able to stay more on an even keel with his behavior. He will learn to produce impulse control, or self control with his excitement level, because he is so happy to get an outing, and your problem will be solved in a pretty short amount of time. And you know what? You never had to say a word to your dog! You let your actions speak louder than your words, and that’s a big secret to successful dog training!
Listen to Rugby tell you what happened at our house with a different behavior and situation, but with the same way of solving it!
Rugby James: Well, when I had first commed to live wif the Mama, I was a purty barky dogger. I fought I was supposed to bark for stuff what I wanted to get….mostly for suppers! So every time the Mama would get my supper bowl out, I started to do a whole lotta loud barking to let her know I was really happy and excited that she was gonna get my suppers for me!
Well, if I know one fing about the Mama, it’s that she’s not real crazy about me doing lotsa naughty barking for no reason. See, to me, I was barking for a good reason. I was telling her to hurry up and get my suppers, and I was also very happy to get food!
So, you know what she did? She just dropped my supper dish back in the dog food bin and walked away. She maked me wait five whole minutes which is like 2 weeks in dog years! And then she tried it again, and so I barked again, on account of I wanted her to be quick about getting my suppers, and guess what happened? She dropped my supper bowl in the bin again and maked me wait five more minutes. Well, you can imagine how starved my poor lil pupper tummy was feeling about this time on account of it had be 4 weeks in dog years!
So, the next time she gotted my supper bowl out, I decided to just be quiet and let her work. And you know what? She dished up my suppers and I gotted to eat my kibbles! I figured out what was making her walk away, and when I stopped my barking, she gotted me what I wanted!!
Uprights is kinda goofy how they does fings sumtimes, but if you just keep watching them, if they does the same stuff over and over, you can figure out the rules to the games they plays. It’s a good fing too, on account of I would have starved to deaf, if I hadn’t been able to sort this whole fing out! Here’s to happy endings and full supper bowls!! Barrooo!!