you are part of a pack, and if you are not doing the thinking and training, Your dog is! If your dog has you trained, now is the time for a productive opportunity for you to easily redirect his bad behaviors that are unsafe and/ or annoying for games or tricks that you can live with…. Here is an example;
I had done obedience training with 3 or 4 dogs before I had kids.. so I kinda knew what I needed to do to live happily with dogs.. Through horses I met a little Jack Russel Terrier named “Bud”. Best darn farm dog I had met.. short and stocky with up ears and a brown patch over one eye on his otherwise all white body. When “Bud” became a dad, my husband had an opportunity to barter for a puppy.. and so “Jack” came into our household.
As a puppy Jack was easily over stimulated and often wide open, and full grown at 12 pounds totally portable.! Jack became an important part of our family and went where ever we went. Like his Dad, Jack loved to fetch and if I had a ball, I had Jacks full attention. Jack quickly had me trained to throw his ball through his insistent barking. Stall cleaning, the quiet reflective chore that it is, became constant barking.. he had done it.. he barked, I threw the ball… over and over.. Finally, I realized what I had become, and that I was trained..! I knew I needed to fix this and teaching him to not bark was not happening.. I needed to teach him something else. I noticed that occasionally he would push the tennis ball with his nose, and when he did this he was not barking.. Jack quickly learned what “push it” meant, graduated to soccer balls, and went on to become a star soccer mascot for my sons soccer team, but that is another story. Jack taught me if you have a dog that is motivated, teaching is a breeze. Jacks motivation was a ball.
How to cope with bad behavior
Barking was just a small part of Jacks annoying bad behaviors, and living with a Jack Russel Terrier is not a task for the lazy. Jack was the smallest dog I’ve ever owned, but he had the biggest heart and garnered respect where ever he went. Never mean or aggressive, but always ready to take on the biggest foe if necessary. Jack could of been a difficult dog, but because we were an active family, and he was able to go with us, he got a lot of exercise.
Keeping a dog from behaving badly, requires you to redirect him and this requires individual attention. Remember to work with each of your dogs one at a time. Yes, more dogs are more fun, but, the more dogs we have the less time we have to spend with each one, and you need to have an understanding and relationship with each of your dogs. Spending as little as just five minutes a day with each dog, can go a long way in creating a bond. Dogs love to learn and every moment with your dogs they are looking up at you and learning. Make sure you have taught your dog individually each task before you expect them to understand it within the pack.
And what is the Key to make sure you get the most from your five minute training sessions?
EXERCISE! Before you take on any training, whether it be through a class or just in your back yard, give your dog a chance to be a dog for a bit. Throw the ball, take the dog for a run, or just let him rough house with another dog. You do not want your dog dead tired, but a dog that is bouncing around and unable to focus because he has been penned up all day is not a good student. And the added benefit of going from playing to training keeps the dog happy and engaged. You can use his favorite toy as a reward or use high value treats, what ever motivation makes him happy
Exercise makes dogs happy, and happy dogs make for happy owners.
No matter where you live, the size or breed of your dog(s), or the weather, there are many options for getting your dog a little physical and mental stimulation while benefiting your self as well.
There are dog clubs, breed specific clubs, and training clubs.
Doggie day care facilities, swimming pools for dogs and dog walkers
There are dog parks and retail outlets that allow dogs.
And all kinds of cool sports and activities that people are doing with their dogs, from dock diving, nose work, agility, fly ball and barn hunts…
And the best thing about getting out with your dog(s) is the people that you will meet. I highly recommend starting out with a obedience lesson at a couple different facilities if possible. Meet the people, watch a class or two before you register and learn a bit about their training methods. Many times we become so compliant At home with our dogs, we don’t even realize how alone we are. If you allow your dogs to give you a reason to get out and explore new adventures, you will be amazed at the camaraderie, support and new doors that will be open for you and your dog.