Chelsea Learns to Calm Down and Listen to Her Owners

ChelseaChelsea is a two-and-a-half year old Goldendoodle. Their owners called me for help as Chelsea didn’t seem to always respect the wife’s authority, pulls on leash and gets so excited at times she piddled or had difficulty controlling herself.

When I first met her, I instantly understood what their owners were dealing with. Chelsea was all over the place, running up to me and her owners for attention, jumping up on people and furniture and showing no respect for boundaries and personal space.

I started out by showing them my preferred method of disagreeing with the dog’s jumping up on people. It only took one repetition for Chelsea to get the message. She still jumped up, but didn’t make contact with the person which means she was starting to get it. If everyone in the family applies this same technique, she should stop jumping up on people within a day or two.

We sat down on the couch to discuss the session and Chelsea immediately jumped up as well. I had everyone sitting on that couch stand up at once. As soon as they did, Chelsea immediately dismounted that couch so that she could jump up on another. After repeating this process twice, I pulled out a leash and put it on Chelsea. I dropped the leash then stood on it about a foot from her head.

Within 60 seconds the dog calmed down, then laid down on the floor at my feet. As soon as she did, I stepped off the leash slowly and discretely so Chelsea wouldn’t know the difference. She laid there calmly and quietly for the next ten minutes then stood up and calmly walked away.

I suggested that her owners repeat this technique each time the dog passed what they considered her midway point of excitability. By giving the dog a time out this way as soon as it starts to get excited, we can help communicate that overexcitement results in loss of freedom until it calms down. It will take repeating this process on time for the next week or two, but based on how dramatically and quickly it changed her energy level, i suspect this problem won’t be around for long.

Next I went over a few leadership exercises that the members of the family can practice to help the dog start to see and identify as subordinate to the humans in the home. This is different than trying to get a dog to submit. Domination and submission are fear based methodologies that I do not subscribe to.

My goal is to help my client’s keep their dogs from getting over excited, help them communicate with the dog in away the dog understands and help the dog see their humans as authority figures to respect and respond to.

By the end of the session Chelsea was noticeably calmer and more responsive to commands and corrections. With a little practice at the leadership exercises and new methods of communication, Chelsea should adopt this calmer, more respectful demeanor all the time.

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