A Spoiled Rotten Husky Learn to Respect and Listen to His Owner

By: David Codr

Published Date: March 12, 2015

Nanuck

Nanuk is a two year old Huskie who’s owner called me after being informed the dog was getting too rough at daycare, gets overexcited at home, jumps up on people, counter surfs and doesnt listen to owner. Her owner ended her email to me by saying “He is spoiled rotten.”

When I arrived for the session I saw what she meant. The dog showed no respect for my personal space, jumped up and even when corrected to give me space COMPLETELY IGNORED ME. Because he kept on jumping up on me, I applied the technique I have developed to curb the jumping up behavior. After applying it once, Nanuk started to hesitate and even when he jumped up on a human, it was a light touch and only for a fraction of a second.

Next I had a long discussion with Nanuk’s owner regarding “spilling him rotten” and how that has impacted his behavior. I showed her a few different techniques to deal with some of the unwanted behaviors, suggested some rules and structure to add in as well as some non verbal communication methods.

I started to go over a leadership exercise I use with many of my clients and Nanuk was having none of it. Because his owner had given in when he challenged her for two years, the dog had developed a belief that the proper way to get what it wants is to out last her.

The exercise involves communicating to the dog that it is to leave alone a piece of meat on the floor after I claimed it. Nanuk was determined, but so was I. I spent about 30 minutes blocking and correcting him before changing tactics. I repeated a variation of the exercise using his kennel.

I tossed a few high value treats into his kennel one at a time. At first he was hesitant and cautious to go inside. I kept tossing in treats until he went in without any hesitation, then flowed in behind him blocking his exit from the kennel. I waited for him to settle down then took a small step backward. At this point Nanuk tried to come out so I rushed forward to block him from exiting.

I repeated this back and forth process for about 10 minutes before he finally sat down. As soon as he did I took a big step backward sot communicate that I appreciated his taking a more subordinate position. A few minutes later he laid down in the kennel. As soon as he did I took a knee and gave him the recall command.

His owner did the exercise after I did in the same fashion. It took him less time before he laid down this time, but only marginally so. I suggested that she keep repeating this exercise until he was able to stay calm laying down in the kennel for 20+ minutes. This will help him develop his ability to restrain himself while also conditioning him to remain calm inside the kennel.

I showed Nanuk’s owner how to use a Martingale and the special twist of the leash and then we prepared to head out on a walk. Nanuk kept trying to race or rush and when he did, his owner started moving faster too. I explained how important it is to pause and wait for a dog to calm down before moving forward with any activity, especially the walk. If the dog is over excited when we leave the house, that is the energy it will have on the walk.

By waiting and taking this slow, Nanuk was much calmer and responded much better on the walk, As usual the Martingale stopped most of the pulling. I spent the rest of the walk going over different hand placements, corrections, etc. His owner told me it was nice to walk him rather than he walking and pulling her all over.

At the end of the session Nanuk was much calmer, probably due to the mental and physical excursion we covered in the session. I stressed that his owner will need to maintain a more structured living environment and ALWAYS outlast the dog. That combined with only petting for following a command to help reinforce the leader follower dynamic will go a long way in terms of changing Nanuk’s perception he is the top dog.

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