Teaching an Excitable Dog to Respect Boundaries and Stay Behind an Invisible Line

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 24, 2019

Abby 1 - Teaching an Excitable Dog to Respect Boundaries and Stay Behind an Invisible Line

For this Omaha dog training session we teach 2 year-old Boxer mix Abby to stay behind an invisible line to help the dog develop some self control and respect for her human’s personal space.

Abby is a super-friendly dog. She wags her body with her tail following close behind. While it was clear she was enamored with our presence, she had absolutely no idea how to respect personal space. She wiggled up on our laps, up our backs and almost literally climbed over us a few times while she was over excited. As Omaha’s dog behavior expert, I knew that some dog impulse control was sorely needed.

At one point she latched on to my arm. There was no pressure, it was not a bite, just mouthing my arm. Her guardian explained she called that “love.” Im always concerned when a dog grabs or mouthes humans that way, even if its not aggressive, as if it happens to someone who doesn’t know the dog, who interprets it as a bite … bad things can happen. Developing bite inhibition and good mouth manners are a super important task for any dog guardian.

While none of Abby’s excited dog behaviors were at all aggressive, her advances were not requested. My apprentice Taylor and I didnt mind, but it was way over the top. I always say, its ok to do (as long as its not abusive or dangerous) if you ask the dog to do it. If the dog does it without asking, that can be a problem.

In Abby’s case, she was only high energy and invaded our personal space while excited. We spent over an hour sharing tips to help excited dogs calm down. Introducing and enforcing rules, petting with a purpose, rewarding desired behaviors and increasing her exercise will all go a long way towards helping the dog develop self control.

Another great way to help a dog develop some self control is to teach the dog to stay behind a boundary. I recruited the family’s youngest to help provide a target, munching on a snack on the couch so I could demonstrate how to establish dog boundaries.

Helping dogs learn to respect boundaries is very important with an excitable dog like Abby. I led her guardian through this exercise in the kitchen and Abby only needed one correction to get it. I think Abby’s mouthing disagreeing behavior was a result of the dog being so unaccustomed to her guardian disagreeing with her this way. After the one bump in the road, she did wonderfully. Id like the guardian to reach out if she persists in the same way again, but doubt it will happen.

To help the humans remember all the dog behavior advice I shared in this in home Omaha dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr