Introducing Rules and Respect to Put an End to This Pack’s Problems

Bentlry, Patch and LucyBentley, Patch and Lucy’s owner called me to help get the pack of dogs to calm down, listen better and stop Bentley’s marking in the house.

When I first met them, it was hard not to laugh. Patch and Lucy are the Jack Russell puppies and they were even cuter in person. They had a nice playful energy to them, but clearly didnt understand rules boundaries or limits. Being the resident adult at six year old, Bentley seemed to be dealing with the addition to the home well, but was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I started out by going over some basic communication methods. I prefer to use distinct affirmative and correcting sounds; a kissing sound to agree or encourage and a hiss to disagree or communicate no. As soon as I introduced the words, the dogs responsiveness dramatically improved. Where their owners had to ask or correct them multiple times before, within minutes, a simple hiss was all that was required.

To help the owners interaction with the puppies, I showed them how to teach the sit and lay down commands. It only took a few moments before both dogs were sitting on command. I suggested that they continue to practice this exercise with the dogs. Individually at first, but eventually in tandem. I also suggested that when practicing together, that their owners start out by only offering one treat. By only rewarding the first dog to follow the command, their owners can use the reward as a motivation to comply immediately to get the reward treat.

Next I went over some body language tips. To dogs, the way we sit, face, stand or move speaks as loud or louder than verbal commands. By incorporating body language when working with their dogs, their owners can improve the dialogue between all involved. Deep down, dogs want to please their owners. In my experience, the disconnect is due to owners not communicating what is and is not allowed in a way the dog understands.

Once their owners started using body language as well as the affirmative and correcting sounds, all the dogs seemed more responsive and respectful of their owner’s authority. This is an important factor for Bentley’s marking in the home. Usually only the top ranking dog marks. To put an end to that unwanted behavior, it will be important that their owners assume a leadership position whenever possible.

To expand the leadership perception of the owners, I went over a leadership exercise that will help reinforce that the dogs are in a follower position. It only took a few repetitions for the dogs to get it, even the pups. I suggested that their owner practice this exercise daily for the next week or two to ensure that the proper leader follower dynamic is in place. I suggested their owners add and enforce some simple rules and boundaries as well. Any time you enforce a rule or boundary to a dog, you are assuming a leadership position. In time, this simple enforcement can lead to a deep respect for the position and authority of a dog’s owner.

By the end of the session, the dogs were calm, responsive and well behaved. Their owners will have setbacks as they move forward but this is to be expected any time you are working with puppies. But in time, these simple rules, communication methods and leadership exercises will instill the expected behavior into all three dogs. Before they even know it, their dogs will be listening, obeying and following rules without the need for monitoring or corrections.

 

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