Teaching a Trio of Dogs Skills That Develop Self Control

By: David Codr

Published Date: April 17, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we worked with three dogs, two of which (7 year-old Australian Shepherd mix Coach, left and 1 year-old Yellow lab mix Apollo in the front) who have had some dog fighting problems and difficulty controlling themselves. No such problems with 7 year old Yellow Lab Bailey (top).

We started off by discussing the dog’s backstory and day to day lives. I made a number of suggestions to help the dog’s see and respect their guardians as leaders of the home. Many of us assume the dog sees us as leaders as we are humans. But dogs are all about what they see for themselves. We have to act like leaders through our actions in order for them to respect us.

Many people train their dogs to disobey as that is when we consistently react. For dogs, attention is validating, even if its not good attention. This is why many dogs end up misbehaving; their humans have trained them to do so as thats the easiest way to get attention.

To help the humans start rewarding positive actions and behaviors, I went over my petting with a purpose method and also emphasized how important it is to recognize, reward and mark desired behaviors by petting the dogs within 3 seconds of doing them, then saying the single command word right after.

If the humans get into a habit of using the two easiest forms of positive dog training, it shouldn’t be long before the dogs are sitting, coming, laying down and bringing desired toys instead of misbehaving to get attention.

Next we discussed the importance of proper exercise. One of my favorite ways to exercise a dog is a good game of fetch as the dog is running at full speed and activating their prey drive to some extent. This is a far more efficient way to exercise a dog than a walk (which is great for demonstrating leadership and stimulation for the dog). Problem is, Apollo didn’t like to drop or bring the object back. Instead he ran around with the item which caused everyone to chase him (validating).

I decided to teach Apollo to drop so I could get him to fetch and decided to train him to stay too as this will help all the dogs develop more self control. You can get some free positive dog training tips for these exercises in the video below.

Training a dog to stay is a great exercise as the dog has to do the work. It also offers a great way to help them develop more control; a skill that will serve all three dogs.

It only took a minute to train Apollo to drop, leave it and fetch. Teaching him to stay is going to require the humans to practice with each dog in short practice sessions throughout the day. I accomplished this with my pack of 4 dogs by taking one into a room by itself to practice for a minute or two, then brining in another dog. This way I spent 10 minutes or so a few times a day which made it more manageable.

I recommended the guardians give each dog a separate release command (never using the word “ok”) and practicing daily. With two guardians in the house, if they each spend 10 minutes training the dogs to stay each day, and progressively lengthen the time, distance and distractions, these dogs should have a strong stay command and better self control in a month or so.

We may end up seeing the dogs guardians again at the fireworks counterconditioning class we will be holding in June. If you have a dog afraid of fireworks and want to learn how to help them get over that fear, email us your contact info at doggoneproblems@gmail.com and we will contact you when classes are starting.

To help the guardians remember all the positive dog training exercises we went over in this in home dog behavior training session, we shot a roadmap to success video you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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