Adding Rules and Structure to Help a Dog Focus on His Humans

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 22, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we help 7 year-old Czeck Shepherd Magnus with his anxiety by teaching him to focus so he is nicer to his roomie, 8 year-old Husky Cage.

Mags and Gage were outside when we arrived for the session due to Mag’s occasional reactive behavior. As Omaha’s dog behavior expert, long ago I learned to wait for excited dogs to calm down before engaging with them. This normally works great, but Mag’s excitement spilled over to Gage. But when Gage barked or got too close to the door, Mags offered some redirected aggression.

Fortunately they calmed down before anything bad happened, but it was clear that Mags was a high energy dog who was frustrated. I started the session discussing the importance of exercise and some easy ways to exercise the dogs. Mags is so high energy, he probably should have been a working dog. Dogs with such an abundance of energy can be problematic as pets unless they get a considerable amount of exercise, ideally every 2-3 hours.

While Id like to see the dogs (especially Mags) exercised more, its important that Mags learns that the activity wont continue unless he is completely calm. TO achieve this, you need to practice the activity that gets the dog excited, but stop the instant the dog starts to get excited. This video shows how to use this approach for a dog who gets excited while being leashed up.

We also covered the importance to rules and structure, how to motivate the dog to offer behaviors the humans want and an easy way to reward desired behaviors.

Throughout the session, Mags was on edge and his guardians had difficulty getting him to focus on them at times. I decided to show them a focus exercise to help them get his attention before he starts reacting to things he disagrees with.

Training a dog to focus is a great way to stop them from getting into trouble or reacting to things. The guardians will need to practice this daily for a week or so to really create a strong focus command. But once they do, they can redirect Mags away before he reacts or acts out.

Developing self control is another area Mags needs work. There are many ways to accomplish this like asking a dog to wait at an open door until the human gives permission to exit.

Id also like the guardians master the leave it exercise to more effectible communicate to Mags to leave things alone. This will also help him develop more self control.

TO help the guardians remember all the things we covered in this in home dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can watch below.

Roadmap

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This post was written by: David Codr

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