Helping Ginger Respect and Respond to the Members of her Family

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 17, 2014

Ginger (Black goldendoodle)Ginger is a four-month-old Golden Doodle who’s owners asked me to help stop her from jumping up on the kids, play biting / mouthing and getting over excited.

When I sat down to discuss the situation with her owners, I watched as each one of them instinctively petted Ginger any time she was near. Additionally Ginger didnt really have any rules or boundaries in place which gave her the impression she was equal in status to all the members of the family.

To change this perception, I suggested that the family adopt a few rules and boundaries to help the dog start to see and identify itself as being in a follower position. Not allowing the dog to sit as high as the humans (no furniture), staying ten feet from the dinner table and waiting for permission to eat will help Ginger learn to defer and follow the lead of the humans in the home.

Next I showed the members of the family some basic dog communication methods using body language. By communicating what is and is not allowed in a way the dog understands, Ginger should quickly adopt more desirable behaviors.

Next I went over a leadership exercise that will help Ginger practice deferring and following the commands of her family. It was during this exercise that I saw some insecurity in Ginger. Instead of interacting with the exercise, she moved away to hide behind a chair or table. This disengagement is a classic sign of insecurity so I changed things up and moved to a basic recall exercise.

By using positive reinforcement to condition Ginger to recall on command, her family can help increase her confidence. its important to grow a dog’s self esteem in its first year to help it learn to adopt a calm confident behavior.

At first, she needed a little encouragement to come over. But after she got a few high value treats, you could see a little extra bounce in her step as her confidence increased. We continued practicing the recall exercise for a few minutes then returned to practicing the leave it exercise again.

By the end of the session, Ginger was responding to her owners commands and corrections immediately. I recommended they continue to practice the recall and leave it exercises while strictly reinforcing the new rules and boundaries over the next week to help Ginger put these unwanted behaviors behind her for good.

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