Helping Maggie Calm Down to Improve Her Behavior

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 4, 2014

MaggieThis is Maggie, a five-month-old Black Lab testing her owner’s limits a bit with her rambunctious behavior; stealing items, demand barking, jumping on people and furniture, etc.

It took all of 15 seconds to figure out that Maggie was an overexcited dog who lacked boundaries and discipline. She started jumping up on her owners and the couch but didn’t stop there. She jumped up on her owner as they sat on the couch, and then Maggie climbed up on top of one of her owner’s shoulders!

I showed them how to communicate that she wasn’t allowed on the couch, then called her over to me. She bounded in my direction and jumped up in a pretty athletic display.

I saw it coming so I applied the technique Ive developed to stop dogs from jumping up. Maggie didn’t like my disagreeing with her jumping up on me one bit, but the technique worked. From that point on, she jumped up but didn’t touch me or stopped herself before she jumped.

I started to talk to her owners about some rules that could help define boundaries, but as soon as I did, Maggie started to sprint around the room in a loop that included jumping up against the couch.

“There she goes,” her owners said as soon as she started. They explained that Maggie’s sprinting laps around the room was a common occurrence.

To help her understand that was outside-only behavior I put her on a leash and stepped on it about a food from her collar. Maggie pulled and rolled around in a bit of a temper tantrum disagreeing with my interruption of her room sprinting session. But after a minute she called down. Then she sat and eventually lay down completely calm.

As soon as she layed down, I moved my foot off the leash slowly so she wouldn’t notice while i continued my conversation with her owners. The correction took all of 90 seconds and after Maggie laid on the floor for a moment or two, she slowly got up and walked over to get a bully stick, completely calm.

I had to repeat the correction once more but after that, Maggie’s energy level stayed at a lower level. I showed her owners a few exercises to help them assume more of a leadership role in Maggie’s eyes, but the main thing they need to do is apply to leash time out each time Maggie gets too excited.

She is an extremely bright dog, but has a bit of a stubborn streak. This determination is a great quality when hunting, retrieving etc, but it can try an owner’s patience when its done in a defiant way.

Now that her owners know how to disagree with the over excitement and jumping up, Maggie’s unwanted behaviors will become less and less frequent before they stop altogether.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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