Training a Dog By Petting it at the Right Time

By: David Codr

Published Date: January 16, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we share an easy way to help 4 year-old American Hairless Terrier Huey’s family to motivate him to listen to them and stop nipping people he doesn’t know.

Huey is a pretty high energy dog so we started out by discussing the importance of exercise. Dogs with Huey’s build done fare too well on walks in the winter due to the limited blood circulation to their feet. I shared a number of ways you can exercise a dog inside and recommended they try to get him an hours worth of exercise, but achieve four to six, 7-10 minute exercise sessions sprinkled throughout the day.

I also recommended the guardians get Huey neutered. If you are not going to breed a male dog, not neutering them can often lead to frustration due to not being able to use everything they have. This frustration can carry over to many behavior problems. Many human males shy away from neutering their dogs, but in most cases it can help by turning down the volume and helping them pay attention to other things.

One of Huey’s dog behavior problems was nipping at people he doesn’t know at times. I didn’t see any of this behavior during the session because I set clear rules and boundaries as soon as I arrived, combined with positive reinforcement any time Huey offered desired behaviors on his own. This is a great time to pet and reward a dog as it motivated them to do that desired behavior again. Repeating this process is one of the easiest things you can do to help a dog see and respect you as a leader.

This will be even more important in this case as I learned that there was a lack of structure in the house. A lack of rules, less exercise than needed and being able to demand attention is often a recipe for creating a petulant dog. Just like a spoiled child, a dog without rules and structure can get into trouble.

To help Huey start to see the humans as being authority figures, I shared my petting with a purpose method. You can learn how to pet a dog with a purpose by watching the free dog training video below.

My concern with Huey’s rehabilitation is having two guardians in two different camps. If everyone pets with a purpose and follows the other tips and suggestions I shared, Huey will start to adopt a follower’s mindset. This will make him much more interested in listening to and following his leader’s wishes. This transition is monumentally important if you want a dog to listen to and obey your commands.

But if one guardian disregards the positive dog training tips I shared in this in home dog training session, its going to make it even harder for the other guardian and for Huey to change. Being supportive is huge when you are modifying dog behavior. This is even more important in this situation as I believe Huey’s nips were related to him thinking he is in charge of the house.

The repair man that was nipped was in the house without Huey’s permission. When he did something Huey disagreed with, Huey felt it was his right and duty to nip to correct him. When the guardian who played too rough and playfully teased the dog and got to close when Huey was near his primary guardian, he bit the human in the nose to say “back off.”

The second guardian will need to decide if he wants to have a leader follower or peer relationship with the dog. If he continues interacting with intact Huey as a peer (someone who doesn’t enforce rules, teases and plays around) he will have a dog who nips him and other people, marks in the house and occasionally bites him.

On the other hand, if the guardian starts interacting with Huey as a leader (who pets with a purpose making Huey earn attention and engaging with him in ways that are more constructive like training) his dog will become more obedient and seeking to do the things his guardian wants as that is the best way to get rewards and attention from him.

Before wrapping up this in home dog training session, I shared a number of additional dog behavior tips to help with some of Huey’s other problems like accidents in the house, barking and not listening.

To help the guardians remember what we went over, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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