Teaching a Big Dog in Venice a Little Bit of Self Control

By: David Codr

Published Date: November 6, 2019

For this Always Sunny Venice Beach dog training session, we share some tips to help dogs develop self control to help 11 month old Mastiff mix Jerry respect boundaries, bring back the Mick and listen / respect his human better.

Jerry is a very happy and loving dog, but he has absolutely no concept of boundaries and was quite mouthy. I made sure to cry out like a little girl each time he put his mouth on my hand or arm. It wasn’t a bite, but teaching a dog it should not put its mouth on people without an invitation is very important. If he does that to someone who doesnt know dogs, they may think its an actual bite and I have read too many case studies of that kind of incident taking a very dark turn.

I recommended the guardian play tug of way like games with Jerry and yelp and drop the toy the instant he touches skin with his teeth or mouth. Stopping the play time precisely is a great way to teach a dog that they need to watch their mouth, literally.

Jerry also clearly doesn’t understand the concept of respecting a human’s personal space. He literally climbed on my back or jumped up repeatedly. As Venice’s dog behavior expert, I knew it was just his way of asking for attention, but just like the mouthing, this is a behavior that needs to be nipped in the bud right away. His guardian will need to immediately stop engaging with him as soon as he starts to climb or jump up.

This worked in some situations, but in others, Jerry continued to jump up so I stood up. This is a more commanding posture to dogs. Some times that worked, and at others, Jerry started to mouth my shirt – an offshoot of his poor mouth manners.

When most of these interactions happened, it was Jerry’s way of saying im bored or have too much energy. I showed his guardians a few tricks to quickly burn off excess energy. Your average dog needs exercise every 2-4 hours. While Jerry doesn’t need a lengthy exercise session every few hours, he does need more exercise. If his guardian interprets his mouthy or jumpy behavior as Jerry’s way of saying “please exercise me,” he will see a rapid reduction of these behaviors.

It will be very important for the guardian to work on these as much as possible. Dogs are basically practicing everything they do. The more they do an unwanted behavior, the more likely it is they will repeat it in the future.

To help the dog develop some impulse control, I showed his guardian a leave it exercise as well as how to establish invisible boundaries. Because Jerry also had an inconsistent recall, I also went over a hand targeting exercise too. You can learn how to teach a dog some impulse control with these exercises by watching the free positive dog training video below.

Teaching a dog to respect boundaries on its own is a valuable lesson for any dog, but when you have a large breed dog like Jerry, it’s ever more important. The more the guardian trains the dog to develop self control, the better behaved Jerry will be in these situations. Id like to see the guardian practice the leave it command 3 or more times a day for a week or two; progressively increasing the delay before rewarding the dog. He will then be able to use the command to keep the dog from getting into things at home or on walks.

The more the guardian practices enforcing invisible boundaries, the more self control the dog will develop. Snacks, meal prep and even getting a glass of water will give the human numerous opportunities to practice enforcing an invisible boundary. With enough practice the dog will learn to keep appropriate distance on its own or with a single command.

To help the guardian remember all the tips I shared with him in this in home Venice Beach dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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