Obedience and Leash Training a Pair of Airedale Terriers in Los Angeles

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 2, 2016


Moose (left) is a six-month-old Airedale Terrier who lives in Los Angeles with two year old Rosie. Their guardians asked for a dog training session to stop them from pulling on the leash, jumping up and barking.

When I arrived for the session, the guardian held the dogs back by their collars so that I could come in and not be accosted. But when we restrain our dogs this way, we can often intensify their reaction.

After coming inside and sitting down with the guardians a few minutes, I saw the UPS guy was about to deliver some packages. I decided to use this situation to demonstrate how the guardians can claim the area around the door before opening it instead of holding the dogs back by their collars.

By correcting the dogs each time they got closer than 10 feet away from the door, I was able to communicate that I wanted them to stay behind the new boundary so that I could answer the door myself.

Security for the pack is a job that is handled by an authority figure, so it will be important for the guardians to handle this door answering ritual on their own from now on.

We reset the exercise and had one of the guardians head outside to play the part of a guest so that the other guardian could practice answering the door as I coached him through the process.

I got a call right at the end of the above video which cut it off. Still it was great to see how quickly the dogs responded to the exercise.

Now this is what we call a warmed up exercise. Because we had just ran through it be a few minutes before, the dogs were almost on auto pilot.

In the future of the dogs may end up challenging their guardians at the door more. It will be important that they take a sudden and deliberate step directly at the dogs and not stop until they move the dog back behind the boundary. If both dogs are charging the door simultaneously, they should focus on which ever dog is most intense and ignore the other dog while they get the first dog behind the boundary. Once that is the case they can back up while facing the first dog until they are behind the second, then march at that dog until its across the boundary too.

Next I sat down with the guardians to discuss some of the other unwanted behaviors that they wanted help with. I noticed that the dogs had no problems getting up on the couch and furniture. But before I could ask about those things, I noticed Moose was mouthing his guardian’s hand and she was allowing this to happen.

It will be important for the guardian to immediately disagree anytime that Moose touches their skin with one of his teeth. By yelping immediately and pausing or stopping play, the guardian can help Moose understand that the behavior will not be tolerated.

I also suggested a number of rules that will help the dogs start to see the humans as being the authority figures. Once the dogs identify as being a follower, then answering the door or not listening to the humans will seem inappropriate to them.

Next I went over a series of escalating consequences that I like to apply whenever a dog is breaking any of the rules. I had already shown the guardian how do use a couple of these in the above video.

Because I derived these escalating consequences after observing how dogs interact with one another, most dogs respond to them immediately. Rosie and Moose were no exception.

Now that we had introduced rules and structure, I asked the guardians to show me how the dogs behaved when they leashed them up for a walk.

Usually I tell guardians to stop the process anytime the dogs walk in front of them start to get over excited. But because of the work we had done earlier in the session, the dogs were much more subdued than they normally are as the guardian went through the leashing process.

In the future, the guardians will need to stop and pause anytime the dog starts to get excited as they are getting the leashes attached. The idea is to keep the dog in a nice calm and balanced frame of mind before you leave on the walk. The energy level and behavior your dog has inside the house is the same energy they will carry with them when they head out for the walk.

Because the dogs liked to pull on the leash, we headed out so I could do a little leash training. I showed the guardians how they can add a special twist on the leash to a Martingale collar to stop them from pulling and give them more control.

Whatever I have a client jokingly ask me, “what did you do with our dogs?” due to their behavioral improvements I know it’s a good session, LOL.

I finished things up by going over a watch exercise that the guardians can utilize in the future anytime the dogs are reactive to something around them. It will be important to practice the watch inside a bunch before trying to use the command outside around other dogs.

By the time I was ready to leave, the dogs were listening to their guardians right away, were no longer challenging / mouthing them and even starting to follow some of the new rules on their own.

By consistently disagreeing or agreeing with the dogs with good timing, the guardians will be able to help them better understand what they do and do not want from them. Once everyone is on the same page and the rules are established, the dogs will stop engaging in many of the unwanted behaviors. And any that continue will be easily stopped using the new escalating consequences

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This post was written by: David Codr

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