Training a Dog to Come and Adding Structure to Improve His Quality of Life Around Puppies

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 6, 2017

Reece is a one-year-old Chihuahua Mix who lives in Omaha with another Chihuahua mix named Rosie and a ten-year-old Yorkie named Snickers. Their guardians set up a dog behavior training session to get the dogs to stop barking, stop having accidents in the house and get Snickers to come when called.

The dogs were excited as soon as I rang the doorbell, but within the range of normal for sure. I spotted a mistake from the guardian as soon as she opened the door. Can you spot it in the video below?

Aside from rewarding Rosie for unwanted dog behavior, the greeting went pretty well. To make things even smoother, the guardians could train the dogs to stay behind an invisible boundary. You can find out how we teach our clients to do this with this link.

When I sat down with the guardians, I learned that a lack of structure had resulted in the two “new” dogs engaging in several unwanted dog behaviors. I also noticed that Snickers, who had been the only dog before this pair arrived, kept his distance as the Chihuahua’s didn’t listen when he communicated he was done playing or wanted to be left alone.

Now the Chihuahua’s behavior is mostly a result of being puppies and the guardian’s failing to provide them with rules and boundaries. A puppy’s job is to test and push the boundaries and its the human’s job to enforce them consistently and dispassionately.

The primary reason I was called into the house was to address some accidents from Snickers. Im betting that this is actually a case of marking and its a result of the older dog trying to reclaim some semblance of order and to establish his place with the pups.

To cover all bases, I wen over some remedial potty training tips with the guardians. If you need help potty training an adult, I include a ton of potty training tips in a video you can watch with this link.

While the dog’s are very loved by their family members, Snicker’s plight is what caught the bulk of my attention. Being a small breed dog, he certainly isn’t an “old dog,” he is still in his prime years as small dogs can live up to 20 years. But his laid back energy probably contributed to the dog problems at hand.

After showing the guardians how to introduce rules, enforce them and communicate when they disagree, the puppy 1 and 2 needed to go outside for a potty break. I decided to use this alone time to work with Snickers and show his guardians how to train a dog to come when called. You can watch this part of the session by clicking on the video below.

Training a dog to come is usually fun and easy. But in this case, it was great to see on multiple levels. Snicker’s really perked up getting some one on one time coupled with some instruction. What a smart and engaging dog. Additionally I got a kick out of watching the humans grow more impressed with Snicker’s response each time he was called.

I suggested the humans practice this recall exercise with all the dogs separately so that they all have a strong recall command. This is helpful on many levels, but especially so when you have multiple dogs living together.

It will be important for the humans to speak up with the new non verbal communication methods I showed them any time the Chihuahua’s don’t listen to Snicker’s when he disagrees with their attempts to wrestle, jostle or play with him. I think the more the humans back the Yorkie up, the more confident he will be hanging out with them. This may actually increase his desire to play and interact with them.

We wrapped up the session by shooting a Roadmap to Success video covering the highlights of the session. You can follow along and pick up a few free dog training tips by clicking the icon below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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