How Adding Structure Helped a NY Dog Who Just Moved to Venice

By: David Codr

Published Date: April 22, 2017

Scout is a three-year-old American Foxhound who just moved to Venice from NY. Scout’s guardian set up a dog behavior training session with me to stop her from being anxious, come when called, listen better and stop her from getting into occasional scraps with other dogs.

Scout was very playful and full of bounce when I arrived for the session, jumping up and running around in circles. But after a minute or so surge of energy, Scout calmed down and hung out as I chatted with her guardian about her unwanted dog behavior.

While Scout gets into dust ups with dogs on occasion, her guardian thought that most of the time she was simply curious and excited to meet the other dog.

While Scout clearly loves her guardian, there was a bit of a gulf in terms of respect for her as an authority figure. Scout saw her as a friend of peer, not an authority figure. When a dog see’s you as an equal, then listening to you becomes optional to the dog.

I knew I needed to show the guardian how to change the leader follower dynamic so the dog saw and respected her as a leader. People often think, “Well I bought you. I provide food, a place to love, take you to the vet, get you toys, etc. The dog should give me credit as a leader for providing these things.” Problem is, they don’t. To dogs, it’s about what they see us do, not what we do when they are away or don’t understand. Its our actions conducted in front of them that tell them if we are a leader or follower.

I shared a number of dog behavior tips and dog training secrets including new ways of communicating, how to add structure to their interactions and even a few dog training exercises to help her learn to focus and improve her recall.

We also did some leash training where I shared my rules for a structured walk and how to add the special twist to a Martingale collar to help stop pulling on the leash and give her guardian more control.

By the end of the session, Scout was coming when called, was sitting to ask for attention, walked next to her guardian on the walk instead of in front and even walked past an aggressive dog we met on Rose street in Venice without responding.

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