How to Release a Dog From its Kennel So it Stays Calm

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 17, 2017

Stella is a two-year-old Australian Shepherd Mix in Omaha. Her guardian set up this dog behavior training session to get her to stop barking, respect personal space and put an end to her dog aggression.

Usually dogs are over excited when I arrive for my session, but Stella was pretty chill. Her guardians had asked he to go to a place away from the door and that practice paid off as you can see in the video below.

Now just because Stella was well behaved during the greeting doesn’t mean she isn’t a higher energy dog. When I sat down with her guardians, she circled the room and nudged for attention so I pulled out a Bully Stick to keep her occupied while I discussed things with her humans.

I did see the humans petting her while she was excited and this is a big no no. Its also a very common mistake many people make when interacting with their dog. Anything a dog is doing when you pet it is what you are reinforcing. So petting her while jumping up on them or in an over excited state can contribute to this unwanted behaviors.

While discussing the situation with her family members, I learned that she didn’t have many rules and this is a common theme with my clients. Dogs probe to test and see where boundaries are. If we don’t have rules in place we correct them inconsistently which can be confusing for a dog.

I suggested a number of rules, shared some dog behavior tips and new ways to communicate what behavior they did, and did not like. I also mapped out a way to help train a dog to behave how her family wanted in various situations and scenarios.

Consistently providing Stella with structure will help her start to identify as more of a follower. This will also reduce her stress as she will no longer feel responsible for her humans or under pressure when they don’t listen to her. They will also help her learn how to control

One of the times that Stella gets excited is when she is about to be let out of the kennel. I had her guardians put her in and then we all headed out to pretend we were leaving. I wanted to recreate the kennel release as realistically as possible so that I could show the guardians how to release her from the kennel completely calmly. You can watch me share this dog behavior training tip with her in the video below.

Usually the first time I run through that exercise, it takes the dog much longer to settle and lay down. This is a good sign. However Stella’s guardians will need to repeat this exercise each time they let her out in order for her to start self calming in the future.

Anyone who reads my posts regularly knows Im a big fan of positive dog training. Because the family has a few young children, I suggested the parents incorporate positive reinforcement into the kid’s interaction with the dog too.

My preferred way to do this is assign a glass for each child and every time the child pets the dog with a purpose or does any other desired interaction, the parents can put a single M&M into the glass. Then at the end of the day, they can count them up and see who did best. This way the children are motivated to do things the right way via positive reinforcement.

By the end of he session, Stella was a calmer dog, was showing respect for people’s personal space, listening better and had stopped barking so much.

Im hopeful that her dog reactivity will be greatly diminished once her guardians have spent a month or so consistently enforcing the new rules and boundaries. If not, she may be a candidate for the Counterconditioning class we will start next month in Omaha.

We wrapped up the session by shooting a Roadmap to Success. You can watch that by clicking on the video icon below.

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