Teaching a Pair of Boxers to Stay to Develop Self Control

By: David Codr

Published Date: March 26, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session, we taught a pair of excitable 2 year-old Boxers (Rousey on the left and Izzy) to stay to help them with their anxiety and fears of new situations.

I started this session earlier than normal as both dogs were wearing prong collars which is a tool that works by causing pain. Pretty much the exact opposite of what we believe in at Dog Gone Problems. Those are illegal in just about every country int he world but the US as studies have conclusively shown that long term use increases anxiety through higher cortisol levels in their blood, lowers their self esteem which often makes dogs more reactive. These collars are absolutely linked to the dog’s

The guardians explained that the dogs were so reactive and excitable on walks that those collars were the only thing that helped control them. I explained that our preferred method is to teach the dog to walk in a heel and address any reasons for the dog to be reactive. However, we do also use a special collar that doesn’t cause any pain but gives the humans more control of the dog, even if its reactive. Hopefully we can set up a one hour follow up session to introduce those collars or start loose leash training.

The dogs situation is what I like to call the perfect storm; under exercised, no real rules or structure and able to demand attention from the humans any time they want. This causes the dog to see itself as a peer of the human which means it does not respect them as authority figures.

As Omaha’s dog behavior expert, I knew I needed to show the humans how to change the leader follower dynamic to stop these dog’s from feeling insecure and lashing out as a result on walks or when people come to the home.

I spent a few hours offering dog behavior tips and suggestions that will help the humans act more like leaders in the dog’s eyes as well as ways for the humans to motivate the dogs to offer desired actions or behaviors.

While both dogs had some insecurities, Izzy was more intense. She followed her guardian around everywhere she went, got jealous when the Rousey was being betted or given attention and was the more reactive dog.

We put Rousey outside so that I could show the guardians how to teach a dog to stay. Training a dog to stay until released is a great exercise as it requires the dog to develop self control; a skill both of these dogs would benefit from.

If the guardians practice the stay exercise a few times a day with each dog, they will notice the dogs are better equipped to listen and control themselves. They will also be able to put the dogs into a stay and help them practice developing this self control for longer periods of time and more challenging situations.

When a dog learns to stay, it opens up all kinds of possibilities. Dogs are reactive, instinctive creatures so pausing or holding up is not a natural instinct for them. But the more the humans practice the stay with the dogs, the better developed that behavior skill will become.

For many of my clients, adding rules and structure combined with removal of any punishment based approach helps them stop being reactive to other dogs. Im hoping that is the case here, but my gut tells me that we will need to set up a follow up session to address the reactivity to dogs and behavior on walks.

To help the humans remember all the dog behavior tips I shared in this in home dog behavior training session, we shot a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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