Tricks to Get a Headstrong Welsh Terrier to Adopt a Follower’s Mindset

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 1, 2017

Walter is a four-year-old Welsh Terrier who lives in Los Angeles. I worked with him a few years ago with a dog aggression issue. His guardians set up another dog behavior training appointment to get him to listen better, stop barking and stop acting territorial to people passing by the front of his new home.

Because I had worked with Walter and his guardians before, we were able to move quickly through ramping back up the structure needed for Walter to revert to thinking as a follower.

I suggested they reemphasize Petting with a purpose and start rewarding desired behaviors through passive training.

While I was petting Walter, I noticed he continually turned his head or moved away. His guardians said he was aloof about being petted. When he wanted it, he would lean in. The rest of the time he almost literally turned up his nose at it.

To stop this unwanted dog behavior, I showed the guardians how to add some positive reinforcement to the act of giving him positive reinforcement, lol.

This may not seem like a big thing, but its indicative of a very determined mindset. It really underscored how important it will be for his guardians to consistently follow through and outlast Walter. He is going to push back and test their resolve. Whoever blinks first is going to be thought of as the authority figure.

Consistently enforcing new rules like staying out of the kitchen via the Escalating Consequences I showed them in the last session will go a long way toward Walter accepting their leadership and affection.

One of the other new rules I suggested was to train Walter to sit to ask to go out the door. Once he learns this new door behavior, they can take things one step further and ask Walter to stay inside with the door wide open until he gets permission to go out. You can get this positive dog training tip for free in the video below.

Another issue the guardians wanted help with was a way to stop Walter’s occasional run ins with some dogs at dog parks. He would react when bigger dogs put their chin over his back. Because this is a way of dominating another dog, its not totally inappropriate for Walter to disagree.

Normally Id have the guardian disagree when a dog tries to dominate this way, but because Walter is protective of his guardians, that kind of objection may actually incite a dog fight.

To protect Walter from these kind of social interactions, I decided to show his guardians how to teach a dog to spin on command. You can learn how to train a dog to spin by watching the video below.

After the spin we headed out to go over some loose leash training which wasn’t as successful to start. Recently Walter had started to sit down when he didn’t want to go out on a walk. I started out by reminding the guardians about using a Martingale collar with the special twist of the leash.

The guardian really didn’t want to use the leash pulling technique I was showing his wife so I came up with a different approach, leaving treats like breadcrumbs on the sidewalk. This prompted Walter to want to move forward to get to the next treat.

If the guardians can leave treats every other square, then every second square and keep adding one each practice run, the should get Walter to move forward on the walk without any pulling. They may need to add to that approach by leaving a small pile of treats on the corner for a few days to seal the deal. We call this a jackpot and it can be a powerful motivator.

If the guardians walk Walter this way for the next 7 to 10 days, his days of trying to shut down to stop the walk should stop. I recommended they also give him a short haircut just in case this is a case of Walter not wanting to walk to avoid overheating.

We wrapped up the session by shooting a roadmap to success video covering all the highlights and dog behavior secrets I shared with his guardians through the session.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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