Great Dog Training Tips Help an Excited Black Lab Calm Down

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 10, 2017

Wilson is a one-year-old Black Lab who lives in Bennington, Nebraska. His guardians set up a dog behavior training session to get Wilson to stop jumping on people, stop being such an excited dog and stop scratching at the door.

Wilson was excited when I arrived for the session, barking, running around and jumping up. I spotted something one of the guardians was doing that was actually contributing to this excited dog. I point this dog behavior secret in the video below.

Before sitting down with the dog’s guardians to chat about the dog behavior problems they wanted help with, one of them gave me a tour of the doors Wilson had scratched up. The doors were located in the areas the humans go through the most; to the garage and back yard.

It didn’t take long to determine why the dog acted this way. Any time he jumped on the door, the human jumped to attention – getting up to let it out. This basically trained the dog to jump to ask to go in or out. This is a great example of why its important to teach a puppy proper door manners when they are small so they aren’t doing the damage Wilson is at a year of age.

I shared a dog training tip with Wilson’s guardians that will protect the door while they train Wilson to stop jumping on the door when we sat down to discuss the situation. During this discussion, any time Wilson approached a human they petted him. They also did this when he scratched at them.

This interaction was a constant theme throughout the session and is a big contributing factory for many of Wilson’s unwanted dog behavior issues. Anything your dog is doing is what you are rewarding. So each time the humans petted Wilson while he was displaying these behaviors, they were encouraging him to do it again.

I shared a number of tips and tricks like Petting with a Purpose, passive training, Escalating Consequences as well as a number of rules and ways to enforce them.

One of the rules I suggested was to only let Wilson out a door after he sits down. We call this manding and its a very helpful behavior to train a dog. With practice, Wilson will stop jumping at the door and instead sit in front of it as a way of asking to go in and out.

I wanted to also show the guardians how to help Wilson stop getting excited at various things such as when he heard the garage door open. You can watch me share these training tips with his guardians in the video below.

This counterconditioning technique helps the dog learn to develop a new, more desired behavior. It takes practice, but once they do it enough, he will stop getting over excited the he hears or feels the vibrations of the garage door opening.

But the counterconditioning will only help with specific triggers. A big reason Wilson looses control is he never had to develop self control. Dogs are instinctive and reactive creatures so self restraint isn’t something that comes naturally to them.

There are a number of things the humans can do to help Wilson develop self control, But almost as important is for his humans to stop rewarding him for unwanted behaviors. To that end I strongly recommended they refrain from petting him any time he is excited like when they first come home.

Helping Wilson learn that excitement is going to result in the stoppage of attention or affection will stop him from getting too excited to listen or control himself.

Another way to help Wilson develop more control is how his guardians let him out of the kennel. I cover how to do this kennel training in the video below.

Many people neglect to kennel train their dog. This often results in dogs who hate the crate or try to run out of the crate as soon as the door opens. But letting a dog out of the crate with an excited, unbalanced energy is rewarding the dog for that energy. Another contributing factor to the Wilson excitement problem.

If his guardians practice this crate training exercise every time they let him out of the kennel for the next week or two, he will learn to calm down faster and faster.

By the end of the session, Wilson was starting to sit at the door, was laying down in the kennel to ask to come out and the humans were starting to reward desired actions instead of the things they wanted to avoid.

We finished up the session by going over a Roadmap to Success video so the guardians can remember all the dog training tips I shared with them in this session. You can watch it yourself by clicking the video below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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