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The door, the walk and the reward.

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Hello & welcome to another blog.

This time I am going to share some training ideas I have used to help a family with a young Labrador pup(7months old).

After I have done some practical experience with them, I send a short recap report to refresh what we have learnt. This is an edited version of our time together...

WE discussed how the pup behaves when people come to the front door and the issues with jumping up to greet everyone with such excitement that as he is getting stronger it's hurting some people.

We talked about using the "NO TOUCH, NO TALK, NO EYE CONTACT" technique to calm his behaviour. If he does jump up at you or guests, you simple move away with no discussion with him, any "NO's" or telling him off will re-enforce his jumping because the reward for him, is getting your attention!

We practised at the door for a good few attempts to learn the correct way to show the pup that calm assertive leadership is the best way forward.

We also talked about putting up a sign to tell an visitors, including the builders to buy into the pups training with a NO touch, talk or eye contact sign.

ONLY reward him with a fuss & treats when he has 4 paws on the ground and is in a calm relaxed state.

Rewarding a hyper dog will only enforce that behaviour.

As we move forward in the training, we will see a thing called Behaviour extinction. This is where we see the unwanted behaviour go away. There may be a couple of times during this process where the pup has a "spike" of going back to old behaviours, but stick to the training and these will go extinct in time.

Attaching the lead indoors was also discussed to help understand right from wrong. You have to get away from chasing him to catch him and put him in the kitchen as this is becoming a game!

Instead you could walk into the kitchen with no discussion, pretend to do something and as the puppy comes in, you walk out shutting the gate. Then give puppy no attention verbally or physically. even if he makes a fuss, he WILL calm and accept the time out.

The lead can be used to re-enforce stopping behaviours you don't want him to do and to lead him out of the room or off the sofa, jumping up at work tops ect... It's easier to handle a dog with the lead attached than trying to get hold of them another way.

When we went out onto the walk I observed how the pup behaved on the lead.

He is a young pup but stopping excitable pulling now will help your walks for life.

I showed your husband how by showing him a calm assertive leader on the walk it will pay off.

I said think of someone who is a great leader of history or great Personality you look up to with a calm leadership style and think and walk as though they may do, with your head up, focused ahead and "walking tall" almost using roleplay to embody the energy of that person to help your own way of thinking.

By moving forward all of the time only letting pup stop for a wee or sniff break when you want him to will show him he can't pull you everywhere.

How we walk with him is key too. Holding the end of the lead in your right hand and across the body to your left hand and then about 18 inches of loose lead to his collar( once more confident, the lead can be just in the left hand). Hold your left arm firmly down by your side. If he does pull ahead and you don't want him too, then give a tug to his lead and say "NO" or "AGH, AGH". Alternatively when he pulls , you stop, wait for him to realise and work out why you have stopped and when he relaxes and calms, the lead goes slack and off you go again, repeating every time he pulls.

Another technique is letting him walk ahead to the end of the lead, then just as he reaches the end, you give him a tug and walk the other direction. give a command "with me" or "Rex, come"

When he turns and walks up to you, you continue in the direction you want to be going, you may get giddy practising this as you will be turning 360 degrees a lot!!, but it will pay off in the end, and a pup walking well on the lead is so much nicer than the alternative of being dragged everywhere he wants to go.

I personally find harnesses unhelpful with lead walking as they are designed to make a dog pull. There are some out there that claim to stop pulling, but I am unconvinced. There are other tools such as halti collars etc.. but I wouldn't use one on a pup.

Remember, don't raise your voice to him or get frustrated, keep calm and practice makes perfect.

When pup went off lead, he behaved very well, we met another dog, who he greeted well with nose to bum, then up the body until face to face. He then came back over to us with one call. As he gets into his adolescents at around 8 months, he may try it on with you. By rewarding him well now will help. Use a high end treat that he loves or a special "for the walk only" ball or toy to draw him back to you. This is the only time you can use high pitched voices and excitement to make it fun to come to you.

The puppy is a fabulous boy and with practise, consistency and leadership, he will be a great dog who is happy in life.

The thing to remember when training is:

Stay calm

Keep consistent low voice commands unless you are recalling, then go high and exciting to be of interest in the recall.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Enjoy the training and you will bond so well with your dog.

Exercise is the key to a happy dog. It will bring calmness and a relaxed energy.

The training techniques I have talked about here are useful ideas and techniques, Please consult a trainer for help with your pup or dog if you are having similar issues.

Until next time ...

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