Dog training tip #6
Stop your dog jumping on people

When dogs jump most people ‘pay’ the dogs by touching them or either pushing or pulling the dog (remember any touch to a dog is payment). How common is this behaviour? And at the same time, these people are repeating commands: ‘sit,’ ‘sit,’ ‘sit’ or ‘down,’ ‘down,’ ‘down’. To a dog this is great: all these commands being given with no result: I can do what I want AND I get touched. They believe that they are able to behave like they want and that the handler is easily outsmarted. It creates what I call a ‘grey area’. No clear message whatsoever is being sent.

The commands are diluted and meaningless. Dogs learn from clear, black and white messages. So if the handler is to outsmart the dog the commands must be clear and leave no doubt as to what is required. For example, when a dog comes to jump keep your hands behind your back so there’s no touch. Block the dog as he jumps by raising your leg upwards and give a verbal negative such as: ‘No’ or ‘Aaah’ or ‘Hey’, in a deep, negative tone. Use whichever negative you prefer, just so long as you are consistent and it is said with emphasis.

Don’t be gullible, if the dog goes to sneak a jump in behind you. Turn around and repeat the verbal negative and action. Don’t let the dog get a jump in, say nothing other than the negative or do not give a command (i.e. ‘sit’, ‘down’, etc). At this point you’re not giving a command, just the clear message of ‘no’. This way the dog knows: when I go to jump I get a negative and I get blocked. When the dog realizes this and responds with the desired behaviour, praise and pat him.

The dog can jump around you, sit and stand etc. Demonstrate you don’t care what he does, as long as he is not jumping on you. Remember you are not out there to do a ‘sit’ or ‘down’ exercise. You are there to give a black and white message. If the dog, whilst you’re patting him, tries to get one more jump in don’t push him. It’s hands straight behind your back then block and give a negative verbal.

Let him make the right decision once again, and then continue the praise. Again, don’t be gullible. The dog is seeing if he can outsmart you and get praised once again for jumping.

From a canine’s point of view someone who can be outsmarted isn't’t a good leader.

Dog training tip #7
Stop your dog lunging and barking at other dogs when out walking with a leash

How many times have you seen this scenario: an owner and his dog out walking approach another owner and dog, the first owner pulls the leash tight to restrain his dog; this action acts as a trigger and the dog lunges at the oncoming canine?

This is a bad situation: you had a 10kg dog; the handler pulls the leash taught creating pressure, now the 10kg becomes a 70kg dog – bomb and bullet proof. Do not ‘back up’ and ‘pay’ dogs for dysfunctional behaviour. Leave the leash loose.

If the dog shows any sign of behaving badly, tug instantly with a short, sharp pull on the leash. Then instantly release pressure and at the same time, in a deep tone of voice give verbal negative. For example: ‘AAA’, ‘No’ or ‘Hey’. If this correction is ineffective, correct at a firmer level.

The desired result is when the dog decides to give up the inappropriate behaviour as a result of the owner’s negative response. The dog is then praised verbally or with a pat, for making the correct, honest decision. Remember, dogs will behave according to what their owner will allow. If dog owners are unknowingly ‘paying’ dogs by restraint (remember any form of touch or restraint is ‘payment’ to a dog) the dog doesn’t know his behaviour is undesirable.

Give clear, black and white messages. Canines are highly evolved predators with a strong sense of hierarchical order. If the owner gives clear messages the dog will respond quickly.

Dog training tip #8
Stop your dog from pulling on the leash

Owners who allow a dog to continually pull on the leash, and do nothing other than habitually attempt to restrain him, are promoting this bad behaviour. If you had two people pulling a rope taught, the tension would be enormous. When you allow a dog to pull on the leash it is promoting the pulling: ‘backing him up’. If the leash is 1.5m – 2m in length, it allows for slack (a short leash always causes restraint) and should the dog lunge forward you have time to pull before the dog reaches the end of the leash. Should he choose to lunge again, a quick and more firm tug will reinforce the first correction. The dog may choose to make the correct decision once the leash is released again, i.e. not pull, if so always give verbal praise. Correction levels range from 1 to 10. If the dog doesn’t respond to 1, go to 2: a quick, short tug on leash and then release pressure. Never keep the restraint constant; give your dog the opportunity to make a decision, be it the right or wrong one. Should he make the wrong decision continue with the levels then give praise when he reaches the right decision

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