You accidentally drop some food onto the floor and your dog bounds over. You instruct him to back off, but as usual, he ignores you. You’re out on a walk and he sees another dog across the road. You tell him to heel but he instantly tries to leap across the road to sniff the other dog's behind. The truth is, he just doesn’t respect you. If he doesn’t respect you, then training him to do any number of things can be an uphill battle.
Training him not to go to the toilet inside, training him not to jump on the furniture, and loads of other instructions will fall on deaf ears. If you can train him to respect you, however, you will reassert yourself as the pack leader and finally be able to enforce the rules.
Training your dog to respect you isn’t a walk in the park, but it isn’t overly complicated either. The first thing to do is hammer home some obedience commands. These will help show him who is in charge and get him dancing to your tune. You will also need to tackle bad behavior firmly. If he’s a puppy, then getting him to respect you should take just a few weeks, as he should be receptive. If he’s older, it may require a couple of months of reinforcing boundaries before you finally get the respect you deserve.
Get this training right though, and you may see a transformed dog. A dog that sits when you tell him to, goes to the toilet where you want him to, and stays off your furniture when you tell him to. It could also make him more friendly, gentle and sociable around other dogs and people.
Before you can begin seizing back control, you’ll need to gather some things. His favorite food broken into small pieces or tempting treats will be used to motivate and reward him during training.
You’ll also need a quiet place to train for 10 minutes each day. Use a location where you won’t be distracted by noisy children and other pets. For one of the methods, you will also need a spray bottle of water to knock bad behavior on the head.
The only other things you need is a proactive attitude and patience. Then you’re all set to get going!
I feel as though my dog does not respect me. Barks. Constantly tries to chew on me. Disobeys when she knows she did something wrong.
Hello Lauren, One of the best ways to build respect between you and your dog is to spend time teaching obedience throughout the week. You can have your dog work for you to earn it's kibble, one piece at a time, by practicing commands such as sitting, heeling, downing, staying, paying attention, leaving it, waiting, and more. Practicing these things can not only teach your dog to listen to you better, it can also have the added benefits of building a relationship of trust, respect, and fun, decreasing your dog's excess mental energy, developing useful commands to help your dog understand you better, and giving your dog a sense of purpose. You must be consistent and require follow through while training and in general. For example , when you practice teaching your dog to come, you can attach a long, light weight, twenty or thirty foot leash. Then you can excitedly call your dog to come while running away to encourage running after you, and then praise your dog when she arrives. If she does not come, you can reel her in with the leash, so that she learns that she is not able to ignore your command. You have then ensured that she followed your command while also giving her reason to want to come in the future. Working on training can also help with the mouthing and barking. You can teach her to stop mouthing you by teaching her a very strong leave it command. Once she knows the leave it command well around food and toys and household items, you can then place the items in your hand or on your person and practice having her leave the items alone when you have them. Once she will leave those known items alone when you have them, then you can practice having her leave your hands, feet, clothes, and whatever else on you she is mouthing alone. For the barking you can work on teaching a quiet command, then once she understands the quiet command, you can enforce the quiet command by blocking her vision with your body and getting her focus back on you using your body language, while giving her the command. She can then be rewarded with a toy or treat or with being allowed to be near or to view whatever she was barking at before. The barking trigger itself can be the reward. At three months old she is likely teething and a lot of mouthing can be normal. She is also likely beginning to show more independence and is testing boundaries as she matures into the equivalent of a dog preteen. This period requires a lot of consistency and training, and it can appear that the training is not working at this age, but it is important to stay consistent. Eventually she will grow out of this period and your training success will become more evident if you persevered during this period. If you feel like she is beginning to show any aggressive tendencies, it is best to consult a trainer early because the sooner you begin the more effective the training is likely to be. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, I adopted a border collie/cattle dog mix almost 2 weeks ago. She's quite nervous of everything which I expected beings she came from a kennel environment. At first she clung to me as her source of comfort and listened to me without prevail. She learned sit, lay down, and shake all within the first few days. Recently she fights me on every obedience command. She also refuses to let me be in charge when we go on walks. I'm at a loss of what to do.
Hello Ashton, Border Collies and Cattle Dogs are both highly intelligent, hard working, often strong willed breeds, but they are also sensitive, very alert, tuned into people and their environment, and need a lot of mental stimulation, especially Border Collies. Check out this Wag! Article and pay special attention to the obedience method and the consistency method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Those breeds need their owners to earn their respect without being physically tough with them. The best way to do that with those breeds is to challenge them mentally with frequent training sessions that involve concentration, focus, self-control, and learning new things. You also need to be very consistent. When you ask your girl to do something that you know she has already learned, then make sure that she does it. For example, when you tell her to come, if she does not come, then go get her and bring her back to where you originally called her from and have her sit, then attach a fifty foot leash and release her again and call her again five times in a row until she is coming consistently. When you tell her to sit then do not let her leave until she sits. When you first teach her something new make it fun and rewarding, but once she knows the command have her work for everyday life rewards like walks and meals by having her do a command first. Your attitude with her should be patient and calm, but very firm when enforcing something. Believe that she can do it and expect it of her. Your girl will benefit from the structure and consistency if she has anxiety issues. Even though she is challenging your authority she will benefit from your leadership. For the walks, check out Jeff Gelhman from Solidk9training's videos on YouTube. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My puppy is kennel trained, but spent his first 4 months living at my parents house even though I took care of all the training, feeding and walking. He would bark in the middle of the night to go out, and has yet to figure out how to sleep through the night. I’ve trained him to “settle” which will stop the barks for about an hour, but he continues to wake up about 3am. His barks strike me as telling me he is lonely (he sleeps in another room), because it is a single bark followed by about 45 seconds of silence. I did call my vet and she told me to let him cry it out as it didn’t look like he has a UTI or anything. But he continues to do this after 3 weeks. Any advice? I don’t want to sedate him at night and he’s already walking 5 miles every day to tire him out (split into seceral walks) in addition to several training sessions and puzzle toys during throughout the day.
Hello Erin, I agree with your vet that he needs to cry it out. After six months of being attended to during the night it will take him a while to break the habit of barking in the middle of the night. This is especially true for smart, stubborn, sensitive dogs like Border Collies. When he barks don't go into the room or you will simply prolong the barking. There are a few things you can do in addition to that however. First place him into the crate every day while you are at home for up to an hour. Stuff a large Kong toy with 'mush' and then freeze it. To make the mush, place his food into a bowl and cover it with water, then let it sit out until the food absorbs the water and turns into mush. Mix a bit or peanut butter or soft treat paste into the mush and then very loosely stuff and freeze the Kong. When you place him into the crate put the stuffed Kong inside with him. When he stays quiet for five minutes, or becomes quiet for at least thirty seconds after barking, then go over to the crate, drop several treats inside, and then walk away again without saying anything. Repeat this throughout the crate hour. As he improves, then only go over to the crate and drop in treats every ten minutes, then eventually every thirty minutes, then only once, then not at all. Continue to give him a Kong whenever you crate him though. The idea is to teach him to self-entertain, self-sooth, and accept the crate by giving him something to do in the crate besides barking and by rewarding his quietness. At night when you place him into the crate, wedge a couple of larger treats into the Kong, then give him the Kong when he goes to bed for comfort. Do not give him a completely stuffed Kong because you do not want him to have to go to the bathroom during the night, just do a couple of large treats. After spending time training him during the day, he should begin to associate the Kong with entertaining himself so that he will chew on that when he wakes up and needs to wind back down. Expect him to cry still, possibly for another month. Let him. Learning how to be independent from you and self-sooth and self-entertain can help prevent separation anxiety later on. He does need to be shown what to do during the day, be given something safe to do during the night that is not too stimulating, i.e. the Kong, and be given the opportunity to figure it out on his own. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Cooper used to obey me till he was 4 months old by that time I taught him to sit on my command later he started to disobey me he only listened to me when I hold a piece of food and barks at me when I ask him to do stuff when he’s not in the mood in front of me when I take him for walks he tries to free himself from the leash and run away and eat garbage from the street jumps on me and starts biting when he sees me after a long time tries to eat food from my plate. Help!
Hello Subham, Check out the article that I have linked below and work on a bit of all three methods. Also, Cooper likely needs to attend an Intermediate Obedience Class. In Basic Obedience dogs learn what different commands means, but in Intermediate they learn how to do those commands in every day life, even when they do not feel like it. A good Intermediate class should also work on phasing out treats, so that you do not always have to have food to get your dog to listen. Check out references and reviews for trainers in your area, ask if they phase out food, and explain your issues to them to get an idea whether or not they can address enforcing known commands, rather than simply bribing with treats. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I can't get Rosie to stop jumping on people when she's excited and running around the house. With other dogs it may not be as much of a problem, but she is a 60 pound, very strong pit bull. She leaves scratches on me and others when she gets excited. I don't want to discipline her for being happy or showing her excitement, but I want to teach her how to calmly and appropriately express that excitement. Any suggestions?
Hello Natalie, Check out the article that I have linked below. All of the methods in that article are pretty gentle. You can even do a combination of all three methods. Whenever you are able to step toward her, do so because that will teach personal space and respect, and then when she sits to greet you instead of jumping, reward her. Do this to teach her to respect your personal space but also to teach her what she can do instead of jumping when excited. When she is greeting other people, if the person is not someone you can reasonably expect to be able to step toward her, then use the "Leash" method with other people and let her correct herself by keeping the leash tight enough that when she jumps it up and all the slack goes out of the leash the leash will pull her back toward the floor. When she sits to greet after being corrected with the leash, then either have your guest give her a treat or you can give her one instead. When she begins to sit without jumping first, then only give her a treat for sitting without any jumping. Here is a link to that article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Also, because she is jumping for attention, never pet her or talk happily to her when she jumps, instead give her affection, rewards, and praise for doing the correct behavior, which is sitting or at least keeping all four paws on the floor. Sitting is often clearer than just standing for a dog at first though. Sitting gives the dog something specific to do when he wants to ask for attention. When she gets super excited and starts jumping while playing, end the play sessions whenever she jumps up. It might be hard to do, but it is gentle and dogs need rules and boundaries too. Play with her and have a great time while she is playing nicely, but stop all play if she jumps. That should also help her to learn that jumping shouldn't be a part of play. Because she is heavy jumping on the wrong people, like kids or elderly or disabled people can be dangerous, so it needs to be taken seriously, but reward her for doing the correct behavior so that she is still able to have fun. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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How to stop him from chasing and killing cats. he does not destroy them just shakes them i cannot keep him from chasing them if i could stop that it would help.
Hello Lesley, Do the cats live inside or is this happening somewhere with more space, like a yard or large property? If this is happening in a larger space, then you can teach him to avoid the cats. Check out James Penrith from TaketheLeadDogTraining. He has a Youtube channel. He works with dogs that chase and sometimes will kill livestock. To stop the killing you would need to pursue training like that, creating a strong avoidance of all cats. Whether this is doable will depend on your level of dedication, willingness to learn, and how large the space he is in is. If the cats are outside and he has plenty of room to go somewhere that they are not located to avoid them, then the training is feasible. Day 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgNbWCK9lFc Day 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpf5Bn-MNko&t=14s Day 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj3nMvvHhwQ Day 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxrGQ-AZylY Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My Milo is scared of traffic and so he does not like walking up from our house. After a few minutes of walking he will start jumping on me to get me to turn back but I Ignore him and I've been doing this for around 2 months now but he still doesn't like it. Also, he tries to jump on our kitchen worktops which we tell him off for a he goes down but he then jumps again, any advice?
Hello Louise, Spend time desensitizing him to traffic by playing games or working on fun training on a leash with the cars in the background. Stay further back from the road at first. As he gets comfortable and learns to ignore the cars more, gradually practice a bit closer to the road. Dropping large treats in the grass for him to find, practicing fun tricks with treats, or playing a game while he is on a ten-foot, secure leash can all help him relax around the road a bit more. Make sure he is leashed securely and can't slip out of his collar or harness by the road while you practice. A martingale collar or padded secure harness might be necessary to keep him from slipping out. For the counter jumping, you can purchase devices to set on the counter to surprise a dog when they jump up even when you are not right there. Google "counter surfing dog deterrent" for products that you can place on the counter. There are scatt mats, vibration or ultrasonic devices, mouse traps that don't actually close on anything but make a snapping noise, and other devices designed to deter jumping on counters. The goal is to associate the surprise with the counter and not only your presence. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My puppy Judah is experiencing challenges with socialization, food and attention.
When we are on a walk he often barks at other dogs or refuses to continue walking until pedestrians pass by. In puppy class when it came time for socialization, he refused to interact with the other dogs. When visitors or even family are outside the door or he hears the doorbell ring, he begins to bark without relent -disregarding commands such as "quiet" or 'stop'. He also is quite timid and barks or runs away when being introduced to new people.
When we first brought Judah home, we were all really excited and made the mistake of consistently feeding him human food, resulting in him abandoning his kibble completely. We have tried putting warm water or chicken broth to stimulate his appetite but he is willing to go the full day without eating or to nibble on his food throughout the day. This creates accidents within the home.
Finally, Judah often barks and 'cries' when I or the family leaves the house for a duration of time, when left alone or when not played with it. I want to know how make him comfortable with being independent and playing by himself.
Judah is a sweet puppy but I need much advice so that I can help him become a friendly, obedient and independant dog.
Hello Doryne, It sounds like he needs a few things: 1. Lots of socialization. If he only had one opportunity to socialize during the class (opposed to the socialization time being every week during part of the class), then his response was fairly common. It takes many puppies multiple times watching other puppies play before they get comfortable enough to join in on the fun themselves. Many people feel like giving up when they see such a bad first response, but more exposure is actually what's needed. It's important to do this in a controlled environment where the puppies' play can be interrupted and puppies separated when they get too riled up or start to overwhelm a shy puppy. Often, finding one calmer puppy to play with can help a shy puppy come out of his shell...opposed to playing with the whole group. At six-months of age, puppy-to-puppy socialization will be harder though, so I suggest trying to do group walking sessions with other puppy owners or adult-dog owners who have calm dogs. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Walking Together" method to gradually decrease the distance between Judah and the new dog without overwhelming him. Start with one dog and practice with other dogs, one at a time, once Judah is used to the first dog (or add the dog to the group that Judah is familiar with). When he does well with several individuals, then you can look for groups also. You can often mind dog walking groups through meetup.com or obedience clubs. Only let your puppy meet calm, friendly dogs nose-to-nose though. You want to avoid dogs that are likely to initiate fights, and stick with friendly dogs so that he will view dogs as pleasant while learning about them. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Also, spend a lot of time taking him to other new locations, have friends toss him friends from a distance when he is being calm (even if that means he only stops barking for one second to catch his breath- toss the treat during the second). Play his favorite games and use food as a reward for calmness, focus on you, and being brave (in a good way) during the outings. You can also practice obedience with rewards. Have friends practice with you at home, in public locations, and other places where he is currently reactive (and even places he does well as a preventative). Check out the article that I have linked below to desensitize him to the door: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Also, anxious dogs tend to do well with a lot of structure and boundaries. Make him work for things he gets, like walks, throwing a toy, or being petted, by making him perform a command like Sit or Down first. When you give him a command, be sure to enforce that command with calmness and confidence. Don't baby him or convey that you feel sorry for him - try to be calm and confident to help him learn those responses from you. Also, work on his independence by teaching him distance commands. Teach him the Place command and work up to him being able to stay in his Place for an hour or two while you are present, or shorter amounts of time while you are in another room. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Also, work on teaching him to stay in his crate even with the door open when you are home (having to stay in there willingly with the door open has a very different effect than the door being closed). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 Practicing commands like Sit and Down Stay from a distance are also great. You can use a long leash, loop it around something behind him like a tree and then back away while holding the long leash (forty-to-fifty-feet)...Doing this lets you walk about 30 or more feet away and if he gets up, you can pull him backward with the long leash to correct him back into the Sit or Down position, while telling him "Ah-Ah" to let him know that he wasn't supposed to do that. Work up to the distance gradually. First, simply teach him what Down, Sit, and Stay mean, and work up to distance as he improves over time. Finally, if you feel like you are dealing with true separation anxiety, check out the Separation Anxiety protocol from the trainer below. It's a lot of structure and can seem intense. I have seen it work, but I only use that if real separation anxiety is going on, and not simply boredom barking or things that can be addressed just by adding more structure and boundaries to a dog's routine. This trainer can sound a bit harsh with people, so I apologize for that. He does a lot of great work with highly aggressive, reactive, and fearful dogs though. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Article with additional info: https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2013/02/21/separation-anxiety-im-not-seeing-it-at-my-place For the food, check out ZiwiPeak (You can buy it online) or Honest Kitchen. Both of these are freeze dried real-food based dog foods that dogs tend to like better. If you want to rotate off of these later, you can add in regular dry kibble (once he is eating the honest kitchen or ziwipeak alright). Add just a little dry kibble at first and put it in a ziplock bag with the freeze dried food overnight so that it will taste and smell like the freeze dried. You can very gradually increase the kibble and decrease the freeze dried overtime to transition to just a dry kibble. Nature's Variety makes a kibble with freeze dried pieces in it that might be a good food to eventually transition to because it will still be a bit similar to the freeze dried that was mixed with the normal kibble without all the work of mixing it yourself. You can also buy freeze dried kibble toppers. While you are transitioning to the freeze dried, avoid feeding people food. Instead, use the freeze dried dog food as treats. If he has to work for the food, he is actually more likely to eat the food and view it differently than his normal dog food. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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