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!
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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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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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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