It has been a whirlwind since you welcomed your gorgeous new dog into your home. He’s put a smile on everyone's face and you look forward to seeing him when you come from work each day. Even your tough and usually grumpy partner goes all soft around him. However, it isn’t all plain sailing. Your loyal pooch does have one rather irritating habit, though. He doesn’t respect your personal space. He’s constantly craving attention and climbs on top of you, regardless of what you are doing. This may have been cute to start with, but now it is getting to be a bit much.
Training him to respect your personal space is essential for both of you. You need some peace and quiet every now and then. Plus, your partner wants to be able to cuddle you on the sofa in the evening, without the dog being in the middle. It will also be good for your dog. Setting boundaries will help prevent him getting separation anxiety when you have to leave the house.
Training your dog to respect your personal space isn’t always straightforward. It is particularly difficult if he’s been used to being up close and personal with you for many years. You will have to set some clear boundaries. You will also need to set a routine for him, so he knows he will still get the love and attention he needs. You may also need to make his personal space more attractive and channel his energy into something productive.
If he’s just a puppy he should still be learning the rules and you could see swift results, in just a week or two. If he’s older and always been on the clingy side then you may need a while longer. You could need up to six weeks to fully kick the habit. Succeed and you’ll both feel much better for it.
Before training can begin you will need to collect a few bits. Get your hands on some new toys and food puzzles. You will also need to stock up on treats or break your dog's favorite food into small pieces.
Try and set aside 10 minutes each day for training. Five in the morning and another five in the evening would be ideal. You may also want to look at getting him an exciting new bed.
Once you have all that, just bring patience and a positive attitude, then work can begin!
Jane does not like being alone, she’s been like this since i got her at 4 months old. She barks if she’s left alone in a room or even left outside in the backyard by herself. She constantly feels like she needs to be right next to me, and constantly has to be touching me. She sleeps in my bed with me and some nights causes me to get no sleep because she has to lay on top of me. It’s gotten worse since I left her with family for a week while i was on vacation. I keep my patience with her for the most part but sometimes it’s too much. How can i get her to learn that she doesn’t constantly have to be right next to me?
Hello Allyson, She needs to practice independence building commands, like Place, crate manners, and Down-Stay while you are in and out of the room for 1-2 hours at a time (working up to that amount gradually). I also recommend confidence building exercises in general, and keeping interactions with her more business-like and calmer while training all this. Finally, teach an Out command and make her leave the area when she gets pushy - climbing onto you uninvited, nudging your hand, barking for attention, or pawing at you. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Out command - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Confidence building exercises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OseD7TRwsPQ Severe separation anxiety case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0x78GY9Cf3w Further progress with same separation anxiety case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcfkUauuBq0 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Bella does not respect personal space, barks at nothing, and keeps dragging dirt and mulch on the bed. Are these habits that can be fixed?
Hello Sana, Teach Bella an 'Out' command (which means leave the area) and a 'Place' command (which means go to a designate spot like a dog bed or towel) and work up to having her stay on 'Place' for an hour, even when there are distractions like guests around. This will take time and practice to teach, but more structure and consistency with her should help the personal space issues. She will likely always want to be by your side because of her personality and breed (Australian Shepherd can be Velco dogs and they can be pushy) but you can teach her those commands and tell her when she should leave or lay down and play by herself. If she starts being pushy and nudging you, barking at you, climbing into your lap uninvited, or inserting herself in other physically ways without being given permission, then use the 'Out' command to make her leave the area -- it is a natural consequence for being rude toward you and demanding your attention -- she looses all attention right then. 1. To teach her an 'Out' command, first call her over to you, then toss a treat several feet away from yourself while pointing to the area where you are tossing the treat with the finger of your treat tossing hand and saying 'Out' at the same time. 2. Repeat this until she will go over to the area where you point when you say 'Out' before you have tossed a treat. 3. When she will do that, then whenever you tell her "Out" and she does not go to where you are pointing, walk toward her and herd her out of the area with your body. Your attitude should be calm and patient but very firm and business-like when you do this. 4. When you get to where you were pointing to, then stop and wait until she either goes away or stops trying to go back to the area where you were standing before. 5. When she is no longer trying to get past you, then slowly walk backwards to where you were before. If she follows you, then tell her "Out" again and quickly walk toward her until she is back to where she was a moment ago. 6. Repeat this until she will stay several feet away from where you were when you told her 'Out' originally. 7. When you are ready for her to come back, then tell her 'OK' in an up beat tone of voice. 8. Practice this training until she will consistently leave the area when you tell her 'Out'. 9. When she will consistently leave, then practice the training with other areas that you would like for her to leave, such as the kitchen when you are preparing food, a person's space when she is being pushy, an area with a plant that she is trying to dig up, or somewhere with something in your home that she should not be bothering. Check out this video for how to teach 'Place': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo The mulch I would need a bit more information about. Does she have a dog door where she has access from the backyard to the bed all the time? I would need more details to touch on that one, but it likely can be changed if you are willing to adjust some of her routine or access to the mulch to break that habit. The barking can likely be addressed, but that is also hard to say without being there to determine why she is barking. Some dogs barks out of boredom, some bark to get attention, some bark because their ears are more sensitive than ours and they hear things that we can't, other dogs will bark because of paranoia...You can teach a dog the 'Quiet' command and you can enforce that command with rewards for being quiet and something like a bark collar to interrupt the barking when she disobeys, but you will also need to figure out why she is barking if you can -- because there might be an underlying reason that needs to be addressed too, like a high pitched noise, boredom, attention seeking, or a mental paranoia issue. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Starting to get much more mouthy when playing and cuddling. Likes to nibble my ears and gets right on me when I lie down. He’ll lie on my chest or out step on and over me. Attacks my feet.
Hello Eric, First, know that this is normal at this age - pup is playing with you like another puppy. It's important to keep calmness still, but it is normal at this age. I suggest teaching the following things to help pup develop more manners and self-control. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Also, work on getting puppy used to tolerating touch and handling without biting. Use puppies daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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He’s aggressive when we feed him and when he’s in his bed, growling when we go near.
Hello Carl, This is an issue I highly recommend hiring a professional private trainer to help you with in person. Pup will need to be desensitized to wearing a basket muzzle for safety. Their overall respect for you in general will need to be build through doing things like practicing obedience commands, keeping interactions with pup calm and consistent, possibly implementing some new rules around the house like staying off furniture, and having pup work for everything they get by having to perform a command, like Sit first. With safety measures in place like a back tie leash and a fake arm, pup will need to be counter conditioned to people being around while he is eating. This is done very carefully and gradually, tossing treats to pup from further away when they respond well when you walk past, gradually decreasing the distance as pup improves through practice, by feeding pup their meals in portions, and eventually practicing touch with the fake arm, rewarding pup with more food each time they are touched. This procedure has to be done very carefully to avoid making the aggression worse, to keep you safe, and to make progress, so I highly recommend only doing it under a trainer's supervision and guidance. Look for a trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression. Not all trainer work with aggression and have the experience you need so ask questions. Check out their previous client reviews and referrals from those with similar training needs as your also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I am volunteering in a local rescue. A number of collies were recently rescued from a farm where they were kept in terrible conditions. The one I am having great difficulty with is Joe Joe, I’m trying my best with him as I want him to get a chance of a good home. I can get him on a lead, but it is very difficult to walk with him as he just constantly circles my legs & jumps up. Even when I leave him off lead in a field he will not go and run around just continues to circle me & jump up. I’m afraid of his his faith if I cannot get him to stop doing this. He is very stressed being in a kennel but is obviously not even able to get adequate exercise when he will not leave me.
Hello Susan, The circling is an obsessive compulsive behavior, likely from stress and being confined in a small space. Some herding breeds will develop circling in those types of conditions. For the jumping, I recommend practicing the Step Toward method below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump For the circling, you will need an interrupter to get pup's attention to "snap" them out of the compulsion, but you will also need to teach an alternative behavior that pup can do instead of circling, and reward the alternative behavior. This will take a lot of practice since it is an obsession and a way pup has learned to manage their stress. Typically an interrupter like a Pet Convincer (no citronella, only unscented air), a remote training collar with low level stimulation or vibration, would be used to interrupt. Pup would then be taught alternative behaviors like fetching a frisbee thrown out ahead of you throughout the walk - to teach forward movement, and a formalized heel with lots of turns and changes in pace to help keep pup engaged. Having pup carry something during the walk can also sometimes help keep pup's brain in the right mindset. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Finally, work on stimulating pup mentally to help pup get their energy out and give their mind a better outlet. Check out the Youtube channel below for some ideas of things you can teach. Simply having a thirty minute training session each day, where pup practices known commands or new commands or tricks, simply to challenge their mind and help them redirect some nervous energy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZzFRKsgVMhGTxffpzgTJlQ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Starting to growl at us all the time when asked to get off settee or putting lead back off after he’s had a run or when he’s done something wrong
As a dog owner, you probably get upset when your dog growls. Your first reaction may be to suppress the growling by scolding or punishing the dog. This is never a good idea. By teaching your dog that growling isn't acceptable behavior, you're taking away its ability to warn you that it may bite. You may have heard stories about dogs that bite with no warning. But, in many cases, this is because the owners trained their dogs not to give a warning growl first. The key to getting a dog to stop growling is not to suppress the growls, but rather to deal with the underlying problem. Once the pain, fear, possession aggression, or territoriality has been dealt with, the dog will no longer need to growl. In-Depth Training Territoriality, possession aggression, and fear are serious behavior problems. Depending on the degree of the behavioral problem, the dog may respond well to a training program or may need a much more in-depth behavior modification program. A dog trainer or animal behaviorist can help you evaluate the dog, and determine the best course of action for dealing with these issues. As you work with this type of trainer, be as specific as possible as to what you think triggered the growling. The trainer will likely work with the dog to slowly condition it to accept the trigger and not growl in its presence. Next Steps While you're working to determine the cause of the growling, don't ignore it or it's likely to get worse. Be careful around your dog until you figure out why it's growling. Additionally, you may want to help your dog modify its behavior until the situation is under control. For example, if your dog always growls at the mail carrier, close the window shades and eliminate any sightlines while you work on the problem. If possible, eliminate triggers, avoid stressful situations, and caution others (both dogs and humans) to keep their distance in order to prevent a dog bite. For example, you may not want to introduce your dog to new dogs, bring it to a dog park, or host a loud party until you get help.
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