Some dogs have more dominant and assertive tendencies than others and may be more difficult for their owners to train, control, and to live with.
Exuberant & Active
Refuses to listen or pay attention to you in most situations
May resist or challenge grooming, handling, nail clipping, bathing
May growl or nip when disciplined or asked to do something he does not want to do
Comes when called only when he wants to
Wanders away from home frequently
Protective of food dish and possessions
Excessive Leash Pulling
Several of these behavior patterns are indicative of a dog that is the "Pack Leader." Do the WORKOUT ROUTINE even though your dog resists. After he is accepting of this procedure, you will both be happier because he will begin to listen and mind better- and have more respect for you. You will even like your dog better.....
DO: Make this type of dog sit or down before you give him his dinner, before he comes in the house, car, gate. Lean over him often. Pet him firmly and with authority. Do lots of down stays. Do lots of call-backs when on a walk on leash. Play Come Games and Hide and Seek. Keep treats in your pocket for instant rewards. Praise him for good behavior! As he is eating his dinner, add a little more food to his dish.
DO NOT: Let this type of dog to sleep on your bed (at least for a while) until his training is making progress. His desire to be pack leader will increase because he will think of you as a littermate. If your dog has ever growled at you when sleeping in your bed, you definitely need to get this dog on the floor, now! Do not let him pull you around on a leash when you take him on a walk.
DO: Attend an Obedience Class.
DO: Work on Controlled Walking. When out on a walk, keep the leash slack! A dog that pulls excessively is not fun to take on outings, and further, such a dog can hurt your arm or cause you to fall. There are several approaches to solving this problem.
Always use the mildest method necessary to get the job done. What works with one dog, may not necessarily work with another. Be flexible and find the one that works with your dog. If you work with your dog, he will get better........and you will like him better.
Begin by putting treats into your pocket. Collars acceptable are whatever you feel comfortable using. No collar should be pulled up tight on the dog's neck! Keep the leash slack. Have the dog on your LEFT side.
1. Simply stop. Do not move until the dog is calm and not pulling. Start walking again. Immediately stop in place when any pulling begins. The idea is to get the dog to understand that his pulling stops the fun of the walk. This approach will require patience and consistency. When dog is walking nicely with you, praise and/or treat.
2. Change direction. Walk with a strong, confident attitude. Think of Marching! You have got to sport an attitude of your own. Change direction every few steps. Make lots of turns. Tell dog, "Move it" and turn left *into* the dog. Make the dog get out of *your* way by being brisk and assertive. Make it a game, not a punishment. When the dog is walking with you properly, praise and/or treat.
3. Voice correction with direction change. Notify the dog with a voice command just prior to changing direction," Bosco, here!" As he comes with you, praise and/or treat him. Or give a low voice correction such as "ehh, ehh" or "quit" exactly when the dog begins to pull out of control. Then abruptly change direction. Praise when dog is with you.
4. The leash tug or pop. If the above methods fail to change your dogs behavior after a few days, you may have to resort to the leash pop method. This is not going to ruin your dog, in fact it may save his life. Your dog has to learn control in today's society. You wanted the dog as a companion. He won't be a good companion if you cannot take him places. It is paramount that he learn to mind you, his owner.
A "pop" (tug) needs to be a surprise and to be done quickly. It is not abusive and should not be harsh. The pop is simply a flick of the wrist, an attention getter to an overly assertive dog. This little pop is certainly more humane than the cruel choke hold done by allowing a dog to pull excessively into its collar! The trachea can easily be damaged. The pop is done in a manner that is no nonsense and direct. You didn't do this, the dog did! As the dog starts to pull, give the pop AS YOU TURN and go in the opposite direction. (shorten leash with your hands, give a light, quick, pull with a flick of your wrist, then RELEASE immediately so that the leash goes slack.) KEEP WALKING. Do not stop and wait for the dog. The trick is to keep walking with a confident attitude. As the dog comes with you Praise/Treat him! Happy talk as he is walking with you on your left side! Whatadog, Good dog!!
As the dog becomes more willing to walk with you and go in your direction, do some training exercises with him. Call the dog to you while walking, have dog sit in front of you, reach for his collar, praise and treat while holding his collar. Do a "down" and a "sit" and do a "watch me." What a good dog!!
If you cannot walk your dog comfortably after giving these above methods a fair, consistent try, you can use a head collar (Gentle Leader) or prong collar. Both are considered power steering, but must be used correctly!! Seek instruction before using.
Training a dog to stay on your property requires a tremendous amount of dedication on the part of the owner. A dog that is fully boundary trained in never to be considered even 95% reliable. There is always that one situation that may occur possibly endangering the dog and/or other people or animals.
When I am out in my open front yard, I want my dogs with me. They know I am in control. They are not to leave the property, not to chase out at things, not to bark at normal neighborhood occurrences. I expect them to behave and not act rowdy. I expect them to stop in their tracks when I call. My dogs are obedience trained and participate in many aspects of my life, which makes boundary training feasible. They know the rules and the routine. Dogs thrive on routine.
My dogs are trained to stay on my property and I trust them 95% of the time. I live in a country location that I consider "safe." I began this challenge some 28 years ago with a strong willed, wily Labrador Retriever named Bingo. He and I learned a great deal from each other. He learned that when I was mowing the lawn, he could leave the property for a trip around the neighborhood. I learned that I had to watch my dog and be aware of his actions!!
Each dog that has joined our household has learned the rules of staying on the property. This is much easier to teach a young pup if there is a boundary trained dog in residence. Boundary training may take several months of persistence and training.......an complete dedication on the part of the owner. A neutered dog will have less desire to roam.
I walk the newcomer dog/pup along the perimeter of the property with a leash several times daily. If the dog steps over the line, I guide him back. I always have treats in my pocket to reward the dog for coming when called or staying with me when he would rather run off. When a dog is persistent about going over the "line," he wears a long line so that I can step on it when necessary to remind him where he belongs. I work at conditioning the dog to come when called with lots of positive reinforcement and come games.
Once a dog leaves the property, he will do it again and again to increase his territory and to enjoy doggy sniffing and exploring. If the dog does leave the property, you have two choices: a. Call the dog and praise him for coming to you. b. Go after the dog, leashing him if necessary.
If the dog is a puppy, I guide him home with a treat. If the dog is a juvenile or adult, I get behind the dog and head him back home. If he goes home willingly, fine, I praise him at home with voice and treat. If he has to be put on leash to get him to go home, I walk home briskly with him in tow, no treat, but I do "forgive" him after a few minutes by playing with him.
If the dog is fairly reliable in his training for staying home, is off leash and leaves the property, I will use some negative reinforcement, such as a frowning face/scolding voice, clapping hands, a shaker can, or other noise maker sounding behind him. * If the dog is overly sound sensitive, for sound makers try a rolled up magazine or newspaper slapping against your hand or leg, or a dull sounding shaker (plastic peanut butter jar filled with corks and a few beans).
If the dog is leaving the property often, he needs more training or he is just not a good candidate for this situation. The safety of the dog is the most important consideration.
1. Fence as much of the property as possible for safety and convenience.
2. Be aware of the dog when in an unfenced location. You have to watch the dog!
3. Keep treats and toys handy for rewards. Periodically, call the dog and reward him for coming to you! Treats, Play, Petting, or Letting him in the house.
4. Make sure dog has playtime with you daily - as often as possible.
5. Give dog raw bones or other chew objects to chew, keeping him busy and satisfied. (I do not use pig ears, hooves, or rawhide) With young dogs to help them expend energy, I occasionally toss some kibble out on the patio for them to hunt.
6. Never take your puppy for a neighborhood walk by walking him off your property. Either carry him or drive him 50-100 feet past the property line or he will consider that space "his" territory. After he is boundary trained, a leash walk leaving the property with you will be okay on your command.
7. Take your dog to training classes and to as many doggy activities as you can. A dog that has a job to do is more content, calmer, and less bored.
8. Know what the neighborhood situation is. Are there Loose Dogs? Children? Pedestrians? Bicycles? Are Vehicles a danger? Rabbits? You do not want your dog chasing out!! Many people are very afraid of dogs, let alone an unleashed dog! Be careful. There are many situations where it is just not wise or practical to allow your dog to be unfenced. You must always think for the safety of your dog.
9. I do not use shock collars or invisible fencing, so I cannot address that use.
10. Be consistent and ever vigilant. When you cannot observe the dog and be aware of his actions, bring the dog inside the house or enclose him in a fenced area. Never leave your dog loose outside without your supervision.