How To Calm A Dog Down
>NOTE: If you’d like to learn more about training your dog to calm down when he sees people he likes instead of get overly excited, check out my new program here:
*** Question From A Reader ***
My 1 year old pup, Indo is very hyper. I am still having problems with jumping on people and just going bonkers when she sees anyone or any other animal. As far as the people go, she just loves people and I did not train her properly about jumping up when I first got her at 4 months old. Then I found the clicker…and positive reinforcement really works…but I am still going through the training and I still cannot control her, especially when her favorite people come by.
I live where I work, so my Dad and all of my coworkers are considered her family. And everyday, she goes nuts when everyone comes to say hello to her or come near her. She will sit, then they get to pet her, but then she jumps up and freaks out, lays on the ground at their feet and kicks like a cat….goofy thing!! Do you have any advice for an older dog that was trained poorly? Any tricks beside repetition, cause we are doing that!
Thank You Meredith
>>> My Comments:
You’ve got a SUPER common problem Meredith, and one that can easily be fixed.
First lets talk about WHY your dog is hyper, and then I’ll address how to fix it.
You see, there is a law in training that not many people talk about that says, “When you train a behavior, you ALSO train the dog to feel the emotions he felt while you trained the behavior.”
And whether you like it or not, ALL daily interactions with your dog are training sessions.
He’s either being trained to ignore you, being trained to get excited, or being trained to do a hundred thousand other things.
But he’s ALWAYS being trained.
So when you say that “she goes nuts when everyone comes to say hello to her or come near her.” That tells me something.
BECAUSE your dog *really* likes people, it’s an exciting thing for her to interact with them… maybe more exciting then anything else.
Heck it’s probably SO exciting that it’s worth getting yelled at or swatted, or ignoring your “OFF” commands for just a few seconds of interaction with people.
Which means we have a problem…
We have a SELF reinforcing behavior.
Meaning that we have a behavior (greeting strangers) that is so rewarding, every interaction with strangers is being rewarded.
And another proven dog training LAW says that any behavior that is rewarded will increase it’s likely hood to continue.
So knowing this law, the only way to fix your problem is to completely cut off your dogs ability to get at it’s reward… (aka. people)
I’m not saying we cut your dog off from the world by isolating them, but we need to set some new rules for your dog that withhold any interaction with people, until she’s behaving calmly– so that the dog learns the only way to get what it wants is to stay calm.
Whereas right now, the best way to get what it wants is to get excited.
So how can you teach your dog this behavior?
I did an entire interview with a dog training expert in my interview series called “The Greatest Minds Of Hands Off Dog Training”, which you can add to your order in the checkout process when buying my “Hands Off Dog Training Program”, here:
It’s a GREAT interview and one worth listening to as it address all the different techniques for fixing your type of problem.
*** Question From A Reader ***
I have watched your videos with enthusiasm… thanks. I have a PROBLEM. I recently (last week) bought twp German shepherd pups brother and sister. They fight each other a lot; viciously and I have to stop them with water. I feel really awful doing it. Today I gave them both a bone and they went mad for each other again. I took the bones away. Now they are in separate corners of the room looking sheepish. I have to go to work soon and am worried what state they will be in when I get home. The little girl doesn’t leave the poor boy alone. They are 10 weeks old.
What shall I do???
>>> My Comments:
Nicola, this is a CRITICAL stage of life for your pups, where they will acquire many of their behavior characteristics and learn what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
And the answer to your problem, as much as it pains me, is NOT in my training course, or at least not yet 😉
Because the hands down BEST thing you can do for your dogs right now is get them to interact with other, what I call “Mentor” dogs.
A “Mentor” dog is an older dog who can teach your pup what is and what is NOT appropriate behavior.
Normally this is taught to a pup like yours by its mother and other litter or pack mates — or at least that’s optimal way.
I made sure my own Golden Retriever was purchased from a place where all the pups, along with their Mother, and two uncles. It was a good mix of older dogs who can teach them what is and isn’t ok in the “dog to dog” etiquette world.
Some things are best taught by other dogs, and taught at a young age.
So what I did, when I took my Golden Retriever away from his Mother and litter mates at about 10 weeks old, was I immediately introduced him to every “WELL SOCIALIZED” dog on the planet.
And more importantly, I found a good Doggy Day care that I could take my dog to where *pre-approved* to be good players, were all allowed to interact freely with each other in a HUGE play yard.
In my case, I was able to put my little guy in a pen with tons of nice German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Labs and tons of other breeds of dog, who taught my dog how to play nice.
And you need to do the same.
Do whatever it takes to put your dog in an environment where he can play nicely with LOTS of dogs at the same time, and let those dogs teach him the ropes.
Nobody can teach a young pup to behave nicely with other dogs… then other nice dogs.
P.S. Do you have a question or success story you’d like me to share or address in this newsletter? If so please email your questions or stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to answer your question in one of my upcoming newsletters?