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:

How To Calm Down HYPER dogs

*** 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:

My “Hands Off” Dog Training Program

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 ***

Hi [Chet],
 
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???

Thanks Nicola

>>> 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.

-Chet

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 info@thedogtrainingsecret.com and I’ll try to answer your question in one of my upcoming newsletters?

 

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Comments

  1. Jason says:

    I have personally used Chet’s methods to calm down my pom when he gets excited about someone being at the door and have to say that I’ve had great success with the process.

    Dante is now capable of not freaking out when that doorbell rings!

    [Reply]

  2. Very nice post. I’m learning more about training my toddler to use the potty from reading the info on your site, then I’ve ever did from the advice given to me by my own mom. Hope it’s ok that I share this post on Mixx?

    [Reply]

  3. This is most definitely one of the best articles I have come across on this subject. Have you considered the opposite side of the topic of natural health? To be candid, I think a good argument could be made either way, but let me know if you know of more articles or sources on the Internet to verify what you are proposing.

    [Reply]

  4. ivy says:

    Ok, I have a one year and 2 month old mixed breed puppy. She is very smart and is obedient to me but when she is out side with me she can get caught up in something running by or a noise she hears in the distance. She is also very hyper and when I take her out of the crate at anytime she runs and jumps all over the house and if the other dogs are around she wrestles around with them and she wont listen to a thing I say, I have to pull her away. What should I do?

    [Reply]

  5. karime gomez says:

    i have a 1 year and 9 month dog and hes really hyper hes a chihuahua mix and i got him from my aunt.my aunt bought him for me for $300!shes super nice.i got my dog when he was 6 months old he had a ribbon wrapped around his head o yea he was a boy and i named Oreo because he has white,black,and brown the black is a stripe from his nose to his tail he has white on his chest some of his paws are whit and some are brown and the rest is brown he has such a cute face and holds on 2 u when hes scared but he wont pay atention sometimes!i dont know what to do…help me!

    [Reply]

  6. shaurya says:

    my dog is a 10 month old golden retreiever….i take him for 1 hour walk daily for exersize.but whenever he sees any body he gets very exited and starts jumping and holding their hands with his mouth.i try to control him but he just wont listen.is there any solution for this problem..

    [Reply]

  7. Mackenzie says:

    My dog is a two year old yellow lab. He grabs things off the counter, literally eats my homework, always barks and doesn’t listen to me. He is to big for me to hold him down if he gets something he isn’t supposed to have, (like money)he is a very loud whiny dog, and is just an over all spaz. Any tips on how I can show my dominance?

    [Reply]

  8. Max says:

    Hello. My almost two year old male cocker spaniel, Duncan, (he’ll be two years old April 14th, 2012)
    well, he’s NUTS. He barks whenever we leave the room, even if he can see us. He barks whenever we’re laughing or doing anything that he can’t be apart of. He chases lights, shadows, and ANYTHING like that he can see, and he’ll bark and chase it until one of us put him in the kitchen in his little area. He’s extremely hyper and never calms down! Someone has to be very close to him or he’ll bark! What should we do?

    [Reply]

  9. Catelyn says:

    I have A foster dog we are just keeping him until he gets adopted and he is four And he was abused and acts like a puppy he constantly is in your face jumping on you and play bites we are trying to teach him no but every time we say no in a firm voice he gets scared and pees we also can’t grab his collar or he will pee we don’t know how to teach him any thing with out him peeing on us or the furniture

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    At four the behavior is going to be harder to change because it is his “go to” behavior.

    Go slow and use a clicker and clicker training as this will be fun and have no negative effects.

    Don’t yell, instead ignore behaviors and reward good behaviors and I bet with this you will see a quick change.

    Then you can click and grab his collar…but first you have to “load the clicker” and teach him how to play this game.

    [Reply]

  10. Monica says:

    My dog is a new addition to our family, he is about 2 years old. He was abused in a former home and then given away to a family with another dog. He had some problems with him and put him in the humane society shelter in our area. From there we adopted him.

    When we adopted him the staff said that he was very aggressive. As we took him home and days went by he had not once growled or has shown any harm to my family. He is very lovable.

    When we take him outside he sees a stranger and he growls and barks non stop, and no one can come into our home. He has had a incident where he bit a person slightly.

    Therefore, we can’t take him anywhere and we can’t let people visit our home. How do we
    Change is attitude towards strangers considering his abusive past?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Once you have a dog that has bitten and is showing aggressive tendencies it is time to seek professional help from a Veterinary Behaviorist. http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/time-seek-professional-dog-training-aggression/

    [Reply]

  11. sophie says:

    my 2 year old lab-she is very calm never jumps or excited usually but i have just started doing dog agility courses inc seesaw,tunnel,jumps poles ect and she has started to act very strangely insted of being tired and sleepy she is pacing and starts to wine it has stating to get very annoying as this is happening all day and all through the next day and im not sure what to do about it.

    should i stop doing agility?

    [Reply]

  12. Ellen says:

    Hello, I have been reading and working with all of these different suggestions and most of them are working. BUT, there is always a but…I have a brother and sister. They are 7 months old this week, and as Nicola said about her Shepherd’s they fight furiously. But, when they come in from outside they don’t want to be away from each other. They don’t want to go out alone. If you separate them it is like they go into a depression. We have an older dog that is trying to show them the ropes and since Rusty is smaller than they are so they just gang up on him. He is a Cavalier King Charles and they are Boxers. They are great with other dogs and afraid of their own shadow. We tried containing them with a standard fence and they dig to China. We are using the wireless fence and they push it to the limit and still make it thru some days. But, that doesn’t keep other animals out of our yard. Like I said though, they are great with other animals….so far. But, I feel if the aggression with each other keeps up and with Rusty it will take effect with other animals and people. Should I take them out to their mom and dad? it won’t be a problem to let their dad whip them into to shape. He is a great dog and so is the mom. Except the dad is a jumper. But, as far as aggression there is none. Please let me know your suggestions. And, the food training did work with them. My problem wasn’t with their own food. They sat and waited patiently in their designated areas for that. It is only when we ate. So it has really helped with that. thanks, Ellen

    [Reply]

  13. lisa says:

    I have a 3 year old Labrador who is very well behaved but we recently got a new puppy (also a labrador) – she is no 17 weeks. When we let them out in the house together they won’t sit still- they just wrestle and jump on each other. I am worried one of them will get hurt or that they will break something. I have tried shouting at them but it is like they can’t hear me (or they ignore me) when they are playing. I am not sure what else to try? ?

    also the puppy gets so excited when there’s food concerned….when we arrive home from work she is so hyper the house ends up like a madhouse. We are unsure how to stop her acting like this. Also at a weekend when we are home she will sit and cry until she gets fed. It is a quiet whimper but because we are trying to stick to certain times of feeding her we dont want to give in and feed her when she starts crying.

    any tips on any of these problems would be much appreciated.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    It is time to start regular training with the puppy and to reintroduce and work on daily training with your other dog.

    Right now it is like a constant slumber party at your house!

    It is okay for them to play on occasion but it is best if they can learn to play when they are allowed and yet still listen to you.

    I train my dogs separately and then put them together.

    I expect my older dogs to listen to me while the puppy is being a puppy so my older dogs do down stays and are much better at listening right away, until my puppy works to the point that this kind of expedience becomes more of a habit.

    [Reply]

  14. Lynn Oliver says:

    Hi. We have an almost two year old, female Shih-Tzu. She is a very social, exuberant puppy. She “loves” people. Jumps on them & tries to nibble their ears. She runs through the house like a crazy puppy & makes us laugh until we cry. She is a “character.” We now live in the country, but no fence. 60 Acres. We have seen coyotes come on our property on a pretty regular basis, plus raccoons & opossums. She will go running toward them, because she thinks they want to play. She will not listen to “Come”, “Stay”, “Down” or “Sit.” We had a very hard time getting her potty trained, so when she goes potty outside we praise her & give her a treat. Probably the wrong thing to do. But at the time it was the only thing she seemed to connect with. And now she pretty much expects it. She is a darling dog & so happy. But, it’s become scary to let her outside without being right beside her (she’s so fast, it’s nearly impossible, once she see’s something.) It’s like she doesn’t even hear us. Plus, we hate to have company, as she gets wild & jumps on people. Is it too late to undo bad behaviors? Thanks very much. Lynn Oliver

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/avoid-leash-dog-training/

    [Reply]

  15. Anjanette says:

    I have a 15 month old AKC German Rottweiler and he listens very well with the commands sit, lay give me your paw and he know what stay is but won’t stay very long.. But he is not trustworthy at all he is a cry baby at times just for attention. He is so rambunctious. My other dogs don’t want to be bothered with him. He is big and don’t realize how big he is. He is kennel trained and when I let him out he goes crazy. But I can’t get this dog to calm down. He has broken or just come over all the fences I have in the house. So I had to make taller one’s. So far so good with that. But he chewed up a new rug and he has toys. He also is the only dog that don’t want to share anything of his including food. I have 4 dogs they all eat together sleep together go out together. But this one they don’t want to be bothered with and now I’m starting to feel that way. Because he won’t calm down.

    [Reply]

  16. Connie Doucette says:

    I too have a dog that is hyperbeyond when anyone comes to visit. Herbiting hurts and her eyes are enormous. Have you hadany luck?

    [Reply]

  17. Monica Allgyre says:

    My 1 year old dog is part boxer and part golden retriever and very hyper. Is there some way i can get her to calm down and not get so excited. No matter what she is doing she is just so super rambunctious and doesnt calm down for nothing. If i could get some info on how to get her to clam down i would greatly appreciate it.

    [Reply]

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