Calm Training for a Relaxed Dog

For humans, calm training can be used to become relaxed. A mindfulness meditation state is known to achieve amazing mental health, and health benefits overall such as decreased heart and respiratory rates and decreased anxiety. Calm can also be taught to your dog as a conditioned response to something that would ordinarily cause stress or anxiety. Just as Pavlov taught dogs to drool in response to the ringing of a bell, you too can teach your dog to decrease his anxiety, and relax in times of stress.  

This type of training is essential for dog owners that are looking at options to help treat their dogs with behavior and anxiety issues, and is also important to implement in obedience training. Often times, I think we unknowingly condition our dogs to get excited as a response to most exciting things that go on in our world. Our dogs are unknowingly conditioned to get overly excited when people come over to visit, when we take them out on a leash, when we come home; almost everything we do in some ways encourages our dogs to get excited.

impulse controlLet me explain; like it or not, your dog is learning from you every day. And unfortunately, if you are like most dog owners, it means your dog is learning to MISBEHAVE! Because if you’re not applying calm training to teach your dog impulse control, your dog is filling this void with life lessons that he’s figuring out for himself.

When people come over it is normal for most dogs to get excited. The problem is that we allow them to be rewarded for this behavior. We get excited to have guests come over – We speak excitedly, we pet them while they are jumping around, we allow our company to pet them as well; or instead, we yell at them to get down and back off while pushing or swatting, or heaven forbid, kneeing them. 

What are we doing? Giving them attention whether good or bad for their poor behavior. After a few visits, this excitement, which has been previously rewarded, gets to be the custom and your dog thinks he must show this behavior in order to be interacted with; i.e. a conditioned response to exciting stimulus. 

I once worked with a client who allowed his dog to bark and yelp obnoxiously as he pulled him toward the beach each time they arrived. When the dog was a puppy, my client thought it was hilarious, but he didn’t realize he was programming his dog that the barking and obnoxious screaming and pulling as a response to being at the beach was acceptable. The dog thought this was a part of a ritual he had to perform to get to the beach.  

We had to reprogram and teach my clients dog calming techniques, and teach him that only when he is a calm dog is he allowed to walk and play on the beach. There was a lot of driving to and from the beach going on before the dog realized that he will only be rewarded when he is calm.

Why should I train my dog to be calm?

We all have impulses. The impulse to get up or sleep in, in the morning, the impulse to find the bathroom, the impulse to cry or to laugh, we are inundated by impulses all of the time! As we, as humans, age; we learn to control and not act on our impulses.

training your dog

And, we teach our children these lessons so that they too, can maintain appropriate behavior in social situations. But sometimes we forget to teach our dogs! We think our dogs are so very cute no matter what they do, we spoil them a bit and we simply never teach them to control their impulses. 

AND, they are dogs… so they don’t really see any need on their own to control their impulses! They jump when they want to jump, some of them go potty where and when they want, they chase the cat when they want, they steal food when we leave it out… they do what feels good. They don’t have the ability to look back and think about consequences. 

That is what separates us; we can think about what we will do tomorrow and reflect on what we did yesterday. Dogs live in the moment. Many of your dog’s behavior problems have a component of fear, anxiety or an excitable dog making training sessions impossible to begin until a calm, relaxed state has been achieved on cue. 

Calm training should focus on both the behavioral response as well as your dog’s emotional state. In fact, until you can get your pet to focus on you, and relax on cue in the absence of the stimuli that evokes the fear, anxiety or an excitable dog, it is not practical to attempt to get your dog to relax in the presence of anyone or anything that causes it. A great place to begin is with different cues than your dog is already used to. That will help the both of you to remember and understand the desired behavior.

How does Calm training work?

Teaching your dog to be calm is useful for almost every situation. From calmly waiting to be leashed before going out for a walk to sitting patiently while waiting to be fed, to be thrown his favorite ball or for your attention and affection. Calm training is one of the most important concepts to teach any dog, whether or not there is an existing behavior problem. 

Unfortunately, we tend to deal with our dogs impulsiveness by being reactive rather than proactive in the way we teach him. When we punish the undesired behavior(s), we often tend to cause confusion and anxiety, making it harder for your dog to settle down – have you ever noticed the angrier you get with your dog, the more your dog acts out? That is because he is doing everything he can to please you. 

He’s confused and is in panic mode.  Whereas if you would just simply take the dog away from getting what he wants when he starts to act out, and wait for him to calm down, and exhibit good manners, your dog will become calmer, more focused and obedient.

How do I get started? First – Impulse Control

I think one of the biggest “sources” of dog behavior problems that I see as a dog trainer is their lack of impulse control. Dogs are used to getting what they want when they want it, or they will just get it themselves. And no, that isn’t your dog being spiteful, that is what nature tells him, will keep him alive.

And, when we allow our dogs to reward themselves or we reward them for their mere existence we are in turn creating little furry monsters! Human life is full of impulse control. I can’t punch the guy sitting next to me and take his Cheetos even if I am hungry and Cheetos are my favorite treat.

Drooling on his shoes or staring in his eyes while he eats is also not going to get me rewarded. Our hands get slapped and we get told NO as soon as we begin toddling around and exploring our world and we make wrong choices. Eventually we learn appropriate manners and how to ask for the things we want.

In essence, we control our impulses to eat whenever and whatever we want, say whatever we want, and do other inappropriate things that social norms don’t allow. Sure you can take your pants off and run around at 2 but it really isn’t allowed as we age. However sometimes we allow our dogs to have all kinds of inappropriate behaviors without addressing them such as:

  • We allow our dogs to steal our food.
  • Steal our things.
  • Jump on us.
  • Bite or nip us.
  • Tug on the leash, etc.

Bottom Line: Dogs Cannot Learn Obedience if They Have No Impulse Control

It is pretty simple. Dogs really can’t learn any form of obedience if they don’t have the simple ability to control their own impulses. This is the basics of the basics.

And, interestingly, I have seen some dogs who have learned to control their impulses while training but cannot leave food or toys alone to save their life. It is like they compartmentalize training and only do it under certain circumstances. None of us want a dog that can’t control himself in most situations!

So we must teach him impulse control in all places and in all things. Our dogs should not be allowed to steal food from the floor, the counter, and our hands. And, they shouldn’t be allowed to dive head first into their food dish without being told. It is good manners to teach your dog to wait until he is told to eat!

It also ensures that he will be less likely to steal from children or others that he deems weaker than himself. I say “less likely” because you actually have to train for this if you have children or others from whom he likes to steal! 

The Next Steps

I think we all can agree, that dogs with impulse control make much better companions. And, although obedience is a form of impulse control, it is also delegated by command or cue when true impulse control comes from the dog’s choice.

You aren’t going to use a command just yet. The goal is for your dog to learn that if he controls his impulses, good things will come. 

What You Need to Begin:

high value dog treats

  • Clicker
  • High value treats:  Squeeze Cheese, chicken, liver or something else your dog really likes.
  • Low value treats:  Dog food, dry dog biscuits, for instance something your dog likes but isn’t AS crazy about.
  • A treat pouch to put them in; I prefer a low cost hardware bag with 2 pouches that you can get at your local big box or hardware sore.
  • A leash (for added control for a jumping dog)
  • A happy dog

Getting Started

Step 1

First, I use low level treats when I first begin. I want my dog to learn good impulse control and eventually learn to leave steak or chicken or liver, but I want my dog to be as successful as possible in the meantime. I also think it helps us to not become as frustrated!

So separate your high level treats and your low level treats in your pouches. I put the low level treats in the right side and the high level treats in my left. My right hand is dominant and will do most of the work with the low level treats. I have my dog sit in front of me (if he can sit) if he can’t “sit” on command that is fine. (This is also appropriate to do with puppies!)

  1. I put a small low level biscuit in my right hand.
  2. Next I open my fist to show my dog the treat. 99% of dogs lunge purposely toward the cookie or treat; this is normal and to be expected.
  3. As soon as this happens I close my hand around the treat. SAY NOTHING!!! This is critical.

We want the dog to make the choice on his own!  If the dog has to rely on a command, he will still be more likely to steal food from small children and from others.  If we teach him to control himself, by his own choice we are teaching him a stronger behavior.

  1. As soon as he stops actively nuzzling, scratching, poking, nibbling etc. for the treat and has given up click and reward with a higher level treat from the left hand and the left side of your pouch. Dogs are smart. The dog will very quickly realize that you are giving him something more tasty and rewarding.

Continue doing this until he understands that NOT stealing the treat or rewarding himself is what you want and will get him rewarded.

training with dog treatsStep 2

  1. The next step is to move the placement of the treat in your hand. Use your left hand.
  2. Hold the treat high.
  3. Hold the treat low.
  4. Place you palm on the ground.
  5. Move your hand away quickly (think of jerky movements like children make). Teach your dog that no matter what an open OR closed fist with treats is NOT HIS!

Step 3

Now it is time to introduce the high value treats.

  1. Put chicken, liver, or steak in that open palm and make sure your dog understands that no matter how good the treat is he cannot be rewarded by stealing it.
  2. Be patient! Refusing a much tastier reward is much more difficult!
  3. It is at this point that you CAN let him have the treat in your hand if you tell him that he can. Some people don’t ever want to do this… and I understand. The behavior is more solid if he doesn’t think he will ever have a chance to snatch a treat from your palm.

This doesn’t mean you can’t give him treats… of course.  It just means that his likelihood of success is probably higher. But, it also teaches them to listen for clarity.

So it is an option, but one you must make on your own! Do this for many days/several weeks. 

Step 4 Teaching your Dog to “Leave It” Advanced Impulse Control

So How Do You Teach “Leave It”?

  1. dog clicker trainingWith your dog on his leash, take him to a secluded and distraction free area of your house where you can train together. This command needs your full attention and his at first while he is learning it!
  2. Keep the leash tight in your left hand, as you take a couple of low value treats out of your pouch and place them on the floor just out of your dog’s reach. Make sure he sees you put the treats down and restrict his access to the treats.
  3. Do not pop on the leash or correct him, let him strain for the treats but tell him “Leave It”.
  4. Ready your clicker!  At first he should look at and strain himself toward the treats, but soon he will get frustrated that he cannot reach them and he will turn and look away from the treats and toward you because he is discouraged. At that moment when he turns and looks away from the treats click and reward him with the GREAT treat!
  5. If he continues to look at you, you can again praise and give a mediocre reward.
  6. Now touch the mediocre treats that are on the floor again or pick them up and put them down again, to get him interested in them once again.
  7. As he looks at them, tell him “Leave It” and wait until he ignores them and looks toward you; click and jackpot him for a correct response.
  8. Continue playing this game until he is hardly focused or not focused at all on the mediocre treats.
  9. Once he has grasped the concept, you can move the mediocre treats closer to your dog.  Click and jackpot for a good response and continue to try to deny him access to the treats.  This may take several sessions and mastery of this command could take much longer, be patient!
  10. Move them closer and closer until he pays no attention at all.  He should now realize that the GREAT treats come from you, not the floor and that “Leave It” means he will get a better reward if he listens.
  11. Now, you may begin to use better and better treats as your “Leave It” distraction.  Until he has completely given up trying to get the “Leave It” treat make the reward that comes from you better than the one you are using as a distraction.

Now that he is completely ignoring the treats you put down, you can use the same low value treat. Because he should now realize that the best things in life comes from you not from the floor, or anywhere else.

  1. Next tell him “Leave It” as you hold a treat in one hand.  Click and reward with the opposite hand for a good response.  He should be able to leave items you are eating or carrying as well as things on the floor.

13 Now that your dog is demonstrating consistent “leave it” for you, you can now employ the help of family members and friends by having them try to give him a treat but then telling him to “Leave It”.  If he is really good, have them toss treats at him in an attempt to get him to make a mistake.  This can help for those of you who are afraid your dog may be at risk from poisoning.

Also proof this behavior by putting food on his feet or up his arms.  He should be able to ignore any distraction at this point and he should be having a good time knowing that the reward from you will be greater than anything tossed to him or stacked on him!

This game should always be fun! You are not scaring him from the distraction, you are simply teaching him that YOU are better than anything else. If you employ scare tactics you will likely end up with a dog that only listens while you are right next to him. If however he thinks this is a game and you might be right around the corner with his favorite treat, he will be more successful!

Remember a dog with impulse control makes a much better companion. And, if you do this in a happy manner it can be fun for you both!

How do I teach my dog “look,” “watch me,” or “focus”?

I often get asked, “Why should I teach my dog to give me eye contact?” There are several reasons actually. If he is nervous; eye contact and staring at you will be calming for your dog. If you have a dog that is dominant and wants to be in charge, eye contact is a good way to reinforce that you are the leader.

Eye contact and focus REQUIRES your dog to ignore everything else! Your dog cannot stare at you, while barking, lunging and looking at something or someone else!  

dog mindfullness

What You Need

  • Your dog
  • A leash
  • High value treats
  • A clicker
  • Your eyeballs

Getting Started

  1. With your dog on his leash, find a distraction free area to train in your house.
  2. Put high value treats in both hands and a clicker in one if you are clicker training.
  3. Show your dog that you have treats in BOTH hands by letting him smell your hands and the treats; and then bring both hands up on either side of your eyes.
  4. Your dog is probably going to go from looking at one hand, to the other; from one to another (because he knows they hold the treats) then he is probably going to get irritated and STARE into your pupils; it is at this exact moment that you want to click, praise and treat!

 

excitable dogMake sure that his pupils meet your pupils since THIS is the behavior you are reinforcing. Looking at “your face” is not good enough! You want your dog to stare into your eyeballs; this way you can see exactly what he is looking at!

Frustration usually leads to the behavior in the beginning, and then you can quickly ask for it by giving it a command. Be patient and don’t give in too early or you won’t have a dog that truly understands the concept.

  1. It can be common for your dog to run through a gamete of behaviors if he has previous training and this is new to him. Ignore him if he lays down, barks, or otherwise acts frustrated. Wait until those eyes meet yours and click!
  2. Once he has mastered this distraction free, add distractions. Then have him earn his meals by holding eye contact. Challenge him! Before you know it, you will have a calm and focused canine companion.

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Comments

  1. sue and hal glazer says:

    This was one of the most informative articles I have read. I am practicing all that was said and I am sure I will be very successful at teaching my Australian shepard what he needs to know to calm him down.

    Great article.

    [Reply]

  2. Judy Cinzio says:

    Dear Chet,

    I love having your emails, and I read everything, and watch the little videos. I learn something every time, some things I forget (I am almost 70 years old, well that’s a good convenient excuse anyway). My dog is now 1 year old and doing fairly well at most things. I haven’t done this programme that you’ve just sent, but will start on it tomorrow.

    Bug (my,dog) is not really food oriented. I have found one thing that she likes only. For her normal food, I have to encourage her, and she comes and has some and then maybe an hour later she might pick at it again. By night fall she has usually finished. The patty/burger that she loves, I use for rewards.

    My only problem that I realize that I’m having is when we go for a walk on the road, she wants to run way from trucks, buses 4wd station wagons cars with trailers, and horse floats, then as they are half way past she wants to attack them, growl and carry on. No food will tempt her to do otherwise, she just has one aim in mind. If I take her in the car long or short trips, she has to charge the window in the back seat every time a larger than normal car goes by.

    Anyway,please don’t stop sending, I enjoy every thing you send. I probably take a longer time to get into the way of carrying the things out, but gradually, I suddenly see her responding. It’s good.

    Again thank you,

    Judy.

    [Reply]

  3. Mary Lou says:

    Hi Chet,

    Thank YOU so much! I just read what you sent in regards to keeping my dog fixated and looking into my eyes. I haven’t tried it yet but, I can see how that would work. At least that’s my HOPE! LOL He has learned everything that I’ve gotten so far from you in the Training Program. So, I’m almost certain that I can also train him to do this also. I’ll keep you posted …

    Thanking YOU once again,
    Mary Lou

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  4. Bill says:

    I have always been taught not to look into a dogs eyes as it sees it as a challenge and they don’t like it. Nice to get a new slant on it

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  5. Linda says:

    Chet

    I am very excited to try this. I will let you know how it goes with my boy.

    [Reply]

  6. Lilly says:

    Ummmmmmmmm… what happens if it doesn’t work I mean like If he just wont do it. By he I mean the dog.

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    JC Reply:

    … just give the TV remote back to him.

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    Lilly Reply:

    lol.

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    Anna Reply:

    Lilly he will do it eventually, it is only a matter of time, really, every dog will look in your eyes because he will try to know what you want from him, it is only about your patience. 😉

    [Reply]

    Lilly Reply:

    O.K Thanx Anna!

    [Reply]

  7. Gina says:

    We have a problem with our dogs barking outside whenever they hear other dogs barking or when someone approaches our privacy fencing.
    One neighbor has called animal control on us 5 times during the summer months yet it is THEIR DOGS that are starting the barking frenzy.

    Will this training help us to keep our dogs under control when they are outside and stop them from barking? They bark for 3 or 4 minutes and our one neighbor who has 5 barking dogs reports us right after they bring their dogs inside the house. They are harrassing us constantly and we would like to try the above method to keep our dogs from responding to all the other dogs around us. Our houses are close together, and we feel that when other dogs bark, they are just being DOGS.

    Any suggestions, as we truly like to play outside with our dogs and how do they not get excited playing ball or frisbee?

    In a quandry in NY.

    [Reply]

    L.T Reply:

    I have the same neighbour problem. My 2 rotties only start when other dogs in the street (those little yappy things that never seem 2 stop) go off. I get all sorts of anonymous notes in the letterbox complaining about the barking (very deep, loud etc). I’ve tried Chets’ wait until they stop then go out & reward them or simply ignoring them butnothing seems to work. HELP!!!!

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    Barbara Reply:

    I’ve been mostly successful with the barking problem by thanking my dogs. I let them bark at things going on outside 3 times, then check to see what it is and thank them (for protecting the house). I just say than you, that’s enough. Usually they quit barking. But I must check to see what’s happening to get them to quit. Then they are satisfied that they have done a good job.

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  8. Leonie says:

    hi Chet,

    thank you so much for all the infomation you pass on, i find it very interesting and useful.
    i’m going to try the watch command tomorrow.

    [Reply]

  9. darlene says:

    Chet-really enjoy your tips on training and have used and passed them on to other animal friends.Animals are very smart-as an example for them to realize who is at your door and what will happen when they enter. If my parents visit, they are all excited-my parents always have a treat for them. But if it is anyone else-they go lie down…learned behaviour no doubt!

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  10. Debbie says:

    Your training suggestions have helped me tremondously. I rescued an adorable mini longhair dachshund about four months ago. I am his third owner and his female friend was attached by a coyotte. All that to say he has been through some trama. Rusty is so eager to please and has learned to walk nicely on a leash, sit, sit pretty (beg), down, shake and stay. We’re still working on “come.” He’s very social and loves people and to ride in the car. Your training has been so beneficial and I can’t thank you enough!

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  11. Sandy Brooks says:

    This lesson came at a perfect time. I recently adopted a small dog. She’s 2 yrs. and I’m her 4th home, so I’m still learning what issues we need to work on. When we walk on the beach, she gets over-excited no matter how far away other dogs might be, and many people don’t leash their dogs, so we’ve had a few ‘close encoounters’. Sometimes she’ll try to attack people, and other times she’s friendly. These calming exercises sound like just the right thing, so we’ll be working on them. I’ll post again & let you know how it’s going. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  12. Sherri Littrell says:

    I have learned so much, and am working with sadie, have a long way to go but thanks for the great training information. very encouraged.

    Thanks

    Sherri

    [Reply]

  13. Mike Ramirez says:

    Dear Chet…
    Yes, I do recognize the WATCH command which I combine with the heel command for competitions, but for this, and from my experiences. This can work better if taken to a higher level. Try polishing the dog ( once the dog can look into and hold the gaze into your eyes for at least 2 minutes, with his or her favorite TOY, weather it be a ball or a tug toy… ( This is why I like to play with my dog since their puppy hood, for me this is a LAW. In order to be able to build up high play drives, which I use to my advantage for all levels of obedience, tracking and at the very base of protection work… ( I do IPO… And I know you are against bite work with dogs… No hard feelings, OK? ) And I strongly believe in non compulsive methods for competitive dog training. This is why your emails are always welcome.
    Thanks again…

    MIKE…

    [Reply]

  14. Nelia says:

    Hi Chet,

    Thanks for all the e-mail that youa re sending me. It’s a great help. I have a big problem with Savannah. She is a 2 year old shar-pei/pit bull mixed. The only place I take her off leash is at the beach. she loves to play with other dogs but the problem is she jumps on them and if they don’t respond to her she growls and then she starts a fight. I end up putting her leash back and just finished our walk and go home. I feel sorry for her that she doesn’t get to play with other dogs bur she plays so rough. What shoudl I do to train her to play nice. It was my fault that she was not socialize well during her puppyhood.

    Will you please help me on how to rehabilitate both of us.

    Thanks so much,
    Nelia

    [Reply]

    Karen Reply:

    My dog too loves to play with other dogs but she can be overly friendly and annoying to them. I would love to get ideas on how she can play with other dogs without annoying them.

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    Minette Reply:

    Make sure to give her exercise first to tire her out. Dogs are much less inappropriate if they are tired.

    And, set rules. You wouldn’t allow your human child to hit or bite other kids right? I don’t allow my dogs to play unless they are appropriate. If they show inappropriate behaviors they leave immediately.

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  15. Sue says:

    I’ve been having trouble with my 6 year old australian shepherd mix. He’s afraid of thunder and will not go outside or go lay down. Has to be on me (100 lbs) all the time. I will try this method on him and hope it works. He was not afraid when younger but has started doing this since we lost our 13 yo Scottie last year. She was afraid of thunder, but we thought he didn’t learn it.

    [Reply]

  16. Leslie Ward says:

    Great write up Chet! My 1 yr old Maltese (Sir Charles) has finally started to want to learn more obedient tricks and I’ve used quite a bit of your advice with success and I thank you for that!

    I used the “clicker/treat” approach and it works well, and we no longer have to “treat” every time, except when he barks at every moving object! I’m learning all of the certain barks, ie; for attention, a new noise, another walking dog (sounds like I’m killing him!), and of course he doesn’t hear my commands being his bark is focused on the object and not me. I have tried the one where when he barks (when we are inside) I will get up, look at what he is barking at and tell him it’s okay, thank him and he’s usually fine. I say “usually” because if someone knocks on the door or we see a new dog (or even a person) while walking, he goes into a ballistic screeching! My first instinct is to pick him up, (as that would calm him down knowing that I am not in danger) but realize that all I’m really doing is praising him for barking! So we no longer do that and walk when we know others dogs and their owners are not around.

    I’ve seen of the “bark off” product via email:

    http://WWW.BUY-BARKOFF.COM

    Features:

    Inaudible to Human Ears
    Calms Your Dog
    No Wires or Cords
    Works Indoors or Outdoors
    Buy 1 Get 1 Free Now for only $10.00

    Do you think this would help, or is this yet ANOTHER waste of money?

    Your help in advising me and “Yappy” (Sir Charles) would be most appreciated!

    In anticipation and great thanks!

    Leslie

    [Reply]

  17. KATHY says:

    I am still waiting for my DVD’s I ordered and paid for on 5/17.2010

    [Reply]

  18. C.Sethu says:

    Hi! Chet,
    Your article on smeel trainbing is excellent. I have aquestion to you,if you may kindly advie me onthat.
    i have a GermanShepperd male dog about 1.5 yrs of age. He is vry inteeligent and smart,but he is too much playful and does not obey the commands but keep playing. Another thing when any one other thatn the family members come ,he starts barking till they leave the house. Wahtever I try he is so excited and keep barking and tries evento jump his cage. he has a long place enclosed sothat he can run around. Also when i take him out he just cannot tolerate other pets or evenbirds ,thesight or smell of themhe takes off.Can you please let me know what canbe done to tame him down and obey the commabnds.
    Sincerely Sethu.

    [Reply]

  19. Minette says:

    Mike,
    I have trained and work with police dogs and am familiar with IPO and the like and never used compulsion. I will undoubtedly use some more information on using drives to help with focus and obedience at some point, but wanted to give the novice owners a chance to begin teaching this important command!

    Minette

    [Reply]

  20. Janean Spees says:

    Hi, thank you very much for the post. You don’t know how this helped me.

    [Reply]

  21. norah says:

    How can I stop my 9week old pup from hanging on to my dressing gown

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    refocus on an appropriate toy, you must teach your pup appropriate behavior and what is acceptable and unacceptable to play with or mouth.

    [Reply]

  22. barbara says:

    Thank you for these tips on focus. I have taken my dogs through training to focus, but not this far. Just a focus with the treat by the eyes. Never occurred to me to move the treat down to my side or my back and be able to simply state focus or watch me. Thanks so much for extending my boundaries on this command.

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  23. Tamara says:

    My service dog-in-training is a social butterfly who thrives on getting attention, both human and canine, wherever we go – an undesirable trait for a service dog. I was in the process of training him to ignore two- and four-legged passers-by as best I could by putting him into a sit- or down-stay whenever anyone approached, and while he was obedient, he would often whine. I tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to ignore the whining, which gradually became both worse and more general. He used to whine only when he needed to relieve himself, but that’s no longer a reliable predictor; he’s even had a couple of accidents in the halls of our (no-pets!) building. He whines when we’re waiting in lines, when he’s resting on a comfortable mat under the computer desk in the lobby, and even when my husband or I are holding and petting him (he’s a 16 lb., 2-yr.-old mini schnoodle). At one point I even abandoned service dog training and resigned myself to his only being a companion who provides emotional support, but he’s such a good dog otherwise that he was only retired for three days. PLEASE tell me what I can do to both lessen his compulsive friendliness and eliminate the whining – before my husband gets a German shepherd dog and instead of having a whiny little dog who pesters people and their dogs we have that AND a whiny BIG dog who pesters people!! : (

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  24. Suspicious says:

    These articles are excellent, but I’m suspicious as to who is actually writing them? After listening to Chet’s audio files and watching Chet’s videos, I would say that his language, tonality, choice of words, and sentence structure does not represent these articles which are well written, articulate, and succinct….hmmm, can someone say “Ghost Writer?”

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    Minette Reply:

    I write them! Minette! And, it actually says who writes them at the top…most people just think I am Chet 😉 thank you for the compliments as I do try to write quality work!

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  25. Sara says:

    Hi, I have a staffy puppy that is very hyperactive. The moment I wake up she runs for a toy and wants to play. She is 6months now and desexed but the hyponess only s is just getting worse. The above technique is only a momentary fix how can I teach her to not be so hypo. She gets so excited when ppl come over that even if you try to give her the best treat in the world she ignores it. How can I get her attention and train her to stop jumping on ppl?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    she needs lot of exercise!!! At 6 months she is just a baby, and needs good structured obedience and lots of exercise!

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  26. Erin says:

    No mater what I try my 10 week old female Jack Russell bites and nips and acts bat crap crazy. I don’t know what else to try!

    She chases and nips feet and nips and bites hands and chews and pulls your shoe strings. I have tried all your suggestions in your training over the past two weeks and nothing seems to help.

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    Minette Reply:

    how much “true” exercise are you giving her?

    Puppies should spend their time running and exercising, training, and napping!

    Check out our puppy programming and it will help you get a handle on training which will stimulate her mind and body!

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/PuppyProgramming

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  27. Sylvia says:

    Just reminding me to spend time training every day helps. I tend to go around doing my daily stuff, and expecting my dog who is a pound rescue, about two years old, to grow in his ability to mind me. He is an Akita/shepherd, and has some willful disobedience in him, but with just a little actual training time, he learns quickly. He is thrilled when he does something that pleases me.

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  28. rahja says:

    Unfortunately, my internet connection kept me from the webinar of Service Dog Secrets To A Calmer Dog, I am wondering if you will be offering that again any time soon and if so when? I have benefited from several of your programs and this one is truly one my biggest hurdles with my K9. Please drop me a date and time so that I might register or it again

    [Reply]

    Dana Reply:

    Here’s the link to register for the webinar:
    http://thedogtrainingsecret.com/service-dog-secrets

    If the current dates/times don’t work for you, please feel free to check back when you are able to see if we have added additional classes.

    [Reply]

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