When teaching your dog something new, remember to set him/her up for success!

One thing many of my clients take away after working with me is to always remember to set their dog up for SUCCESS and not failure. In other words, when a dog is learning something new make it REALLY hard for them to fail. Just a few examples below:

I. Rambunctious Dog: If you know you are doing to have a dinner party of 15 people over and you have an excitable dog that is rambunctious; one simple thing you can do to set your dog up for success.... EXERCISE the heck out it before the party. I mean...wear your dog out (while being safe of course- consider heat outside, fitness of the dog, age of the dog, etc)! Granted, this doesn't fix the problem. I would also recommend impulse control training, solid "place" training, etc but if those things are not in order... this will really help in a pinch.

*Dog that is fearful or reactive with cars on walks: Start in environments where cars are moving slow at a good distance. When you finally build up to walking closer to faster moving cars, make sure you walk in the opposite direction of the near sided cars so your dog can see the cars coming! Also- maybe bring along a well-behaved, calm and confident dog buddy to show your dog the ropes! Dogs helping dogs!

*When teaching a new skill (sit, down, go to your place, etc), do so in a low distracting environment where it will be easier for your dog to focus.

*Walking more than 1 unruly dog: If you have more than one dog and not all of them are fantastic at heeling on leash, then walk ONE AT A TIME until you do get each one to heel fantastic on leash. As much as I advocate exercise for dogs, I would rather see a dog get less exercise that is of QUALITY so the dog can learn appropriate behavior rather than more exercise that is out-of-control and chaotic and allows the dogs to learn bad behaviors. Again, set your dogs up for success!

*Transition from CRATE to FREE ROAM: If you are starting to transition your dog from being in a crate to free roam of the house then start in baby steps...leaving the home with freedom to roam for only for 5 minutes, then 15 minutes and so on. And... before you do any length of time... EXERCISE the heck out of your dog! A tired dog will be much calmer, less stressed and less likely to get bored and as a result... less likely to get into mischief...less likely to learn bad behaviors. Again, set your dog up for success!

*Leash Reactive Dog: If you are dealing with a leash reactive dog in the early stages of training, then don't take it to a narrow bike/walking path that is congested with people, bikes, dogs, etc...its too much. You may want to start in an open area that doesn't have too many distractions so you can create a "buffer zone" of space for your dog and not overwhelm your dog. Again- set your dog up for success!

Basically... a little thought and simple things can really help your dog out and improve his overall training experience to make it as positive as possible! Always ask yourself, "What can I do to make sure my dog is set up for success in this particular situation?"

Dave Meyer

Allegiant K9s, LLC

Charlotte Dog Training

"Balanced Training. Balanced Dogs."

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