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It's All In Their Head

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By   |   20 Jul 2020

So many owners hit a breaking point with their dog’s behaviors when they ask themselves, “What was I thinking when we added this dog to our family?”  

From digging up newly planted shrubs, barking incessantly when the doorbell rings, pulling you down the sidewalk during a walk, whining and scratching in their kennel, dogs can add a whole level of stress to your life that you never imagined when you envisioned that sweet puppy face.

Just like your head is swirling with anger, frustration, and embarrassment during these episodes, the reason for your dog’s naughty behavior is identical. Their head is in a tail spin, filled with an abundance of stimulation, which leads to bad decision making.  Just like you, your dog’s mind is erupting.

Here are a couple of tips:

Manage your dog’s behaviors when you know they will fail.  Don’t let them stay outside by themselves unattended for long periods of time so they don’t get bored and dig.  Kennel or tether them in the house to reduce bad behavior and keep them safe.

• Use high-value food and reward any behavior you like – all the time!  Communicate to your dog the behaviors to you do like (especially those moments when they are more calm or quiet compared to the moment before), instead of just telling them no, no, no all the time.

Dissect your dog’s behavior and figure out at what point they cross the line into failure.  If the dog can stop barking at the doorbell when you bring them back ten feet, but are a disaster next to the door, create more distance away from the door and begin rewarding them for the behavior you like in a location where they are successful.

Assess the level of stimulation in the environment. Stepping out the front door is extremely exciting and often very overstimulating to your dog.  This is the reason they bark and pull on leash.  So, if this environment is too much for them, don’t take them for a walk in the front yard.  Walk them in the house, in the basement, in the garage, in the backyard.  Develop your dog’s skills in an environment where their head is more calm and they can actually think about your expectation.

Seeing these experiences with a fresh perspective, should help you understand how much help your dog needs in these moments of chaos.  What your dog really needs is better mental relaxation skills to handle the stress that pops up around them.  Your dog’s emotions, how your dog feels, equates to how they will respond to the stimulation around them.  This is the core of creating a well-behaved dog.  When your dog has the ability to remain mentally cool and calm when exciting or fearful experiences pop into their world, they respond with better behavior.

Full House Dog Training focuses on creating emotional stability in your dog at the root of where all good behavior starts—in your dog’s head!  Relaxing in the yard, responding to the doorbell in an appropriate manner, enjoying time in their crate and walking nicely on a leash are all skills that CAN be developed with attention to the common thread of mental relaxation.  Let Full House teach you how to calm your own mind, and that of your dog, and more fully enjoy the time you spend together! 

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