Dog’s Eye View: The magic of management
One of the easiest ways to change your dog’s behavior is to take a look at how you manage his environment. All too often, we can’t see past the bad behavior to glimpse how management might help.
“My dog jumps up on everyone who comes through the door! I’ve got to stop him from doing that!”
This poor, frustrated dog owner was at her wits end with this young dog. It seems to be a common request when potential clients fill out a questionnaire about their dog. This is where management can work like magic. Have a yummy chew bone ready, and put your dog in a different room while you answer the door. Usually, after a few minutes, you can bring out a much calmer dog. It’s that initial, front-door excitement that ramps them up.
“My dog gets under my feet in the kitchen when I’m trying to fix a meal!”
The magic of management can again be used in this situation. Your dog can be kenneled with a chew bone or sequestered in a different room behind a closed door.
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Crate training is also a great management tool. Too often, people give up the crate as soon as the dog is housetrained. If you continue to crate your dog occasionally while you’re home, it can teach the dog to settle and rest while you’re busy.
There are a wide variety of choices to help with the magic of management. Baby gates can be used to prevent your dog from entering an area that are off limits. They can also be used to prevent interaction between toddler children and juvenile dogs.
Another great management tool is a waist leash, or a tether. The leash is connected to your waist, while the other end is connected to your dog. You don’t have to hold onto the leash, so your hands are free for training or doing chores. This is a fabulous tool to teach a young dog that his place is by your side.
If he’s prone to chewing the leash, you can attach a short choke chain (the only real use for these things) to the end of the leash and use a carabiner to attach the other end to your dog’s collar. It only takes a couple of times before your pup learns there is no value in chewing on the end of the leash.
Provide your young dog with something to keep in his mouth. If you keep your dog on leash while you have company, use that time to teach appropriate doggy manners, and you will keep your company coming back. This management tool will also help socialize your dog to new people.
Interactive food dispensing toys are great for managing your dog’s extra energy. By dividing his daily calories and placing part of each meal in a “treat toy,” you provide him an enriching activity. After all, it’s humans who watch the clock and feed the meals; left to his own in the wild, a canine would forage for his calories. Using treat dispensing toys provides an enrichment activity and also helps your dog learn what is OK to chew.
I think the saying “If you don’t like what you are getting, change what you are doing” could be translated into manage your dogs environment so he can be safe and successful. By anticipating problems before they start, you set your dog up for success. Prevent problems by using the magic of management.
Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with more than 25 years of experience. She has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and owns Total Teamwork Training LLC in Northwest Colorado.
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