Today was an incredibly tough day. I had a client that had a puppy Rottweiler that was extremely difficult to control. I’ve been training dogs for well over 20 years and I have to say that this was by far the toughest day of dog training that I have ever had.
I got my client place at 8 AM and was immediately greeted by this very excited puppy. As I normally do when greeted by an overly excited puppy, I ignored the dog until it was settled down. Unfortunately, this dog simply did not settle down, even after one hour it was incredibly hyper.
I tried to back out of the situation by leaving the house and coming back inside after about 10 minutes. Normally this can diffuse an overly excited dog. The reasoning for this is that when you come back in you are a familiar scent and then the dog isn’t as excited.
Unfortunately, this did not work with this dog. What we ended up having to do, was put the dog in its crate for about 30 minutes and then finally at settle down.
Needless to say we were not off to a good start.
The owner had contacted me due to the dogs hyperness. When she had described to me the problem that she was having I didn’t think it would be this big of a deal. Here’s how the rest of the day went.
Once a dog was calm down I put it on a leash and decided to go for a walk with it. Naturally, the dog was walking at an incredibly fast pace and pulling on the leash. It took about two hours to try and teach the dog to properly walk on the leash. Eventually the dog was able to get it. I considered this to be a pretty big success.
Normally after we do the leash walk, the dog is tired and is more receptive to training. However, with this dog, I did not sense that he was any calm down.
What we did was we went into the backyard and began playing fetch. We were playing normal fetch where we throw the ball in the dog gets it and brings it back and we throw it again. Instead, we are teaching the dog that we are the alpha and they are the beta. In order to do this we make the dog really really want the ball and make sure that they have to work for it. This involves a combination of sitting, going to the ground, barking on command, and staying. This takes a lot of patience for the dog, but they eventually end up getting it.
I prefer using this technique over giving the dog treats because it puts the focus on you being alpha rather than the dog being rewarded with treats.
At about 5 o’clock we called it a day. And we going back to this dog out over the course of the next week or so. I really have my work cut out for me.