Learning How to Train a High Energy Dog

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In one of my past posts, I spoke of one of my dogs, whose name is Tommy, and I also mentioned that I have another one, who is still a puppy (and you can see a picture of him above). Well, the puppy is now 1, and I want to train him. Because he has lots of energy, I decided to first look for ways to calm him down, and to teach him commands that will support his “calmness”. Since I was doing all this, I decided to share with you what I found, hoping it might help someone else as well.

Here we go:

1)      Start with a calm energy

This is something I need to work on. You see, I’m alright with staying serious and calm, but once my dog makes a cute face, I immediately want to hug him. Not good, not good. Cesar points out that the dog reflects its owner’s state. So if you’re stressed, it will be the same. This is why it is so important to begin the training session calm.

Something I strive to do is to stand in front of him in a calm state of mind, until he also calms down. I don’t proceed to do anything until he stops being excited. This (I hope) sends him the message that if he doesn’t tone down the energy, we won’t proceed.

2)      Teach Him/Her to Sit

“Sit” is a very useful command for a dog to know. I started teaching him when he was little, by gently pressing on his backside, and telling him “sit”. After a few times of having done this, I simply  gave him the command, and rewarded him after he did it. Afterwards, I read online that this technique is not a good one because it teaches your dog to do things using force. I do understand their point of view, but considering the fact that I was careful not to injure him, and that he looked happy all the while, I would venture to say it did no harm. Regardless, right now he doesn’t have that command ingrained in him, because no one repeated it to him after I taught him. He does know it, but vaguely (which means I have to keep working at it).

If you prefer to use another method (and this would work best if your dog is no longer a puppy), here’s something I came across: you can hold a treat in front of his/her nose, and then move it back a little. During this, tell him/her “sit”, and use a clicker if you have one. When he/she sits down, give them the treat.

3)      Teach Your Dog to Wait

When going for the door for example, tell your dog “wait” (but have him/her sit at your side before that). Touch the doorknob, and if the dog doesn’t get up or move, treat (and click). Then jiggle the knob of the door, and if he/she remains still, treat again. The next step is to open the door a little. Then, after that’s all good, open it more and more, until you can go out without your dog moving. The key here is to treat after every step he/she does right. Also, repeat each step a few times before proceeding to the next, just to make sure the behaviour is ingrained.

4)      Teach Your Dog to “Leave It”

If something falls on the ground, my dog is sure to inspect it immediately. If that thing happens to look remotely like something that’s edible, he’ll eat it. This is a problem, and I figured I should get rid of it, so I looked online for method of doing this. Again, I went to Cesar’s website, and sure enough, I found an article on it.

Cesar instructs us to teach dogs this command by using a treat or a toy, which we allow the dog to smell. After he has done that, move the hand away, saying “leave it”. If the dog goes after the hand, close your fingers over the treat and don’t let him get to it. After he calms down, repeat the same steps. After he moves away from the treat, you can give it to him as a rewards for listening. (Click here for more on this topic)

 

These are the main things I will be starting with my dog, and he’ll hopefully get better. Once he’s learnt these commands well, I can proceed to the next steps, of which I will keep you posted. In the meantime, let me know about your experience with dog training. Any opinions and tips are welcome, since I’m still trying to figure out this whole thing.

 

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