Do you feel like your dog’s behavior will never improve? Well, you are not alone!
Our friends at Dogly and their new online Advocate Communities bring this post to yougiving you all-time access to positive trainers, certified nutritionists, and dog wellness plans. Where you can ask all sorts of questions about your dog. Rachel, CPDT-KA & Training Advocate on Dogly, talks in-depth about Positive Reinforcement. You can ask Rachel any training questions about your dog, even get 1-1 coaching when you join her Training Community on Dogly. Get a 50% off your first monthusing the code WAGMO50 this week!
I have trained hundreds of dogs with great success, but I feel like an average dog parent when it comes to my dogs sometimes! You take for granted how easy past dogs were when you are faced with a new and in my case young bundle of trouble!
Sunny, who we lost recently, had his own set of challenges. He was extremely fearful. In his early years, poor guy would tremble if you approached him too quickly. He would pee if you tried to touch him and the list goes on. He would also be aggressive, which we managed and trained with a lot of work. When he left us last year at 10 years old he was a confident, happy dog. I took all the training he had under his belt for granted and blissfully enjoyed how well mannered and responsive he was.
Tiva, now 10 years old and thriving, had her set of challenges. She had severe separation anxiety when she was young. After years, I repeat years, we are finally at a place where she can handle being alone.I am blissfully enjoying how responsive and eager to engage with me she is.
Which leads me to our newest addition Waylon. Waylon came to us at 8 weeks old, is now 1 year old and this firecracker has been keeping us on our toes ever since. Adolescent dogs are A LOT of work, I mean a lot! I’ve spent several hours each day on his socialization and training. Yet sometimes it feels like he has never had any training at all! Like today for instance, when I asked him to sit and in frustration he let out an ear piercing cry to attract the attention of several people around us. (In his defense we did name him Waylon after Waylon Jennings the famous singer) I joke that he isn’t very good advertising.
I could go on for several paragraphs with stories of Waylon embarrassing me in public. Instead I want to tell you about a few things that Waylon does really well. Agility is an outlet that Waylon is thriving in, his confidence and eagerness to learn is a lot of fun! He is also really great with other dogs and people which is so amazing and makes my job a lot easier!
Some things to consider the next time you feel like your dog will be a terror forever.
I said it once and I will say it again. Adolescent dogs are a lot of work. They hit their “teenager” years quick and it takes a lot of management, training and patience to get through them! Hang in there! Stick with your training plan and celebrate every single small victory. I challenge myself to talk about one good thing Waylon did every single day. Yes sometimes it’s one good thing and one hundred bad things but I laugh a lot. A sense of humor is crucial to getting through the teenage years!
Self-care is also important. I was buying wine by the box during Waylon’s early days! Make an effort to do something relaxing that you enjoy after a frustrating day with your dog.
Use all the tools at your disposal. We use a lot of management at our house and invest in a great dog wellness plan. At Wagmo, you can choose between Pet Wellness Plans and Pet Wellness Insurance. Providing a customized Dog Wellness Plan for your furry friend!
Some tips include:
Doors are closed to prevent clothes and shoes from becoming dog toys.
Crates, baby gates, and ex-pens to limit access.
Interactive food toys are a LIFESAVER. Just when I feel like I’m on the verge of losing it, I give Waylon a stuffed kong and get 20 minutes to myself!
Chiropractic adjustments have been extremely beneficial for Waylon. If he is feeling comfortable it’s much easier for him to relax and not be into something he shouldn’t every 5 seconds!
Appreciate what your dog enjoys and be willing to change old routines to adapt to your dog’s needs.
Waylon loves to sniff for a really, really long time. This is hard for me, I want to get out and walk and cover lots of ground but I am doing my best to meet him halfway. We do a lot of off leash walks so that I can walk at my own pace and he can sniff for as long as his heart desires.
Waylon also loves to swim, so much so that I sometimes can’t get him out of the water! Talk about embarrassing! This I am also trying to meet him halfway with. Weather permitting we go swimming at least once a week. I put him on a long leash and let him swim and swim. He does wear his life vest so he doesn’t sink. When he is done swimming, I reward him with high value treats for coming out of the water.
There is a give and take with every relationship and that includes your relationship with your dog. Waylon also loves to play with other dogs so I make an effort to schedule regular play dates so he has an outlet for his desire. Tiva is a huge help with this as well!
So bottom line, keep up with reinforcing desirable behavior, use management and humor, and you too will get through your dog’s bad behavior!
If you need training help, reach out at Dogly if I can’t help I am happy to connect you with someone who can!
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