Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were desperately trying to stop your dog from doing something on the leash but they were too excited to listen? It can be like shouting at a train going at full speed to stop!
Often it’s a nightmare; owners shouting and dragging their dog, people watching wondering why you don’t do something about it. Your dog meanwhile is barking, jumping and spinning out of control trying to get free to do their “thing”. All the time you are trying your best to stop them but it is clearly not working… Grrrrrr help!!!
Well I’ve seen it many, many times before, so to begin with, do not despair, you are not alone and there is good news…
It does not have to be this way!
In fact in this post I want to explain the things to remember and the simple steps to take next time you find yourself in this situation. And the wonderful thing is that the steps are all very simple.
What’s triggering your dog?
These steps can be applied to a whole range of different situations where something is triggering your dog into a panic. Here are just a few of those times where dogs seem to disappear to another planet leaving us simply holding the leash while they do their thing…
Your dog may react to any or all of the following or something completely different:
⁃ Small children
⁃ Tennis balls
⁃ Other moving toys
⁃ Brooms, brushes
⁃ Lawn mowers… and more
You get the picture!
It may even be something that is not even moving! (In some situations it will be more specific such as only a certain dog or person or cat that will trigger your dog).
So what can be done?
Below are the key steps to solving this issue.
STEP 1. – Establish yourself as the pack leader
This first stage is crucial… establishing yourself as the pack leader. When you are the pack leader your dog will automatically be calmer outside when you are there. They will also be less reactive and more responsive to how you behave. This is the key as it puts you in a position to actually start training your dog. In other words, they are listening!
Without this in place your dog takes no notice of anything that you are doing. And why should they when in their world they are at the top of the food chain. Nothing will stop them, as you have already experienced.
So how do you actually achieve becoming the pack leader?
Well it is not as simple as a quick blog post, however it is fascinating and if you love your dog you will love using the techniques that the real experts know and use!
STEP 2. – Keep your dog calm
The biggest mistake that owners make is that they allow their dogs to become to excited and stressed, then try to work with them in this crazy state. When this happens you are on an uphill struggle to calm your dog down and things simply spiral out of control. The
key is to work with your dog in a relaxed state. Doggy Dan has a great video inside his site explaining how to keep your dog energy low using some amazing techniques such as the calm freeze, (A simple hold under the collar with an upturned hand). He also explains about what happens when dogs get too excited and the adrenaline kicks in and how this is something that you really want to avoid.
As Dan demonstrates in his videos it’s about being the way you want your dog to be rather than shouting “Calm DOWN!”
If you are struggling, one of the simplest ways of keeping your dog calm is to move further away from the trigger that is setting your dog off. When you find it that is. So relax and enjoy your starting point!
STEP 3. – There are 1000 ways to calm a dog
While you’re moving your dog away you should also be trying out a range of different tricks to take your dog’s mind off what is making them excited. If you can get their mind off the trigger then their body will follow suit and calm down.
I always joke that there are a thousand ways to calm a dog because just when I think I know all the tricks I learn another! Inside Doggy Dan’s video website <>, Dan demonstrates a whole range of fascinating methods for calming dogs down. No single trick or technique will work for every dog so the bigger your tool kit the more chance you will have of finding what works for your dog and situation.
For example, some dogs you can simply distract with food or a ball. Others believe it or not will actually stop being so excited when you tell them to simply sit or down! And others still can be distracted with what Doggy Dan calls the stick trick where he goes and looks for a stick in the bushes and the dog follows! So simple but very powerful when it works.
STEP 4. – Enjoy this experience
Too often once a dog has calmed down, owners are too keen to rush them back into the stressful situation. The key thing is to enjoy this new experience as you start to rewire your dog’s brain. Help them firmly bed down this new way of behaving by spending some quality time in this place… There is no rush. In fact when you rush things and it goes wrong, it all comes crashing down. Patience is the key.
STEP 5. – Show your dog through your actions
So now your dog is calm and ready for the training (notice how many steps there were before you started to move towards the trigger!).
It’s at this stage that the work you have put into becoming the pack leader will show. If you have skipped this step your dog will behave the same as always.
If you have put in place the 5 Golden Rules to becoming the pack leader from<> then you will see your dog starting to take notice of how you’re behaving. This is where you need to stay calm. Silence is usually best, and slowly move towards the trigger but not straight towards it.
By moving in a zig-zag path you are never facing front onto to it. This can be seen as a challenge and will get your dog excited. Taking things slowly is the secret, although very often if you put everything in place things do happen faster than you expect!
Putting all the steps in place
So there you have it, those are the steps, and with just a little bit of knowledge you can turn your dog around.
Remember, the secret is Stage 1, becoming the pack leader. When they are watching how YOU are behaving, all you need to do is ignore the animal or object that was the trigger. But when they are taking no notice of you because they’re still the leader of the pack in their eyes, nothing will work.
So put all the steps in place. You can’t fool a dog. They are pack animals, with leaders and followers and in situations such as those mentioned above they will turn and look to the leaders.
So establish yourself as the pack leader and then show your dog how to behave through your actions, not your words.
Click here to learn more about the 5 Golden Rules of Becoming The Pack Leader <>