I was at a new Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® System client in Miramar yesterday installing his new system for Max, his Dalmatian. As usual, it took longer to explain the workings of the system to him than it took Max to figure out that he didn’t want to go near the “little yellow flags”. Is I have mentioned in the past, I am always amazed at how fast dogs can learn and retain simple rules. After one or two encroachments towards the boundary, Max was more than fine going anywhere else in the yard except for the edge of the property and those yellow flags. My client was amazed and I told him that he still needed to practice for a few weeks to reinforce the learning process. When I mentioned the “few weeks”, that reminded my client of another question. He knew that this wasn’t part of the invisible fence training, but he understood that I was also a professional, behavioral dog trainer. In a few weeks, they were leaving for California for a vacation while Max stayed here. His sister, who had never met Max, was going to come over to stay. Max was a slightly nervous and fearful dog. He really didn’t like other people at the house. He was wondering if I had any tips for him.
I told him that I recently had been put in a very similar situation. I had been training a skittish dog in Miami that had actually chased dog sitters out of the house. I had just finished spending a week with the dog while the clients were away in Georgia. The dog and I were just fine and he actually slept on my bed in the guest room every night. Since he had a few weeks to prepare, here is what I suggested:
- Dogs, like many of us, are pack animals and don’t trust new animals just appearing in their home. They feel a need of protection and will do anything to get those animals out. Just having my client’s sister appear on the day of their departure will cause Max to enter a protection mode as soon as they head off for the airport.
The sister must start to come over to the house in the presence of the rest of the family. Initially, she should ignore Max and not approach him. Eventually, Max will see that she is interacting with the rest of his “trusted” family and will inquisitively approach. She should allow him to sniff but she should not engage. They should repeat these visits for several times, allowing Max to be come more and more familiar with the sister.
Next, a family member should ask Max to perform obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, etc. The sister should be right there, observing. After a few times, the family member should “hand off the reigns” and have the sister perform the obedience commands. They should never push Max and only work on the commands for about ten minutes at a time.
- The sister now needs to practice “coming and going” to emulate the actual stay. First, she should arrive with a family member. The house should be empty (except for Max”. Both the sister and the family member should arrive and enter the house. The family member should now “hold back a little” as the sister goes about her natural activities of taking her clothes into the guest room, checking out the bath room, checking on Max’s food and water, and letting him out in the back yard. If there are any signs of fearfulness or uncertainty from Max, the family member can step up and encourage Max that everything is alright.
- They also need to understand if there are any special rules that might need to be employed. Some dogs are territorial of specific areas or objects. When the rest of the family is away, this characteristic can heighten into a more aggressive posture. While the sister is going around her activities, she should be aware of anything such as a growl as she passes by a specific room or dominant stance as she reaches for a particular toy. When they discover these instances, it would probably be best to simply not go into those rooms or pick up those objects. Sometimes avoidance is the best policy.
- The sister should try to establish a daily, consistent timeline with Max. Dogs understand consistency and keeping on the same schedule will help Max remain calm while the rest of the family is away.
- The sister should understand that she should continue with Max’s “happy things”. If he normally gets a frozen Kong Toy every afternoon, she should make sure he still gets it. If he likes to take a walk first thing in the morning, that should take place. These will help forge the continuity as the rest of the family departs and will encourage a trusting bond between the sister and Max.
- Finally, I urged my client to let his sister know that she is still “the guest” in Max’s house. Although they might not think that is the case, in Max’s mind, that is reality. Always encourage him into activities and never physically force or scare him.
All I can say is that I have used these techniques with great success. Max just needs assurance that everything is fine and that my client’s sister does not represent a major change in his environment.
The problem that normally happens with us and our dogs is that we don’t listen to what they are telling us and rush them into inappropriate situations without the proper preparation. If we understand and deal with these issues, everything will normally be great. We encourage you to contact us if you have any invisible dog fence or dog training questions. All you have to do is to visit Dog Fence Training Help. We have a large collection of dog training essays and underground dog fence information at Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers Miramar South Florida. Robin and I have effectively trained over 3,500 dogs over the last eleven years in South Florida. Successfully providing a Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® System requires both the physical installation and expert training. Our Dog Training is a critical part of the Dog Fence System. To learn about our dog training methods, please go to Home Dog Training Miramar South Florida.