#3 – Identify a Better Behavior
Instead of constantly using the word “no” to get your dog to listen, try giving them something different to do and give them their new reward when they do it. Instead of running toward an open door, teach them to go to another designated area, like their mat. Some dog owners teach their dogs to pick up certain objects (like pillows or toys) to keep them occupied while the door is being opened. When you first start training, give your reward as soon as they take a step in the right direction.
#4 – Be Patient and Repetitive
There’s a definite learning curve to impulse control, and your rambunctious pup won’t understand what you’re doing right away. The key is to not let their stubbornness beat you. When training your dog to stay calm when a door is opened, you may need to open and close the door an unimaginable amount of times. As soon as they move toward you, you close the door and start over. It will take time, but you will make progress.
# 5 – Make it an Ongoing Lesson
While there are always specific impulse control lessons you want to teach your dog, you can reinforce the behavior by making it a regular part of life. There are several ways you can do this. Waiting for them to calm down before giving them what they want is an example. If it’s dinner time, don’t let them eat until they’re sitting quietly. If they’re excited to go for a car ride, make them sit and stay before they’re allowed to hop in. When you come home from work, turn your back toward them and give them zero attention until their paws are on the floor and they’re relatively calm.
Teaching a dog to control their emotions and enthusiasm is never easy. Dealing with overexcited dogs that are used to getting what they want when they want it can be chaotic. You’ll be frustrated and your dog will be confused, but it’s a lesson worth learning. Teaching your dog to be calm and in control will strengthen your bond and allow you to spend more time together.
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