- “Adolescent Changes” From Dog Star Daily. No, you’re not losing your mind — the cute puppy who would never leave your side is now blowing you off and stealing from the trash. Learn what to expect, and take heart. A well-behaved adult dog is just around the corner!
- “Surviving Your Puppy’s Adolescence” Trainer Tehani Mosconi provides you with tips and tricks of the trade.
- “How to Calm Your Dog by Playing Tug” Nan Arthur at KarenPryorClickerTraining.com offers a comprehensive look at the game of tug, which many trainers (myself included) agree is a wonderful energy burner for young dogs. Arthur shows you how to choose a good tug toy, rules for play and how to teach a quick, safe release.
- Is Your Dog Ready for Agility Training?” If you’re thinking about agility to keep your young monster occupied, Sarah tosses out questions to ponder before beginning a training program.
- Your adolescent dog and the dog park The Association of Pet Dog Trainers offers three articles geared toward determining whether your local dog park is a good fit for your dog, including “Dog Park Etiquette,” “Pros and Cons of Dog Parks,” and “What Makes a Good Dog Park (PDF).”
- “Safety Tips for Running With Your Dog” A tired dog is more often a good dog. This article from Runtheplanet.com offers a number of health and safety tips for getting your partner into shape.
- “When To Seek Help With Your Dog” Sarah talks about how to tell whether your dog’s behavior is more than just adolescent rowdiness.
Teaching your dog not to jump up on you or your guests may seem like an impossible task, especially if you have a dog who loves people (and people who love dogs)! How many times have your guests been greeted at the door by your overenthusiastic canine’s nose and front feet, while you haplessly shout “No! Down! Stop it!” in the background? Or you meet a friend while walking your dog, your dog jumps up, and your friend praises and pets the dog, and says, “Oh, it’s OK, I love dogs!”?
Let’s work on changing that scene with three simple strategies for training your dog not to jump on people. You’ll have the most success with your dog if you use these approaches in combination with one another.
Strategy Number One: Ignore the jumping. Unless your dog weighs more than 60 lbs. or is using his mouth when he jumps, ignoring jumping up is the fastest way to permanently make it go away. Dogs jump up to get your attention — so stop giving it to them! Pushing your dog down, yelling “No!”, kneeing him in the chest, stepping on his back toes, bopping him on the head or any other interaction you can think of are a “score” in the needy dog’s book, and make him even more likely to jump next time. (After all, if a dog wants something, what’s the first thing he has to get? Your attention.) To instruct others on how to completely ignore your jumping dog, ask them to turn their backs, cross their arms and look up at the ceiling until all four of your dog’s feet are on the floor.
Strategy Number Two: Manage the behavior (of both people AND dogs). The doorbell rings — where is your dog? Rushing, barking, to the door, waiting to pounce the minute it’s opened? Before you answer the door, grab a leash and put it on your dog. Then use the leash to keep the dog out of jumping up range, even tethering your dog in a secure location if necessary. This strategy is a must if your dog is big, your guests don’t like dogs, or your dog mouths and bites when he or she jumps. On the street, keep enough distance between your dog and anyone unlikely to follow your rules so the jumping isn’t reinforced (and follow Strategy Number Three).
Strategy Number Three: Teach your dog an incompatible behavior. A sitting dog isn’t jumping up — simple as that. Work on improving your dog’s sit or down at the door while no guests are there, and on walks while no one’s around. Then you can ask for and reward a sit or down during progressively more difficult trials: You ring the doorbell, you pretend to greet a guest, enlist a friend or family member to play the guest’s part, etc. When the time comes, have really great treats handy and either you or your guest can ask your dog to sit or down BEFORE the dog jumps. Ask people not to pet your dog unless he is sitting or lying down.
Like everything else in dog training, consistency is key. Teach everyone in your family these strategies, and soon your pup will have one more feather in his good manners cap.
Agility training is a wonderful, energy-burning and mind-challenging sport for dogs and their handlers. Even dogs not registered with the AKC can participate in agility competition, thanks to a plethora of agility registries such as the United States Dog Agility Association and the North American Dog Agility Council. Finding a good agility class or trainer can take some time, but is a fairly simple process. But how do you know when your dog is ready to start training for agility?
Before you being any new training or sport regimen with your dog, take note of his or her current physical shape. Is he the correct weight and eating a high-quality diet? Are his vaccinations current? Does he have any health problems that might interfere with running, or jumping? When in doubt, it is best to have your dog checked by your veterinarian before you begin.
Keep in mind that puppies, especially large breed puppies, shouldn’t do any serious jumping until their growth plates have closed — usually between 12 and 18 months. Again, ask your veterinarian if in doubt.
While agility is often great fun for dogs and handlers alike, there is no question that it requires a higher level of training than does say, hiking, or a game of fetch. If your dog has never taken a training class of any kind, you may want to complete a basic obedience course before attempting agility. Some agility instructors will accept dogs with no training whatsoever, but most recommend the dog at least know how to sit or lie down on command and come when called (at least some of the time)!
If you’re feeling confident you can train your dog to a basic level without a class, some of the resources listed below may be helpful.
Agility Prep Resources
Want to know a little more about teaching your dog to jump safely, quickly and accurately? Jumping from A to Z: Teach Your Dog to Soar is a good introduction to any dog sport that requires a lot of jumping, and agility is no exception.
Don’t worry if your dog isn’t quite ready, or isn’t able to compete in agility trials. There is plenty of time to prepare a young dog for his or her first trial. And older or less mobile dogs can still compete in agility for fun — ask your vet, trainer or club members about agility fun classes and matches. Happy running!