1. Create a calm state of mind in yourself
2. Create a calm state of mind in your dog
3. Follow through on your marker words (Yes and No) (These three ideals should be supported and created through consistent structure and routine.) Marker words are:
- Good – means encouragement, ‘keep doing what you’re doing’. This is good to use as a casual marker to encourage the good choices. Reward is optional. Example: You say Let’s Go, your dog disengages from play, you say GOOD GOOD GOOD or GOOD GIRL as encouragement for the great response.
- Yes – means PAYDAY! Use Yes to mark the completion of right choices from your dog. Example: You say Come, your dog comes and sits in front of you, you say YES and reward. Yes is always followed by a high reward such as food, major praise, or freedom.
- No – means wrong choice. I use No or Nope to mark everything from a mistake in obedience to non-negotiable behaviours.
- Obedience No example #1: You say Sit, your dog does not respond within a few seconds, you say Nope and repeat the command once more.
- Obedience No Example #2: You ‘Place’ your dog, your dog gets off Place, you say Nope and follow-through with a leash correction or spacial pressure if needed to put your dog back on Place.
- Non-Negotiable No example: Your dog jumps on someone, you say NO and follow-through with correction if possible.
Obedience rules: Ask your dog to follow a command. If your dog does not comply, did she hear you? Is she distracted? Did she purposefully ignore you? The maximum times to repeat a command is three times, with a few seconds of time in-between for the dog to respond. The wrong choice warrants a No (and sometimes a correction) with a repeat of the command. By the second or third time, help my dog make the right choice with leash pressure or guidance. Example: When you ask your dog to Sit and she does not, give her a moment. If she does not respond, repeat the command with added pressure (gentle upward leash pressure or spacial pressure, with a pointing finger) to guide her into the position. Release the pressure once she responds. You can also follow with a food reward or a massage!
Aim for Success: In all interactions with humans, dogs, or the environment, aim for a calm state of mind and a successful outcome. To Jenna, a successful outcome is having your dog in a calm state. If you are unsure of your ability to create that outcome, then do not allow your dog to go into a scenario where she might become too overwhelmed and fail. Example: Don’t allow him/her to meet crazy dogs on-leash. Don’t allow someone to touch him/her if they look like they have the wrong approach or energy. You CAN say NO and tell people your dog is in training. This creates a bubble of protection around your pup in which he/she can build confidence and trust in you.
- Crate – The crate will be your best friend when it comes to teaching structure, calmness, and good potty habits. Use the crate whenever you cannot supervise your dog (preferably every night for the first couple of weeks, and every time you are away from the home). Supply sufficient exercise between rest breaks but do not overstimulate a new dog.
- Freedom – Realize that freedom is a privilege. If you are home, keep a leash on your dog inside until you start to see your dog settle into your home and routine. The leash can be tied to you, to a door, or left loose. Just ensure you are supervising when there are any leads or collars on your dog. Many rescue dogs come from small shelter spaces and although it is our good intention to give them the whole yard and home, they cannot handle this new space. Timid dogs will become worse as they have so much space to pace or hide, insecure dogs will start to claim the new territory, and almost all dogs will get confused and start peeing inside.
- Use your dogs kibble meal to train, if your dog is highly food motivated.
- Feed your dog in his crate, breakfast and supper. This ensures your dog will not become distracted during mealtime, especially if your dog is timid. Do not be alarmed if your dog does not eat for a day or two. Still provide food but take it away if your dog does not eat after 5-10 minutes. DO NOT coax your dog to eat.
- Affection – Remember that affection is a resource that should be earned. If you do not have your affection equal with the discipline, you will create imbalance in your new dog. Rules are more important when establishing your relationship with a new dog. (Similar to raising kids)
- Consistency – A relationship should be built on trust and respect, which comes from being consistent and fair. Be clear on your YES and NOs.
- Walk your dog in a structured manner for at least an hour each day. Approx 25% of your day should be spent in calm walk activity.
- Actively Train and play with your dog after the walk to empty the tank and provide even more release of energy (physical and mental). Approx 25% of your day
- Set your dog up for good habits by conditioning them to Rest in one place after their exercise (Place or Crate). Approx 50% of your day.
- Say IN and guide your dog into the crate with the leash (use the leash or have it on as backup to put him/her into the crate for the first week).
- Unclip his leash and collar after he goes in.
- Close the door if he tries to get out, instead of pushing him back.
- Any time you open the crate door, wait for your dog to give you eye contact before allowing him to exit. It also helps to ‘dress’ him with the collar and leash before he comes out of the crate.
- Remember he cannot exit unless you say “Lets Go” as a release word.