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Questions and Answers

Q: My husband and I have just received a dog from a friend of ours. The dog is six months old and is constantly jumping on us and other people in the household. What do I do? --Vera T.

A: Vera, this is an easy fix. We have to make it so the dog would rather be on the ground then jumping on you. Pick up a book that teaches the sit stay gently with a good praise method. Teach the dog the sit exercise in the privacy of a room that has no distractions. When you have accomplished this (the dog should stay seated for at least one minute) take the exercise to other rooms, but make sure they are also stimulus free. Then start to introduce other members of the family into the training exercises. First by having them in a sitting position and then standing and eventually walking around. All this is being done while the dog is in the sit stay position. Now your dog knows the word and the exercise. Now let's practice this spontaneously. When somebody comes into the room the dog should be in a natural setting without doing a sit command. The dog will then jump on the person. Make sure the lead and collar are attached. When the dog jumps up gently use the sit command and if need be help place the dog into the sit. After the dog has stabilized into the sit position you as the handler verbally praise the dog and the person the dog jumped on also verbally praises the dog. If the dog gets up repeat the exercise by placing him back into the sit. Do not give up just be consistent and everything will fall into place. After a couple of weeks of this the dog will get the idea-it is more fun to stay in the sit position because this is when he/she gets all the praise. Once he/she gets this down he/she will be running up to people and sitting in front of them waiting for praise. CAUTION: no loss of temper or frustration must show just be consistent, firm and loving. --Neal

What is an eclectic? According to the dictionary an eclectic is: selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Third Edition, 1992). So why would this be in a dog question and answer column? The average person believes that utilizing a firm hand in obedience is the answer to all their problems. It may be the answer for the human being because he gets what he wants. Supposedly the disobedient dog is now compliant to the wishes of his/her master and as long as there aren't any more displays of "bad behavior" the master is happy. Usually in cases like the one mentioned above, as time goes on, even though the said behavior doesn't crop up again other "bad behaviors" surface. The master first of all in his heavy handedness has emotionally damaged the animal. Since the master did not address the causes but just the symptoms, and leaving the dog no way out to turn to with said behaviors, they erupt in other areas of the dog's life. In the dog world there are many disciplines that have valuable lessons that can be taught to the average person. I will address specifically tracking in the Schutzhund world. I will not use the AKC tracking because they allow a dog to air scent (sniffing in the air to follow the track which is not as difficult as Schutzhund footprint tracking).

When a dog is taught even the most rudimentary form of beginning tracking it does wonders for him/her regarding his/her behavior in the house and for his/her personality. It first of all gives the dog a purpose which not only matures the dog but it gets his/her gray matter working in the problem solving department. It is absolutely fantastic exercise not only for the mind but physically. I was told once that a Schutzhund I track is equivalent to a college exam in doggie terms. The practicing of tracking between the master and the dog also, when done without force or submission, is an extraordinary bond-builder between the two of them. When you have a happy dog bonding with his master the dog becomes more receptive in the behavior department and you can make tremendous strides in the obedience department. Now here is the correspondence I received form someone who became an eclectic and utilized tracking to solve his problems.

Dear Neal: Before I took your advice and purchased the book by Glen Johnson, THE TRACKING DOG, I had some terrible behavior problems with my dog. She was constantly getting into trouble in the house and backyard. Destroying everything she could get her teeth on. In fact it was so bad that she was chewing the walls and destroying the plasterboard. We tried the obedience route and it quelled the problems for a while but they came back tenfold. As you suggested I picked up the book and just concentrated on doing timed pad work and three starter tracks every other day. I cannot thank you enough. I don't know where the other dog went but I have a brand new happy obedient dog in my house now. I cannot believe that after two weeks there has been such a turnaround in her behavior. Being perfectly honest I never would have listened to you because what you suggested was to far out. But now I know different. Thank you!! Sincerely yours, Dale V., Montana USA

So Dale became an eclectic. He tried a technique which was as foreign to solving dog behavior problems as homeopathic cures are to medical science. But if you remain open in your thinking being an eclectic can really pay off.

Written by Neal Seaman

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Dog Breeds: A thru C | D thru O | P thru Z Abuse Indicators

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