How to keep it up...
After sending an aggressive, reactive, or anxious dogs to a board and train for a few weeks, the dog is now back home acting like a different dog. He is much calmer and much better behaved.
Will the training stay? Will the dog revert back?
What should the owner do to keep things on track?
The followings are what l would like my clients to do.
Firstly, l want you to learn my training system and train your dog multiple times daily.
My marker system is very simple (yes, no, good) but it is essential that you use the same system to communicate with your dog in the future. My leash pressure concept is also very straight forward, it is just a pressure release system. Dogs are taught how to listen and respond both on and off leash based on this simple system.
But nothing is really that simple if you do not practice it. You need to train your dog regularly. Keep a training log to keep record of the progress.
Secondly, l need you to develop a mutually respectful relationship with your dog. This relationship is extremely important to your success.
The fact that a dog can be transformed so quickly shows without a doubt that the dog is not incapable of improvement. It proves that with the right approach, the dog can clearly be turned around quickly.
So, why was the dog so aggressive, why was he so reactive, why was he growling, barking, and lunging at children, why did he try to bite the owner over his food? Why did he continue these behavior for such a long time without any improvement prior to the board and train?
There are many factors but a big part of it has to do with whom the dog has spent the most of his life with, which by definition, has had the most influence on him--his pack (i.e. his family).
To keep up with the training and to prevent the dog from reverting back, it is crucial that the pack is willing to change so they can stop doing to the dog what was causing the problems and start influencing the dog in a positive manner.
If after your by-pass heart surgery you go back to eating lots of fast food just like before, no surgery can save you, your heart will fail and you will die.
It is the same with behavior rehab for dogs.
During the rehab of the dog, the trainer and the owner have formed a partnership--we are now a team. I can do what the owner cannot do, which is to train and rehab the dog; but you need to help me with what l cannot do, which is to assert positive influence on the dog in his daily life in order to keep him on the right path.
For the next three months, l need you to do two things to establish and strengthen a solid relationship.
The first thing is to continue crating your dog whenever he is not being trained, walked, and potty.
A crate is a training aid which is very effective in helping the owner to stop reverting back to giving the dog excessive unearned freedom and affection, it helps to stop the dog from practicing old bad habits, and it teaches both the dog and the owner how to have a permissive lifestyle, which can re-establish a healthier relationship, lastly, it also provides the dog a place for some "down" time and privacy.
The second thing is to significantly cut down on affection. Most people who have aggressive or reactive dogs are giving their dogs an excessive amount of affection. It has created an unhealthy imbalance in the dog's life. This imbalance is a big reason for their dogs' problems to begin with. If they continue to lavish their dogs this way, the imbalance will come back and so would the problem; therefore, it has to stop.
This type of affection does not help the dog with the rehab at all. Your dog will not become depressed or upset without this kind of affection. Your dog needs leadership from you first and foremost. In lack of leadership, an excessive amount of coddling as well as hugs and kisses will only cause confusion, anxiety, and distrust.
Please remember we give a dog massive structure only because we want him to enjoy massive freedom as soon as possible.