Monday, November 10, 2008

Training Tools - A Tired Dog

I'm going to touch briefly on my mantra of a Tired Dog is a Good Dog. I know that some people know this - but I wonder some days at how many people know it but don't fully understand it.

I'm sure that we can all agree that your dog is a blank slate waiting for you to teach it. Each and every behaviour is a learned one - whether you meant to teach it, it came with your dog, or it was a behaviour that was inadvertantly rewarded without you realizing it.

So, you want to teach your dog something, but he's bouncing all over the place. Maybe you want to teach how to walk on a leash? Or perhaps you want to teach them something else like a cute trick or rally-o or something. Perhaps a soft skill such as not to eat things off the living room table?? Regardless what you want to do with him - you don't have a dog that is ready to learn if he/she is bouncing all over.

True, some dogs have more energy than others and are often classified as "hyper" dogs. Regardless of the energy level, you can tire a dog out if you try, it just takes different things for different dogs. I've seen dogs with more and less energy, but it's all the same ... it is up to the owner to know their dog and be able to provide him or her with the stimulation that he requires.

You wouldn't try to make a child sit down and learn to read when he's in this state, so why would you try to make your dog do this? It is simply setting the dog (and child!) up for failure. Then it is really the owners who fail the dog, not the dog who fails.

6 comments:

DisgruntledBadger said...

It boggles my mind how many people will expect their bouncy, full-of-beans puppy (or child, or young horse) to sit still and absorb information...seems like it'd be common sense to know that they gotta have recess first!

Barb said...

Amen...
One thing about Cesar Milan (whether you love him or hate him) - he has done a lot to get the message across to the average pet owner that their dogs need EXERCISE. From what I see, that is the number one cause of problem behaviors - so many suburban or urban pet dogs are just stir crazy.
Dog parks help, but - and this is something Cesar is good about explaining - if you take a dog to a dog park and he's both under-exercised AND under-socialized, it can be a recipe for disaster. If his social skills are lacking, or if you aren't sure about his social skills exercise him first, THEN go to the dog park for socializing after he's calmer.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Yes Barb, Cesar has been pretty good at pushing exercise, exercise, exercise ... and he's right. It is the foundation of a well behaved dog.

DBadger, I have seen so many people bring their puppies to puppy classes where they come right from work, don't bother even going for a walk first, and then expect the pups to learn. To me, it is sad to see because I see the pups learning bad behaviours instead of good ones.

eleanor_rigby said...

Any of us with children knows what some good old fashioned exercise can do.....dogs are no different.

Dog_geek said...

Absolutely! A walk around the block to go potty isn't going to scratch the surface for most dogs. And it may sound silly, but I often have to take the edge off my dogs by playing ball or frisbee in the yard before we go hiking or trail running! They are so much better behaved on the trail if they have gotten some ya-ya's out ahead of time. Otherwise they can be so wild when we hit the trail that it is nerve-wracking and not that enjoyable to me.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Dog Geek - I agree. We often will throw the ball around a bit before hikes or walks. It calms the dogs a bit ... not a heck of a lot ... but enough to take the edge off.