In today’s episode, we are going to talk about how to calm your dog down. Some dogs seem to be totally out of control, no matter how much you train them. If your dog is like this, there’s probably one thing that you’re missing, that’s gonna make your training much easier and way more effective. If you have an energetic dog like, know that all the training in the world won’t do a thing unless you are exercising your dog.
However, all exercises are not equal. Throughout my career, I’ve noticed that there are two ways that people tend to exercise their dogs. At least two default ways and that’s by giving their dogs walks or letting them play with other dogs. For some dogs that might be just fine, but for dogs like Goose, no way. Goose cannot walk me by 10 times before she even gets a little bit winded.
Plus walking your dog is very inefficient time wise. A good game of fetch is the closest thing. There is to a quick-fix in dog training and it seems to reduce or eliminate the overwhelming majority of behavior problems. Now, let’s have a quick review of fetch and exactly what I mean by fetch, because there seems to be some confusion on this, especially by people who are new to training dogs.
How To Calm Your Dog Down With A Fetch
By fetch I mean you throw a toy, your dog chases that toy in a straight line, then he picks up the toy, brings it back to you in a straight line: let’s go promptly and eagerly awaits the next throw. Now you don’t actually teach fetch in this order, though. The first step is teaching your dog how to play tug and let go with a toy. When you teach fetch to your dog, you want to introduce the concept with something that you can easily play tug-of-war with, in other words, not a ball teaching.
A good fetch starts with a good game of tug-of-war, really generating their interest in a toy and teaching them to let go. So, the last thing you want to do when teaching fetch is launch a toy and then just assuming that your dog can kind of figure it out because you’re gonna call them back, and even if you do get some mild success with that approach, you’re gonna probably find lots of issues with your game, like your dog will get into the habit of playing keep-away or your dog will lose interest in the toy or they’ll get distracted by other things in their environment.
That’s why we want to start teaching fetch very close up. Just like this. See how she is into this toy. So, once your dog is doing really good, with tug-of-war and they’re letting go promptly, but then you’ll want to start throwing the toy very short, like this. Then I’m gonna bring the toy back to life and play tug-of-war. I’m not throwing it across the field, as your dog is getting good at making that turn at just a few inches in front of you. Only then do you begin to increase the distance.
Once these mechanics are down, you can start to introduce other toys like balls, frisbees or whatever. We selectively bred dogs for a very long time to have lots of energy. So that they could help us with tasks like herding, livestock and hunting and other things. This is actually a very significant point when it comes to exercising your dog to be clear, all dogs were specifically and selectively bred to take direction from people. My working hypothesis over the last many years is that when you implement exercise that involves you a person that a dog is more likely to be uniquely satisfied in ways that other forms of exercise do not offer.
Even though our lifestyles have evolved, many of our dog’s genetics have still been optimized for lots of physical and mental activities that involve partnering with people and by the way you might notice. I have a leash on at first. You want to make sure that you’re in a position to keep your dog from running off, that’s a really common issue that develops with fetch. We want to stop those habits before they even begin.
Of course, as fetch evolves, you will need a longer leash. Like a 20 foot, weed juice actually brings back to toy very reliably, so she’s past the point of needing it. But that’s because goose has had a fair amount of training so far. I don’t expect you to get a flock of sheep or pick up hunting to exercise your dog and if dogs have shown us anything, it’s that they’re more than willing to adapt to our lifestyle. As long as we can meet them halfway.
The special thing about dogs is that they’re predisposed to take direction from people. See, we generally made copies of the ones that fit well with our lifestyle. Now don’t get me wrong, walking your dog and letting them play with other dogs is great for mild exercise and actually that might even be enough for many lower-energy dogs, but again for these really high intense dogs like goose you’ve got to have a lot more play actively with them early in the day.
That way you can enjoy the benefit of having a calm or dog throughout the day. Once you get that energy depleted early, think about how you feel after a workout, for example, you likely feel a lot more content and just better in general. That’s what we’re trying to do for our dog. You’re not limited to fetch. Fetch just happens to be one of the easier ways to exercise your dog if you’re short on time. But if you want to give them even more exercise, there’s lots of great dog sports out there.
You can participate in like dock diving, flyball, my favorite k9 frisbee dog agility, and even more than that. It’s important to give your dog appropriate breaks during exercise and another common pitfall that people deal with when teaching their dog fetch is that they might throw the ball to their dog four or five six times, and then their dog is pretty winded and they take a break and a lot of people assume. Oh, I guess my dog is done playing fetch, but that’s not really true for most dogs.
In other words, you just need to give them a little bit of a break a little a few minutes to recover and then resume playing fetch with them over about a cumulative thirty minutes to an hour depending on your dog. But for dogs that are super fetch obsessed like goose, it is on you to really force them to take those breaks because she would just go and go.
Probably one of the safer ways to play fetch is to teach your dog to come around in order to give them that running start. So much of dog training has been about combatting a dog’s energy by trying to subdue them with special collars like choke prong and electric. This ultimately leads to a less pleasant and really mediocre training experience for everyone involved. Instead, you want to bring your dog’s energy up on your terms and your schedule and deplete that energy on demand.
That’s why fetch is amazing, think about it. If you knew you had an event at your house drop it and you wanted to get your dog’s energy out of them. You could just simply go in the backyard or a nearby park and get all of that energy out. So, they’ll be much easier to communicate with. This is a much more natural way to satisfy your dog mentally and physically.
For those of you with those high energy dogs, you’re not entitled to a well-behaved dog and by passing quality exercise is likely not an option for you. Furthermore, exercise serves as more than just recreation for your dog it’ll be necessary for you to vigorously exercise high-energy dogs before training, so that their pent-up energy has been released. When a dog’s energy is released, they’re far more receptive to learning basic to advanced skills quickly. Optimal time to train goose something new would be like 20 minutes after she recovers from this type of vigorous play, then she’s just like okay, I can finally focus. What do you want me to do understand that exercising them will resolve probably 90 plus percent of unwanted behaviors and empower you to teach them virtually anything you want.
The symbiotic relationship between people and dogs is such that, if you give them the exercise and activity and everything that they desire they’re much more likely to do what you ask of them. The bond you form with your dog, it’s the most powerful thing you can have when it comes to teaching them and nothing absolutely nothing that I know of builds a bond better than play click thumbs up for goose.