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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I do alittle bit of training on the side, as you probably know if you read my posts. Although I'm not a professional and definitely not above asking for suggestions from other experienced dog people so here goes:

A request I get alot is teaching the dog to be calmer and better behaved in the house. For example, stop getting in the trash, stop counter surfing, learn to settle. I have a good set of go to fixes which usually work but I'd like to expand my list.

I like to put a strong mat and settle command on the dog. I always have people teach their dogs automatic check ins (Suzzane Clothier's term) for whatever problems they are having. Dog goes back in their crates when they get too rambunctious or start getting in to things around the house. Tethers around the house for dogs who are hyperactive. And of course I always talk about making sure the dog has enough excercise and show different kinds of puzzle toys or chews to get them occupied.

Other suggesions/ideas? Sometimes there are some difficult cases of dogs who have never even heard of boundries and I don't like to use corrections unless I have to and they are mild.
 

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I encourage people to utilize smart x 50 (capture good behavior). I tell them to reserve 1/3 of the dogs food for this and have gone so far as to work with them on creating a list of behaviors (generally calm and incompatible/alternative behaviors) to look for and reward.

I help them come up with management plans. For whatever reason people tend to really have a hard time here. I have a worksheet for them to fill out (includes management and also what they want to see/train instead) as we work on figuring out what will work for them. My goal here is honestly to get them thinking and problem solving.

I encourage physical/mental activities (fetch, walks, flirt pole, training sessions) be followed with structured down time (stuffed kong, bully stick, nap, etc.) in a quiet area. Should be at least 3-4 reps (fun then calm quiet activity) per day. The mental/physical stuff need not be super long or intense. The pattern of fun/excitement gollowed by chill time helps ingrain an off switch and ime how to self entertain a bit.

I also tend to frequently give impulse control and attention exercises. Seriously seems to be a big problem for many dogs... Just consistent work here often helps immensely!
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I encourage physical/mental activities (fetch, walks, flirt pole, training sessions) be followed with structured down time (stuffed kong, bully stick, nap, etc.) in a quiet area. Should be at least 3-4 reps (fun then calm quiet activity) per day. The mental/physical stuff need not be super long or intense. The pattern of fun/excitement gollowed by chill time helps ingrain an off switch and ime how to self entertain a bit.
This is very helpful to me. I've been struggling a lot with my adolescent mini aussie. I'll be keeping an eye on this thread for any tips :)
 

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Additionally, a couple of questions:

- assuming you're doing everything "right" (providing enough exercise and mental stimulation, capturing calmness, playing impulse control games, etc) how long, on average, before you start seeing real results? Obviously every dog is different, but what should a person's expectations be? Weeks? Months? Until the dog is out of adolescence?
- what do you do when the dog just won't settle? Mine sometimes has a very hard time and ends up pacing and panting inside his playpen, whining and occasionally barking for attention, or chewing resolutely on his leash (if tethered). He will do this for hours.
 

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When I first adopted my dog, she had no idea how to settle and was a pure adrenaline junkie. I think that people who raised her (she's terrier x cattle dog) just thought that a good dog was a tired dog and so she only knew how to be calm when absolutely exhausted. I rewarded calm and settle behavior and built her settle from just marking and treating small things like taking a breath or blinking her eyes.

She has come a long way, but it probably took a month before she chose to settle on her own. What helped a lot was playing impulse control games on her mat and in her crate as playing those games can create a calmer dog just because calm dogs win those type of games and the association of playing them on the mat or crate can help Pip feel calm in those places. When she got antsy, I could ask her to those places and it helped her get into a calmer state of mind.

I've had her a year and she has a very consistent off switch now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It sounds like what you're dealing with is probably anxiety based, whereas what I am talking about and making suggestions about it just lack of respect and manners. A dog who constantly paces and whines is nervous and stressed, not rude.

Anxiety has to be dealt with on a case specific basis. I had a friend with a very hyperactive and nervous dog who had alot of success using tethering and beginning a sport (shutzhund). I would suggest a consultation with a behaviorist to determine what is causing your dog's stress behaviors. Do not rule out medication- animals are just as susceptable to mental illnesses as people and there has been success linked to treatments such as prozac.
 

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The pacing and panting doesn't happen every time he's in his playpen or tethered. Sometimes he's perfectly content to chew his bone, play with his toys, or nap. I'm not sure what causes the more anxious behaviour--it definitely worries me that he seems stressed in there, but more than anything it seems he's just bored and wants attention. Additionally, I can put him in his puppy-proofed bathroom for isolation (whether I'm going out or just need a break) and he settles down just fine. He also settles down in his crate with no problems. Thoughts?
 
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