One of the challenges of moulding your pup into a polite, well-mannered dog is learning to limit their opportunities to practice the things we don't
want them to do. Managing behaviour in this way is as important as training and without it your dog can easily learn to be impolite and pushy.
For example, jumpy greetings – you meet a friend and their dog while out and about. Once the dog spots you, the dog pulls your friend at speed towards you, then jumps up almost knocking you over, making everyone shriek! Let’s see what the dog learnt from this interaction. She learnt that pulling on-lead gets her owner to follow her. She learnt that greetings are very exciting and often make humans howl. And she learnt that jumping is good because she earns attention when she does. How could some solid management have helped teach a polite greeting?
Firstly, we need to teach this dog what doesn’t
work. Rather than follow when your dog pulls, plant your feet and wait for attention on you. Only continue approaching if your dog is calm and walking nicely with you. Now you’re under control and can decide when it’s appropriate for your dog to say hello. By managing greetings in this way your dog doesn’t get to practice being jumpy and impolite. With your dog on lead, you can easily and quickly take her away if she jumps up. Remember that management doesn’t replace training. You must still teach your dog how to greet politely – i.e. pats and attention are earned by calm dogs with all four paws are on the floor!
There are plenty of ways you can manage your dog to help show them the right way to behave.
Here a few ideas to get you started:
Use a lead for greeting visitors, both in and outside the house.
Use a long-line at the park while your dog is learning to come back when called, so that your dog doesn't learn they can ignore your recall cue.
Crate or confine your dog with doggy chew toys while you can't supervise them.
Use baby gates to limit access to non-dog proof areas or areas that are off-limits for dogs.
Remember - management buys you some time to re-train, so make sure you are teaching your dog how to behave at the same time!