An anonymous writer comments, in response to prior dog training tips: “If physical exhaustion is the only answer, then why don’t I just keep him ‘chained up’ and save ME the trouble. I’m sorry I’m having trouble buying into this lack of exercise/boredom theory.
About Max [the dog] …..He’s a mixed breed, part hound, part long-haired terrier, has the frame of a 15-inch beagle, as a matter of fact, he looks like a long-haired beagle (if there was a such breed). We saved him from a horrible death when we adopted him (at about 7 months old) from the local humane society.
He’s about 3 years old now (and yes he has done this “pacing” since we got him). He’s not obese (which could result from lack of exercise). He’s a smart dog (he can sit, beg, speak, shake, down, stay). And in my opinion gets plenty of “family time” and self-induced exercise.
His bark sounds like a ‘warning bark’ and he races and strolls back and forth [at the gate]. Things I won’t do because it is not fair to him….. Put him in a dog run Put him in a crate until someone gets home Leave him locked up in the house all day Chain him up in a fenced back yard He’s got a 12000 sq. ft yard. I just can’t figure out why he only uses 50 sq. ft of it. Thanks, -Anonymous.”
Adam replies: A couple of points you’re confused about:
1.) Whether or not this is relevant to your dog’s behavior… your dog needs exercise. You cannot “dope the dog up,” as a solution to the dog’s exercise requirements.
So, you’re probably asking yourself, “Doesn’t the darn dog get enough exercise running back and forth at the fence???” The answer is, ‘No!’ Why?
Because what the dog needs is consistent aerobic exercise. The spurt/sprint and then relax-running that he’s doing now simply doesn’t meet the dog’s exercise needs. I don’t know why, I’m just telling you the way that it is. You need to run him, or bicycle him. Or at the very least, play fetch with the ball for 1/2 hour to 1 hour a day. This will definitely take the edge off him.
2.) Your dog is displaying territorial aggression. This is usually exaggerated by a lack of exercise, but will not disappear (usually) simply because you ARE exercising him. So, how do you fix the territorial aggression? Here are a couple of points:
First, you NEED to confine him to an area where he cannot exhibit the behavior when you’re not present to correct him for it. You should use a dog run for this. Remember two things:
– If YOU are meeting the dog’s exercise requirements, then confining him to a small area is NOT a bad thing. In the wild, the Alpha dog would confine the subordinate dog to a certain area where THEY MUST STAY. – Believe it or not, dogs spend approximately 80% of any 24-hour cycle either sleeping or resting. Who cares if he’s sleeping or resting with 20 acres of space around him, or with 12 feet of space around him? If he’s sleeping, he’s sleeping.
– It’s not fair to the dog to get corrected for doing the behavior ONE time (when you’re around) but not THE NEXT TIME (when you’re not around). For the dog to understand, he must get a correction EVERY TIME he does the behavior, until he demonstrates that he has dropped the behavior. This is the only fair way, for the dog. And to do this, you’ll need to confine him to an area (dog run, hint, hint) when you’re not present to set him up.
– Depending on your dog’s temperament, there are different ways to correct your dog. The best way (and fastest and safest) is with a remote collar that you can set the sensitivity to your dog’s temperament. These are safe and humane if you follow the directions. This way, the dog will think that he gets a correction for the behavior, even if you’re hiding upstairs in the kitchen window.
Since the dog is still getting a motivational, consistent correction… your set-ups become much more realistic… which makes the dog drop the behavior THAT MUCH faster.