Here’s One Way To Keep Your Dog From Going Into “The zone”

By Suzi Jones –

I can relate when people say but I correct and correct and correct with the prong collar and it does not phase my dog.
Sometimes the level of distraction is too great for the dog to come out of the zone alone with just a prong collar. I can attest that even my Boxer Uly no matter how many or how fast my change of directions were he would do everything in his power to keep his focus towards the distraction. My corrections, trust me, are quick, clean, firm and timed properly, my change of directions were fast and many.

So the normal method was not working in the real world situations, on the practice field he was perfect and not a problem but while awaiting our turn to go on the field and also being “out and about” in public he was a nightmare! As I said the conventional methods did not work, nor did knee bumping into his side stop him from zoning out, no this made him protest and usually try to take a little snap at me.
Most of the time it is during this phase ( the first little snap) that the mistakes are made and the situation escalate into a tantrum with both dog and owner struggling against one another to see which is going to win and give in first. I was not about to do this with uly as boxers do have a tendency to become defensive aggressive when over corrected.

So I had to figure something else to do to stop him from entering that excited energy zone when seeing other dogs and such and something that would not end up with both of us struggling against each other. I did notice that dogs passing by that were quiet and scared and showed very soft body posture would not excite him to the level of a dog passing by with the bad excited energy. So it really is true that excited energy from one dog does bring excited energy from another.

We were out walking one day when we were staying by mom’s house in her senior leisure community, one of the grandma neighbors were passing by with their little yippy, barky dogs (which of course was triggering his energy) I had hit the end of my leash (so to speak) I was so tired of nothing working, I was so tired of this display, that I reached down and grabbed him by both side of his face ( including those overly large lips he has) and hung on forcing him to stare me in the eyes. Oh I was just so angry!

But I did not go any further! I just held him still by the cheeks as I slowly raised him up to a standing position so I did not have to be so uncomfortable bent over while waiting for him to calm and relax while the dog passed by. Now mind you this happened all with in one smooth motion. O.k. I thought this was good no fighting no struggling no escalating and it got him to stay calm and be controllable at least. Good I thought I can now try this! ( I should also add I tried the whole “poking in the neck” with a noise as the way one trainer tells people to do this did not work for uly as the distraction was too strong and the poke not consequential enough.

So here we are out walking on another day, here comes one of the grandma neighbors with another yappy dog, I pull hella and uly and hexen off to the side Hexen and hella automatically sit and wait calmly, Uly starts in with growly and whining I said his name and gave him and invite to come up and I once again took him by the cheeks in both hands. This worked he stayed calmer yet he still did try to keep his gaze on the dog while it passed and I had to force his attention on to me. This habit of coming up on me when we would see another dog because so conditioned and very fast. And it worked to keep him from zoning on other dogs, and both sides displaying that excited energy which was becoming less and less the more we went to the boxer club to work. The first 2 moths however I did get some weird looks! They would hear uly start to growl and zone I would say nine then all of a sudden up him would come and stand on me.

But over the past year Uly has come around and advanced allot and only needing to be reminded through at first the use of the prong and now through the normal collar not to zone even if the other dog does. That was until yesterday!

So what to do when the tables finally get turned? Yesterday I was out walking and up ahead on the path was an elderly man (Late 60’s) walking a young what too resemble a hound of some sort dragging a long line. I saw him recalled uly and proceeded to continue to walk a little further. As we neared each other he did what I do and pulled his dog off the path into the grass and made him sit and wait for me to pass!

Hey wait a minute that is my habit to see someone and pull up off the side and wait for the other to pass! I was not quite sure what to do at this point and had to do some pretty quick thinking’s to figure out how to pass calmly by when this dog was showing the excited energy and of course so was Uly. I was walking and nicking uly with the e collar and at a distance of 10 meters this worked well. But as we neared and the dog was not very far into the field (less then 5 meters) the e collar was making him protest more and become defensive so I stopped. Of course I did not have a prong collar on him as I had to trade his collar to the owner of the other boxer Bella and I did not get her collar in return yet to have one in the house for our walks.

So anyway we are trying to walk by this dog, I am touching Uly by giving tugs on his ear, Nope no reaction, no looking at me, I reached my limit again and just as he was pushing himself to the top of the zone and no corrections were working, I quickly took him up short on the leash and matter of fatly stuck him into a sit and stepped in front of him took hold of his cheeks/lips and this time got into his face ( and close) and gave him NINE! Uly looks up at me then his eye balls stretched all around (like a dog possessed) to look where this other dog is I once more say Nine and then he looks at me and relaxes. At this point I slowly release my grip on his cheeks and he stays calm but his eyes once more started to drift to the other dog ( which is still showing excited energy) and this time a tap on the snout with look at me and he did. It was at this point that I told hella to move on passed and I walked Uly slowly passed the other dog, I gave a waive to the man and thanked him and off I went praising the heck out of my dogs for that very calm ending ( As my back was turned I could hear for about 30 seconds behind me nine, nine, nine coming the gentleman.