Slowing Your Dogs Behavior Down.

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 Dog Training Santa Cruz County

  Training Hyper-Active Dogs

  “Slowing your dog down” is a term I use while working with hyper-active dogs. The usage comes from the fact so many dogs are overly amped up 24 hours 7 days a week.  While some people may not consider this a problem it actually is. Dogs with constant high levels of Excitement, over Stimulation. over Arousal, and no Self-Control become impulsive dogs. Impulsive dog behavior becomes more of a reflex than rationale thinking.   Dogs with hyper-activity have trouble focusing because they’ve never experienced “Slowing Down” or in other words Relaxing.canine education

  A dog unable to “Slow Down” will have trouble focusing on an owner. During any type of training the owner always needs the dogs undivided attention. A dog not paying attention isn’t learning. The problem gets more serious if a dog has major Behavior Problems such as Aggression caused by fear, stress, or anxiety.

A high energy dog is fine if it’s energy is channeled towards something Positive, is Obedient, and is Emotionally Well-balanced. A good example is a good hunting dog. While in the blind a bird dog is expected to be steady at all times. However, the bird dog so charged up for the retrieve can barely contain itself. It’s obvious by observing the involuntary twitching of its muscles and its strong desire to bolt.  While in this state of high excitement the hunting dog is still complying with its owner.  Until the hunter releases the dog can it be fully satisfied.  It’s also good for any owner if their  dog has an on and off switch on cue.

A dog with nervous energy is something different. Nervous energy falls more in the realm of being Skittish. Skittish dogs can often be seen moving quickly away, or jumpy from anything they consider threatening. These type of dogs find a lot of things threatening and can be reactive.  It must be mentioned dogs with nervous energy are very trainable. However, their condition must always dictate the training method  to get good responses.

How to Slow Your dog Down ( beginning stage)

  Teaching eye contact:

First step:  Target a treat under your dog’s nose. Let dog sniff it while it’s in your fist. Bring treat up to your eye level and say “Look It”. As dog makes eye contact say “Good” and quickly give treat.  Repeat this several times until you’re sure dog knows the game.

Second step:  Target a treat under your dog’s nose. Let dog sniff while it’s in your fist. Hold your arm up and out to your side with treat in hand. While dog glances at treat in hand say”Look it”. When dog makes eye contact say”Good” and quickly give treat.  Repeat this a few times.

Third step:  Target treat – dog sniffs treat in fist – hold arm up and out to side with treat in hand –  without any verbal cue *wait for voluntary eye contact – when there’s eye contact say “Good ” and reward with treat. Repeat a few times.

* When waiting for voluntary eye contact be patient. It may take a few seconds longer than you expect.  However, if after a few seconds dog doesn’t make eye contact on its own repeat the verbal cue “Look It” – say “Good” –  quickly reward.

* Make another attempt at the third step. Dogs typically catch on relatively quick to this exercise. Within a matter of 1 or 2 attempts the dog should catch on.  In the beginning if dog doesn’t make direct eye contact but does turn head towards owner that is acceptable and can be rewarded.draft_lens Also watch for the shifting of the dogs eyes towards handler without moving its head or body. If eyes shift towards handler quickly reward for this is acceptable.


The purpose for this exercise is to teach dogs to defer to owners. When  dogs defer to owners their minds aren’t scattered in a hundred directions.  When dogs defer to owners they’re less likely to react to something else in the environment.

Dogs are good at learning routines. In routines and in their daily lives they’re always anticipating the next sequence of events. If they repeat something once they’ll continue to repeat the behavior if it works for them. A dog giving good eye contact will always anticipate the owner giving  a directive. If the owner immediately acts on this opportunity full control of their dog is possible.

As in the case with Step Three of this exercise it will only take one  “Voluntary eye contact”  for the dog to start “Playing the Game”. It’s important that all good behavior gets reinforced with a reward.  This exercise typically only should take a few minutes to complete. Teaching eye contact is the beginning exercise of most dog training. It will be a valuable source for all future training. Happy Training.

Giovannas Dog Training provides service for Private Dog Training, Dog Group Training, Private Puppy Training, and Puppy Group Training.


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