One of the first and most important steps of having a well-trained dog is utilizing proper management. This means setting up your environment to be safe for your dog and preventing them from making wrong choices. The more wrong choices your dog makes, the more likely they turn into bad habits.
In the beginning of training you will use a lot of management to teach your dog boundaries and how to make proper choices. As you progress with your training, the goal is to move away from management and have a dog that is able to make correct choices on their own.
In some cases with certain dogs, there will always be some sort of management in place. It all depends on the dog and the consistency of the owner.
These are our favorite management tools:
Using a crate is a powerful tool while you and your dog are in the training process. It keeps your dog safe and gives them a place to rest while unattended. It also gives you a break!
Using a crate will prevent your dog from making inappropriate decisions like chewing on things and wetting in the house; and teach them good habits like how to relax and be calm. The crate should ALWAYS be treated as a positive
“Place” is sending your dog to a dog bed or dog cot to relax and wait to be released. After you’ve
started the training process, sending your dog to “place” can be used instead of crating them. This acts as a reset
and will help your dog come back in a better state of mind.
While your dog is in training it is important that they are not able to do inappropriate things when you
are not present. You can use baby gates and closed doors to keep your dog contained, and prevent them from
getting into things like the garbage and/or your kids toys.
A “tie-out” is hooking your dog’s leash under a sturdy piece of furniture or a door knob while you’re with
them, but cannot give them your undivided attention. This allows them to be with you but stops them from running
around the house getting into things. It also conditions a high energy dog to mellow out in the house. You can give
them something to do like chew on a bone or kong to keep themselves entertained. Make sure that you keep kids,
strangers, and other dogs away from your dog while they’re on a tie out – as they could feel vulnerable and have no
option to get away if they are feeling unsure.
A drag leash is a lightweight leash that your dog wears around the house. Until you have verbal control of your dog (meaning they comprehend and consistently respond to your commands and the words “good” and “no”), they should have a drag leash on at all times while supervised. This makes it easy to gain control of them
when you ask/tell them to do something. Without a way to gain control of your dog, it is easy for them to learn to ignore you or play the chase game.
A long line is a 15-20ft leash that you use to practice recall and teach your dog boundaries off-leash.
You can use a long-line in your backyard when you need to call your dog inside. If your dog learns the chase game
that can become more fun than coming to you when you call.
Hooking your dog’s leash to your waist keeps them with you and avoids them wandering off and getting
into trouble. It will help condition them to pay attention to you, move with you, and move out of your way. This gives
you an opportunity to praise good behaviors and condition words such as MOVE and LET’S GO.
The main purpose for management is not giving your dog unsupervised free time. This way you can correct
inappropriate behaviors and reward good behaviors. When management is used properly, you will make huge strides
towards having a well trained dog. The more clear you can be with your expectations, the sooner you will give them
confidence and clarity in making the right decisions.