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Superior Farms Pet Provisions Training Tips

Training Tips - Your Questions Answered

March 2014

Dear Gary,

I have a Maltese mix, that is almost 5 years old, who exhibits a terrible amount of territorialism when he is in our yard. Our yard is fully fenced in and yet he races up and down the fence barking ferociously at people and dogs who walk along our front yard sidewalk. This is extremely annoying (not to mention noisy) and I have tried everything to break his apparent focus on protecting our home and property from people and dogs who pass by.  Sometimes he gets so riled up, he will attack our other dog (a very sweet Bichon/Coton mix) when he is in this frenzy.

My wife and I love this dog. He is sweet and lovable to us overall and is indoors unless he is on a walk or going to the bathroom. Any suggestions or guidance?


~ Gary

Dear Gary,

Thank you for your question. This is a very common problem. A lot of dogs who get excited behind barriers, fences, on leash, in crates, etc. start to display these kind of unwanted behaviors from repeated inability to interact with whatever is outside their reach, which builds up time after time and starts to display in unwanted behaviors like barking and fence chasing.  

An important solution to this is exercise and mental stimulation and some structure around the house. My first question is how much exercise is your dog getting? Walking? Training?  What is your dog’s life like? Running in the backyard is not sufficient enough. Your dog needs to get out and interact with the world. Also, how is your dog’s recall? A solid recall taught well should be able to overcome all distractions. This is a gradual process taught in steps.  

I will be posting some videos about the recall to help people with this life saving skill.  For now I would keep him from practicing this behavior by taking him out on a leash to go to the bathroom or let him out when you know your neighbor is not home.  Be diligent!  Then periodically take him out when the other dog is out and just sit and relax at a distance that does not get him agitated.  You have to show your dog how you want him to behave.  

A lot of people focus on what they don’t want but need to focus on what they do want.  If it is possible to make a play yard in a different part of the yard where they can’t see everything happening that can help as well.  Another video that will help will be the one on our place command (coming soon!), which will give your dog a rock solid place to hang out … on his bed.

Please keep us posted on your progress and thank you for your question!

~ Gary Cassera

Gary Cassera is the owner and certified trainer for Balanced Dogs. Follow Gary on Facebook.
Gary currently works ar the Michael Ellis School.

You can contact Gary for a private training session here!

Got more questions about your pet and training? Write to us at socialmedia@superiorfarms.com now! 

“What are the most important things you need when beginning training with your dog?”

Great and very common question.  First thing's first - instead of using the term "dog training," focus on "leading your dog." Dog Training is a blanket statement and there are too many variations of training a dog to boil it down into one definition. For example, human-centered dog training typically includes commands such as sit, come, heel, lay down, etc. This part of training is like going to Harvard. You learn these practical applications, but they don't make you a stable person or help you reach the depths you need.

Gary CasseraDog psychology-centered training (often called behavior work or canine psychology) includes eye contact, owning your intentions, body language, spacial pressure, owning your emotions as a handler, and understanding different thresholds. This is the deep work you need to do to have a healthy and balanced dog. 

If your furry friend is displaying behavior that you don't enjoy (and that behavior persists), look at where you are and where you want to be, realistically. In the middle of that is determining a better communication system with your pup, the tools that can help you become more successful, how to control space, etc. Your goal is to create less conflict and stress in your relationship and achieve more peace, harmony, success, and growth. 

I would suggest learning about and learning to understand the mind of your animal, or any animal your dealing with. Realize why your dog is excited, feeling insecure, anxious or a number of other behaviors is important before determining what you need to fix the problem. Where are they coming from?  Poor behavior is a symptom, not the problem.

We will dive into these topics more intensely in months to come.  Your dogs appreciate your education, so keep it up!

Gary Cassera is the owner and certified trainer for Balanced Dogs. Follow Gary on Facebook.
Gary currently works ar the Michael Ellis School.

You can contact Gary for a private training session here!

Got more questions about your pet and training? Write to us at socialmedia@superiorfarms.com now!