Two Easy Dog Obedience Tips to Train Your Dog in a Hurry

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Two Easy Dog Obedience Tips to Train Your Dog in a Hurry

by Julia Winters

Sometimes dogs get a little carried away with themselves and forget some of the basics of good dog behavior.

At my house this happened regularly at two different times:

  • When they were so excited about treats that they couldn't contain themselves.
  • When they were anxious to get out in the yard to chase squirrels.

Barking The excitement caused barking, especially from my smallest dog: a Blue Heeler. Now that wouldn't be too bad, but he started doing it at night when people were trying to sleep. Not good.

Telling him to be quiet didn't stop him for more than a few seconds. Holding his mouth shut stopped him for slightly longer. But neither stopped him for long.

Then I read a little trick, and it works like magic. When your dog starts to bark inappropriately, pinch him! Not a hard pinch, just a pinch like you might do on your own arm to pick up some skin between your thumb and forefinger.

The theory is that mother dogs use gentle nips to tell their kids when it's time to be quiet, and that memory is hard-wired into their brains. I can't tell you why it works, but I can tell you that it does. In fact, now when Pepper starts to bark when he shouldn't, all I have to do is show him my two fingers, primed for a pinch.

I wish I could add audio to this article, because he really is funny. The sharp bark winds down kind of like a motor turning off, and then turns into a low "talking" grumble. And he gives me this look as if to say "You wouldn't pinch me, would you?"

Once in a while he gets over-excited and forgets, so he gets a new pinch. but it happens less and less these days.

Rushing the door I have to admit that I let my dogs get away with this for quite a while before I called a halt.

When it was time to go out they'd crowd up to the door. I was reaching over them to open it and jumping to keep my feet out of the way, especially if I was barefoot. Sometimes I still got stepped on in their mad rush to run out into the yard to chase imaginary intruders.

They have a routine. First they have to run full speed, barking, down the hill to the creek. Then they have to circle around and check to make sure the creek, the tree, etc. are all where they belong before they come back up the hill to the house.

One day it occurred to me that I was allowing improper dog behavior and I'd better stop it. I remembered what the instructor said when we went to dog obedience classes and started using her suggestion.

When the dog is at the door, simply step in front of him and walk toward him, backing him up until he's a few feet back from the door. Then tell him to sit and stay. (If you haven't mastered those two dog obedience basics, start now.) Sometimes it helps to hold your hand out, palm toward him while you give the stay command. Remember, he's excited at this point.

Then start to open the door, if the dog gets up and starts to rush, shut the door and back him back to where you told him to stay. Repeat the process until you can open the door wide without the dog moving.

If you're consistent, after a few days your dog will understand where he needs to sit and that he has to stay if he ever wants to get out that door!

My dogs still run down the hill, but they no longer bowl me over in their haste to get out the door!

Julia loves all animals, but has a special affinity for dogs. She helped found an animal rescue in her town and lives with 3 "rescue dogs" of her own. Or maybe she belongs to the three rescue dogs. In her spare time she writes fund raising letters for small rescues that can't afford to hire a writer.

Visit for information about rescue, caring for your dog, how to choose a dog, dog stories, dog quotes, and more.

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