Petting Party Part 1:
How would the guys in the audience like it if I told you how to get your wife or girlfriend to actually appreciate and even encourage you to watch every football game this season? Ladies, how would you like your husband or boyfriend to finally get off his duff and teach that damn dog to quit going nuts every time the doorbell sounds and, for that matter, to stop growling and/or jumping on your house guests?
What would you say to the opportunity to actually do something together as a team, while enjoying good food, great company and being able to include the dog as well! This is no pipe dream, it’s a football (or pick your favorite sport) petting party. And the best part is, that all it’s going to cost you is some adult beverages, pop or other drinks and the time to invite people who enjoy football (and dogs…but more on that later!) By the end of the regular season you will have a much busier and enjoyable social life as well as a dog that can’t wait for the door bell to ring, and who no longer exhibits those habits you find so annoying!
If you have read my post My Dog Barks…What Can I Do? Park It Part 2…Wireless Door bell and practiced this technique, you might have been only partially satisfied with the results! Yes, the doorbell does not cue your dog to bark anymore, but maybe now you have Fido waiting for the door to open just so he can announce to the world “one more step and I will bite your leg off,” only to find your mother-in-law on the other side…(Stop laughing that is not funny) You may have even noticed that your dog will grumble for what seems an eternity or that you have to put him away for the safety of all concerned. Or maybe you have a dog that well, “loves too much,” and just assaults everyone who comes through the door by jumping up on them with love and affection! Either way, with some good, old, basic classical conditioning, combined with some football, beverages and a pot luck supper; we can fix the problem before the play offs even begin! How does that sound?
If the annoying behaviors listed above sound like those that you see at your house with your dog, trust me…I hate to bring this up again, you are once again reaping what you have sown! You did not do enough during the critical socialization period with your dog and that is why he goes DEFCON 4 whenever a stranger rings the door bell (or, for that matter, comes through the door.) So as always, I recommend you begin this technique when the dog is a puppy (8-18 weeks) for prevention, to keep the problem from ever occurring! But do not despair, this technique will also work with older dogs as long as you use a little caution and ensure appropriate friend selection prior to the exercise! Keep in mind that the reason your dog is freaking out is that people make him nervous, anxious, scared, territorial, excited, overly happy…pick any damn adjective you want; and we never taught him to associate house guests with rules or something positive! That is all about to change!
You and your spouse must now pick 10 close friends (no…they will not all show up week 1!!!) that can help you with this problem. Let’s set some guidelines for starters…your aunt who is still single at 48 and lives with 32 cats will not be a good selection. Neither is your best friend, her husband and their 8 kids under the age of 10…at least not during week 1’s game! We might introduce kids at week 4 or 5, but slowly…not 8 at once! I need you to pick friends who own dogs and also have lots of patience! Inform your friends of what is about to happen, and make sure they are the kind of friends that can follow directions! We don’t need that yahoo standing at the front door saying “Oh relax, I’m a dog person,” and trying to use his years of “TV Dog Training,” only to be rushed to the emergency room! You might even call your dog trainer or Veterinarian and ask them if they would be willing to help you. They will probably be glad to lend a hand, and they might even bring other dog people with them! Let’s face it he/she and their friends will be perfect! Ok, so you and I are hopefully on the same page and you have made your list, called your friends and are ready for SOME FOOTBALL! Now what?
Glad you asked, now for some party planning!!! The next blog post covers the logistics of your Football Petting Party.
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