Harlow’s owners came to FluentDog dreaming of having a dog they could allow to run offleash on the beach when they went on vacation. They wanted their Cockapoo, a stunning blonde appropriately named Harlow, to stop barking so much and learn to come when when called. However, I saw these as symptoms of Harlow’s true problem– her unchecked power.
This is incredibly common with owners who love their dogs and do not want them to be overly stressed. One thing leads to another, and all of a sudden the owners find the dog has trained them! Harlow needed to learn that humans set the rules, not her. Instead, Harlow was ruling the household like the diva she was.
She had full run of their spacious home in Potomac, Maryland, and was starting to display some disturbing behaviors, even biting one of the daughters in the family. When I visited for an initial lesson, Harlow barked excessively at me, clearly communicating that this was HER house, and what right did I have to intrude? Her owners adored Harlow, and even catered to her odd preferences, like drinking out of a red Solo cup. Her leash manners were nonexistent, and even though she was small, she was strong. Harlow had even caused her owner to slip and break her hand when she lunged hard on the leash one day. And she couldn’t be crated, or else she howled and screamed.
However, I saw a glimmer of hope when we introduced the transitional leash. Harlow picked up the concept incredibly quickly. This was a dog who was actually quite responsive to clear communication and boundaries, as most dogs are.
She spent the weekend with me for a hard reset–from the princess to the pauper, quite literally.
We used the “straw method” in an escape-proof crate because I knew her crate issues were severe. And they were. But for a dog like this, crating is absolutely essential so the owner can re-establish boundaries and prevent unwanted behaviors during the training process. By the end of the weekend, Harlow was able to nestle into her bed of straw quite comfortably. And she even drank out of a normal dog bowl.
Structure and being more patient than the dog is stubborn can do wonders for behavior.
Harlow’s owners were very committed to her, they just didn’t know what to do to help her behave. That’s why FluentDog’s programs involve unlimited lessons until the owner feels confident their goals have been reached.
Now, Harlow’s owners can walk her easily and she sits automatically when they stop. They have her on a schedule that allows them to have quality time with her behaving, rather than quantity time of misbehaving.
Here’s what they told me: “Since [training] Harlow has been great!!! Harlow has reacted very positively to [your] methods and is progressing very well!!”
Are you ready to enjoy your dog more, with less bad behavior? Book a time to tell us about your dog!