Lake House Series Video 5: How Exercise Can Lead to Good Behavior

Hi! This is a new video in my series on moving to our new beach house. We have very high-energy, driven, Australian Shepherds that are also quite protective. That being said, I want to make sure this is a good experience for everybody.

At the new house, our neighbors are going to be closer by, and there will be more animals and activity because of the beach. So, I’m doing things ahead of time to try to make this transition easier. I thought you would enjoy these tips and possibly be able to use them for your own dogs. Especially if you have a dog that’s protective, if you’re moving to a new area, or going places where there might be new experiences.

One of the things that will really help you with behavior is to exercise your dogs before they’re around new people, new scenarios, or a new environment. Therefore, I wanted to see what parks were in the area, and have a good experience there. I’d like to let them off leash, and I thought the park I was going to today was going to give me that option, but I’m not sure that will be the case. The trails are really wide, so that’s wonderful. It’s a cold day. It is a weekend, so there will usually be more people, but because of the cold, there were less. I’d say we ran across people every 10-15 minutes. There were couples, people with dogs, people with strollers, bicyclists, so we were exposed to a lot of interesting things; and Rae did really well!

This is Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and if you want to know more about me, you can visit playtobehave.com.

Rae is pretty good on a leash, but at the beginning of a walk (like many dogs) she gets really excited and starts to pull. I employ a few different strategies to try to prevent that. We can go over those in a different video, but I just wanted to let you know that walks usually start out that way, but I’m patient and I use the strategies. Moving forward, as she calms down, I have to do less and less of that. When we did see people, I was prepared because I had some treats with me that were of very high value, which was dog food made out of kangaroo. Rae absolutely loves it and it’s pretty good for her. I can’t even remember the last time she got that, so she was pretty excited.

When I see somebody coming, I tell her to look at the dog. I say, “Look, doggie!” or “Look, there’s a person!” Then she looks that way and she gets rewarded for looking at them, then I let the person know that I have a dog that may or may not be friendly, so I’m going to put her at the side of the trail. I don’t know what there dog is going to be like or if they’re going to get along, so I don’t want to take that chance, especially the first time I’m at a park or the first few times. Again, I want this to be a good experience. I want her to feel relaxed when she comes to this park. The first few times are not a good time for her to be exposed to other dogs, at least, not at a close proximity. So, I take her to the side, have her sit, and give her a reward. When they pass, instead of just releasing her and letting her charge forward a little bit because she’s excited and she’s been holding it in. Instead, I go ahead and drop some treats on the ground, so she pays attention to those, and then we’re on our merry way.

That’s what I did today. I just made sure that we were walking by people. What was really interesting is when we were leaving, there was a really big guy by his truck. Normally, Rae might bark at something like that because she would be worried. We weren’t that close, for one thing, but he’s staring at us and that makes her nervous sometimes. For whatever reason, she was fine. I would say it’s because she had some exercise, so you can see that can really help their behavior.

I said to him, “Hello,” and “she’s not always friendly,” and he said, “That’s okay, the reason I’m standing here is because I have three pups in my car and I’m going to wait until you get in your car to let them out.”

I thought, that is really polite on his part. It was really nice for him to think about how we would feel and how his dogs would feel. I just think that’s awesome. It turned out, they were three, huge German Shepherds. Two of them had to be at least 100 pounds, and one of them might have been 80 pounds. They were beautiful dogs. He walked them off leash and, (this was really cool), I got to see where he went. He took a different trail that I hadn’t even noticed. So, it’s possible that when I come back I can use that same trail to take my dog off leash. That’s pretty exciting news!

I just want to encourage you, if you have dogs with some behavior issues, if you’re moving to a new place, or if you don’t have behavior issues but you want to get them used to something, one of the things you can do is to exercise them before exposing them to new things. If you do that, you will get better behavior out of them.

I hope this video helped you. This has been Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and you can find out more about me at playtobehave.com. Happy training!