Don, I’ve successfully used your Perfect Dog system with my dog and now I’m trying to train my mom’s dog. But, I’ve come across a problem. My mom’s dog jumps on my mom’s bed when no one is in the room, and as soon as I open the door she jumps off. So, it’s really difficult to catch her when she’s on the bed. How should I correct her? Must I take her back to the bed and actually put her up on it while I correct her? I don’t want to make her afraid of the bed or misunderstand why she’s being disciplined. Thank you!
This is a good question. It is covered in my Perfect Dog DVDs, however I’ll highlight a few key points here. Firstly, rest assured your mom’s dog knows exactly what she’s doing. As I discuss in my DVDs, dogs absolutely have a memory and they are much smarter than many people often assume. You can tell that your mom’s dog is being a little weasel by the fact that she won’t jump on the bed when someone’s around and then she gets off every time you enter the room.
You’re the one who’s an authority figure in the dog’s life because of your previous success with my training system. Your mom’s dog senses your leadership and knows she can’t get away with “out of bounds” behavior in your presence. So far, she has avoided any consequence by quickly skulking off the bed as soon as you enter the room. However, now you know the fullness of what’s going on in her mind, it’s time for you to draw the line so she at least keeps respecting you. Once you have earned a dog’s respect, you must be careful not to let anything slide. Every misdemeanor that goes uncorrected chips away at your leadership bank account to the point where the dog regains the upper hand she once had.
Now, what your mom’s dog does in your absence, however, is a separate issue. Ideally, your mom needs to come on board with the training so the dog doesn’t have anyone undermining what you’re trying to achieve with her. Yet, we can’t control other people’s choices, so the best you can do is ensure the dog behaves around you when you’re there.
You’re right to want to deal with the issue with the bed. You’ve obviously learned from my DVDs that furniture and bedding are “no go” zones unless under invitation. That is, a dog should never be allowed to have free reign of the house, getting up on the sofas and beds at will. These zones are particularly personal to the human household pack members and free access to them can cause a dog to believe that she’s on equal terms with everyone else. In fact, many a dog will use the freedom to fuel its self-perceived dominance, and these dogs can actually grow to be quite protective over “their” place on the bed, couch, etc. That’s why I like to limit the invitation to when I’m present on the bed, couch, etc. Then, the dog has to get off the furniture when I get off.
So, what do you do? Yes, you must take the dog back to the bed, but you don’t put her up on it. You need to correct her at the edge of bed where the “crime” (beginning to jump up on the bed) began. Pull her up gently using the scruff of her neck, or by placing your hand under her chest, and use the “Chest Bump” correction you see me demonstrate in my DVDs. You’ll see me use this a number of times for various boundary line work. Say assertively (but not yelling), “Off!” or “No!” at the same time as the physical correction.
If the misdemeanor happens again, that tells you that you need to increase the level of correction (it’s important to review my “Golden Rules” section on DVD #1). You can always also set up a hidden camera (although, generally it doesn’t have to be very hidden – most dogs won’t know) in the room. Watch from near the bedroom and the moment the dog jumps on the bed, bark out “No!” from outside the room and go rushing in there to correct her. I love hidden cameras. I’ve used them a lot. They’re a great way of catching a dog in the act and this is always the best in order to maximize the training results.
Overall, you’re on the right track, sensing that the bed is an issue with your mom’s dog and something needs to be done about it. However, know that you’re not going to make the dog afraid of the bed. Rather, you’ll simply cause her to mind what belongs to others. And, as long as you carefully follow my training instruction, the dog will always know why she’s being disciplined. My Perfect Dog system teaches you how to properly establish the rules and boundaries in a new dog’s mind. From then on, it’s simply a matter of reinforcing these when necessary, and the “necessary” comes down to the dog’s choices – to respect and obey (and enjoy praise and play and certain freedoms as rewards for choosing do so), or not. Very soon the dog learns to self-govern, knowing that doing what’s acceptable around her leader(s) makes for a great life!
– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”
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