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Wild and Crazy Dogs!

Posted on 09/10/09 11 Comments

Yesterday I wrote a post for a clicker list in response to a question to helping out-of-control dogs. I decided this post needed to be shared with all of you that may not be on that list because it is highlits tons of resources to help anyone create harmony with their high drive dog.

Out of control dogs are something I happen to know quite a bit about. It seems they have been a part of my

The eyes told it all about then 7 week old Buzzy.
13 years ago, eyes told it all about then 7 week old Buzzy.

 life for almost 20 years. Now this entire post may sound a bit self promotional as I will have sight so many of my own products. But the tools of success I have used when dealing with high dogs are all documented within the books, articles and vidoes I am recommending and they have all be a part of thousands of success stories people have send me after applying those tools.

First of all before you begin, if you haven’t already dog so go and watch this video. “The Journey” will help to put your struggles in perspective and remind you of why this dog is in your life.

To begin training such a dog, I would start by teaching “ItsYerChoice.” This game has been written up in both Clean Run Magazine (by one of my instructors Tracy Sklenar) and in DogSport Magazine by me. It is a game of impulse control that helps to harness the power of classical conditioning (or as Bob B. says) “Pavlov being on your shoulder”. In fact Pavlov isn’t only on YOUR shoulder as much as he is riding your dog like a horse at the Derby trying to get him to make self serving (yet inappropriate) choices. The games is about minimizing the effect of classical conditioning in order to maximize your results with operant conditioning. If there is enough of you that can’t access this article I will arrange for a link to be put on my website so that it can be accessed there.

Next, when trying to create self control in any dog, young or old, you will be blown away with the results you get if you start with my video “Crate Games.”  Check out this video clip to you will see a wild and crazy JRT X BC mix showing amazing self control at the age of 9 weeks old. This program will work, the results are spectacular, I am not kidding!

In addition, my book Ruff Love has helped new dogs adjust to their homes and saved many dogs from being euthanized over the years. My one warning of this book is to allow your heart to guide you when you read and apply the methodology. I wrote that book with the assumption of common sense, which I have come to realize is not commonly found. The goal of the program is to control access to reinforcement for the dog and to create new reinforcement that comes only for you and not the dog’s environment. This is not a program about using isolation to get a dog to do what you want but rather one that shows you how to set your dog up for success and develop an amazing bond with this dog that will develop as you play some of the many reinforcing games detailed throughout the book. If you used this book for no other reason, the value in the relationship building games written within are well worth the purchase.

If you go through this blog there are also many posts about high drive dogs. This one would be a good place to start where I write about creating a great recall.

And lastly I have written an entire book on creating drive in a dog called “Shaping Success.” This book documents my journey with my out-of-control puppy “Buzz”. It was named Dog Training Book of the year by the Dog Writers of America in 2005. Although it focuses on agility training it is a great read for any dog owner or trainer.

Sometimes with a wild and crazy dog it is difficult to find reasons to reinforces the dog as he appears to be doing 300 inappropriate things to every 1 desired response. The overwhelming reinforcement the dog receives from his environment for being inappropriate can make your efforts to turn this dog into a model pet slow or non existent. This in a nutshell, is why rescue dogs exits:). Using the tools I have suggested will help to make this Journey a reinforcing one for both you and your dog!

Today I am grateful for all of the people that have contributed to the knowledge contained within the resources I have produced over the years.


  1. homemade-dog-food-recipes.org/dog-training-tips-and-tricks/ says:
    Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 3:24am

    Hi, this weekend is good for me, as this time i am reading this
    impressive informative post here at my residence.


  2. Tom says:
    Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 4:53pm

    Thanks soo much for the “The Journey” video, although I know a fair amount about dogs and training them I was beginning to get extremely frustrated with my wife’s new malti poo. Anyways just wanted to thank you for that little shot in the arm….


  3. Sharon Normandin says:
    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 6:50pm

    I had to chuckle at Tammy’s check-in adventure at the Brittany rescue picnic; guess Sadie just needs a little more impulse control work ( as do a lot of us!).

    Also want to say to Jo and the wild child Kelpie, just keep on persevering, be patient. I’m wondering if maybe you need to go back to stage 1, until it’s more comfortable? Maybe not enough reinforcement at the earliest stage? Your post was 10 days ago, how about an update for us?


  4. Tammy says:
    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 12:56am

    How ironic for me to come to your blog tonight to “catch up” on the entries I have missed in the last week only to read this entry!

    Yesterday, I attended the National Picnic for American Brittany Rescue with my 2 year-old Brittany and here’s an excerpt of what I wrote tonight on MY blog:

    When it was our turn to check in, let’s just say Sadie made a GRAND entrance!! The check-in table was beautiful with a tablecloth and cute little decorations. I got my nametag and bent over to write out a check to pay for lunch. In one moment, Sadie was sitting at my side in heel position…in the next moment she was STANDING IN THE MIDDLE of the check-in table! Seriously, with no warning, she sprung into the air and landed on all fours on top of the table! The first thought through my mind was Scott saying in leadership class, “Your dog’s behavior is a reflection of your ability as a trainer.” And the next thought was…I think having your dog leap on table would meet Susan Garrett’s definition of being a “crap trainer”!!


  5. Cat says:
    Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 1:19am

    I would loooove to have a link to ItsYerChoice. I have a lot of old copies of CR but that one appears to have escaped me. I’m proud to say I do have everything else that you’ve mentioned, and it’s helped me a lot, even putting a shred of crate-related self control into my ten year old dog!


  6. Katherine says:
    Friday, September 11, 2009 at 1:10pm

    I love THE JOURNEY and appreciate it so, as I have a senior dog and a high drive puppy at the moment.

    I would love to see a link to the It’sYerChoice article(s) as well.

    I’m working with your Crate Games now and both dogs and I are having a lot of fun with it.


  7. denise says:
    Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 8:20pm

    I’ve read about and heard you talk about It’sYerChoice but I haven’t seen it in either of the magazines you’ve mentioned. You’ve mentioned the great value of this game before so I for one would really appreciate a link to this article being put on your website. Please! 🙂


  8. Jo says:
    Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 6:09pm

    I’ve just got an 81/2wk Kelpie and our 2nd attempt at the crate games was quite stressful. Today we went through stage 1 and progressed to stage 2 but at this point he was having none of it – shouting, screaming, pacing, biting the bars, (yesterday he was really good and we did get to stage 3 out/in which we did twice with stage 1 and 2 between) he was truly manic today and tho I persevered it felt horrid. I managed to get him to be quiet and resume the sit position and even lead on/off tho I didn’t do too much with moving away – I felt we needed to be looking for an end to the exercise as we were 3/4hr in by now so for out/in I sat in front of the cage and restricted his area (he tugs the lead at the mo) and he did eventually go back in on his own – I gave him a whole bowl full then allowed him to come out. It took an hour – it felt like too much/duration for him at his age??? Except yesterday went so much better. Any comments/help would be gratefully received I feel a little apprehensive of trying again tommorow!


  9. Meghan says:
    Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 10:35am

    Thanks for posting this today. I have had some really great success with crate games with Roxy since coming home. Thanks for all your help!


  10. Tracy says:
    Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 10:05am

    and the aforementioned BC/JRT pup is now 3 yrs old and was raised in the program Susan described… he has turned out to be a great companion who is so much fun to be around! The Say Yes! program has opened up so many exciting adventures for us… right now he is chilling out in his soft kennel as I write this from a restaurant in the middle of one of the busiest airports in the world as we head out to our next adventure. And oh yeah, he has turned out to be a highly competitive agility dog too!


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