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How to Train a Dog – Dog Training When Life Happens

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How to Train a Dog – Dog Training When Life Happens

Terie Hansen


You’ve been consistently training your dog, things are going well and then life happens. Whether your dog is the friendly, exuberant, overexcited type or the reactive, growly, lunging, and possibly biting type, life will throw you a curve ball now and again and you are best to be prepared. How to train a dog when life happens…

A friend or family member visits, and although you’ve asked them to ignore your easily excitable dog, (who is, clearly one acknowledgement away from losing it) your friend reaches toward your dog, speaking in a high pitched voice, encourages your dog’s excitement and allows him to jump all over them. Your attempts to corral your dog are followed by, ”Oh, I don’t mind! I’m a dog lover.” from your friend.

At a local pet or home improvement store, while working on your dog’s public access skills, a stranger approaches, outstretched hand, swooping in to pet your dog without so much as asking permission.




reactive dog training on a leashWhile walking your dog, an off-leash dog approaches seemingly out of nowhere and a fight ensues.

Your puppy, who you’ve been training diligently, spends a week with Grandma because of work travel. Upon returning home, it’s as if you never trained him at all.

These are all things that can happen through no fault of yours. Your best defense? Think ahead for scenarios that could come up while training with your dog and be prepared. how to train a dog.


Visiting guests: Have a conversation prior to their arrival. Suggest how they could be helpful regarding your training process. If you feel they won’t comply, it’s best to just crate your dog. Saving your dog from having the opportunity to practice negative behaviors.

Public Access Training: Be hyper vigilant of others around you and what they are doing. Don’t look approachable. Have your “all business” face on. Have a muzzle on your dog if they are a bite risk. Be ready to move your dog away at any moment without regard for seeming rude or antisocial. Remember, no one has the right to touch your dog without your permission. Would you allow a stranger to walk up to you and touch you all over??? Learn how to muzzle condition your dog here. 

Dog walking: Pay attention to your surroundings. Carry items to deter approaching dogs. A big stick, pepper spray, pet correctordressage whip or umbrella. Don’t wait until the off-leash dog is within your personal space to respond to their approach. As a last resort, don’t be afraid to kick the dog away from your dog if it enters your personal space. Better to do this than to try to pry apart two fighting dogs. Risking injury to you and your dog. Remember, your dog is looking to you to protect and advocate for them. Not doing so can result in your dog losing trust in you and your ability to do so, resulting in future reactive behavior.

Travel: Share clear expectations regarding the structure of your training regime and board your dog with someone who will follow it or pay a professional to board and train your dog while you are away.

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