Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Management is under appreciated.

And it's a hard concept.  For all problem-solving situations we discuss management, whether it's something more serious like separation anxiety/distress or reactive/aggressive behaviors or less-serious-but-still-annoying things like jumping on visitors and pulling on leash.

Management is not the same as training. Training will resolve or minimize the challenges.  But training doesn't (usually) happen overnight.  In the meantime, we need ways to prevent the dog from practicing the behavior. Every time he practices the behavior, it may grow stronger and the training may be set back.

Here are a few of the management techniques we use.  Note...these are not complete training plans!
Food toy management!

Racing out the door:

  • Create an "airlock" so the dog can't escape.  
  • Put a note on the door to remind family to crate the dog before opening the door.
  • Leash at the door to put on before opening the door.
  • Treat scatter in the house before walking out (with or without the dog following)
  • Tether or crate nearby.
  • Note on the door to have visitors/family to call before opening the door. The dog can be closed elsewhere before the door is opened.
  • Harness or head halter so the handler doesn't "give" as much if the dog pulls.
  • On leash walks in the yard or near the house rather than the usual route.
  • Walk at less distraction times.
  • Exercise the dog differently until the walking training is further along.
  • Treat transport (from Agility Right From the Start)
  • Distance from the distractions
Jumping up on people and counters during meal preparations
  • Crate, doors, tether elsewhere
  • Family member teaching the dog to stay (the human works as a MannersMinder)
  • Food toys during meal preparation.

The hardest part is convincing people that this management is just as crucial as the training.   I'm always sad when I hear dog people or professionals talking about how management is just a stepping stone and not appropriate forever and how horrible pet owners are for using management forever. I'm typically okay with management forever. I sometimes encourage it.  The family is the one to decide their priorities.  It's better to practice management than to let the dog practice the undesired behavior. There are only so many hours in the day and only so much someone can work on.  

MannersMinder management!

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