- Whether you are a new puppy owner who is trying
to give your dog the best information,
or you have an adult dog and you're trying
to stop some unwanted behaviors,
it's really important that you understand
how to establish leadership with your dog.
If you do a search on YouTube or a quick search on Google,
it seems like a pretty polarizing topic.
Everything from doing alpha roles with your dog
and never allowing them to walk in front of you,
all the way to it completely ignoring
some of these unwanted behaviors,
but I want you to think about maybe a teacher
in your life that you really liked,
or a sports coach who is able to, you know,
motivate you to work a little bit harder.
These people were great leaders.
Those people were able to bring out the best in you,
and you didn't have to listen to them, you wanted to.
After training thousands of dogs as a professional
dog trainer, the one thing that I've noticed
is the people who get success the fastest
with their dogs are the same people that can overcome
unusual training challenges along the way.
These people really understand how
to be a great leader for their dogs.
They know when to give their dogs
a little bit more freedom.
They know when to allow their dogs to make some choices
on their own, but they're there to set them up
to be successful, and if they make the wrong choice,
then they're there to guide them through the process.
This is really a video I wish I had
before I was a first time dog owner.
I made all the wrong choices, that's why I felt
it was so important to share this with you today.
We recently did a livestream for some subscribers
that talked about when to allow your puppy
to make their own choices,
when to allow them a little bit more freedom.
We talk about puppyhood, indoor freedoms,
some outdoor freedoms.
In essence, it is a textbook about how to be a good
leader for your dog, and this is the thing
that I wish I knew before I was a puppy owner.
So past Ken Steepe, this is future Ken Steepe,
this video is for you, and welcome back to McCANN DOGS.
(lighthearted guitar strum)
- When we talk about leadership,
we have a great video on the channel,
it's actually linked in one of the cards above,
but we have a great video that talks about
being a great leader for your dog
and setting them up to be successful,
and not having to tell them, "No, not that."
"No, this way. No, this, you can't do that."
It's really important that we set
our dogs up to be successful.
It's also really important that we follow through
and show them how to be successful if they make a mistake,
that we have a leash or, you know, a line,
a house line on them, or something like that,
and I wanted to talk starting off
with a little bit of freedom in the home, you know.
When do you know?
So let's talk maybe how you and I will bring a puppy
sort of into more areas of freedom,
giving them more opportunities, more access to rooms.
- Yeah, one of the things that we'll do when we have a young
dog is we will control where they can go with some of the
things that I talked about before,
whether it's baby gates, leashes,
crates, that type of thing,
and typically what we'll do is when we're ready
to give them a bit of freedom, we might start off
by keeping them in the same room as us,
but maybe we don't watch them quite as closely anymore.
- So maybe like we're cooking dinner for example.
We'll barricade the puppy in the kitchen with us,
and you know, we might make dinner, chat,
you know, we're sort of thinking about each other,
and we'll just glance down at the dog from time to time,
and maybe give them something to do,
and that would be like their first little taste
of freedom where I'm not like literally following
them around and watching their every move
and every decision, which is what I would do
with the first little bit that I have the puppy.
- And then from there I might open the opportunity up
if they can have like the kitchen and the hallway,
for example, and they can roam in and out
of those two places and I'm not really gonna
worry too much about it,
and when I feel comfortable giving the dog the freedom,
I know that my dog already knows
how to ask me to go outside,
so if I'm giving my dog a bit of freedom
and they do need to go out,
we've already worked through that thing.
I also know before I give my dog freedom,
if I can trust whether they're gonna chew things
in my house or not.
So if I feel pretty good that they understand
what they're allowed to chew and what they are not,
then again I might feel more comfortable
giving them a bit more freedom.
And then lastly, how well do they listen?
Do they respond to me when I say, "Leave it"?
Do they get off the couch when I ask them to?
Do they stop barking when I ask them to?
Do they come to me when I ask them to?
Can they sit?
Can they down?
When I'm getting good listening skills,
and they can sorta say okay, you know,
I feel confident that I'm in pretty good control.
My dog's, you know, responsible, making good choices.
Now I'm gonna maybe give the dog a little bit more freedom,
so, what we don't recommend that you do is give the dog
freedom and then see what happens.
- We recommend giving your dog freedom when you
feel pretty darn confident that your dog
is gonna knock it out of the park
and do a great, great job.
You know and for some dogs it takes time.
And for our dogs, it hasn't been
the same amount of time for each dog.
It hasn't been like, "Okay, they're six months,
let's just let 'em have free range."
Some dogs earned it a bit quicker,
just based on their training or their personality,
and other dogs needed to be monitored
a lot longer than others, again,
based on how they were doing with their training.
We had a nine-year-old.
We adopted a nine-year old dog.
- And we had to go back and do things with him
that, you know, we did with our puppies
because he had never lived in a house before.
- He lived in a barn.
- So, it just depends. - And just to interrupt
really quickly, maybe you have a rehome dog.
- Maybe you gotten a dog from a shelter.
You're gonna go back to the first steps
because it's all about introducing your puppy,
your dog, to the space with good information.
It's all about really letting them know that,
you know, you're worth listening to.
So using something like a crate is such a valuable tool
when it comes to in your home,
when it comes to sort of managing their interactions,
when it comes to, you know,
making them see so much value in you,
because every time they come out of that crate,
they get to do something with you.
It really builds that drive.
- And that understanding, and desire to like,
be right. - Yeah.
- And do stuff with you, so, you know,
don't overlook your crate.
- When we're first starting to give our dog freedom,
I wouldn't necessarily do that like for the first time
and like go to work for eight hours.
- I might, you know-- - Right.
- Leave them loose in one room
and I might go down to the driveway,
end of the driveway, and get like the recycling bin,
or, you know, grab the mail or whatever it might be,
and then I come back in and see what happened.
- And if things are going really well,
then I might, you know, leave for them a few minutes
when I like run down to the general store
to get some milk or something,
and then build in slowly from there,
and when we first give our dogs freedom,
especially if we're gonna be leaving them alone,
we don't give them free range of the house.
We might give them free range of the house eventually,
when they're older and we are, you know, we're home,
but when we leave--
- That's a good point.
- Still really when we leave, we don't give any of our
dogs free range of our house. - No.
- We have an area that we sort of
confine them in, it's very large,
and they have their dog beds, and they have water,
and they have their bones and you know,
so that's sort of what we do when we leave.
I think, Grand Slam would probably just
plop himself on the couch.
- I think so.
- And sleep there for the whole time.
- But again, the point is not to try your luck,
to, you know, test the waters a little bit
before you jump in with two feet.
- For sure, and I think John Ciccone asks a really
important question, "Is there an age for that?"
- Yeah and I sort of touched on that before.
No, not really.
- I would say for us, generally,
and again this is coming from two professional dog trainers,
I wouldn't dream of leaving my dog loose on their own,
and even really giving 'em a lot of freedom in the house
prior to like eight months to a year.
- I would say.
- And sort of what the litmus test is,
is that they aren't making mistakes when we're there.
You know, they aren't making bad choices when we're there.
- Not chewing things. - Right.
- Not going to the bathroom in the house.
- You know, listening well in the house,
being respectful, making good choices,
that's when we would say, "Okay, I think you're ready
"for a little bit more responsibility."
But if you're still getting yipping and biting
and unwanted barking and you know,
they're stealing stuff in your house
that you're not supposed to,
you better believe they're gonna have a party
when you're gone, or they might be barking
when they're not supposed to.
- So yeah, your dog is going to be the best indicator
to you as to whether they're ready for that
or not based on their behavior.
- Let's talk about how we allow our dogs more and more
freedom when they're outside.
Some of the common things that we'll do with them,
you know, how we'll start to remove the training wheels
and how we'll make sure that they're maintaining
great responses when we're outside with them.
- Yeah, so Ken and I often walk our dogs out in the
big fields out at our training school.
It's about 22 acres of like open fields,
so there is a lot of opportunities for our dogs
to take off and run.
Run away from us--
- If they really wanted to.
- So when we're first working on this with our younger dogs,
when we go for big walks and there's a lot of opportunity
for our dogs to really possibly run away,
we will put long, long lines on them.
You know, up to 25 feet.
- And we will let our dogs have a bit of freedom
and they drag that line to get around,
and we might even start off by holding
the line in our hands and practicing our recall,
practicing our response to name,
practicing some random downs, you know.
So we say, "Lie down."
The dog will lay down.
So we work on some training skills and then once
our dogs can do it with the leash in our hand,
or the line in our hand,
then we'll let the line drag around and the line
is there so that if I call my dog back
and my dog decides that chasing the cars
down the fence line, or you know,
digging in this hole over here is more important
than listening to me, I can pick the end
of the line up and I can give it a little tug--
- To encourage the dog to come to me.
And then we can play games as well,
so often I'll have, you know, some treats
or some toys, and I'll, know, sneak the toy
and put it in the back of my pants--
- Yeah I love this one.
- Or under my shirt, so the dog can't see it.
- And then I'll call them and they turn and look at me,
I'll say, "yes," and then I'll literally take off
running the other direction so that they race
across the field, and when they catch me, we'll play
like a really awesome game of tug, so that the dog,
I have a lot of dogs that will run out,
and they'll turn around and they'll look at me,
because they're like okay.
- Are you gonna call me?
- They almost don't even want to go and investigate
because they want to do the whole running
and chasing and play thing,
and that just conditions the dog to really love
to like look for me, and pay attention to where I am,
and then I can start to give them
a little bit more freedom,
and then eventually, once the dog's doing a good job,
I will start to shorten the line over a series of months,
until I can't remember the last time I had to use
the leash or redirect them, and then I'll take them
for off-leash runs from there,
but it's a very slow process depending on the dog.
- And it's not necessarily like you take one step forward,
you take the next step forward.
You may find that, you know, when you shorten that leash to,
or shorten that line to like, you know, a third,
and your dog makes a mistake,
so you go back to half a leash, or two-thirds of a leash.
- Yeah just like I said earlier--
- Yeah exactly.
- I put my 12 year old dog
on a line today or yesterday.
- Yeah, yeah, it's a dynamic process.
And you may encounter like new distractions,
maybe there's something that your dog's never seen.
And it's, what's really important here
is that you identify those challenges
and that you know exactly
what you're going to do to train through them.
So, putting your dog on a line and working on that recall.
- Now if you enjoyed this video
you're really going to enjoy our leadership play list,
so click that card right there.
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to help you have a well-behaved four legged family member.
On that note, I'm Ken.
See you in the next video.