2018-04-13 / Pets

Manage first; then train

By Phyllis Beasley, CPDT-K A Owner/Lead Trainer, Praise Dog Training, LLC www.PraiseYourDog Training.com


Too busy to watch your puppy? Crating him can prevent housetraining accidents and unwanted chewing. Crates aren’t cruel if used properly, and if you teach your puppy to love his crate. This is Traci Callahan’s Ramos Roo. Too busy to watch your puppy? Crating him can prevent housetraining accidents and unwanted chewing. Crates aren’t cruel if used properly, and if you teach your puppy to love his crate. This is Traci Callahan’s Ramos Roo. A dog trainer friend of mine recently shared a blog on her Facebook page that inspired the topic of this article. The blog was by Stacy Greer, owner of Sunshine Dog Training & Behavior, LLC, in Texas.

The blog post was titled “I don’t wanna: the dislike of management in training.” The blog was about the role that managing a dog’s behavior plays in the success of training and behavior modification. She talked about resistance to the idea of implementing management strategies.

What are trainers talking about when they ask that you to implement management, and why does it matter? Why would anyone be resistant to implementing management?


Does your dog get into the trash? Shut the room or pantry door. Problem solved. This is Natalie Watson’s mischievous Haven. Does your dog get into the trash? Shut the room or pantry door. Problem solved. This is Natalie Watson’s mischievous Haven. When trainers talk about management, they mean controlling or changing the dog’s environment to prevent unwanted behaviors. Management prevents a dog from making bad choices.

With reward-based training, management is critical. When we train a dog with positive methods, we give the dog opportunities to offer the appropriate or correct behavior, then we reward it.

Dogs will repeat behaviors that are rewarded, and their behavior begins to improve. If, without management to prevent unwanted behaviors, the dog continues to practice the unwanted behaviors such as jumping on guests or lunging at other dogs, the behaviors become even stronger. Many of the behaviors we want to change, such as barking at the fence lines or barking at the mailman, are self- rewarding behaviors for the dog and will continue and even grow stronger when they are allowed to continue.

Alison Rosenberg’s Adler tells her his opinion of being kept out of trouble.Alison Rosenberg’s Adler tells her his opinion of being kept out of trouble.
As Stacy Greer says in her blog post, “Management is just as important in a training program as the actual training and changing of behavior. It is part of the protocol. If one doesn’t manage and set their dog up for success, the dog will not succeed in the way that it should.”

Implementing management to prevent unwanted behaviors is not always easy. It may involve changing YOUR habits, and it may take a bit more time out of your schedule. For example, if your dog barks at neighbors passing by your front window, close the blinds or block off the window with a cover, or restrict his access to the front window by shutting him out of that room.

If your puppy is peeing in the house or chewing up your living room floor, crate him when you cannot supervise him. Then continue to house train him and provide him appropriate chew toys while he is teething.

Gating prevents dogs from getting access to unwanted areas or keeps them away from other dogs to prevent fighting. Here, Dee Dee Whitaker used two gates to ensure Finnegan stays where she needs him to be.Gating prevents dogs from getting access to unwanted areas or keeps them away from other dogs to prevent fighting. Here, Dee Dee Whitaker used two gates to ensure Finnegan stays where she needs him to be.
If your dog lunges and barks at dogs or people when you are on walks, walk him during times when you are not likely to see other dogs or people, like early in the morning or late at night, or walk him in places where you are not likely to see others.

If there is no way to avoid others, then don’t walk your dog. Walking a dog is not good exercise for him, anyway. Throw a ball or Frisbee™ in the backyard for him, offer him mental enrichment toys, and spend time training him at home. These all provide physical and mental exercise until you can implement behavior modification protocols in a controlled setting.


Dogs show enthusiastic greetings by jumping on people. Gating or keeping your dog on a leash when guests arrive can prevent unwanted jumping. Gating helps Sue Conklin’s grandson enjoy Loretta’s company. Dogs show enthusiastic greetings by jumping on people. Gating or keeping your dog on a leash when guests arrive can prevent unwanted jumping. Gating helps Sue Conklin’s grandson enjoy Loretta’s company. If your dog countersurfs, keep anything tempting off the counter while you teach him he is more likely to find interesting things on the floor. (See the January 13, 2017, The Columbia Star article “Countersurfing, the sport of canines.”)

If your dog jumps happily on guests (but not so happily for the guests), keep him on a leash when your guests arrive until the excitement is over, or crate him until he is calm, then let him greet your guests. Later you can set up controlled practices to teach him to sit politely for greeting.

Are you dealing with inter-dog aggression? Put away any items that can trigger a fight and keep the dogs separate as needed. Management like this is not only part of the behavior modification protocol, it is critical to avoiding additional injury to the dogs or people.

Some people may say, “why not just slap a shock collar on the dog and punish him when he behaves inappropriately?” Punishment may stop the behavior in that instant, but it does not teach the dog what behavior you expect.

These dogs are our companions and best friends that should be treated with kindness. They don’t understand English (until trained) and many of the behaviors we find annoying or undesirable are natural or inadvertently learned behaviors for the dog.

Punishing a dog does not actually teach him what behavior you want. Without appropriate management, we are not setting the dog up to succeed and providing opportunities to teach him.

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