About a week ago we received this great question from a reader who was looking for some general tips about her newly rescued Great Dane/ Boxer mix:
And here was our response:
I’m happy to help you as much as I can.
First of all, this behavior all sounds completely normal. We had similar behaviors in one form or another in all three of our dogs.
Since you said you’re the trainer in the house I’m going to assume that your husband isn’t as active in the training. We have this exact situation in our house except reversed (dogs respect me because I’m the disciplinarian, wife gives them more license so they don’t give her the same degree of respect). If this is the case I would have your husband start participating in the training regime.
Also, have you considered crate training? You might try it; then if the dog is having a hard time with your husband, your husband can put doggy into crate for a little while (editor’s note: this was difficult for us to learn with Benji. It is okay for them to spend up to several hours in the crate if they are getting into trouble. Taking away all of Benji’s options calms him down immediately and he goes to sleep).
Reactivity outside is probably the most common issue with rescues. Your pup probably just wants to play so badly and you physically won’t let them. 2 suggestions here: I would introduce a prong collar and I would start training your new pup outside of a dog park. If the pup is good with sits, stays, downs at home then I would work on sits, stays, downs with the commotion of dogs playing nearby. I would start with short increments and build up their attention span. Check out my article here about using a prong: https://zenandtheartofdog.com/how-to-use-a-prong-collar-using-the-most-practical-dog-training-tool-you-can-buy/
Remember, I’m not a trainer but have a lot of experience with our dogs and volunteering at a bunch of shelters. Obviously I can’t know your dog personally so your mileage may vary with my suggestions.
That was my advice for this dedicated dog owner. I have since heard back and she has updated me that she and her husband are using their pup’s breakfast as a training aid during morning walks. This is a great idea and can really help with training and reactivity.
Let us know if you have any additional suggestions down in the comments below!
Thanks for reading.