Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Connie, it sounds to me that the behaviour that he is exhibiting at school and on walks could be fear related. A lot of people dont realize that when a dog acts up in school situations it is simply because it cant cope! When a dog is acting our of character in any situaion it normally exhibits one (or more) of what we call the 5'F's i.e. Fight, Flight, Fooling around (distraction, ignoring, acting like a hooligan etc), Freeze (even small few second increments) and in extreme situations Faint. I have dealt with a lot of dogs like this and Fear is always at the bottom of it. As soon as the dog realizes that your are acting like a proper pack leader and react accordingly, the behaviour lessens.
Not having more background, I could be wrong, but i would suggest you bring in basic House Rules (you can find these for free at www.friendsofthedog.co.za) and especially put your boy onto a 'work to ear' regime, making him work for every single piece of food by having the days allowance in your hand and getting him to come, sit, down etc for every bit. Dont do this just with the food, make him work for attention, before playing, before walks etc, by asking for a behaviour (such as a sit) before dishing out what he wants.
I would also suggest you bring in the 'watch me' exercise (also on website) and when a dog looks at you and away from any fearful situation it is exhibiting what is called a Calming Signal and this serves to calm the dog down and also ups you in the combined human/canine hierarchy.
Finally, if he ignores you, ignore him back! If he does not come when called quickly walk awy and let him see you do that. As he comes running up (and he will), act as if nothing has happened, ask for a sit and give treat and verbal praise.
Do try these and let me know how you go, thanks Scotty
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