My name is Brett Endes, I’m known as the Dog Savant. I’ve been training dogs for 25 years. My life’s mission is to help people learn how to think like their dogs, to help solve their most severe behavior problems. In all these years training over 15,000 dogs there’s one thing that I’ve learned. People need to learn how to understand their pets and I’m gonna help you learn to do that. We’re going to go meet Ruby. Ruby as a mixed-breed dog, she’s having some issues with socialization, reactivity, owner tells me she struggles out on the leash out in public. So let’s go meet her and see what she’s all about. *barking* Hi Kristin, I’m Brett nice to meet you. How are you? Oh that must be Ruby. Hi Ruby Okay, so Ruby is very insecure right now and the issue is that she’s been on high alert for most of her life so that when somebody comes in new, this is this moment she’s been waiting for. She has no idea what to do. She’s so over stimulated she’s reacting unconsciously to her fight-or-flight mechanism and that’s what’s really driving her to almost want to create the space between us in her. She’s not being aggressive this is purely reactivity we’re looking at. In an aggressive dog there’s something completely different. So a lot of times dogs like this what happens is we allow them to warm up to this but they never learn how to accept the strangers right off the initial greeting. It’s like they have to have this winding down time to get to a baseline state and unfortunately it never really fixes the problem. At the very least they might get a little quicker to that baseline state but they never actually learn how to engage these new transitions right at first appearance. Ruby does not like anybody she doesn’t know and when she meets people she forgets them, she forgets meeting them and she’ll come around the corner and resort to her fearful ways again even if they’ve been in my house for a day. Ruby is very afraid. She runs and hides, she barks, she’s not aggressive but I never wanted to get to that point. What I’m going to have Ruby’s owner do is take these mats and place them in different locations throughout the house. And what that’s going to do is create a constant for her. Its going to show her specifically what to do, how to think during these shared interactions they’re having on a daily basis where she’s getting too caught up in them becoming too anxious just from the culmination of over thinking, “what am I supposed to do?”. So this is going to tell her, “this is what you do here, this is what you do here” up to and including these times when they’re having guests over, when they’re prepping for a walk or there’s a pending event that she was having a very difficult time with. This alone is giving her a more boundary type of existence that makes her feel a lot more secure in that environment. So even to get her to a place I want to give her moving command. So i’m going to use “let’s go” and what “let’s go” is going to do is create this flow between her and I. You see even though she’s nervous she’s still willing to accept me more in her space, so I can put her in her place and then once we arrived here I’m going to give her the “down” command and what that does is it gives her something to lock her mind into and it filters the external experience she’s having. Instead of what we saw earlier where she was on such high alert because she was taking in everything without that filter. So this gives her something to put her mind and body into and as you see she let’s me pet her, she let’s me get into her space and she’s much more able to take me in at face value because her mind is more occupied with a command and me putting her in that state, even though I’m technically a stranger, makes her feel more secure in my presence because trusting the command is what makes me the pack leader! It puts me in that position of providing that safety and that feeling of trust. Good. And then when she’s calm we can pet her, we can reward her for making that association of seeing us in the proper way. And a lot of people will do this even when the dogs are nervous. They’ll saw “Oh, it’s okay, don’t worry”. And all you’re doing is rewarding the dog for being over stimulated or having an overreaction to something that is not threatening. So it’s actually doing them a disservice. We want to get the dog in a calm state of mind, filter the experience, then reward them for the calmer, more appropriate associations, and that’ll reward them to be more likely to do it for the next time. Good, good! So while we’re operating, just doing our human stuff, we might be sitting here watching TV and we want to watch the dog. So I tell owners for the first couple weeks get prepared to have a leash hanging to you as well. So you wanna you know have the leash always ready to go, because this is your extension of yourself, this is what’s going to give you that well timed response so that if your dog gets up you can apply the command that you had already put in place when you have first arrived into this new environment. Any mat will do. You can use a towel, you can use a corner of a rug. You just have to visualize that target so that you’re consistent and applying it whenever your dog gets up, you bring them back there so they know exactly what is expected during this time that you’re sharing with them where they didn’t know what to do previously. So even if i want to move her from the “down” to another room I want to use a command to link the space. I don’t want to just shoot ahead because she could very well anticipate where we’re going and then I come along for the ride because her thoughts are all the matter. So I’m going to show her with a “let’s go” command how I can pace her to even hear she gets up i want to reinstate the down. I didn’t say Simon Says. I didn’t say the next command was going to happen amd when she’s checking in with me, “okay what do we do next?”. So I’m going to tell her “let’s go” and I’m gonna move her with the command. “Let’s go.” I’m gonna use the “let’s go” to move into the next space. I’m going to place her. Going to have her lay down, to create that to do, that feeling of security in a sense of purpose when we’re sharing this experience. So I like to just move these cots around or the bed you can use even a towel or a bath mat it’s just creating a very clear location for the dog to commit to their command. And if you do this consistently it’s like in their mind they already know when they enter the environment they’re projecting to the spot instead of what a lot of dogs just project into the space and they’re like, “well now that I’m here what do i do? I can’t handle this!” and that’s really what’s going on inside of them and what dogs are doing physically. It’s a manifestation of that inner sensory overload. So by avoiding all that and saying without getting into that whole charade you can just simply place yourself and stay into this state of mind as you see she’s feeling a lot more calm and secure with our shared experience in this new environment. To a dog just going from one end of the house to the other is literally changing environment to them. “Let’s go!” And what I want to do is I pick a location in the next environment and I place her. “Place.” And then I have her lay down. I can even drop the leash again. I like to leave the leash on at first just to give me that extra handle, so I can always have a nice well time reaction, but at some point you want to phase out of it. So if you feel your dog has got a good control of this, start pushing the issue so you can eventually clip that off and have your dog to listen more organically. I’m going to just make like normal people do sit down and anytime she doesn’t have that impulse, a lot of these dogs do these friendly dominant behaviors when we sit down on the couch they just rush into us and we reward them for that because we enjoy and showing that restriction of the impulses, showing how she can adhere to the command at that time where that would get the best of her or recognize it. Good, very good! And it’s showing her this is all you need to do, this is the only place and thought you need to be concerned with or we’re doing this until I tell you the next thought and place to be concerned with. I would recommend having you know, your husband on board, having the kids on board, any people who take care of her you know dog walkers, family members, everyone should really have a hand in this and at the very least be acting the part even know let’s say you do the bulk of the training. They shouldn’t be coming home and making a big fuss over her and excited the very least ignoring her and let you step in. There should be some preparation for anything planned. You’re not going to know when everybody comes over but if it’s a predictable guest, a predictable walk, predictable time of day or something’s going to happen. Get her like this a good 15 to even 30 minutes in advance before. It shows her that you knew it was coming before she did. But just keep them in the same location and the same to do. It’s like anytime you’re in this room, this is it. Anytime you do something else it just goes back to context. It just goes back to the way you started. She gets a clear message and then it’s easier because she just calm she’s relaxed. — So no free roaming? — Only when you know she’s relaxed like this on her own. Just because of what I saw in terms of her feeling of real insecurity upon a normal arrival at the house. I really want to engage this new life pretty pretty strongly to her. — So, if I know nobody’s coming over and I know she’s in a calm state? Leaver her be. Give yourself a break too. I speak on her behalf and all she knows is her experience as Ruby, so she’s like, “I know another dog would just be right alongside me, giving a crap 24-7. What about you?”. They don’t know how we pay mortgages and take care our lives. It’s like all is about me and these dogs when they get into this heightened state of alert this dominant state of mind they are very egocentric. They’re only thinking about their needs, not consciously, not on purpose and not being bad dogs. They’re just… this is how I would survive in nature by being on high alert reacting to everything, yet in our everyday life we can provide for them so to have that integral relationship we have to give them that appearance that they’re having a job for us. Because that’s what we’d be doing if we had a different type of life, back many many years ago. Okay so we just finished our training session with Ruby and as you can see she’s doing so much better than when we started even an hour ago. She is calmer, she’s accepting everything in her space in a lot more tolerant way and she’s trusting me. I actually made a friend today and that’s amazing. So I gave her owner some advice on how to create a more structured daily environment. Put this role of being a pack leader into her dog’s life through her and all the members of her family and start creating more of this leadership and guidance through these social situations that she was struggling with previously.