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Anyone have any tips on when your dog gets excited how you calm them down? 

My border gets overly excited when a random stimuli happens - say someone talking outside the house, or on a walk a bus's brakes squeal, or the neighbors come out when we're playing frisbee in the yard. She then starts barking and fluffs her tail and runs around the yard or pulls on the leash.

When that happens or has happened to you, what did you do to calm them? Did you make them lay down and stay until they relaxed? Start training them to divert their energy? Thoughts? 

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What sometimes works for me is looking in their eyes (if you can get their attention), and rubbing ears or rubbing their cheeks in circles, or else if you can get them to sit by your leg, to rub ears or their chest, deep down on the chest, almost at the bottom of the ribcage.

Otherwise, asking them to do tricks, even just little ones they know really well will help them to refocus on me sometimes, especially with high value treats.

These won't work when they are well over threshold, but if they are just a little over excited, it can work.

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Train her to a "settle" in the house and with no distractions. Practice it a lot, and then once she is very reliable with it add just one little distraction, like someone she knows just walking by...still in the house. Keep working on it, adding little increments of distracting things slowly. If she stops doing the settle, back up to a previous point in the training and go slowly forward again. If you work on this consistently and daily, you can train her to settle down when you ask for it.

Another idea: Look up the "look at that" game and teach that to your dog. It trains your dog to look at you first, whenever something happens that triggers her response. I have seen this protocol work wonders with reactive dogs time and time again if done correctly. 

As Lawgirl says, you cannot work with or train the dog while the dog is already over-threshold of excited or reactive.

 

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Denise Fenzi has some very good video on Facebook and other places on managing arousal levels with her adolescent male working dog.   She uses food scatters as one tactic.   Her goal is for her dog to self-regulate rather then her managing his arousal, so she’s doing the long slow route to getting there.  

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I pretty much second everything said already.

I use Lawgirl's technique, I get a sit, I get some eye contact then we walk away with a treat.

D'elle is on the money, I've been doing settling exercises twice a day for 4 months with Diesel and the improvement on the street is fantastic.

I'm also working up to the look at that game.

Probably against the rules, but I've started to pick him up when something happens and walk away which calms him down.

You can do it.

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8 hours ago, LearningToBorderCollie said:

I pretty much second everything said already.

I use Lawgirl's technique, I get a sit, I get some eye contact then we walk away with a treat.

D'elle is on the money, I've been doing settling exercises twice a day for 4 months with Diesel and the improvement on the street is fantastic.

I'm also working up to the look at that game.

Probably against the rules, but I've started to pick him up when something happens and walk away which calms him down.

You can do it.

I don't think that's against the rules. sometimes picking up the dog is the best thing to do in a circumstance. Wouldn't want that to be the only thing you do, and clearly it isn't, but if it's helping in some instances, I don't see a thing wrong with it.

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