Management is a broad term that refers to anything that we might use to prevent a dog from practicing a certain behavior or increase safety for a dog (or those around him). Management can be used on its own, but is most often used in combination with training. There are hundreds of situations in which we might use management; chances are that you’re already using some form of management in your dog’s daily life. Below are some of the most common reasons that we use management.
Preventing access to a specific space or resource.
There are many reasons that you may want to keep your dog out of a specific space. Maybe there’s a specific rug that your dog often pees on, a garbage can that is a little too tempting, or you simply want a fur-free room. Preventing your dog from entering that space is often the simplest solution. A secure baby gate is a great way to block off an entire room (we love step-through gates, which can be left up longterm). Keeping a dog on leash and tethered to you while in the house until he is house trained is an easy way to prevent him from having accidents (a hands-free leash is an awesome option).
Other times, making an object itself difficult to access is a better option. Placing a garbage can in a closet is a simple way to prevent scavenging. Making sure that food is put away in a cabinet or pushed all the way to the back of the counter may reduce counter surfing.
Preventing unwanted behaviors like barking.
If your dog barks at every outside noise or spends his days yapping out the window, you likely find yourself occasionally losing your patience. Drowning out outside sounds with white noise or music can help reduce stress (for both you and your pup!). Using window film to block your dog’s line of vision can minimize barking while still allowing light in.
Management can also be used to reduce jumping, mouthing, digging, and most other unwanted behaviors.
Preventing a bite incident.
Whether you are concerned about a bite to another animal or to a human, using management is often the first step to preventing an incident. We often recommend using two points of safety when a bite incident is a concern. For example, you might use a muzzle and have your dog behind a gate; you may also have your dog crated and behind a locked door. Management can fail – a gate may be pushed down, or a door accidentally left open – having a back-up in place can be a literal lifesaver.
If your dog has displayed fear or aggression towards other animals or humans, be sure to talk to a Certified Professional Dog Trainer or Behavior Consultant to ensure that you are setting your dog up for success.
Common management tools.
A wide variety of tools – many of which you may already have at home – can be used for management. Your trainer can help you determine the best options for your dog.
• Muzzle (your trainer can help you choose the right fit for your dog; be sure to build a positive association first!)
• White noise machine (a box fan can be a great alternative)
• iCalm (music for dogs; you can find a ton of great options on youtube, too)