Meet Harvey!

Harvey is a 2 year-old Great Dane/Labrador mix.  Harvey’s personality is as big as he is!  He is a lot of D-O-G, which is why his guardian requested Zen Dog Training to teach Harvey to stop constantly demanding attention from people.

Despite a regular and rigorous exercise routine, Harvey had difficulty settling down in the house.  Especially when people come over, Harvey was constantly jumping up and pushing himself on visitors, digging into their belongings, and demanding constant attention from everyone.

Harvey’s guardian finally called Zen Dog Training after going to a backyard cookout, where he would not settle and barked for attention constantly.  He pawed and nosed at everyone who walked by him and was so frustrating that they had to leave the BBQ early!

Our Philosophy: Shunishment, not Punishment

Based on our assessment we recommended increasing obedience training and using Shunishment rather than punishment to train him.

Shunishment is a term coined by Zen Dog Training that describes actively ignoring demand-seeking behaviors.  This means at times you act disgusted with bad behavior and withhold all eye contact, touch, and talk.

It is important to understand that any attention, even negative, like repeating the dog’s name over and over again, saying “No!” or giving him the “dirty looks” is attention and may make bad behaviors worse!

To be effective, shunishment requires the right management tools and environment for success.  In Harvey’s case, we created an indoor confinement area so Harvey could be restricted and contained (not punished) when his behaviors became annoying.

We encouraged people to play with him in the confinement area and when he became unruly, they signaled their disgust “Ugh!” then immediately and left him alone in the confinement area for 10-20 seconds. This teaches him that demanding behavior was not going to get him the attention he wanted, in fact, demanding attention got him “shunned!”

Calm After the Storm

Later, when he quieted down, Harvey was rewarded with our calm attention.  He quickly learned that sitting or laying down quietly on the floor while guests were over earned him a gentle head rub and treats from visitors and friends.

To learn more about shunishment and how to create an environment for success, visit at or contact Zen Dog Training.