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Behavioral Problems Q&A

Behavioral Problems Q&A


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I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.


  1. I have a 50 lb English Terrier Mix. Off leash, he chases anything that moves, typically ankles or people that are running, biking, skateboarding, etc. He is aggressive with other dogs. The most nerve racking is he goes after children. What can I do?

  2. Our dog acts very terrified of people when we go for walks and to all people who come to our house, and is now beginning to act aggressive to kids and people. What can we do? We love her a lot.

  3. Our last dog was aggressive to visitors that came into our house. What should we have done?

  4. My 18 month old GSD jumps up and nips peoples faces. What should I do?

  5. My dog digs holes in the yard. I have tried filling them with water and holding his head under for 2 seconds, hitting his feet with wood spoons. Nothing works, what should I do?

  6. My 8 month old GSD is very soft. Can you help me with ideas on training?

  7. I have some questions on the proper use of a prong collar.

  8. Is there a way to stop my dog from chasing her tail?

  9. How can I keep my dog off the furniture when I am gone?

  10. I had to give my dog to my daughter due to allergies. It used to be well mannered, now it’s a terror. What can we do?

  11. We adopted a 10 year old, mal-treated Dob. He came with some problems; can you give some advice?

  12. My 2 young dogs bark every time they see us walk in front of the window at night. What can we do to stop this behavior?

  13. My dog eats personal “items” from my bathroom trash can. What can I do to stop that?

  14. I was thinking about having my 6-month old puppy de-clawed. What do you think about this?

  15. My 8 month old Bulldog is shy of everyone and everything. I have had him since he was 10 weeks. I know he hasn’t been mistreated, what should I do?

  16. My 9 month old female Weimaraner is beginning to bark and act aggressive towards children in our neighborhood. What should I do?

  17. My dog destroys everything in our house and car when left alone. What should I do?

  18. When I am at school, my GSD barks all day when in a crate. What can I do?

  19. I have a 4 month old GSP. He started to bark at someone and the handler pulled the puppy and the puppy bit the handler. Is that normal?

  20. We bought a male german shepherd. He has become very attached to my husband. When we first go near the dog he pees. What can we do to solve this problem?

  21. Our dog nips at our hands and legs. I tried to yelp and turn away when he did this, (to make him stop). It did not help. What can we do?

  22. My dog eats rocks. What can I do?

  23. I noticed that you don’t hesitate to recommend that some people put their dogs to sleep that have serious temperament problems. I use natural medicine and have had good results.

  24. My dog strips the bark of trees. What can I do?

  25. My 8 month old lab will not allow me to take his toys. Yesterday he bit me when I took his toy away. What should I do?

  26. We have a problem with our 2 year old Dobe mounting my daughters and other female guests. What should we do?

  27. My dog has a serious problem with submissive urination. It urinates even with the slightest voice command. What can I do?

  28. I have helped a friend who has a 5 year old Bichon, the problem he has is he goes nuts when people want to leave the house, to the point of snapping and lunging. What do I do?

  29. My girlfriend’s 4 month old dog digs in plants and jumps on people. She is getting ready to get rid of the dog, what can she do?

  30. Our 6 month old pup is getting into everything when we leave. We cannot keep him out of the garbage, and we cannot stop him from being destructive. Can you help us?

  31. My 14 month old Boxer, which has been through obedience classes, has started to lunge and grab and bark at my hands to get my attention. I am concerned about how to control his behavior. The only thing that seems to work is when I THREATEN TO PUT HIM IN HIS DOG CRATE (which he understands). What video should I buy to stop this?

  32. Our 3 year old dog runs away and gets in fights with other dogs. We don’t understand this mysterious behavior.

  33. My 9 month old GSD has been through puppy obedience classes. But when he comes into the house he jumps all over the furniture, chews on the kids, and will not listen. Should I send the dog to a professional trainer?

  34. My dog (miniature doberman) is a little older than 1 year old. We have never walked him. He has gone out a few times and has always run away. I would like to start walking him and taking him places on his leash. The problem is that he cowers when we put the leash on him and lays down. What can we do?

  35. I think my dog has a reaction to vaccinations that have left him very aggressive. What can I do?

  36. My dog escapes from everything we try and leave him in. He chewed through the basement door. What can we do?

  37. My dog Poki is very afraid of the dryer because he hates the beep at the end so he paces until it is done drying. Also, he is afraid and barks other noises. What are your thoughts?

  38. My neighbor’s dog barks so much I am thinking about poisoning him. What can I do?

  39. My dog tries to rescue people who are in our pool. He is getting too rough. What can I do?

  40. Our 9 month old female is very nervous of large trucks when we walk. What can I do?

  41. My dog does not like being in the dog crate and he jumps and nips at people in the house. What can I do?

  42. My 10 month old dog almost bit me when he was barking at something he saw in the front yard (through the living room window). Why did he do this?

  43. Our Aussie is aggressive to children and strangers. Our breeder told us that kids must have done something to the dog and another breeder told us to kill the dog. What do you think?

  44. My son and I live with my parents. They have a 9 month old Akita that they treat like a human member of the family. It is not trained and will not come when called , has the run of the house and is now showing signed of aggression to my son. What can I do?

  45. Our dogs get on the furniture when we are not home. What can we do?

  46. My 2 1/2 year old Golden is aggressive around his food. We have a baby and
    are concerned. We have been to 4 different dog trainers and their
    recommendations are not working.


  47. My dog has good prey drive but gets very nervous when exposed to new situations. I have your DRIVE and FOCUS video - will this solve the problem?

  48. My husband is going to put my 12 year old best friend to sleep today because it chewed up the new carpet. What can I do?

  49. I think my dog is suffering from separation anxiety. What can I do to fix this?

  50. Our dog tears up my wife’s outside plants when we leave him alone in the yard. What can we do?

  51. My dog has separation anxiety, it will rip the siding off my home if left outside too long. I will not use a prong collar because the dog has been tied out with a prong collar by her previous owner. What can I do?

  52. My import puppy is chasing his tail. Is there anything we can do?

  53. I think my young dog has weak nerves, when the door bell rings he runs to the door barking with his hair up. Should I correct this behavior with a prong collar correction?

  54. Our dog is obedience trained but it continues to jump on guests that come to our house. We alpha roll her when she does this.

  55. My 8 year old Dalmatin digs holes in my carpet. What can I do?

  56. There is hope for spinning dogs. Here is my story.

  57. My 5 month old Shepherd is starting to be dog aggressive. I want to control this behavior before she fully matures. Do you have any suggestions?

  58. I just adopted a 1 1/2 year old GSD. He is a wonderful dog, but he gets into things at night when we are asleep. I have mixed feelings about crating him. What can I do?

  59. My 1 year old Black Lab chews on everything. I don't like to chain her up, but she absolutely shreds things when I am gone. How can I stop the chewing?

  60. My dog constantly jumps up on the counter. How can I stop this behavior?

  61. We have a neighbor that has 30-40 dogs that roam the area killing small animals and even an 800 pound sow. What can we do?

  62. I have a GSD from Czech lines. I am not sure how to correct her. I have been told that if I mishandle her, she might become handler aggressive. What do you think?

  63. Our 6 year old GSD has recently become fixated on her tail. She will bite and chew whenever she is alone. Do you have any suggestions?

  64. My 12 week GSD puppy growled and tried to bite me when I gave her a correction. She has never shown aggression before. What should I do?

  65. We recently adopted a baby and one of our dogs has started to jump up on us while holding the baby. We have corrected him and he is doing better, but should we be worried about this behavior?

  66. My Rot pees all over himself and everything when he is scolded. Please help.

  67. Recently, my GSD started chasing her tail. We were thinking about breeding her soon, but now are not sure due to this. Is she ok? What can I do to stop this?

  68. I have a couple of problems with my new pup, including a dislike for the car, sometimes getting car sick, and biting at me when I'm at his level. How can I fix these problems?

  69. Is there a way I can teach my 7 year old son to correct our dog when he gets too rough while playing?

  70. I have a wonderful, high energy, 4 year old Rottweiler. She goes nuts" over the pickups and suvs that drive by. Would you be concerned about this behavior?

  71. Our golden retriever stays in our yard with an invisible fence.  She barks at dogs and people who walk by.  I haven't purchased the limiter as I think it would be too confusing.  Any thoughts?

  72. I have two German Shepard aged 5 months. My problem is that they dig up holes in my lawn at night when they are outside on our front yard and not in their dens. I don't know how to solve this problem. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

  73. I'm nervous about putting my dog in the crate because the reason he was breaking out of the old crate was thunderstorm anxiety. Do you guys have had any experience with pack structure and obedience training resolving thunderstorm anxiety?

  74. My question is in regards to my rottweiler jumping up on my family or myself. I have not been able to stop this behavior. Are there any other method of correction I can use to discourage the behavior. Also how can I tell if I have created a pet, and if so is it possible to reverse the damage?

  75. We have a 4 month old German Shepherd puppy. Over the last 3-4 weeks she has been chasing her tail and barking. The behavior usually is displayed when she is excited, but she will do it even when playing outside. Any suggestions?

  76. My pup 16 weeks old and starting to show "stranger anxiety" and barks at strangers. Should I do something now to try to squash this nuisance barking while she is still young? At this age, what do you think I should do?

  77. We have a chocolate lab who is very hyper.  We have a problem with him staying off the counters and going in the sink.  Please help.

  78. We have a GSD 2-1/2 yrs. We would like to stop her from trying to catch insects. Do you think persistence with "leave it" will eventually be successful or can you suggest something else?

  79. I have a three year old American Bulldog that is preparing to take the CGC test. Since day one she has been a submissive wetter when she gets excited or when anyone bends over to pet her. Will this get my dog disqualified during the second test of the CGC test (sitting politely for petting)?

  80. I got my dog from the Humane Society. She chews up paper (in any form--newspapers, books, mail, etc.) and wood (furniture, namely the coffee table). Do you have any advice, and if so, which type of muzzle would be best for her?

  81. I have a  1 year old female GSD. Several weeks ago she became very shy of other people even those that she had been friendly with before.  If I let someone pet her she will do a submissive pee right there with her ears laid back down low.  Any ideas?

  82. We have an 11 month old GS female. Since she was a puppy, she pees from excitement when a new person greets her. It is something we would love to stop.  Do you have any helpful hints?  In the German Shepherds that you have experienced who have done this, when does it stop?

  83. I have an unusual problem with my dog, he does not like for us to pet him. Is this something to be concerned about and do you have any suggestions?

  84. I was wondering if it is possible to train a lab to stay out of the pool. If you have any tips or suggestions on how I can train him to stay out of the pool, I would be forever in your debt.

  85. Some of my dogs always chew up their beds and blankets when I’m not home, what can I do?

  86. My dog loves to roll in really bad things like cat droppings.  Are there any steps I can take to discourage this?

  87. I have become partially disabled over the last several years and would like to teach my dog to assist me. Is there some way I can teach her to assist me?

  88. I can't get my dog to stop eating the dog house. What should I do?

  89. My dog panics during thunderstorms, can you give me any advice?

  90. What’s the best way to keep a dog from jumping up on you?

  91. Is there a specific training video of yours that addresses how to train a dog to stay in his own yard (not to jump a fence)? I have a 1 year old Lab-Mix, that loves to visit the neighbor dogs, chase squirrels, turkey, deer, etc. Your advice PLEASE?

  92. My one year old dog is tearing up rugs when leave her loose in the house all day, we discipline her but it doesn’t help. She only does this when we are gone so we never catch her in the act. Please help!

  93. I just saw the dog bite photos of the person who rolled the dog over in an alpha roll.  I have been rolling my 15 month old dog over every day since he was 8 weeks old to do a tick inspection.  Should I be doing this?

  94. My dog chases shadows constantly, do you have any suggestions?

  95. I’m looking at the rubber mats you carry as a bedding option for my dog, can you describe the durability? I bought a soft bed and she chewed a big hole in it overnight.

  96. My dog eats stuff on the beach when I let him run free,  what would you do?

  97. My dog attacks the garage door. How does one alter this behavior?

  98. My dog has automobile anxiety and is nearly unmanageable when on board. What would you suggest?


PRONG COLLAR WARNING:

When you use your Prong Collar, we strongly suggest you use a Leerburg Dominant Dog Collar as a safety backup.

Prong Collars can come apart when not not put on properly. If a leash is clipped to a Leerburg Dominant Dog Collar along with the Prong Collar, you will have control of the dogs in the rare occurrence that the Prong Collar fails.

To learn how to correctly fit a Prong Collar, go to http://www.leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm or purchase our Basic Dog Obedience DVD.

Dog Training is NEVER without risk of injury. Do NOT attempt these training techniques yourself without consulting a professional. Leerburg Enterprises, Inc. can not be responsible for accidents or injuries to humans and/or animals.




Question about Dog Chasing Kids:

Hello Ed:

I have a 50 lb English terrier mix (6 yrs), very sweet and loving when around people/strangers while in my house, backyard or on leash. Off leash, he chases anything that moves, typically ankles of people that are running, biking, skateboarding, etc. He is aggressive with other dogs. The most nerve racking is he goes after children. I picked him up from an unknown family handing out puppies when he was 8 weeks old. He was shy as a puppy. I've had dogs all my life, and if I knew he was going to be this way I would have socialized him with children a lot more as a puppy. I never had to do that with my other dogs.

I do not let him off leash ever unless it's a totally secluded area, which I feel bad about because he loves to run. He has been through three obedience training classes, and in addition I had a trainer come out to my home for a couple months. That was most effective, but costly! He does very well at training, although is sometimes quick to snap at another dog. A few weeks out of training, he goes right back into the same mode. I feel like I have to put him in training every six months or so. Do you have any other suggestions? I am very protective of him, and know I will always have to be careful with him, but at the same time nervous that he may get loose and possibly bite someone.

Thanks, SM

Answer:

The problem with this dog is "it lives with someone who has not properly learned to train a dog." Your email just confirms what I am constantly telling people:

  1. Handlers need to learn to train their own dogs at home before they take them to obedience classes.
  2. Sending a dog to a professional trainer is a short term solution to a long term problem. It almost NEVER is a permanent solution.
  3. Hard dogs need HARD CORRECTIONS for them to respect their owners commands.

This dog needs some serious correction. This can be accomplished with a prong collar or an electric collar, but none of this will work unless you decide that you are tired of this dogs behavior. You need to develop the attitude of "I am tired of this shit and I am not going to take it anymore!!!" This means that you are going to learn to correct this dog hard enough that it respects the consequences of not minding - a VERY SIMPLE CONCEPT.

Raising a well behaved dog is like raising a child. It requires consistency, praise and corrections when called for. Good dog training is not rocket science.

If you cannot change your ways you will always have a terror for a pet and you deserve what you end up with.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

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Question about Excessive Barking:

I just finished reading your articles on dog aggression. It sounds like my dog Meeka. She is a 2 year old Keeshond. We have great concern for her, (at least I do).

My husband feels that she will change in time. We purchased her from a pet store back in Dec 1997. The first day was wonderful, she even slept in her crate peacefully that evening. But from there on she has never been the same. She started to show these signs as she got older. It is like she is terrified of other people. Her ears go down and her eyes bulge out showing fear then she'll start barking.

Problems we are concerned about are excessively barking at everyone and everything, aggressive towards strangers, children anyone. EXCEPT our parents. They are the only ones that can visit and we can visit them with the dogs that she is fine with. But, she has now attempted to bite 3 times but I was there to catch her and stop it. My husband says he has never experienced this biting behavior from her. I find it particularly odd as she does display a slightly different behavior with him.

But she still is aggressive towards people, children and barks excessively. We have had her in training 3 times now. And she is like a different dog in that atmosphere, but at home or on a walk she is this crazy dog. We have tried the different barking collars, training methods to stop the barking and the only slight success we get is using the Gentle Leader collar. But once it is taking off she returns to herself. She is not aggressive towards my husband or me and is actually very loving and does well with commands.

But outside the home or if we have friends over or a stranger knocks at the door she goes crazy. I am at my wits end and I am seeking advice from you after reading your articles, in hopes that there is something that can be done to make her a more friendlier dog. We have thought of giving her up but I fear that if this behavior is concerning to us then if in the wrong hands, I am concerned that they will hurt her or beat her because of this behavior

So, if you have any advice or suggestions to help us we would be very grateful. Meeka is part of our family and we love her dearly.

Thanking you,
Darlene

Answer:

This is not a difficult thing to correct. The question is if you and your husband have the mental strength and determination to fix it. Many people do not. There are a number of issues here:

  1. You screwed up and bought a dog from a pet store. This is about as bad as you can get. These dogs come from puppy mills and the genetics are terrible, as you have already found out. Your dog has weak nerves which is a genetic issue. No amount of socializing is going to correct this dog.

  2. These kinds of dogs respond to order in their life. A structured life gives them comfort because they understand exactly what is going on. There are no surprises for them when things get un-organized. This is all accomplished through strict obedience training. Read what I have written on how to do this on my web site.

  3. The dog needs to be trained with a prong collar and not one of these stupid halties. It must go through the "learning phase" like every other dog, but when it gets to the "correction phase" and then the "distraction phase" it must have a prong collar. I call this power steering on dogs.

  4. The corrections for disobedience must be swift and strong enough that the dog respects the correction more than it fears the ghosts in it's head. It is 100% possible to accomplish this, but it has to be done with strong corrections. In the beginning the dog will throw a fit, but once it realizes that you mean it when you tell it to stop or to go lay down, then it will accept it. Especially when it gets a great deal of praise for doing the right thing.

  5. Many people do not have the mental ability to correct at the level that is required when their dog starts to throw a fit after a correction. Rather than increase the level of correction these people decrease or stop correcting because the dog is acting so crazy. When in fact what needs to happen is the dog must learn that the only open door is to do what it is told to do or it will continue to be corrected and it will always be praised when it does what it's told to do.

  6. So the dog should have the prong collar on all day (off at night). It should have a drag line, (explained in the tape - I like the street leashes that we sell because they have a "D" ring to clip another longer leash to). You can quickly grab it (and clip a line on it) for a correction when the dog acts stupid.

  7. When people come over, the dog can be allowed to smell the new arrival, as long as it does not bark or act aggressive, but once that is done it must ALWAYS be sent to it's crate. This is a learned response (i.e. the command is "CRATE UP") or it can be sent to a rug in the kitchen. If it gets out of the crate, off that rug or barks, it has learned in earlier training that it gets corrected so badly that it thinks it’s going to die.

These dogs need level 10 corrections, (explained in the tape.) They must fear the correction worse than the "demon." Also very important is the fact that strangers or people who come to your house do not interact with the dog. They ignore it. They don't try and pet it or warm up to it. They simply ignore it. Sometimes idiot guests need corrections too when they will not listen.

Once this concept gets settled in the dogs head it will begin to learn that the rug and/or crate are safe places. They will learn to relax when sent there. They feel good because they are doing what their pack leader has told them to do and they get praised for minding.

These kinds of dogs must be 100% compliant 100% of the time. This requires 100% consistency from both you and your husband. The dog can not get by with one instance of being stupid - not one!

If you can't do these things, (especially correct hard enough), put the dog down, because its only a matter of time before it bites a child in the face.

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Question about Territorial Aggression:

If you have time I would appreciate your opinion on the following. This was about 15 years ago. Our son, Derek, was nine. We had a GSD I had trained in basic AKC obedience. I would have trusted her with the boy anywhere, anytime.

When people came to the house she would stand between them and the rest of the house for about 30 seconds. When she walked away it was OK for the people to come into the house. If anyone tried to walk past her before she moved away the dog would act very uncomfortable. She never growled, showed her teeth or barked. But it was plain she did not want anyone coming into the house without her say-so.

Friends were over to play cards. The man went into the kitchen where Derek was finishing his after-dinner chores. Norm walked up behind Derek and put his arms around him and acted as if he was going to wrestle Derek. The hair on the dog’s neck stood up and she showed her teeth. Norm very carefully let go of Derek and got the drink he had gone after. When he came back and sat down to play cards the dog came up and put her head in his lap to be petted.

Even though the dog had never bitten before I knew that she would and had watched her very carefully. When the car drove in and Derek opened the door she slipped out like a greased pig.

Two different times the dog had refused to let a man into the house. Both times they were salesmen who, when I opened the inside door had opened the screen and just started to come in. They didn’t stay long.

The story has a sad ending. A couple of years later I was in the back of the house when I heard Derek calling the dog. All of a sudden I realized he had called her too many times, because she usually came for him on the second or third call. When I went out a friend and her son, who was Derek’s age, had come. Seeing Derek trying to get the dog, the son got out of the car to help. By the time I arrived the dog had put four neat holes in the calf of the boy’s leg. We had her put down.

Sincerely,
Judith

Answer:

The dog you had could have been saved with today’s technology. You can now get an in-ground Innotek fence for very little money. This could have restricted your dog to the back yard.

You do have a territorial aggression, but not a very serious one from the sound of it. It could have been controlled with proper obedience training. The details of your past problems are the most common questions that I get. These kind of dogs need serious training, with a prong collar. They must be trained to do a Down Stay under the most severe distraction. When people come to the house the dog is allowed to see that you accept them into the home, (it does not need to be a situation where you see that the dog allows the visitor, like you had, but the opposite). Then the dog is sent to a specific rug or to its dog crate, (which every dog owner should have). There are no acceptable reasons for the dog to leave the down stay until you give the all clear sign (OK!) and release the dog.

This is a simple issue to train, I explain it in my Q&A on more than one answer. The basics are that the exercise is taught motivationally with food to go to the run, then once it understands the command it’s corrected for not doing it. Then it’s taught to stay on the rug (with corrections). The dog wears a prong collar and short 2-foot leash, he learns that if it gets up before being released he gets corrected. The correction needs to be strong enough to be effective. Then distractions are added, a ball being tossed when the dog is on the rug, if it gets up it gets very strong correction. If the dog continues to get up as you add distractions you need to increase the level of correction until the dog fears the correction more than he wants to investigate the distraction.

Throughout this training the stay needs to be praised. This is a critical part of the training as long as the praise does not become a distraction for the dog to get up, (which leads to a correction). As I explain in my tape, you must praise but not to the point of distractions.

Some people can not train dogs because their temperament does not allow them to properly correct their dog. These people should get cats.

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Question about Jumping:

We have a german shepard (purebred) that is 18 months old. We got her from a man who was taking her to the pound for disposal. She had knocked over his little girl and hurt her.

She is beautiful and very hyper. We have worked with her and she's very smart. They had obviously used a rolled up newspaper to discipline her for she's hand shy and afraid of rustling paper. We never use this technique on her. We have had her for 5 months now.

We have one very bad problem with her she will not stop jumping on people, really jumping high and nipping at their faces. We have tried everything we can think of. Our dogs are out during the day while we are at work and in every night, she is doing very well inside and knows the routine now. But she will not stop jumping up; we have tried saying OFF and by pulling her by her collar down to the ground using the word OFF to no avail! She also will not stop jumping up on the house to look in the window of our kitchen, we find this endearing and we love her but it's not helping the house. We don't believe in dog runs! We find them too confining to the animal and we have a 1/2 acre of property for our dogs. It's not just jumping by placing the paws on you it's really jumping up in the air and going for your face, and it's everyone!!!

She has hurt me once and also my son when she jumped up into our faces. Please, is there anything we can do for this without injury to our dog?

I have read that you can keep a dog from jumping up by driving a stake into the ground and having like a leader line going through the hole and cinching up on the rope every time they jump but is this really a solution when she only does it at certain times?

Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated,
Yvette

Answer:

The solution to this problem is simple (assuming you have the temperament to do what is necessary to solve it).

This begins with obedience training. Serious obedience training with a prong collar or a dominant dog collar. I suggest that you read what I have written in my description of my Basic Obedience video. I think you will learn something just from the description.

This obedience training helps establishes you as the pack leader. This is critical for a dog to understand and training accomplishes this. We also sell a DVD titled Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs

What needs to happen here is the dog needs to learn to mind. Once it knows that it must mind, then it only needs to be told "NO!" when it jumps. But to accomplish this the dog must respect the consequences of not minding, meaning it must respect the correction.

I wrote an article titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING - you may want to read it.

Most people are not capable of giving a hard enough correction to stop this behavior. The dog has manifested this behavior into a serious behavioral problem. It's not just jumping up to be petted. It's more like a pushy demanding attention getting thing that has worked for it in the past and only gotten worse with time.

If this were my dog I would let it wear the prong and a drag line. I would give a NO command and then when it ignored me I would give it a level 10 correction (jerk it off its feet and send it into avoidance)

For people who are not strong enough to do this they need to use a remote collar. I have a training DVD that explains how to use these. There is a section on jumping in that DVD ( E-Collar Training for the Pet Owner )

This may sound extreme, but if it is done properly it will solve the problem right now. I will guarantee that this dog will only jump on me 3 to 4 times and then never again.

After it learns not to jump on me I would then tell it "NO!!" when it jumped on someone else. If it ignored me I would correct it in the same way I trained it not to jump on me. In the eyes of the dog I am attacking it for not respecting the pack leader. This is the pack leader role. Right now your dog does not respect you or your family as the pack leaders.

When the correction is finished we don't praise we just go on as if nothing happened.

This training shows the dog that it does not have to jump to get attention. The dog must learn that you are a compassionate person who loves it, but that there are very serious repercussions for not minding.

You could do what all the self-proclaimed experts say, which is to pinch toes, knee in the chest, step on back feet, etc. etc, etc. All this is not going to work with this dog, it's too far gone to work and you only run the risk of getting injured trying it.

The advice of the rope through a stake is stupid. Do not ask these people for any other training advice. It is obvious that they are not experienced dog trainers.

If you would like one of our catalogs on our training videos, send your postal address and we will mail one.

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Question about Digging:

My husband and I have a 2 1/2 year old male German Shepherd. He is very sweet and great with children. He is also very high strung. At times he will dig many holes in our yard. None by the fence. He has no rhyme or reason. He will go for weeks without digging and then dig half a dozen at a time. We have tried filling his holes with water and holding his head under for about 5 seconds. Filling the holes with feces. Spanking. Hitting his digging feet with a wooden spoon enough to make him notice. Playing with him more often. Please help us with some suggestions. We love him, but he is destroying our once beautiful yard and carpet.

Thank you for any help,
Dave and Teresa

Answer:

This water torture and spoon trick is stupid. It’s cruel and stupid training, pure and simple. People who recommend these types of things should have their head stuck in a hole full of water when they are panicked. I doubt they are thinking about digging holes when it’s over. When you do this to the dog he is only thinking of survival and not drowning. I will guarantee that he is not thinking that he is the one who dug the stupid hole and this is all a result of that.

The dog digs because he is bored, pure and simple. Spend more time with your dog. You will get the most bank for your buck to do serious obedience training. Get a prong collar and work this dog. Give him something to think about when he has down time. I recommend my video Basic Dog Obedience.

You should also put up a normal 6' x 10 ' dog kennel with patio blocks or concrete. Then only allow him to have access to the back yard for shorter periods of time. It’s hard to dig through concrete.

If you are not willing to do what’s necessary to make your dog’s life more meaningful, sell him or give him away and get a cat.

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Question about Soft Dogs:

We have an 8 month old puppy who is extremely soft. If we raise our voice just a little bit, he cowers. We have had him since he was 9 weeks old and has never been hit, spanked or beaten in any way. He is an excellent dog who listens great and when we do discipline him, it’s with verbal warnings only. He knows when he has done wrong and usually only does it once. My problem is that at a family gathering today he was kicked in the butt by a relative that feels you have to beat the dog to get him to obey. Not wanting to cause a scene, nothing was said. His leg is fine but he won’t perk up. This was several hours ago and he’s still moping around the house. He was so depressed at dinner he wouldn’t eat, (this from a dog who lives for dinner). I have taken him for a car ride, (which he loves), short walks around the block and even given him special treats, (along with lots and lots of attention and love). Nothing is working. I know we didn’t purchase this dog from you but I have heard several things about not only your breeding program but your training programs as well. I would be grateful for any information and/or suggestions you might have on this matter.

Thank you sincerely,
Barbara

Answer:

The first thing to do is to tell the relative that he gets a kick in the butt the next time he touches your dog. If someone did this to my dog I would show him the door.

You need to do basic dog obedience work with this dog.

Soft dogs need obedience more than anything. This brings order to their lives and they need this. That tape shows how to do it properly. Once they understand the order in their life they gain some happiness from this.

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Question about Proper Corrections:

I got one of your prong collars for my mother's Springer Spaniel. This is a very hard dog that does not respond to ANY level of correction on a choke collar. She is now 7 months old - at 14 weeks when I first tried correcting her by shaking her by the back of the neck it had no effect. I have one major concern.

This dog (bitch) is very dominant and the prong collar is very useful for correcting her since the normal choker had no effect. I have to snap the collar very hard to get a response - for example, if she has a toy she won’t give up. My question is how do I know if I'm popping too hard. The dog never yelps and doesn't really go into avoidance for more than a moment. I am concerned I will injure the dog (e.g. break her neck!) - do you think this is likely? The dog does yelp if you accidentally step on her toes so she does feel pain!

For my mother, I am using your technique of tying a choker to a solid object and then pulling another choker in the opposite direction to get toys back from her. Every time I give the toy back she fights harder next time before she'll give it up. It almost as though she is holding on against her will. Is it a good idea for me to repeat this exercise over and over since she seems to get more determined every time?

I have your Basic Obedience tape which is really a great help and this training is going on in parallel but I'm anxious to concentrate on this possessiveness problem. It has got to the stage where my mother is afraid to take something from the dog because she has tried to bite my mother a number of times.

So in summary my questions are: Could I injure the dog by popping too hard? Should I repeat the exercise where I give her a toy and then take it back?

Regards,
David

Answer:

I agree that you have a very hard dog. This is unusual for this breed and then again because it is a female.

First make sure the collar is on properly. It should be very snug and under the jaw right behind the ears. If its on that way you will not have to pop so hard. Many people do not put them on any enough.

I think there are better ways to take toys away from dogs than to punish them for not releasing.

Begin by using 2 toys. When she goes to get one and brings it back tease her with a second one and do not allow the dog to have it until she drops the first one and then instantly toss the second, make a game of it. Give an OUT command when she brings it back. It will not take a dog long to figure out that getting the 2nd active toy requires it to drop the first one.

If she will not give it up put a long line on the prong, toss the first - reel her in - give an OUT - and a pop. The key is to instantly give up the second toy the instant the first one comes out.

In a very small number of dog cases the prong collar has to be sharpened a little - this is very unusual and I would doubt that is the case with this bitch. It sounds like a handler training issue and not a dog issue.

You also may want to consider a Tri Tronics Sportsman electric collar, but this does not mean you would just shock the dog for not releasing. You approach the release in the same way. Teach it 2 ball, when it understand this then reinforce the out with the collar. To just put it on a shock the dog will confuse the dog and do some damage to its mind.

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Question about Tail Chasing:

My dog chases her tail round and round constantly. Her tail is one wet mess. Is there any way to stop her from doing this? I would appreciate any way to solve this problem.

Answer:

Many times this problem is caused from a lack of exercises - both mentally and physically.

You should walk these dogs twice a day. Use a chuck-it or other toys that can increase the exercises in the time you use for exercise.

I can also try giving the dog a bone or one of the treats filled toys we sell to chew on when alone.

I would attempt serious regimented obedience. Obedience training exercises the dogs mind.

Some dogs need to be corrected for tail chasing. On soft dogs this can simply be a verbal "NO STOP THAT." So the dog learns that this is unacceptable behavior. Other dogs are going to require a remote collar and low level stimulation training. (Get my DVD on how to do this)

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Question about Keeping Dog off Furniture:

While reading the articles is very inspiring I feel the need to ask a more personal question: How do I train our dog to stay off the furniture (when we're not home & at night)? He doesn't try to get on the furniture while we're home (thus indicating that he 'knows' he's not allowed up) and when we come home he is very submissive and has the 'oops!' look on his face. We've tried the sprays that are supposed to stink the boundaries into him to no avail. What else should we do? For now we just take him to the couch and say 'No!' but he seems to understand that he rules the roost while we're gone. Any help would save him from being shut up in the laundry room and much wear & tear on the furniture.

Thank you,
Kerry

Answer:

You can put Rat Traps on the couch - (under news papers).

You can also use BITTER APPLE - but this is done by soaking bitter apple in a cotton ball and put the cotton ball in his mouth and holding it closed for 1 minute, (this is not an easy thing to do). You do this 3 days in a row. By the third day it’s like trying to catch a wild horse. To be effective you must do it.

You have now created a dog that hates the smell of bitter apple worse than anything you can imagine. So take 3 or 4 drops and put it in a spray bottle full of clean water. Spray it on the couch - most dogs will not go near anything that smells like bitter apple.

The dog acts submissive, because he knows that you are going to scold him for something he does not understand. It is a mistake to take him to the couch and scold him. He may have been up there hours before and he has no idea why he is getting scolded. Dogs minds don't work like this.

If you are that upset, get a dog crate and use it. That's the way to prevent him from getting on furniture.

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Question about Digging:

We have a 10-month-old female German shepherd, who is very smart, totally housebroke, crate trained and loves all people and other animals. I realized I was allergic to her fur so I gave her to my daughter and son-in-law who live 800 miles away. Since we have left her she is breaking out of her crate and peeing and pooping on their floor. They can't leave her outside for more than 30 minutes or she will start digging. She never did any of this when I had her. They are about ready to go crazy. Why is she doing this? We just can't figure it out. I would really appreciate your input.

Answer:

I may often sound harsh in the treatment that I recommend to people about out of control dogs. I don't believe that in this case it is warranted. I truly believe that dogs have inner feelings. They have a soul. I think that your family has not made an effort to bond to this dog and it misses you. My advise would be to either see a doctor and take shots so you can get your dog back, or help find it a home where it will feel like it is loved.

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Question on Dominance Issues in an Old Dog:

My husband and I have adopted a Doberman from our neighbor who passed away a couple months ago. When we got Duke he was 10 lbs underweight and had every parasite I could think of. He also had several sores from over licking and lying in his own feces. He is about 10 years old. Now he is minus the parasites and 10 lbs heavier and a lot healthier. He is a happy boy but shows some signs of aggression. I know he was severely neglected (starved and maybe beaten). He is, for lack of a better word, socially retarded. He probably has had no socializing in his life, by his violent and mostly fearful reaction to the vet I assume he has never been there either. I don't think he has a mean bone in his body and aside from his reaction to the vet (of course I would probably object to an anal probe myself). A few times we have tried to lift him into the truck or into the bathtub and he has been great. I think it hurts him to be lifted. So my husband and I were able to write that off, and put a muzzle on him when we needed to do any lifting or washing. But recently I caught him chewing on something and went over to investigate. He had just been punished for chewing some clothing so he was probably already on edge. I tried to get him to drop it and he growled. I backed off for a minute and my husband came over to see what was happening. Then I grabbed him by the collar and told him to drop it. He did and even backed off a step. When I reached out to grab the milk jug lid he bit he me several times. My husband hit him hard enough to toss him across the room and then he was put in the laundry room. He has never been possessive about his food or any toys. However, he will not tolerate being pushed down or lifted. So we don't. He is well enough to get into the truck and the bathtub by himself now and doesn't need assistance. I have read some of your articles and kinda have an idea what to do. But, he is really old for a Doberman (as far as I know they only live to 10-12 years) and I want to know if there is anything else I can do. I really care for him and feel a responsibility to care for him. But, it is hard for me if I don't have his trust, and right now he doesn't have mine. I am afraid he will react this way with some of our friends although he never has in the past, he is always offering an ear to be scratched and a happy tail wag. What do you think?

Jessica

Answer:

If this were a younger dog I would probably offer different advice. I have sympathy for this dog’s earlier life. It's my opinion that, (if you like this dog), he needs to have a little slack.

I would not push the issue with his food. Why start a fight about taking food away? I would feed the dog, pick the food up after 30 minutes and not put it down until the next day. Then there is no fight over food. If the dog lies by the food bowl and guards it, that's a different issue. Then he needs to have your husband correct the snot out of him, but my guess is this is not the case. I would get a dog crate and use it on this dog. When people come over I would put him in the dog crate. This eliminates the chance of an accidental bite. Why even take a chance?

I would get an electric collar and deal with the chewing that way. This will allow you to correct without having to physically fight the dog. Part of the chewing issue is probably a neurotic carry over habit from his earlier life. I would approach it as if the dog was a puppy. Put a lot of things around for the dog to chew. Get some big raw hides; an Extra Large Kong or two, even large bones (no soft chewy toys).

If the chewing takes place when you are gone, crate the dog with a bone. Leave the TV or radio on. The dog has some dominance issues. I have articles on this on my web site, read them. A dog that does not want to DOWN has a dominance issue. There is no such thing as not being able to train an old dog. In this case, he has proven that he will bite you. Use a muzzle and a prong collar to train him. My video explains the process in a logical step by step method.

On an old dog like this you need to be realistic in what you expect to train him. In my opinion, COME, DOWN, STAY and GET IN YOUR CRATE are all that is needed.

The same thing can be accomplished with electric collars, but in this case people need to not only learn to properly obedience train, they also have to learn how to train with an electric collar. (We sell videos on how to do this).

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Question about Barking:

First of all, thanks for your email advice from your last note. We did have our pups checked for worms, and sure enough, they had them Since treatment our male pup's energy has gone up noticeably. He is now enjoying the ball-on-a-string game.

Here's my question: Our pups are pretty quiet most of the day and night, but sometimes during the evening they start a barking fit loud enough to wake the dead. They can see us moving inside our house in the evening as we pass in front of the windows. The problem is amplified when we have the windows open and they can hear us and smell us even better. We don't know the best way to stop the barking.

If we ignore them, they will eventually quit, but I'd rather not be woken up every time the cat passes in front of the windows. If we shout "NO" or "HUSH" through the open windows they can hear us. But that doesn't keep them quiet for long. If we go outside and give them a correction for barking, I'm afraid that they will learn never to bark at night, even at a stranger. Plus I'll be hopping up like a frog all evening to go outside and administer discipline.If I put a bark collar on them at night, then they will learn not to bark at all, and then when Mr. Bad Guy comes up to our house at night, then they won't say a woof.

I will not train these dogs in protection, because I'm honest enough to admit that I'm a novice trainer. I would at least like the dogs to react with a stout fit of barking if a stranger would approach. I don't want to kill their barking instinct.

Would you please advise me how to handle this?

Thank you in advance for your help. I know you are in demand so I appreciate your time.

Yvette

Answer:

You are un-realistic in your approach to dogs. As a pet owner one needs to make an effort to understand the inherent drives and temperaments of dogs. You do not seem to have made the effort.

  1. Dogs should not be raised together. They need to be separated.
  2. Dogs bark like this because they are lacking attention.
  3. My advice is to go down to one dog, spend some time with the dog training it. You may find that the dog quits barking if you bring the dog into the house and use a dog crate.

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Question about Garbage Eaters:

Our 8 year old pomeranian eats the "personal" items our of the bathroom trash can. Is he too old for this and is there something we can do?? Please help.

Answer:

Put a mouse trap in the trash can when you are gone. Problem is fixed after the first couple of times.

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Question on Jumping:

I have a 6 month old puppy (rescue dog) that is a house dog and I was considering getting her dew claws removed and was wondering what you thought about it. She'll always be a house pet and the only real motivation for removing them is the pain they cause when she jumps up on us. We're in the process of using the front paw pinching technique from your "puppy" video and we're having success but she's a fairly excitable dog. Is there any health reason not to have this done?

Thanks,
Bob

Answer:

You are trying to correct the symptom and not the problem. Teach your dog some obedience – teach her the meaning of the word OFF. Use a squirt bottle or squirt gun – right in the face. Have them laying all around the house so there is always one close at hand.

If this does not work then pinch the snot out of her toes – I can train a dog not to jump on me in ONE DAY by pinching the front toes until they scream. I also praise the dog when its front feet are back on the ground. So what you are asking me makes ZERO sense to a dog trainer.

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Question about Shy Dog:

I have an eight-month-old male American Bulldog puppy. I know Bulldogs aren't your breed of preference, but after reading several of your articles, I would very much value your insight. He is a well behaved puppy (sits, comes, etc.) but whenever I take him away from our house, he is terribly shy. He was from a litter of eleven. I met both of his parents, and neither one of them were in the least bit shy. He trembles badly, won't eat treats (especially from strangers) and tucks his tail. At the same time, he appears to be curious of his surroundings. I followed your advice, and took him to Wal -Mart to people watch. A few strangers came by and offered him some hot-dog. He turned up his nose at it! I don't mind some aloofness, as I know it is a trait of the breed, but I sure would like him not to shake and tuck his tail. No stranger has ever done anything to this dog, as I have had him since he was 10 weeks old. As a puppy, any slight change in the house (moving furniture around, loud music,) would send him scurrying to his crate. He seems to have overcome that, though. Do you think he will outgrow this, or am I in for a tough time of it. Also, he is never aggressive, and never pees himself. Any help you can offer would be very much appreciated, as I am getting discouraged and I love my dog very much.

Thank you very much,
Bob

Answer:

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this dog has shitty genes. It's not going to change. You can control it but never change it. These kinds of dogs find solace in structure. This means they do well in obedience training because they find comfort in doing something that they know is the right thing to do. This is also the reason the dog gets upset with changes in the house (moving furniture) this changes the structure and the dog does not like this.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I would also use a prong collar in the training.

You can not allow the dog to wimp out on you. It must learn to get a grip and not act so
stupid.

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Question about Barking and Aggression:

I came across your site on the Internet and found it very informative. I was wondering if you might offer me a suggestion for my scenario. I have a 9-month-old female Weimaraner that I just recently had spayed. I have taken Sierra just about everywhere that I can. Since she was 8 weeks old (she recently completed her CGC training...which turns out to be ironic). Sierra is very protective of my home and barks when she sees anything close to our yard. Recently I have trained her to bark once and then quit upon my command of "quiet" by using treats. However, my new problem is that whenever she is in my car as we are backing out of the driveway or in my fenced yard- she barks aggressively at any of the children that walk by and some of the dogs. Just yesterday as I was getting her into the car she saw one of the neighborhood girls walking past after school, and she ran into the street barking aggressively and nipped the girl on the leg and then upon my calling...came back and got into the car (this incident is extremely upsetting.) After reading numerous articles on the Internet I believe that she is exhibiting protection aggression. I am very upset about this behavior and am wondering what I can do to get it stopped. I did have an individual session with a dog trainer in which she suggested I work with a few of the neighborhood kids to become friends with Sierra. What do you think?

Desperate in NC- J.

Answer:

I think that you talked to a trainer who is not a very good trainer. This dog needs serious obedience lessons and they need to be done at home with a prong collar. Use the principles in my Basic Obedience video. If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for this tape. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

I would curtail the barking with a no bark collar. It will eliminate it the first day that you use it. You can find information on the Tri Tronics No Bark collar on my web site. I use 15 of them in my kennel almost every day. We put them on at night and take them off in the morning. I could not run my kennel without them. The dog should never be off leash - use a Flexi lead. If the dog shows any aggression to a child it needs to be corrected so hard it thinks it's life is over. It needs to fear that kind of a correction way more than it feels like being aggressive. At this age this dog IS NOT trying to protect you. Do not fool yourself into believing this. At this age you are seeing poor nerves and a dog who is turning into a fear biter.

I can guarantee you that unless you take these steps that I have outlined, it is only a matter of time before your dog bites a child and you will then have to destroy the dog or pay a hefty settlement.

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Question about Nervous Dog:

I read your pages about dealing with an aggressive dog and what to ask you about my situation.

I have a three year old Lab/German Shepherd mix dog. She is a very loving dog to my roommate and me. She does a have very bad dependency problem which has cost me a lot of money. Most of the time when I leave her, she tries to break out of the house. She will chew on the fence, chew on the front door or anything else that could possible get her out. I have tried giving her a lot of exercise and have found it to be only a temporary fix. I can not leave her in my car or else she will chew on the seat belts of the car. I have had to replace virtually all of my seat belts once. I could live with this if it was the only problem. She also is nervous around new people. She has tried to nip at a few people lately. It seems like when ever a child or young adult gets to close (grabs her or wants to be close), she doesn't respond very well. This concerns me because I do want a child some day and I am afraid of what could happen.

I have tried to see how she is around young children. She is all right at first but she does get more and more nervous as time goes on. Lets put it this way... I'm glad I had her on a leash! I saw that she was starting to show her teeth so I took her out of the situation by taking her away from the people. It was weird. At first she was very happy and licking their faces and then it turned to aggression.

From reading a lot about this, it seems like most people try medication. Is this a real solution or does it just decrease the chances? I love this dog but don't want to forever live in fear of "what might happen."

Regards,
Ryan

Answer:

Here are the steps I would take:

  1. I would be sure that the dog knows right from wrong. This can only be accomplished through a strict obedience program. You can read about the steps of obedience on my web site in the description of my Basic Dog Obedience video.
  2. I would try medication
  3. I would have the dog wear a comfortable muzzle all the time I was not with it. We sell a couple of kinds.
  4. I would put the dog to sleep if none of the above worked. You can control this behavior, you can not eliminate it from the dogs' head. It's there as a result of poor genetics.

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Question about Barking:

I love your web site! But I have a question for you about one of your products.

I have a new GSD, approximately fifteen months old. He's from working lines, and has never lived in a house before. Everything is going very well, except for one thing. He barks! I'm crating him while I go to school, and this is when the problem arises. He likes his crate very much and enjoys being in it when I'm with him. But as soon as I close that door and leave, he barks all day long. According to my dad, he barked for over five hours the other day. This is clearly unacceptable. Our life together is great in every other way but this. Once I get home from school we hike five to six miles together, run errands together, and spend all evening and afternoon together, so I don't think he's barking out of boredom. He's certainly not lacking for love and attention. Actually, I think he's barking because he's demanding to be let out.

I tried all the conventional obedience methods of calming him when I leave. You know, the whole "leave for a minute, then come back and praise, then leave for two minutes, then three..." routine. This works for a while, then we're back to square one. Today I tried a citronella collar. BIG waste of money! He immediately figured out that the collar only had fifteen blasts in it, after which he can bark at liberty. Besides, the spray really didn't bother him that much to begin with.

So I'm strongly considering using an electric collar on him, in particular, the one you recommend. But I've never had to do this before, and it makes me kind of sick to think of it. He is "soft" for a GSD, and I don't want to break his gentle spirit, but he simply cannot sit there and bark all day. I'd like to solve the problem before summer, so we can actually open the windows! What do you think? Am I being premature in wanting to use an e-collar? Or is it a good option?

I hope my question doesn't inconvenience you. I just want to do what's right for my dog, and you're so knowledgeable about dogs that you're one of the only people I trust to give me a good, candid answer.

Amy

Answer:

Get the Tri Tronics No Bark collar. It will stop the dog on the first day he has it. It also does not need to be an INTENSE shock. You regulate the strength according to what the dog requires. There is a video that comes with the product. It explains how to get the right level of stimulation without hurting the dogs' temperament.

I have 15 at my kennel and some dogs need it every night. They come off in the morning.

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Question:

Hi good day!!! I just have a question regarding my 4 month old german shepherd. He was barking at someone and the one handling him pulled his leash to prevent him from attacking the person he was barking at. But instead of stopping he bit the one holding him. The dog didn't have any attack training or have any advance training. He has just been trained at home with basic training by me which is only my first time to train a dog. Thank you and more power!!!

G. S.

Answer:

Your dog has some nerve problems. It's not normal for a 4 month old dog to be barking aggressively at anyone - they are puppies at this age and should not be showing this kind of aggression. What happened is the dog was nervous and barked at the person to try and scare them away (the dog was in avoidance, it was not showing strength but weakness). Maybe the person on the leash did something that shocked the pup so much that it turned and bit in "fight or flight." Again, it was not showing strength but fear.

If you want to learn about drives I would recommend you read the articles on my web site. If you want to learn to train you dog, buy my training videos.

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Question about Nervous Dog:

We recently purchased a male GS. When we visited the dog, he seemed very confident and outgoing. However, when we brought him home, he has latched onto my husband. He gets upset when he leaves, he has to be constantly with him. When he leaves, I try to bring the dog out by playing with him, etc., and he just goes back into the porch to wait for my husband. He's a very soft dog, so I don't want the corrections to be to harsh, but he just doesn't engage in anything when my husband is gone, and when I call him out, he pees all over the floor. He's also doing this with my husband. We haven't abused him in any sense of the word, but when made to lay down or sit, he minds, but he still pees.

When we are both here, the dog interacts wonderfully, playing with toys, with both my husband and I. He goes from one room to the other to check on us if we are separate. He's really a fun dog, when we are both here, otherwise he is a real pain. He will mind me, but he pushes my husband to the limit, but yet he falls all over himself when my husband is here. I trained all our dogs for obedience, but never have had to deal with.

We have had him just over two months, and I keep waiting for him to turn around, but it seems to be getting worse. He was a show dog before, and the gentleman that had him, kept him in the kennel, where we let him have the run of the place, because it is all fenced.

Judy

Answer:

The problem is with the dog’s genetics. It's just poorly bred and has weak nerves.

I would not tolerate this dog, but if you want to try the only thing that will work is obedience training.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

These kind of dogs function well with solid obedience built on a foundation of good step by step training. They find solace in the order that obedience training brings to their life. They become comfortable in minding when they learn that they must mid and that there is not other option. But this all needs to be tempered with proper praise etc, etc.

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Question about Dog Bites:

I was reading your article on aggression in dogs and I have a question for you. I recently purchased a Beagle/sheltie mix. Well, that's what the mother was in the shelter I got it from. They couldn't tell me what the father was.

My question is this; he has a bad habit of biting and nipping at my wife and me. He will be playing fine, but every once in a while he will start barking at us and lunging at our feet, hands etc.

He also has a fear or other dogs I think. When I take him outside when there are other dogs in the neighborhood near us, and if one of the dogs barks while we are outside with him he will run back to the door and curl up next to it. Also, if I play with him he will play nice for a while, but if he doesn't get his way then he will start nipping at my hands. Sometimes, if I am petting him I can't get my hands near him without him trying to get his mouth on my hands. Currently I am trying to "yelp" when he bites or just comes to close. But, when I start to yelp and turn around he tries harder to get at my hands, feet etc. I am planning to get him to a school as soon as he gets all of his shots etc. if not just for the socialization factor. I was wondering if there was anything more I could do in the mean time.

Thanks,
Jarret

Answer:

You are doing exactly what you should not be doing. This dog is doing what it does because of dominance issues. The dog does not see you and your wife as pack leaders.

You "yelping" and turning away when the dog tries to bite your hands is classic submission in the eyes of your dog. It's OK to do this with an 8 week old pup but not a young adult.

Your dog needs some serious pack training corrections when it acts like this. I will guarantee you that I would be able to stop this dog from biting me in about 10 minutes. It will not take the dog that long to learn that this is inappropriate behavior with this human (me). I would use a drag leash and a dominant dog collar.

It also needs some very, very serious obedience training with a prong collar.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

You also need the DVD I produced titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS- its 3 1/2 hours long

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Question about Dog Eating Rocks:

Hi Ed,

I finally got to read the Q&A on your web site and realize you are an expert on canine behavior. So I am going to ask for your advice on my German Shorthaired Pointer.

He is a wonderful soul "after" I took him to behavior training. "Before" he did not respect me as a pack leader, for good reasons as I had no idea I was supposed to be one, and small dogs have attacked him before when he was a puppy. When he was an adult, he would bark and go submit a small dog. He would also nervously bark at other aggressive bigger dogs, but he would run to me when the other dogs charge after him. "After" our training, he totally respects my space and me. He does not attack small dogs anymore; he is not nervous around other dogs and is much happier. Also, instead of saying "No" to correct him 10 times a day, now I only use "No" in emergencies because I only teach him with positive reinforcement (praises and petting).

But there is a deadly problem remains he swallows rocks when excited. He has a raw diet, lots of exercise and love. He does not seek rock out to eat. The problems originated with people - me specifically. When I first got him, I didn't know better and use rocks to play with him. He loved it more than balls or any toys. I would throw (small) rocks into the water and he would go after it (never catching it as they sank). Then he would dig big rocks from the lake/river and give them to me. Sometimes he even uses his nose to roll the rock from a hill into the water - self-play. On occasion, when he is really excited, he would swallow the rock (usually round and smooth ones). Well, this went on for 4 years until he was 6 and swallowed a big one that earned him a surgery.

Since then, I taught him not to play with rocks. I use treats (trade) to lure him away, I use a firm "No Rocks," and if all else fails, I will grab his collar and move him from "the rock of the moment." That's the same time I took us to behaviors training. All seems fine and we have gone everywhere hiking and camping. I noticed that he wouldn't touch rocks when I am around (the first rock he swallowed he was with another person). However, if someone else throws rocks (kids by a river, etc.), he would run over to play and participate - like we used to play. I would have to physically take him away (sometimes not possible when he is in the water), or I can just walk off and he will follow after a minute.

Well, he swallowed another rock this year. He died for almost a minute in surgery (from the anesthesia) and came back. After many complications, he is back. Not only did I not know where he swallowed this rock, I didn't even know he did! This is like a self-reinforcing behavior. In conjunction with putting a muzzle on, I still would like to train him to "hate" rocks. So that he would not want to touch them or play with them whether I am around or not. I think he may swallow a rock if he had it in its mouth and I approach him.

Out of frustration, I presented him with a rock, and then say, "Do you want it?" When he showed interest, I stuffed it in its mouth (my hand holds the rock tight so he can't accidentally swallow it) and near the throat. (I know this is not positive reinforcement but I was not thinking straight). He struggled a bit. Then I put the same rock on the ground and kicked it (he was on leash). He didn't want it. I did this a few times and he seemed not want to touch them (but then only when I am around).

(1) Did I do something bad and confuse him more?

(2) I need to know a proper technique as the last thing he needs is to be more confused. And he just can't go through another surgery.

Any suggestions?
Very Concerned Mom

Answer:

You already know that this is a self-created problem. It's always harder to fix a problem than to do correct training from the beginning.

The only solution (in my opinion) is a shock collar. You need a collar that is waterproof like the Tri Tronics collars made for field trial retrievers (i.e. Pro 100).

Then you don't even say anything about the rocks, let it be self-discovery. If you use your voice to warn him he will associate the shock with you, if he gets shocked for touching a rock without you saying anything then the problem came from the rock.

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Question about Alternative Choices:

You have a very informative site. Thank you for your open and honest opinions. I will implement some of your suggestions if I ever find myself a witness to another dogfight. I notice that you seemingly have little hesitation at telling people to kill their dogs when you have no other remedy for their situations. Have you any experience with natural medicine, i.e. herbs and homeopathic, in treating some of the symptoms and causes of those symptoms, such as fear? For the patient and consistent dog owner, who have a good insurance policy if the dog bites someone, perhaps intelligent exploration of such remedies and cures is an alternate answer to killing their beloved family pack member? I would be glad to correspond with those seeking such information. I have been a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator for 20 years, and have never yet had the need to etherize even one animal! I currently have a male German Shepherd Dog (SchH II) standing at stud. While not an expert in animal behavior, I do absolutely believe that there is more than one cure for every imbalance (illness, disease, behavior problem) and as leader of my own pack, the responsibility to find and provide cures is as much a part of my job description as providing food and protection. Thank you.

Answer:

I would hesitate to offer the advice that you talk about. Number one, I don't know anything about it, number two, I don't place a lot of faith in it, (agreed probably conflicting statements).

I don't tell a lot of people to put a dog to sleep, those I do are dogs that I consider dangerous and in the hands of incompetent people. I am and always will error on the side of a human or a kid when it comes to dogs that bite people. My experience is that 99.999% of these dogs are not going to be changed with herbs.

It's one thing to rehabilitate wildlife and 100% something else to deal with dangerous dogs with temperament problems. But I will also post this to my web site and if people feel the urge to try a herb instead of strong obedience training, they can give it a shot.

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Question about Aggressive Dog:

Mr. Frawley,

I have a 6-year-old German Shepherd named Caro. About a year ago, we sent him to be professionally trained over the course of a month. When Caro came home, his behavior was excellent. We also got two other dogs a few months ago - a Lab mix and an Italian Greyhound - both are puppies.

Lately though, Caro has been up to his old tricks again - only at a worse level. He likes to run around and bark at trees, but sometimes he will bite the bark off. Recently he de-barked a 4-foot wide area around the entire tree - the tree may die because of this.

Also recently, Caro wondered off and got into a fight with the neighbor's dog - a gentle Golden Retriever. Caro has always played too rough with other dogs showing his dominance. However, he is good to the dogs we own. Is this because he knows they are puppies?

We feel that we need to send Caro for another month long refresher course with the trainer again. Do you have any thoughts on this? Would medication help? I have heard there is a Prozac type drug for canines.

Thanks for your help,
Bruce

Answer:

I can not help you through emails on this.

I can tell you that I am 100% against sending dogs away for training. The dogs must learn to mind you, not a trainer. These home away from home sessions are short-term solutions that never last. In other words they are a waste of your money.

If this dog has a behavioral problem that can be solved with obedience then you should do it, not an outside trainer.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

But I must say that I wonder what is going on here. A dog that strips a tree of bark is a neurotic dog. It has some mental problems. What I would do is run the dog through an obedience program myself. I would use a dog crate and an outside dog kennel. If I was not living in a place that I could do this I would find a new home for the dog.

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Question about Dogs Excessive Chewing:

Hello I was wondering if you could give me some advice. We have an 8-month old neutered German shepherd mix (lab and husky we think) and I am having trouble controlling him. We have a three-year-old daughter, so I know it is imperative that he listens and behaves.

He has a habit of picking up her toys and chewing them -- sometimes swallowing them.

No matter how I handle the situation, he will not drop the item in his mouth. Yesterday he got my mop cover and started chewing holes in it. I wrestled it out of his mouth and he turned on me, growling and he bit me in the hand.

It was a scratch, but I know if he wanted to, he could do much worse. I put him in his crate moving his crate from my daughter's room to the kitchen. Then I spent thirty minutes giving him a wooden spoon, telling him to drop it and then rewarding him with a treat. Although, that seemed to work, I think it taught him a good way to get a treat as well.

Then, today I was sitting on the swing set with my daughter and he began to bark and bit me in the back. This bite, although he didn't draw blood, is worse then yesterdays. I'm worried what he will do tomorrow - if this will escalate. What should I do?

Thanks for your help and advice,
Laurie

Answer:

This is 100% a rank issue with this dog. The dog does not respect your rank in the pack. He thinks he is at a higher pack position. Read the article I wrote on Dealing with the Dominant Dog.

You have made a big mistake putting the dog crate in your child's bedroom. Allowing a doglike this to even enter a bedroom is as bad as it gets. Pet owners really misunderstand this.

It's time to do some serious obedience training with this dog and doing what you are doing is not going to cut it. I train with treats, but with dogs like this you must use firm corrections for every example of aggression. Read the article I wrote on the Theory of Corrections in Dog Training.

Trading treats for toys is OK in the learning phase of training, but the dog must go through the correction and distraction phase. With dogs like this I use a Dominant Dog Collar - it works better than a prong collar.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

The only thing you have accomplished with the treat issue is to teach the dog that it should give up a toy when told. Now it's time for the correction phase. In other words, when it will not release the item the dog needs a firm corrections. Using the collar and leash - simply lift the front feet off the ground after saying NO!

What I would do is get one of the wire muzzles. Get the Basic Obedience video and Dominant Dog DVD. Then start working this dog. He can not hurt you with a muzzle on, but you can still give him small treats through the muzzle in the learning phase.

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Question about Dominant Behavior:

I was introduced to your wonderful site per the Doberlist to which I belong.

I own a male Doberman (from very good German lines) who is now 2 years old, (all 40kgs of him). Could you please offer me some advise as he very often attempts to mount my daughter (10 years) as well as most women who come to our home as well as my daughter’s friends, both male and female.

This is to my mind an attempt to dominate and I would not favor having him castrated, I am also aware that males (he is my first male) have terrible sex drives at this age. He never attempts to mount me, as I am his 'boss.'

Would it be advisable to put him into a 'down' when this occurs, or to banish him to outside once reprimanded with a firm 'no'? I have asked anyone who he attempts to mount to walk backwards which then 'throws' him off the person. Would you have any advise regarding putting him a down for other occasions too, when not wearing a leash, he does have a collar on permanently. He will go into a down but as soon as I turn my back he will break the stay. Any advise and ideas please.

Regards,
Adele
Cape Town, South Africa

Answer:

You are correct that this is a dominance issue.

It is also evident that your dog is not fully trained (he gets up when you turn your back).

If this were my dog I would tell him "NO" in a firm voice, if he did not obey I would strongly correct him (either with a prong collar but more than likely a dominant dog collar) Many times a prong collar correction on a dog like this over stimulates the dog into aggression. (redirected pain aggression) This does not happen with dominant dog collars. I would also have the dog wearing a drag leash so I could instantly correct the dog.

This dog would learn that this is 100% unacceptable behavior and your corrections need to be firm enough that this dog understand that it will not be tolerated.

It is obvious that what you have been doing has not created a lasting impression on the dog - because he still continues to mount people. You need to jack it up about 10 levels and teach this dog to mind.

The fact is if it were my dog it would not be allowed near strangers . In other words I would send it to his dog crate when someone came over. If he did this with family members then he would quickly learn the value of the command NO!

Another part of this problem is the dog is going through maturity. Combine this with not enough training and you have this problem.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

You would also want to consider the DVD I did titled Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs. Obedience training is only part of the solution. Pack behavior training is the second part and it cannot be ignored.

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Question about Submissive Urination:

Hi Ed,

We recently adopted a 2-year old female husky mix from a local shelter. Denali displays submissive urination whenever she is verbally corrected (not screamed at). This usually happens with me, and not my wife or older kids.

While working on obedience training, any type of correction (verbal or physical with choke collar) causes her to urinate. I praise her consistently and keep her in my company as much as possible to strengthen our bond. I'm planning to purchase your Basic Dog Obedience video, but I'm wondering if the SU problem should be addressed first, and just how to go about it. I've read many articles on SU, and have taken the steps necessary to correct the problem, or so I thought. Your expert opinion is greatly appreciated!

Regards,
Adam

Answer:

This is a result of weak nerves. It's a pain and requires patience to correct. Constant praise etc etc works to an extent. But unless the work is correct it is never a solution.

But the bottom line is that a dog like this gains confidence by doing what it knows is the right thing to do. So it MUST go through a obedience program. Train the dog outside - it solves the clean up problem. Don't pet the dog until 30 minutes after you come home. Use a dog crate and all of your interaction with this dog should be done outside.

If the obedience is correct and the praise is correct and the corrections are fair the dog will learn. When the dog learns what is expected of it then it's confidence goes up. Then the pissing stops.

Dog training is not rocket science - dogs like this respond to correct obedience with corrections. They learn quickly because their nerves are so weak that they seek the path of least resistance. They don't want to feel stress so they do things that eliminate stress. You just teach them that you can be a stress maker if they don't mind you. In other words the training must be clear - it must be black and white. In other words - do what I ask and I will praise you - disobey me and I will correct you and stress you. Dogs will learn this very quickly. The key is being consistent.

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Question about Aggressive dog Behavior:

Hi Ed,

I have helped a friend who has a 5 year old Bichon go through basic obedience.

We can do long sit and down stays inside and outside and at shopping malls. The dog also walks well on a leash. The problems she has is that first the dog was not letting anyone in the house. I solved this problem. But he goes nuts when people want to leave to the point of snapping and lunging.

I tried to desensitize him with food away from the door, sits and stays away from the door when people are leaving. It’s crazy how this is the last step to correct and he will be fine. He is also a soft dog 99% of the time and has already had nut job trainers hitting him and correcting him. I have only used pos. reinforcement with him and he responds well to praise. What do I do about the door thing, any good tips?

Thanks,
Judd

Answer on Dog Being Aggressive When Guests Leave the Home:

This dog is dominant. It lacks respect for his owners, in other words it does not respect them as pack leaders.

It is not that uncommon for dogs to become aggressive when people leave the home. These dogs need serious obedience training that emphasizes pack behavior control.

Get my 4 hr DVD Basic Dog Obedience and my DVD titled Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs

Purely motivational methods of training are never going to fix this dog.

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Question on Jumping:

Hello, I have been looking at your site and have a question. My girlfriend bought a German Shepherd Puppy and it is now around four months old. We are having a problem with him destroying potted plants. We try and discipline him but he does it again. We think it is out of spite, and we would like to know a way to correct this. I read one of your articles and you said that if a puppy tries to stand over a child when he is lying down that we should be very careful with the puppy. There is one other problem, the puppy jumps up on everyone, I do what I've been told to do you push him off and correct him.

But it does not seem to work. One day her seven-year-old boy was playing outside and kneeled down on the ground well the puppy jumped on him and in the process of her boy getting up the puppy's teeth cut the boy's ear. Sad to say this has happened twice the same way and ear in the same spot does this mean anything. I need to know because the whole family is very upset with the puppy and are ready to call it quits. Should they or should they give the puppy more time. I would really appreciate your advice. Thank you.

Answer:

These people need to learn how to train a dog:

1-Get a dog crate and put it in the house - use it. The dog cannot dig in plants if it is in the crate. It will not dig in plants if you are watching it.
2-I explain in my video Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.
how to condition a dog to bitter apple. DO that and spray it on the plants - it will solve the problem.
3-It takes me about 10 minutes to stop a puppy from jumping. Pinch his toes when it jumps. {inch until it screams and use the command OFF - not DOWN (if you use DOWN you will have problems training the down later).

You can also use a squirt bottle or squirt gun (have a bunch of them laying around the house within easy reaching distance (if the kids play with them they get told one time that these are not toys). When the dog jumps – squirt it right in their face. After the dog has been squirted a few times it will not jump when it sees the bottle in your hand so you will have to hide it behind you and try and entice it to jump up - when it does squirt it again. Explain this to friends and have them do it when they come too.

My personal feeling is that pinching the toes is far more effective and quicker.

It sounds like this is a nice puppy with handler problems - handlers that do not know how to train a dog. Get a couple of tapes, a prong collar, a dog crate and learn what you have to do to make this animal a part of the family.

Here are the DVDs:

I would recommend the video I have produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. I give this video to all of my puppy customers and never get questions on how to raise a pup. Read the description of the tape on my web site.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

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Question about Garbage Eaters:

Hello. I know that you have a lot of mail so I'll try to make this as short and sweet as I can. We have a 6 month old male, black lab and golden retriever mix pup. This dog loves garbage!!! He refuses his dog food even after several brands have been tried. We have tried every thing. Taking trash out before we leave the house, tying him up, putting gates up so he can't get into certain rooms and the cage. Nothing works. He chews through the leash, destroys the room he is in and jumps the gate and gets out of the cage!

Friends have said to use a muzzle but we really don't want to do that. To make matters worse he poops & pees all over the house. And I mean all over. Any room he can get his butt into is fair game!! He gets his normal walking everyday. And I always walk him before I leave the house in hopes that an empty bladder and bowels will stop his party. It never works. Dublin is never alone for more than an hour at a time. What do I do? He really is a great dog and he is so good with our children. My husband says that it is time to find him another home. That is not an option to me. But if Dublin doesn't get it soon my husband is going to do it... Any suggestions that you have would be a great help. We have consulted with our vet and he suggested the cage and said Dublin would grow out of it....? Thank you for reading this.

The Chartrands

Answer:

This is not a difficult issue. Here is what needs to be done:

1-Get a metal dog crate and use it. Clip the door of it closed with dog leash clips.

2-Obedience train the dog so it understands that there are RIGHT AND WRONG things in life. If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

3-Put mouse traps, or RAT traps in your garbage under a piece of paper. The dog must learn that there are consequences to sticking his nose in the garbage can - yes it will snap him - no it will not hurt him that bad. When you consider the fact that your husband wants to find him a new home - a good lesson with a rat trap will create a lasting impression on him about garbage. So the alternative is giving the dog up.

4-Switch this dog to an all natural diet - rather than the crap commercial food you are trying to make him eat. Get the little $9.00 book we sell on Natural Nutrition in Dogs and Cats. You can read about it in my list of books on my web site. It's a great book. Your dog will eat what you give him and be happy - it seems you like him - then feed him good food.

5-Leave the dog with a giant Kong with peanut butter or crème cheese in it (or a big cows knuckle bone) when you leave him in the crate. This gives him something to do.

Leashes and child gates never work when you are gone - especially with young dogs - they are not stupid. They figure out how to get around them. Muzzles are just as stupid. This will not solve anything other than make the dog neurotic. He may get more destructive rather than less because he is frustrated.

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Question about Dog Not Listening:

I just want to say, like everyone else who logs in on your web site, how informative your site is. Just received your catalog the other day and I'm interested in purchasing a training video but don't exactly know which one I should order.

I have a 14 month old male neutered boxer that has gone through basic obedience classes with a passing grade. He has no problem with the "sit," "down," "stay," "leave it" commands but needs a little work on his "come" command.

A couple of behavior problems that I would like to take care of. The first one is that he gets very excited when we have guests around the house. He would respond with the "sit" and "down" commands but his excitement would get the better of him. I'll end up putting him inside his crate. I just want him to behave a little better around guests. The next problem just started happening about 2 months ago which I'm concern about. When he wants some attention or gets too playful he nudges at my hand and barks, growls and lunges forward at me. Telling him to "STOP" and "NO" excites him to bark, growl and lunge even more. In the house, the only way I can make him stop is to ignore him or tell him that I would put him in his crate if he doesn't stop. This he understands and he goes to a "down" position. But outside the house I have a big problem since he has more room the run away. I'm afraid that by ignoring him that would mean that he had won and start challenging me even more. I just don't want it to get out of control and to lead to more serious aggression.

So, what should or could I do and which training video would help me with these problems?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Dee

Answer:

I always like the e-mail that asks what videos should I buy, because my answer is always "ALL OF THEM" :)

I may be wrong but I don't think this dog is actually trying to be aggressive with you, I think he is probably playing. If he is bowing and wiggling his tail but dropping down with the front legs as he barks, then he is inviting you to play.

I would correct this dog with a serious correction. In my case I would make the dog wear a prong collar, (if you would like to read about these you can go to my web site. and see what I have written), and a street leash. When it displays this behavior I would correct the dog and make it do some short obedience routines (sit, down, go into the heel position).

In your case I would use an electric collar, probably the Tri Tronics Companion (I have those on my web site too). If you go this way I would recommend that you get the training videos that teach you how to use the collars. You sound like you would be better served with an electric collar than a prong collar. It takes more skill and athletic ability to use a prong collar.

If you think you can handle the prong collar then get my Basic Obedience video.

I hope this helps.

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Question about Aggression:

We have a spayed female shepherd/lab mix named Sandy. We got her from these people at 1 year old, now she is 3. Every since we got our 7 month old husky puppy, Zoe, she has been acting weird. When we first got her, she ran away a lot, but was friendly to dogs. Now she runs away and picks fights. Her last fight we saw. We witnessed her in a yard and the dog that lived there sniffed her for a greeting and then Sandy just started fighting. She came home with a bitten ear and now she is starting to fight with Zoe, our puppy. Now we are afraid to keep her. What is going on and what can we do???

Answer:

You do not fit the definition of “a responsible pet owner.” Find a home for both dogs and get a house plant.

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Question about Dog Not Listening:

Hi, I have been reading your articles on training for about five months. I purchased a german shepherd puppy at the age of seven weeks old, he is now seven months old and just does not listen. He loves to be outside, but when he comes in the house he jumps on furniture, bites the kids, and basically just doesn't listen. I have taken him to puppy school and we are on level one obedience right now. I just don't know what to do with him. I don't want to leave him outside all the time I want a good house dog. My other shepherd was so good in the house. I was just wondering if this will get better as he gets older. I was thinking of sending him out to a private school for obedience.

Please help and let me know what to do, or do I just need to let him grow up and have patience with him.

Thank you so much,
Darleen

Answer:

You need to keep reading my web site.

Get a dog crate and crate train this dog. There is no excuse for a dog to act like this. It is not going to outgrow this behavior. The only thing that is going to change this behavior is training.

I am not a fan of sending a dog to a professional trainer. This only accomplishes one thing - it teaches the dog to mind the trainer. It does not teach the dog to mind you (no matter what the trainer tells you). Sending a dog out for training also does not teach you how to train the dog to mind you.

So get a dog crate, a prong collar, and the Basic Obedience tape that I sell and learn to train your own dog. You may be surprised by the results.

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Question about Dog Afraid of Leash:

I am hoping you can help me. My dog (miniature doberman) is a little older than 1 year old, we have never walked him. He has gone out a few times and has always run away. I would like to start walking him and taking him places on his leash. The problem is that he cowers when we put the leash on him and lays down. Is there something we can do to help him feel more comfortable?

Thank You!

Answer:

There are no secret tricks for this - you need to train your dog in obedience and then take him out and socialize him. The solution lies in the dog learning to mind you and knowing what to do when you give him a command.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

I would also consider a small prong collar for training – the dog has been trained (by you) to lay down and cower and that this action works. Now you must train him that this no longer works and that he MUST mind – and that playing all of these games will not work – the only thing that works is to be obedient. But to do this you must understand the steps of dog training. I don’t think it is a good idea to just go out and start whaling on the dog for not minding when it has not learned that it MUST mind. You need to know the principles of LEARNING, CORRECTION, PRAISE, AND PROOFING.

What you are trying to do is jump to the PROOFING stage without going through the other learning phases.

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Question about Aggressive Dog:

Hi Ed,

I would like to know what your opinion is on using an e-collar in my situation. My dog is 9 months old and is extremely people aggressive. He hates absolutely everyone but my husband and me. We got this puppy at 4 months of age. He's always been shy and a little strange around people. He got quite sick for a while, and ever since then, he's been very aggressive towards people. He will bark, growl & nip at anyone who even looks at him the wrong way. He's terrified of everyone he meets, especially children.

We sought the help of a holistic veterinarian who thought we might be able to help the problem using homeopathy, but as of yet, we've had no success. Although we haven't given up on the idea that this was either brought on or made worse by vaccinations or medication, we need to search for another solution in the meantime. Right now, the dog needs to be muzzled and on a prong collar if he is going to be near people. I am retraining him using your "Basic Obedience" video, and he's not flipping out on people who keep their distance anymore, but he still won't let anyone near him.

Some people I've encountered on your Discussion Board are encouraging me to use an e-collar on my dog. I've heard that you shouldn't use an e-collar on an aggressive dog, and was wondering if you could give me your opinion on this. I've had several people tell me that it isn't too late to change his behavior. You have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to things like this and I would very much appreciate your advice.

Thank you
Melissa

Answer:

I would not doubt that this is a reaction to vaccinations (it also could be genetic - but it sounds like a reaction issue).

This is a hard question without seeing the dog. It certainly is possible to use an e-collar to reinforce obedience commands. The important thing is to make sure the dog knows the correction comes from you. Do not fry the dog - keep the level down to the uncomfortable range - give a NO command and then stimulate the dog. He must learn that you control him - if you make a mistake and the dog thinks the correction or stimulation comes from the person he is being aggressive towards he will only get worse. So in the beginning use the collar correction in conjunction with a prong collar correction. That's how the dog figures out you are doing the correcting.

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Question about Separation Anxiety:

Hi. We have a 6 year old Chow named Otis. He's been a very sweet loving affectionate dog with no problems all his life until recently. We moved into a new house about 6 months ago. The first thing we did was get an invisible pet fence and collar for him. That works great. When we're not home we leave him in the basement. It's never been a problem before, but about a month ago he started chewing up the basement door and frame. So we looped the wire for the invisible fence around the door. Then he chewed up the stairs. We tried muzzling him, but he could get it off. I finally broke down and got a crate because I knew this was the only answer. Well, he freaks out about the crate! He chews up the metal door to the point that he broke off a tooth. I've tried giving him bones while he's in it, but he's never been interested in any kind of chew toys, bones, or treats. He seems to have horrible separation anxiety and won't let me out of his sight when I'm home. I'm at my wits end!!

Please help.
Cathy

Answer:

Once a dog like this has learned that escape is a viable option to being where he is you have a problem. I wish there were a simple solution - there is not. You could put a normal chain link kennel inside of the invisible-fenced area in your yard. Serious obedience training is also something that can work. By this I mean you really work to train the dog in obedience - it teaches the dog that there is a right and wrong in life. Some dogs make a connection to the escape mode and others do not.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

If he continues to chew out of the chain link kennel (after training) I would probably put the dog down.

Drugs are also an option but what kind of life is that?

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Question about Unusual Fear:

Hi - I've written to you before and you had some excellent advice regarding my dog Pokie. Previously, I wrote to you about my dog not giving my youngest son any respect and about his aggressiveness towards my cats. Well, the good news is that your advise worked well and everyone is adjusting much better.

However, Pokie has developed another problem that worries me. First of all, he is very attached to me and must see me at all times. Yet, he doesn't do destructive things when I leave the house, that's the good part. He is also an inside dog. He doesn't stay out long except in the morning when its cool and to eat his breakfast (maybe for an hour). Lately, however, he will not go onto the deck to eat his dinner. Last night (at 6:00pm), I had to pull him outside and then he panicked and tried to get in the house. I had to sit outside with him before he'd eat. He is scared to death when the neighbors are outside on their decks. If he hears talking, he refuses to go out even to go to the bathroom, unless I take him out on a leash. He has always enjoyed being with other dogs and I was wandering if he needs the companionship of another dog. Maybe he would not be so fearful if he had another dog that was more secure. (As a side note, he is very afraid of the dryer because he hates the beep at the end so he paces until it is done drying. Also, he is afraid and barks at nail gun noise from across the street, toasters, the washing machine, vacuum, all motorized lawn equipment, fireworks (if we are walking and he hears a loud bang, he panics and wants to go home), basically anything that makes noise.

I know that obedience training is a must for him (actually he listens very well to the whole family but he is very sensitive-he cowers if yelled at). Unfortunately, my husband is unemployed right now so purchasing another dog or buying your video will have to be delayed for a few months. I was just wondering if there are things we could work on with him until obedience training can be achieved. I really don't want another dog but I do want to do the right thing by him. I will even try and find another home for him that has a dog, if that is something you suggest. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sincerely,
Kathryn

Answer:

Kathryn, I really don’t think you would want to hear my thoughts right now. I had to wait for a few minutes to get the tears from my eyes because I was laughing so hard at your e-mail.

It is amazing how many dogs there are like this – a lot. Adding another dog is not the answer to this dog’s problems. The dog has ghosts in his head. Kind of like a Charles Manson without the violence. Training or adding other dogs are not going to make the ghosts go away. If you keep socializing the dog it may help but I doubt it.

If the problems continue to get worse you may have to consider euthanazing it.

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Question about Excessive Barking:

I just read your piece on the Internet about showing the dog lovers out there all the various methods of training their dogs to refuse food.

I am a person who lives next door to a couple of first class ass-holes who have a large dog that barks and barks and barks and barks. It barks at everything and it barks at nothing.

It barks all day long and all night long, and these two idiots tell me that there is nothing they can do about it. I can't afford hiring lawyers and suing people, and the police don't give a damn.

I don't expect a response at all, but I especially don't need to hear from another moron trying to explain to me WHY dogs bark. I don't give a shit WHY the goddamned dog barks. I just want it stopped, and I no longer care HOW it is stopped!

Quite frankly, I wasn't searching the Internet to find out how to PREVENT a dog from being poisoned. If I could avoid going to jail I would shoot the son of a bitch!

Why is it that these "dog lovers" can put so much effort into training their dogs to refuse food (and thus avoid poisoning), and yet they won't put ANY effort into training their dogs so they won't bark all goddamned night???

D.R.

Answer:

Why not go to my web site and print out the page on the Tri Tronics No Bark Collar. Give it to your neighbor and tell him if he does not buy this and use it you will call the police every time the dog barks. If the police don't do anything then call the DA. If they will not do anything then sue this person in small claims court.

I hate barking dogs. Just because I own a dog kennel does not mean I like to hear a dog barking. I have 10 of these no bark collars that go on dogs that need them every night.

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Question:

Mr. Frawley,

Two training questions for you, first the background. We've had our GSD, Kaiser, for going on two years. Vom Haus Glitzernstern supplied your 8 weeks to 8 months video with the pup. We've used that and your basic obedience video to develop Kaiser into an excellent house dog who loves to please. He has very strong drives and has worn a path around the perimeter of our property that he regularly patrols.

First question. We have a swimming pool that Kaiser is not allowed in; this was quick and easy to train with "PFUI POOL!." His drive to protect people, especially small children, from what he perceives as the danger of the pool leads him to attempt to "help" save by grabbing whatever he can of flailing arms and legs. On one occasion this summer he was so intent on saving people that he ran laps on the concrete around the pool for hours until his paws were raw. This has led to Kaiser not being allowed around the pool when we have guests. Can we train him to relax when we have guests?

Second question. In July we added two llamas to our little slice of Wisconsin. The introduction went fine, the llamas let Kaiser know that they did not want him to get too close and he quickly learned to respect that. In November we added two more llamas and Kaiser seems to have more of a drive to get out there and herd them which involves nipping at the llamas' legs. Today he drew blood on two of the llamas.

Sidebar: In early November my wife was hiking with Kaiser on the farmland behind our house. Kaiser ran five coyotes off a deer carcass and made it his own dinner; Erin called him off the deer as soon as she realized what he was doing. Could this have increased his drive to view the llamas as prey?

Thank you for your help, Mr. Frawley.
Sincerely,
Sean

Answer:

You are misreading your dog. The pool issue has nothing whatsoever to do with the dog wanting to save people in the pool. Its prey drive and he is going to bite someone.

The deer has nothing to do with the Llama. The Llama issue requires a shock collar. If you can afford it I recommend the Dogtra 1700NCP - if that is too much then get the Tri Tronics companion.

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Question about Dog Afraid of Loud Noises:

I meant to add this question to my last email training question....our 9 month old female Giant Schnauzer has developed a fear for traffic and loud trucks. Because we live in rural area, we rarely see traffic except for UPS or FED EX trucks. As of late, I have been taking her to our quaint downtown Main Street for walks in hopes of making her more comfortable with the loud noise. From the time we've had her at 4 months, we have expanded her "socializing" her via various situations such as car rides to town, road trips, kids, etc. so I'm not sure where this is coming from. Any suggestions? Am I making it worse by putting her in that situation? There hasn't been any direct negative contact with trucks to make her afraid that we are aware of. I do use lots of praise and ample amounts of treats during our walks downtown. Most dogs chase trucks, ours avoids them to the point where she almost starts to shake. I'm hoping she "grows out of it." Thanks for your thoughts.

Answer:

Just a weak nerves issue. You are doing the right thing. Try cooked liver - in the microwave with garlic - stinks like hell. Cut it up and use those as treats - makes dogs nuts. They forget their mothers when its around.

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Question about Crating and Jumping:

Dear Mr.Frawley,

I'm very sorry to disturb you because I know you are a busy man. I have your basic obedience DVD but now I have other problems with my dog. First of all I would like to thank you for the great job you are doing helping us with our problem and also for your time in reading this. My dog doesn't like to be in his cage, we have to pull him in the cage but I don't like doing this because it looks like cruelty to animals. What can I do about this? We let the dog out at night. When he was a young pup we made a mistake by not socializing the pup. Another problem is he always jump on my family members but not snapping, he just jumps at you and runs away and then he come back and jumps at you again. I use the choke chain but it is still doing this (maybe it is not strong enough?). How to correct a dog the right way? My family members always push him away but he will come back again. Sometimes he would bite their leg. Is this a temperament problem or just being naughty? If he is out with me he won't do this stuff. How to solve this? We don't want to put the dog to sleep or give away the dog because I think the dog is not the problem just the owner is at fault. Thanks a million Mr. Frawley, please don't put my letter under LETTERS THAT ANNOYS ME section. Thank you.

Michael
Malaysia.

Answer:

This is a handler problem not a dog problem.

I would make this dog live in this crate ALL THE TIME until he was used to the crate. The only time he would come out of the crate would be when he ate, went for a walk or went outside. If a dog is in the crate it is pretty hard to jump on people. Feed this dog in the crate. The fact that he does not like being in the crate is not an issue. He will learn to live with it.

You do not train dogs like this with a choke chain - you train them with a PRONG COLLAR. When the dog is in the house he drags a line in the house so you can quickly grab it and give him a level 10 correction. Always say NO !!! before you correct him. Even if he gets down off the person when you verbally correct him you need to go to the dog (even if he runs away) take the drag line and give him a hard correction. The dog needs to learn that he will be corrected if he jumps, he needs to learn that even if he gets off after jumping he will get corrected. This is called being consistent in your training.

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Question about Aggressive Barking:

Our male 10 months old GSD was standing up on our couch barking loud and hard out the window at a white plastic bag which was floating around in the wind. I tried to stop him and pull him down from the couch put he turned on me as if fighting with another dog and just touched me a few times with his teeth but did not bite hard but it was a bit of frenzied attack, he would not come down on command. So I tried to pull him down, and this was a bit of a shock to me because, I thought I had established his place in the pack. I always make him move and never step over him. I eat before him and feed him after me, I make him sit and I go through doors first. He really does know his place and this incident really surprised me. What should I have done to get him down, is there some technique I could have used or was it just a case of not letting him up there to bark in the first place. He never gets to sit up there or anything. He just saw the moving bag and jumped up, I pulled him down and there you have it he attacked. Please help because I have every book and video on the market including yours, and I really want to get this right,
Kim

Answer:

This was a knee jerk reaction when the dog was in high drive. It is the same as a young dog that is in the early stages of protection training - barking at the helper and the handler touches his side to praise him. The dog turns and bites the handlers hand - it is purely a reflex in drive.

I would have grabbed the dog and tossed him across the room - but then I am 6'1" and weigh 210 pounds. You could have screamed NO!! NO!! NO!! as loud as you could and taken him down. If he did not mind, you could have tossed an empty waste basket at him. That way he would not have bitten you but rather the basket. Once the dogs attention is broken he will return to normal.

The fact is you have not fully trained the dog - he is not minding under distraction. Get a prong collar and do what I show in the Basic Dog Obedience.

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Question about Aggression:

Hello,

I have a question in regards to my 1-year old Aussie (maggie). Her name is Maggie. Can we help her? I will try to keep this brief but help you understand her behavior the same.

Maggie was brought into our home at 12-weeks, she was/is very shy. We went through obedience classes with flying colors, although the social end didn't go so well. Maggie would show her teeth at the other dogs and sometimes growl, she would flip over on her back when people try touching her and growl at them. Now she loves other animals but she lunges at any kids (not us) that came near her. She growls at the vet and almost any new person that enters our home.

We continue to work on this behavior but we just can't seem to get a handle on it. I've spoke with the breeder, the only answer she has is that maybe the neighborhood children are teasing her. I also spoke with a different breeder who suggested we put her down because it sounds like something mental.

I know this is brief, but knowing this little, is there still hope?!?

Thanks,
Lori

Answer:

Both breeders are wrong.

Your breeder is either inexperienced or giving you a line of BULL. The dog has genetic temperament problems. The issues are not because any child did something to the dog.

The second breeder is just flat inexperienced and stupid – please pass this on for me. It is not necessary to put dogs like this to sleep. It is necessary that the dogs be in the hands of a responsible person. You need to get a dog crate and use it. You need to control the environment that your dog is in.

There is no need for me to ever allow a person to pet my dog. In fact, I do not allow it. If you allow it then this is a owner mistake and not a dog mistake. I also do not allow my dogs to come in contact with children (unless the children are part of the family and the dog knows and likes them). Why would a dog have to come in contact with a child? There is no reason UNLESS you allow it to happen. If a child gets bit this is not a dog problem it’s a people (owner) problem.

Too often people just don’t have the information that is really common sense. If your dog is trained you should be able to send it to the dog crate when you wish. Now this does take training but it's not rocket science. When people come over send the dog to the crate. When people try and pet your dog tell them, “Please DO NOT TOUCH MY DOG – she has issues with strangers.”

Odds are your dog needs distraction training. If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

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Question about Aggression Towards Kids:

Hello,

I was just searching your web site. and I was greatly impressed about your knowledge of dogs and your willingness to help people with problems they face with their own dogs. This is exactly why I am writing you. I seem to have a problem with my parents 9 month old purebred female Akita. I am not sure how much knowledge you have of this breed but from what I can tell on your web site, you definitely know more about dogs than I do. Here is the problem:

At this moment in time, myself and my 3 year old son reside at my parents house who has an Akita who is now 9 months old. They have had her ever since she was 6 weeks old. My son and I have been living at my parents house since they have had this puppy. My parents don't really understand that this puppy is just that - a puppy. They treat her like she is a little kid ( for example, the puppy really has run of this house). I have tried to explain to them that this puppy really needs to be put in her place and be treated like a puppy and not like a human being. Don't get me wrong I understand that she is part of the family but they take it to the extreme. This puppy doesn't listen to anyone, doesn't come when called (they have to coax her by either whistling or pretending they have a treat in their hand to get her to come to them), darts out the door when she has her leash on (she goes to a doggie daycare 4 days a week), and the most important of all (and the reason I am composing this e-mail to you) she has shown either aggression or dominance (really don't know how to determine which one she has) towards my 3 year old son. We now have to keep my son away from this dog permanently because we really don't trust her enough from biting him. The way we keep him away from her is that we consistently tell him to "leave her alone she is very tired" and when the puppy is by someone else in the house and my son is also their with them, the person has to shelter the dogs nose and face from my son's because we really don't know what would happen if we didn't. She has previously nipped a little boy while she was lying down by my mother and she has also growled and jumped on my 5 year old nephew while she was eating. My son rarely gets to pet her or even play with her anymore and he is a boy who absolutely loves dogs. My son and myself have a purebred German Shepherd who is absolutely wonderful with him and it is hard for him to distinguish the difference between my dog and the Akita. The German Shepherd is not in the same house as the Akita, she is in a different city right now.

So basically my dilemma is how do we get control of the situation or is it even possible with the puppy. Are there things we can do to minimize this behavior in her or is it to late? She is just fine with the other members of the family. She just seems to be this way towards my son. Now she does make an effort to go up to him and not totally avoid him but we still tell him to leave her alone. I would be very interested to hear what your suggestions are on this situation.

Thank you for any advice you can shed on this. I anticipate your response.

Gloria

Answer:

This is a people problem not a dog problem.

Unless your parents are willing to make some changes there is little you can do.

Here are the issues:

1- This dog should be kept in a dog crate

2- It needs to be trained (with a prong collar). If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience DVD. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

3- If your parents will not do this – then you either have to move out or you need to find a new home for the dog because it is going to hurt your son.

4- You can train this dog as well as they can. Take the bull by the horns and train it.

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Question about Dogs on Furniture:

I read through your site and got a great deal of information. You addressed the problem of dogs jumping on the furniture when you are around and we don't have a problem with that, save rare occurrences of putting a paw up to get attention and we correct that. Our problem is when we leave the house at least one of the dogs and probably both think that the furniture is fair game. We have come home and discovered the one dog on sofas and chairs and even leaping onto the coffee table before leaping to the floor. She KNOWS she's been "caught." How can we enforce the rules when we are not home to see the behavior?

Thanks,
Julie

Answer:

Buy two dog crates.

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Question about Food Aggression:

Thank you for taking the time to read my question. Here is a little background.

My name is Dannie and I live with my husband and our 1 and a half year old son. We have a golden retrievor named Dawson that is 2 and a half. We have been trying to train him out of a food aggression problem since he was 6 months old. We have seen 4 different dog trainers and have tried a number of different techniques. I have read your web site and can tell you a few things that we are doing right and a few things that we're probably doing wrong. He is not allowed on beds or furniture. He never gets people food. He doesn't get any toys in the house because he started getting aggressive over his rawhide bones as well. He does become pretty pushy when he wants attention when we're busy. I think he uses hyper ness to try and get away with dominant behavior.

The training we are doing right now (which doesn't seem to be working all that well) is that we have isolated him to a bedroom upstairs and the upstairs hallway. The trainer said we needed to establish boundaries so we have done this. He is obeying the boundaries without any gates but he gets pretty hyper when we come upstairs and still seems to be trying to get away jumping, mouthing, etc. The food training we have been doing is putting a leash on him and calling him away from his food. We usually need to give the leash a little tug and he will come. We praise him when he comes away happily wagging his tail which he usually does. However, if I step towards him and touch him when he is eating he will freeze and will sometimes snarl at me. At this point he is brought back to his room and put into his crate. We have been doing this for about a month now (3 days a week so he's not starving as a result of being taken away from his food) and I am not seeing any change in his behavior. I did read the section on your web site that said this is a problem that you would not necessarily try to correct. However I do feel that we are being somewhat negligent in allowing a dog to remain in the house with a young child without correcting it. Right now we only feed the dog after our son is in bed. But I would rather fix the problem than accept this as a solution. Do you have any other suggestions for things that we could be doing to try and work with this dog. Thanks again for your time.

Dannie

Answer:

Emails like this point out how little most people who call themselves dog trainers or behaviorists really know. You have seen 4 people and none seem qualified to be called professional trainers.

Your problem is a serious problem. What you have been told to do is foolish but then you have already found that out because it does not work. Think about what you have been told to do - a dog is aggressive around his food because it is concerned that the food will be taken away from it. You have been taking the food away by calling the dog away from his food. This only confirms his concern that he is going to lose his food.

Food aggression is something that needs to be dealt with when people have kids. Many people think that "DEALING WITH IT" means doing something that will no longer make the dog aggressive around food. That's not always possible. In fact, it is often beyond the scope of most dog owners. It can be trained out of almost all dogs but to do so requires more force and handling skill than the average pet owner can handle. So with that said the issue becomes "controlling the environment" that the dog lives in.

The first thing you need to do is to get a dog crate. If you are not willing to do this - you may as well find a new home for this dog before he bites you or your child.

From this point on the dog is never fed outside of the crate. Not ever. This includes allowing the dog to have anything to chew on (i.e. rawhides).

As your child grows it also needs training. The baby needs to be trained not to crawl on the dog. If you cannot do this then keep the dog in the crate at all times unless you have your eyes on the dog. Read the article I wrote on preventing dog bites in children. You can read about this on my web site in the list of training articles.

Your dog is not obedience trained. If it were you would be able to call it away from the food bowl. You cannot do this without a leash - therefore it is not fully trained. You need to train dogs like this with a prong collar. Get my Basic Dog Obedience Training video and learn how to train your dog under distraction.

You also need to read the article I wrote on dealing with a dominant dog and incorporate the day to day methods of living with a dominant dog. Not that your dog is that dominant - but when a dog pushes you for petting it's a form of dominance. My dogs are scolded for doing this. They only get petted when I WANT TO PET THEM FOR DOING SOMETHING I ASK THEM TO DO (i.e. sit). A dog that comes to you and noses you for a pet needs to get its nose slapped and told to go lay down.

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Question about Fear:

I have a one year old GSD dog that seems to get scared very easy around certain objects and things. As a pup he never showed any signs of fear towards anything but all of a sudden he started getting scared of even coming in the house. As a pup he would always be inside but as he grew I had to make him a outside dog. He also gets scared around large objects. I'm concerned because I did pay a lot of money for this dog from a respectable breeder, at least I think I did. He told me that it is just a phase he is going thru because of his age. He has good prey drive and is very friendly with people in any environment. I just bought your Grip and Focus video with Bernard Flinks, he is doing great, can this DVD help me or do you know how can I help him overcome his fears? Thanks for your time.

ANSWER:

What you describe is a dog with very weak nerves. It should be a concern.

It is possible for a dog to have prey drive and weak nerves. I see this a lot with Malinois.
Usually when these dogs grow up they will be very sharp dogs - some can be fear biters.

Dogs like this do respond well to obedience training. They like to be in an environment that they feel comfortable in. Training teaches them that DOING WHAT THEY ARE TOLD is a comfortable position to be in.

The drive work will help the dog - but its not going to change genetics. 99% of the time these problems are a result of a mistake in breeding. This does not make your breeder a crook - it only means he made a mistake. We all do that. The key is to admit it and never repeat the breeding.

I would focus on doing the work at your house and then when it is doing well in your back yard, start to take the dog to other locations and work it in drive in these locations. In the mean time, you need to take this dog everywhere - expose it to as many different environments as you can think of.

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Question about Dog Chewing Carpet:

HI,

I don't know if you can help me, but I don't know what to do. My husband wants to put my dog to sleep due to this.

I have a 12-yr. old Australian cattle/spitz mix, Lived in my current house 2 yrs. Have a Golden 4 yrs old. The dogs are kept in basement when we leave for the day or a short time (which is fixed up lower level carpet patio doors, dog beds, water). They are played with daily. I have no kids; they are my kids.

When moving in this house the 12yr old started licking/tearing the carpet. This house needed to have carpet replaced as the folks that lived here were not very clean to say the least (figured there was food embedded way down to the carpet pad.) I was not too upset knowing that all the carpet was to be replaced. He had done this in numerous rooms. I have never caught him tearing but have caught him licking on several occasions and told him NO! I am not a spanker of my animals. Well that carpets in all rooms have been replace. Floors cleaned prior to the new installation. We have had no problems till last night. We were gone for about 2 hours came back there was a hole (in the basement carpet where they are kept). My husband said if any new carpet was destroyed the dog will be destroyed. Is there any help for this!! He is planning on putting the dog down today. I can only find things on separation anxiety. I don't think this is totally separation anxiety as this hasn't happen in months. I told my husband that we should pen him (which I did today) but he says this is to inhumane since he has always has been some what loose.

Prior to this house the dogs were locked in the basement and had no problems with carpet licking/chewing. This house the dogs have been in 3 different rooms due to we have done extensive remodeling in this house. They have been in the basement about two weeks-they were down here when we first moved in for about 8 months and them we remodeled and replaced the carpet down there.

This dog is my baby. He has been with me through a divorce, death of a parent and many other things. I am so torn up over this. My husband knows how I feel but I don't think really cares as the dog is destroying what we have worked so hard to achieve. Do you have any advise?? How can I persuade my husband to give him another chance and we can pen him or put him in an area that doesn't have "good" carpet. Buy an old remnant??

Help?
Time is ticking tonight he is going to put him to sleep.

Please respond,
Joanne

Answer:

The solution is simple. Get a dog crate (actually 2 of them) and crate these dogs when you are gone.

They may not like it but tough!!! You made the mistake of overlooking this when it did it to the old rug – your mistake.

Problem solved.

Your husband seems to be a Tyrant. I would tell him he had better never plan on getting old with you because you will have him put to sleep.

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Question about Separation Anxiety:

Hello,

My name is Deanna and I have a question about the dog my fiance and I have. He is a two year old mix breed, possibly has Lab and Springer Spaniel along with something else in him. He weighs about 80 pounds and for the most part is well behaved when we are home. We got him when he was approximately 11 weeks old from the Humane Society in Menomonie. We made the mistake of not kenneling him while we are gone. We close off a back porch where he stays and put his kennel back there for him but never locked him in it. Then he began scratching on our dry wall about 6 months ago and recently began tearing up our flooring while we are gone. We have been doing some reading and think he may have separation anxiety. We have called other dog trainers and obedience schools and have had bad luck along with some rude remarks. We started putting him in his kennel and locking him in it but yesterday he chewed his way out of it. We bought a wire kennel for him hoping that will help a little. He also destroys anything you leave with him in the kennel. We will admit that like parents make mistakes with their kids, we have made a mistake with our dog and want to know what we can do to minimize or correct this problem. Any advice or help is greatly appreciated!

Thank you,
Deanna

Answer:

I would do several things:

1- Start some serious obedience with this dog – use a prong collar. The dog needs to 100% understand right from wrong and that there are consequences for doing the wrong thing.

2- I would make darn sure the wire cage door is clipped shut with a snap off a leash so he cannot bully his way through it if he pushes hard.

3- The dog would live in the crate when you are home for long periods of time – this would become his home. He comes out when YOU TAKE HIM OUTSIDE.

4- Leave a radio on for the dog when you are gone.

5- Give him something to do in the crate when you are gone – a cows knuckle bone or a Kong with crème cheese in it.

6- If he continues to be stupid I would get a NO BARK collar – I only like the Tri Tronics models we sell – I use these in my kennel. He would wear it when I was gone because my guess is he is barking when he is acting stupid in the crate. If he throws a fit with this on – so be it. That’s his problem not yours.

7- There is a possibility that the dog would need to be trained with an electric collar – this would be used on a low level NICK setting when you were home and he was being stupid in the crate.

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Question about Dog Destroying Plants:

Hi Ed,

I have purchased several of your training tapes and everything is going well except for one problem. Our dog (a 6 month old brindle boxer with a wonderful temperament) loves to rip down and play with plants my wife has planted in our yard. He loves corn stalks, decorative ears of corn etc. We have big fenced in yard and let him run around by himself although we are always home when we do. This usually happens during the day when my kids are at school, although my wife is home. He may be bored and I’m sure some of the flowers seem like a wonderful salad to him, but is this just because he is a puppy and will grow out of it or is there something we can do other than being outside every minute of the day with him?

Thanks!

Mitch

Answer:

The only solution is to get a bunch of toys that the dog will find more interesting than your plants. We sell some that will work just fine. You can also toss out empty milk jugs with rocks in them – use your imagination and remember to pick items that will not hurt him if he chews them up. You can see out toys on our web site.

If this does not work – then build a outside dog run – use patio blocks for the base so he cannot dig – if I had only one dog it would be 10 feet by 10 feet. I had an article on my web site to show ours here – how we used vines and a trellis to hide the two we have. I accidentally deleted it but I just found the photos and need to redo it. But the point is you can make them good looking.

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Question about Separation Anxiety:

I'm pretty much at my wits end. I'm what I would consider an experienced dog person; my age, my life, etc.

I have a foster Golden; 6 yr old, SF...she came to me with some serious issues. She is storm phobic, has "separation anxiety", etc. etc. A behaviorist nightmare.

If left outside longer than she wishes, she will rip the siding off our house. The timing can be five minutes, or fifty...the trick is figuring out how long is too long...letting her in BEFORE the behavior starts.

She has a crate issue...she CAN jump a crate clear across a room; has broken teeth from fighting a crate. So crating isn't a first choice, but I can do it. While very well housebroken, she will have moments of panic, which is when she apparently shreds our blinds. Came home today to find the mini blinds shredded, where she apparently jumped on a chair to do. Two weeks ago, it was the blinds in our bedroom.

She escaped from our house one day, thru a window I had left cracked open...was missing for five days. All these incidences are rain related...NOT T-storm related!!

I have a DAP, which usually seems to work fairly well. The dog is also on antripylene and melatonian. We do NILIF; her OB skills are good. I will not use a pinch collar on her, as she was tied up with one in the basement of her previous home.

This dog was somewhat dog aggressive when she first came to me, but that has really resolved...perhaps the NILIF, more confidence?

The barking, tearing at the siding is better...we've blocked most of the outside of the house from her...and tried to reward good behavior, and I usually(granted, not always) make her sit and stay before I allow her back in the house.

She can and will jump our yard fences; she can open our gates(they are all wired shut now). I do have kennel runs I could lock her in when I am at work, but with her panic attacks, I am afraid of what she might do...I really don't want to come home and find she killed herself. However; rain is forecasted for several days and I can't afford to replace all our blinds!!!

Any suggestions would be appreciated ...I didn't create this mess of a dog!!! But now I have to figure out how to fix her...I can accept I may never be able to place her, but I have to figure out how to live with her!!

Thanks!

Answer:

You are welcome to post to my web board. It has 5800 registered members and the board is very active.

I won't answer this because of your comment that you will not use prong collars – to me it indicates a people problem as much as a dog problem. Dogs like this need a prong collar and electric collar and sound obedience.

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Question about Tail Chasing:

Hi Ed,

Quick question. I have a 18 week pup GSD from Germany and he is always chasing and biting his tail and I'm not sure if this is play or something else going on. I have even switched his food to Fromm Nutritional 4 star food, having read once that this could indicate an animal protein deficiency. I don't know how grain based this food really is, but I'm hoping it's better than the Royal Canine he was on which he was getting yeast in the ear on. What are your thoughts on this? Many thanks.

PS: Great DVDs you produce.

Answer:

We just had a thread on this on the web board – I assume you are a member.

Cindy and I have a female Malinois right now that we got from another breeder. Raising her in the house – trying to spend as much time as possible with her. This can be, and is, a hard thing to cure and solve. There is no ONE SOLUTION – I am copying Cindy into this email – if she has something to add she will contact you, or you can contact her.

I wish there was a pat answer to this. There is not. It can be neurological, it can be an immune issue, it can be a genetic issue – I can't tell you.

I can say that I would not vaccinate this dog again, I would have it on an all natural diet and I would be talking to the lady that Cindy deals with on our dogs.

Don’t just accept this behavior, I used to think you CORRECT THE DOG OUT OF THE BEHAVIOR – given my experience with our dog here, I was wrong.

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Question about Barking:

Dear Ed,

I'm using your basic dog obedience DVD for our five month old GSD. I love your training methods.

Here's the problem. He is running and barking at the door whenever he hears the key or doorbell. I think he has weak nerves because his bark is fast and sometimes the hair stands up on his back. I have a prong collar that he wears on walks. I want this behavior to stop. Please let me know the proper way to handle this.

Thank You,
Patti

Answer:

That may be premature to declare weak nerves over.

Teach the dog that he gets a great piece of food when he goes to the crate – when you have this down pat with a voice command I.E. CRATE – then give that command and ring the door bell at the same time. Then the door bell becomes a command to go to your crate. Once the dog understands this 100% you can correct him for not doing it. To correct him before that would be counter productive.

Remember the RULE OF 30 that I talk about in my Basic Dog Obedience DVD

Good Luck

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Question about Jumping:

We have an 11month GS/rotti mix. She was a rescue and we have had her since she was 11 weeks old. She has completed basic obedience (prong collar was used) and did very well. I do, however, have one main concern in regards to training. When our dog meets new people, or our friends that she doesn't know well, she is relentless to get their attn. by jumping up on them and nipping at their hands and clothes. She has never hurt anyone, never even really nipped hard, but nonetheless it makes us and our friends anxious.

When she is doing this behavior, we instruct our company to ignore her to the best of their ability, and we verbally scold her, using the "NO JUMP"
command. If she does not stop immediately, we will grab her by her grab leash and put her down in the submissive alpha roll.

However, 9 times out of 10 she will do it again and again. She is not being aggressive or mean while doing this, she is usually very excited and happy. I don't want to be too harsh, but at the same time, my husband and I DO NOT want to have a problem adult dog on our hands either. In all other situations she is generally very submissive and well-behaved. She has been socialized since she was a puppy and has mastered her walk. Basically, I want to know if you have any suggestions in regards to getting her to stop jumping and nipping on our friends and new people. I keep on having other dog owners telling me that it's not normal for an 11 month old dog to still nip at hands and clothes so the older she gets, the more serious my concerns are.

Sincerely,
Erica
SB, California

Answer:

There are several things that jump at me from this email.

1- ALPHA ROLLS are a dangerous dangerous thing to do. Never ALPH ROLL an adult dog. I cannot tell you how many people I have known who have been badly hurt when their dog attacked them as they tried to ALPHA ROLL their dog.

Training adult dogs not to jump up is different than training a puppy. With adults it becomes a simple obedience issue. The dog is told NO and if it does not stop it gets corrected. The correction needs to be done with a leash and prong collar. The level of correction needs to be hard enough that the dog remembers it the next time it thinks about jumping up. The handler must also be consistent and correct the dog EVERY TIME IT JUMPS. So the dog knows that "if it jumps on a person it is going to get corrected."

Some people cannot correct at a hard enough level to create a lasting effect on their dog. Those people need to train the dog with an electric collar. With that said the electric collar should not be used while jumping as the dog may think the person who its jumping on was the source of the discomfort. Some dogs will then bite. The collar should be used in basic Obedience and the owner should set up levels of distraction in training to use the collar on. Distraction training is covered in my Basic Dog Obedience DVD.

What works with a dog is to use the electric collar to train the dog to go into his crate ( I assume you crate train your dog - if you don't then you should) The training involves teaching the dog to go to the crate for food when you give the CRATE command toss food in. Then when the dog knows the command, add the door bell to the command. Its OK at first to have the crate near the door.

If the dog refuses (because the distraction is too high) then give a NO command and use the collar and a long line that is strung through the crate to force it to the crate. ALWAYS give a verbal NO when a dog refuses to follow a command that you know it knows. The goal of electric collar training is to teach the dog to mind and that THE HANDLER IS THE SOURCE of the electricity. The goal is to teach the dog that you can always reach out and touch it.

If the training is correct the dog will develop a healthy respect for the word NO. When it jumps on people give a NO command. The dog will put 2 and 2 together when you have done the foundation training properly.

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Question about Neurotic Dog:

I have a Dalmatian who is 8 years old. I think she's fairly neurotic and she's been neutered. She has dug holes into our carpet and I don't know what to do. If you give her a bone she tries to bury it in the carpet as well. This results with a bloody nose and blood all over the house. Please help!

Thanks!
Heidi

Answer:

Get a dog crate and crate this dog. This is not rocket science. If I had a dog that did this it would NEVER BE LEFT ALONE – every time I had to take eyes off the dog she would be in the dog crate.

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Comment about Spinning Dogs:

Hi –

I came across your site and read your response to question #10. I wanted to tell you about my experience. My husband and I “rescued” a female German Shepard. She came from Germany to the United States and had been placed in quarantine for some weeks. She is a “soft” dog and quarantine and who knows what else really did some emotional damage to her. When she finally arrived at our house, after her previous owner brought her to our vet to be euthanized because he could not deal with her behavior, she was approximately a year old. She was not housetrained, had self-mutilated the very end of her tail resulting in a surgery to remove the tip of her tail, and spun in circles. She was also very sweet and gentle which struck me considering her experiences. We easily housetrained her and her tail healed, however, her spinning was INSANE. I really felt frustrated and concerned that we would not be able to break her of this. I wanted to let you know, however, that we have for the most part. I am sure what we did was not a professional trainers way as we have had no experience with dog training or trainers. Whenever she started to spin we would go to her, touch her, and say no spinning. Once she stopped, we would praise her. When we left the house we would leave her in a crate. The spinning started to lessen and all we had to say after a couple of weeks was no spinning and she would stop. Now, after a year, she spins very rarely and if she does start easily and quickly settles down once we tell her no spinning. She is a wonderful, gentle, loving dog and I am grateful that she is part of our family. There is hope for some spinning dogs.

Thanks!

Sincerely,
Lisa

Ed's Response:

Good work on your part. You can be proud of what you did. When I have seen this in dogs at my kennel I used verbal commands to STOP too. It works for me too.

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Question about Dog Aggression:

I've signed up for your message board, but as it takes a few days I wondered if you could get me started in the right direction.

Our European bred Shepherd will be five months old on the 14th. We got her at 3-1/2 months. We are doing well socializing her with people, but when she sees another dog, she strains and lunges with all of her strength to get over to them while barking VERY loudly and aggressively.

Our trainer (who uses many of your techniques similar to your puppy video - but differs on this point), says to immediately let the dogs get together to say hello and they will move on to other business. (She is in puppy kindergarten - and will be in basic obedience in about a month.)

I will say that it works and is a quick fix in class - but I do not see this as a practical or permanent solution with strange dogs out in public. If we can do anything about her dog aggressiveness before she gets any older and stronger, I want to jump on it immediately. (She has not yet had her first heat, but without a doubt has a dominant nature.) Do you have any suggestions for us?

We have learned a great deal from your web site and videos and very much appreciate your help!

Sharon

Answer:

This may work in class but is a road to disaster on the street. You had better read the article I wrote on how to break up a dog fight without getting hurt if you plan on continuing this practice.

The dog needs to be trained with a dominant dog collar ( read about them on my web site in the equipment section) or a prong collar – I like the dominant dog collar better for this training. The dog needs to respect you as a leader. If it pulls like this it does not respect you. Pure and simple.

Tell the dog no: give the dog a correction. The dog makes the decision NOT TO MIND. Then give it a level 10 correction and when the dog backs off praise it with a calm confident pat – like saying OK YOU ACTED STUPID BUT I FORGIVE YOU NOW LETS GET ON WITH LIFE.

A simple concept that the dog understands. You were fair with the dog, you warned the dog with a voice and a normal correction – then you came down on her like a thundercloud dropping 1” hail. This is very clear for the dog to understand. Its black and white.

I also recommend my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience

Also read my philosophy on dog training.

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Question about Dog with Bad Habits:

Hello - I just adopted a 1 1/2 year old German Shepherd from the German Shepherd Rescue in Las Vegas. He is awesome! He gets along great with my other dog, and he is getting along with my cat very nicely. But we have 1 problems that I can not seem to fix or train out of him. The vet suggested to crate train him, and I have mixed feelings about that. Our other dog is not crate trained and he does just fine. The bad habits is that at night he grabs anything that I have left on the counter, not my husband and rips it to shreds. Last night he shredded my lunch box, the night before he was sleeping with my purse. The night before that I was using my husband's cell phone and as soon as I put it down he grabbed that. I do not get it. I think he might be board, but I have 3 treat balls, 3 raw hides, 2 stuffed animals, 3 ropes and many other toys inside just for the night time when the problem occurs. I do not know what to do. During the day it is not a problem it is only at night when I am sleeping in my bed room with my husband and he and my other dog is sleeping in the kitchen area. What do I do?

Thanks!

Answer:

Get a dog crate and use it. This is an owner problem not a dog problem. Your concerns about crates are unfounded and not correct.

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Question on Chewing:

Dear Ed,

I have 1 year old black lab. I live on farm and she chews on everything...I don't like the idea of having her chained up all the time but every time I come home from work she has brought stuff from the Machine shed out into the yard and absolutely tears stuff to shreds...even when the door is shut she finds things to drag out and chew on...how can I stop her from chewing on everything without chaining her up all day long?

Answer:

Chaining a dog makes them go crazy. Either get a dog kennel or keep the dog in a dog crate in the house – or find it a new home. There are no other options.

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Question on Behavior Problem:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I have purchased and watched both of your tapes (Puppies and Obedience Training) several times. I am having great success with training our 6 mo. old Lab (Jake) all because of your help. I am a great fan of yours.

I have one issue with which I really need help. Jake jumps up on the counter and looks for food. Though we are careful not to have anything within his reach, this is very annoying, especially since I am having so much success with training him in every other way. I'm wondering if part of the problem is our two cats, since he sees them on the counter. Do you have any suggestions about how I can train him not to do this? (He rarely jumps up on people...just the counter!) Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated.

Thank you again for making our first experience with a dog so rewarding.

Best wishes,
Cherie

Answer:

Thanks for the kind words.

I would first use a prong collar and a drag leash in the house.

But the fact is we train with remote collars. He would be conditioned to the collar and then trained. It would be done in one day. I guess it depends on which way you want to go.

I recommend that you visit my web site and read a training article I recently wrote titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING.

The reason I wrote this article was to help people understand how to motivate their dogs in training. Most people either use the wrong kind of correction or over correct dogs in training. I am not a fan of “force training” (although I most defiantly believe that every dog needs to go through a correction phase). By exploring corrections in training you will become a better dog trainer.

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Question on Dogs Running Loose:

Dear Ed:

I live in Shadow Hills, CA, a livestock/horse keeping area in northeastern Los Angeles City. This is a foothill area and there are lots of horse trails connecting through open areas. I have shown dogs, trained them, and bred a few litters so I understand the variations in the breed temperaments. I would like your opinion on this situation.

Last year we suffered a dog attack on our rabbits losing 20 animals. The dogs came over 2 fences onto our property. Within a few weeks our local property owners bulletin came out announcing that a local school for developmentally disabled children had lost several sheep, goats, etc. from their petting zoo. A local trainer of herding dogs lost 6 sheep and a neighbor lost 5 goats in the same night. These dogs were easily identified and since it was reported that 2 "husky" type dogs were responsible I called the Animal Control number to tell them that there had been 5 very large dogs in our yard, 2 purebred huskies, 2 obvious crosses, and a huge tan husky/Akita looking mix. Our young Pyrenees was unable to drive them off (2 of them were larger that she was). They were very aggressive, we were unable to drive them off until we came out with a rifle. Animal Control told me that they had identified the owner, that she had 30-40 dogs and they had been removed from her property. We learned later that residents of the street backing up to the property where these dogs were kept had had most of their small pets killed over a period of several months. Repeated complaints to Animal Control were ineffective. During my call telling Animal Control that I could identify these dogs I was informed that the dogs responsible for the kills had been euthanized.

This year another rash of killing has erupted and after reporting this to Animal Control we were shocked to learn that they had allowed this owner to pay some fines and had returned all the dogs to her. None of the dogs were euthanized. None of the dogs were fixed, nor were they licensed, nor did she have a kennel license. No damages were paid for the dead animals. It turns out that this woman is connected to the police department as a forensic psychologist. She has also been breeding these dogs, crossing huskies (Mals or Siberians) with Great Pyrenees to increase their size. The dogs again killed all the new petting zoo animals at the school (including a mature 800 lb sow they missed the first time, and were coming into the yards of the people living on the street behind her and growling and snarling at them when they came out of their houses.

4 different Animal Control officers told us to shoot them on sight if they got into our yard. Since the police will then arrest us for discharging a gun within city limits I was pretty annoyed (although understandably the shoot, shut up and bury deep rule will be followed here). Now the City Attorney is having a hearing about her having too many dogs on her property - nothing about the vicious nature of the dogs. No one in the community was told about the hearing until we got involved. We have posted flyers around and hopefully will a good turnout at the hearing. The Animal Control people did not even have a map of the area which showed the proximity of her property to all the open area. From her property the dogs could access all points of our community with minimal exposure on public streets.

In addition to breeding Great Pyrs with Mals/Siberians, this woman also has 7 Jindos which she keeps in a large enclosure. According to one officer, these dogs are essentially wild and even the owner cannot approach them. I have seen the photos taken by Animal Control and her dogs are "confined" in large chain link pens. These pens are chain link strung on poles in dirt, not concrete, and the Animal Control officer said that they were not secure.

It is my opinion (as well as that of the 6 Pyr and Husky rescue organizations) that all these dogs will need to be euthanized. The owner told Animal Control that all the dogs were sweet household pets. I realize this is an extreme example of bad ownership, but the actions of the Animal Control is puzzling.

What is your opinion on this situation and the disposition of the dogs?

Answer:

I don’t understand why you don’t get the media involved.

Why has someone not sued this woman? A lawsuit will result in her losing her home owner's insurance. Once this happens the banks get involved and with no insurance they will step in and make demands upon her mortgage.

Call your DA and Sheriff and tell them that you are getting the news media involved and will quote their lack of interest in the matter – find out EXACTLY how many animals have been killed. Do a survey and ask neighbors.

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Question on Corrections:

I am wondering if you can help me on a training issue?

I have a GSD out of Czech working lines and am not sure what the best form of correction for her is. I am told you can mishandle these bloodlines and cause the dog to become handler aggressive and later be taken to the ground by the dog. I do not want to mishandle her and cause her to be handler aggressive, or her to be scared of me or her to continue doing what she is doing. I want a dog to want to be with me, want to work for me, feel safe around me, and a dog that respects and loves me.

Here is the issue:

She is 4 months old. Sometimes when I am walking around the house she suddenly thinks I am the prey item and grabs my calf with full mouth rather hard, or any other body part she can get at the time. I grab her calmly behind the ears in the loose skin to remove her from my calf so that I can walk. When I do this she jumps back at me and bites me wherever she can and most time she draws blood. If I am reading her right she thinks I am playing rougher and she is acting out of prey/play. I am told by a trainer that I should continue to hold her by the scruff and put her in her crate no matter how much she screams. Also I am told by the trainer to grab her muzzle and put her in her crate. I have tried this a couple of times and this does not seem to be the right thing for this pup, it seems to make matters worse. She seems to respond much better with the “That’s Good” command as opposed to the harsher correction. What is the right thing to do with a pup like this at this stage of her life?

Thank you in advance.

Answer:

First I will tell you the people you have talked to on Czech lines need a lot more training themselves. What rubbish. You are always going to be exposed to people who offer advice on how to fix your dogs behavioral issues. The problem is that most of these people don’t have the experience to offer sound advice. I have a pre-written script I send people to make it easier to place some faith in my advice. It goes like this:

"Everyone has an opinion on how to train a dog – just ask you barber, your mailman and your neighbor”

The problem is very few people have the experience to back up their opinions. This results in a lot of bad information being passed out on how to deal with behavioral problems

Puppies play with litter mates with their mouths. When they move in with humans they need to learn that this is not appropriate. How you handle this determines a great deal in later life. Your job is to teach the dog that other things are more interesting prey items.

I recommend a couple of DVDs

Building Drive and Focus

How to Raise a Working Puppy

Basic Dog Obedience

You need the information in these DVDs to get off on the right foot.

I also recommend that you visit my web site and read a training article I recently wrote titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING.

The reason I wrote this article was to help people understand how to motivate their dogs in training. Most people either use the wrong kind of correction or over correct dogs in training. I am not a fan of “force training” (although I most defiantly believe that every dog needs to go through a correction phase). By exploring corrections in training you will become a better dog trainer.

By the way in the DVD I just released called Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs, we demonstrate with several puppies exactly how to handle this kind of situation.

Good luck with your dog and be very careful about who you listen to – so far you have gotten stupid advise. In 45 years of owning and training GSD's and having bred over 350 litters I have never seen a female that was as dominant and aggressive as you describe in your email.

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QUESTION:

Hello Mr. Frawley,

If you have time, I would appreciate your guidance with regard to our GSD. Belle is 5 years old, in excellent health, obedience and personal protection trained, and a loyal pet. Behavior wise we have one problem. Over the past 4 months she has become fixated on her tail. We have vet bills for Keflex and powder for treatment, we use a command or the nicker collar to stop her biting her tail, but cannot watch every single minute. Long story made short, she bites her tail until it bleeds. The collar to keep her from reaching her tail is intolerable and she hates it. Too big for inside and she lives with us. Bandaging results in a determined effort to tear off the bandage. When she is with us there is no problem. When she is in the yard or the run (all fenced) or when she is alone in the home and we are gone, she is at the tail. She is a beautiful dog, came from champion stock, we have her well trained. We really love this dog, but the tail biting is not getting better. Your guidance would be appreciated. Thank you.

Respectfully,
Mary Ann

ANSWER:

Has anything changed for this dog in the last 4 months?  This kind of obsessive compulsive behavior usually doesn’t just pop up out of the blue.  It’s a sign of anxiety and frustration, and the dog vents and displaces the anxiety on one of their own body parts, most often the tail.

If she has never done this when left alone before the last 4 months then I would look into finding a holistic vet that practices classical homeopathy to treat the WHOLE dog, not just the tail chasing.  Many times neurotic behavior is merely a symptom on a much deeper underlying problem.   Vaccine damage is one of reasons for strange behaviors that pop up out of nowhere.

For information on vaccinations and the problems they cause please read our vaccinosis article.

I would also recommend these 2 books,  Shock to the System and Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats

For more information on natural health care and homeopathic treatment of your dogs (and cats) , I highly recommend Homeopathic Care for Cats & Dogs  and Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.

For now, exercise her more so she can burn her excess energy and don’t put her in situations where you know she is going to damage herself.

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QUESTION:

Mr Frawley I have a solid black female GSD 12 weeks old and I have ordered the videos you told me too for write now. I can't wait to get them. I had a problem just now and I need advise I have been making her sit before she gets her food and she has been on leash all times in the house and outside. I am thinking that I am the alpha male so far until I get your videos that might teach me different including your pod casts. She has came to me every time I have called her name at least 30 times straight without doing anything at all, but just now I had to go to the bathroom the same time she did and she was off leash in the fenced in backyard. I told her to come and it was like I didn't exist I went outside and started to walk toward her and was telling her to come calmly she ran from me?? So I went back inside and grabbed the leash and it has a little choke chain that hasn't been used on her yet at all and I finally cornered her and put it on her and told her to come with just a small  pull of the chain and she growled and turned and she tried to bite. She has never shown aggression or biting at all what happened or what should I do?????  PLEASE HELP ME....... I will be ordering more stuff tomorrow.

GREG

ANSWER:

It’s not possible for a 12 week old puppy to show true aggression, it sounds to me like she was fearful, confused  and trying to defend  herself.

You made a big mistake by allowing her off leash and EXPECTING her to come when you called with no means of backing it up.  You would have been better off to get a handful of treats, kneel down and coax her to you and then make a huge reward and party when she got to you. 

At 12 weeks old, you could have physically picked her up and made this a non event, but you chose to put a training collar on her (which she had never had one before ) and gave her a correction.  She is not a trained dog and she doesn’t understand yet. This was your mistake.

Read the articles I sent to you in my previous emails, and keep your puppy on leash so you don’t have to put her in this position again. When the dvds arrive, study them and follow the training steps.

The good thing about dogs, is that they are very accepting of leadership if it’s offered to them fairly. 

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Question:

Hi Ed,

We have 2 Shiloh Shepherds, 14 months old, bought together as pups before we knew that was a bad idea. They are great dogs. We trained them as pups and they've always responded well to basic commands. We have had minor trouble with the male being shy in new situations or around new people, but just handled it by keeping him away and ignoring him when people came over. We did a lot of training with him before he turned one-- taking him into a new place and giving him tons of treats, then removing him before he got nervous, just to make sure he had good experiences in these places. If he ever did growl we would lift him up by his cheeks and tell him NO in a very low, stern voice. He was on the prong collar in all of these situations.

He was really doing well, until we adopted a baby very suddenly. The stress and busyness of the situation meant that he received significantly less time and interaction with us than he was used to, as well as significantly fewer walks than he was used to. During this time he was also separated from his sibling for 6 weeks as she was in heat and stayed with the breeders who are friends of ours. He has not been neutered.

He has done fine with the baby. Neither dog is allowed to be alone with her, though I must admit there are times when I leave her in her swing and go into the next room with the dogs lying on the floor in the same room as her.

I guess because they've been doing so well I was lulled into a false sense of security.

Here's my concern-- a few times lately he has jumped up on me or my husband while we are holding the baby, and I think all of the times we were holding her facing out. He never "got her" with his big paws (he's about 95 pounds) but still it was very disturbing. When he did this with me I could only give limited correction since I was holding the baby and my husband wasn't there.

Today he did it to me while my husband was there and my husband smacked him pretty hard on the nose a couple of times while he yelled "NO NO NO NO!" and Leo was very scared. Since he's always been pretty responsive we're hoping that will put an end to it.

I guess I'm wondering how worried we should be about this behavior. He has never growled at her or done anything but try to lick her (which everyone told us was good but I have since read on your web site that it is bad). Most of the time both the dogs just ignore her.

Any suggestions on dealing with this dog in general? He does growl and bark at people pretty often so we plan to just use a muzzle on walks and a crate when people come over.

Thanks,
Amy
Columbia, MO

Answer:

Both of your dogs need more structure in their day to day lives. Jumping up is a respect issue, and needs to be solved through how you handle these dogs every day.

Please read this article about becoming an effective pack leader.

We also have a section on the web site about avoiding dog bites in children, there is a link to another article that deals with babies.

Obedience training is great, but typically doesn't solve pack structure issues as you are finding out. Pack structure and how to live with a dog in your home are the first issues to deal with whenever you add a new dog to your family or have problems with an existing dog. We are taking orders for a new DVD that extensively covers the way Ed and I live with dogs in our home.

The following DVDs will also be very helpful to you.
Basic Obedience
Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive dogs
Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner

I hope this helps.


Question:

Hi,

I have a one year old Rottweiler.  He is great with my two young children but I can not get him to calm down.  Our biggest problem is that he pees all over himself and anything else near him when ever he gets scolded.  He does this more so with my husband than myself.  The only time that it is really bad is when he is really getting yelled at.  Not just a little "Hey knock that off!"  Please help us if you can.

Thank You sooo much,
Jennifer

Answer

Your dog is still not an adult and he is being submissive to you and your husband. This is a normal behavior for dogs, and scolding him will only make the peeing issue worse. Dogs don’t need to be yelled at, they need clear leadership.

Please read this article about becoming an effective pack leader. This article was written for people like yourself, people who have great intentions but not enough knowledge of pack structure.. There are links within the article that will take you to other articles on the web site.

We also just released a new DVD on Pack Structure for the Family Pet, it’s over 4 hours of information on how to live with your dog.  You can check this link to read what is covered in the video.

If you use the search function on our site and type in submissive urination you will find lots of information on this as well. http://www.leerburg.com/search.htm

I hope this helps.


Question:

Ed,

You have been most helpful in the past.  I read an article on your web site regarding 'tail chasing' where you indicated that the dog is just 'nuts'.   We have a beautiful year old bitch Gretchen.  She is walked miles every day, heels like second nature; has plenty of space to run; plays aggressively all the time with our male GS. She is not crated, and is rarely left alone. She just started pacing and chasing her tail in the last month.  I am at home all day and she is ALWAYS with me; so attention isn't the issue; I bring her everywhere with me.  I am concerned as our plan was to breed this bitch at the end of this year.  Is it your suggestion to put her down?  Is there no other option? Should I be playing with her more aggressively?  Any thoughts? 

Thanks,
Jan

Answer:

While this is an obsessive issue it can be controlled through training.

We don’t allow it. The instant we see a dog do it (I am talking about our house dogs) we verbally correct them and stop it. They can learn that this is unacceptable behavior. In extreme cases you can use low level stimulation with remote collar training.

We have a couple of Mals that would have done this if we had not trained them not to.


Question:

Hi there,

I have an 8 month old Napolean Mastiff x American Bulldog puppy. He is a very friendly dog but when he gets excited he occasionally pees. He is a little nervous of new surroundings. He doesn't like going in the car and when I try to take him for a ride he lays down so that I have to lift him up and put him in which may be hard once he is full grown. He also throws up in the car if he is fed before a drive. What can I do???

Also, when I am at his level he gets really excited and mouths my hands. When I try to correct him you yelps (even if I don't do it very hard).

I've got your puppy video and just ordered your obedience video which I'm sure will help. I was just wondering if there is anything I can do to make him a better canine companion and ensure he doesn't do this mouthing thing with my young son!

Thanks.

Answer:

The DVD will help a lot, I would also recommend our Pack Structure DVD. There is a video on the web page that gives info on what is covered.

For the other problems, I would use marker training to build this dogs confidence about new surroundings and to teach getting in and out of the car. Read the article Training With Markers. There are three phases of training, the learning phase, the distraction phase and the correction phase. We use markers to introduce our dogs to the LEARNING PHASE of training.

Submissive urinating is a common problem in your dogs, you can search our site for info or read some of the Q&A’s

I wouldn’t feed your puppy before taking him on car rides since you know he gets sick, and the nausea he feels from riding in the car may also play a role in why he doesn’t want to get in the car in the first place.  I would practice putting him in and out of the car when you have no plans to go anywhere.  Make getting in the car a non event.

If your dog is mouthing you when you get down on his level, the short answer is to NOT get down on his level. You are causing conflict in your relationship by getting down there, he thinks you are inviting him to play and then you correct him.  It’s much better to not do this right now, and establish pack rules and leadership in a clear and consistent manner.  Later on when everything else is going well, you can try expanding your relationship a bit and see how it goes.

I would not allow any puppy around young children unless I had 100% control of the puppy and the child.  It’s all too easy for an accident to happen.  Watch the video on the web page I linked at the top of this email.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Cindy:

I have a  4 ½ year-old spayed, female German Shepherd who has started chewing on wooden furniture.  She is crated during the day and runs the house with me at night.  We walk 3 to 4 miles a day almost every day rain, shine, sleet or snow.  To me, it seems she is jealous when people come over and I pay attention to them.  If I fall asleep on the couch, she will chew on the furniture.  She even sleeps with me and practically destroyed a chair in the bedroom where my son’s girlfriend had slept.  She has plenty of chew toys.

I don’t like to have to crate her at night because she is crated all day while I am at work, but I can’t have her chewing on my furniture.

Can you give me some advice or help on this matter? (By the way, her father was a Leerburg dog – Frisko Vom Leerburg.) 

If you need any more information, please let me know. I am desperate at this point.

Thank you.
Laurie

Answer:

I would keep this dog tethered to me or in a crate. Dogs need to earn their freedom, and I would not hesitate to crate a dog that was destroying furniture.  

How much exercise is she getting? A tired dog is a good dog.  I would get this dog on a structured exercise program. An adult GSD can require a lot of physical activity to be calm and relaxed.  My dogs get a 45-60 minute off leash walk every morning and again at night.  anything less than this and they get into mischief. If you can’t take the time to do a long walk, play ball or some other retrieving game.


Question:

Hello,

I have been reading a lot of your Q & A's. I am looking for some advise about your 7-8 month old Corgi Mix. He was a stray when he was found so we are not sure exactly how old he is. He is a real sweet heart in almost every way. Breaks my heart that he had a hard start to life. I have a 7 year old son who Meyer (our dog) loves to play with but I think he thinks my son is his litter mate. Meyer will nip at him in a playing way, not breaking skin or making marks, but it still hurts. By the time I run over by them to stop it I think that Meyer won't know what I am scolding him for. When he nips at My husband and I, we can correct it right away and now he doesn't really do it at all. What are some ideas that my 7 year old son can do to get him to stop. I have him saying No already. Is it a good idea to teach my son the other forms of corrections, like pulling the prong collar? Or is there a easier way for a younger child to correct him. I will appreciate the advise.

Thank You
Becky

Answer:

I have reviewed your email and believe that the first thing you need to do is to establish clear leadership with your dog.  This is achieved by restructuring your dog’s daily life and controlling all privileges through our groundwork program.

Pack structure and how to live with a dog in your home are the very first issues to deal with whenever you add a new dog to your family or have problems with an existing dog.  This new DVD extensively covers the way Ed and I live with dogs in our home.

As a parent and a dog trainer, I don’t think that allowing a 7 year old to correct a dog is a very good idea. It’s really up to the parent or supervising adult to set up the rules for the dog and train the dog so the child doesn’t get in a power struggle with the dog.

Once the pack structure is going well, I would have your son participate in obedience training with the dog. I would recommend our 4 hour DVD on Basic Obedience.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Dear Cindy,

First of all, I've learned so much from your web site, your newsletter, and the Basic Obedience DVD. Thank you for continuing to make valuable information available.

I have a wonderful, high energy, 4 year old Rottweiler. We live on a couple of acres and we have an Innotek fence (thanks again for the info on in-ground fences). The perimeter of the fence is about 30 feet from a road that runs past our home. Cars can go past on that road, doesn't bother the dog. Same with large trucks or the school bus. But if a pickup truck or SUV drives past, she's a different dog. She grabs her "hol-ee roller" toy, shakes it so hard that she goes in circles, then "follows" the truck till it's out of site. If the pickup pulls into our driveway however, she's her normal self again - ready to "say hi" to a friend that has stopped by. It's not causing problems - it's just weird to see her "go nuts" over the pickups and suvs. Would you be concerned about this behavior? So far, I've just ignored it.

She's a great pet - but has a lot of energy to burn.

Thank you,
Cindy

Answer:

I don’t know how concerned I would be over this behavior, since she becomes completely ‘OK’ if the vehicle pulls in. It’s almost like a frustration / territorial / prey response and some dogs can become aggressive in these situations.

You don’t mention how long she’s been doing this, but sometimes these behaviors can build and escalate, so if she were my dog I would probably not let her do this. Does she vocalize, growl or bark while she’s doing this? If so, I would probably put a bark collar on her to try to stop her from doing this. You can find information on No Bark Collars on my web site. I use them in the kennel every day

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Ed,

Thanks for all of your great advise.  Our golden retriever stays in our yard with an invisible fence.  She barks at dogs and people who walk by.  I haven't purchased the limiter as I think it would be too confusing.  Any thoughts?

Thank you,
Karen

Answer:

As long as your dog has a clear understanding of the invisible fence system and respects it, I would think you could now add a bark collar as well.  Basically, you are just adding more rules for being out in the yard which now include NO barking.

Does she bark in the house too, or just in the yard?  If she barks in the house when people walk by then I would use the bark collar at first in the house and let her get the idea that barking is no longer acceptable.  Dogs are smart and they figure these things out quickly.  Once she has experienced the collar in the house, I would then put it on when she goes out in the yard too but I would supervise her at first. ( Just in case the correction from the collar spooks her and she would want to leave the area).

Cindy


Question:

Hey,
I have two German Shepard aged 5 months. My problem is that they dig up holes in my lawn at night when they are outside on our front yard and not in their dens.

I wake up every morning and see these huge holes in my front lawn, I don't know how to solve this problem. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Ezzam

Answer:

The most simple solution is to make a secure area for your dogs where they can not dig. I would recommend that you have a place like a kennel or crate for the times when you can not supervise them. It’s impossible to correct digging if you are not watching the dogs.

The more they practice digging, the more they will continue to do it.

I would then only let them out in the yard where they like to dig when you can watch them and correct them for it. I would probably recommend using an electric collar for interrupting the digging behavior when you can supervise. We like the Dogtra collars.

Electric collar training for the pet owner

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

I'm nervous about putting my dog in the crate because the reason he was breaking out of the old crate was thunderstorm anxiety. I didn't see that referenced in the videos. I have sought help from a local specialist. But he thinks I should put the dog on prozac and xanax for the anxiety. I am fairly convinced that the pack structure program and training (along with the info about dealing with dominant dogs) will address the core issues. My concern is that he hurt himself in the crate in the mean time.

Buddy is a pit bull and the thunderstorm anxiety developed about 6 years ago when I acquired another dog. sophie was an american bulldog who had been homeless in rural GA and had sever thunderstorm anxiety. Unfortunately, that is when I stopped walking buddy because I couldn't walk the both of them. She is no longer with us. And I hired a local trainer to help me get buddy back into a place where I can walk him. We have had some success but it was clear that exercise alone would not alleviate the thunderstorm issue.

So I guess my question is if you guys have had any experience with pack structure and obedience training resolving thunderstorm anxiety. (We live in FL so eliminating the thunderstorms is not a possibility!)

Thanks for your help!

Kathy

Answer:

Thunderstorm anxiety is fairly common and I would definitely suggest the use of a secure crate. I have had good results using melatonin and confinement for dogs I have owned in the past. You can get melatonin at any health food store.

Thunderstorm anxiety and separation anxiety are treated in the same way, through management (usually for the life of the dog). There is an article linked that talks about dogs that break out of crates.

Pack structure and obedience will help your dog become more secure and well adjusted but don't typically eradicate the sensitivity to thunderstorms.

Cindy


Question:

I am the owner of a 1 year old rottweiler (male). I’ve had him since he was 12 weeks old. I found your web site about (8) months ago when I was searching internet trying to find more information on dog training. I have to complement you on the information you are providing to pet owners. I have purchased (2) of your DVD’s (your puppy 8 weeks to 8 months and basic dog obedience) which has changed my perception on how a dog should be handled and trained.

My question is in regards to my rottweiler jumping up on my family or myself. I have not been able to stop this behavior by grabbing and squeezing his feet when he jumps up. I have had a great deal of success by popping his leash or prong collar before he gets of the ground.
Although by doing this I fear that I am correcting him to hard and I am going to end up with a pet and not a working dog (if I have not done so already). I have been able to get him to obey the basic commands (with the help of your DVD’s) with great success. He listens to me very well when I give him a command. An example is when I have him tied off in the backyard and I am retuning to him after I have walked away. When he sees me I stop moving toward him and give the command “down.” When he gets down on his stomach, I then continue towards him. I toss a treat on ground for the behavior and lean over to attach his leash and detach the tie off line. At this moment is when he jumps up. I backup and go through the process again until I can successfully get the leash on. We then walk a few more steps and he turns and tries to jump up again. At this moment I am giving him a good correction for this action.. Are there any other method of correction I can use to discourage the behavior. Also how can I tell if I have created a pet, and if so is it possible to reverse the damage? Your suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

Again, thank you for your time and the information that you are making available to pet owners,

Kerry

Answer:

I would probably go to the electric collar for this. It sounds like you have a nice young dog that has a lot of exuberance. It is possible to teach some self control without ruining his drive for working.

I like using the collar because it takes you making a physical move toward the dog out of the equation. I have a very rowdy one year old Malinois and he does the same behaviors you are experiencing with your Rottweiler. By using the collar, I can give a verbal NO and keep my body language and posture the same while making him feel the stim when he chooses to jump up. This way you can also correct him for jumping on anybody, not just you and he learns to follow your voice.

We produced a training DVD in the fall of 2005 titled ELECTRIC COLLAR TRAINING FOR THE PET OWNER. In this DVD Ed teaches people how to handle the foundation training and then how to use the collar.

Many trainers, especially hunting dog trainers and even some professional dog trainers use “escape training” when they train with remote collars. This is where they stimulate the dog, give it a command and then teach the dog how to turn the stimulation OFF by doing what’s told.

I don’t agree with “escape training.” I don’t think its fair to the dog.
He is being stimulated before he is even asked to do something. In my opinion this is ass end backward.

Rather I believe in using the collar to reinforce a voice correction. In other words, I always tell my dog “NO” before I correct him. I give him the opportunity to change his behavior. My goal is to always teach my dog to follow my voice command.

If you read the article titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING. you will understand how to approach corrections. In the DVD Ed simply applies that philosophy to remote collar training.

The article explains how to determine the level of correction to use on each dog. This varies according to the temperament and drive of the dog along with the level of distraction it’s currently facing at that moment in time.

This DVD shows how to determine what level of stimulation to use on your dog. That’s important.

In this DVD we never used a level higher than a medium and most of the time it was on the low settings for every dog we trained.

We use a Dogtra 280 on our personal dogs, I recommend staying with DOGTRA and TRI-TRONICS. Other companies sell cheaper collars but in the remote collar business you get what you pay for.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

We have a 4 month old German Shepherd puppy. Over the last 3-4 weeks she has been chasing her tail and barking. We purchased her at 10 weeks old and for the first couple of weeks she didn't demonstrate this behavior. We crate her when we leave the house and during the night, but she is out of the crate and on leash when we are home. We try to exercise her by walking her 2-3 miles per day, but that doesn't always happen. We have been correcting her by voice commands"NO" and that is enough some of the time. The behavior usually is displayed when she is excited, but she will do it even when playing outside. Any suggestions?

Dan

Answer:

This behavior needs to be stopped right away, as it is a form of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I have seen dogs that started this as puppies become so obsessed with chasing their tail that they actually mutilate the tail and have to have it amputated. If anyone has ever laughed or given any type of positive reinforcement to this behavior, it can make it harder to break.

Since she barks while she is doing this I would suggest a no bark collar. You can find information on No Bark Collars on my web site. I use them in my kennel every day.

If she learns to chase her tail ‘quietly’ (no barking) you will have to figure out in what environment and scenario it’s most likely to happen and try to control her surroundings, but also may need to use a remote collar to interrupt the behavior. You may want to begin training her with an electric collar, so when you need it you will both be comfortable with using it.

This is a complex issue, with no easy fix. It’s a matter of lifelong management in many cases. Mental and physical exercise are the biggest keys to success. A mentally stimulated dog that gets plenty of age appropriate exercise is much easier to deal with. A tired dog is a good dog.

There is a discussion on our forum about this right now. Please visit our Discussion Forum. You don’t have to register to read the material, but if you wish to post a question or reply you must go through the registration process.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

First off, thanks for all the great information on your web site and videos.  I bought both Basic Obedience and Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months and found them very helpful.

Looking for some advice about by Doberman puppy.  She's 16 weeks old and starting to show "stranger anxiety."  If she is in our fenced-in yard off leash, and someone walks by the house, or she spots one of our neighbors, her hair stands up and she barks like mad.  Even though she is a puppy, she has a "big girl" bark.  It doesn't matter if I'm out there with her - she'll still do it. I've started going up to people on the sidewalk to show that they are not something to be feared, but she acts very wary.  Scolding her doesn't seem to do anything either.

She otherwise is fine with strangers when we are out on walks and she is leashed; she also does fine meeting new people when she is at the office with my husband.  In general, she is quite friendly.  It really only happens when she is in our yard, off leash.  I feel like she is too young to be territorial of our yard; I feel like the barking is more out of fear, or to alert us that someone is nearby.  The problem is, I don't really need to know that my neighbor is washing his car or that the elderly couple next door is collecting their mail. 

So my question is, should I do something now to try to squash this nuisance barking while she is still young?  I feel like if she were older, I could try an electric collar and give her a correction when she starts to bark.  But at this age, what do you think I should do?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Sincerely,
Liz
Manchester, NH

Answer:

Hi Liz

As someone who has owned many Dobermans and now Malinois, I know exactly what you are going through with the barking.  Typically these breeds have a tendency to notice and react to things in their environment much more quickly and at a younger age than a German Shepherd.  I don’t know that I would say it’s fear, but if you can get a handle on the barking then the dog seems to feel much more settled.  It’s almost like the barking gets them wound up. 

I will use a bark collar on a pup as young as 4 months if I have to.  They learn this very quickly and usually after a day or so, will learn to control their barking as soon as you put the collar on.  In my experience, they have no problem going right back to barking if you take the collar off! J

If this was my puppy, I’d try the Tri-Tronics bark limiter.   We use them here every day.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

We have a chocolate lab and he is very hyper...although he basically very good.  We have a problem with him staying off the counters and going in the sink.  He does not like the crate, he slobbers all over himself when I crate him and leave the house.  He is 7 months old and I gate him an area of the hallway where he cant really do any damage but now he jumps the gate so I have been double gating the area.  Sometimes he knocks the gates down.  He also steals food from the table if given the chance to.  Please help.

Sandy

Answer:

Unfortunately, your dog is going to have to learn to tolerate the crate unless you can spend all your time supervising him.  For most dog owners this is not a reasonable solution.

If you spend some time using the search function (located in the upper left hand corner of the web site) you will find many useful articles and posts that address all the problems you are having.  I would type in crate training or crate anxiety to start your reading.

I have reviewed your email and believe that the first thing you need to do is to establish clear leadership with your dog.  This is achieved by restructuring your dog’s daily life and controlling all privileges through our groundwork program.  

Pack structure and how to live with a dog in your home are the very first issues to deal with whenever you add a new dog to your family or have problems with an existing dog. 

I always recommend these 3 DVD’s to people who have these issues with their dog:

Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog
Basic Dog Obedience
Remote Collar Training for the Pet Owner

If you take the time to study these and then consistently apply the information in them you can solve your problems.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Cindy.

We have a GSD 2-1/2 yrs. She is trained in obedience and agility, is well socialized and is generally a very good, calm dog. She has always enjoyed catching insects and I guess that's normal. Earlier this summer, she caught a wasp which stung the roof of her mouth. We gave her an allergy pill and she was okay. But we would like to stop this behavior.

When we want her to ignore something (like a barking dog in a yard as we walk, or a food scrap on the ground) we use "leave it." And she does leave it, except when it comes to flying insects. Do you think persistence with the command will eventually be successful or can you suggest something else?

Thank you,
Patricia

Answer:

I have 2 bug obsessed dog, so I know this is hard to deal with. You can continue using your "leave it" command but if your dog is choosing to ignore you, then all you are doing is taking the value out of the words.

I might use another word, like YUCK and give a correction if you need to. I would suggest using a remote collar for this, so you can interrupt the behavior as soon as the dog even notices a flying insect. This can interfere with your competitions if it's allowed to go on, because the fast movement of the bugs seems to really stimulate a dog's prey drive. My 4 year old Malinois will chase bugs all over the house, like a bull in a China shop. I didn't curb this behavior when she was younger and first showed the tendency to become fixated on bugs. I have learned from this and my 1 year old dog (who shows the same fixation) is being managed much differently.

I never allow him to chase bugs at all, or even watch them intently.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

My name is Katrina. I have a three year old American Bulldog that is preparing to take the CGC test. I got her when she was six weeks old. Since day one she has been a submissive wetter when she gets excited or when anyone bends over to pet her. The vet told me that she would outgrow it when we took her for her first checkup, but she never did. I have even tried to have people to give her a treat as they bend over and pet her. I thought this would help eliminate her urination by giving her a good association when being petted, but it has not done any good. So as you probably already know one of the disqualifications of the CGC test is urinating at an inappropriate time. Will this get my dog disqualified during the second test of the CGC test (sitting politely for petting)?

Answer:

I am not sure if you will fail the test or not. It may be at the discretion of the tester.

Personally, I would not be putting my dog in a situation where she was going to be set up to do this. I want my dog to feel confident that I will not put her in a position where she feels nervous or uncomfortable.
I tell people NOT to touch, bend over and make direct eye contact with dogs that are so submissive they urinate when approached. A CGC test is not worth my dog’s self esteem. Having people continue to approach dogs like this will not solve the problem, in many cases it makes it worse.

If you spend some time using the search function (located in the upper left hand corner of the web site) you will find many useful articles and posts about submissive urination.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I have been perusing your web site, as I am wondering what to do about my dog's chewing problem. I got the dog from the Humane Society, treated her for heart worms, and figured the worse was over. However, she chews up paper (in any form--newspapers, books, mail, etc.) and wood (furniture, namely the coffee table).

The dog in question is a 20 month old weimer/chocolate lab mix who lived most of her life at the Humane Society. I also have a four year old weimer, and the two get along very well. I have a doggie door, which both dogs use. Therefore, it's hard to lock out the problem dog without locking in my weimer--who has always had access to the doggie door.

I hate to kennel the dog during the day while I am at work, but I'm thinking my options are either the kennel or muzzle her. Either way, we're looking at about 10 hours at a time while I'm working.

Do you have any advice on the two options, and if so, which type of muzzle would be best for her? I assume like most dogs that she will grow out of this, but in the meantime, a lot of property is being destroyed--to include my brand new coffee table.

Thanks so much for your time.

C. B.

Answer:

I would use a crate or kennel. Muzzling the dog doesn’t address the core issue (the dog has too much freedom and no supervision). This isn’t an issue of “growing out “ of a behavior. At 20 months old this dog is an adult and the behavior has more to do with no leadership or foundation in manners than age.

The first thing you need to do is to establish clear leadership with your dog. This is achieved by restructuring your dog’s daily life and controlling all privileges through our groundwork program. Please read this article first.

Pack structure and how to live with a dog in your home are the very first issues to deal with whenever you add a new dog to your family or have problems with an existing dog.

Dog doors work well for some dogs but we don’t like them. We want dogs to look to us for their privileges, and a dog door allows the dog to do as he or she pleases and come and go as they want to. It’s not conducive to establishing leadership, especially with a dog that has no concept of this to begin with.

I think the article and video will help you a lot.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

Thank you for taking the time to read my e-mail.  My  1 year old female GSD has been with me every day since she was 5 months old.  She has gone  everywhere with me mostly Lowes and the credit union.  Several weeks ago she became very shy of other people even those that she had been friendly with before.  If I let someone pet her she will do a submissive pee right there with her ears laid back down low.  Now she doesn’t even want to associate with people and will pull away.  I think I have created a monster and do not know how to socialize her.  I wanted to take her to Petsmart’s day care, but I am afraid that being so shy that she may bite someone when they try to get close to her.  She has never bit anyone, but I am scared of liability with her.  Any ideas?

Patrick
Roanoke, TX

P.S.   Love all the DVDs  and other products that I have purchased.  I will not buy anything for her unless it is from Leerburg.  Quality is great!

Answer:

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for your  nice email, we appreciate your business!

As for your dog, submissive peeing is something that may or may not ever go away depending on the dog and the experiences she has.  I would not let anyone pet her, I would even tell people not to make direct eye contact with a dog like this.  Dogs like this need structure and they need to know that YOU are not going to put them in a position where they feel worried and unconfident.

Socialization is merely exposing the dog to different scenarios, people and environments.  It doesn’t mean that people need to touch your dog.  I don’t let people touch my dogs as I want them to feel comfortable and NEUTRAL.  I don’t want them worried and I don’t want them to be overly friendly.  I would say NO to the Petsmart (or any other) daycare experience for a dog like this.  It won’t serve any purpose that I can see, and may make her worse.  I don’t ever want my dog interacting with other dogs or people when I am not there to witness what goes on.

If you have already done our groundwork program with her, I’d suggest it.  If you have done it and let some things slide, I would re-establish this with her.

Ground Work for dogs like yours, this is a confidence builder more than a way to control dominant or aggressive behavior.  Dogs love to know what to expect, especially soft or unconfident dogs. Pack Structure for the Family Pet is the DVD that picks up where the article leaves off.

I would also direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the web site If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q&A's  and posts on our forum. 

There are a  lot of results on submissive urinating and submissive peeing.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I am a huge fan!  Thank you for your advice and products.  We have an 11 month old GS female and she is spectacular.  Several of your DVDs have been amazingly helpful to us.  Our GS is brilliant, sweet, trained, and a pleasure.  Since she was a puppy, she pees from excitement when a new person greets her.  She also does this when I come home from a business trip and she hasn't seen me in a few days.  Several have told me that this is submissive urination and will hopefully go away within a few years.  We instruct guests to ignore her and not pet her, but she still does it when she gets next to them.  We've tried putting her in her crate and then letting her out later - but she still does it even after being in the crate for a while.  She has learned to "go to her place" and remain there until released (the landing of our stairs), but when she eventually is released, she urinates when she approaches them.  It only occurs on a new person or someone she hasn't seen in a while. 

As you can imagine, it is something we would love to stop.  Do you have any helpful hints?  In the German Shepherds that you have experienced who have done this, when does it stop? 

Jonathan

Answer:

The subject of submissive urination has been covered a lot on the web site.  I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q&As  and posts on our forum. 

Since she only does this when she approaches a person or is approached, I would not allow either of these things to happen.  Managing this is all about prevention until the dog matures and gains confidence.  I personally don’t want my dog rehearsing behavior like this, so in the case of submissive peeing I manage the environment and experiences my dog has so I can avoid it.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Cindy,

Thank you for the web site and all the information that is available. It has been very valuable and helpful in training our dogs.

I have an unusual problem with my dog. Here is a little background on our situation. We have a 13 year old lab/border collie mix and a 2 ½ year old Black Mouth Cur. Our concern is with our BMC. He is a hunting breed and is a very dominant and stubborn dog. We have established the pack leaders in our house as my husband and me and he has been obedience trained and is very obedient. It is a constant challenge though every day to maintain pack leadership. I can never let me guard down. I have had dogs all my life and have never had a problem being the pack leader. Everyday I have to make him sit and wait for me before going out the door. Everyday I have to make sure he doesn’t charge past me or shoulder but me. Also just recently he has been showing signs of food aggression when eating with our older dog. They used to eat in the same room at the same time with no problems. This is a new development. He growls and snarls if she looks at him or moves near him. We have separated then totally now when they eat.

My unusual problem is that he does not like for us to pet him. Around 6 months of age he decided that he no longer wanted to be pet or hugged. He will turn his head away or pull away from us. He doesn’t seem to want any kind of physical attention. We don’t show huge amounts of affection but sometimes you would like to pet your dog or have him show affection. He is excited to see us when we come home from work but just does not want to be touched. He wants to be with us and loves walks and retrieving his ball. He does like to be in the same room as we are in. I have never had a dog that didn’t show affection. Is this something to be concerned about and do you have any suggestions?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

Lisa

Answer:

It’s not unusual for some dogs to not want physical petting or touch.  This is a personality thing, and for dogs like this it’s best to do what they enjoy (like walks and playing). I would be aware of it, and respect his preference.  Some really dominant dogs don’t feel comfortable with petting, it makes them uneasy but without seeing your dog I can’t say if that is the case.

Petting and hugging is many times more for us than for the dogs anyway. Enjoy your dog for who he is, many people would force their wishes on the dog anyway and it is not beneficial to the long term relationship.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I was wondering if it is possible to train a lab to stay out of the pool.  My chocolate lab is a year and 4 months old and I cannot keep him out of my pool to save my life. The main reason I don't want him in the pool is because when the kids are in the pool he wants to swim with them and of course he usually ends up on top of them creating an unsafe environment.  And of course when we chain him up while the kids are in the pool, he whines, cries and barks.  

If you have any tips or suggestions on how I can train him to stay out of the pool, I would be forever in your debt.

Thank you so much for your time.

Sincerely,
Gina

Answer:

Dogs can be trained to stay out of the pool if you are supervising them.  It’s pretty unrealistic to think that a dog that loves swimming in the pool (and has been allowed to do it at his own discretion in the past) will NOT get in the pool unless you are present. 

I feel that the dog needs a safe place to be when the kids are in the pool.  If he hasn’t been crate trained, then I would start there. We have a pool, and ALL of our dogs would be in it all the time if I didn’t supervise OR put them inside where they can’t see and hear what’s going on.  It’s a highly stimulating activity for most dogs.

I’d start by establishing rules and leadership, which means crate training - Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

Then obedience training and maybe even going to the remote collar so you have a way to influence him when he’s off leash.

Basic Dog Obedience

Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner

For times that you CAN’T supervise him 100%, then he needs to be crated.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,                  

I follow leerburg web site all the time I have even bought some of your dvds  love them you and Ed have given me a lot of useful stuff I train dogs  and do some rehab. but this one has gotten me pulling my hair out what little I have left any way. with that said I have four weims three of them are rescues no matter how much exercise I give them a couple of them eat there beds and blankets they do it when I am not home  I would love to buy them real nice ones but there is no use in it so do you have any advise to give me.

Steve

Answer:

Don’t give them anything they can chew. Some dogs just can’t ever be left unattended with blankets and beds. This is one of those cases where you just have to prevent the unwanted behavior. Dogs that do this can end up with blockages from ingesting pieces of their bedding, it’s just not worth the risk.


Question:

Cindy,

You helped me with a previous question about training and I appreciate it. We were about ready to get rid of our rescued mutt, but your advice helped.  I have another question.  Our Terrier mix mutt has turned into a very good dog based on some of your advice,  however, she LOVES to roll in  really bad things… cat droppings, raccoon droppings, dead mice etc. Hardly a week goes by that we aren’t bathing her multiple times. We want her to be able to be outside alone in our nice fenced yard, (she enjoys being outside) but are finding it harder and harder to do. Are there any steps that we can take to discourage this? 

Thanks! 
Bill

Answer:

Hi Bill,

This is a tough problem. A couple of my dogs can stop, drop and roll before I can stop them when we are out walking. The only way I've gotten a handle on this is to recognize the body language that they show "right before" they start rolling and to say NO and use the remote collar to interrupt them. This won’t work if you aren’t present though, so if there is stuff that is appealing to your dog in the yard and you aren’t’ there to witness the behavior I'm not sure there is a solution. I'm not sure the corrections given when you are there will carry over in your absence.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I've emailed you previously and you have been very helpful. I have become partially disabled over the last several years and would like to teach my dog to assist me. I have a wonderful, 65 lb. female, rough coated Collie who I adopted from a breeder. My dog was bred previously. She was born and raised by her breeder who  also did quite a bit of helpful training. I, too, have done training with my dog and this, I believe, solidified our bond. My problem is that my dog will not play with toys nor will she put anything in her mouth other than food. I would like to teach her to pull a rope or some such thing in order to help me open doors. I would also like to teach her to pick up small items that have dropped to the floor such as letters. It would appear that she was taught not to put objects other than food into her mouth (normally, a good thing, I suppose). Folks refer to her as a "food-a-holic!" She will do almost anything for a treat but she will not even chase a ball or play "tug." Is there some way I can teach her to assist me?

Janet

Answer:

I’d recommend Clicker Train your own Assistance Dog.

If you have not previously used clicker/marker training I would recommend you first read this article and view this video The Power of Training Dogs with Markers.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps. Cindy


Question:

Hi:

My Griffon does well outside in the 10x10 kennel. I have kept her in the house during single digits but she would rather be outside. I felt guilty during the cold weather so I purchased a insulated dog palace, Kind of spendy but did not have time to make a wood house. She has eaten the door off and consumed the Styrofoam beads. I have sprayed hot sauce on the house. Not sure if the Stop Chew liquid used for horses would work. It did not work for the horses.

Bryan

Answer:

Unless you can block her from physically chewing on the house, I am not sure what will work to deter her.  Typically this is a frustration or boredom behavior and the bad tasting stuff doesn’t always work.  All you can do it try and see if it helps.


Question:

I have a dog that panics during lighting storms, to the point you will never get her attention, you can tell by the look in her eye, like a drunk that has blacked out. I put her in a crate, but she has chewed the bars on the door, broken a lot of them off as well, her K-9 teeth are broken, mouth gets blooded from chewing on the inside corners off the create and bars. She digs in the crate as well during the storm, she shakes so bad her teeth rattle like a very cold dog, maybe she is in shock? After the storm she will lie down and sleep in the create, so I know it’s not the create. It’s not even thinkable not putting her in the create during storms. We have been to the vet a lot from her hurting herself during the storms.

I think that a plastic basket muzzle will help the chewing and hurting herself. Do you have any information on dogs and thunder storms? I have tried everything I know.

The Potters

Answer:

I'd read this article on dogs that break out of crates. I agree that a muzzle may help, you also may want to try some Rescue Remedy (it works for many dogs). I put it directly in the dog's mouth though, as opposed to the treat as they recommend. Many dogs won't take a treat when they are so anxious.

You can also search our website on thunderstorm anxiety to get more info.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Cindy,

Will make this short and sweet as requested. I rescued a 1 1/2 year old female blue pit bull from being put to sleep. Sweetest dog I have ever had. She responds well to training as she loves to please. I used to train and show dogs but have forgotten how to stop her from jumping on people. The old methods are no longer used and I think they used to suggest putting your knee in the dogs chest when they jump up to greet somebody. Any suggestions?? 

Thank you,
Jeannie

Answer:

Use a leash to block her from jumping and train her to do something acceptable like sit or down instead.  Become a student of marker training.

Here’s a video you may want to watch.

I would read our article on training dogs with Markers and I’d recommend:

Pack Structure for the Family Pet
The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for.  I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Ed,

Is there a specific training video of yours that addresses how to train a dog to stay in his own yard (not to jump a fence)?

I have a 1 year old (neutered) Lab-Mix, that loves to visit the neighbor dogs, chase squirrels, turkey, deer, etc. Our 3 acre back yard is fenced in by 4 foot fence - He leaps over it as if it's not there. We've installed an electric fence and he's not fazed by it. Currently he is on a leash and/or lead run. But I'd love to find a way to correct the behavior so that he may run, and play (staying in his own yard).

Behavior:

No animals in site: Well behaved. Minds. Stays in yard!

When other animals in site:
Over excitement. Just can't contain himself. When he is in this "mode" (I'll call it), he has tunnel vision and does not listen, will not mind.

Your advice PLEASE?

Respectfully,
Deb

Answer:

We do not have a specific video on this.

Dogs like this can be challenging. A 4 foot fence isn't going to deter any dog that wants to jump out. The only real solution that will work without someone supervising is a chain link kennel with a top on it that prevents escape. Once dogs realize they can escape, many of them will not rest until they get loose. It becomes a kind of obsession for them.

You could also try an invisible fence, attach the wire to the top of your existing fence. Set the boundary so the dog can't get within a specific distance of the fence. If he can't get close to it, he can't jump over it.

I'd recommend some training for this dog regardless, if he's not listening to you in the face of distraction this means he shouldn't be having free time anyway right now. It sounds like he's getting his entertainment as he sees fit, which can be a dangerous thing for a dog. he could be hit by a car or hurt by another dog.

I'd recommend Pack Structure for the Family Pet and Basic Obedience.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Cindy,

We are almost at our wits end and need some help ! My 1 year old female AB "spayed" will at times tear up our throw rugs. She's been disciplined numerous times but nothing seems to work. She only does this when we're gone to work (9 hours). So I never caught her in the act.

First let me give you a bit of back ground..

We have a very stable male AB 7 years old and they get along just fine. She's been obedience trained "your DVDs." She's completely house broken. We purchased the E-collar and the DVD's, but we're not home when she gets a hold of the rug. We tried crating her but we want her to be able to guard the home. 9 hours in a crate seems too long. We thought about purchasing a wired muzzle. Would 9 hours be too long to keep a muzzle on her ?

That being said, she's a good dog and I don't want to get rid of her but we can't keep buying rugs!

What's your suggestions
Please Help!!!

Mike

Answer:

A one year old dog that is tearing things up is being given too much freedom. The more you let her practice this behavior, the harder it will be to break the habit.

It’s also not realistic to expect a one year old dog to protect a home. (That’s like expecting a 12 year old kid to be a security guard.)

If you have a 7 year old dog that’s well behaved in your absence, then he should be loose but the young dog should be confined for her own safety and to protect your belongings. Good dog training is about controlling the environment as much as it is about actually training the dog and if you are not home to correct behavior you don’t want, then the dog can’t be blamed for entertaining herself. If she ever does get the chance to be loose again, don’t start off with a 9 hour absence. Start with short blocks of time and work up to it, always being ready to confine her if she relapses.

I’d go back to basics and prevent her from making mistakes, use a crate and read over our groundwork article.

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website.  If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

I just read the article on dog bites where the person sending in the picture got bite while putting a rescue GSD on their side.  I have little expertise with dogs much less GSD's.  I have a 15 month old GSD who is on the large size and very powerful.  What teaching I do with him is what I am picking up at the local Schutzhund club.  Ever since he was an 8 week old puppy we do "inspection" which means lay down and roll over at what time I look over his belly and groin area for ticks (we live in the country and when he is out of the house he has access to tall grass etc.).  As he has grown older some times he will bite on my arm during this inspection process.  He will hold my arm with light pressure until I tell him no bite at which time he will let go.  I complete the inspection or it may be that the inspection is done around the time he grabs my arm and I stop the inspection when he lets go.  I  pat him as I give him his release word and we are done.  My question is, maybe I should not be doing this Alpha Roll thing.  This is the first time I have heard such and don't want to take a chance on getting bite for something maybe I should not be doing.  What do you think?

David

Answer:

I think what you are doing is good dog ownership, not alpha rolling.  Alpha rolling is something people do thinking it will prove their dominance or they use it as a correction.  What you are doing is a smart idea, teaching puppies from day one to tolerate handling and making it part of their daily routine is good dog training and management.

The only thing I might suggest is to interrupt the arm grab the second you see him going for it.  If you haven’t done marker training with him in the past, you might want to consider it. I would read our article on training dogs with Markers.

It would give you even better communication with him. 

Enjoy your dog!

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a Doberman who is now 16 months old. Since she was a puppy she has been very sensitive to shadows. If I don’t have the dominant dog collar on her I can not control her. I have tried everything. Letting her jump on the shadows so she see’s it is nobody. Using a spray bottle & spraying her. Verbal commands. Trying to break her concentration when she sees the shadow.  I have a white plastic fence all around my property so there are shadows everywhere. She just barks & jumps at the shadows uncontrolled. I have done all I can do to hold her back. Please help. Any suggestions.

Answer:

This is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. If you don’t stop this behavior when you first notice it, the result can be a dog that is neurotic (as you have found out). What you are experiencing is why I tell people to never use those laser lights around dogs, many dogs will become fixated on chasing those as well. Tail chasing is also another variation of the same thing.

I would likely try using an electric collar to interrupt her behavior the MOMENT you notice her fixating. If you wait until she’s already pulling you or chasing the shadow it’s too late. Interrupt her the moment you see the slightest intent. We have an excellent video on how to train a dog with the electric collar Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

For times that you can’t watch her, I’d use a Tritronics Bark Limiter (since you said she vocalizes when she does this).

If this was my dog, she would never be off leash or unattended, EVER. This is a self rewarding behavior that becomes an obsession, so if you work on it for 6 months and then think she’s better and put her outside alone she will likely go right back to it. Having an OCD dog is all about management, usually for the life of the dog.

Good luck

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Cindy,

I am considering the purchase of a Leerburg Rubber Kennel Mat for my 1 year old German Shepherd but before I place an order I would like to ask a question. Can you please describe the durability of this item? While my dog pretty much outgrown her puppy chewing stage, I just want to make sure that it is “tough” enough to resist any biting temptations.

I made a mistake four months ago of purchasing a dog bed only to wake up one morning and find that it had a large hole. I do not want to have a repeat experience.

Thank you for your feedback,
Josh

Answer:

Dogs that want to chew are probably still going to chew on this but it’s thick rubber matting (like is used in horse stalls).

We use these in our crates and on the floor of some of our kennels and have many mats that are YEARS old. They may chew on the edges, but we’ve never had a dog that could chew one of these up.  Your experience may differ, depending on your dog but they are MUCH LESS attractive to chew than a soft bed. No item is guaranteed to be 100% chew proof. Supervise your dog at first to see what his behavior will be.

I would also make sure your dog has something appropriate to chew on when kenneled, so he doesn’t feel like chewing on his bed.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

I need help teaching my wirehair pointer not to eat "food" encountered on his runs. He runs free on the ocean beaches.  He is a beautiful dog with excellent manners thanks to your help and suggestions. The beach abounds with crustaceans, dungeness crab parts, partially eaten razor clams. He slyly mouths something, I yell "no" and he walks up to me chewing on the item and I extract the remains from his mouth.    

His vet thinks a recent bout of diarrhea was due to his appetizer consumption and he needs to quit it.  I have an ecollar which he wears and is rarely used. Should I set him up with food and use a low  correction?? It is a joyful thing to watch him run beside the ocean.He will do anything I want him to do except stop dining on shellfish.  
What would you do??

With much thanks and admiration!  

Alexis

Answer:

I teach all of my dogs to "leave it" from the time they are small puppies. I actually use the word "yuck." 

Here's a video that may help, and with a dog that is ecollar savvy, I'd use that for my correction (at an appropriate level) instead of a leash correction. With any dog older than 4-5 months I use the ecollar for this.

I always use a trade for a treat from me at the beginning of this training, and very quickly when the dog figures out the stuff on the ground gets him a treat from me he'll start to discriminate and look to me when he finds the "goodies." You need to be diligent though and be ready to monitor this every time you take him out on the beach. Eating stuff off the ground is self reinforcing so it is typically something you have to remind dogs of in some fashion for the long haul. In my environment, it's deer poop... If I don't say yuck when I notice my dogs paying attention to something in the grass they eat it and then roll in it... blech.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

I have an 8mo GSD - really a calm, well behaved dog, except for one bizarre problem. Every time I reach for the garage door opener in my home (or open the garage door otherwise) he runs as fast as he can to the door and attacks it. It is a detached garage.

When this behavior first began, he would run to the door, and go into the garage without harming the door. And then he would attack the lawn mower - it is electric - and it had never run in his presence.

I managed to demonstrate to him that the mower wasn't the cause and now he attacked the door.

How does one alter this behavior? I couldn't find any of your videos that would seem to offer a solution.

Thank you,
Clarence

Answer:

This is fairly common but can be a serious issue.  It can become an obsession for dogs. I would NOT allow this, ever. You need to interrupt the behavior with a leash and/or a remote collar.

Many high prey drive dogs are stimulated by things like lawn mowers, weed whackers, chain saws, etc… we have a Kubota utility vehicle that sets my dogs off, so I need to be vigilant and prepared so I can interrupt the first signs of the unwanted behavior.

It can become a deep seated problem if you allow it to continue.  You need to control the dog all the time so he can’t practice this.

Pack Structure for the Family Pet
Basic Obedience

If you want to learn to train him with the remote, We have an excellent video on how to train a dog with the electric collar Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

I searched your site and couldn’t find anything close to my situation.

My 4 year old Irish Setter has automobile anxiety. She pants, whines, whimpers, drools and is generally anxious and overly excited in the car. She loves to go on car rides and gets very excited when she knows we are driving and even leaps in the car at the first chance. The problem is that she is nearly unmanageable when on board.  I have tried letting her roam, as well as hooking her up on a short lead to the car seat D-ring. Same behavior in either case.

She is my forth Irish Setter in over 25 years of having these wonderful dogs. I’m very good at obedience training this breed. Most people are impressed with my Setters because they don’t exhibit the stereotypical “hyper” behavior.  In all other environments, other than the car, she’s an absolute angel. In fact, she flies with me in my airplane and always settles in very quickly to either calmly watch outside or just go to sleep (I think the drone of the engine helps). My only theory is the fast movement of the things outside the car stimulates her “chase it” instincts. I’ve considered blindfolds/blinders or crating her, but  haven’t tried it yet. I’m hoping you may have some thoughts on the issue.

Answer:

I would definitely go the route of using the crate in the vehicle, if for no other reason than safety.

You can also search our site for more info. I turned up this thread from our forum by typing in vehicle anxiety. Typing in different search terms may find more info as well.

You may also want to try Rescue Remedy before car rides until you get the issue sorted out.

Cindy Rhodes


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