Does your dog’s behaviors leave you scratching your head? Feeling like you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked? Why not ask an expert? Animal Wellness Magazine has teamed up with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers to bring you a Q&A that’s all about training! Just leave us a comment on Facebook. The APDT will address several questions every week! Answers posted on Thursdays.
Q. How do you properly integrate a new member to your pack?
A. This is a timely question, as I’ll be bringing a new dog home soon! What we usually do is have the dogs meet outside on “neutral” territory. So, for example, outside on the street or sidewalk in front of your house or apartment building, or in a local park. Allow the dogs to sniff each other and keep the leashes LOOSE! Tight leashes can make dogs frustrated and hamper positive greetings. Once the dogs seem to be ok with each other, take them for a walk side by side. If all goes well, then head back to your home and walk them in together. You should always supervise the dogs’ interactions for the first few weeks to make sure they are completely ok with each other. Keep them separated if you need to go out, for at least the first week just to be safe.
Q. I have three rescued cockers. The male has always been alpha but he accepted the first female just fine. The second one is blind and deaf and sometimes he sniffs her and accepts her, but he growls and attacks her if she gets on my bed, which is where they all sleep . I have to protect her. What can I do to help this situation? I think because she’s blind and deaf she ignores him so it makes him mad.
A. It sounds like you have quite a handful here. Because the one dog is blind and deaf, she is most likely having difficulty in reading the signals that the other dog is giving her. The other dog’s aggression toward her isn’t because he’s “mad” but because she may be acting in ways that don’t respond to the signals he’s giving off, which can be frustrating and confusing. The best thing to do is to monitor the situation and keep the dogs from interacting on the bed. Consult with a professional to help you with this problem as there are likely a variety of factors coming into play and we strongly recommend working with someone in the home who can take a full history and work with you based on your dogs’ individual personalities and needs. You can visit www.apdt.com for trainers near you.
Q. I have a 5yr old Papillon that I can’t even hold; he gets very fidgety and will not be still, if I try to pet him he gets even crazier…as he gets older he gets worse. I have had him since he was a pup.
A. The first thing we’d recommend is to have a full vet check-up to make sure there is nothing physical or medical going on that might make your dog uncomfortable with being handled. Once the dog has been checked, you could work on acclimating him to touch using clicker training, which builds up behaviors using tiny successive approximations. www.clickertraining.com has lots of good info on how to do this.
Q. What ideas do you have for a 5 month-old Yorkie that refuses to go poop outside. She urinates outside no problem, but will not poop! Any tricks/ideas? Thanks!
A. Sometimes dogs during potting training develop surface preferences, and it sounds like your dog has decided that going outside on ground or grass does not work for her. During potty training, I would keep her crated at all times, or on a leash attached to my waist in the house. Take her outside often and especially after she has eaten and after play times – this is when she’s most likely to need to defecate. Then wait. It can take a lot of patience in the beginning but you want to wait until the dog finally decides to go and then praise and reward them with a particularly good treat. You can also pick up any poop that she makes in the house and take it outside, and then bring her out to that area. Sometimes if they smell where they have gone it will stimulate them to go in that area again. Make sure as well that you use pet enzyme cleaners in the house so they cannot smell where they’ve gone inside. We also have a free webinar for the public on house training at http://www.trainyourdogmonth.com/events/webinars/06/.
Q. What do you suggest for random excessive barking?
A. Barking happens for a variety of reasons. Before you can end the behavior, you need to know what is causing it. Check out our handout on barking at http://apdt.com/veterinary/assets/pdf/APDT_Barking.pdf. Once you can determine why the dog is barking – stress, boredom, anxiety, etc. – then you can figure out what you need to do to alleviate the underlying problem, which will curb the barking.
All answers by Mychelle Blake, MSW, CDBC, CAE Chief Executive Officer
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers