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Sally asks...

This question is about: Toileting

How do we train Bandit to do his potty outside? I go outside with him in a fenced in area, and we stay at least 15 minutes or longer. He does nothing until he goes back into his kennel. Then he relieves himself. This is the first time we ever had trouble training a poodle. We also have a 7-year-old male poodle. They get along together. I have tried taking them out together, but it still doesn't work. I know it takes time and patience but I'm running out of patience. Please help. Sally

G’day Sally,

Thank you for submitting your question. Potty training can be one of the most frustrating times we have with our furry friends.  Once they learn this, however, you should have no worries.

Firstly, is the crate the right size for your puppy now? If the crate is too long, you may want to get a smaller one or insert a divider to shorten the crate until Bandit has learned to go potty outside. As a rule, dogs don’t like to toilet where they eat or sleep. Therefore, the size of the crate should just be big enough for him to stand up and turn around. Any larger and Bandit will be able to find a spot to toilet without having to actually sleep or lay in it.

Secondly, spray lavender oil (diluted with water) on his coat, bedding and crate to discourage him from toileting in his crate.

Below is a general guideline to help you identify when Bandit will mostly likely need to go outside to toilet. When you take him out, do not engage in playing or petting him. Stand still and give the command you want to teach him, such as “go potty.” Note that  some dogs need up to 30 minutes outside before they finally get the message to toilet out there, so continue to be diligent and patient.

  1. First thing in the morning
  2. After waking up from a nap during the day
  3. When you return home after having been out for a few hours
  4. After playtime with Bandit
  5. About 20 minutes after a meal
  6. After Bandit drinks some water

Remaining patient with Bandit when you are outside will be the key to your success.

Good luck, Sally. For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Bark Busters trainer.

Tonya asks...

This question is about: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger

We have a 190 lb. male dog that is dangerously aggressive and has times of frenzy and can not be controlled. What can be done?

G'day Tonya,

The behavior you are describing as displayed by Rock is very concerning.
The fact that he weighs 190 lbs. makes it even more problematic.

Aggression is a dog’s behavior strategy, not a personality type. So, we need to ascertain why he is employing this strategy: Is he scared? Is he trying to be protective? Is he confused by his role in your family? Is he possessive? Is it a medical condition? Once you have established the reason(s) for his behavior, you will better be able to put in place a strategy to help change his aggression.
 
There are a few suggestions that I will make that may help manage his behavior, but I would also strongly recommend you seek the help of a professional trainer as soon as possible.
 
Firstly, if you haven’t already done so, have Rock neutered.  Even at this age there may be some behavioral benefit (reduced aggression), and as he ages you will be reducing the potential for medical issues.
 
Next, regardless of whom or what is the target of his aggression, invest in a well-fitted muzzle to reduce the likelihood of his causing any harm. It would also be advisable to confine him to a crate or pen when you have company, so you are assured of his and your guests’ safety.
 
As stated earlier, you are dealing with very dangerous situation, and I would encourage you to contact your local Bark Busters behavioral therapist to assist with your training needs.

Daniel asks...

This question is about: Sibling Rivalry - aggression or fighting between dogs in the same household

Hi. We have two male dogs that until now seemed friendly. One of the dogs is a German shepherd African hunt dog mix, while the other German shepherd mix. Recently they have started fighting very violently. They used to fight playfully, now it is scary to watch. What can we do about it? Thanks, Daniel

G’day Daniel,
 
What you are describing sounds like “sibling rivalry,” which, if not dealt with early and appropriately, can lead to serious consequences in the future. Sibling rivalry has a number of causes, and we should look to removing or reducing those causes to lessen the likelihood of any further escalation of their aggression towards each other.
 
You don’t say whether or not they are neutered. This can make a difference in how they interact as they continue to mature.  Male dogs, in particular, like to test each other’s strength and abilities, and what was once play may become a battle to see who is the strongest one.  Neutering will help the testosterone levels and reduce the likelihood of health issues later in life; however, you will still need to modify their behavior as well.
 
We need to make sure that the dogs view you as the authority figure in the house. This is really important so that if they begin to escalate from playing to fighting, you can tell them to stop and they will.  It will take time and practice; however, if both dogs respect you, then half the battle is already won. Work on their basic obedience and ensure that they respect your commands and comply with your requests immediately.
 
Supervising their interactions is also key. When you are unable to do this, manage the situation by keeping them separate, either in crates or in separate areas of your house. The opportunity for them to get into a fight will be greatly reduced. It’s also important to make sure items that may cause conflict such as bones or toys are not left out until you know you can stop any unwanted behavior.
 
What we are aiming for is that you can stop any further escalation in their behavior before it gets to a point where they don’t like each other anymore and ensure that you can all live together peacefully. This means they must understand their fighting is not acceptable in your house so they will think twice about it in future due to their respect for you.
 
Please don’t hesitate to contact the Bark Busters trainer in your area if you need further assistance.

Cindy in Texas asks...

This question is about: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger

This week's question comes to us from Cindy S., from Texas. Cindy has a 3-year-old mixed breed dog named Waddles. Our dog can be stubborn. If she does not want to do something, she will not and, if forced, she will growl and snap. This does not happen often but has happened. Can this be broken?

G’day Cindy,
 
Many dogs will display aggressive behavior if physically forced to do something against their will. At Bark Busters we believe there are better ways to get behavior results from your dog than to use physical force. More importantly, we need to stop this behavior before it gets worse.
 
Depending upon your dog’s temperament and your relationship with the dog, alternative tactics can be used to elicit the desired behaviors.  If you believe Waddles isn’t complying with your instruction, you could ask her to sit and wait before feedings or before being allowed to go outside. Teaching a dog to walk at heel is also a discipline- building activity that can build respect for you in the relationship. The basic concept is that nothing in the dog’s life is free, and she need to do some task before being granted permission to do what she would like to do. If your dog treats your role in the relationship with respect, she will be much more likely to do as you ask.
 
An experienced behavioral trainer will be able to help you identify why Waddles is choosing not to do as you ask based upon how your dog responds to your basic commands and by interpreting her body language.
 
Dogs will generally do what they perceive to be in their best interest. By engaging the appropriate relationship or providing incentives for the behavior, most dogs will perform as asked very quickly.
 
For one-on-one  assistance to address your dog’s specific needs, please contact your local Bark Busters trainer.

Lorrie asks...

This question is about: Other

Rosie was a sex slave in a puppy mill for six years living in a cage. After a C-section, she was sold to a very abusive man, then rescued and placed in a humane society pound, and then fostered for three months with a family. Three weeks ago, I received a call from the Sheltie (and Collie) Rescue of Utah that this dog needed a new home that day. The dog does not vocalize at all, is timid, and spends all day every day in a corner of my bedroom except to go outside. She often doesn't eat for more than a day. She is very gentle with kids and other dogs. She will eat if I toss her food but will not take from my hand and often not from a bowl, but appears more comfortable eating from a plate (if no one is watching). Rosie will eat only in the bedroom and won't drink but once a day (if no one is looking). What do I do to help her know that she is safe, to get her to consistently eat, and to come out of my bedroom. She gets along well with everyone but runs from noise and people over the age of 10 years or if I make even a glance of eye contact. She comes out for children and other dogs. She is such a sweet dog. Help me understand such a timid fearful dog.

G’day Lorrie,

Firstly, thank you for bringing Rosie into your life. The key to Rosie becoming comfortable and feel safe will be your patience. Stick with it; Rosie will be eternally grateful. It typically takes a dog two to three weeks to become accustomed to his new surroundings, sometimes longer.

It seems that Rosie has made her “safe haven” in the corner of your bedroom. Provide her with further shelter such as a crate with a blanket over the top of it and leave the door open. Let Rosie know this is her safe place by giving her treats in the crate and by never physically pulling her out of the crate. Leave the door open so she knows she can go in and out as she pleases. Once she gets used to her safe place, you can set up another one in the family room -- once again leaving the door open and not allowing anyone to go up to the crate to take her out or to stick their hands in so that Rosie knows when she goes into her safe place, she will be left alone. When Rosie comes out, give her a favorite treat and lots of soft praise without petting.

Use a soft gentle voice for praising her when you see her doing the right thing, like drinking or eating or coming closer to you. For the time being, continue to avoid direct eye contact. When Rosie comes close enough for you to pat her, do so by stroking under her chin because this is less threatening than petting on the top of her head. Find a treat or play item that she really likes (dried liver or sliced chicken), and give her a little each time she comes over to you. Once she has bonded with you, you can start to show and guide her with what you would like her to do. This may be the time to call in one of our trainers who will be able to customize a training program specifically for you and Rosie.

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