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Melissa asks...

This question is about: Toileting

Ruger, 7-month-old male Yorkie

My dog is having pottying problems inside our home. We do not have a fenced-in yard, so we take him out on a leash. He toilets all over our house all over and will not tell us when needs to go outside to potty.

G’day Melissa,

Potty training can be a frustrating time; however, there are things you can do to reduce the frustration and get Ruger to understand what you want him to do.

Firstly, has Ruger been neutered? Neutering can help to reduce the possibility of marking as well as offer health benefits.

Here are some tips to help you manage Ruger while he goes through this learning process:

1. Keep him with you at all times so he does not have the freedom to potty all over the house.

2. Keep Ruger on leash and take him out to toilet every hour or so – especially if he has been playing or has just woken up from a nap.  Use the same words, such as  “go potty,” every time he goes so he learns what you want, and praise him lavishly when he goes.

3. When you take him outside, make sure you don’t engage in any play with him until he has completed his business.

4. If it is not possible to take Ruger out every hour, then confine him to one area of the house so if he has an accident, it is easy to clean up (or you can crate-train him, too).

5. If he has an accident, still take him outside and tell him to “go potty” so he associates the request with his actions. Then, put him somewhere else while you clean the area so he doesn’t think it is okay to potty anywhere because you will always clean it up.

With consistency and practice, Ruger will learn to go outside instead of inside your home. You can also reinforce this when he comes to you to be petted or for attention by asking him if he wants to “go potty” so he knows to come to you every time he needs to toilet.

There are six times a pup is more likely to need to go potty:
1. When first waking up in the morning
2. Before going to bed at night
3. When waking from a nap
4. After eating and/or drinking
5. When you arrive home
6. After exuberant play

If you are still experiencing issues, please contact your local Bark Buster for one-on-one training.

Pattie asks...

This question is about: Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Pulling on the Lead

I want to know how I can stop my dog from pulling on the leash when I take him out for walks. He also jumps up on people (who often don't really mind) and won't listen to me even when I bribe him with treats. He ignores me and just keeps pulling and jumping on the people walking by. How can I stop this behavior? Is it really necessary for me to take him to training school?

Porter, 1.5-year-old male French bulldog

G’day Pattie,
Just as we go to school for our basic educational requirements, Porter would benefit greatly from getting some basic training, too.

You have discovered that positive reinforcement (giving a treat) doesn’t always work -- particularly if Porter prefers to jump on somebody rather than eat food. While you have found that some people don’t mind his jumping up, Porter needs to learn how to greet people in a more socially acceptable manner. If he tried his approach with muddy paws or on a child, the feedback would not be as favorable.

Firstly, let’s look at the goal of the walk. To you it may be to give Porter much-needed exercise and to socialize him with other dogs and people. To Porter it may mean he needs to let everyone know that he is in charge and, even though he is short, he uses jumping up to gain some height advantage and show his assertiveness. Also, by pulling on the leash, in his mind he is the leader of this walk -- and of you.
Secondly, let’s discuss the correct equipment for walking our dogs. We recommend a six-foot cotton-webbing leash that is soft on your hands. It also allows you enough slack to reduce the inherent problem of dogs pulling as soon as they feel the pressure of a tight leash.

Finally, I would recommend you conduct some basic exercises before your walk to teach Porter to focus on you. A simple exercise such as walking in your backyard and changing direction without warning is a great pre-walking exercise. It teaches our dogs to pay more attention and also gets them using their brains and receiving mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.

At certain stages of your walks, reward Porter’s good behavior by allowing him to enjoy the surrounding environment by sniffing and exploring, doing what dogs naturally do.

With Porter no longer pulling or jumping on people, it will make your walks more pleasant, and you can look forward to many happy years together!

I would strongly encourage you to contact your local Bark Busters trainer for additional one-on-one training advice.

Sheri asks...

This question is about: Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Puppy Management

Our 10-month-old puppy loves to bark at us when she wants us to play and throw her favorite toy. How do we stop this behavior?

G’day Sheri,

One of the reasons we have dogs in our lives is the joy they bring us as we interact with them. However, we need to make sure these interactions are a joy for both of us!

Let’s better understand why your pup is barking.

For all dogs, because they are so good at reading our body language, they learn very quickly how to get our attention – whether we’re ready or not. So, sometimes the question we need to ask ourselves is how well are we trained?!

In other words, your pup has learned that barking at you and bringing you her toy will encourage you to throw it for her and engage in play, thus getting your attention, even if you are not ready to give it to her.

You should always engage her only on your terms, waiting until you are ready to spend some time bonding with her through play.

Try ignoring her when she demands attention, waiting until she gives up. Then, play with her when you are ready, ignoring her again if she starts to bark. Be consistent, and she will quickly learn to play by your rules and you will both enjoy your playtime together.

If you need further assistance, please contact your local Bark Busters trainer.

Sydney asks...

This question is about: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise

Sydney Eason says "Our dog, Koney, [Maltese] is out of control. He barks, bites and has tried to escape our house about five times this month. He bites anyone he doesn't know. Should we give him away? I really love him?"

G’day Sydney,

It sounds as if you have your hands full with Koney’s behavior. Yes, it is definitely possible for you to retrain him over time and have Koney become a well-behaved dog. 

We often see this kind of behavior in dogs that may be very stressed and are taking out their frustration in any way they can. As a result of his current behavior, it would be difficult to give him away. Also, the fact that you really love him tells me you will do everything in your power to help him. I would encourage you to seek professional training and advice.  In the interim, there are some things you can do to mitigate his escaping and biting.

Purchase a basket muzzle to put on Koney when you have new guests arriving, or simply place him in another room or in his crate. You could also put on his leash to control him better and reduce his ability to escape when the door is opened.

If Koney barks unnecessarily, correct him with a stern voice to let him know you are displeased. If he will not stop barking then you will need to remove him from the area where he is barking until he is calm and quiet.

There is definitely hope for Koney; his behavior is something we see on a regular basis. So, please consider contacting your local Bark Buster Therapist.

Paula asks...

This question is about: Other

When playing fetch with a toy, how do I get Tucker to give me the toy after he's retrieved it instead of running around for me to catch him?

G’day Paula,

It looks like Tucker has learned the great game of chase rather than fetch! He is associating your throwing his toy to mean that he is supposed to run away with it so you can catch him. With a little practice and changes in the exercise, you can re-teach Tucker to fetch the toy instead of you chasing him.

Firstly, get a leash about 30 feet long and attach it to Tucker’s collar before you throw the toy. When you throw his toy, give the command you want to associate the exercise, such as “Tucker, fetch!” (Throw the toy only within the range of the leash and hold onto the handle but do not tug on it.) Tell Tucker he is a “good boy” as he is running to fetch his toy.

Next, teach Tucker the second part of this command. Once he grabs the toy and looks at you, tell him he is a “good boy,” using a nice, light tone and complement your voice with inviting body language by crouching down and patting your legs. If Tucker moves towards you, continue the praising tone and inviting body language—stepping even farther away from Tucker so he has to come to you.

Once he comes all the way to you, pat him into a sit and ask him to “drop” or “give” the toy. (Try to let him drop it out of his mouth so tug-of-war doesn’t ensue.)

If Tucker picks up the toy and starts to run away from you, use the leash to ensure he can’t get too far. Call him again and give a gentle tug on the leash. As he turns to look at you, use your nice voice tone with inviting body language. If he gets half way back to you but then runs away again, repeat the above steps until he comes all the way to you. The leash is your safety net so Tucker cannot run completely away and so you can show and guide him to what the word fetch really means. Conduct the exercise with two to three times daily until successful (four to six weeks).

When Tucker is getting good at knowing what fetch means, you may want to test him without a leash in an enclosed area, such as a fenced yard or tennis court to ensure his reliability in returning to you. Don’t chase after him; always make sure you go in the opposite direction to him.

Enjoy the training! Remember, you can always call your local Bark Busters trainer for further one-on-one training

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