Stop Bad Behavior Now

By Lambeth Hochwald

Stop Bad Behavior Now

Do you ever wonder why your dog misbehaves sometimes? Peggy Moran, a renowned professional dog behaviorist, has the inside scoop on perplexing doggy dilemmas from chewing and barking, to jumping on strangers and housebreaking.

Doggy Dilemma #1: Chewing

Question: We have a beautiful nine-month-old lab that loves to chew. He has many chew toys, but he still gives us many love bites. What should we do?

Answer: When your puppy playfully nips you, he's trying to get your attention, but these nips are setting the wrong tone for your entire relationship. Reinforce the no-biting rule right away. To do this, put your pooch's collar on and wait until your dog sits before petting him. When your dog does sit, lavish fully focused attention upon him, petting slowly with a firm stroke while speaking in a low, slow voice. As his mouth opens, stop paying attention to your dog but do not move away. If your puppy continues to mouth your hand, apply steady, fixed pressure against its collar while ignoring your pet. Before long, you can all spend time together without the painful love bites.

Doggy Dilemma #2: Jumping on strangers

Q: I have two West Highland Terriers. Every time guests come over, they jump all over them. How can I stop this?

A: First, place your dogs on their leashes. Find a willing helper to play the part of the visiting guest. This will work best if your dog knows the person well. When your friend rings the doorbell, hold onto both leashes. Open the door and greet your guest, keeping the dogs back by applying steady pressure to their collars. Do not look at your dogs. Ask your guest to ignore them as well. Continue to ignore the dogs while they jump. When they settle down, praise them. Then ask your guest to leave and knock on the door again to repeat the exercise.

Doggy Dilemma #3: Barking

Q: My three-year-old Miniature Poodle has always been very friendly. However, if he sees a strange dog, he starts to bark and tries to lunge at it. What has caused this change?

A: These behaviors are usually the result of frustration. My best advice is to redefine the terms for meeting and greeting the people and dogs you encounter. Take the role of leader by being the one who greets, and is greeted first, by the people and the dogs you encounter. For example, when you approach one of your dog's friends on a walk, ignore your dog while it barks. When your dog stops barking, praise him. This will help to reduce its frustration.

Doggy Dilemma #4: Housebreaking

Q: Roxy, our Jack Russell Terrier, is 14 months old now, but she was just a 6-month-old puppy when she joined our family. Before we adopted Roxy, she had been an outside dog and was chained up all day. Roxy is now crated during the day and does not eliminate inside the crate, but I can't figure out when Roxy needs a potty break during the night or on weekends. Any suggestions?

A: A dog that has to spend its days in confinement should not be crated in the evening as well. Letting it run loose, however, will allow it to continue the habit of going whenever and wherever. Take Roxy outside at specific times to eliminate. Do this at regular intervals, such as right when you come home. Feed your dog after the outing and then take her out again.  And one more important note:  Never scold your dog if she has an accident. Remember that it takes a dog about 30 days to really adapt to a schedule.

As with anything worthwhile, regulating the behavior of your dog takes planning, patience and retraining. But the rewards will far exceed your effort.

Lambeth Hochwald is a New York City-based writer and editor whose work can be seen in national magazines. Her adopted dog Ginger is always at her side, especially when she's writing.

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Posted on October 22, 2009

Kathleen says: Our 1yr.old min.poodle digs on our carpet & has ruined it. He also chews on anything,although he has chew toys galore.Please help!

Posted on October 14, 2009

Dennis says: Our 8 month lab chews on our carpet and area rug. Puts holes in the middle. He has plenty of chew toys and he knows this is wrong, but he still does it. Help, what can we do.

Posted on October 7, 2009

DUDLEY SMITH says: I AM TRING TO FIND OUT WHY DOGS, AFTER GIVEING THEM A BATH WHY DO THEY GO STRAIGHT OUT AND WALLER AROUND ON THE GROUND

Posted on October 12, 2009

Heather says: what can we do? we have a two and half year old MALE German Shepherd and he wont lift his leg...he still does the lean/squat thing. how can we get him to lift his leg? help......

Posted on December 29, 2007

julie winemiller says: Please help me! I have a five year old dog that ALWAYS stayed in the yard.Now I have a six month old male who has not been fixed yet,when I let them out sometimes they both take off.Now I let one out one at a time.The six month old listens to me as of my five year old does not listen to me and takes off.The five year old is fixed.I Dont want to get rid of him but Im lost.Why does the five year old not listen to me anymore.

Posted on October 13, 2008

Robbin says: my shih tzu is 6 fro some reason he has become aggresive towards both of my daughters he ahs bitten both of them when did not warrant it. He has never bitten me (mom) or dad or my son. No he is not fixed. What should we do?

Posted on September 4, 2009

marles says: after we take the dogs out we leave them out tied out for an 30 mi and we turn our back and they do there job on the carpet. these dogs are over a yr old they did good when they were younger but now they think they can do it inside. what do i do?

Posted on October 6, 2007

Crise Billwalk says: Can too much dog energy mean to much sugar?

Posted on January 7, 2011

Shetland Sheep Dog Owner says: Shetland Sheep Dogs, or Shetlies constantly bark ALOT, its in their nature. its not out of anger, or jealousy, its just what that breed does. how do i stop it from barking so much! i down want to hurt its ears by using the ratteling coins trick. PLEASE ANSWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A AN ANS ANSW ANSWE ANSWER ANSWER P ANSWER PL ANSWER PLE ANSWER PLEAS ANSWER PLEASE! ANSWER PLEAS ANSWER PLEA ANSWER PLE ANSWER PL ANSWER P ANSWE ANSW ANS AN A THANKS! :D

Posted on June 16, 2012

Brittany says: why do my dogs think they must greet stranger's and people they know with barking? I know that they are just excited but the stranger's dont realize that.

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