How to Train Your Dog to Be Obedient

Easy
2-7 Days
General

Introduction

Basic obedience is about teaching your dog good manners, and keeping the dog safe and under control. Quite simply, not everyone is a fan of dogs. Imagine the scenario in a park and your dog runs up to a toddler and bowls them over. The child creams and irate parents push the dog away. He then thinks this is a great game and bounces and jumps even more. The situation rapidly spirals out of control and could end in threats to call the police...when all the dog wanted was to play.

Not everyone understands the difference between a playful dog and an aggressive one, so to avoid confusion it's essential your dog is obedient to your commands. The good news is that using reward-based training methods means the dog is eager to be obedient as he realizes good things happen when he does as requested.

Reward-based training represents a quantum leap forward in dog obedience. Older training methods that rely on dominating the dog have no place in today's world and are not only outdated, but flawed to their very core. With this in mind, let's find out more about how to train your dog to be obedient while having fun at the same time.

Defining Tasks

Obedience is about having the dog respond promptly to your commands. Key to training this skill for life is to motivate the dog so that he's eager to respond. This is the principle on which reward-based training methods rest.

There is, however, a fine line between rewarding a dog's good behavior and bribing him. The difference depends on expecting the dog to work harder over time, before he earns his reward. In practical terms, this means phasing out food rewards and making them less predictable, as the dog gets the hang of what he's expected to do.

Rewards take different forms for different dogs. If you have a food motivated dog then congratulations, because you can use tiny morsels of treats as a reward. For those dogs less enthusiastic about food, try rewarding him with a game with a favorite toy or simply with lavish praise. All dogs have something they are prepared to work for, so it's a matter of identifying what does it for your dog.

From puppy to adult or senior, no dog is too young or too old to benefit from reward-based training. However, always keep training sessions fun and not overly long so as to tire the dog. Several shorter sessions in a day are better than one long training episode. And as a rule, end each lesson with a command the dog knows and has mastered, so you can praise him and end on a high.

Getting Started

When getting started, train in a quiet place with few distractions so that the dog's focus is on you. If training outdoors, then a collar and leash are beneficial to stop the dog running off. You'll also need to work out what motivates your dog to work, be that a food treat, toy, or fuss.

The basics for getting going include:

  • Collar and leash
  • Training treats and a pouch to keep them in
  • Patience

When using food rewards, be sure to keep them teeny-tiny. The dog should get no more than a taste in the mouth, or else training will be constantly interrupted by the dog settling down to chomp his way down through a large biscuit.

Also, consider having a basic food reward (such as some of his kibble) plus a super tasty treat (a cube of cheese or sausage) for that extra special reward when he does something particularly well.


The Reward Based Training Method

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Reward Based Training method for Be Obedient
Step
1
The concept
Reward based training works by rewarding good behavior so that the dog wants to repeat the action in order to earn the treat.
Step
2
Teach 'sit' on command
Hold a treat in front of the puppy's nose so he can sniff but not eat it.
Step
3
Follow the treat
Keeping the treat near his nose to hold his interest, describe a shallow arc in the air, over the dog's head
Step
4
Encourage his butt to drop
As the dog's head follows the treat, his butt should naturally drop to the ground.
Step
5
Label the behavior
As soon as his butt hits the deck, label the behavior "sit".
Step
6
Give the reward
Now give the treat to reward the sit.
Step
7
Reward
Work on this several times in a row. Ultimately, you can start saying "Sit" a fraction earlier, so the dog starts to anticipate what he needs to do to earn the treat.
Step
8
Lose the treat
Over time, stop rewarding every "Sit" and give a treat for every second or third response. This stops complacency and keeps the dog working to earn the reward.
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The Clicker Training Method

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1 Vote
Clicker Training method for Be Obedient
Step
1
The concept
Clicker training works by teaching the dog that ‘click-clack’ means he's earned a treat. You then label the desired action by clicking, which tells the dog exactly what he did that earned the reward. But first you must get the dog linking ‘click-clack’ to treats.
Step
2
Scatter treats
Throw a handful of treats on the floor
Step
3
Click as he eats
As the dog eats the treats, click each time he picks one up.
Step
4
Scatter individual treats
Now toss one treat at a time on the floor. As he eats the treat, click.
Step
5
Click and wait
Now try clicking and see if the dog looks at the floor. If he does, then he has made the mental leap between click and a treat. Give him a reward.
Step
6
Click to label
Now try teaching "Sit" as in the Reward Based Training method. Only this time, click as soon as his butt hits the floor. Then give the reward.
Step
7
Phase out the treats
Clicker training allows you to tell the dog the exact moment he acts correctly. This allows you to lay down an IOU-one-treat on that action. Ultimately, this allows you to string actions together before giving a food reward.
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The Handling Bad Behavior Method

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Handling Bad Behavior method for Be Obedient
Step
1
Ignore bad behavior
Try not to shout or punish bad behavior. This only makes him fearful and may make him wary of you.
Step
2
A short, sharp "No"
If the dog does something dangerous that needs instant reproof, then a short sharp "No" labels the action as unacceptable.
Step
3
Don't go chasing
Be aware that chasing after a dog to retrieve that stolen slipper, only makes this into a game and he learns it's a great way to get attention
Step
4
Use a distraction technique
Instead, distract the dog with another, more interesting behavior. Get his favorite squeaky toy and squeak it to get his attention. Make the toy far more appealing than the slipper, so that the drops the latter. Then reward the dog with a game of tug with his toy.
Step
5
Withdraw attention
Most dogs are attention junkies, and don't mind being told off if it makes them the center of attention. If the dog is being naughty and has stopped listening to you, then make sure he is in a safe place and leave him alone. Withdrawing attention sends out a powerful message that the fun stops if he misbehaves.
Step
6
Reward an alternate behavior
And last but not least, give a command you know the dog will obey such as "Sit". Then you can reward this good behavior, and distract him away from naughtiness.
Step
7
Plenty of exercise
Bored dogs or those with too much energy are apt to behave badly. Short cut this by providing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Milo
Labradoodle
1 Year
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Question
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Milo
Labradoodle
1 Year

Milo is very timid and jumps up on strangers. We are in a cainine good citizen class and he fails every time with the accept a friendly stranger test item. How do you teach a super excitable yet timid dog not to jump?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Krystal, Check out the article that I have linked below. I suggest following the "Step Toward" method combined with your guests offering him treats when he sits. The step toward him should be business-like and calm. Firm but not angry. This is not a knee in the chest - it's a throw off balance a bit and communicate to the dog that that's your personal space and he should back up. Dogs tend to respond to body language well naturally and walking toward him when he jumps moves the dog out of your space using your body - which communicates that the dog should respect that space better and is a mild correction. Giving treats for a sit shows the dog what he can do instead of jumping to earn your affection, while also helping him like strangers. Jumping article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Is Milo timid about people? Do you think it’s possible he’s timid because he’s not getting acceptance when he expects it and feels like people are not very predictable? If people are going to extreme efforts to solicit his attention and he genuinely doesn’t understand that people don’t like being jumped on (I mean, come on, they’re all the way up there!) then squatting him off, ghosting him, or hurting him, then it’s no wonder he’s insecure!

I would suggest a cognitive psych approach instead of a behaviorism approach. That means let’s consider Milo’s state of mind while he is learning. If he’s excited about people, it’s going to be very hard for Milo to take in anything other than the most shallow information. The bloodflow in his brain is in his emotion centers, not supporting rational thought. So the trick is to get Milo less excited about people so he can start making sense of feedback about his behavior. I’d suggest some snuffling exercises around strangers with Milo below the threshold of his excitement. If he is staring or displaying fixation in any other way, Milo is “above threshold” and too excited to be desensitized.

As for the snuffling exercise, just throw his kibble or other low-calorie treat on the ground. A dog’s most important sense is their smell and using their sense of smell to find food is highly rewarding. This exercise classically conditions dogs to feel calm not engaging with what they find exciting.

As you do this, Milo will be able to get closer and closer to strangers without getting over-excited. The best part is that he will also develop confidence as people begin to make more sense. I’d shoot for doing thing 2-5 times a week.

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Ginger
Pit bull
5 Years
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Question
1 found helpful
Ginger
Pit bull
5 Years

Ginger is a pit bull mix. She is very reactive to other dogs walking on the street. At one time she was social with other dogs. She was twice bitten and we stopped taking her to dog parks. Since then, it seems that her anti-social behavior has worsened. She whimpers as if she wants to play with other dogs, but she lunges and is extremely aggressive at times. Ginger is VERY friendly with people and children. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rebecca, It sounds like she is fear-aggression due to the fights. Her reaction is probably a combination of excitement and trying to scare other dogs away due to fear...she gets over arroused basically. I recommend never going back to the dog park with her. Going on pack walks with other dogs would likely be a good way to re-socialize her while still giving her space, maintaining control, and giving all dogs involved something to focus on other than each other. The walks should be structured, meaning the dogs are working at focusing on owners and heeling the entire time. This article explains what a structured walk looks like. https://www.google.com/amp/s/thegooddoglifeblog.com/2012/03/22/how-to-introduce-new-dogs-to-your-pack-pt-1-the-walk/amp/ For Ginger I recommend working on simply walking the dogs together with space between them (like opposite sides of the street at first). The article that I have linked below better explains how to do this in the "Walking Together" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs If there is a chance Ginger might attack have her wear a muzzle during this. You can get her comfortable with the muzzle by giving her treats or feeding her her food one piece at a time on top of the muzzle, whenever you gently touch it to her, and finally through the muzzle's holes when she voluntarily puts her face in it to get the food there. Use a soft silicone basket muzzle for this. Finally, look to see if there is G.R.O.W.L. class in your area you can attend with her. A growl class is a class for dog aggressive or dog reactive dogs who all wear muzzle's during the class and are socialized with each other under the guidance of the trainer and owners. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mr. Brown
Pomapoo
1 Year
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Question
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Mr. Brown
Pomapoo
1 Year

What is your opinion of the Canine Good Citizen test? Some of the tests seem to repress a dog's natural instincts. For example, my dog likes to greet friendly strangers with a little jump. This has never caused any problem, but is grounds for failing the CGC test. Another habit considered poor manners is excessively sniffing the ground. But I also believe dogs should naturally explore their environment. I guess the CGC test is not for everyone. Thoughts?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eugene, The Canine Good Citizen test is a phenomenal test. If you want to train your dog to do highly skilled task work, like bomb sniffing, Service Dog work, Therapy Dog Work, Conformation Obedience, Search and Rescue work, and more, a dog has to be able to ignore other dogs unless given permission to greet, not jump up, heel properly, ect... With that said, your dog is yours to train and if you don't want to participate in activities that require those skills and like for your dog to do certain behaviors that the CGC test excludes, it is entirely up to you whether or not to train those skills. I personally allow my dogs to do a couple of things that other trainers would not simply because I enjoy my dogs more that way. That's the beauty of training, you decide what you want to teach and then take the time and spend the effort teaching the behaviors you want that make your life more enjoyable for you and your dog. An Intermediate Obedience class might be a better fit for you if you feel uncertain about the CGC. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

I supposed the CGC is good for some things and not for other. Depends on your goal. I don’t think a dog should be penalized for their natural behavior, especially if it’s well-received.

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Delilah
Dachshund/cockerspaniel
5 Years
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Delilah
Dachshund/cockerspaniel
5 Years

We have a 16 year old cat that we can not get Delilah to stop barking at. Delilah has never harmed the cat but she will growl and bark at the cat whenever she is in her crate (only the upstairs crate in my parents bedroom which she sleeps in overnight and when she is on the couch with us. I am assuming it’s a protective behavior. How do we stop this pattern?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eva, First teach her what the Quiet command means by following the "Quiet" method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, crate her or put her on the couch while the cat is around (this is easier if a second person can handle the cat to keep it close by). Tell her Quiet and wait until she stops barking for 1-2 seconds. While she is quiet quickly give her a treat (do not reward while she is barking, and be quick when you reward before she starts barking again). You can also make a small noise to distract her for a second if she doesn't stop for a second within 5-10 minutes, or move the cat further away and practice from further back at first. At first it will take her longer to stop barking so be patient. As she improves, she should bark less and stop barking more frequently, when she gets to that point require that she stay quiet for longer before giving her a treat. At first, simply count to 3-5. Overtime work up to her being quiet for minutes before giving the treat. You can also give a second treat if she stays quiet for a bit after the first treat. You want to transition to rewarding her for staying quiet and not barking to begin with ultimately. When she can handle staying quiet, whenever the cat walks by and she doesn't bark at all, give her a treat. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gigi
Bouvier des Flandres
6 Months
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Question
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Gigi
Bouvier des Flandres
6 Months

If I train with food will I always have to use food?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gabriel, When done correctly, food should be phased out of training gradually. First, use food until your dog understands the meaning of a command. Once your dog understands, only use food as a reward after your dog performs a command (hide the food until after the dog obeys), and do not use the food as a bribe or lure anymore (where your dog can see the food and is only doing the command by following the food or if the food is present). As your dog improves, only reward them after three repetitions of the same command (praise each time though), then after five times, then ten. Next, only reward your dog when they perform the command better than usual (faster, more focused, or around harder distractions). Finally, work on the command around distractions and initially use the food when your dog obeys when things are very distracting. As that distraction gets easier for your dog, remove the food there as well, and only reward your dog around even harder distractions. With time and practice, your dog should learn to obey commands without food most of the time. Every once in a while you can surprise your dog with food, but the treat will be a surprise and the dog not dependent on it to obey. There is a period during training called proofing where you also teach your dog that they must obey even when they do not want to. This is typically during intermediate or advanced obedience. An example of this would be practicing "Come" on a long leash and reeling your dog in with the long leash if they do not come. Food is mostly used to lure a dog into a certain position to teach commands initially, to motivate a dog to learn, and to socialize a dog (sometimes food will be used long-term for socialization). In advanced training there are other methods besides food as well, but food can help you get to that point faster if your dog likes food. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Hello,
This is called the overjustification effect and it can be a big technical challenge for rewards-based trainers to fade the food. If you’re not having success, a rewards-based trainer could help you. While I am force-free, I am personally not that into rewards-based training. I think there are better ways, namely Bond-Based Choice Teaching. However, learning to use it is a bit of an undertaking and most current dog trainers won’t be able to help you. I just wanted to let you know that it’s possible to train outside of the operant conditioning paradigm.
Best, CJ

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Chloe
German Shepherd
4 Months
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Question
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Chloe
German Shepherd
4 Months

How do I get her to stop jumping on the couch. I prefer her not to be on the furniture.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lawrence, First, check out the article that I have linked below. Follow the "Always Off" method while also teaching the "Teach an Alternative" method to make his own bed a pleasant place to be instead. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-puppy-to-stay-off-furniture When you are not home or in another room, you will need to prevent him from climbing onto the couch and learning to lay on it when you are not there. Check out the article that I have linked below to teach that: https://wagwalking.com/training/stay-off-the-couch-when-youre-not-home Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dottie
Pit bull
5 Years
0 found helpful
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Dottie
Pit bull
5 Years

Whenever there is a knock on the door or the doorbell ring Dottie goes crazy barking, which is super annoying since we have 2 young children who nap during the day. We've tried yelling, ignoring, calmly telling her to stop, sending her to her bed...nothing has yet to work. How do we get her to stop barking everytime she hears the doorbell (either real or on the TV)?
Looking forward to your reply. Thank you!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melissa, Check out the desensitization video below and follow that method: https://youtu.be/bpzvqN9JNUA Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Diego
Terrier mix with chiuaua
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Diego
Terrier mix with chiuaua
3 Years

I have been Diego's owner for 2 months. He came from the humane society so I don't know his exact age. He's been a perfect dog and was obviously house trained to walk before I met him. My question is why does he stop walking and sit down for the wag walkers? He never does this for me and we go on long walks. How can I help them/him? I can tell you that when I first got him he was a little stubborn. He wouldn't go down stairs (scared?) But now he does. He would stop on walks before but I initiated pausing, looking in direction I want to go (not him) and say "come on Diego" and that is how I got him to stop doing it with me.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melissa, There a couple of reasons why he might be stopping just with the walkers but not with you. First, your body language might be more confident, so he has learned that stopping is not an option with you and he feels more relaxed with you, but the walkers do not know what is normal for him and they are new to him, so he might respect them less. If this is the case, I suggest seeing if you can hire the walkers to simply take him potty, then spend the rest of the time that they would be spend on a walk having a short easy obedience training session with him with treats that you have left for him. They can simply have him do the commands that you have already taught him in your front yard, such as Sit, Down, or Watch Me. They can also practice rewarding him for heeling in a small area in your front yard after he goes potty, to encourage him to follow better in preparation for longer walks. Second, if different walkers are coming each time (which is one of the conveniences of wag - you can hire someone last minute who is free in your area), then he simply might be uncertain around the new person each time. If this is the case, I suggest having the wag walkers bring treats on the walk that you have left for them at your home. They can reward him for heeling with them when he is in the correct position and paying attention. This will improve his following but also help him feel more relaxed about walking with someone new. Time and practice should also help. The more times that he goes on walks and the walk is pleasant with treats and praise, he should start to realize that new people are okay and will always bring him home at the end of the walk. If you are still struggling, I suggest having a friend who is familiar with dogs walk him, and have the friend try different approaches to get him to walk with them, to find out what works, so that you can then tell the walkers what worked for him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bailey
Min Pin Mix
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Bailey
Min Pin Mix
2 Years

How do I get him to stop chewing things up? I would like to have him out of his area more, if he doesn't chew up things like his bed, blanket, or wee wee pads.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Victoria, Check out the article that I have linked below. Typically you need to follow all three methods. https://wagwalking.com/training/not-chew-on-furniture When you are present work on the "Leave It" command and providing durable chew toys stuffed with food for him when he is in the crate and out of a crate, to teach him to prefer his own toys. When you are not directly supervising him (you should still be close by though) you can use deterrent sprays on furniture that he tends to chew repeatedly, block off trouble-some areas, and remove items. Teaching young dogs not to chew your items is all about preventing the bad habit from happening by managing their environment, teaching them not to chew your things when you are watching to enforce it, and teaching them to chew their own toys so that they will look for their own toys when they need to chew. You cannot teach a dog not to chew at all - it is a natural desire and need, but you can teach a dog to only chew appropriate things instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Carter Young
Shorkie Tzu
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Carter Young
Shorkie Tzu
7 Months

My dog won’t srop whining , and I can’t figure out what’s wrong with him .

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Zahira, If the whining is continuous and recent, even when he has all of his needs met, then he might need to be evaluated by a vet to see if he is in pain. He could also be whining to get attention if it is happening when you are ignoring him, crating him, or leave the room. To test this, see if the whining stops when you interact with him. He might he whining because he hears something outside and is excited or anxious about it. If that is the case, then a change in location, where he won't hear the same things should help you test that. Without being there in person it is difficult to evaluate. If the whining is recent or continuous, then I suggest visiting your vet. If you still can't discover the cause of the whining, I suggest hiring a private trainer to come evaluate him for you to help you determine what's going on. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rollie
ShihTzu
10 Years
0 found helpful
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Rollie
ShihTzu
10 Years

My dog has and uses his doggie door frequently all day, yet he sometimes will pee indoors. No matter what I do he won't stop.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vanessa, Has the issue been happening just this past year or his whole life? If the issue has been going on for his whole life, then he has created a very strong habit of peeing inside, and close supervision with him tethered to you when loose, confinement in a crate when you cannot watch him, taking him outside to go potty on a leash every time, rewarding him with treats for going potty outside, or teaching him to go potty on a disposable real grass pad in an exercise pen are your options that are most likely to work. If the issue is recent, it is likely due to a health complication due to his age, such as mental decline that makes it hard for him to remember and find his way outside, failing eye sight that confuses him, arthritis that makes him hesitant to walk all the way outside, urinary incontinence that makes it hard for him to hold his bladder long enough to get outside to go potty. If the issue is recent, then I suggest having your vet check for any medical issues due to age, or a urinary tract infection. If the issue is not something that can be treated, you may need to transition him to using a real grass pad in an exercise pen inside to help him make it to the bathroom, or taking him outside more often on leash on a schedule before the urge to go potty hits him. If you end up needing to transition him to an indoor grass pad, check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Exercise Pen" method. For him you would keep one exercise pen with a grass pad up, instead of removing the pen eventually. He will likely need to visual reminder of the pen to help him locate the pad. The article below was written for litter box training but you can use it for grass pads also by simply susbtituting the litter box for a grass pad. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Example of real grass pad: https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2245085113648406326&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-568582223506&psc=1 Amazon also carrier real grass pads. Porch Potty makes a more expensive, high quality one for longer term use as well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Temoc
Labrador Retriever
2 Years
0 found helpful
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Temoc
Labrador Retriever
2 Years

Our 70 lb dog jumps excitedly and is mouthy sometimes when we get home or when he meets new people. He'll open his mouth around your arm - not aggressively and doesn't bite down but it can hurt! What can we do to curb this bad behavior?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Whitney, Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Step Toward" method if you are able to with her size. Be firm and mean business with this. Also, put your arms behind your back and stand tall like a drill sergeant when you do this. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump If she is too large to use the step toward method, then check out the article that I have linked below and move onto correcting the jumping, combined with rewarding sitting once she stops jumping. You can also go straight to this method. This method tends to take two people to work as effectively, so you and a family member can take turns holding the leash when the other comes home, to practice this. For this training to work, you will likely need to use a prong collar with a leash. A quality prong collar is rounded on the ends of the prongs and the prongs are at an angle so that the prongs create an even squeeze on the dog's neck and do not dig into the dog's neck straight down. They look harsh because of the design but are actually one of the least harmful corrective devices because they go not require a lot of pressure on the neck to be noticed by the dog and the sensation is more of a squeeze than a hard bump, like a choke collar would be. A prong collar needs to be fitted correctly to be the least harmful and used properly. Check out the second video below for how to properly fit a prong collar. Jumping video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=TaF7vQU3k4E Collar fitting video: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=how+to+fit+a+prong+collar+jeff+gelmman&docid=608026187740874131&mid=09342BBDF7268CF2C70F09342BBDF7268CF2C70F&view=detail&FORM=VIREHT For the mouthing, check out the article that I have linked below and teach her the "Leave It" command from the "Leave It" method and use that command when she attempts to mouth or looks like she is thinking about mouthing. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Scrap
Feist
2 Years
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Question
1 found helpful
Scrap
Feist
2 Years

Hello! So glad you guys are doing this now! Ok so I have a few questions. Some minor, some not.

1) how do I slow his eating down? I've used slow feeding bowls, bowl balls, smaller portioned intervals but he just dives in and inhales it and then trolls for my other dogs food. He's 26lbs and gets a half cup of Rachel Ray's Nutrish 2 times a day, 8 to 12 hrs apart.

2) he's a poop eater! I've tried coprophagia powder or meat tenderizer in his food, pineapple, etc. I've even sprayed his poop with butter apple spray or hot sauce before and doesn't phase him. I've if he poops in the house he eats it. Whether it's because he likes it, he's hungry or he's trying to hide it to avoid getting I trouble I do not know.

3) massive anxiety! It's gotten better but when I come home and let them out of their crates or when someone comes over he is uncontrollable. Screaming and barking very loud and high pitched. HThat wouldn't bother me so much if I wasn't an apartment dweller and have neighbors to worry about. This is usually accompanied with excited peeing which is also embarrassing with guests and bad on my carpet. The crazy thing is he knows the basic commands (sit, stay, lay down, come) but when he gets excited it all goes out the door.

Clearly I need help and I'm sorry for the long msg but I'm just in need of help and trainers are so expensive. I know I could do it with the right information. Thank you!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Corey, First of all I would rule out weight and nutrition issues because both of those things can lead to acting starving and eating poop. Parasites are one possible cause, especially tape worms because they steal your dog's food and can make the dog very hungry and and not prevented through common work prevention pills. Look for rice sized, tape like pieces of off-white colored worm sections in your dog's poop or have your vet do a stool sample for that and any other worms he suggests. Also, evaluate him to make sure he is eating enough. Dogs can have different metabolisms so feeding guidelines sometimes need to be adjusted to add more or less food. Check out the links below and look at the charts and descriptions for how to tell if a dog is an ideal weight. Many charts are more worried about over-feeding so just pay attention to him not being underfed from the article information. He is naturally a thin breed and I cannot tell from pictures if he is too thin or a healthy weight (and am not a vet) so I am not suggesting he is too thin from pictures, simply stating that could be one cause for the poop eating and fast eating. https://www.dummies.com/pets/dogs/how-to-evaluate-your-dogs-weight/ https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-feeding-tips/dog-ideal-weight/ If you rule out weight, worms, or another nutritional deficiency, then you can tackle the issue from a training point. If underlying issues aren't addressed then the issues won't get better though. For the fast eating, I suggest purchasing a large Kong wobble toy and feeding him his meals out of that or by stuffing hollow chew toys for him. Feed him where other dogs cannot steal it from him. If you feed him from chew toys, then a crate is the best place to feed him to give him a place to relax and eat, and prevent him from stealing other's food. A crate is a great place to feed almost any dog...it has the added benefit of helping a dog like his crate. For the poop eating, you can also try feeding him a bit of pumpkin, but picking up the poop and addressing any health issues if present (like worms) is the only sure fire way to stop what has become a habit. You need to break the habit long enough for him to get out of the mindset of doing it. Some dogs do it because of unmet nutritional needs and other simply do it for fun. For the anxiety, check out the video that I have linked below and follow the protocol for how to let a dog out of a crate. Also check out the second video and teach him the "Place" command. That command is very useful for teaching anxious dogs how to cope and calm themselves down. Finally, pay attention to the type of structure demonstrated in the third video I have linked below, to help with general anxiety. How to teach Crate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 How to teach Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo General tips for adding more structure to help with anxiety. Anxious dogs tend to need a lot of structure, calmness and confidence from you, and clear direction. You can interrupt an anxious dogs anxious state of mind to help the dog choose a better behavior and then calmly let the dog know that you like the new behavior. https://youtu.be/g-VJXhM0iJo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Maximus
Siberian Husky
9 Weeks
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Maximus
Siberian Husky
9 Weeks

Potty training has been really hard. He prefers to poop and pee inside and I really want to get this potty training under control and so I don’t have to stalk him around the house and outside. Any advice.

Also, if you know of a good dog food brand that’s good for husky pups please can you share that as well 🤗

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jasmine, I highly suggest crate training. The crate will encourage his natural desire to hold his bladder in a confined space, which will help him associate that with your house. It will also only give him the opportunity to pee outside. Since the only time that he will be free inside is when is bladder is empty. Be aware that puppies can only physically hold their bladders for the number of months they are in age plus one while awake - and that's a maximum amount of time. This means that he cannot physically hold his bladder for longer than 2-3 hours. To be successful with potty training at this age, he needs to be taken outside every 1-1.5 hours. That number will increase by one every month. By four months, he will be able to hold his bladder for 4-5 hours, but again, he should still be taken out sooner than that so that his bladder doesn't get too full and risk having an accident. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the Crate Training method. You can also use the Tethering method when you are home, if you are very careful to supervise him and simply want him to be with you more, but honestly the "Crate Training" method tends to be the most straight-forward and effective for potty training. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Chloe
Goldendoodle
5 Months
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Chloe
Goldendoodle
5 Months

Our dog doesn't seem to be picking up the "stay" or "come here" commands. She understands the game when we're doing training, but those commands don't seem to register beyond the short training sessions where we have treats. Any advice?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Madeleine, It sounds like she simply needs more practice around distractions. Basic Obedience is all about simply teaching your dog what English (or other language) commands mean. Period. Intermediate Obedience is about teaching your dog to perform the commands they already learned in Basic Obedience around distractions. Just because your dog understands what the word "Stay" means that doesn't mean she can perform it around distractions yet. Take time practicing it around distractions. Start with easy distractions first, and gradually work up to harder ones as she gets better. For the Come check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Reel In" method. Again practice it around easy distractions, like your front yard, first and work up to harder places, like the park, as she improves. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Do the same thing with Stay. First practice somewhere easy using a long leash (hide the treats behind your back or in your pocket so that she is not being bribed by them but is more surprised when she gets one). Tell her to "Stay" and take a couple of steps back. If she pops up, rush toward her with the palm of your hand toward her like a stop sign (this naturally makes her back up a bit and helps her learn not to get up). Gently guide her back into the Stay position without repeating the command (unless you think she forgot it or it's been a while since you told her), then try backing up again. You'll notice about how far you can get before she breaks her stay, try to return to her before she breaks the stay and reward her for doing well. Only let her get up when you say "Okay", and not just because you returned or gave her a treat. Don't always let her up when you return, practice backing up again sometimes to keep her guessing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Henry
hound mix
2 Years
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Henry
hound mix
2 Years

Our dog is a rescue. He is very needy for attention, if you give him a pet or sometimes if you just sit down on the couch, he is immediately leaning on you, under your feet, trying to get in your lap and in the way. How do we teach him to give space instead of invading peoples space constantly? It makes guests uncomfortable and frustrates us.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Hanna, Teach Henry a Place command and have him practice that for long periods of time and around distractions. Place is also good for building his independence. Also, teach him an "Out" command, which means leave the area. To teach Place check out the video below. https://youtu.be/omg5DVPWIWo To teach "Out", first, call him to you, tell him "Out" while you toss a treat away from you and point to where you toss with your treat tossing hand's index finger. Use large enough treats for him to see where you tossed it. After he leaves you and eats the treat, tell him "Okay" and encourage him to come back. Repeat the "Out", treat toss, and pointing toward where you tossed it. Practice this until he starts to go where you pointed when you say "Out" even if you haven't throw the treat yet. This takes most dogs about a week of practicing a bit every day. When he will go where you point before you throw the treat, then as soon as he moves toward that direction, toss the treat in that area. Practice this in different areas when he can do it in the first location. After he understands what "Out" means, use it in real life. If he obeys and leaves when you tell him to without coming right back unless told "Okay" then toss a treat to where he is. If he disobeys or tries to come right back (which he likely will), get in front of him, and walk toward him, herding him out of the area until he backs out of that area. Picture yourself like a brick wall or drill sergeant when you do this. Your attitude is calm and firm - not angry but meaning business. It's okay if you have to walk into him a bit. He can backup. Once he is out of the area, stand in front of him until he stops trying to get past you, stops looking like he's trying to go back to the area he left (looking area still), or until he leaves completely. When he gives up, go back to where you were before. If he tries to follow you without being told "Okay", tell him "Ah Ah" to let him know that's incorrect and walk toward him again. Repeat walk back to where you were and walking toward him as many times as it takes for him to stop trying to come back over there. When you want him to return, tell him "Okay". He needs to learn some self-control, how to give space, and to understand when he shouldn't be in someone's space. You can use these commands for all of that. Structure and boundaries can also help in general. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Harper
Labrador Retriever
2 Years
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Harper
Labrador Retriever
2 Years

My dog occasionally submissive pees. I rescued her at one year old and she has been doing it less and less. However she will do it if she thinks she is in trouble, so I can never raise my voice. She also always does it when she sees my dad out of excitement. She gets very excited when she sees people she knows, but my dad is the only one she consistently submissive pees for. He can't even talk to her or greet her, instead ignoring her for 5-10 mins before he can acknowledge her. Any advice on training out submissive peeing habits??

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lindsey, Some dogs submissive pee while young and grow out of it. Some dogs do it genetically or due to their specific temperament. In general being calm and preventing as many accidents as you can is recommended. The main goal with submissive peeing is to prevent it from becoming a long term habit, so that the dog will out grow out of it as they calm down. Having your dad avoid her for 5-10 minutes is exactly what you should do. In general, guest should do the same thing so that her expectation of guest coming over is calmer and she builds a habit of being calm around them - which can help her learn control. Practice obedience exercises that require self-control and are calming, like a long down stay or down-stay around distractions using a long leash and harness for safety if outside a fence. You can also teach her an avoidance command during exciting times. Teaching her to automatically go to a specific calm location, such as a dog bed, until she is calm during times of excitement, like your dad entering, can help her learn to control herself during exciting situations on her own. For example, one of my own dogs submissive peed while younger. She is still excitable and very submissive as an adult due to her inherited temperament - so she is prone to submissive peeing forever but she has learned to avoid greeting people on her own until she calms down (usually by fetching a toy and chewing on that in another part of the room); because of this she has not had an accident since she was an adolescent dog. Once my dog is calm, she can go up to people and happily greet them without an accident. I suggest teaching Harper a "Place" command and practicing her going to her place whenever your dad or an exciting friend/volunteer enters your home. First teach Place without people around until she can stay in it well. Next, have a calm guest enter, keep a leash on her and lead her to place and practice having her stay there until she is calm. Calmly reward her with food-stuffed chew toys while she stays in place. When she is very calm (expect this to take several minutes at first), tell her "Okay" to let her get up. If she goes to greet your guests, have your guest greet her very calmly to keep her successful. If she starts to get too excited have your guests ignore her and return her to place again. Reward her with food-stuffed chew toys while she is on place, and for going there on her own. Practice this often enough that she starts to "Guess" what she should do when people enter and goes to place on her own; that is what you ultimately want. When she starts to go there on her own, reward her on the place. If she doesn't go on her own, have everyone freeze or the guests leave, giving her a few seconds to guess what to do and go to place on her own. If she doesn't figure it out on her own, lead her to place again with the leash. Repeat all of the training until she will consistently go to place automatically when someone enters. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Fezzik
Yorkshire Terrier
1 Year
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Fezzik
Yorkshire Terrier
1 Year

Fezzik has recently in last few weeks started to get up in the middle of the night and wants to get in bed with us. We have a couple of times just let her but recently we will put her in her crate in another room. Is this the best way to try and break her of wanting to get into bed with us at 3:00 in the morning?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kathy, Yes, teach her a command, like Place or bed (which means go to her own bed on the floor). If she tries to get in your bed, command her to go to hers. If she disobeys, go put her in the crate in the other room. During the day, also randomly leave treats on her own bed for her to find, to help her want to go to her bed and spend more time there. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Boone
Mixed breed
4 Years
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Boone
Mixed breed
4 Years

Boone is full of anxiety wen in the car. I have tried a number of this ranging from melatonin, to a Thunder vest, to drugs, to most recently CBD.

Nothing has really helped. I want to calm him down but not knock him out. Any suggestions?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Randi, Boone needs to be desensitized to car rides. Start feeding him his meals near the car. Close enough that he notices the car, but not so close that he will not eat. Practice this until he seems totally relaxed around the car. As he gets more comfortable, then move the food closer to the car overtime and open the door while you feed him. Keep the car turned off for this. Next, feed him on the floor board of the car, right inside the door, with the door open or closed, whichever he is more comfortable with. Stand outside the car or sit in the backseat but don't get in the front seat yet. Add extra fun treats to his food the first few times that you feed him in the car. Practice this for a long time, until he can completely relax in the car. If he won't eat, then try playing his favorite games and with his favorite toys or practice feeding him outside of the car for longer first. When he can handle eating in the car without anxiety, then close the door. Next, turn the car on but don't go anywhere. When he can handle the noise, then drive the car just a few feet. Just enough for him to feel the movement and then for it to stop. Gradually increase how far you go overtime while he is relaxed. Finally, when he can drive around your neighborhood and stay calm, take him to other locations. Start with calm pleasant locations only. Avoid places that scare or over-excite him while you are doing this. When he can ride, then have one person sit in the back with him and have him lay down during car rides. Start teaching him the "Down" command while the car is stopped at first, and progress to movement with him laying down during rides, until he learns a habit of it. Laying down will help him not to get overly excited or anxious and it will help prevent car sickness, which can contribute to his anxiety. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-car-rides

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Tahoe
Siberian Husky
3 Years
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Tahoe
Siberian Husky
3 Years

Sometimes aggressive towards other dogs. Many times he will interact with other dogs without incident. Seems to be aggressive with increased frequency. We have cat in home. They coexist and even sleep together

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mauricio, I suggest hiring a professional trainer who has access to multiple other dogs at their training facility to train around. Without knowing more details or observing him and his body language around other dogs I cannot offer a lot of advice. Someone needs to observe his body language around other dogs. I suspect it is related to a lack of impulse control or dominance and competing. With more submissive dogs he may be fine but when a dog doesn't submit he might be behaving aggressively. He might also be acting aggressive when a dog is too pushy because he lacks impulse control and proper social skills. Is he allowed off leash at a dog park right now? If so, stop taking him there, in his case that will probably make it worse and endanger the other dogs and him. His interactions with other dogs need to be structured where you can control the interactions and environment to train. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Forest
Australian Shepherd
10 Months
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Forest
Australian Shepherd
10 Months

I would love to train him to "heel", so he doesn't pull on the leash.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Matt, Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Turns" method. When you work on this method, pay special attention to turning in front of him at a ninety degree angle as soon as his face starts to move past your leg. You have to cut in front as soon as his face starts to move forward or its hard to do - ie don't wait until his shoulder is past your leg. Cutting in front helps the dog learn to pay better attention, respect your space, and also discourages trying to move past you because you might turn in front of them in general. Remember to reward when he is in the heel position and doing well to help him learn where the heel position is beside you. Plan on your walks looking like walking in a lot of large squares, circles, and weird patterns for a while while training this. Culdesacs, your front yard, fields, parks and other open areas are great places to take your daily walk for awhile while teaching heel. You may not cover a lot of mileage but as long as you are still walking during the training, the walks should still be good for him and decrease excess energy - mental stimulation paired with physical stimulation can actually wear a dog out even more than physical exercise alone. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dodger
Labradoodle
7 Years
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Dodger
Labradoodle
7 Years

I have two dogs. Dodger is 7 and he’s the labradoodle and Clue who is 15 and is a terrier. This is mainly for dodger. I’ve been having a hard time potty training him. He goes outside and I watch him to pee and poop but then he’ll come inside and pee on something In the house. Also, when I am home they don’t pee or poop around the house but when my mom is home with them they seem to pee and poop on everything. Is there a solution to this?

I’m trying to kennel train both dog as well. Do you have an advice on how to help that process?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elana, Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Crate Training" method. Since Dodger is not a puppy you can take him potty every 3-4 hours when home instead of every hour, and give him 1-2 hours of freedom outside of the crate after he goes potty outside before putting him back into the crate until the next potty trip. Since he is older, he likely can hold his bladder for longer in the crate also, but when you are home take him out every 3-4 hours to help potty training go faster. Pay attention to the information from the article about giving treats for going potty, not giving him freedom in your home unless his bladder is empty, and how to introduce the crate. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside It also sounds like Dodger might be peeing because he is marking to add his scent inside. This might be because he is trying to establish dominance around your other dog or because he smells urine inside. Clean up accidents with a cleaner that contains enzymes. Look on the pet cleaner and it should say enzyme or enzymatic somewhere on the bottle if it contains it. Only enzymes will break down the poop or pee at a molecular level to fully remove the smell. Dogs noses are more sensitive so any remaining smell that they can smell will encourage them to go potty in the same area again, especially if both dogs are peeing where the other one peed before. Avoid ammonia containing cleaners in the area in general also because Ammonia smells like urine to a dog. Also, purchase a "Belly Band" for Dodger and Clue (if he is peeing too even after going potty outside recently). A belly band is essentially a wrap that goes around a male dog's lower waist. You can purchase dog pads, use human incontinence pads, or feminine pads inside the washable belly bands to catch any urine. You can also buy disposable belly bands. The belly bands will prevent the smell of urine from being spread and give you an opportunity to catch him in the act and teach him not to mark. When you see him lift his leg to mark (even though he already peed outside recently), clap your hands two times loudly. This is simply to startle him a little so that he does not finish marking, but it is not overly harsh because you also do not want him to learn to avoid peeing in front of you in general - giving treats for going potty outside will also prevent any fear of that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lola
australian shepherd mix
4 Years
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Lola
australian shepherd mix
4 Years

Lola barks at other dogs aggressively when she is on leash and when she is in my front yard behind the fence. If she is off leash in the dog park or she knows the dog, she doesn't bark at all and is very friendly.

How can I get her to stop barking at other dogs and pulling, especially when walking on leash?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jen, Many dogs are territorial, possessive, or protective even when they like other dogs. It sounds like she is likely territorial and either possessive or protective of you. Some dogs are leash reactive but fine with other dogs while off leash. For the protectiveness or possessiveness I suggest working on her respect toward you. Teach her a Place command and work on her staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where her nose does not go past your leg. You may need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression and if so look for someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and she likely has other forms of aggression. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo For the yard I suggest trying to desensitize her to the appearance of other dogs walking past. You will need a few friends with dogs to help you with this by having them walk their dog down the street during your training sessions behind the fence, and repeating walking past until they become boring to your dog. Work on giving her obedience commands while a dog walks past at a far distance and rewarding her for focus on you, staying calm while the dog passes, and being obedient. Practice with the same dog walking by until she is doing well around that dog and that dog can walk by on the side of the sidewalk near your house and she will still remain calm. Gradually move further away from Lola during the training as she improves and toss treats to her from a distance so that she is not depending on your presence to do well. Only reward her while she is doing well - do not reward or comfort her while she is acting aggressively or you can make it worse. You can correct the aggression to get her focus back on you, then reward for calmness but I would suggest doing this with the assistance of a qualified trainer only, because some dogs will displace aggression and react toward whoever interrupts them. For more extreme cases I generally suggest using a high quality e-collar with at least forty levels (only with the help of a professional trainer) or long lines so you are not right beside the dog when you interrupt them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lambchop
miniature poodle
1 Year
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Lambchop
miniature poodle
1 Year

Lambchop is a recent rescue. I found him in the street a little over a month ago, and after some digging I found out he had no legal owner and had been abandoned multiple times (at least 3 that I know of). He was so gentle and sweet that I decided to take him home myself. Since then he's been very good and shockingly easy to train, learns rules and commands very quickly, and is super affectionate with both myself and my roommate.

There's only one problem- he goes absolutely insane when we leave him alone. When we're home, he loves his crate and hangs out in there all the time, sleeps in there, no problem. But when we crate him and leave, the sound that comes out of his little body is like something no animal should be making. It's like the dragons on Game of Thrones. It sounds like a cross between a crying human baby and a rusty faucet. He bangs his head on the bars and sometimes shreds up his bedding or chews on his own tail. Our neighbors have complained.

I've been crate training him since I brought him home, and have been able to get the barking down from almost an hour to about five minutes. But it's been about two weeks without improvement, and I'm worried our neighbors will make it an issue if it doesn't stop. Our friend walks him every day while we're at work and says that Lambchop doesn't even cry when he puts him back in the crate. He just can't bear to be separated from us.

Is there anything else I can do to help him? I want to get him to a point where he can be in the apartment alone without needing to be crated, but I'm afraid I've hit a wall.

Thank you in advance, and thanks for taking our questions!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lilly, Check out the article that I have linked below to help him like his crate. I suggest using all three methods, but focus on the "Surprise" method the most. Be sure to include the food stuffed Kongs suggested as well. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If he is still destroying the crate, then start by simply working on building his independence, generally build his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open too. Change the routine before you leave so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is harder for him to deescalate from. Be sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on). This is the general, more gradual protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take longer. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction; who is extremely knowledgeable in e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating crate anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety in a firmer way. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration collar) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). Because of your dog's strong reaction, it is unlikely that the vibration or spray collars will work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar at first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with his end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from the other room or outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar will probably within the first fifty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for him. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does it in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. If he does have separation anxiety, then he will probably need his anxious state of mind interrupted first by doing the e-collar training above so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once his anxiety is interrupted, he will be more likely to enjoy the food stuffed Kong in the crate to relieve his boredom, instead of being destructive. Practice all of this during the day at first. Once he has learned that e-collar corrections are for barking and escape attempts and is able to calm himself back down during the day, then you can transition the training to night time when he tries to bark then - if you are certain that he does not need to pee at that time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Brody
Labrador Retriever
10 Years
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Brody
Labrador Retriever
10 Years

Brody has recently become very anxious/timid when walking across our hardwood floor. Anytime he has to walk across the floor (that isn't carpet) he walking on his nails like he's going to slip or fall down. Also, I recently had to purchase a dog cage because when he was left alone he would start destroying my room. He would lay in a corner by the bed and start chewing at the bedskirt or anything that was within grabbing distance of him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Matt, Because of his age I suggest speaking to your vet. There could be a vision, cognative, or other physical issue that could be leading to higher anxiety. If there isn't a mental issue that needs to be treated, then I suggest putting down small mats with a couple of feet between them in the path where she need to walk around. Leave treats on the mats so that she is rewarded automatically for walking to the next one. When she is feeling braver again you can slowly space the mats further apart until you do not need them again. Replace the treats she eats occasionally so that there are new ones to find that continue to reward her for walking on the hardwood between them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Riley
Goldendoodle
4 Months
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Riley
Goldendoodle
4 Months

I'm trying to teach Riley to sit and stay during walks before crossing the street. She does okay with it when it's just me, however, we sometimes walk with my sister and her dog and Riley is so focused on the other dog that she does not listen. I've let my sister and her dog cross the street before and wouldn't cross until Riley sat down but she would whine and pull and the treats weren't really enticing to her. How can I get her to listen/focus around other dogs?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Megan, Teaching a dog to do something without a lot of distractions around is the first step - which is what you have been doing when it is just you and Riley, but adding distractions requires a new level of skill for the dog. It takes practice for a dog to do something with distractions and another person and dog is extremely distracting. The answer is - practice, as unpleasant as that sounds. You are likely doing things correctly, but she needs to practice walking and waiting at stops frequently enough for her to develop the level of self-control she needs to obey in those situations. Doing it only occasionally or inconsistently won't get results very fast. That means waiting for as long as it takes at the road while she watches them walk away, until she sits for you. Practicing heeling while they are with you, using something like the "Turns" method or one of the other methods from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Walking with another person and dogs is actually one of the hardest distractions for Heel training. Many dogs struggle with that even more than walking through crowded areas and past other dogs because they want to be in front - leading when with a group, or focusing on not being left behind. They have to learn through practice that the only way to move forward is to focus on you and not the others. Joining a class where you practice heeling in a group with other dogs or going on dog walks with groups in your city are good ways to find more opportunities to practice. You can often find owner and dog walking groups that walk and hike together in cities through places like meetup.com or local obedience clubs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Joey Bear
Coton de Tulear
7 Years
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Joey Bear
Coton de Tulear
7 Years

Hi,
Joey Bear is a very good boy but he chooses when he wants to listen, primarily when I want him to come to me. He does when HE wants to. I'd like this habit to change. thank you!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lorie, Check out the article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Also, for the Come, check out the article linked below and follow the "Reel In" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Finally, purchase a chew proof leash, like VirChewLy brand off Amazon, and have him wear that around the house without the handle attached, when you are there to supervise (never leave a leash on when you are not supervising). Practice his Come at home and if he obeys, reward him with a treat when he gets to you. If he disobeys, calmly go over to him, step on the end of the leash, pick the leash up, then quickly lead him over to where you originally called him from and have him sit. After he sits, tell him "Okay" to release him, but don't give a treat unless he came willingly. Leading him over to where you called him from originally enforces your command to show him that disobedience is not an option. The attached leash keeps him from playing keep away and avoiding you. If he still runs off and you cannot catch him on a so foot leash, keep a longer leash attached. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Stanley
Havanese
4 Years
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Stanley
Havanese
4 Years

Stanley began to be really dog reactive just over a year ago. He barks at any dog he sees when he's on his leash, and I really want to make walking an enjoyable experience for all of us again.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kathryn, When Stanley barks does he seem afraid of other dogs, aggressive, or excited? I suggest looking for a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area to work on him bring calm and social around other dogs. This class is a class for dog aggressive or dog reactive dogs who all wear muzzle's to keep everyone safe and are intensively socialized together to help them overcome their issues quicker. If you can't find one of those classes, you need to determine if he is aggressive, fearful, or excited around other dogs. Work on structure either way. When you walk him he needs to be in a heel position with his face behind your leg, so that he is in following mode. His focus should be on you during the walk. Check out the Turns method from the heel article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel If he is fearful, you can practice heeling with other dogs at a distance and reward him for staying calm, focusing on you, and being obedience. Keep him working, such as heeling with lots of turns and changing positions like sit and down and focused on you while you do this. Your attitude should be calm and confident - meaning business while you work. Do not reward him when he is acting rude, aggressive, or reactive. Quickly correct and then start heeling with him, changing directions and speeds so much that he doesn't have time to focus on anything other than you, to get his focus back on you and off of the dogs - this type of training is also good for rude dogs and excited dogs. For an aggressive dog you can do the above training but will probably also need the help of a professional who has access to other dogs at their training facility (like the trainers' dogs) and can also practice dealing with the aggression at it's root. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tyr
Pit bull
12 Months
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Tyr
Pit bull
12 Months

He's the gray one he acts perfect at the house but if he goes to the dog park he gets agresive don't know what to do he has been great so far on the walks with the wag walkers and our family

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Don, He acts aggressively toward the dogs there or the people? If you mean toward dogs, then if he is fine with dogs in other, more structured environments, and just aggressive at the dog park, he needs to stop going to the dog park. Dog parks are highly arousing, give the owner little control of the dogs, are pack oriented, and can lead to competing, bullying, and fear aggression for some dogs. Quite simply there are some dogs that shouldn't go to dog parks and going will actually lead to an aggressive dog if the dog is already prone toward that. If your dog is aggressive toward people or dogs in other environments, that's something that needs to be addressed in more detail, but either way the dog should never go back to the dog park...instead look for structured activities to do with your dog like heeling walks, classes, canine sports, fetch, ect... If your dog is aggressive toward people in the park I would need more details to help, and you likely need a professional trainer who works with a qualified staff of other trainers and is very experienced with aggression to train your dog around a variety of people. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Zoey
Labrador Retriever
9 Years
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Zoey
Labrador Retriever
9 Years

General question: My dog is house trained and gets free range of the house when I am not home. I am trying to adopt a new dog and while he is getting used to the new house I was planning on crating him when I am not home. Should Zoey be crated along with the new dog?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ariel, Zoey does not have to be crated as long as he does not start getting into mischief when the new puppy comes along (some adults need refresher courses in training when they see puppy getting into mischief and get ideas). As long as he doesn't get into mischief you can leave him free but the puppy should be crated in a room where your older dog cannot get close to his crate while you are gone - at least until the dogs are completely comfortable with each other and the puppy is older. You want to avoid any chance of bullying, fighting through the crate, or over excitement or fear from the puppy - instead you want the puppy to have the opportunity to learn to be calm and relaxed in the crate. A closed door is ideal but some dogs also do fine with just a baby gate at the entrance of a doorway, blocking access to the crate. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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River
American Pit Bull Terrier
1 Year
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River
American Pit Bull Terrier
1 Year

River is very playful and chews on everything, how do I get him to stop chewing and tearing up items.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Regina, Check out the article linked below about chewing: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Nash
hound mix
1 Year
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Nash
hound mix
1 Year

Nash was abused as a puppy, he has always been scared of males. Now nash is scared of everyone. He growls and barks. He never bites but his barn can be scary. He is great with other dogs. He loves everyone once he gets to know they.
I want to socialize him more but don't want to scare him or anyone else.
Help please!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sammie, I suggest finding a training facility that has multiple trainers and a good sized staff where you can take him, working with him there, and he can practice being socialized around "strangers", aka the training staff. Practice with the trainers coming to your home, meeting in public locations, and at the training facility. You want to reward him whenever he is calm but not when he is barking or acting aggressive toward someone. Once he is comfortable enough around the person to go up to them, the trainer can walk him at heel, teach him tricks, or play his favorite games with him to help with form an even more positive association with people. You want to find somewhere with a fairly large staff who will agree to do all this. There needs to be a lot of different people doing all this for him to associate it with people in general, and part of the training needs to also take place at your home and public locations like your neighborhood and parks. You can also recruit a ton of friends to help you with this, but you will need at least a dozen people your dog does not know, who will follow your directions, reward when they are supposed to and be calm around him. Ideally even more than a dozen. You cannot do this with too many people and once he is comfortable around people he will need to be taken to public places and for you to continue the training around strangers by practicing his obedience around people and rewarding him for being calm and focusing on you. Many people do not have enough volunteers to do this on their own though unfortunately, in which case you will need a training group. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mello
Chihuahua
4 Years
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Mello
Chihuahua
4 Years

Mello at times for no reason will be spiteful and refuse to use her wee wee pads and go on my carpet and nice rugs.Its very aggravating we walk her and she has the pads around the house but she will go all over my floor sometimes how do i prevent it??

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shantay, Unfortunately, many dogs confuse pee pads with other fabric, like rugs and carpet. She is likely confusing the two and prefers the absorbency of the rugs and carpet. First, clean up current and previous accidents as best you can with a cleaner that contains enzymes. Only enzymes fully remove the smell and any remaining smell will encourage her to pee in the same location again later. Next, you may need to switch to something other than pee pads. Check out real grass pads or litter box training. https://www.freshpatch.com/ Amazon.com also carries real grass pads. Be sure to use real grass ones instead of fake because fake grass does not feel or smell the same as real grass does. Check out the article that I have linked below. I suggest using the "Exercise Pen" method with a real grass pad. Use the exercise pen until she develops a firm habit of going potty on the grass pad. Limit her access to carpet and rugs when you cannot supervise her right now, and in general confine her to the exercise pen whenever her bladder could be getting full. Be sure to follow the steps to reward her with treats or something she likes when she does go potty on the pad in the Exercise Pen. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ty
German Shepherd
2 Years
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Ty
German Shepherd
2 Years

Ty is submissive in most cases but if he is in a setting like a dog park or our back yard and another got comes or goes he has to go up and put his mouth near their neck and its non aggressive but he has to mouth them whether its a dog he doesn't know or my other dog walking into the yard with him. This behavior causes the other dogs to react most of the time but I don't know how to stop the behavior.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tiffany, I suggest working on his focus and following you, to help him take commands from you even around other dogs and to look to you for guidance. I also suggest teaching him the "Out" command and using that command when he starts to approach another dog. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ I would avoid the dog park for a while and instead enroll in an obedience class with him so he can practice being around other dogs and focusing on you but with his focus on you and not on challenging the other dogs. If he already know basic obedience then look for an intermediate obedience, advanced obedience, or canine good citizenship class. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sylus
Shepherd
5 Years
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Sylus
Shepherd
5 Years

Do you have any suggestions on how to break my dog from trying to chase rabbits while on our walks/jogs? He does not listen to any command when he sees one. Also, how to break his habit of barking consistently when trying to play chase.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jestique, First, if chasing is something he finds fun and exciting but he is not highly prey driven toward them, practice teaching a recall command using a long leash using the Reel In method from the article linked below. The use of a long leash and the Reel In method helps a dog learn that coming is not an option, even around distractions. Be sure to use a different word than Come for this, since you want to keep his normal Come more positive and this training will be a little less fun because it involves leaving something fun alone. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall If the Reel In method doesn't solve the issue, I suggest hiring a professional trainer with great reviews and recommendations from other clients, who can help you implement the training protocol in the videos below. Day 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgNbWCK9lFc Day 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpf5Bn-MNko&t=14s Day 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj3nMvvHhwQ Day 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxrGQ-AZylY Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Buster
Boxer Rhodesian ridgeback
2 Years
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Buster
Boxer Rhodesian ridgeback
2 Years

Hello, Buster was adopted about a year ago and has made many improvements but still feels a need to bark at people walking by instead of reacting calmly. He is very friendly and basically barks out of excitement but it is not interpreted that way by people and usually they do not want to visit him. is there any way to work on this other than just exposing him to more people in different environments?
Thanks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, I suggest teaching him the "Quiet" command using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Practice giving the Quiet command when you see a person from far away and rewarding his focus on you and calmness before he has a chance to fail. You want to pair the presence of people with him focusing on you and being rewarded for staying calm (reward calmly with a soft voice when you do this), until it becomes his automatic response to look to you when people approach. Socialization definitely needed as well, but you can speed up the process with condition Quietness and focus on you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Piper
Beagle
5 Years
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Piper
Beagle
5 Years

Hi! I'm curious if you have any tips for peeing on couches/beds. When I got her when she was 3 years old, she was miserable. We have been through a lot and she is a total sweetheart now and is 95%potty trained. Most days I can leave the house and go to work, come home, and shes totally fine. She has a crate for a comfort feature, but its left open. I don't like to keep her in there. Randomly she decides to piddle on the couch or my bed..especially after I just washed everything. Shes allowed on the couch and sleeps with me at night, so it doesnt make sense to me. I cant pinpoint times or length of time alone or why she does it and I'm not sure how to stop it. It's totally random. She didnt for about 2 months and then peed on the couch. I have been shutting the bedroom doors to keep her away from the beds. She doesnt do it when I'm home. One day I left for the grocery store, did our goodbye routine, and in less than an hour she decided to pee on the couch. She had this issue with carpets/rugs before and now it's all hardwood. I'm extremely sick of the unnecessary washing the bed and shampooing the couch. Please help if you have any advice! I'd really rather not crate her if I don't absolutely have to. She has also peed on her bed in the crate as well so I'm assuming this is behavioral than anything because she has been checked by the vet.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
277 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bridgett, It sounds like Piper definitely confuses fabric type material with being outside where she can pee - she may have been pee pad trained in the past (which can lead to confusion for some dogs - especially when the pads are removed). Since you no longer have rugs, the bed and couch have become her new go to spots for peeing because of their absorbent material and fabric. She might even be marking on them to spread her scent since it is also happening so soon after you leave. The truth is, she is not fully potty trained and all the accidents need to stop in order for her to improve, since every accident encourages the bad habit to continue in general and goes against her learning to keep your home clean. You will have to be very vigilant with preventing accidents. First, you need to try to get the smell out of the bed and couch as best you can. Look for a wash additive that contains enzymes for pet odors. Only enzymes will fully remove the smell instead of masking it. Bleach, ammonia, and oxygen cleaners aren't enough. Since a dog's nose is much more sensitive than a person's, any remaining smell will encourage her to pee in the same spot again. If you can remove the couch cushion's covers, wash those also, but do it on cold and hang to dry to avoid shrinking. Look on the tag label for care instructions. If the covers won't come off or have to be dry cleaned, then spray them with an enzymatic spray and let it dry, then flip the cushion if you can. Washing is best if you have the option. Second, you either need to crate her or teach her not to get on the couch or bed uninvited. When you are gone you will need to enforce this rule by closing off the bedroom and using a deterrent or something to block access to the couch. Check out the articles linked below for more information on how to teach that and what to use to block her from getting onto it. Once she clearly understands not to get on the couch and doesn't do it unless invited when you are home, in addition to blocking access, you may want to set up a camera to spy on her and catch her in the act of trying to get up when the blockage is removed, or use a device that will deter her even when you are gone. Blocking access prevents her habit of jumping up from being rewarded (and stops the peeing), but using a deterrent teaches her not to get up there at all when you are gone, even when you don't put a blockage - like laundry baskets, there. Detailed info on couch deterring: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Overview on couch deterring: https://wagwalking.com/training/stay-off-the-couch-unless-invited Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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