Ask a Trainer

In this section of DogSpin, you can send in a question and we will try to have a local trainer publicly answer it. Send your dog question to AskaTrainer@DogSpin.com.

(NOTE: We do not endorse any particular trainer or their training ideas – this is here to give you perspectives from different trainers for training issues. Please do your research before hiring a trainer and avoid any that use methods that seem abusive. Here are some additional resources to read on why and how to train: ASPCA Guide to Training, APDT How to Select a Trainer, LiveScience on Training)

 

Recent Questions:

1) We just adopted a 5 month old lab mix and it still bites us a lot. We know she’s just playing but is their anything we can do do help inhibit this behavior?

  • Boxerwelpen 126“Absolutely! When you engage in play with your puppy, use toys rather than your hands. If you do get a nip, make an “ow!” noise and end the play for 5-10 seconds by standing up and walking away. When play ends every time your pups teeth come in contact with your skin, (s)he learns that the consequence for teeth on skin is that play ends. At the same time, remember that puppies need to chew! Make sure that your pup has a good variety of appropriate chew items like bully sticks and stuffed Kong toys.” (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • walk away when pup chews on human, game is over give puppy lots of safe chew toys and feed meals out of kongs exercise!!!!” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • Puppy “mouthing” is very common, and a great opportunity to start teaching rules and boundaries. Some simple strategies to stop the behavior are 1) let your hand/arm go limp (instead of pulling away, which makes it more like a game), 2) stop all the fun, leave and ignore, and 3) squeal as if in pain (for certain temperaments this works). Yet “correcting” the behavior is only the first step, and won’t end the behavior long-term. To do that, after correcting “redirect” to an approved mouthing/biting target – e.g. a rubber Kong toy, a bully stick, a rawhide, a deer antler, etc. This way she’ll learn not only what ISN’T allowed, but also what IS – and she’ll be able to get her chewing needs fulfilled.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • Yes, whenever you play with the puppy, make sure you have a toy. Every time he bites you, redirect him to bite on the toy instead. You can also try putting a “chew stop” type products on your hands and cloths. When you taste bad, your puppy is less likely to use you as a chew you toy. Also remember that puppies are like toddlers and when they are over tired or over stimulated, they often act hyper and out of control. If your puppy is going a little batty he may just need some nap time.” (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • This biting might be the result of the games you play with your puppy such as wrestling or rough play. Puppies react to movement and if you are in the habit of playing hand games (with you thrusting your hands at your puppy’s mouth and face) then this could be the reason. Replace your hands with a rope-tug- toy. Alternatively, if you don’t play the hand games and your pup still bites, then freeze the action when your puppy bites and correct him with a slap with your other hand on your thigh or a hard surface, while you make sure the hand is in your puppy’s sight when he hears the noise. Then, with a soft voice redirect your puppy to the toy.  Also, at 5 months old, she may still be “teething”.  If so, you can buy toys that you can freeze (similar to the teething ring for a child).  That can help.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • “Yes, although you believe it to be play, and it probably is just nipping, it can and should be corrected.  Many trainers rely on a training method that they refer to as “redirecting,” it has its place, however, if the puppy is a family pet and is at or near five months old, we would like to correct the nipping and reward a closed mouth; our method is a two fold one, that mostly yields results in a lesson or two.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)

2) Our dog loses it (barking) whenever someone rings the doorbell. Are there any training tips or commands to calm her down in these moments?

  • Doorbell“First, condition your dogs response so (s)he knows that the doorbell means that something good will happen! Ring the doorbell and give her a piece of chicken (even if she reacts). Repeat for 3 minutes. Break. Repeat again. The point is to make the association that doorbell = chicken. Once (s)he gets it ((s)he will begin to look at you for chicken instead of barking), ask for a “sit” or a “down” after you ring the doorbell and before you treat her. (Doorbell -> Sit -> Chicken!) Soon she will automatically sit when she hears the doorbell, instead of barking. When this is consistent, you don’t need to treat her every time she sits when the doorbell rings, just every so often. (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • This problem has several causes but generally stems from a dog that has fear of strangers or who is over-protective of the family. We recommend two things here. When visitors come, have them ignore your dog for the first few minutes when they enter the house.  This will take the pressure of your dog. Also have a treat jar near the front door and ask your guests to drop a treat onto the ground but to still ignore your dog. The reasoning here is that your dog begins to view visitors as something they should not fear and something that brings treats.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • depending on how often someone rings the bell you can desensitize the dog to bell or even make the bell a signal for the dog to run to a mat or crate and go into down….depending how much time one wants to invest.” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • I love the “go to your bed” command for this. It acknowledges to the dog that you heard their “alert”, gives them an assignment (they’re barking in order to serve you, by alerting you), and puts them in a comfortable, safe, and relaxing space. “Go to your bed” must INCLUDE not only going but also lying down, relaxing, and staying until verbally released (“OK!”). After as long a pause as possible (longer and longer as you practice), release your dog from their bed, so that as a reward they get to jump up and go sniff the visitor and get pet (either up to the door to sniff the delivery guy, or after your friend comes in and sits on the couch).” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • Obsessive barking is a very difficult behavior to control because it is so self reinforcing. Lots of dogs like to hear themselves bark. The only way to control barking is to teach a “quiet” command and have an effective way to reinforce it. Avoid using food reinforcement with barking because even with perfect timing, it is easy to mistakenly reinforce the barking! Read more at: http://superpawsk9.com/imported-20110119201141/(Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • Yes, unfortunately most people think the training is directed at the actual “barking” although the reason for the training is to calm the barking, you do not correct or address the barking head on, as a matter of fact, we try to divert the dog to something else.   For instance, we change the meaning of the sound of a door bell rining, by doing that, we change the reactions of all persons around, thereby changing the dogs’ reaction as well.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)
 

3) We are about to have our first baby. Our dog gets so much attention from us right now. What would you recommend doing now or later to help our dog adapt to our baby?

  • dog babyIt is vitally important that you adopt some form of basic training and that you accustom your dog to you fussing over something other than him. Obtain a baby doll that cries and start carrying this around with you. You can also rub lotions, creams and other baby products on the doll. This will give you an immediate indication as to how he might accept a baby and adopt some training method aimed at teaching your dog to show the baby the respect it needs. Never leave your baby and dog together alone regardless of how sweet your dog might be.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • “I would begin adjusting your schedule before the baby comes. If your dog is getting constant attention now it will be a big shock when the baby comes. Start by ignoring your dog for 15 minutes 2x/day. Then ignore your dog for 30 minutes 2x/day. I would also recommend purchasing your stroller ahead of time and teaching your dog to walk calmly on a loose leash next to the stroller. The last thing I would do is find baby sound effects on youtube and play them during your dogs mealtimes. (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • make attention active; dog is asked to ‘do’ something to earn attention, toys and food” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • Train your dog to be able to be separate from you when you ask. Practice “in-home” separations, where you ask him to go to his bed; leave him with a “long reward” like a bully stick while you relax in the other room, take a shower, cook, etc. After the baby arrives it is just as important as ever to continue giving your dog at least three long walks a day, and daily offleash social play at the dog park. Exercise, socialization, and daily obedience work…and your dog should love contributing to your family unit.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • “Two of the most helpful tips I give clients who are welcoming a new baby is: get good solid training for your dog so he knows what you expect of him in all situations and try and set up your home in advance. Put the swing in the living room and turn it on. Set up the changing table. Teach your dog to stay out of the nursery (if that’s your wish) BEFORE the baby comes. Dogs get stressed out when everything changes all at once. For more read the full article at http://superpawsk9.com/imported-20110119201141/(Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • Are there incidents that can be attributed to having a baby after owning your puppy or dog?  Yes, there is, however, Dedicated Dog Training believes this gets too much attention.  Again, this is our opinion.  You should definitely attempt to spend as much time as you can with your dog; the ideal thing would be for you to spend the same amount of time with your dog as you did prior to the baby.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)

4) Do bark collars work?

  • “If used correctly, bark collars might work for some dogs, but I do not recommend them. There are other, more humane ways to teach a dog to be quiet and calm that will not cause the dog pain or accidentally condition a fear response. (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • I do not use aversive training methods” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • Yes, they do have a reasonably high success rate depending on the type of collar you are asking about.  Bark Busters does NOT use them and would never recommend any collar that hurts the dog. You have to understand that where a collar works on sound (dog barking) that another similar sound might also set the collar off when the dog is lying quite. I would definitely try other options first. Education through training can work wonders.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • They do something for some dogs, for some amount of time. The “something” they do is (at best) “correct” the bark – they temporarily stop it. Some dogs however won’t care, and most dogs will get used to them or learn to bark “around” the collar or “through” it. But even if they work perfectly for your dog, you still need to combine them with a regimen of training, counterconditioning and desensitization: the collar might temporarily stop the barking, but what will keep your dog calm, peaceful, and obedient long-term is his relationship of respect and understanding with his leaders – which means you.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • Yes and no. The right bark collar for your dog can be very effective. If you want to give a bark collar a try, consult a professional to find the right collar for your dog. They do, however, have two major drawbacks. One, the dog only learns not to bark when wearing his bark collar. No problem you say? Just keep the collar on all the time?  That’s great, unless you have an intruder picking the lock on your door. Then you want your dog to bark. Our approach is to teach your dog when to bark and when to be quiet.” (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • “Yes, they can, but not always.  Many times a bark collar does not work because the volume or stimulation is set too high causing the dog to go into a panic mode, inhibiting them to think and make the connection between the stim and the bark.  Many times it is set too low, where the connection is made, but the bark is still greater than the reward.  Lastly, the collar is not fitted in the right manner and renders the device almost inoperable or worse…. inconsistent.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)

5) Our dog knows sit and stay really well. If you were going to train a dog on a third command what would it be?

  • “You are off to a great start. The next command I would teach your dog is “come”. “Come” is a life saving command that every dog should know, and every owner should practice with their dog on a regular basis. A great recall can save your dogs life! (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • come!” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • I don’t even teach “stay”, because “sit” should mean “sit, and stay until released”; “lie down” should mean “lie down, and stay until released”; “go to your bed” should mean stay there until released…etc. But one command every dog should learn early and well is “come”: mastering this command will keep your dog safe while allowing him offleash playtime even in unfenced dog parks. Be sure to make “come” a “win/win” situation: you reward your dog for coming, then further reward him by releasing him to continue playing and doing whatever he was up to before.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • COME. A reliable “come” command is the SINGLE most important command your dog can know. It’s a life saver!”  (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • “Yes, that really is up to the dog owner, but COME would be Dedicated Dog Training’s first command to train.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)
  • The most important command is the ‘come when called or the ‘stop what you are doing type command’. If you cannot control your dog when he is running away, you are not going to stop him with a ‘sit’ or ‘drop’ command.  So you should work at teaching him to come when called and best to begin that exercise on leash first.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))

6) We are going to get a new puppy. Do you think we should use the pee pads or just train him/her to go outside?

  • “Deciding whether or not to use pads is a personal preference. If you are able and willing to take your 8 week old puppy outside every 3 hours, skip the pads. If not, they can be a useful tool but it will take longer to house break your pup.” (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • go outside right away” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • The pee pad can contain indoor “messes” to one spot of your choosing. But most every dog can learn to go only outdoors, and to do this you have to eventually ween off the pee pad. If you’re willing to put up with some messes in unexpected locations during the training period, it will make the process quicker to never use the pee pads in the first place. Get your pup outside whenever you think they need to pee; get them to eat, sleep, and live everywhere in your house possible; and reward them with praise and treats when they do pee outside.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • “Dedicated Dog Training firmly believes in training for the real world, if your ultimate intention is do have the dog eliminate outside that is what you should be training for.”  (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)
  • We have had some great success with starting with the pee pad and then transitioning puppies to toilet outside over time. You could start by bringing some picked grass inside to sprinkle on the pee pad, to accustom your puppy to pee where it smells the scent of grass.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))

7) We have a border collie mix who jumps up and runs to guests if they move around the room, sometimes jumping up and nosing their hand. She is fine when the guest is not moving. Is this some sort of herding reflex? What can we do about it?

  • “You’ve got it right, it is a herding reflex. First, I would make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise. Border collies and their cousins need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. I would also feed your pup from a work to eat toy instead of a bowl to help satiate their need to work. Your pup could also benefit from learning the “stay” command, starting with short duration, short distance, and minimal distraction and slowly increasing those three criteria. (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • does not matter what it is…teach dog “settle” with distractions” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • This certainly sounds like herding behavior, but lucky for you it’s a mild version. Extreme versions are sharp nips or bites, often hard enough to bruise or even draw blood. To stop this, give your working breed constant assignments – again, here I love “go to your bed”, and she can get up only when released (“Ok!”). Be sure to reward when she goes to the bed, with treats/bones, then release her to get up and do some herding. Extend her stay in her bed longer and longer as she progresses and learns to be calmly patient.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • Border Collies are definitely prone to herding but they are also very trainable. Just think of how farmers harness their herding instincts. The problem I see here is that visitors are offering your dog a pat when it jumps up on them. The best approach is to ask them to stop patting your dog when it jumps up to get a pat, and instead offer a treat, but only when your dog adopts the sit position. Again here you need to train your guests to alter their approach and your dog will alter its behavior.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • Yes it is her herding instinct. You can do two things (best done together) one, give your dog an appropriate outlet for her instincts. Frisbee, fetch, agility, flyball or sheep herding are all good options. Then obedience train her so you can teach her your guests are not sheep.” (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • “Dedicated Dog Training has several programs that reduce and eliminate jumping; included in those programs are the PLACE (go to your doggie bed) command, the SIT command, DOWN command, and the SILENT OFF command.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)

8) My dog jumps up on me (and others) to greet me. What training tips can keep her from doing this?

  • “When your dog jumps on you, turn around and cross your arms. Jumping = no attention. Ask your dog to sit, and greet your dog in a sit. “Four on the floor” = attention. Ask your friends to do the same.” (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • completely ignore, walk away. give attention only when dog sits or does not jump. Do not say “no” and do not push dog off, those things count as attention as well.” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • Though many books and websites say to turn your back and ignore, in my experience this works only for young pups; a more effective technique with more mature and demanding dogs is to move TOWARD your dog, claiming ownership of your space and your body. Lift a knee if it helps to keep him off; not hurting him, but keeping him from getting positively reinforced by your body. Unfortunately your friends and family probably won’t do these things; “Don’t worry about it!” they’ll say. But not worrying about it will teach your dog to disrespect boundaries and be demanding and impatient. So it will be your job to correct your dog when he jumps on others – make a sharp noise, stomp or clap – then get some calm obedience, like sit or lie down, then release/reward so he can come up and say high calmly and get some scratches.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • Train a very reliable “sit”. When he approaches someone, tell your dog to sit and then pet and greet your dog. Tell friends and neighbors to only pet the dog if he’s sitting. Chances are, within a few weeks he’ll be running over and sitting at people’s feet and sitting instead of jumping. Consider hiring a professional if you have trouble focusing the dog enough to get him to sit in the beginning.” (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • From now on, unless your dog is calm and not jumping, you will not pat it. Instead hold a treat in your hand and only drop this on the ground when your dog sits as opposed to when it jumps.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • Send her to her PLACE or commonly referred to as her doggie bed.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)

9) My dog has a LOT of energy. What do you suggest to clients to work out this energy productively (and not on our shoes and furniture?)

  • Collie dog runningIf your dog is dog-friendly, taking him to play with other dogs is a great way to burn off the extra energy. For dogs who are not dog park or daycare candidates, mental stimulation is another way to deal with the overflow of enthusiasm. Teaching your dog basic commands like sit, down, leave it, and drop it can give you some things to run through with him every evening for ten or fifteen minutes. For dogs who already know the basics and are a little bored with them (or for owners who are bored with the basics), you can always teach tricks or take a nose work class. Nose work is one of my favorite activities for wearing out the adolescents!” (Renee Payne, CPDT-KA, Walk This Way Canine Behavior Therapy, 718-260-8030, www.doggiecouch.com)
  • “I would set up an exercise and training schedule for their dog. First, make sure that the pup is getting sufficient exercise for their breed/age. Play dates with neighborhood dogs of matching energy levels and/or one-two days at daycare each week. Feed high energy dogs in work to eat toys such as Kong Wobblers, Busy Buddy or Nina Ottosson toys. Provide a number of appropriate chew toys, rotated often (hooves, antlers, bully sticks, stuffed and frozen Kongs).” (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • make sure dog has enough exercise , play fetch with the dog before leaving the house, provide chew toys” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • I always say there are three kinds of energy that need expending: physical of course, that can be drained somewhat on long walks but even moreso offleash a the dog park/run, but also mental energy and “social” energy. Mental energy can be drained with daily obedience work: sit, lie down, go to your bed, come, fetch. Social energy needs to be drained with daily offleash playing around other dogs at the park/dogrun. The fact that you did these with your dog last week isn’t enough – I like to say that when your dog wakes up from a nap, it’s a new day for him! So last week is a lifetime ago; take walks, do obedience work, and hit the dog park every day, multiple times a day if possible.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • If someone has a high energy dog, we find that they can calm the dog down much faster if by utilizing their dog’s brain as opposed to just walking or exercising them. We do this with ‘obedience training’.  We also recommend to owners that they should look to reduce the amount of ‘high energy food’, so lower carb levels in the diet.  Remember, “energy in, equals energy out”. (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • Aside from the standard activities, fetch, running at the dog park or organized activities like agility and flyball, nothing tires out a hyper dog like making them THINK. Obedience training is tiring!  If your dog can run circles around everyone at the dog run and come home wanting more, he likely needs an intellectual outlet for his energies as well. And your furniture and shoes will remain intact.” (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • All dogs, especially high energy ones should get plenty of walks, this is different than leaving them in an enclosed backyard, walks stimulate the body and often exhaust the mind.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)

10) We have a noise sensitive dog that tries to pull away and run when a garbage truck or bus comes by. Anything we can do?

  •  “Make a list of your dogs absolute favorite treats. Some items could be: boiled chicken, cheese, peanut butter, dehydrated liver. Choose one or two of these items. These two items will be treats that your dog only gets when outside and the bus or truck passes. I suggest sitting 20 feet away from a bus stop and treating your dog every time the bus passes. If the dog is handling the stress at 20 feet (tail not tucked, willing to take food), move closer to the bus stop – 15 feet, then 10, then sit at the bus stop. This can be done over a period of days, weeks, or months – depending how your dog is reacting to the stimulus. This allows your dog to create a positive situation with the stimulus from a distance (s)he can handle. Soon your dog will look to you for a treat when the bus passes, instead of showing signs of fear.” (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • Yes.  Obedience training will assist. Also, your dog needs noise saturation training. You can try getting him gradually used to noises when you are home but do all exercises on leash and treat him when he accepts a noise without trying to run away.  Start with low volume and gradually increase.  Also speak to your vet about checking for ‘serotonin depletion’ as ‘noise sensitive’ dogs can be lacking some vital nutrients.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • “counter condition the dog; i.e distract with something highly valuable like chicken. start far enough away from truck. hire a trainer for help to show how to do it” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • First of all, don’t allow the “flight” response. Using a Martingale collar that your dog can’t slip out of , pull your dog (gently) back to where they ran away from. Now ask for obedience: “sit”, “lie down”, “on your side”, etc. Reward with treats and calming bellyrub; then release and praise and walk on. If your dog is REALLY terrified don’t do this exercise, as it would then amount to “flooding” instead of counterconditioning, and will traumatize him further instead of calming him. But if he’s able to be obedient and calm down at all – even just a little bit at first – then repeating this in as many situations as possible will gradually teach your dog not only to relax around environmental stimuli like the bus, but also, most importantly, will teach him to trust your leadership.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • Yes, it’s called Systematic Desensitization. A procedure used to treat phobias in humans and adapted for dogs. It’s too complex to outline here but call for more details (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)

11) What kind dog lead/leash do you recommend to stop a dog from pulling on walks?

  • dog pulling on leashI always recommend a front attaching harness, such as the sense-ation harness or easy-walk harness. Dogs have an opposition reflex. This means when they feel pressure on their neck or chest their reflex is to pull forward. By clipping the leash to the front of their chest, you are eliminating this reflex. These harnesses do not work magic, but they are great tools to use when teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash” (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • I only use “normal’ 6 foot leashes. i do use some humane harnesses for clients to use such as the freedom harness and head collars for reactive dogs. i teach the dog not to pull.” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • Front-clip harnesses (e.g. the “E-Z Walk”) are designed explicitly to stop dogs from pulling: when the dogs pull, they’re tugged sideways and stop or slow down. However these harnesses work for only some dogs (and some not at all), while extremely anxious, wiggly, or excitable dogs can slip out of them dangerously. For most dogs I prefer using a collar that can’t slip off, e.g. a “Martingale” collar, while communicating to the dog with occasional well-timed leash-tugs, leg blocks, and verbal commands. Whenever your dog is behind you, following on a loose leash, reward him with verbal praise, treats, faster walking, running, or playing.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • I recommend teaching dogs a “heel” command to alleviate pulling. There are some equipment based fixes but finding the right halter, collar, head collar that may or may not work for your dog can be frustrating and expensive.  Teaching the dog not to pull in the first place works for every dog. It takes more time, but its worth it to be able to enjoy your walks together.”  (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • Dogs are natural pullers and getting your dog to walk properly sometimes needs an expert. Bark Busters always uses a 6 foot soft webbing leash. The retractor type leads might be okay for exercising your dog but they don’t teach your dog not to pull. Education is the only way to stop a dog pulling. So begin your exercise in the home and work at teaching your dog where you want it to walk before venturing into the street. The worst way to walk a dog is in a straight line.  Better to make quick and often turns, so your dog starts watching you rather than just pulling ahead.” (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))