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Question of the Week

This is the latest question of the week. Each week we answer one of the submitted questions and publish it here.

Alyssa asks...

This question is about: Other

I'm at a complete loss with my one year old sprocker. He has developed an obsession with lights and shadows and now does it every second he is awake. He never settles and ignores us when we try to snap him out of it. He wags his tail so clearly enjoys his light chasing but we feel like we've lost him.

Hi Alyssa, have you spoken with your vet ? Your poor dog will be under a lot of stress behaving like this continually. Something has caused this obsessive shadow chasing behaviour - narrowing down the cause is part of the over all solution. A wagging tail means many different things, anticipation of whats about to happen next is a dog wagging it's tail. We see dogs wag their tails before an attack, knowing they are going for a walk, when you get home etc etc. So reading it as a dog being happy is certainly not always the case. There is a calming cap available on the internet which may help. It is made of sheer fabric and  limits the visual stimulus. thus reducing the stress in given situations. Compulsive obsessive disorders are something we see from time to time and it must be dealt with like all other behaviour issues. Strong consistent leadership from the owners. With strong leadership and communicating with your dog successfully with both on and off lead communication is a start,  you need  to get his' total'  focus on you  when doing the basic obedience first, before dealing with any chasing of shadows etc. Use the 'one word' you use when he is doing something unacceptable -  in a deep guttural growling tone - when he stops and focus's on you , praise him using a really happy light voice. Never use his name to address unacceptable behaviour.

Perhaps crating him and completely covering the crate may also give him some much needed rest. Introducing a dog to a crate must be done slowly initially, addressing any barking or whining. Hope this helps.

Kai asks...

This question is about: Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Destructive chewing that results in destruction of furniture, woodwork etc Hyperactivity Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Toileting

Hi, my dog seems to be overly excited. He wakes us up at exactly 6:30am by scratching at our door. He barks, bites our feet, hands, climbs up to our dinner table, cjews are furniture when we're away. He has some boundary issues.

Hi Kai. All dogs need educating like children, it is fun to teach a loved pet to undersrand what you want from it.  It does not speak English nor understand our words.  Our system teaches owners to #speak dog'. Sounds like he has no rules in place, thus doing whatever and whenever he likes. He is controlling your home by the sounds of what you have described. .  Do not give him any attention when he is demanding it.  If he is scratching at the door, do not open the door and let him in, if you do that he wins and the scratching will continue or get worse until you open the door.  If he is barking at you, growl the correction word (never his name) you use when he does this,  or anything you are not happy with for that matter. then when he is behaving praise him in a happy voice.. You need to practice separation  from him when you are home. Then address any unwanted behaviour as suggested above.  Dogs should follow their owners,never race ahead - nor getting in our out of doors first. In the dog word the leader leads, so you need to step up and become his leader and start by showing him daily consistency with training, do this by training him on and off lead. We have a great book available on our website which you might enjoy to help you understand the process there is also some great advice free to download on all sorts of topics on our website. . Even your local obedience club may help you. Put him outside at meal times, no dog should be given free reign to jump on tables, lounges or people. Give him chew toys, our Gamechanger is a great mental stimulation toy which will help keep him busy and keep him thinking resulting in less destruction. Thinking dogs are great pets, but they need to know their owners have put rules in place for them.  Never be physical with any dog,  don;t push him off tables or furniture, you do not want it to become hand shy, so use his lead to get him down of lounges or tables.   Remember praise is just as important as a correction when he listens to you.    Remember children need guidance and rules, gues what so do dogs.  He will love you more if he understands what you want, but you have to teach him.   

Celia asks...

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

Hi My dog is a mixture of German Shepherd and chow chow. She used to play very nicely with all the other dogs she met, but not anymore. Right at the moment she meets another dog she tries to sit on their head and hump them in the face. If the other dog doesn't wanna let her do that she starts to growl aggressively and gets very forceful. She never plays nicely with other dogs anymore. I'm also scared to pull her away when this happens because when I do that she gets even more agressive. She started to act strangely towards other dogs after our neighbor's dog attacked her about a year ago. What should I do?

Hi Celia, she now feels the need to get in first. After the neighbours dog attacked her this is the result we sadly see all to often.  Our advice is not to let her dominate other dogs by sitting on their faces and humping them. Growling is a warning to another dog, she is now being the dominant one - through fear -  and no dog should get away with any growling by it's owner.  Use the word your use when she is naughty (never her name though) NOOOOOOOOOO  in a deep loud guttural growl tone, this will let her know you are not at all happy with her behaving in that manner.  MOST importantly DO NOT allow her off lead, as should she jump on the wrong female dog  in this very dominate manner a fight may occur. If your dog is the instigater then you are liable for all vet bills etc. Use the NOOOOOO word around your home and you must get her focus on you,  then praise, do not allow her to get in and out of doors ahead of you - you must be seen as her pack leader and the leader always leads. To a dog pack leadership is safety- if you don't provide her with it she has to take on that role - it is a dogs survival instinct.  If you do not have the focus you need around your home environment then you wont be able to get it outside of her territory either. As her adrenaline will be sky high when she sees another dog now.  Spend 10 -15 minutes a day training her in the yard.  Get her using her brain and listening to you. Off lead and on lead obedience.  When she respects you as the pack leader it will be easier to get that focus from her when you are out and about. Hope this helps.  Val 

Stacey asks...

This question is about: Other

I rescued my dog about 2 weeks ago. He has always gone to the crate at night and when we leave. He even went in it on his own. All of a sudden he refuses to go in. I tried luring with food and friendly verbal rewards. I don’t want to force him because I know it needs to be a happy place. Any idea how this could have happened or how we can fix it? Thank you

Hi Stacey, something has happened in there to make worried.  to get it back to a happy 'safe den' for him we suggest you place his water bowl and feed him in there. Leave the door open and when you see him in there tell him hes a good boy in a lovely happy voice.  Another way is to put his lead on, thread it through the top of the crate, that way you are using tools and not hands to get him inside,  dont let him take a back step and you will need to 'pull' him (using lead) and using really happy encouraging tones.  Praise him 'good boy' once in, don't close the door . Once in, let him come out and repeat a few times.  Place fresh meat in there initially to encourage him in.  Also try covering the crate  at night to make it a dark den for him also.  Hope this helps. Val . 

Jj asks...

This question is about: Other

Hi!rnI have a quick-ish question in regards to trick training with my 2 year old pitbull cross. I hope you can help me.rnSo, Heidi is a quick learner. She knows many tricks and loves doing them. However, when we go outside, its very hard to get her to do the tricks she knows so well! She isn't focused on me, even when there aren't any distractions, and she is very lazy at doing them. How do you go about improving a dogs drive? So that when doing something like tricks, they are fully focused on the trainer and go about what they are asked with alot of energy?rnThanks.

Hi Jj, looks like you love spending time with Heidi, teaching dogs tricks is so much fun and we know the commitment and time this can take.  Not sure if you are or have used treats as a rewards, maybe she is over that form of reward.  We use voice praise in happy voice tones.  She needs to learn you require her focus on your both indoors and outside.  When you say outside I gather this is in your back yard. .  Put all chew toys etc away out there. Dogs can quickly get very distracted outside for many reasons. Make sure that all her obedience skills; like sit, stay, come when called, focus and  she stays in each command until you use a 'release' command.  On and off lead outside in your yard are in place and that her focus on you in both areas are exactly what they need to be i.e.on you. Using exciting vice tones may also help get her motivated, lots of praise and also if she has a favourite toy she likes to play with, then outside use this toy as her praise treat (instead of food if you use that) along with using your happy voice tones.  Never get frustrated, your voice tones will change and she will think she is in trouble. .  Show and guide her until she 'gets it'.  If she can do them inside then she will also be able to focus outdoors with patients. Not sure if laziness is the reason. How about trying to do them outdoors only for a time. Hope this helps and keep having fun with Heidi she soubds like a great dog !!

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