Dear Miss Behavior: Socializing A New Dog

Dear Miss Behavior: Recently my husband and I adopted a young dog from a local shelter. He’s such a nice dog, and surprisingly well mannered. We frequently go away for the weekend and on short vacations; we like to take our dog with us. Raleigh loves going and travels well. He also loves people and is sure everyone wants to pet him. He doesn’t jump up on people, and seems to know to be gentle with small children, yet many people seem annoyed by his friendly approach. How can I help Raleigh get over being so outgoing?

I’m so glad Raleigh loves people. You don’t need to make him less outgoing; you need to teach him when it’s okay to approach people. Teaching Raleigh to walk with you and to sit and stay on command will be a good start.

Keep him on a six foot leash instead of a retractable lead, encourage Raleigh to walk with you by rewarding him when he’s next to you and stopping all forward movement when he pulls. If he’s not rewarded for pulling, he’ll stop. You said he already knows how to sit on command. That’s great; now tell him to stay wait a second or two and then release him. If he moves before you release him, put him back where he was and try again. As he gets the idea, extend the time until he can sit for a minute or two before being released.

When you’re out and about and see a person, have him sit and stay. Then ask the person if it’s okay for Raleigh to approach. Sometimes people are afraid, or allergic to dogs and don’t really want to meet them. Of course, there are a lot of people out there who will be happy to meet and pet Raleigh. If they say yes, then tell him to go and meet them. Since he does doesn’t jump on people you’re half-way there to a great dog. For more help on teaching him to walk with you or to sit and stay, contact Greater Lincoln Obedience Club to sign up for an Obedience Level 1 class.

marcygraybillThanks to this feature goes to Greater Lincoln Obedience Club, who ran the Miss Behavior Dog Advice Column in their newsletter. Appreciation also is extended to Marcy Graybill, a trainer at GLOC and the expert behind this column. She also hosts her own blog, Dog Log, where she talks about training adventures with her dogs.

If you have a question for Miss Behavior, please post in the comments below and we’ll feature it in a future column.

Dear Miss Behavior: Introducing A Second Dog

Dear Miss Behavior,

A few months ago I adopted a second Bulldog. I thought she’d be great fun for my 6 year old Violet. But they don’t even like each other, Daisy attacks Violet and it’s hard to get them apart. I would feel very bad returning Daisy to the shelter. What do I do?

Just like not all people get along, not all dogs will get along. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep Daisy. It just means you’re going to have to work a little. First, you need to make sure they’re both healthy; if Daisy has arthritis it may be Violet is accidently hurting her and triggering a fight. Second, make sure they’re getting enough exercise. As medium-size dogs, they need a good long walk every day. However, because they have short muzzles, just be sure you don’t overdo it in hot weather. You also need to make sure they have plenty of mental exercise so they don’t get bored. Last, you need to make sure they understand that YOU are the one who must be obeyed!

missbehaviorThis means starting a NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program for both dogs. Though I’ve heard it called “No love for the dog” that’s not the case. You can love your dogs as much as you want. You just have to make both of them earn their daily rewards. Nothing in Life is Free is just requiring the dog do something to get something. When you feed Daisy and Violet, have them sit or lie down and stay as you put the food down. They need to remain there until you release them. When walking give them a few opportunities to sniff and potty, but then make sure they walk with you and not pull or sniff. Do a daily down-stay, just because. If one of the dogs happen to be laying in the doorway or in you path, make them move instead of walking around them. When they need to go outside, have them sit at the doorway and then have them sit before they get to come back in as well.

For now, keep toys up and away from them. You don’t want a toy to become the trigger for a fight. They can play with toys daily, but just don’t leave them lying around for them to claim and guard.

Last make sure they get a daily training session. You can work on obedience or tricks just make them do a little work. Another good command to teach them is “Leave it.” You can tell them to “leave it” if you see them eyeing each other. You can also then begin practicing some of the training with both of them. Though Daisy needs to learn a lot of self-control, it won’t hurt Violet to practice as well.

Taking both dogs through an Obedience Level 1 class will help them both become more responsive to you. They’ll learn to come when called, leave it, sit and down on command, stay when told, and to walk without pulling you. Check out the Greater Lincoln Obedience Club‘s website for classes.

marcygraybillThanks to this feature goes to Greater Lincoln Obedience Club, who ran the Miss Behavior Dog Advice Column in their newsletter. Appreciation also is extended to Marcy Graybill, a trainer at GLOC and the expert behind this column. She also hosts her own blog, Dog Log, where she talks about training adventures with her dogs.

If you have a question for Miss Behavior, please post in the comments below and we’ll feature it in a future column.

Dear Miss Behavior: Socializing Puppies

Dear Miss Behavior: My puppy loves other dogs; she just can’t wait to meet them. But she gets attacked whenever she goes up to them. She loves to play, but all the other dogs bully her and growl and even try to bite her. What can I do to make the other dogs like her?

I’m glad you’re getting her out and socializing her, but part of the socializing is learning how to greet other dogs appropriately. When Lilly runs up and jumps on the other dogs, she sees it as an invitation to play; the other dogs may see it as a rude puppy at best and a full on attack at worst.

missbehaviorIf you watch two dogs meet, they don’t usually meet each other with full body contact, that’s only suitable on the football field. Most dogs politely sniff and circle each other. When you’re allowing Lilly to meet new dogs on leash, you should approach only with permission of the other dog owner. Allow the dogs to sniff for a few seconds as you walk in a circle and then move away from each other. You can approach again, if the other dog seems agreeable.

Once they’ve met, then you can allow them to play. If the older dog decides that Lilly is being rude, he might growl or snap at her. It’s his way of telling her to back off. She needs to learn to watch other dogs for body language to find out what’s the correct behavior.

You can help her learn by pulling her out of play situations when she becomes too rough. Give her a little bit of time to calm down and then let her play again. Once she learns to play properly, you’ll find that most dogs do play quite rough, but they have to get to know each other first.

Taking a Puppy Manners class with Lilly would be a great option. Not only would she learn some basic manners with humans, but she’d get the opportunity to play with other dogs in a controlled setting. Check out the Greater Lincoln Obedience Club‘s website for more information.

marcygraybillThanks to this feature goes to Greater Lincoln Obedience Club, who ran the Miss Behavior Dog Advice Column in their newsletter. Appreciation also is extended to Marcy Graybill, a trainer at GLOC and the expert behind this column. She also hosts her own blog, Dog Log, where she talks about training adventures with her dogs.

If you have a question for Miss Behavior, please post in the comments below and we’ll feature it in a future column.