I have a lovely Yorkie that I was given three years ago. She is a great dog. She’s affectionate, athletic, cuddly, curious, smart. There is, however, one little issue that drives me crazy and, angry at times.
We take several walks a day and we live in town so she must be on a leash. When I get myself all suited up for the walk, she gets excited about going out, following me around as I don hat, gloves, mask, etc. But when it is time to put the leash on her, she backs off and doesn’t let me get close enough to her to attach the leash. It takes a while and she just keeps backing up, just out of my reach. I will say, “do you want to go for a walk? You know we have to do the leash, etc.” I have even taken off my things, thinking, maybe she’ll get the message that we don’t go for a walk until she is on the leash. Then she will follow me and eventually I will get the (damn!) thing on her and off we go.
We got Bubba two years ago. From day one he did not like my adult son. He is fine with children and women but iffy with some men. My son lives with us and every time he walks in the room the dog goes nuts. My son has been nipped a few times. Now we try to keep them apart. How can we get Bubba and my son to live peacefully together. By the way Bubba is a French bulldog/pitty mix.
The way to get Bubba and your son to harmonize peacefully requires their getting together as opposed to being kept apart, and it’s going to require some effort on your son’s part.
I suggest that Bubba starts earning tiny people food treats (chicken, baloney, apple, whatever) from your son. The ONLY person who gives him people food treats is your son.
I’d also suggest that your son is the one to feed Bubba. If food is just left down and Bubba free feeds whenever he wants to, it’s Son who fills the food bowl. (Bubba’s nose will tell him who’s feeding him).
Question: How do I really know I’ve found a good breeder? There are a lot of scams out there with slick websites and darling puppy photos.
This is an important question for those who are intent on acquiring a specific breed, especially in today’s world consumed with artificial intelligence and its ability to be convincing in its dishonesty.
To me the answer revolves around one word, communication. I’m talking about talking, really talking, as opposed to texting or e-mailing. To ensure your suitability as prospective dog owners, the breeder should question you to the point of it feeling like you’ve been interrogated.
Prospective puppy buyers need to do their own interrogating till they’re satisfied that the breeder did all the right stuff raising the pups for the crucial first two months of life.
With plenty of back and forth probing, the breeder and buyers should begin to feel like real friends. Many of my clients have stayed in close contact with their breeders for years, and for generations of their dogs. For first-time buyers not sure of what to ask a breeder, I would suggest they read, So Your Bitch Is Pregnant by E. Winters.
Dear Dog Charmer:
We are hoping that you might settle a family dispute. We have a 6-month-old pup who loves to play tug-of-war. Some books advise that tug-of-war is a good game for dogs to play, helping dogs burn energy and gain confidence; this is the side my husband takes. I’ve found that the more our puppy plays tug-of-war, the more she tends to bite; she is very gentle, but uses her teeth more on us, which I find disagreeable, and which causes considerable stress when we have visitors with young children or who are less comfortable with dogs. Any advice?
Curious in Cooperstown
Dear Curious in Coop,
The easiest part of being a dog trainer, is training the dog. The hardest part of being a dog trainer is what I call the “leash transfer”, getting the owners to do what I tell them to do, to get their dog cooperating. Having had over 800 training appointments a year I quickly realized that in addition to training the dog and training the owners, a third skill was needed, that being the tactful expertise of a mediator. The first line of the question above is asking me to settle a family dispute. I’ve lost count of all the “how to” quarrels and disagreements I stepped into the middle of when it came to parenting the dog. As for the tug-of-war dispute, you are all correct, or will be with a little bit of training.
With repetitive consistency your dog (based on the picture I’ll call her Grif) can easily attain a large vocabulary. Tug-of-war is a great game, as long as you initiate, and control the game. She needs to be taught, “drop it!”. (The “Drop It” command can save her life if she picks up gum with xylitol in it). Offer her the tug toy saying, “Grif, wanna play tug?” as you hold it out for her to grab. In your other hand is a treat, and after a bit of happy growling tug play put the treat under her nose as you say
In the great majority of cases the treat will be more attractive than the toy and she’ll immediately drop the toy for the treat.
Because of the pandemic too many dogs are getting used to having their owners around 24/7. In many cases this will result in possible severe separation anxiety (panic attacks from being left alone which
can result in lots of unwanted behaviors: barking, peeing and pooping, destructive chewing, etc).
As a preventative – LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK!
The separation anxiety section in my book, “Dog Training Diaries,” details how to leave your dog alone and return creating the least possible stress for your four-legged significant other.