Interrupt Bad Behavior

When you catch your dog in the act of doing something you don't want to continue, interrupt her. Your voice, "Ack!" can be a good interruption. If she's too excited or doesn't listen well, use a squirt bottle as you use your voice. The leash can also be used as a back up to your voice. Once you have interrupted the behavior, give her some directions—what should she do instead?

For example, when someone comes to the door, she will run to the door barking hysterically when she hears the doorbell. Tell her, "Thank you, Lady, that's enough." (After all, her job is to tell you that someone is there.) Have a leash in hand and clip it on her collar and have her Sit. Let your guest in. If your dog loses her mind, interrupt the behavior, "Ack! Quiet!" and enforce the Sit, "Lady, sit! Good job!" When she behaves herself, don't ignore her by paying attention to your guest, but praise her, "Good girl to sit and be quiet! Yeah!"

Corrections After the Fact Do Not Work

What happens when you come home from work and find that your dog has chewed up a sofa cushion or has dug a huge hole in the middle of your lawn? Do you drag your dog over to the problem and yell at her? Do you shake her as you point to the mess and scream? Many dog owners do. Does it work? No.

Corrections after the fact, or corrections given after the behavior is completed, do not teach a dog what not to do. What these corrections will do is cause your dog to be submissive to you, to slink and even urinate when you come home, and perhaps even fear your unpredictable behavior. Your dog will understand that you're angry about the sofa stuffing or the hole in the backyard, but she will not put that together with the action she performed hours ago.

Instead of correcting the dog, look upon this as your mistake.

This section gives guidelines for some specific problem behaviors. Keep in mind, though, that every dog is an individual and although these guidelines do work and have been tested on hundreds of dogs, you may need more help than is provided here. If you follow these guidelines and find you're still having trouble, call a trainer or behaviorist for more help. You should also call for help if your dog is showing any signs of aggression toward you or other people. It is especially important to call for help right away if you have a feeling that your dog may bite, or if she has already bitten. Don't hesitate; call for help immediately.

All puppies use their mouths to manipulate the world. They chew on toys, on their food, on their littermates, and when they can, on people. Puppies don't have hands and so their mouths become their tools to control things in their environment. Unfortunately, puppy teeth are very sharp and can draw blood, and dogs that grow up and continue to use their teeth on people will be in a great deal of trouble. A dog that bites for any reason can be taken from you and euthanized, while you could face criminal and civil procedures. See chapter 8 for more on biting dogs.

Puppies must learn when they are very young that biting is not allowed in any situation. If your puppy tries to bite during playtime, simply tell your puppy, "Ack! No bite!" and stand up and walk away. Stop the playtime immediately at the first attempt at mouthing. You must make this very clear to your puppy. If you allow some mouthing and stop other mouthing, your puppy will never be reliable. Instead, be very clear; it simply is not allowed.

Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

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