Dog Training Questions. Bark Busters Ask the Expert

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The Bark Busters worldwide home dog training service guarantee is unique in the industry. It is designed to help owners resolve their dog's behaviour and obedience problems and to provide customers with the satisfaction of ongoing support and peace of mind. Find out more

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Francis asks... | Featured question
Hi. My dog does not like eating dog food - whether it be pellets, canned meat, or dog treats. He only eats dog pellets when it is mixed with an egg or other leftover meat. So my question is, should I just let him starve until he eats the dog food? Or should I continue spoiling the dog with leftover food?
This Question is about
Bark Busters responded: Hi Francis, Many dogs only eat when they are hungry -  often burying their bones in the yard for later - as they are not hungry.  We as humans often tend to over feed them. We ask all of our valued clients to please do a thorough research on the internet on diet for dogs and what they give them.   Depending on your dogs size and breed one thing we know is that what is in dog food is getting much better in quality, due to owners awareness, research and their growing concern for their dogs health.  Making the right choices on what to feed animals is very important.  Dogs love fish, so try mixing tuna or sardines along with the oil (good for their coats)  with his meals. Also try and give him smaller meal portions and see how he goes.  Eggs are fine - not too many a week though. The egg shell adds calcium, so is good for their bones. Left over veggies are always good. No onions though.   Hope this helps.  We see how diet plays a very important part in a dogs behaviour, so have fun doing your own research, It can be very eye opening.   
Michelle asks...
Storm is my youngest, Delta is a 5 year old bulldog. They are both crate trained and sleep in them every night. Delta has NEVER had issues with peeing inside. Storm likes to pee on throws and blankets if they are on the couch. Typically when my Husband and I are out. They do have the freedom to roam the house and yard, even a doggy door! How do I stop this?
This Question is about
Separation anxiety, Toileting
Bark Busters responded: Hi Michelle -  Storm appears to be marking his territory, could be stress when he left alone also. When you are out the dogs need to be put into a confined area like a laundry or the likes. Never left to have the freedom of the whole house.  If the doggy door is in the laundry door, that's perfect, then put newspaper or doggy pads in there, that will stop him toileting on your personal rugs. If the doggy door is else where then it needs to be locked when you are out and the dogs are placed in the laundry area. No matter how many times you wash them he will still smell his scent on them.  Use Bi Carb diluted in water  when washing the blankets or for any accidents on carpets or floors. (Test an obscure spot first) Also suggest you use diluted lavender& water and spray some on your lounge, blankets, general living areas,  also spraying it on your hand and rub gently onto dogs, also their bedding inside their crates.  Dog learn by association so what you are trying to let the dogs know is that is living area not his toileting area. Make sure all water and food is placed outside not inside, this also helps and teaches the dogs that all their survival needs are outdoors not inside their 'den' (your home).  Also make sure they are put outside before putting them in confirmed spot, so they can toilet.    Like sit and stay commands 'go toile' is also a very useful command and dogs learn what it is by you repeating it when they go outdoors, and you praising them after you have seen them finish. Never during the act though. Hope these suggestions help.
Michelle asks...
We got him in the winter and moved to a new house that was not built for new puppies, so we ended up potty training him to go on our wood deck. But now we need to know to get him to move to the yard to potty.rnHELP!!!
This Question is about
Bark Busters responded: Hi Michelle, you may have made a tough job for yourselves. Wash the veranda area thoroughly with a bucket of diluted Bi Carb and warm water several times, this is to neutralise the urine smell.  Do not use disinfectants, that only attracts dogs back to the same place to toilet. You need to introduce the command 'toilet' with your dog and take him down onto the grass area repeating that 'toilet' word to him over and over, do not play with him during this toilet retraining, he is there for a purpose.  Place fresh droppings on the grass and discard old into bin.  Praise him every time you see him toileting on the grass. Whilst retraining him, and it will take time and patients, block off the veranda access when you are not home. Hope this helps. Be patient. 
Kendall asks...
My dog is fine to go toilet outside when the door is open but the moment the door closes she goes toilet inside and with winter coming up we can't afford to have the doors open, how to I get her to stop this and hold it in throughout the night.
This Question is about
Bark Busters responded: Hi Kendall, not knowing how old your dog is I will give some helpful advice and hope it helps.  Please know it will take time and patients. You need to know where your dog is whenever indoors, if its left to freely wander around the entire house it will begin to sniff around, that is the que its looking for somewhere to toilet.  Make sure you have a rug or bed in the living area so you can train it to stay on that when its inside. Take it outside frequently,  if a young pup, every 30 - 60 minutes, no interaction from humans, (its not play time)  other than saying a command, like' toilet'...'wee wee'... only praise your dog once its finished its business. Never during the toileting act. .  Do not use any cleaning product with ammonia in it to clean up accidents inside.  That will only attract the dog back to the same areas.     But do clean thoroughly, carpet, grout in tiles and cracks in floor boards hold the urine smell, dog have great smelling abilities. . So wipe excess up with a paper towel then saturate area clean.  Using lavender spray can also help. Lightly spray on dog, on its bed and indoor areas, he will associate the lavender smell as his den and not for toileting.   Never tell your dog off for any accidents after they've happened, that only makes the situation worse.  It is a natural act for a dog, it's up to owners to be vigilant and know where dogs are when they are indoors if toileting  indoors is an issue.  IF you ever catch your dog in the act inside, quickly pick it up and take outside and use toileting command once dog is placed on the ground.  Crating your dog when indoors also helps with toileting.   Remember know where your dog is indoors whenever it is inside.  Put all water outside and also feed it outside, then all his needs are outside his 'den'.  Be patient, educate your dog , and you will get the results you are after.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Christina asks...
Hello!rn We just adopted Zuess last month, he's very sweet. A few issues we have atm is how he is with other dogs. He barks and lunges, his previous owners said he was good around other dogs. He was brought up with two bigger and older dogs. When my auntie brought her little dog, Zuess lunged at him giving a growling, it looked like he was gonna attack the poor thing. I had to pull him away. There was a moment were he sniffed the dog, but he went back at it again. Im really worried as before we had another dog who was really aggressive with other dogs and people, this lead to him biting one of my family. (He was put down) Zuess is totally fine with other people however, he's always excited to see new people. But when he sees a new dog he barks/lunges. What can I do to fix this? We live in the country so we cannot take him to any local dog parks.
This Question is about
Aggression, Barking
Bark Busters responded: Hi Christina, dog aggression comes from fear, Zuess has had a situation with another dog/s and he is now getting in first. I would say he would of unfortunately had this issue before you got him.  Those two bigger dogs he used to live with may have very well caused this issue. Taking him out of your yard is instant stress for Zuess.  So you need to take a big step back and only work with him in an unstressed area without any other dogs or distractions around.  Do not put him a situation intentionally with other dogs. A muzzle should be used if you meet with any other dogs until you can see he is focused on you and not  interested other dogs.   It all relates to you becoming his strong confident pack leader, and commencing immediately by putting training into place so that he feels safe, knowing you are in control.  Safety to a dog means strong leadership. Sometimes this behaviour issue is so ingrained its about managing it.  Safety first in all areas.  You need to stop him walking ahead of you,  so on a communication collar and a long 6' lead , as collar needs to be loose and lead never held tight. Practice walking him VERY slowly, one step, stop check collar, one step, stop check collar, so he is not pulling, Then when you see him focused on you change your walking pace, slow pace, then medium, then fast and mix those paces up,  changing it frequently so Zuess automatically adjusts his pace to yours without any need to check his communication collar by looking at your legs.He should never be aloud to go  in  or out of any doors first,  (ahead of you or anyone else) you need train him to wait and then invite him through. Using the door, open it slightly and if he goes to push through it close it quickly to stop him racing through using the word you use to correct him.  Never use his name for any corrections, this is only used to happily call him and praise. He must always walk beside or behind you going up and down stairs.  Follow you around the yard like a little lamb, if he races ahead of you then you must turn and walk in a different direction until he gets the message to follow not lead. Keep in mind in the dog world, the leader leads, so he must see you as the leader. This last exercise can also be done on his collar and lead in your yard.  Bark Busters has a harness which also helps to make the walking easier for our clients.  Go onto the N.Z. Bark Busters home website page and you can see a video on how this works.  But remember to be patient and work diligently with Zuess, he needs to see a strong confident leader to make him feel safe.
Karen asks...
Hi my dog is scared of everything from a walking on the foot path. We have had her since puppy -She has never been hit etc so unsure y she like this.rnThankyournKaren
This Question is about
Bark Busters responded: Hi Karen,some dogs can be very  nervous like yours. What you need is professional training from an experienced trainer that really understands this type of temperament.  It takes patience, however you can work through the issues you have mentioned.  Keiko is your very experienced Bark Busters trainer, give her a call to discuss this in person, as you need the correct advice with a dog like this. 0800 167 710.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Tammin asks...
Ollie escapes from our yard, he jumped and then we fix that by extending our fence but now he has ripped into another fence and broke it. We fix it up everyday but he still manages to get it down. Then he digs in all the gardens. We exercise him in the morning and afternoon we also leave toys and boredom breakers. He also has another dog with him during the day but still tries to escape. We dont know what to do. We think he may have separation anxiety and if so how would i fix that. We would really hate to have to get rid of him. He even tries to escape when we are home and he is just eating outside.
This Question is about
Digging, Other, Separation anxiety
Bark Busters responded: Hi Tammin, dogs escape for lots of varied reasons. Hopefully Ollie is desexed, as this could be a reason if a bitch nearby is on heat. Separation? maybe,  although he is doing it when you are home. He could be. looking for a stronger pack is another, he knows where to find food now by the sounds of things, so that could be another reason.  If a dog has strong pack leadership from the adult humans in the home then that is what makes them feel safe. Make sure he does not get through any gates or doors first, up any stairs ahead of you ( you can practice this one on lead if you have any stairs, take one step at a time, stop and make Ollie walk beside you . Never letting him get one step ahead of you.)  In the dog world it is very simple,  the leader always leads, so when you allow him get ahead of you in the home, in the yard, when walking you are allowing him          (unwittingly) to be the leader of  your pack.  On lead walk around your yard just holding the lead handle, and whenever Ollie walks ahead of you, immediately turn and walk in a different direction, taping your leg to let him know where you want him to be, keep doing this until he stops trying to be the leader and understands you want him walking beside or behind you, never in front of your legs.  Daily basic obedience on lead is essential programming so he knows you are the pack leader.   Things like sit, stay, doors, stairs as described above. Also coming when called, use a lead so he cannot ignore you. When he comes home do not take him through the house back into the yard, put him back through the side gate.  You need to educate him that you are the leaders so he feels safe, to a dog safety is leadership. Hope this help. 
Nina asks...
My dog is awesome and has been a breeze to train picking up things easily and responding to my authority from day 1. However, his one area of weakness, in that the training is not so effective is the off leash recall when there is a distraction. His main distractions are children running or playing nearby especially if they are on bikes or scooters, joggers and swimmers even his much loved ball or a stick isn't enough of a temptation to get him to ignore these distractions. He wants to join in the kids fun or accompany the jogger or rescue the swimmers. Any other time calling his name in an excited voice works fine.rnrnHiring a training is not an option financially at this stage but I wondered if you have any suggestions that might be worth trying with him to stop him in his tracks and get him to come back to me under these circumstances.
This Question is about
Bark Busters responded: Hi Nina, dog recall (coming when called) is one of utmost importance. We sell 10 meter recall leads and Keiko your local trainer could sell you one of these.  Do not let your dog off lead until he not only comes back to you, but stays until you give him a command that he may walk away.  Most dogs are not focused enough on their owners and get very excited when out and about off lead.  So many distractions!  Most issues we see on a daily basis is that humans do not have everything we know you need, in place around the home environment before letting their dogs off leash to run free. The dogs quickly learn from an early age to come back when they want not when you request.  Also many owners with this behavioural issue tend to grab the dogs collar so the dogs learn to keep at arm distance so that physical restraint cannot take place. Playing ball in your back yard is a very good start, you need to teach him to stop and come back to you (& stay there beside you until you release command is given) 'before he reaches the ball'. Then you know he is listening to you with distractions.  If you cannot get that control in your yard it will never happen at a park or beach where so many distractions are happening. Start by throwing the ball a short distance from yourself, say a meter, do not throw it all the way down to the back of your yard, start using small distances first to get that control, then throw further when you see progress.  Hope this helps.  there is also a great Bark Busters book which may help you, Keiko also has those.  
Nikisha asks...
I have a pit bull x american bulldog, been around 100+ dogs. sharpei x american bulldog been around 30 or less dogs. My two dogs have just fully changed. Sharpei x american bulldog, shes very dominant, but iv'e always been able to snap that out of her around other dogs. We went to the river 1 day with 6+ other dogs and puppies, and she was fine. Until a older dog came and snapped and bit her, she attacked the other dog ''not bad but my dog was on top of the other dog, she stopped and let go when i yelled at her to stop. My pit bull x american bulldog has been around at-least 100 different types of dogs and puppies. Our friend has moved out and we are pet sitting his puppy who id say is 5 months, our dogs have meet his 5 or so time. And they are just snapping at him, and my sharpei x attacked him for sniffing her parts, and stopped when i told her to. But my pit bull is just seriously trying to start a fight, Hes up in his face licking him, sniffing him and chase after him. Tries to play with him then tries to bite his mouth, this is not how he reacts to other dogs, this is the first time hes acted like this, but then this is the first time another dog has come onto our property could that be the reason for both of there behaviors? My partner tried to introduce them last night when they first turned up, but like iv'e told him many times, not to introduce them with out me, he doesn't listen and does it anyways. My dog the sharpei x tried to attack the puppy last night, but his dog the pitbull didnt. The puppy is a boy, neo x bullmastif i thinkrn. Now the puppy, shows, excitement, playful, not playful and scared all at once. It's sending mixed messages to my dogs. He will jump around, jump into a playful position, then jump back, put his tail in between his legs, back down, then jump back up into a playful position. The puppy tries this with my sharpei x american bulldog, she will stand in the same position, not changing her body movement, seriously looking confused and if the puppy does it to my pit bull the puppy will jump into a playful position, then when the puppy jumps back, he jumps towards the puppy to play, and the puppy puts his tail between his legs, and walks off, which starts my pitbull off and he starts to chase after him. Could this also be because of how the puppy owner treats him? Clapping your hands really scares him, he sits, with his head to the ground and tail between his legs. His body language is just full off, hes all over the place. Unsure of everything, could this be triggering my dogs to act this way?
This Question is about
Aggression, Hyperactivity, Other, Puppy management
Bark Busters responded: Hi Nikisha, dogs meeting in a park on neutral territory is one thing, sometimes nothing will occur, however we know that many fights do start in this environment as people that do not have 100%  off lead control let their dogs off lead, and many dogs are bullied by a dominate dog, usually the female.  Bringing any new dog into a dog home territory can result in a fight and changes the whole pack dimension.  they should always be introduced in a neutral environment on lead first. Then you have some control should anything occur. Your female Sharpei is dominant and if another dominant dog approached her and snapped of course if you do ot have leadership control she will attack. She just put that other dog in its place, however no dog should feel they need to snap at any other dog (or human) in any circumstances. When you friend moved out, again the pack dynamics changed. Dogs 'play' is usually ascertain body language behaviour, and both your dog can read this.  Older dogs can have short patience and will snap/bite if pushed.  Your leadership over all dogs needs to be the same.  They all need to respect and focus on you with normal daily training, you need to train one dog at a time, your dogs see themselves at the pack leaders and that's not what they should be feeling.  Leadership is safety to a dog, so if the humans are not displaying the necessary consistent and strong leadership skills to the dogs, then its survival instinct that the dogs provide that for themselves and all other dogs within their pack.   There should be no favoritism with any dog, treat each dog exactly the same, same rules, same leadership. Not you train your dog and he trains his dogs all dogs need to listen to all humans adults within their territory.  Or fighting and over exuberant play may lead into something way more serious resulting in an expensive vet visit. We have trainers in Auckland, Wellington and the South Island that can help you with an in home visit. Dog do not analyse a situation as us humans do, and we see daily owners misinterpreting their dogs behaviour from their human point of view - this is where it all comes undone and becomes a serious behavioural issue that needs prompt addressing .  
Natasha asks...
Vali has a tendency to be quite 'mouthy' with us and anyone visiting, putting her mouth on peoples hands but not biting. As her teeth are really sharp, sometimes this can cause pain but I think it is unintentional on her part. She also jumps up to lick faces. Please, what can I do to stop this from happening.rnAny advice is greatly appreciated!!rnMany thanks rnTash
This Question is about
Hyperactivity, Jumping up
Bark Busters responded: Hi Natasha - there are many reason why dogs do what they do.  Try freezing your hand  ( they follow movement as play time) and using a mist spray in her face using the word you use when correcting her.  Never use her name to address unacepotable behaviour though.