Bad Dog, Bad Dog, Whatcha Gonna Do? Part 2

On the Popular TV series “COPS” they play a song which says, in part, “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”  Many people bring home an adorable, cute puppy. But without proper training, some dogs misbehave until the owners shrug their shoulders and say “Bad Dog, Bad Dog, whatcha gonna do?”  Hopefully, those people will read articles like this, “Bad Dog, Bad Dog, Whatcha Gonna Do? Part 1,” and others like them before they do the unthinkable and call the “Dog Police” to take their beloved pet to the pound! 

In “Bad Dog, Bad Dog, Whatcha Gonna Do? Part 1” we explain “Dog Pack” instincts and the “Alpha Dog” mentality, and teach you how to “reprogram” your dog so knows that you are the Alpha dog. You can find it in the Feature Articles section of K-9 Outfitters, A Division of Damascus Road Enterprises.  In addition to those “Alpha Dog” techniques, there are other things you can do to help alleviate your “bad dog behavior.”  This article will teach you ways to “deprogram” bad dog behavior and retrain your dog, thus creating harmony between family and pet.

But before we proceed, if you suffer from “bad dog syndrome” with your family pet, make sure there isn’t an underlying medical condition.  Take your dog to the vet, explain your problem, and ensure he/she is healthy, and doesn’t suffer from dental, intestinal, digestion, parasitic, or other problems.  Once you find that your dog is indeed healthy, implement the following suggestions.

  1. Read other articles, magazines, ezines, and books on dogs, training and behavior.  The more you know the better trainer you’ll be.
  2. Be consistent.  Just like a child, your dog will notice your inconsistencies, and will “test your mettle” by pushing the boundaries to determine who is really in control.  Do it the same way every time.
  3. Earn your dog’s respect.  Be firm and fair in training and discipline.  Never resort to violence.  Positive reinforcement techniques have always proven the more successful training method.  Your dog’s submission to you should always be out of respect, not fear.
  4. Spend quality time with your dog.  Interact with your dog.  Quite often, the cause of misbehavior in dogs is similar to that in children.  They are simply looking for QUALITY TIME, ATTENTION and LOVE.  Remember all the love and attention you gave that sweet, adorable puppy?  Well, your adult dog still craves that same love and attention.  Just be careful when giving that attention to a problem dog, to always retain your alpha status. 
  5. During training sessions, always maintain eye contact with your dog until he turns away.  That way he knows you are the master and he is submissive to you.  I once maintained eye contact with a strong-willed Brittany for 12 minutes before he finally looked away. Demand your dog’s attention during short training sessions.  (A dog’s attention span is a maximum of ten to fifteen minutes).  As examples, command your dog to heel, and then look at you before commencing a walk.  Or make your dog sit or lie down before getting treats.
  6. Give your dog plenty of exercise.  Take her for a thirty minute walk – the exercise will do you good, give her the attention she deserves, and tire her out so she prefers to rest instead of wreaking havoc!  Dogs are a bundle of bounding energy.  They can’t help it, God wired them that way!  Give them an outlet for that energy.  If you live in the woods like I do, let them out to run and play.  (However, I always pen them up at night either outside in a fence with dog houses, or I kennel them inside in cages and kennel crates with crate pads or beds).  Take your dog to a park, or better yet, one of those fancy new dog parks where dogs are allowed to play and socialize.  Let your dog out in a fenced yard, or if you don’t have or don’t like a fenced yard, get an electronic fence and containment system, so your dog knows the boundaries of where they can and can’t go safely. 
  7. Feed your dog a high protein, well balanced diet.  Sometimes, dog misbehavior is simply a result of hunger and/or malnutrition.  I suggest looking for food with meat and rice as the first ingredients, rather than corn meal and meat by-products.  I also suggest a protein content of 24-30% and fat content of 10-18%.  This will ensure a strong, healthy dog with a shiny coat.
  8. Remove temptation.  Put trash cans and people food out of the dog’s reach.  If you have a destructive dog, put him in the yard or in a kennel crate or cage while you are at work or gone from the house.  If you let him out to “do his business” in the morning before you leave for work, he will be fine in an appropriately sized kennel cage or crate with pillow pad until you return. 
  9. If needed, use appropriate training tools.  Although choke collars should be a thing of the past because of the possible danger of injury to your dog’s larynx, an electronic collar is a humane training tool that can provide an appropriate negative “signal,” followed by your positive reinforcement for right behavior. With proper use, in a short time just wearing the collar brings appropriate good behavior. Very few things are more disturbing to a dog lover that seeing your beloved pet run out into the street and get hit by a car, or watching your $1000 bird dog run over the hill never to be seen again.  However, if you know your limitations and feel you cannot handle the job yourself, you can find many reputable dog trainers who specialize in behavior problems.  Your local vet can probably assist you if needed.
  10. Finally, be patient.  Positive training and dog behavior modification takes time.  Your dog will soon begin to behave in a more positive manner if you follow these helpful suggestions. fenben for cancer