Your Choice- Obnoxious Dog or Well Mannered Pet

Jack Russell TerrierEvery day, I speak with clients about meeting their dogs’ basic needs. Most of us assume our dogs are getting plenty of exercise and stimulation when the dogs are alone (or with other dogs) in a large fenced area. The dog is in the great outdoors, so she must be getting enough exercise, right?

Wrong. This is not usually the case, unless you have a turbo Jack Russell Terrier, like the one pictured in this post. Crisco hunts and chases critters for hours. Occasionally she’ll dig, because, she’s a terrier! Do not be surprised when your terrier redesigns your flower beds or digs up a shrub. The word terrier comes from the Middle French terrier, derived from the Latin terra, meaning earth. Get it? 🙂

Some dogs do know how to entertain themselves when alone in the yard.

All dogs, and especially guarding types such as German Shepherd Dogs, are at risk for refining territorial aggression if their primary jobs involve constant watching and barking at people and other dogs that pass by the yard. Yikes, that can’t be good!

Beagles and hounds may bay or bark for hours on end.

Labrador retrievers and other breeds dig, destroy fencing and furniture, chew low voltage air conditioning wires, lick bar-b-q grills, dismantle wooden decks, scratch back doors, run along fences and bark at the dogs next door, et cetera.

Some of my clients keep their dogs in the back yard because the dogs are ill mannered inside the house. The same dogs are ill mannered in the back yards.

If you want to reduce normal, unwanted behaviors, you’ll need to meet your dog’s basic needs. Make a list of behaviors you would like from your dog. Learn about training methods and teach your dog. Take your dog for daily walks in the neighborhood.

You can have a rude dog who makes your life miserable, or you can have a well mannered pet. It’s your choice. Visit other pages on this dogand site to begin your adventure.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley – Memphis TN – Canine Relationship Solutions

Private and Group Dog Obedience – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Bartlett, Cordova TN

Does Your Dog Own You? Resource Guarding of Territory, Food, Items, or People

Ace_BallResource guarding is when dogs posture, growl, snarl, bark,  snap, lunge, or bite for reasons we believe are efforts to keep other animals or people away from what they consider to be valuable resources.

Resources include food, territory, items and persons.

Food related aggression, territory aggression, and possession aggression are specific labels for different types of resource guarding.

Resource guarding can be confused with protection aggression and fear aggression.  People believe their dogs are protecting them, when in reality, the dogs are guarding what they believe to be their property, or the dogs are exhibiting fear aggression. Fear aggression is often present with territory aggression. Resolving the fear issue is the solution.  A behavioral history, questionnaire, careful observation,  and testing can usually identify the specific types of aggression.

In my experiences, resource guarding is commonly directed at other dogs, which many people accept or manage. When the aggression is directed at people, I am likely to get a new client.

Food related aggression is seen more often when high value rawhides, bullie sticks, pigs ears, etc.  are involved.

Some dogs guard dry dog food (less common), and severe cases involve dogs that guard empty bowls, and feeding or food preparation locations.

Territory aggression is when dogs posture, growl, snarl, bark,  snap, lunge, or bite when animals or people approach specific areas. Clearly defined areas, such as fenced yards, motor vehicles, homes, crates, kennels, rooms, chairs, couches, beds, and areas underneath furniture are guarded by dogs who exhibit territory aggression.

Less defined territories, such as doorways, and the areas within the length of the dog’s leash or tie out can be considered valuable by some dogs.

Possesive aggression is when dogs guard non-food items, regardless of the location.  Common items are toys, and stolen treasures, such as socks paper towels, ink pens, remote controls, etc.. Some cases of posessive aggression can be resolved by teaching the dog basic obedience commands such as leave-it and drop.

Some aggression behaviors can be fueled  by miscommunications and the balance between dogs and people, better described as the relationship. In some cases, the dog’s physical, social, or emotional needs are not being met, and / or, the chosen training methods are flawed.  A 21st Century Canine Relationship Specialist can help you with these areas. Visit the APDT to find a trainer near you.

Regardless of the type of aggression, the first step is to manage the environment so the dog does not practice (and people or other animals are not injured). Prevention can include simple steps like removing high value food items, feeding in a crate or secure area, crating the dog during social events, removing toys, housing the dog inside the home, and dog proofing the home.

Next, you’ll need to establish a clear system for communication and motivation. Condition a reward marker and follow the rewards awareness program, no free F.A.T.!

There are specific exercises for treating different types of resource guarding. Each dog and case is different. The treatment plan must be fluid and should be adapted for the dog’s success. You’ll probably need help from a dog behavior counselor.

Visit this Solve-It section on this site for specific examples and detailed solutions for aggression.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

Private Dog Training in Memphis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist


Changing Bad Crate Habits – Puppy Barking, Urinating in Crate

Mini DauschundBarking in the Crate

When accompanied by eliminating in the crate, drooling, or self-injury, barking in the crate can be a sign of separation anxiety.

Dogs with separation anxiety have been compared to people that have anxiety attacks.

Separation anxiety is an emotional condition fraught with panic and fear.

Crating a dog with true separation anxiety is never a good idea.

Even if your dog exhibits only two of these symptoms, he could be truly distressed. If this describes your dog or you are not sure if your dog has true separation anxiety, ask your vet for the name of a canine behavior counselor.

Barking and whining can be normal signs of protest or a true alarm. I’ve met pups who bark to tell their people there’s been (or about to be) an accident.

In some respects, a crated puppy can be compared to a baby, alone in a crib. If your pup is not wet, hungry, thirsty, or ill, let him cry.

Slowly introducing your pup by pairing the crate with meals and special treats usually removes most objections to being crated.

Even after you have properly introduced your dog to the concept of the crate, your pup may bark for short periods.

This is normal. Ignore the barking; don’t make eye contact; say nothing.

For if you do, your dog will think he is on the path to freedom and will continue barking.

It’s important to stick to your plan when teaching pups about crying in the crate.

If, after 30 minutes, you give in and release your crying puppy, he or she will learn that crying for 30 minutes is a good strategy for freedom.

Wait until your pup is quiet and relaxed before you praise and/or release him. This will teach him that being quiet and relaxed has good dividends!

If your pup barks for long periods of time, it is always possible that you are not meeting your pup’s exercise requirements, crate-time is too long, or he is genuinely anxious. Review your exercise regime and review your introduction sequences.

Most normal, well-exercised dogs and pups that are gradually introduced will discontinue their barking strategy after a few episodes of being crated.

If this does not describe your pup or dog, start the introduction routine from the beginning or consult with a professional.

Eliminating in the Crate

When accompanied by drooling, self-injury, and barking, eliminating in the crate can be a sign of separation anxiety.

Other common causes are urinary tract infections, medical conditions, and medications.

If your pup or dog eliminates in the crate, first rule out medical and behavioral issues that might contribute to inside elimination.  Visit your vet first!

Most people limit crate time to include only the periods when they are gone, asleep, or unable to supervise their dog. If these periods are too long for the individual dog, then it’s best to arrange for someone to exercise the pup.

An alternate plan is to set up the crate or confinement area with a bathroom as discussed previously.

Sometimes a puppy or dog has already formed poor elimination habits. These guys eliminate inside their crates and are not offended by the presence of their own waste. Here’s how I address these situations.

Purchase a different style of crate.

Here are two different styles of crates you can buy at Amazon with free shipping.

Get an exercise pen. Move the crate to another location and place it inside the exercise pen. Cover the floor of the entire area with newspaper or house training pads.

Here’s a great, black epoxi exercise pen,
for sale at at Amazon. Select the Super Saver Free Shipping!

Here’s a suggestion I read in one of Ian Dunbar’s books.

Place plastic on the entire floor of the confinement area and cover the plastic with grass sod.

Buy extra sod so that you can rotate the soiled sod outside for cleaning and replace it with clean piece of sod from the outside.

Place a crate inside the confinement area with the door removed. Follow the same instructions as newspaper training and slowly remove the grass sod from the area.

For even tougher cases, set up the confinement area with sod and discard the crate.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

Private Dog Training in Memphis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist

Signs your Dog is Not Getting Enough Exercise

Bull TerrierAll dogs need exercise. The amount and type of exercise needed varies with each individual. The perfect amount of exercise is just enough for your dog to be tired enough to be a relaxed calm member of your household.

If your dog has lots of unused energy, it will emerge as annoyances. Tired pups and dogs don’t jump up excessively, bark and whine excessively, destroy everything, run away, dig for hours, or pace the floor!

Mental and physical exercise should be part of your dog’s daily routine. Long walks are a great exercise tool. It’s best to take at least two long walks each day. Your dog will be mentally and physically stimulated. Short teaching sessions are great for exercising your dog’s mind. Scatter feeding and scent games are wonderful methods to burn energy.

Children should play hide-n-seek, fetch or spend time teaching dogs. Everyone should avoid wrestling with young dogs. Wrestling with pups increases the pups’ urges to play bite and teaches them that biting humans is ok. Many people with dogs that nip at their hands and clothes at every opportunity or play bite excessively have taught their dogs these behaviors by playing rough with the dog. Playing in the back yard for 10 to 15 minutes a day is not enough exercise for many young dogs. If the following sentences describe your dog, it is very likely that he or she is not getting enough exercise.

  • He paces from room to room.
  • She rarely lies down, even when others are relaxed.
  • He barks for attention.
  • She constantly steals objects.
  • He whines for attention.
  • She never stops jumping when people are visiting.
  • He digs, chews and destroys everything in sight.
  • She races along the fence barking at every other dog or person that passes by.
  • He runs away every chance he gets.
  • She digs under the fence, escapes and roams the neighborhood.

Here are two of my favorite foraging toys that can help exercise and stimulate your dog! You can get them at various stores, Amazon has good prices and I trust them.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Reactive Dog Specialist in Memphis TN – How’s Bentley

iPhone 3G Jailbreak Video ** Bentley – Australian Terrier Battles the Wasp! Ouch

Australian TerrierClick the video link below to see Bentley, my 10 year old Australian terrier, battle the wasp in the bush.  He doesn’t seem to be too disturbed by the wasp sting. I used my jailbroken iPhone 3G to make the video.

How’s Bentley – Alan J Turner – Memphis TN Dog Trainer

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Canine Behavior Modification for Reactive, Unwanted, Behaviors, including Fear and Aggression


LilyOkay, so your dog is fearful, barking, lunging and otherwise distressed when he or she sees people, trucks, cars, or dogs. Depending on who you are talking to, those behaviors may be classified as territory or protective aggression, possession aggression, inter-dog aggression, fear aggression, or leash aggression.

I’ll refer to the other people, other dogs, trucks, cars, as “triggers”, because they trigger the fear or aggression in your dog.

There are volumes of articles and books on how to modify fearful and aggressive behaviors in dogs. Some of the information may be helpful and other information is outdated and less helpful.

A canine modification plan is fluid. It changes as you progress. Because of all the variables, and the constant adjustments when treating fear and aggression in dogs, it’s not feasible for me to post all the methods and solutions I would use in a private consultation.

But I can give you this overview and some instructions that might work with your dog.

This article is about visual triggers. If your dog reacts to noises, the same concepts apply.

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First you need to change your dog’s perception of the triggers. Then you will use rewards to pay your dog for desirable, non reactive behaviors, when the trigger is in sight.

Before you actually do exercises with your dog in the field, please review this checklist.

Meet your dog’s physical, social and emotional needs.

Kindly prevent your dog from practicing unwanted reactive behaviors.

Establish a method to communicate precisely. Condition a reward marker.

Enact the Rewards Awareness Program.

Establish a Reward System.

Teach your dog “attention on cue” or “look”.

Practice “look” in various places with increasing levels of distractions (distractions should not be people or dogs or whatever triggers the unwanted, reactive, behaviors).

Teach your dog to sit on command.

Practice “sit” in various places with increasing levels of distractions (distractions should not be people or dogs or whatever triggers the unwanted, reactive, behaviors).

Teach your dog to bump your two-finger target to the cue, “here”.

Practice “here” in various places with increasing levels of distractions (distractions should not be people or dogs or whatever triggers the unwanted, reactive behaviors).

Teach your dog to walk nicely on a loose lead or to heel.

Practice walking nicely in various places with increasing levels of distractions (distractions should not include the triggers).

Optional: Obtain a Gentle Leader head collar or a Canny Collar. Introduce your dog to the head collar and practice with the head collar, so that your dog is not distracted by wearing the head collar. Head collars make it possible to safely move or control your dog’s pulling behaviors.

Optional: If your dog is “crazy excited” for squeaky toys or balls, get a couple of new ones and save them for these exercises. You can use the toys as rewards, or as distractions to get your dog’s attention when the triggers are too close.

Now you can begin the real work!

Identify the Threshold

Find the distance where your dog can see the trigger but not react with “out of control” barking, lunging, et cetera. I’ll refer to this distance as the threshold for reactivity. It may be 400 yards or 20 feet. It will change depending on the environment, your dog’s current emotional or physical state, or any number of factors.

The threshold is fluid, not static. You’ll need to find the threshold every time you start a practice session. Whatever it is right now, this distance or threshold will become shorter and shorter as you practice. You’ll always start each session outside the threshold.

Set up the Practice Session

For this step you’ll need the help of others. Their jobs will be to present the trigger outside the threshold, move a few steps closer and then move back outside the threshold.

If you don’t have any helpers, you can still set up the session. Go to a place where you are likely to see the triggers, such as a walking path at the park or a parking lot of a pet supply store. Get several feet off the path or away from the traffic, outside the threshold.

It helps if your dog is hungry. Do this before feeding time or withhold dinner and feed during these sessions.

Change your Dog’s Perception

Before you start with the triggers, ask your dog to perform a few simple commands such as “here’ or “sit”. This will engage your dog to pay attention to you!

Stand outside the threshold of a trigger. The instant you see the dog or person or car approaching, announce the trigger. Tell your dog something like “that’s a friend or that’s a truck” and immediately feed your dog several treats. Keep feeding until the trigger has retreated and is no longer nearby.

(If your starts barking or lunging, you are too close the the trigger, move away. If your dog starts to stare or looks like he or she might be ready to bark and lunge, command “here” and present your two finger target, or ask your dog to “look”. Either one of these commands gets the dog to look away from the trigger and focus on you.)

This sequence is called a cycle. You will hold many cycles during a session.

Between each cycle, give your dog a tension rest to absorb the recent events. The tension rest should be as as long as it took to perform the cycle. So, if the trigger is in sight for 10 seconds before it moves outside the threshold, the duration of the tension rest immediately after the cycle will be at least 10 seconds.

Repeat this process for at least 30 minutes per session. Perform another cycle followed by a tension rest. The idea is to change your dog’s immediate, involuntary responses to the trigger.

Instead of “oh no, there’s another dog, which is immediately followed by involuntary barking, fleeing, freezing or lunging (fight, flight, freeze behaviors), you want your dog’s initial involuntary response to the sight of the triggers to be anticipation of food. You are using classical conditioning to associate the trigger with the delivery of food. Your dog cannot be aggressive or fearful and salivate in anticipation of food at the same instant!

As you progress through the session, you will notice your dog will begin to ignore the trigger and focus on you and the food as soon as you announce the trigger. Perfect. Now you can move a bit closer to the trigger and continue. The threshold is getting shorter!

Repeat these sessions until your dog automatically looks towards you whenever a trigger is in sight. Continue to announce the triggers on routine walks, and anytime you are interacting with your dog, be it during a practice session, or not.

Real LIfe Ambush

If you get “ambushed” by a trigger during an outing, and you are not ready with several treats, kindly ask your dog to sit facing you, or to bump your two finger target. If she is too excited, move her away from the trigger and ask again. Repeat this sequence until your dog is far enough away that she will listen to your commands.

This basic method will work with most dogs, and most reactive behaviors, however it is not as efficient as perception modification via Syn Alia Training System.


Keep in mind, there are many factors about your relationship and your daily interactions with your dog that influence behaviors. In addition, your dog may be influenced by other dogs in the household, medical conditions, diet, nutrition, genetic and or neurological factors. If your dog constantly barks at triggers from inside the house, or fence fights with the dogs next door, the prognosis is poor.

You’ll need to prevent your dog from practicing fear and aggression if you want to succeed!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley

Canine Behavior Modification for Fear, Aggression in Dogs – Memphis TN

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Vacuum Chasing Dog:My Dog Barks and Attacks the Vacuum!


JavaBedDoes your dog or puppy hide from, bark at, chase, bite, your vacuum cleaner?  It seems there are a group of dogs who protest whenever we try to clean up!

If you have a puppy under 12 weeks of age, now is the time to gently expose him or her to everyday events and noises. During the critical period of socialization, these exposures teach our dog lifelong coping skills.

If you are reading this, I imagine your dog is beyond 12 weeks of age. That’s okay. You can still teach your dog to relax when you vacuum.

First off, forget about stopping “barking and attacking the vacuum” behaviors. You will spiral into an abiss of failures if you try to punish these unwanted behaviors. And, even if you succeed, you have not taught your dog any useful skills that may come in handy in other situations. Spend your energy and time teaching your dog an acceptable behavior, which will be incompatible with the unwanted behavior.

And, kindly prevent your dog from practicing “attack the vacuum” behaviors! Have a family member take your dog out for a walk when you vacuum or place the dog in another area with a chew toy. Practice makes perfect! Yikes!

Before you can teach your dog anything, you should identify the components that make up the target behavior. Exactly what does “relax when I vacuum” behavior look like? I picture the dog lying on his or her bed and calmly resting while I vacuum. That’s why you should teach and practice Go-To-Place before you work on “relax for vacuum” behavior.

Anytime you catch yourself saying “NO” or trying to stop any behavior, ask yourself these two questions:

At this instant in time, exactly what do I want my dog to do?

Where do I want my dog to perform this behavior?

The answers are your next training goal!

Teach your dog exactly what to do when you vacuum, and where to do it. I like to use Go-To-Place for the replacement behavior.

You cannot teach your dog to Go-To-Place when you are vacuuming your floor. Set aside time for training sessions to teach your dog Go-To-Place.

Here are the steps for teaching a dog anything you want.

  1. Condition a reward marker, a signal to tell your dog the instant he or she has succeeded.
  2. Establish a Rewards System, so your dog will be motivated to cooperate.
  3. Get the dog to perform the behavior (or some portion of the behavior) during practice sessions.
  4. Mark the instant your dog succeeds.
  5. Reward your dog, reinforce the behavior.
  6. Refine the behavior through repeated practice sessions in many different areas.
  7. Add distractions so your dog will always perform the behavior.
  8. Practice the behavior in real life.

Once you have a conditioned reward marker and a Reward System in place, and you have taught your dog to Go-To-Place, you are ready to teach your dog or puppy to relax when you vacuum your floors. The general idea is to expose your dog to the sounds and motions of the vacuum, in such small doses that your dog will remain in his or her place. Each cycle the vacuum is closer to the dog than the previous cycle.  Reward your dog for Go-To-Place and NOT BARKING when the vacuum is moving, then when the vacuum is far away and powered on, when the vacuum gets closer, et cetera. Here’s how

Place the vacuum cleaner in the room with your dog nearby. Plug the vacuum cleaner into the outlet, but do not turn it on. Tell your dog to Go-To-Place.

Reach for the handle. If your dog does not bark, or get off his or her place, deliver your reward marker. Toss your dog a food treat. Repeat 3 times. Each time you touch, mark, and toss treat is called a cycle or trial.

Reach for the handle and push the vacuum a few inches. If your dog does not bark, or get off his or her place, when you push the vacuum a few inches, deliver your reward marker and toss your dog a food treat. Repeat 3 times for a total of 4 cycles. If your dog barks or attacks the vacuum cleaner when you push it, go back to the previous step (touch the handle, mark and treat) and perform several more cycles.

Reach for the handle and push the vacuum (the vacuum is still off, not turned on) a few feet. If you dog does not bark, or get off his or her place, when you push the vacuum a few feet, deliver your reward marker and toss your dog a food treat. Repeat 3 times for a total of 4 cycles. If your dog barks or attacks the vacuum cleaner when you push it a few feet, go back to the previous step (push the vacuum a few inches) and perform several more cycles.

Once you can push the silent vacuum around the room while your dog stays quietly in his or her place, you are ready for these next steps. You’ll need a helper.

Have your helper take the vacuum in another area of the house, as far away from your dog’s place as possible. Close the door to the room (if applicable). You stay with your dog in the same room as the dog’s bed (or place). Have your helper turn on the vacuum for a few seconds and then turn it off. As soon as you hear the vacuum, tell your dog to Go-To-Place. Mark the instant he or she gets on the dog bed. Toss a food treat. Praise your dog. Coax your dog off the bed.

Again, instruct your helper to turn on the vacuum for a few seconds and then turn it off. This time it will be on for a few more seconds than before. Tell your dog to Go-To-Place, mark and treat. Repeat several times, each cycle the helper will keep the vacuum cleaner running for more seconds. Repeat until the helper can leave the vacuum running and your dog will calmly remain in his or her place.

Repeat the sequence from the beginning (vacuum on for a few seconds, then off), but open the door to the room with the vacuum or move it closer to you and the dog. Continue to practice in cycles, each cycle the vacuum is closer and closer to you and the dog.  After several carefully planned practice sessions, your dog will know exactly what to do when the vacuum is running and where to do it.

When you start vacuuming in the same room, don’t be greedy. 🙂 Run and push the vacuum a few inches and then turn it off and reward your dog for staying in place. Gradually increase the duration of the vacuuming before you reward your dog.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Dog Trainer in Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Cordova, Bartlett, Arlington, TN

How’s Bentley –

Private and Group Dog Training

In the picture, Java the Papillon is resting in his “Place” or bed.

Pet Dogs for Protection Dogs?

OdenGSDOn How’s Bentley Private Services Enrollment Form, the box labeled “For Protection” is often selected as one of the reasons my clients acquire their pet dogs. I understand why people select a pet dog for a protection role.

I have worked with more German Shepherd Dogs in the past year than the previous 3 years. I believe the current political and social cultures are responsible for people choosing dogs like German Shepherd Dogs, Doberman Pinchers, and other guarding dogs with “vicious” labeling. We are more fearful as a country than we were 15 years ago. That is reflected by the breeds of dogs that we choose. OOPs, this is off topic. I’ll talk about dog breed selection trends in the suburbs of Tennessee at another time.

Many people expect their dogs to be natural protectors and body guards. Too bad it’s not that simple.

It’s not that dogs won’t protect. Some dogs will naturally growl, snarl, bark, snap and bite when anyone approaches.

That’s the problem. Some dogs protect us from everyone. Dogs growl, snarl, snap and bite family members, house mates, friends, children, neighbors, cable guys, even pizza delivery couriers. That’s just rude. I need my pizza. Please Killer, spare the Domino Pizza guy.

Our pet dogs are not any better at determining who is a threat than the average Joe. We have these opposable thumbs and large brains, yet very few of us can determine which people in a busy suburban mall parking lot are about to attack us. Our untrained dogs have a solution. Bite them all and let the alpha dog sort them out!?

YIKES! The point is, you must take time to obedience train your dog before you can have a dependable protection dog. The last thing you want is a dog that decides every stranger is a threat and acts without your input!

True personal protection dogs are very well trained in all aspects of basic and advanced obedience and many participate in Schutzhund, a dog sport that originated in Germany. True protection dogs will stop attacking when their handlers command them to disengage.

Before you select a breed of dog genetically bred for natural, protective tendencies, talk with a trainer who can help you teach the dog basic obedience. For if you have a pet dog that is aggressive towards everyone, and will not stop when you call, you do not have a protection dog. You have a liability.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner
Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer
Private Sessions to Help Aggressive and Fearful Dogs
How’s Bentley- Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, TN

Canny Collar Supplier

USA Customers PURCHASE CANNY COLLARS CLICK HERE – $32.90 USD includes shipping.

Barking Behind Fence or Window May Increase Territory Aggression

EllieCageBarriers such as fences and windows may encourage your pet dog to exhibit territory aggression.

Suppose a dog watches out the window (or runs along a fence line) for hours at a time.

Suppose the dog barks and snarls at passing dogs, bicyclists, joggers, walkers, children, etc..

Suppose the dog jumps, up on the window or fence, barks and lunges, snarls and snaps. At this point the dog will not listen to the owner. It’s as if the owner is invisible.

The scenario described above is a problem in the making. That dog will practice his or her battle skills with every instance of excessive guarding.

I have no doubt. If the situation is not addressed, at least five out of ten dogs in that situation will, one day,  escape and bite or injure a passerby or dog. The other five dogs will, one day, scare both owner and prey with aggressive behaviors but no puncture wounds.

If this describes your dog, please do your best to kindly prevent him or her from practicing battle skills. If possible place the dog in another area of the house or yard. Choose an area without a view of other people and animals. For more tips about dog and puppy and behavior and training and help, visit the ASPCA virtual behaviorist.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner
Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer
Private Sessions for Aggression, Fearful Dogs
How’s Bentley- Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, TN

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Barking Dog? Resolutions ** Danger! ** Do Not Use an Anti Bark Collar on Your Dog or Puppy, without reading this first!

bentleybarkOkay, so your dog is barking and you have the perfect, initial solution; buy one of those anti bark dog collars, right? WRONG!

Please do not misunderstand, I agree there are situations when an anti bark collar is a good choice, but spraying a dog with citronella, sounding a tone, (or using an e-collar ) are never at the top of my list of tools and solutions for barking.

Anti bark collars address the symptom, not the causes. You may very well stop your puppy or dog from barking. But, if the dog is fearful, aggressive, anxious, stressed or neglected, an anti bark collar could increase these emotional conditions.

DANGER! YIKES! We love our dogs and puppies. We certainly do not want to harm them! Before you use an anti bark collar on your dog or puppy, take a moment to review these thoughts.

Positive punishment (immediately adding an aversive stimulus to reduce the preceding behavior) rarely makes your pet dog less fearful, less aggressive, less anxious, less stressed, or less neglected!

Dogs bark for many different reasons. In many instances, obedience training, a change of schedule, and/or adjusting something in the dog’s surroundings will be part of the solution.

Here is a short list of resolutions I have suggested for clients:

Close the window blinds / pull the curtains

Crate train the dog (a crate trained dog is one who will relax in the crate, regardless of the activities surrounding the crate.)

Relocate the puppy’s crate

Teach your puppy to relax in her crate

Teach the dog a polite way to get your attention.

Increase physical activities

Teach your dog to ring a bell to signal the desire to go outside (or inside)

Teach your dog to go to place

Learn how to train your dog, and do it!

Teach the dog that all dogs and people are not dangerous or threatening

Teach the dog to relax

Teach “quiet” or “enough”

The first thing you should do is determine the root cause for the barking. Here are some guidelines for determining the cause of your dog’s excessive barking.

Normal Barking – Resolve via Obedience Training

  • Attention Signal to Owners, Other Dogs, Other Pets

Wants to go outside / inside / into room / other side of gate / out of crate

Soliciting Attention

Begging for Food

Soliciting Play-time

Soliciting Interactions with other Pets

  • Excitement

During Play, Before Walks

Barking at Door Bell, Door Knocks

  • Protecting, Guarding, Alarm Barking

Barking at Noises, People’s Voices Outside, Television Sounds, etc.

Barking at Neighbors, Passersby, Joggers, Bicyclists, Trucks, Cars,

Strangers, Other Dogs, Birds, Squirrels, House Cats, etc.

Abnormal Barking Resolve via Behavior Modification

  • Fearful – Distance Increasing Behavior

Barking at Cars / Trucks

Barking at Strangers

Barking at Dogs

  • Anxious or Stressed

Barking when confined in crate, laundry room, behind gate, etc (anxious barking is usually accompanied by excessive salivation)

Barking when alone

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner, Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer
Private and group dog training in Germantown, Collierville, and Memphis TN

Experiment with Puppy Crate Location to Reduce Barking in the Crate

ellie_treehouseDogs are social mammals. They like to be close to their people. That being said, dogs are adaptable. Some pups and dogs can learn to relax in a crate that is placed in a laundry room or basement, away from the people.  Some don’t adapt so well.

My initial suggestion is to place the crate in a corner of a common area. This presents the puppy with a safe resting spot near his people.

Placement depends on the individual pup’s personality and when the dog will be crated.

If you use a crate primarily when you are away or asleep, a laundry room or basement may be a good choice.

Keep in mind that it is better to teach the dog to relax in the crate when you are gone and when you are home. This is not accomplished if you only crate at night or when you are away.

Don’t be shy about experimenting with crate placement. Find the best spot for you and your dog.

Sometimes, moving the crate to another location resolves problems such as barking and eliminating in the crate.

A crate trained dog / puppy:

  • will not eliminate in the crate
  • readily enters the crate when asked
  • relaxes in the crate when alone in the home
  • relaxes in the crate when people are home and active
  • relaxes in the crate when other animals are not crated

Start Off Right!

Visit the products page and purchase, Puppies for Thinkers – crate training, housebreaking, house training, meeting basic needs, play-biting and much more.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer, Canine Specialization

Private and Group Dog Behavior and Training Services

Memphis, TN

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