The Top 5 Most Important Dog Training Mistakes to Avoid

Practice Makes Perfect and Requires Actual Effort!

People always ask me how I, as a professional dog trainer, make dog training look so easy and how can they can improve their techniques?

I came up with what I believe to be the 5 most important reasons people have difficulty training their dog to work effectively for them.

These are the 5 Most Important Dog Training Mistakes to Avoid, in what I believe to be the most important order.

#5  Lack of Practice or Effort

I have said it before (sometimes I feel like I talk about the same things) but I say it again because it is soooo important!

Practice is crucial!  Your dog WILL NOT learn at obedience class once a week.  I use to tell all my dog obedience students this on the first night of class, and YES most were appalled that I would admit it 😉

Your dog learns through repetition and training AT HOME!  If you are not making a point to work your dog daily or several times a day or week, you will not reap the benefits of a well trained dog!!

My dogs will drop on a hand signal or a verbal command (if they can hear it) at more than 50 yards away, even on a crowded beach!  The reason my dogs are so impressive and attentive is not because I am a dog trainer…it is because I practice and I teach them daily.

These daily lessons get them use to listening to me and they listen in times of stress simply by default.  That is…they are soooo use to doing it at home, that when I add distraction and they hear my voice it is their default to just do what I say, when I say it!

But, if they are not use to listening to me daily; if they don’t have 95% obedience around the house and the yard they will never listen in a crowd of dogs and people!

So simply put, practice, practice, practice!!  Get out there and work on your obedience and having fun together, then add more advanced obedience to your curriculum as you are more and more successful!  Dog training takes actually activity and effort!!

#4 Poor Timing

german shepherd training, puppy training

Good Timing is Essential to Good Learning

Timing is essential in dog training!  Poor timing means you are rewarding the wrong behavior.  If I click and treat my dog the instant BEFORE or AFTER he sits, he does not understand that SIT is what I want.  He thinks that I want the behavior he is performing the moment the clicker goes off!

Practice your timing on your husband, or human kids and see if you have good timing and they understand what you want!  If the humans in your life are having trouble understanding what you want, chances are your canine is set up for failure!  For help check out our previous blog,  A Clever Exercise to Try Tonight.

Incorrect timing just sends the wrong message and prolongs your dog’s ability to learn accurately.  Don’t get me wrong, even I click too early or too late sometimes; it is inevitable!  But you must understand and do your very best to click at the right moment so that your dog can excel!

#3 Rewarding the Wrong Behavior

Along those lines, are you rewarding the wrong behavior?  Does it feel like your dog is training YOU?

Does your dog demand for you to feed him, throw his ball, or do anything else to fulfill his needs?

If you not only allow him to bark at you and then you do what he wants you are telling him that is exactly what you want!  It is as if you are saying PLEASE bark in my face when you want something.

Not only does poor timing affect your ultimate dog training goals, but simply inadvertently giving in to your dog sends a very specific message!

Do you pet your dog when he paws at you, nudges you, or puts his face in your lap?  If you do, you are encouraging the behavior!

When you see a negative behavior rear its ugly head in your home, ask yourself “What does my dog get out of this behavior?” and then try and change the reward he is getting, whether you are giving it to him or he is rewarding himself!

#2  Inconsistency

Inconsistency Leads to Frustration!

How often does a behavior bother you at one time but not at another?

Is it a problem when your dog jumps on you ALL of the time, or do you allow it occasionally; say when you come home and he has missed you or when you are not dressed up?

Is your whole family on board with keeping your dog off of the furniture, or does one member of the family let the dog in the bed or on the couch when you are gone?

Do you make your dog listen to your commands sometimes but not others?  Sometimes he sits, sometimes he doesn’t and sometimes he gets in trouble for not listening but not all the time!

If you allow some behaviors some of the time, if some of your dog’s family members allow some naughty behaviors with them, and if you don’t reinforce obedience commands the FIRST time you give them; you are setting your dog up for horrible failure!

Your dog does not know when you are dressed up; when he can and can’t jump on you!

Your dog has difficulty understanding I can get in the bed or on the sofa when “dad” is gone.

And, your dog should know with assuredly when he is giving ONE command you are serious about his compliance ALWAYS.

This being said DO NOT give a command you cannot reinforce!  If your dog isn’t likely to come when called or sit at 20 yards away, off leash…don’t tell him to!  By telling him to do something and him choosing to ignore you, you are ruining his obedience.  Put him on a leash and work on certain scenarios while he is under your direct control!

#1 He is Intimidated and Scared by the Threat of Physical Pain and Punishment

Too Scared to Learn Effectively

Although most people think that physical correction and punishment solidify behavior and increase their likelihood of not happening again studies show that this is not the case.

Not only is punishment not effective for learning, because it comes AFTER the fact it is also not conducive to learning!

Fear inhibits learning.  What is your biggest fear?  Now imagine yourself; locked in a coffin, covered in spiders, or falling off of a skyscraper…could you LEARN something new while dealing with your fear?   Chances are your ability to learn a new skill would be seriously affected.   During this stress could you listen to and comply to given instructions even if you knew how to do it?  I probably couldn’t!

Your dog is probably terrified when he incurs a beating, and compulsion  and even if it is during or after he has jumped on you, chances are he doesn’t understand the intricacies of why you just lost your temper.  In his mind, he is simply excited to see you and wants to be closer to you!

It is not popular, but thankfully a recent reader admitted to the occasional hitting, and yelling at her dog.  She also admitted that although she hit him, he still never seemed to learn.  She wanted to learn a new way to interact and train her dog.

I applaud her for admitting to something that most of us would never admit to, even if it is true sometimes.

So, I was able to hopefully shed some light on why this happens.  Number one, we have already discussed: Punishment is not successful at teaching behavior or the lack thereof.  And, fear reduces the ability to learn and listen.

The other aspect of physical manipulation, punishment and pain is that under these conditions animals are not willing to TRY to learn for fear of failure and ultimate pain and punishment.

It may not make sense to you, but I implore you to put yourself in your dog’s paws.

puppy trainingYou have a boss that speaks another language and you don’t understand your job requirements.  Every time you make a mistake, you get hit in the face.  Now add a little inconsistency, sometimes you get hit in the face after a behavior and sometimes you don’t.  He also yells at you A LOT.  So when he tries to teach you something new and starts yelling…do you try a number of likely behaviors or do you just shut down in fear and brace for the inevitable beating?

I shut down the minute someone yells at me.  The quickest way to get me to be quiet, shrink into myself, and focus on anything BUT you, is to yell at me.  I HATE yelling and temper tantrums (from humans) I expect them to some degree from dogs!

Your dog needs to be comfortable to show you a variety of behaviors and know with assuredly that there will be no pain or terror if he chooses the wrong path.  This confidence allows your dog to feel safe with you and know that there will be no horrifying experiences when working with you.  Probably the worst that will happen is that you will take his toys and treats away for a while, or deny him access to you (his favorite person) or you will better control his behavior using a leash the next time.

Dogs using positive reinforcement are not only willing but they are excited to show a gamut of diverse behaviors when they are trying to learn something new.  There is NO FEAR of failure.  It is much easier to train a dog that is willing and excited to learn than to train a dog that is afraid of making a mistake.

But, the minute a true cross word, angry face, cross eye, or actual hitting/kicking or the like enters the equation their willingness to learn declines and you see signs of fear and sadness.

This is why it is so important that you be in a good mood, have had a good day, know what behavior you are working on and work together as a team to be successful.  As soon as you start getting frustrated, recognize your limits and stop training before things escalate past a point of no return.  Always end training on a good note!

As humans say, “We can forgive but we can never forget”.  Your dog feels the same, except he is so much more likely to forgive wholeheartedly but when you get mad and start to act the same way you did in the past when you were mad, he can’t ever forget.

First thing to do is put your hands down and vow never to use them again.

puppy training

Some Rehabilitation and the Building of Trust may be needed!

Second is to figure out WHY something is making you so mad you revert to violence

Third is to figure out how to change that scenario by teaching your dog using positive reinforcement what you want and expect from him.

You may have to brush up on your clicker training; and I will yet again plug Karen Pryor and Gary Wilkes!

Dog psychology, operant conditioning, and positive reinforcement  goes a lot farther at building your relationship and trust than yelling, screaming, hitting, kicking and beating ever will!

I always go back to when I worked with big cats.  If I hit, kicked, corrected with a painful collar when working with these large cats…I would probably either be dead or missing some digits and or body parts!  Because I use my mind and not my brawn while I worked with them, we practiced, we had good timing, we tried desperately not to reward the wrong behaviors, and we were consistent with ourselves and anyone else who would be allowed into our inner sanctum.

If you are a reformed punishment, or physical type trainer and you are looking for success….you must go back to square one and build your relationship together.  Start over and teach him to trust you.  YOU are in control of your emotions and you know when you are reaching a point that you need to stop if you get frustrated.  But hopefully as you change your style and you dog recognizes how your relationship has changed he will be more willing to learn and make mistakes and build a strong relationship together!

Make an effort to avoid all of the intricacies of the list I have just made.  Study them, then click on the links provided that will give you more intricate information about the information in the subheadings.

Knowledge is power!  If you can already admit you might have started off on the wrong paw, you are already placing yourself on the road to recovery and building a lasting relationship with your dog and awesome obedience!!





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  1. Angela says:

    Three years ago, a puppy about 3/4 months old came to the rescue where I volunteer. She was very frightened and stayed away from people when possible. As much as one day a week exposure to each other could provide, we developed a bond. When she was not adopted after 8 weeks or so, she was moved to a larger kennel in another building and I didn’t see her often. After discovering that her behavior continued for 5 months and was not adopted, I took her home. She seems happy with my two other animals and has learned to trust my husband who is very nurturing.
    She will come to people only on her own terms and will be sociable to only an extent and then go by herself.
    I believe that we, people and dogs, don’t have the same aptitude to be with others but, I have not been able to help her get over the fear of meeting new people. For years, while walking in public, she will some days shy away from people (especially children and strollers) and other days walk confidently by them or stand quietly by my side while I speak to them.
    Do you have any suggestions or thoughts for us?
    Thank you for your thoughtful article on the five biggest mistakes.


  2. Jean Eastman says:

    I do enjoy your reading your input on training my Little Bit.
    Now, do you use a clicker? I do not have one and I find that
    I am doing well with my voice.
    What is the advantage in using a clicker, if you are, sounds
    like it.
    Thank you.


    Minette Reply:

    Clickers are faster and the sound is unmistakeable and can be used by anyone. I definitely use the clicker AND my voice (for times I don’t have a clicker).

    I recommend the clicker, they learn so much faster that way!


    Minette Reply:

    Check out my article on it here


  3. Manfred says:

    I do believe what you say about hitting. It not the first time this has bean said Thank you Manfred
    PS do to economy I have no money to buy


    Robby Reply:

    Clickers work great! I didn`t have the money to buy a fancy trainer clicker so I went to the local dollar store and bought a pack of children`s clicks sold as a party favors. I like these better because I can palm them, and if I missplace them I can go buy more. Practice your timing and you`ll be amazed how fast they can pick things up.
    Hope this helps.


  4. Eileen says:

    I wonder how much leadership skills play into this?


  5. Vicki Aberg says:

    As far as the yelling at and hitting of dogs is concerned I can not believe any one
    would think this would work and if they do they should not have a pet to start with!


    greg Reply:

    dogs use physical force to correct each other. so do wolves. physical force is used by nursing mothers on pups who are too aggressive…i dont think there is anything wrong with using physical force on dogs, within reason. dogs use snaps and barks to correct each other and when needed will even bite the other dog or pup. wolves will “beat up” other wolves to get them to comply. if they dont comply with the pack they are killed or banished. only human beings do not understand his concept and go overboard with it to the point of hurting dogs and/or killing them out of anger. the other dogs and wolves dont use force out of anger, but to train a non-compliant wolf or dog in what is acceptable behavior…their behavior needs to conform to the pack leader because it is a matter of life and death as well as pack stability. i have no problem using some force on my dog….he is very strong-willed and i have to be really assertive with him. for the most part he is obedient, but occasionally he stops listening…case in point i just got a new pup…about 6 weeks old. the old dog is too rough with him…today the old dog would not leave the pup alone on voice command (he usually does for some reason today he didnt listen) while we were walking & was hurting him, so i smacked the old dog on his muzzle and told him no twice. he has not bothered the new pup since. and id do it again.


    Minette Reply:

    So is this how you would treat a child? Or how you would respond to a Whale or a Cheetah?

    I have worked with Cheetahs, and I certainly wouldn’t be smacking them in the face.

    We are the more intelligent animals, we should use our brains and not our physical brawn to get them to do what we ask.

    My other background is in training Service Dogs for people in wheel chairs. I may have been able to smack my dogs in training int he face or hit them, but that doesn’t mean their quadriplegic owner could do the same thing nor would I nor would I ever expect them to do so.

    Dogs and especially wolves often kill and maim and blind each other in the wild, and mothers often kill their young. That also doesn’t make it acceptable for us to do to them when we are angry or they don’t listen.

    If your dog is not listening to you, that is the problem, there is the break down in your communication and relationship.

    Hitting isn’t needed, perhaps a little one on one obedience training and spending more time together would help him adjust better than getting a fist to the muzzle.


    greg Reply:

    no, it’s how i would treat my dog and how i do treat my dog. hes a dog, hes not a human. thats the problem with weirdos like you. you project your own weaknesses and neuroses onto animals & this confuses them, and demeans them in my opinon. dogs arent toys, they are predators, pack animals whose genetics have been manipulated but they remain animals with animal dynamics.

    he responds fine when i smack him, which is rare. but when i do it, i dont regret it at all. his behavior changes to how he should behave (ie, obeying me) and everything is fine. if he needs a corrective “bite” in the form of a good sound smack every now and then, it doesnt diminish his trust in me, it only asserts for him who the pack leader is.

    you dont know anything about animals, obviously, and have no respect for them other than as toys for your amusement.

    Minette Reply:

    hmmm the name calling is interesting and shows what “type” of person I am dealing with so I know what I say is wasted on your ignorance, although other, more intelligent folks will learn from the things I say.

    We are a “hands off” system of dog training, do you really expect me to recommend hitting?

    If you were a dog trainer would you recommend that the 65 year old 120# woman back hand her 150# aggressive Rottweiler?

    That would be dangerous and irresponsible.

    I know plenty about animals, which is why I get PAID to work with them and train them and write about it and I also compete. This is not a hobby this has been my successful job for 20 years.

    And, the reason I have been successful working with exotic animals like Tigers and Cheetahs is because aggression is not part of my training regimen.

    My friend use to say it best “Aggression is the first resource of the incompetent”

    When you can train a tiger, a chicken, and a whale give me a call and we shall talk about how to train everything from dogs to people and understanding learning theory and psychology.

    Until then I will mourn for your dog and the poor new pup.

    Minette Reply:

    Oh yes, btw I do find them fun and amusing! All of them the tigers, cheetahs, raccoons and even the dogs!

    Dogs are to be loved and worked with and fulfilled through work and obedience and games!

    greg Reply:

    I don’t recommend anything to anyone other than dont be so self-righteous that you can claim to know everything because you know something.

    i took both dogs out for a walk today and you know what? my old dog did not once bother the pup because he knows not to. he responded to my voice command to leave the pup alone because i backed it up with a smack.

    and i left them both alone when i left the house. and you know what else? they did as they were supposed to which is not bother anything like the garbages etc. why? because they understand the rules. say what you want. human beings like you are sad lonely god-complex idiots who havent a clue as to what animals are really about. as such you couldnt possibly respect them.

    the old dog is actually well trained…he knows more than 100 commands, including hand signals. i achieved this with him using smacks to back up voice commands. he is as confident as ever—as i said he is an animal and strong-willed—but respects the boundaries. so you go ahead and coddle and demean and continue to treat the animals you come into contact with like they are toys in a cartoon. my method works fine and it respects the animals as they are meant to be respected and are genetically evolved to be respected.

    Minette Reply:

    Of course he didn’t he is terrified you are going to punch his lights out. Teaching him by kindness what you expect would have been more humane and effective.

    I am glad you don’t recommend anything to anyone, you certainly are no professional (as am I). And, I hope that someone sees you someday and turns you in like the trainer that was arrested in CO.

    Nothing is meant to be smacked for your enjoyment.

    I mourn for your pets and your children and anyone else you come in contact with because you think this is okay.

    I will continue to treat my dogs as toys, as I play with them and take them out for training constantly.

    They never have to worry that I am going to punch them in the face and are happy to show me a number of behaviors so that I can play with these toys and teach them more complex behaviors!

    I would be happy to out train you any day!

    Polly Reply:

    My 9 year old Weimaraner just got thoroughly chewed out for eating fresh cow manure. I thought he had long given up the nasty habit. At the moment I don’t know how to refresh his memory to not touch the stuff. We live on acreage with cattle and can’t avoid the “land mines”. Any suggestions? And yes I smacked him…I don’t need any guilt trips from anyone thank you.


    Minette Reply:

    Smacking him only teaches him that you are unreliable and untrustworthy especially coming to you and being smacked. He will likely avoid you next time since this is what physical punishment teaches animals.

    I teach my dogs a reliable leave it on leash and then make sure it carries over to things like this, if not it is back on leash until they show me they can control themselves.
    Teaching them your expectations is much more fair.

    For them cow manure smells fantastic and tasty, they don’t come hard wired knowing any different.

  6. Lona says:

    Hi Thankyou for your advice and articles about dog behaviour.
    I have one problem. My yorkie (male – nurtured) 16 months old.
    Still pee and poo inside. Sometimes hes good for 2/3 weeks and then just start all over again with his bad behaviour. I take him out 5 to 6 times daily. He always pee, but thats it. Thou he likes to run around outside and I often get the prove that he poo outside. But he still insist on doint it inside.
    I read all your emails but have not come accross an answer to my problem. He even pee on my bed twice. The other yorkie, just one year older never does this.
    Thanks for your interesting articles.


  7. Janni says:

    I have a 10 month old Golden Retriever male who certainly can put me to the test at times, but it´s very clear that he only respons positively when there´s no yelling involved (I would never hit him). Of course Ive lost my temper and yelled at him sometimes, but it gets me nowhere. I agree that all training should happen when you´re not in a bad mood, the dog pics up all the vibes.


  8. tracy snape says:

    how do i stop my shiztu dog from becoming aggressive when you go near him if he is eating a meat bone? he growls and snarls his teeth even if you attempt to talk to him


  9. Maureen says:

    I have a wheaten Terrier 11 months not neutered, that will poo in the house whenever we are out of sight. He goes outside dozens of times during the day. I’ve even trained him to ring a bell hanging on the door knob to let me know he wants to go outside. I reward him whenever he poo’s outside and always positive reinforce good behavior. If he poos in the house and I scold him (never, ever hit), he will wag his tail and begin to play like he did a good thing! I even will say no, poo poo outside! and bring him immediately outside. What am I doint wrong?


    Minette Reply:

    Lona & Maureen,

    Potty training, especially small dogs is about limiting the size of the environment! AND going outside with them to ensure that they are pooping outside. If you don’t go outside with them to watch them you won’t know if you are setting them up for success or failure. You must go outside with them…if they don’t poop…then limit their access to the house, keep them with you, or put them back in their crate and try again in 20 minutes or so.

    One your dog has pooped outside you can give them more inside access, but not until then! You should get use to their habits and schedule.

    Also I believe in neutering!!!! Neutering will help with all kinds of behavior problems including marking!


  10. Tina says:

    I have adopted a 4 year old Male and 3 year old Female Yorkshire Terriors, I have taught them clicker training with sitting and bed etc and when we are out the female is very yappy at other dogs but is very good off the leash and will return when called. But the male is very aggressive with other dogs but if I try and stop and slowly approach the other dogs he will stop being aggressive and then will sniff and be happy with other dogs, but find it hard for people to be willing to go up to him as he can bite if I didn’t hold him back. If left off the leash he will sometimes come back. While this is happening the female dog seems to wind him and at bark at him to react with the others dogs. I do feel quite angry and upset when they react like this and seem to keep dragging them away from the siuation, and also he does seem scared when we try and stroke him. Any suggestions on how I can stop him being so agressive and scared.


    Cheryl Reply:

    I have a female Yorkie that barks incessantly What is the best way to control this behavior


    Terasa Reply:

    If your dog is being bossy and barking
    to get you to do things, examine
    your relationship with him. Are you not leading
    enough, and does he think he needs to lead you?
    If so, take more active direction of his life and create
    respect through obedience training.
    Don’t jump up and pacify your dog’s
    barking by playing ball, opening the
    door, feeding him a snack, or otherwise reinforcing
    this bad behavior. Teach him to communicate
    politely for the things he would like. Pick up his
    leash, and run through a few commands in
    response to this barking. This message is reminding
    him that not only has he forgotten his manners,
    but he also needs to gain some composure. 🙂


  11. Katie says:

    You made a very important point by mentioning the useless and senseless violence in dog training. Training is not a question of who is bigger but who can utilise what is available. Klicker and other training aids are very good devices to help train any animal. For a dog the highest reward for doing something well is not food but touch. To stroke her or him is more rewarding to a dog as they are pack animals and touch is a most important means of recompense. Training should also be varied and not monotonous as dogs will loose interest fast. Training requires a lot of patience and most important always respect the ability of your dog to learn certain tasks. Like people dogs learn fast when they like and enjoy a task and not always what they have to learn. Training an animal is also a question of leadership qualities as one has to have some idea of training direction and control of the situation as well as patients and understanding, all of these are basic management skills. Unlike a cat, your dog will always look up to you and ask “what can I do for you?”


  12. Jenna says:

    I love reading these articles. Although I am still having trouble with my dog! I do admit I get mad at him lots because he still has not learned when he cant bark. He is very very protective of his territory. He barks constantly at the door, neighbors, people walking by on the street, when he hears a noise, & even sometimes when he doesnt recognize a family member. Its a bad bark like when a scared dog sees a stranger! Only after a couple minutes of trying to calm him down & he’s sniffed the person then he’s ok. But he barks outside lots & I’ve tried lots to bring him inside & leash him in his bed. He knows hes done wrong but then still does it all the time! I would love some advice thanks!


  13. karen says:

    I am at my wits end with my 11month old dog he has become very snappy when he lyes on his bed & when he eats his food he is like a different dog ,you can not go near him so we have all learnt to keep right away from him at these times any suggestions please !


    Minette Reply:

    Is he neutered? How often do you do actual dog obedience with him?

    Both neutering and working on obedience throughout his day will help him with this problem. He should get nothing for free anymore. No petting, no treats and no meals. He needs to learn to work for his affection and food.

    I would take away his bed for a while so that he has nothing to guard and I would put him on a leash in the house and work on “Down Stays” having him lay at your feet while you watch TV or settle in for the day and evening. Having him on a leash keeps you safe and it takes away some of his freedom and cockiness! He should earn the privilege of being off leash in the house!

    Eventually he can get his bed back, through good behavior…but if he begins to guard it again, you need to take it away again!

    Also, I would not feed him from a bowl for a while. Have him work for his meals. Divide up his meals into plastic sandwich bags and then put those in a fanny pack or a tool belt around your waist. Have him sit, down, stay and generally work on his obedience throughout the day. His reward will be eating his meals from your hand or having you toss kibble to him when he does something right if you are afraid of feeding him from your hand.

    He is becoming a monster and at 11 months this is a scary proposition that is probably only going to get worse if you don’t nip it in the bud now!

    Be a good parent and make him work for his privileges!


  14. Cherie Stewart says:

    I have 2 12 month old Aussies (spayed females) who are litter mates. Both have been to obedience, and my family and I try to be consistent with their training. The bigest problem I have? One of them growls when people get near her that she doesn’t know. She will romp and play with the other ranch dogs, but will guard her food, toy, human whatever, and is sooo focused in the situation, that I can’t always get her attention and call her off. She is great about trying to please, but this is very serious, and I don’t know what to do. Usually, she doesn’t growl at people, but cannot be depended upon to be consistent. ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated.I’m desperate.Please!!!!


  15. chris says:

    hi everyone, love the advise on training Chet, great job, I like it that I can come back and sharpen up my skills training and get a lot of questions answered without asking. wow, what a deal I bought into.

    Question / problem, here goes I left my dog 3 times with a friend that did not stick to my rules while setting her for a week at a time, I’ve noticed right after coming home she was moody depressed and not trusting after a couple days she snapped out of it and I knew she was treated bad, I confronted the sitter and she told me she aggressively trained her to heal on a leash, what she did was put fear into my clicker trained dog. So what I did was start exclusively train her on a leash with a treat the way Chet trained us… she now even without a leash will walk on heal command, slow down readjust her position and very inattentive. What was left behind from the sitter that is a negative on me is when the dog doesn’t really want to do a command she crouches down like someone beat her and really screamed at her. Makes me feel so sad but not all the time just when she doesn’t want to do it or go in, I was wondering if anyone knew how to stop this very sad behavior that was trained my dog when she screamed and pulled hard on leash, any glue how to reverse this behavior, let me hear it I’m all ears., email me ,,, so when for i.e., I say come in and if she didn’t really want to she would crouch down low to ground go real so and any movement Like I was going to hit her, my response is usually sad and with a nice voice I tell her she’s ok, I’m not mad and try to bring her to a trusting place, once she obeys not through anger or aggression but thru just obeying I then make a connection to a treat for relaxing and just doing what I ask. “”” if there is anything else to reinforce her good happy attitude let me know. I know at this point she could be training me with this action of scared frightened etc., HELP, up till now 2.5 yrs later training her with clicker this is most likely the biggest challenge I’ve had. I hope she will forget the angry sitter and be her happy self, by the way sitter is fired and now I have a really loving sitter that understands her training and she says ” this is the most obedient dog I’ve ever met or set” she loves my dog more than I do LLLLOOOOLLL thanks guys, send me advise at my email face2friend at Gmail dot Com… Thanks


  16. Sharon says:

    And they say elephants have a long memory! Unfortunately your dog had her world (and her confidence) shaken by her experience, and now knows that it is possible for humans to “explode” on her if she makes a mistake or doesn’t understand something. So if she’s at all unsure or becomes distracted for a moment, she knows that severe repurcussions are possible. Just as some people who have dealt with traumatic experiences, your dog will benefit from consistency in training (sounds like you do that) and any activity that builds her confidence in herself and you, and that develops your bond with her. Try some new challenges, being very patient and gentle with her and making it as much FUN as possible, with LOTS of praise when she’s correct and VERY patient when she’s not. I think you’ll find in time her confidence will grow and she’ll recover most of the trust she once had. Just like people, some dogs are more “wounded” by severe criticism than others. She has a good owner though, and I think she’ll show more and more recovery.


  17. Autumn says:

    I definitely agree with this article! Beating the dog for disobeying your command or not doing it right will lead to fear. And, you never know if it would come to a time the dog will bite you to defend him/herself. Either way, I wouldn’t risk trying. Wonderful article!


  18. Mary says:

    Loved this article. Picked up your blog from peaceful dog blog. Will be looking forward to reading more. I have 5 black labramutts and foster dogs in and out all the time.


  19. Soraya says:

    Hi , I really need your help with my lab retriever . He is castrated , 2 yo male , which I rescued from a pound. I trained him fully , he is a perfect dog . But I have one , and only one problem with him . Whenever we go to a dog park or off leash beaches , he mounts every dog and does so insistently . Dig onwers get annoyed , he has been already hit by another owner, it’s a constant stress . I only call him back and say no … Clearly is not working . Any suggestions ?


  20. Nikki Holloway says:

    We just got a puppy last week. he is a 12 week old Lab/Shepherd and we love him. We have started the clicker training and he seems to do sit and got to your crate fairly well, not consistently yet. Our problem is with his nipping/biting at the kids. they know that if that happens when they are sitting on the floor to play they are to say Ouch loudly and stand up and stop play. But what about when they are just walking by. Titus will jump up at them and bite their pants and shoes and hands. My 8 year old got “attacked” by Titus today. Titus kept biting at his bare legs and hurting him, my son kept saying OUCH loudly, and was walking away to get away from him. He was in tears by the time i was able to come and get the puppy off of him. What can we do to stop this behavior? we want to have a great relationship with him, but when he puts this fear into the kids, it is too much.
    Thanks for any help you can offer. I appreciate it.


    Minette Reply:

    Stop having him say or yell “ouch” sometimes this makes pups more reactive/excited and they want to bite more. Put him on a leash and control his actions and reactions. If he is on a leash your son can get away and you will not allow the behavior.

    At 12 weeks you can teach him to sit and reward him instead of jumping. You need to spend more time doing obedience so you can ask for it on a more consistent basis.

    Also he needs more exercise! A tired puppy wont show these behaviors so wear him out and help him to sleep. Exercise his body and his mind and control him with a leash until he earns the privilege of being off leash!

    Search through my other articles for puppy information and I think you will find other good articles!


  21. Linda Gageant says:

    My 3 year old Boston Terrier, who is very lovable, constanlty barks at my husband if I’m in the house. My husband works from home and he is with him all day and is fine. The minute I came in the door, he starts barking at him. If I leave to go out the store, he stops. My husband is the only one he barks at and only if I’m home. If I remove him from the room that my husband is in, he’ll stop, but as soon as he goes back into the room he startsa again. If my husband walks him or plays with him in the door park, he’s fine. I seem to be the major factor here, but I don’t know what to do.


  22. shashank says:

    whenever my dog does a mistake…..whether should i beat him or understand him politely.plz rply….and i also want to decrease the aggresivness of my dog….what should i do??


    Minette Reply:

    Never, never, never beat! Never use physical force, use your mind to help and understand that your dog needs to be taught what you want or what you expect!

    Most often we have high expectations but we don’t kindly and patiently teach our dogs what we want, and if they are making mistakes perhaps even if we feel like we have taught them they might not understand!


  23. Harry Preet says:

    I have a 5 month old GSD and this is my first dog .I am not training him myself so i have hired a trainer . I just want to know that after his training is complete ,will he learn to obey me or not ..??….What ways i can use to make me obey me….?..and what all precautions should i take …?


    Minette Reply:

    As I mentioned on FB I would do the training yourself and not farm him out to another trainer!


  24. Joel says:

    Hi I have a puggle, he’s 10 weeks old. He’s generally a good dog but his teething and toilet usage is becoming a problem. He’s good when me and my partner are home (he uses his doggy door) but as soon as we leave for work he poops and urinates on the tiles in the house. Locking him outside wouldn’t work as he digs up the grass and I don’t own the house it’s a rental. What would you suggest I do. Ps I caught him peeing on the carpet so I picked him up and locked him outside. Is that a bad idea?


    Minette Reply:

    You are expecting an infant to be an adult!!! He needs potty training not the expectation that he is going to train himself perfectly.

    Give up on the doggy door for now, I believe this is confusing him. Instead take him outside and wait until he does what he needs to do every time he needs to! You will then get use to his schedule.

    Crate him when you can’t watch him so he doesn’t sneak out and around to another room to potty.

    Get on a schedule he probably needs to go out every 2-3 hours.

    Read this


  25. janet amighi says:

    Regarding smacking dogs, what I generally see is people with their dogs or their children, give a command and the dog/child does not respond. They say it again. Again no response. Then they hit or yell. I think the message learned is, you can refuse several times and then watch out. I have found that if I reinforce a behavior enough, it becomes a conditioned reflex, and the dog just does it. However, if I stop reinforcing for a while, as I have done with my older dog, she does get sloppy.

    Another reason I try to use only positive reinforcement is that I like that my dogs love training with me. Sometimes they will come up to me and put a paw in my lap and that means, come on let’s train (and get treats). And I love that.

    But I admit that there are times that I have lost my patience and I have hauled off and smacked my dog a couple of times- for dive bombing my old female. He is a screwball adolescent but I’ve had a hard time tolerating this. But when I did hit him/shake him, he turned around and lounged at a passing dog. Wow. Redirected aggression. Don’t think I’ll try that again.

    Have to admit nothing so far has worked except a short leash.


  26. Mattie says:

    I’m not sure if anyone can help me with this situation or not, but I thought I would try. My boyfriend and I moved in together this year. He has (and now I do too) 2 dogs. He really loves one of them, but treats the other dog like she is poison. He hits her….a lot. She is so scared of him and it just breaks my heart. I am scared of him too, so I don’t ever say anything. But as soon as he is out of sight, I just hold my arms around her and cry. I don’t want to see this happen to her, but I just really don’t know what to do. Is there any way that I could show/tell my bf what he is doing to her without making him turn his frustration on me?


    Minette Reply:

    Time to leave him or get couples therapy. If you are afraid of him, the dog is the least of your worries. Abusers don’t typically change.


  27. Bridgette says:

    A little over a month ago my husband and I rescued a female mixed breed (possible Jack Russell mix) from our local APL; she is about 1.5 yrs old. Within the first week signs of abuse hit us right in the face. I could really use some help here as this is my first rescue of an ‘older’ dog.

    Signs of prior abuse:
    – She incessantly tries to lick us with apology for no reason at all and she does it more to my husband than me so I am thinking a male was the culprit of abuse.
    – In the middle of peeing in the house, I grabbed her to take her outside and she tried to bite me in the face. My husband got a hold of her after I let her go and she bit him. I presume that previously she was hit when eliminating in the house and defense mode kicked in.
    – We go on regular potty walks since we don’t have a fenced yard. When she CLEARLY has to defecate she rarely will complete the deed. She rarely defecates in the house when we are there but when we are gone she does, regardless if she completes the deed prior to us leaving the house. She does limit the defecation to one room, which happens to the be same room the puppy we had went potty in. Is it possible that there is something in this room that happened prior to us purchasing our house? We have cleaned the carpet multiple times over the years.
    – When at my father-in-law’s house she will defecate outside and immediately defecate in the house afterward.
    – If you don’t use the ‘right’ tone with her when asking her to sit, etc. she completely shuts down.

    – She has dog aggression when on the leash, to the point that she lunges and acts like a complete psycho. She has even attacked my husband when he tries to correct her action.
    – She whines in the car non-stop which is the straw that breaks the camels back after dealing with the above issues.



    Minette Reply:

    with aggression you need the help of a good veterinary behaviorist


  28. Renee says:

    I am at the end of my rope with my pomeranian! He is almost 4 and he does NOT behave on the leash for anything. I have tried treats, a quick leash tug, redirecting, making him sit, everything! He just pulls and pulls and when anyone walks by he flips out and barks and sometimes gets out of his harness and runs off.

    Inside the home he is totally different. I understand the idea of training/consistency but apparently I am missing something because I have been doing it almost every day for about 30 minutes and nothing has changed at ALL. He completely ignores treats on the leash and does not even listen for his name. I can’t handle it anymore, he simply does not listen.


    Minette Reply:

    Stop feeding him meals for no reason, make him work for them… when he is hungry enough he will work for food. Everything has to eat read this


  29. Katja anderson says:

    Looking for advice on my 1 year old pom/yorki/maltese mix. We obviously did NOT train him well! We got him fixed recently and the marking has diminished. He still pees on a puppy pad (and outside) and pretty much only poos in one room. I’ve desperatly tried to eliminate the smell of past accidents there to discourage him. We have a bell on the door that he loves to ring! He loves going outside with my older pitbull (who is perfect, loves him and is so well trained, I can have full on conversations with her I swear!) haha.

    I admit, I have yelled at him in the past, mostly for marking. I’ve tried the leash thing and kennel. We let him out around his schedule. I know his potty timing and definitely let him out around those times, walk around with him, praise him for his good deeds. Its very difficult because my husband and I both work and we keep in the kitchen when we are gone. When we come back, he goes outside, pees, despite our efforts outside he comes back in and sneak poos inside. I’m not disciplining him harshly, in fact at this point I just clean it and move on and just try to keep on waiting for him to go while we are outside. He does not understand that his poo belongs out there!

    Otherwise, he’s a happy dog, never bites, barks at everything but that doesn’t bother me, he plays well with my other dog and cat. He sleeps under the covers with us and is my daughters playmate for tea parties and such. He’s great! He just won’t put his crap where Its suppose to go!

    Any advice would be helpful!!
    Thank you!


    Minette Reply:

    You need to control him and his behaviors. He should be crated when you are gone, he is old enough to be crated and not left in a room where he can poop or urinate… if he was a great dane you would probably crate him 😉

    Now when you are home he should be on a leash. You must break the habit, he continues to do it because he is able to and he doesn’t think it is a problem. In order to change this behavior you must make big changes in your lifestyle and be inconvenienced a little or this habit will solidify even more and be even more difficult if not impossible to break.


  30. Melissa says:

    My boyfriend and I live together and we decided to get a 2 month old German Sheppard puppy. It has now been a month of him living with us and he has decided that he only likes me. When my boyfriend gets near him he pees, if he tries to get him to do something or talk to him he won’t listen, and he has even bit him a couple of times when I have not been home. Is there anything that can be done to alter the puppies behavior to listen to my boyfriend and have a more positive experience?


    Minette Reply:

    Your bf needs to take a more active role while you back off and ignore him while you are home.

    I suggest he take an obedience class with him.

    We got a puppy and after I had done a lot of training with him my husband decided he wanted to make him HIS obedience dog.

    So I had to ignore him while my husband snuggled and trained with him. I had to do that for several months; until they had developed a bond.

    We can all snuggle now, but he knows he is my husband’s dog; you have to be willing to back off so they can develop a relationship.


  31. Alexis S says:

    I know this is old, and I want to say I am by no means a professional, but what has worked well for me is offering extra nice treats (better than what they have) and offering trades. If he won’t let you near him, then at first just toss tiny bits of hot dogs to him. This should help associate your hand means good things are going to happen.
    He fears you will take it away, so if every time your hand is near him he gets something good, this should calm him eventually.
    However I will add that maybe not given these to him might not be a bad idea. It’s just something that’s way to good to him. Working on doing trades with less valuable things to teach him drop it until he is ready to give anything to you.
    He is not safe with this treat at this time I’m my humble opinion.


  32. Dottie says:

    Hello. I have started dog training with my 12 week old Great Dane puppy. I am taking classes through Petsmart. I have read your clicker training article and we are using the clicker for training. However they have us going straight into the commands using the clicker and treat. Not just waiting and watching for desirable behavior. Is this bad??? Also how often should I be doing training sessions and for how long? My puppy does not have any interest to listen to me when we are training and always wants to chew and twist on the leash when we are in the classroom each week and even at home when training. My hubby and I joke that our puppy is the naughty puppy in the class but honestly I’m very disappointed! Please help!!!!


    Minette Reply:

    It is hard to run a puppy through classes and hard on an instructor to do it right for everyone involved.

    I think it is better to “catch” good behavior. But I also can’t run a class that way… who knows how far people would get.

    I personally think training should happen at home and THEN you should take a class to proof your training.

    But I would stick with it; keep training at home 3-5 times per day and try and work at class with distractions. it is nearly impossible for puppies to LEARN in a class if they don’t know the material. It is too distracting!


  33. Lee says:

    Hey there.

    We got a basenji puppy who is nearly 3 months old. This is our very first dog (we only had a cat before that, who lived for 22 years) and my mum and I have prepared to train him, but we were not ready for how difficult it was going to be. I have done a lot of research over the last few days trying to get him to stop biting: I tried the “ow” and flinch technique, and he just looked up, paused for a second, then (at first somewhat tentatively) started biting again. I show him my index finger and tap his nose, doesn’t do much either. Saying “No” in a firm voice has no effect whatsoever. We live in a remote place so there are no training sessions for puppies as far as we are aware of. My parents think it is correct to push his face into a puddle whenever he pees in the wrong place. I do not do this personally, and I don’t punish him. The puppy (Kipling) doesn’t seem to understand he can poop on his training pad, too. Thankfully we have established a pattern of him peeing on the pad each time he wakes up from sleep/a nap, but that being said, anything that happens after that is kind of up to him. We’re not using a play pen for him, so he has a lot of space. Thus lots of places to do his business. Plus, we can’t really guarantee he won’t pee again after his nap. One evening, he peed about 6 times, with intervals of 10-15 minutes.

    It’s been really hard. I’m at home all day long, basically (I’m 18, but am not attending uni for a variety of reasons), and my mum doesn’t work. My maternal grandpa is over, but he sits watching TV all day long, doesn’t even move when the dog pees someplace he shouldn’t. My sister is home from Canada, and she sleeps a lot in the day because of the jetlag. Parents are busy these days. I feel like I’m the only one who’s trying hard to look after him and keep him busy. It’s been incredibly stressful. I got into a habit of not having breakfast and/or lunch because I tend to be so busy looking after him. Each time Kip gets out of my sight, I run after him, because I’m scared he’ll do something he shouldn’t (I’m mostly scared my parents will see and punish him.) Around 6pm, though, usually after a nap and some food, he goes absolutely insane — climbs on the couch repeatedly each time I put him back on the floor (he peed there a few times, so we’re trying to control that), bites ankles, hands, etc. It kind of gets scary because, sometimes, he kind of backs off, then jumps to aim at my face. Then he also violently shakes his head from side to side with my hand still in his mouth, which hurts. I have a fairly high pain tolerance, but I know it’s a habit he needs to break soon.

    My biggest problem (I’m a bit ashamed in admitting this) is that I can lose my temper pretty quickly. Sometimes I get exasperated to the point of tears in those 6pm moments. Sometimes I shove him off the couch when he starts biting hard, and unconsciously, I feel like I just do it out of spite and anger. I clench my teeth and it’s so hard to control myself. Then when he calms down and falls asleep on my lap, I kind of go back to what I did and wind up feeling terrible. Sometimes I cry, and sometimes I just swaddle him in a blanket and apologise a lot. I don’t want to be that kind of person. I won’t say that I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. In a way, I very well knew that I was angry, and I know I can’t justify my actions, even though I’m really regretting them. This morning, he was laying with me on the couch and was biting my wrist. I tried flinching and yelping so that he knew he hurt me, I tried saying “No”, shaking him off eventually, and the dumbest, most terrible thing I’ve done so far, probably – I nipped his ear, and he yelped, pretty loud. I think I did it to show that he hurt me, to show that that’s how it felt. I just knew I needed a time-out after that, and thankfully my sister had woken up by then (at noon), so I just told her to spend some time with him, because I was angry at myself and needed some time to cool off, for my sake and for his. It’s so dumb. I’ve reached a new low, and I really, really hope I can control myself and never do anything that can physically hurt him. Problem is, that’s what I’ve been telling myself that each night going to bed, but then I wake up and go to him, and as soon as he starts acting up, I feel like I’m losing it. I feel like a monster, and I feel like I’m becoming the person I promised myself I would never become. I in no way have any excuses for what I’ve done, because I know that it was wrong punishing him by shoving him off the couch, swatting him on the nose sometimes, or that last incident this morning. I’m going through a rough patch mentally, insomnia and paranoia, sleep paralysis, and the stress I have over the dog either causes some of it, or just adds on to it. But that’s still no excuse for what I have done, and I just really need some help and tips as to what I can do.

    I read additionally that basenjis are particularly hard to train – I can’t vouch for that, since I’ve never had a dog before and I can’t compare. I read that they’re the kind of dogs that will maybe hear your command, but may choose to just not do it. And mine’s incredibly stubborn – he doesn’t respond to his name, to “No”, and I can’t tell if he really is just hard to train (though all puppies seem to be, I guess), or we just have high expectations. And plus, like I said, as far as I am aware of, that stubborn behaviour may be a common trait in most puppies, not just in that specific breed.

    Sorry this got so long, I just needed to vent a bit. But nothing seems to work when it comes to our puppy, and he’s starting to bite really hard nowadays, and it’s a real struggle trying to control my anger. I really try hard, but at the same time, I don’t know what to do to get him to stop biting. I feel like I have real maternal instincts over him, as dumb as that sounds, that clash entirely with my anger when he starts hurting me or doing something wrong – and that kind of terrifies me, because it gets to the point that I’m starting to wonder if that’s what I’m going to be like if I ever have kids. I really, really hope that’s not the case.

    Anyhow: we don’t use a clicker to train him, and reward him with praises, dog treats and love – trying to be mindful of the timing, as you wrote. Still, I would like to ask for some advice, both in regards to my dog and his training, because nothing seems to work at this point, and to me, in order to keep myself in check.

    I feel like I sort of need to apologise to people who may read this and disapprove. I’m extremely ashamed of my actions, and I know that I need to fix that ASAP.


  34. Lesley says:

    I think Greg needs a visit from the RSPCA to make him realise that hitting an animal is CRUELTY and he can be banned from keeping ANY animals! I do wonder why these so called macho men have to be so cruel to a defenceless pet! Maybe trying to appear to be more of a man! Well I can assure you Greg it does the opposite!


  35. mercy says:

    Dogs much like human children can use a little smack here and there. Js.


    Minette Reply:

    Actually that has been proven incorrect and inhibits learning


  36. edward says:

    Hello , Minette , I’m agree with your all points , i have a 3 months gsd female , mostly she listen whenver me and my family calls her , but sometimes she ignores , today she din’t listen me when i called her and tried to grab her , she was running around , i got frustated , and i hit her hardly 4-5 times , now after seeing your all points , and whatever you said , i do realize my mistake , , she’s my first ever dog which i got , i took her home when she was 28 days old , i really loves her a lot , and don’t know about dogs much how to treat and train them , but after seeing your all posts and points and will not try to hit her , not even in frustation , plese tell if yiu heve any suggestions and tips for me , how to train her ?? And how to take care of her ??? so she get all the things she needs
    Thank you ..Minette



    Minette Reply:

    keep reading my blog and look into my companion dog program. You can email dana at to find out when the next session will begin. I think you will like the approach in the videos used in that course


  37. edward says:

    Ok , thank you Minette


  38. noevenadoglover says:

    All these tossers that hit dogs and children, you are horrid, idiotic human beings, please jump off the nearest bridge and rid the planet of your sickness!


  39. Jillian Hult says:

    I like that you’re against beating an animal but my dog is very alpha and gets annoyed easily. I went to pet him while he was asleep in my bed and he started to growl at me and when i tried to sternly correct him or yell at him he doesn’t back down, he gets more aggressive. I am debating using the cage again to have him sleep in there so he doesn’t feel entitled that my bed is as much his as it is mine. Do you have any other suggestions?


    Minette Reply:

    exactly, aggression incites aggression!

    Instead take the privilege of being on the bed away to alleviate the problem. I certainly wouldn’t have my 70# dogs threatening me in my own bed!


  40. Star says:

    I really love my dog he is the best but whenever he does something wrong my dad gets mad at him and hits him. I tell my dad that that’s not the way to discipline him but my dad just tells me “if you keep doing that I will let that dog go” I don’t know what to do


  41. Suzie says:

    I am a very peaceful person. I don’t believe in spanking my children and my number one rule in the house is no hitting…and so my kids never hit each other ever. We got a beautiful lab puppy and he has been a biter since 10 weeks old. Now he is almost 5 months and the play biting has been a bit much. He even started jumping up recently. Sometimes he breaks the skin when he bites and I can never leave him alone with my 7-year-old incase they both get too wild and she gets bitten. He usually plays with her with a toy in his mouth so that he doesn’t bite…as he knows he shouldn’t. But yesterday he was oddly aggressive all day…more than he had ever been before. Before I went to bed I sat on the floor in the kitchen and told him to come here for a hug. He sat in my lap then turned around and bit my face and broke the skin on my chin. I shoved him away from me, hard, then he looked like he was going to come back and “play” some more. The anger overtook me and I slapped him on his nose…HARD. He cowered back and looked at me with this shocked look in his eye, then slinked out the back door. I sobbed there on the kitchen floor, both with anger and shock at being bitten on my face and because I had just hit him with force so that it hurt. Now it is the next morning and he has not play bitten or mouthed anyone today…not my little girl or myself. He still said his happy good morning with lots of tail wags but no biting at all. I am glad that he has stopped his biting but I feel very strange about it. I want him to trust and love me and not be afraid of me. But it will be so much better in our house if he finally understands that biting just is not acceptable. I hope I didn’t screw things up by doing that. I don’t know anything about training but I have a book that is coming in the mail and some clickers. I agree that dogs or people or any living and feeling thing should not be hit or hurt. But in this case I felt a bit like I was protecting myself and my family. I hope it was the right thing to do…not sure and still very sad about it. He usually lays at my feet while I am typing on the computer but this morning he has spent most of his time outside. I hope I win his trust back, but that he keeps not biting.


    Minette Reply:

    Not a great way to parent and not a great way to train a dog; period.

    Teaching is the way


  42. Jennifer Flippen says:

    You need help to control him. Especially given there is a 7 year old wandering around. I think you probably hit him from shock and in your own defense. It is dangerous to have a large dog in the house, if it is not properly trained not to ‘play’ bite. He needs to know you are in control, and you should seriously do some training with him, to let him know that. I have owned 2 labs, they are much happier when you are in control. Forgive yourself, and take the steps to keep all of you safe and happy.

    God bless


  43. i have really been informed on an awesome way to train and socialize my large dog he is 3 yrs old and i just got him from an owner who did nothing and put him in a room he was soo skinny i have fattened him up and now can go to him on his chain and kiss him on his head and he sits for me at that time i can now work on teaching him to sit and stay with a hope of achievement thanks to your info he is beautiful and seems willing to try to learn thank you


  44. shreya sharma says:

    i have a husky…he is hyper active but the only problem with him is which is actually dangerous i feel, whenever he does something wrong like yesterday he destroyed a mattress totally and when i slapped him for that he kind of groaned at me and tried to bite me… which is actually scary… i want you to tell me whether i am at fault for hitting him when he is wrong or is there something to be serious about regarding his behavior…i am really scared and need to know what should i do


    Minette Reply:

    Dogs shouldn’t be hit or slapped, you need to find a veterinary behaviorist that can help you with the aggression.


  45. Amal says:

    You made me feel confident that I can help my dog to change his bad habits
    Thank you for a very good coaching


  46. Jonathan says:

    I have a 16 month old Bouvier Des Flandres. He is beautiful and we are great friends, almost always together. He is very obedient, although a little stubborn. In closed forest I can easily keep him at heel without a leash. In open areas or parks where there are distractions this is harder but possible. However, he does like to chase rabbits and I cannot reliably stop him from doing this. In New Zealand, dogs are not popular as they can harm our flightless native birds. I am a conservationist and trap possums which threaten our birds. When he has chased birds and failed to respond to my commands to ‘leave’ I have smacked him, hard but not enough to hurt him, just ‘dominate’ him. This is the only bad behavior I have smacked him for, everything else has been really easy to teach him and other than the chasing he is great. However, as I can only smack him when he gets back from chasing I fear that it is not teaching him not to chase, only that I sometimes smack him when he returns. He is a Bouvier and even as a tiny puppy was prone to avoidance. I put my faith in him being intelligent enough to understand that the smack was for chasing and ignoring me. However, now when he is in trouble or perceives that he may be, I do not like his submissive body language and avoidance. This behavior is not severe, but I believe we are capable of having more efficient communication. Our relationship otherwise is wonderful, he is always by my side and is a happy, confident and content dog. Also, he has spent very little time on lead and since being a puppy has always walked in the forest without a lead, very successfully. For this reason was I so hard on him for chasing. I suppose now I will try putting him on the lead after chasing, but I’m concerned he will not perceive this as punishment. How should this method be employed? Also, how can I build his confidence so that when he misunderstands or suspects he is in trouble , fear of being reprimanded does not distract him and prevent him from focusing and learning? I want to be able to challenge him but have him remain focused and confident. Am I perhaps pushing too hard too soon? Your advice would be so much appreciated!


  47. Rachel d Manion says:

    I have a four month German shepherd that plays too rough with my son on occasion. Not all the time but she forgets herself and will bite him. Then he tried to stop her from digging using his voice and pulling her away with her collar and she rounded on him and bit his arm. She is roughest with him, how do I stop this behavior. I am very worried that she will get worse even though she doesn’t show any other signs of aggression.


    Minette Reply:

    With aggression and children I recommend a boarded veterinary behaviorist because they can do so much damage so very quickly and a vet can use medication and behavior modification.

    This should be taken very seriously and dealt with immediately


  48. Lydia says:

    Hi, on September 7th my boyfriend and I rescued a 10 week old male german shepherd. The puppy was very neglected and we’ve been getting him back to health, which we have been very successful. He’s made great progress. At first the dog and my boyfriend were getting along fine, loving eachother, playing, etc. Well this past week I noticed my boyfriend had popped him for bad behavior, in which I told him wasn’t gonna help anything just make matters worse (I’m 100% against physical punishment, I believe in a strong tone and body language that lets the dog know when I’m playing and when I’m being serious). He regrets doing this to try and discipline the puppy, and feels bad for breaking the dogs trust and confidence. Long story short, the puppy shys away from him now and doesn’t want much to do with him and is favoring me 100%. Are there any tips you can give me that I can relay to my boyfriend on how to regain the trust and confidence? We had a long talk and he agreed that he wouldn’t discipline him that way anymore after seeing the outcome. He’s open to doing whatever, just wants things to be back to “normal”. BTW, the puppy doesn’t shake, urinate, or show any signs of aggression when my boyfriend tries to interact with him, instead the puppy moves closer to me or just ignores my boyfriend completely.


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