Bad behavior - gone right!!!!!!

As a dog trainer I am accustom to bad behavior, whether or not I consider it to be a bad behavior these actions are always unwanted. Unwanted is a more appropriate term I believe as it may be a perfectly normal dog behavior but unwanted by humans. As our lives become busier many of our dogs display unwanted behaviors due to lack of outings, exercise or mental stimuation. Many unwanted behaviors can be quickly turned around with some of each.

The phrase "work with what you got," can also be stated about our dogs. Many breeds have become popularized because of image or a great looking exterior but many of these breeds come with big time unwanted behaviors for the average dog guardian. My girl Tilley is a great example, she's got drive, she's got off the charts chase drive. Standard poodles are amazing retrievers (most of them) and Tilley is an amazing retriever but that retrieving ability turned bad once it became an obsession.

Tilley's obsession occured when she realized that shadows were always there to chase. If she was outside it was almost certain that there would be a shadow created by something. It became a very dangerous recreation that I had to take a hold of. I got Tilley hooked onto balls and frisbees and did not allow her to chase shadows when out of our backyard. That obsessive behavior made her an amazing frisbee dog and she appeared on Pet Star twice and has won numerous photo contests because of it. The air Tilley got was truly spectacular, now at 10 1/2 she is grounded.

Do you have a dog that just loves to pull you down the street? The kind that dig their feet in, head down and just seem to love it? How about getting your dog into weight pulling? Is your little terrier a digger? Digging is a very natural behavior especially for terriers so check out Go to ground which terriers excel in. Got a swimming maniac labrador or golden retriever? Try dock diving, you might just have the next big super star.

The behavior that may be driving you insane could be a glimpse of your dogs future super star status. Don't just shake your head in disgust as you look at your torn up backyard, imagine the trophies on your mantle won by your little digger.

The skies the limit.


  1. Sherri, I have mentioned before that my Standard, Trevor is simply ball-obsessed. he would play fatch and deliver for hours if allowed. But he is also shadow obsessed. Mainly for refracted light patterns. He is intently fascinated with the light that is given off when the sun glints on something metal, or with flashlights. I have to keep working hard not to allow him to become truly obsessive about it!

  2. Work with what you got huh?

    I have a puller. No doubt about that. I need to find a way to stop, or control the pulling.

    I tried every method I read about but never get any to stick with him. He ALWAYS pulls FULL FORCE. I have tried pinch collars, choke collars and a body harness. I have tried stopping, getting him to stop. I tried changing direction suddenly getting him to try not to lose me. None of which have had any success. He will pull so hard he will choke himself, regardless of the type of collar.

    On a leash, he will pull your arm off. Off a leash he will never go more than 15 feet away from me. I would prefer just to walk him off leash, save us both frustration, but prefer the leash as not everyone wants to see a dog off leash.

    Since he has a harness, I have tried hooking him up to my son's wagon. But, my son is not heavy enough to give it enough weight. He could easily pull me in the wagon too.

    Hmmm ... work with what I got?

    I'm going for a ride tonight :D

    Wish me luck!

    Doubt it will make him good on a leash during walks, but after a few minutes of pulling, he might be worn out enough to walk.


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