Eastsider advertiser Sandy Driscoll of Academy of Dog Obedience gives her expert advice on becoming dog’s best friend.
Q: I just got a puppy, how can I get him to stop gnawing on people?
A:Redirect his attention … give him a chew toy to gnaw on. If he’s chewing/biting/nipping on your hands, put them behind your back after you offer him something else to chew. If he is persistent, you can use a spray or give a physical correction designed to discourage biting on hands, feet, ankles, etc.
Q: I have a rescue dog. She is great with everyone but when we leave, she destroys the yard, the kid’s toys, and my shoes among other things. What can I do?
A: Ahhhh … this is the perfect situation for a crate! Properly used, a crate can be your dog’s best friend, and a fabulous training tool for you! It’s important to remember that a crate is NOT a punishment. Properly introduced, puppies LOVE their crates! I’ve suggested them to thousands of clients (with proper introductions, of course!) and EVERYONE loves them. It keeps your puppy safe, your possessions intact, and teaches bladder control, which is necessary for housebreaking your puppy. It is not safe to leave a new dog or puppy alone in your home or yard. Too much can happen. Remember … Puppies don’t just chew on things that taste good … they will chew on anything that will fit in their mouths. Would you leave a 2-year old child alone? No! Nor should you leave a puppy to its own devices.
Q: My dog is aggressive while she is on leash. It is scary for other people when she jumps at their dog. What can I do so I am a welcomed neighbor in the park?
A: First, do NOT let your dog jump on people or other dogs. Period. Good manners are essential if you want people to welcome your dog. Some basic leash training is in order, and consistent correction and training works wonders. Properly applied, within a few days, your dog simply will not be jumping. Your friends and neighbors will appreciate your well mannered dog!
Q: Our dog barks incessantly and the neighbors are losing their patience. What do we do?
A: Most barkers are dogs that are left outdoors alone.Dogs get bored and lonely when they are left outside. If at all possible, keep your dog indoors. Unless he/she is an adult and can be trusted inside the home, use a crate. Depending on the reason for the barking, other steps may be needed, such as personal correction or an effective bark collar.
Q: All of our pets have passed and my husband and I want to rescue a dog. We do plan to have kids, so I want to take that into consideration when choosing. What are some basic things for us to keep in mind?
A: There are many good rescues out there. If you’re looking for a specific breed, go to that breed rescue. Make sure you look for a dog that has a proven and positive track record with children of all ages.And, just as important, train your children to treat the puppy/dog with respect and not tease. NEVER leave a small child alone with a dog. Also, wait until the kids are old enough to be a part of the dog’s life and help care for him/her before you get a dog.