Question: I am fixing to adopt a 4 yr. old Great Dane, and I own 2 Schnauzers a 1 yr.old and 7 yr.old. What is the best way to bring her into my house, without a fight? Should I do in home training? I spoke with Sandy, FHCR. She told me about you!
What I recommend is to bring your new dog in and have a crate to put the dog in. Place the crate into the middle of the common area like say the living room. Allow the other dogs in one at a time. You don’t want both dogs to sniff at the same time since dogs seem to bully more in groups. Give your first Schnauzer 30 minutes to an hour to smell the Great Dane from outside of the crate, then trade out Schnauzers and let the second one have their own time as well. Then I would switch the dogs out, put one of your Schnauzers in the crate (keep the other one away still) and this time let the Great Dane check out the place. After a bit , switch out your Schnauzers and repeat!
The last step is to let the Great Dane and one of your Schnauzers together one on one without the crate and then switch out the Schnauzers. If these all go well then you can cut them loose all together. It sounds like a lot of work, but when you have multiple dogs this is the easiest transition we have found for them. As for In-home training, that is a quick way to establish structure in your home! Thank you for your questions!
Jason Purgason, CPDT-KA
Highland Canine Training, LLC
Question: Is it possible to house-train a dog who is 9 years old and spent his life in a large fenced in back yard?
Yes, it is possible.
The first step is to purchase and crate train rigorously. Dogs typically don’t want to “poop” or pee where they eat and sleep. You also want to provide all the treats, toys and bones in the crate so the dog will learn to enjoy his new area. This may take time, when I dog has never been crated before you may experience some barking, whining, or scratching…don’t give in, it will get better!
Take the dog outside as soon as you remove it from the crate (Use the same door each time). Once outside take the dog to the area you want it to relieve itself and walk it around, (this will take time). As soon as the dog relieves itself, praise, praise praise, praise.
Keep the dog outside and play or have free time in the house (watch closely so the dog doesn’t have an accident). Don’t immediately but the dog in the crate, make sure you give free time!
With consistency your dog will understand house training in no time!
Jason Purgason, CPDT-KA
We adopted a flat coated retriever 4 years ago from a shelter where she had numerous four-legged pals. She has become increasingly aggressive with all dogs and has injured three, despite our best efforts to avoid this. She is loving, affectionate and playful with people. We need to “re-home” her for another issue (son’s allergies) and won’t have much luck with this aggression issue. Can you help?
Aggression can often be a frustrating behavior to work with. In order to effectively rehabilitate problem behaviors, such as aggression, you must first properly diagnosed the problem. It is vitally important to understand the root cause of the problem in order to begin to fix the issue. The behaviors that you are describing could be the result of possessive aggression, fear aggression or dominance aggression. In order to treat any of these behaviors you will likely need the help of an experienced dog trainer or behavior specialist in order to first properly diagnose the problem. Then a course of treatment can be developed to help curb the aggression with your dog. If you are located in any of our service areas www.highlandcanine.com/contact.htm feel free to contact the trainer in your area for a free evaluation so that your dogs problem can be diagnosed and addressed.
Jason Purgason, CPDT-KA
Question: We adopted a Yorkie from FHCR he is a sweet dog but he is very afraid and nervous and stays at my feet constantly I am afraid I am going to step on him and hurt him. He will not go into the yard without me. I am hoping this will change with time. How can I in the meantime help him be more secure and get him away from my feet? I have another small dog in the house, they seem to be getting along well until she barks then he gets really afraid and nervous.
Answer: I would begin by crating your Yorkie at night to ensure that he is safe while you sleep. To address his fears, I would begin to have new people feed him treats whenever he encounters them. As for the dog constantly being under your feet, I would try to encourage him to give you some space by taking some of his favorite food or treats an throwing it on the ground or floor a few feet away from you. In time, you will see that he naturally creates some space from you. You will want to reward this behavior by again throwing treats in the ground during those times when he is ample distance (you decide the comfortable distance) from you.
Jason Purgason, CPDT-KA
Question: We adopted out dog 2 years ago when was 8 weeks old. He is an unknown mix, but looks like a terrier of some sort. He has always liked to bite, but this problem has gotten progressively worse over the past 2 years. He is now extremely possessive over certain things (the couch- not allowed on, under our bed- not allowed under, toys- we’ve now taken them all away). Even though we try to take away the things the likes to be possessive over, he still gets very aggressive and has even bitten us several times. We had a baby 8 months ago and cannot risk this behavior with our son. We love our dog so much, but are at a loss on what to do. We feel like we’ve tried everything. Our first choice is to re-home (as we don’t have money to have extensive training), but are unsure who will take an aggressive dog. And advice?
This is common problem we see with dogs who are bored or not stimulated. However a proper diagnoses would have to be made in person by a professional dog trainer/behaviorist. We have found in the past that owners who would like to re-home the problematic dog have much more success when they have the dog put through professional obedience with behavior modification. It’s a proven fact that simply re-homing the dog without attempting to maintain the behavior results in the dogs becoming euthanized. Please let us know if we can be of assistance diagnosing your dog.
Highland Canine Training, LLC
Question: I adopted a 3 year old female Shih Tzu last year. The adoption organization told me she came from a small breeder that kept her in a small outside kennel. She is a great little dog but she has an annoying persistant bark at night. It happens after we have gone to bed when someone comes in the house late or any loud noise outside. How do I remedy this problem? We need our sleep, any ideas?
The first thing to do is to begin by ignoring the behavior. ANY comments to the dog negative (“No” or “Stop it”) or positive (“oh, it’s ok, it’s just sissy”) give the dog the attention that it is seeking.
The longer a behavior has gone on, the longer it will take to correct. It sounds like the behavior has been going on for 2-3 years. Correcting it can be fairly easy, BUT will take time.
Step 1: “Birdcage” Method: Cover the dog’s crate with a sheet or blanket and place in an isolated part of the house. Put toys, treats, peanut butter filled kong, or whatever else the dog like. You don’t want it to be a punishment. The dog needs to be conditioned that there will be no reward outside the crate for making noise.
Step 2: Be Consistent: (This is the hardest part)You need to do this every night realizing that it may take several weeks because of how long the behavior has been a part of the dog’s routine. This is not a quick fix.
Step 3: If there is no reduction in barking, you may need to seek an evaluation for a trained professional.
Jason Purgason, CPDT-KA
I have a 4 year old Beagle mix. I rescued him as a puppy and know he is part beagle but don’t know what else. He looks exactly like a Shepard though. He is about 70lbs. He is trained in the sense that he will sit and lay down and wait to be told to eat his food. That is the extent of his training. Since adopting him, I have moved 5 times (i know it’s a lot!) I try and exercise him a much as possible but honestly I work a lot and he isn’t getting enough walks. I got a dog walker recently but didn’t notice a change in his behavior. When I get home he is so overly excited. He cries and cries and won’t stop trying to be near me. He is only calm when I am touching him. At a young age, I tried to ignore him when I got home as I was told in training courses. I still do this but he will literally follow me around the house crying and jumping until I pet him. He also will have these days where he is only calm when laying next to me either on the couch or bed. I try to make him stay on the floor but again, he cries and won’t stop nudging me with his nose. I will put him in “time out” sometimes but it seems to make the situation worse. I really think it’s an anxiety issue? Some vets have told me he should be on medication but that makes me nervous.
At this point I am living in a condo with a small cement backyard. I am getting more and more worried that I am not giving him a good life. I do not want to give him up but don’t want to be selfish either. Do you think this could be fixed with training? Or should I look into anxiety pills? I have a steady income but can’t do anything that’t too expensive. Just want to explore all my options and make sure my Bentley is getting the wonderful life he deserves!
Thank you in advance for your help.
I volunteer with a small rescue in NC. We are a in home foster Rescue.
We have rescued a dog named Red who is a Bully breed, possibly a AS mix.
Red is unpredictable. He can play with other dogs for months and then will attack them.
He was neutered months ago and it did not change this behavior.
He is now in a kennel, because the fosters cannot risk harm to their dogs.
We just do not know how to help him and are afraid to place him, because of the behavior.
Any advice would be appreciated
Yours in rescue..
I’ve seen it many times, the unpredictable behavior preceded by weeks of normal play.
The issue is not whether he can live with other dogs, rather when can he safely cohabitate?
The answer lies with the knowledge of care and handling he receives. This is the difficult part. This dog needs lots of controlled time with dozens of dogs where he cannot make a mistake. That control requires a very in tune trainer.
Absent that option, he may do okay with a puppy household, less than 6 months. He may do okay in a home with only one dog if given about two months of supervised time with the other dog. AND of course, he can do well in as the only dog.
If you’ll allow me to make an assumption; I presume it is the other dog that triggers the response and fight from this dog.
Many dogs do OK, until there is food, treats or toys involved, then Fight’s On…
You’d be wise to remove all such items from the formula. Another trigger is when the other dog takes time to sniff, nose to nose for more than 2 seconds, your Pit breed takes that as an aggressive position and Fights on again.
I wish a had a simple answer, but for 30 years of aggressive dog rehab, I’ve not found one. Knowledge, patience and love is all that I count on working.
I have a silver lab. He is 5 years old. He is our only animal that we have. We have always had him in the house lose when we are away from home(Work, store trip). In the past year he has started to scratch at the carpet to where it is ruined in spots. Usually it is same 4 locations. We started to put him in his cage when we left because damage to the carpet was getting bad. We bought a dog cage for outside 10×10 with the top for shade last week. SO that way he wasn’t couped up inside in a small location. He has done great in it. Until today. He has messed the door up by prying the fencing up. I know he has some separation issues but I don’t know what else to do or what will help him. I need some help in finding what I can do for him.
When a 5 yr old dog changes behaviors suddenly or over the last year, we must always suspect medical issue first. Anxiety is manifested when a dog is confused about what is happening in his life. First suspecting a medical issue is a smart path. Have your veterinarian investigate any and all maladies which can cause pain, joint pain, muscle ache, etc… Such things as heart issues, Lyme disease, tic born diseases, Thyroid, and other conditions that a complete blood workup can reveal.
Praying for a solution.
Hi, I have a weird predicament. I have 3 medium-large dogs. A male lab mix (unsure of age [2-3 possibly, he was found on the street]. Not fixed), a 6 yr old female chocolate lab (fixed), and a black 4 yr old male Shepherd mix (fixed). All have lived together for at least 2 years. We have 2 boys (4 and 1). The dogs have always stayed inside during the day when we’re away. I work nights 5a-5p and my wife works days 8-5. The issue I’m having is the female lab urinates and deficates in the house almost daily no matter if she is locked in a room by herself, with the Shepherd, with the other lab, or with both. The male lab has recently started deficating in the house but does not urinate and does not mark. The Shepherd marks constantly in the house, on tables, chairs, my guitars, on the kids toys, on his dog food bowl. They are taken outside once I get home at 5, when my wife leaves at 7 again before I leave for work and again before my wife goes to sleep. Is there anything we can do to fix any of these problems? If these cannot be fixed we have no choice but to find them other homes as we cannot have them doing this in the house with small children.
My dog currently sleeps with me in my bed and has so for the past 3 years (he’s 4 years old). My girlfriend does not want him to sleep in the bedroom at all when we get married and move into a new place. The question is – would it be better to transition the dog when we move into the new place, since we would be starting fresh with a new bed/bedroom/apartment, etc and the dog isn’t being kicked out of the bed he’s slept in for 3 years OR is it better to start training him now in my current apartment so he will be already adjusted for the new place?
Hi, we have adopted Tucker about 10 months ago when he was 10 months old. We have tried crate training with him and it works well for a bit and then Tucker will urinate or defecate in the house (has been on the bed, couch, us and of course the floor) he never has given us a tell. He never hides either but displays behavior were we know he knows he did wrong (drooped head). We have tried a bell with no luck. We have been consistent with setting an alarm to bring him out and slowing lengthening it. Still no luck. We have tried to tie him to us when not in the crate and he just pees on our feet. We feel at our wits end. We live in a town home and feel that he may do much better in a fenced yard were he can run.
This is also about aggression. We have been fearful of bringing him to the dog park because he lunges at other dogs and acts aggressive when first meeting a dog. We have two small and one is a dominate female chihuahua whom Tucker is submissive to unless he has a bone. He has bitten her twice and hurt her to needing stitches
Thank you for your time.
Your descriptions of behaviors indicate a complexity to this situation which begs many questions.
Allow me to bring you to my way of thinking about such problems;
Your dog (Tucker) at nearly 2 yrs old has been with you almost a year. This is enough time to know your dog very well.
My first indicator when a dog holds his head low is that he/she may have been scolded. We humans teach that response by yelling when they poop on the rug… There is no sensible reason for yelling at your dog after the offense has been committed. This is a huge area where kids are different from dogs. You can scold your kids and teach something, but a dog has no reasoning skills to understand why you’re upset.
Tucker has not been house trained. You stopped too early. Start over as if he’s a puppy.
1- Crate all night.
2- Out for potty break first thing in AM- pick a spot that is the same everyday.
3- TIP: leave some poo in the spot for the next visit. “X “ marks the spot, J
4- If he does not go potty in 10 minutes, return to crate for 20 minutes
5- Out again for 10 minutes- repeat until he goes successfully. When he does go, PRAISE.
6- Then allow free time in the house for 2 hours.
7- If he fails then, follow 1-4 again but only allow partial house freedom (like the kitchen only)
8- Eventually, Tucker will get the idea that outside is the ONLY place to go.
9- You should slowly increase his alone time in some small room without a crate, while increasing the size as he graduates by successful nights without mishaps. Eventually he will have the run of the house.
Let’s discuss aggression toward dogs:
The attack on your little Chi, was probably resource guarding and must be corrected by a careful process for another teaching lesson.
First, do not allow bones and toys to be available around the home until you get this fixed. Don’t worry, your dogs won’t know why they don’t have toys. They will still be happy pups.
My roommate has two large unneutered male dogs, they fight if together as of now . I’m trying to find him a home b/c of the fighting .I am taking him to get neutered and am wondering if the two dogs will still fight most likely or will the neuter fix the issue?? They are both fine with neutered males ,just not each other.
There are two problems with this situation. First, two intact males should not be placed together. As long as there is air to carry a scent, then the two will compete for the estrogen in the air.
Second problem is that since the two are fighting, you’ll have to keep them separated for a month or more after neuter.
Then you can walk them together but not freely playing together. Hopefully, you’ll see after a couple of months (of no fighting) they will be comfortable with each other – just as they are with other neutered males.
Just to be clear… both males should be neutered. One won’t cut it.
By the way, if possible, you should not re-home these dogs for a month either, UNLESS to a one dog home. Too much testosterone will upset even neutered males.
We have had our dogs as a pair for three years. They are both female. One is six years old (Lab-pit mix; 85lb) and the other 3 (Carolina-Collie mix 40lb). They have lived harmoniously together for two years. In March they began to show aggression to one another. We experimented with feeding, keeping them off the areas they seemed possessive about but the situation has not been overall resolved. They will have two to three good weeks and another incident will happen. W e are feeling at a loss and do not want to re-home one of them unless we have to. Any advice would be welcomed.
When such behaviors arise for seemingly no reason, I must put on a detective hat and investigate.
So, I have some questions and possible answers-
1- Are your dogs crated at any time where they can see each other while in crates?
- If you answer YES, this is a problem of vulnerability for one of the two.
- This begins with one dog being injured or sick (remember that you may not know your dog isinjured)
- An injured dog in a cage feels trapped and vulnerable, while the other dog senses her weakness.
- The weak dog will revert to “kill or be killed” mentality and fight the other dog when conditions warrant.
- I prevent this possibility by ALWAYS covering crates from any other dog’s view.
- Once this happens, a long period of desensitizing is needed, but certainly possible.
2- Was one of the girls sick or injured since March? Without a crate situation? The first fight may have been from that.
3- Advice without details is an overall recommendation for the next 6 months.
- Rid the house and yard of ALL toys and bones.
- Clean under all furniture, somewhere there is a toy or treat hiding. find it.
- Feed your dogs in a supervised room. 8 feet apart- Neither dog is permitted to check out the other food bowl, even when empty.
- IF either dog tends to move toward the other dogs food, that dog must be on a leash until finished feeding.
- NEVER leave an food bowls down after 10 minutes of supervised feeding. Pick them up and wash them after each meal (even if they have not finished or even started eating.)
4- There are valid reasons for all this, but my time is limited to explain.
PRAY, always PRAY for your dogs.
With GOD, all things are possible, I have seen many such cases be completely remedied.
We adopted a 6 year old red heeler a few months ago and she is still peeing in the house. We are mostly home, have her out often and walk her every evening. When we leave we close off all bedrooms and bathrooms and have NO accidents when we return, even after 8 hours. She uses the back bedroom as her safe place and to sleep for part of the night, so when we’re home we leave it open for her. At some point, though, she is peeing in there. I have only found it after it has dried, so I don’t even know when it happens. I do not want to have to keep all doors closed nor do I feel a create in her best interest. Any ideas?
First, let me say- God bless you for adopting an older dog.
Your issue is a common one with your Heeler, (I’ll call her “Red”). Red is selectively urinating in her special place just as we want her to do. Unfortunately, her spot is inside your home. Remember that a dog’s sense of smell is 40 times greater than humans, which means, she can smell that room from the kitchen. Unless you eliminate that smell, she can’t help herself from going there again.
First solution is a mixture of 50% white vinegar + 50% water. Always test a hidden area before treating. Saturate the spots where she urinated and do not blot up the mixture. The solution must be allowed to seep into the cracks and fibers just like the urine did and it will dry on its own. You may place a fan across the area to speed up the process. Make sure you get every spot.
Close off that bedroom with no access allowed by Red. You mention a safe place. A back bedroom is not a safe place for a dog. It may be a less scary place, but not safe. The problem is the size of the room. Red, like all nervous dogs, need a safe place that is small enough to protect them like a den. (meaning an animal den). So you will need a plastic crate (not wire) that is the right size for Red and cover all 4 sides with a dark blanket. This shall be her safe place, if you allow her to discover how great it is. If you need help crate training, Google search will teach you.
Your opinion that a crate is NOT in her best interest is flawed. In fact, Red was made to live in a Den. It’s in her DNA. Wild dogs are born in a den and domestics are not, so it may take some training to get the primal instinct to emerge. But I assure you that a proper crate (like a den) will be the best thing for Red.
My dogs always have access to crates in the house which are covered except the front opening. I remove the doors after the dog has become happy in the crate. At night and when I go out, every crate will be occupied. Good news, they never pee in a crate.
Your goal is to allow Red free roaming the home while providing that safe place somewhere away from the chaos of your home. Please don’t neglect a good study of how to crate train your dog and understand why they love it so much when we humans feel as if we’re locking them up like prisoners. Note that I specifically reject cages for dogs. A cage is good for house training puppies only.
Best to you, Red is in my prayers.
Question: Why does my dogs breath still have an odor right after I have had them professionally cleaned?
Without an exam of your pet it is difficult to determine what the issue is. I have clients who consider “normal” dog breath offensive so that is one possibility. Your dog’s breath will never be without odor but there are mouth washes and water additives that can help.
My next question would be what the “professional dental cleaning” consisted of. First it must be performed by a veterinarian while your pet is under anesthesia. A professional cleaning without anesthesia will never totally clean your pets teeth.
Next we need to determine what the dental x-rays showed. I have seen many pets who have perfectly healthy crowns of their teeth with severe dental disease under the gum line causing problems and odor. Without quality dental x-rays the roots of the teeth cannot be assessed and disease can be missed.
If all of the above are ok then your dog may be one who develops tartar and calculus quickly and will need more aggressive home care including oral sealants, products to be applied directly to the gingiva and, of course, brushing.
Our practice performs complimentary dental assessments. Feel free to set up an appointment.
Dr Chip Cooney
Animal Hospital of Statesville
Question: Our cat is about 2 YO and still acts quite kittenish. He’s quite playful and doesn’t mean to tear up the house, but with his enthusiasm, playfulness, and sharp claws, the hardwood floors are suffering, as are various pieces of furniture and drapes in the house. He’s been diagnosed with an eye condition that prevents him from being let outside. Can you please speak to the issue of our possibly declawing him? I know claws can be removed by lasers, but this seems to be out of our budget. Is the cheaper alternative much more painful to cats, especially to an adult cat?
Answer: While declawing would be the easy answer, it is the most costly. I would not recommend having your cat declawed with anything other than the laser. We have been using it for almost 12 years and will not perform this surgery any other way. The recovery is much quicker and the pain is much less-especially in an adult cat. If you chose this option your cat cannot be allowed outdoors as he will not be able to protect himself or climb as well.
Keeping the cat’s nails trimmed frequently (maybe weekly) could definitely help. This is something you can do at home for only the minimal cost of the nail trimmers.
Another option is using soft paws. These are rubber “claws” that are glued on over top of your cat’s real claws. Theses are availble on line and can be applied at home. They do have to be replaced periodically depending on the activity level of the cat. Most cats tolerate them well so this is another option for you.
Dr Chip Cooney
Animal Hospital of Statesville
I have a 10 year old male cat that urinates and poops outside the litter box. I have two other cats. I have three litter boxes out. The one that doesn’t use the box goes on the carpet within a few feet of the litter boxes. I had the urinating issue several years ago in a bedroom that had a window seat. This cat would urinate under the window – I believe to mark this as his territory from the other cats. I closed this room off to the cats and replaced the carpet and pad. Now three years later he has started urinating several feet from one of the litter boxes. I can’t close off this room as it is an open family room. If I can’t figure out how to resolve this issue I will need to rehome this cat or take him to the animal shelter. Any help would be appreciated.
There are multiple reasons why cats will eliminate outside of the litter box. It is possible that this is a learned behavior over several years and it may take a while to correct.
To rule out in health issues, we first recommend a thorough physical exam to ensure there are no medical reasons to cause concern. Then, we would discuss things including: do you have the recommended “1 litter box per cat, plus 1” in your household. Also, are you cleaning daily or even multiple times a day? Are there any subtle “inter-pet problems” that may be adding stress or anxiety? There are aids that can be used for stress, including a product called Feliway. Ask your veterinarian if that product may be an option.
Also, a good website to consult with is www.veterinarypartner.com. You may find some helpful information there.
Dr. Nicola Gaither
Animal Hospital of Statesville
Hello, I have a female Persian kitty. She is 6 years old and as sweet as can be. The only problem is she poops and pees everywhere. I thought maybe the peeing was due to too many animals in one house and I recently moved into maybe own place and the peeing has stopped but she is now pooping outside of the litter box at the same times 2 times a day. It’s almost as if she holds it and then when she finally does go it’s outside the litter box. I scoop the litter boxes every single day and change them once a week just for her. I thought maybe she didn’t like andorty kitter box but that’s not it at all. I have 2 other cats and they get along with her fine even though she doesn’t necessarily care for them. Im just at loss because I don’t know why she is doing it and I don’t want to give her away. I just don’t know how much longer I can put up with it before I have to find her a new home.
There are multiple reasons why cats will eliminate outside of the litter box. One of them is a biggie – too many pets in one household. It is possible that this is a learned behavior over several years and it may take a while to correct. It is also possible that some “problems” are still occurring that are contributing to her inappropriate behavior. We first recommend a thorough physical exam to ensure there is not a medical reason for the concerns. Then, we would discuss things including: do you have the recommended “1 litter box per cat, plus 1” in your household; are you cleaning daily or even multiple times a day (you mentioned daily cleaning), are there any subtle “inter-pet problems” that may be adding stress or anxiety and how to help with those (you mentioned they get along but she does not necessarily care for them). There are aids that can be used for stress including a product called Feliway. Ask your veterinarian if that product may be an option. Also, a good website to consult with is www.veterinarypartner.com. You may find some helpful information there.
Dr. Nicola Gaither
Animal Hospital of Statesville
My rat terrier has been with me for nearly 14 years. Recently her moods have become unpredictable. Today she ate a piece of paper that came from between cheese slices. When I tried to Pick it up off the floor she bit me. She didn’t break the skin but definitely hurt my thumb. Last week she snapped at one of my grandchildren. Is this likely due to her age? I have my grandchildren a great deal during the summer and I am concerned for their safety. Is this a legitimate concern?