CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- From jumping on counters to sitting on furniture, our dogs can be a handful!
The Carolina Dog Master, Turk Akbay, offered these answers to Charlotte Today viewer questions:
Grace: We have a 9-month-old English Mastiff/Black Lab puppy who weighs upwards of 70 lbs. She seems to think of our 7-year-old son as her littermate, and when he tries to take her out on a leash, she pulls so hard that it literally knocks him down. She also jumps on him, tries to bite (playfully) at his hands, etc. She is very strong, and bigger than him. Our intent was for him to have a dog of his own to care for and bond with, but he cannot possibly handle her when she is knocking him to the ground and dragging him around! We definitely NEED help!!! :(
ANSWER: Dogs don't think children are human puppies. They view children as another species that look like human (Horse to Zebra). So now she is establishing herself as the leader of your son. You will need obedience training pretty soon, like last month. Keep your dog on a leash for a few days all the time and have your son give commands to your dog BEFORE feeding her. NO FREE FEEDING THIS DOG.
Aimee: How do you keep a dog out of your favorite chair? (Which also happens to be her favorite chair.)
ANSWER: Obvious easy answer is to teach your dog she is not allowed on the furniture, but I suspect that she is allowed on furniture (from the wording of the question). So I would teach her the chair is yours, NOT hers. In my house dogs are allowed on the furniture when invited. But meanwhile you can lay a good sized aluminum sheet on the chair when you're not sitting. Most dogs hate that.
Nanci: How do you train your dog to stay out of the trash can or toilet water?
ANSWER: Put the toilet seat down and get a trash can with a lid on it. These will stop the bad behavior. Then train your dog on boundaries (as in trash can/ toilet are off limits). You can do this by taking your dog on a leash to a trash can and toilet bowl. Allow your dog to walk towards them and you say something like NO! and pull her away from them and praising the behavior of walking away.
Marcia: How to keep my dog from putting his front paws up on the counter to get to what is up there.
ANSWER: We call this counter surfing and it can be dangerous for dogs and people. I suggest our clients claim the tops of all flat surfaces as in top of coffee tables, kitchen islands, beds etc belong to the humans. There are various ways to get this accomplished. For most people it's putting something the dog wants on the counter. Prevent your dog from reaching it and instead, she sits to get that thing.
Melissa: How do I keep my dog from barking and scratching at the door to come in?
ANSWER: When your dog barks and scratches DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. When she is a full minute quiet open the door and let them in.
For professional help you can reach Turk at offleashdogtraining.com