HELP! The Problem With The Untrained Dog – Phoenix Scottsdale AZ Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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Dear Sam,

HELP!

I have a one year old lab. He had no training whatsoever and was an only dog. He will be 2 in July. Anyway when we adopted him we had him in the house for a few weeks. But as he was in the house he ruined a porcelain doll collection as well as many other things he chewed on (even though we had lots of chew toys). He also, when we tried to housebreak him wouldn’t let us. After he ate we would take him outside and let him play and go potty. He wouldn’t he actually held it until we came in, no matter how long we stood outside. SO we got the mats that he could go on that way it would help him outside. Eventually we took him outside into a house and kennel. He still didn’t calm down (which we were told he would if we did that). So we took him to obedience class, but he never listened to me there. He is bigger than me which made it hard because he could overpower me. I and my family would love to have him back in the house but aren’t sure how to prepare the house or what to do to calm him. He does get out and run but not for long because a few minutes after he is out he runs into our neighbor’s yard (they also have a male dog). He goes the bathroom in their yard and ruins their things. When we call him he doesn’t return. SO we chase him and try to catch him. He doesn’t listen. So we stick him back in the kennel. When we walk him he chews the leash and nips at your hand to let go. He also jumps a lot. Also when we go outside he barks a lot.
1) How do we get him to calm down
2) How do we housebreak him
3) How do we prepare our home for him to come back in (puppy proof)
4) how do we get him to listen when commanded (sit, come, not bite leash)
5) how do we get him to stay in our yard
6) And anything else I need to know

Thanks so much for taking your time to read this I hope you can help me

PS: we have a cat and two very young children in case you can give me tips on helping him with that. And we are planning on adopting another dog in the next few days. We don’t want him to feel jealous at all and hope his behavior improves. We cant afford to send him to anymore classes, we’ve already spent way too much on training him we want something that will be totally guaranteed. Thanks again.

Felicity

Hi Felicity,

Well, let’s sort some of this out for you: Much of what you describe is a result of the fact that you need proper instruction on how to manage a young untrained dog. You are doing many things incorrectly, thus the situation is falling apart. I DO NOT recommend that you get another dog until you hire someone to help you with this dog, otherwise, you will end up with the same problems with the next dog, and then you will have twice the number of problems you are having. Two untrained dogs are more than twice the work.

1.) << We cant afford to send him to anymore classes, we’ve already spent way too much on training him we want something that will be totally guaranteed.>> Things have gotten totally out of hand with this untrained dog. You are going to need to pay for some help. Second, no one can honestly guarantee results with your dog (even if they say so) if you don’t follow through on the homework you are given.

2.) << when we adopted him we had him in the house for a few weeks. But as he was in the house he ruined a porcelain doll collection as well as many other things he chewed on (even though we had lots of chew toys). >> This is a very young dog. I never leave an untrained dog unsupervised in my home until they cross over into adulthood, which for a Lab is about 3 years old. When I can’t supervise them, they are in a crate of kennel. When I get home, they are in the home with me and I am relentless in my supervision. This is either a problem of puppy chewing and a lack of proper supervision, separation anxiety, or both. Hard to say without doing some more investigation. Destructive chewing is solved through a proper regime of effective corrections, supervision, and toys. Many people don’t know how to properly correct a dog for destructive chewing, so they make the problem worse, and make the dog afraid of them, which makes the dog not come when called: “When we call him he doesn’t return” Sometimes, destructive chewing is a result of Separation Anxiety. If this is the root cause, the corrections will make the situation worse, not better. So, I need more information to know what the proper remedy is.

3.) << He also, when we tried to housebreak him wouldn’t let us. After he ate we would take him outside and let him play and go potty. He wouldn’t he actually held it until we came in, no matter how long we stood outside. SO we got the mats that he could go on that way it would help him outside. Eventually we took him outside into a house and kennel.>> You need a House training lesson. You are doing it incorrectly and that is why the dog isn’t doing it right. You are blaming the dog for not knowing how to do something that it is our responsibility to teach. Whenever a dog has an accident in the house, it is our fault, not the dog’s. We have to learn what to do in order to teach the dog what to do.

4.) << He does get out and run but not for long because a few minutes after he is out he runs into our neighbors yard (they also have a male dog). He goes the bathroom in their yard and ruins their things >> You need a fence. Your new dog will do this also if you don’t get a fence.

5.) << When we call him he doesn’t return. SO we chase him and try to catch him. He doesn’t listen. >> The money you spent on dog training was all wasted. Your dog is untrained, and the trainer didn’t train you properly. You are going to need to start over. You will have the same problem with the next dog if you don’t learn what to do.

6.) << When we walk him he chews the leash and nips at your hand to let go. He also jumps a lot >> Your dog is trying to play with you, and doesn’t know how to do that. It is your job to sort this out with your untrained dog, instead of being harsh. Again, this is solved with proper training. You need my Basic Obedience course for you and your dog.

7.) << when we go outside he barks a lot >> Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. This needs to be sorted out. I need to see the dog.

8.) << How do we get him to calm down >> A dog can’t be calm if they aren’t getting sufficient exercise, is improperly stimulated all the time to do the wrong things, and not taught what else to do when they are bored. But, with your situation, you are not yet able to exercise him and make it fun for him or yourselves.

9.) << How do we prepare our home for him to come back in (puppy proof)>> You have to start from scratch and re-do what you have done wrong. I can show you how.

10.) << how do we get him to listen when commanded (sit, come, not bite leash)>> You need to complete my Basic Obedience course.

11.) << how do we get him to stay in our yard >> You need a fence.

12.) << we have a cat and two very young children in case you can give me tips on helping him with that >> Yes, that would be included in Basic Obedience.

13.) << we are planning on adopting another dog in the next few days >> Again, you are making a big mistake. You will do the same things with this next dog, and this next dog will become an unruly dog just like this one. You need the lessons more than the dog. Once you know what to do, then the rest will come much easier.

14.) << We don’t want him to feel jealous at all and hope his behavior improves >> If you don’t introduce them properly, and if you don’t manage them properly, then you could have a major dogfight on your hands. You have unintentionally spoiled this dog, which is partly why this dog is being a pain. Things you are doing are triggering a lot of this. Again, this would be covered in my Basic Obedience course.

15.) << We cant afford to send him to anymore classes, we’ve already spent way too much on training him we want something that will be totally guaranteed.>> I can’t do this for free. You need a good trainer. You need to do the homework. The responsibility is on your shoulders to see this one through. No trainer can guarantee that you will do the homework and no one can guarantee that your dog will obey 100% of the time. That is unrealistic. Can’t happen. Even guide dogs for the blind have lessons every week to keep them sharp. Same with police dogs. You have to train them and keep up the maintenance lessons or they fall back into old habits. Even people can’t do things right 100% of the time. I couldn’t offer a math class that guaranteed that your child would get 100% of the answers right on all math problems. Same with your dog. DOG TRAINING ISN’T A COST, IT IS AN INVESTMENT. YOU ARE INVESTING MONEY IN YOUR DOG TO MAKE LIFE GOOD FOR YOU AND YOUR DOG, TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS, AND TO PREVENT DESTRUCTION.

Look, I hear the frustration in your letter. I went through all this when I got my first dog. You just need someone to help you sort all this stuff out. I can do that for you. If you don’t heed my advice, however, and get this second dog, you are going to experience a living hell with two unruly and destructive untrained dogs. I can help, but only if you are committed to doing the work.

<< anything else I need to know >> Please read my web page articles, especially the following articles:

House training
House training Disaster
Basic Obedience
Who Shouldn’t Own A Dog?
My Rules

POSTSCRIPT: Unfortunately, these people never hired me, and decided to “try it on their own”. I have heard this phrase a million times. Translation: we don’t want to spend the money, we don’t want to listen, we want to blame the untrained dog, we don’t want to put in the effort, we are going to do it our way. Fine. Go ahead. If you didn’t know what to do 10 minutes ago, what makes you think you now know what to do? Sigh.

BASIC OBEDIENCE SHOULD BE COMPLETED WITH EVERY DOG. IT IS UNREASONABLE TO EVER EXPECT ANY DOG TO BECOME SATISFACTORILY WELL BEHAVED IF LEFT UNTRAINED.

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.


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