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Blog of the Week: Have An Embarrassing Dog Issue?

Have An Embarrassing Dog Issue?

In this article let’s tackle some issues that’s often embarrassing for our clients to talk about. Always remember that for us here at Duffys we’ve dealt with everything and we will always offer a sympathetic and understanding ear. So don’t be self conscious we are here to help. There are many issues that fall under the label “embarrassing,” I’ll try to address as many as I can but unfortunately I won’t be able to cover them all. I’ll try to cover the most common issue though. I recommend getting the two books written by Mr Duffy, “Ten Natural Steps To Training The Family Dog” and “Eight Faces Of Canine Aggression.” Reading those two books will help you immensely to tackle any problem you may have.

  • Marking- the act of a dog urinating and/or defecating to mark boundaries. When this happens in the house it’s bad enough but dogs can do this when you take them into new places or even worse yet, they may even mark people. Having a dog urinate on your or someone else’s leg is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen. If that happens use a leash and collar correction. If marking continues or becomes obsessive then we recommend letting your dog alleviate themselves only in designated areas, correcting your dog if they use the restroom without a command or outside the designated area. Please note that both males and females can mark territory, males just tend do it more.
  • Humping- Mr. Duffy a few years ago went on a local television show to answer audience member’s questions. A woman called asking what she could do about her small dog humping her arm. The live audience laughed and thought it was very funny. Mr. Duffy though immediately launched into how to solve that problem. He told the woman that as soon as her dog begins to hump her arm, quickly remove the slack from the leash to create a bite. He recommended keeping the leash on her dog letting it drag like a second tail anytime the dog was supervised, crated if not. Once an effective bite or series of effective bites occurred the offensive behavior stops. A gradual winging away of the leash is needed otherwise a dog may push the rules and renew the bad behavior.
  • Crotch sniffing- It’s very much a dog thing to do but for us humans it can be embarrassing especially if it’s done in front of or to guests. Lots of dogs enjoy smelling areas that contain heavy human scent. Dogs can discriminate different humans/animals by their scent and remember them through their particular smell. To deter that behavior you can bump them away using your knee or by using a leash and collar correction.
  • Underwear stealing/destroying- This falls under our classic Food Control which covers all inanimate objects (that’s not been given to your pooch). Set your dog up using the desired item, leaving it in easy to access areas keep your dog in your sight during this exercise. Let your dog drag the leash around when supervised and crated when not. It’s easier to control a staged environment then it is waiting for it to happen in real life. Remember we’re looking for commitment (a dog’s forward movement toward the distraction) before we correct.
  • Poop eating- Coprophagia (cop-row-fage-ee-uh)- Probably one of the most disgusting habits a dog can have. The most common question I’m asked about this subject is, “why does my dog do this?” The easy answer is because they like it and that they want to, but if I feel I won’t bore the pants off my clients I may give them the long answer. It’s a biologicaly inherited trait that has some roots in survival. All mammal’s stomachs contain a bacteria colony that’s called a micro-biome which helps breakdown food and protects us from harmful bacteria. Ingesting processed animal waste is the easiest way to add to that micro-biome. Now some dogs will only eat the feces of animals they feel intensely about, so if you dog is really intense about chasing cats there is a good possibility that they may be drawn to the litter box. Again this issue is solved by the application of the food control exercise. I find it helpful if I use flags to mark where the dung in the yard is at first. In the beginning I will always walk my dog on a leash when there is dung present in the area. At any sign of commitment toward the poop I’ll correct the dog. A gradual removal of the leash and flags (but don’t relax your vigilance) is needed so we can create a habit of leaving feces alone.

Thank you so much. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing this. Good luck in your training endeavors. If you have any tricky or embarrassing dog issues please call us at 812-948-2120 or contact us via email. If needed we can even set up a free evaluation for you.

– Josh Decker, Dog Trainer

Article written by Josh Decker

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Matthew Duffy is well known for his renowned dog training services, books and DVDs, and online video training sessions through memberships. Matthew uses "genuine control without the rigidity of formal commands." Bring on the dogs!