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  • Writer's pictureTailsandtrailspoole

How to moderate your dog's behaviour

Last week, we had the pleasure of speaking to Debby Lucken, owner and founder of Pocodogs Training Academy, and asked her to answer your training questions. There was so much information that we split the interview into two parts. Here’s part two - enjoy!

What advice would you have for puppies that jump up and bite legs? We don't want to discourage our pup from getting close to us but we also don't want her to keep nipping at our ankles.

Without meeting the pup, this sounds like normal puppy behaviour. This is their way of getting attention or a reaction out of the human. Regardless of whether they are doing something that you don't want them to do and you tell them off for, they are still getting a reaction out of you, which is what they want. This in turn encourages them to do it some more!

One way to stop this is to give them something that they are allowed to chew e.g. a chew toy, buffalo horn etc. When they begin to start chewing something they shouldn't be, you redirect them to the item that they are allowed to chew. However, don't stop there. If you redirect your puppy’s biting to a toy and just leave it there, the puppy will think ‘I’m getting no attention from this’ and may start the undesired biting again.

You need to make the chew toy fun and you can do this by playing with the puppy using that specific item. When you make that toy interesting, fun and engaging, this makes the puppy think that when they play with that toy, they will get their human’s attention and it’s fun and that when they bite their human’s ankles, the human stop playing with them and they don't get any attention. If you keep redirecting this behaviour, the dog will figure it out and eventually stop the biting.

My female dog has a very strong relationship with my wife. Whenever my wife is dancing or showing excitement, our dog will immediately go to my wife and try to hump her leg. This is very embarrassing, especially when we have guests over and my wife is constantly having to get our dog off of her. What can we do to stop this?

A lot of dogs can be puppy-like for a long time, so their excitement can stay with them for a long time too. There isn't anything vicious in what she is doing, it’s just over excitement.

Firstly, I would recommend that if you are having guests over or having a party, then do let your dog have a look around but if you know that there is going to be dancing or the opportunity for the dog to get excited then either get a play pen or crate train the dog so the dog has a calm and comfortable place to go to and stay whilst you are having your fun. Whilst she is in the crate, I would give her something to do to keep her engaged. A great tool to use is a Kong (I have a couple of videos on my Youtube channel on how to best stuff a Kong to keep it engaging for as long as possible).

I wouldn't recommend putting her in the crate for the first time whilst you have guests over and expecting her to relax and be happy in there. She will need to be trained ahead of time so that when she is put in the crate she doesn't become distressed and it have the opposite affect.

I would also recommend that you train your dog to have a strong ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘stay’ response. In this scenario, the ‘down’ response would be more important because it promotes relaxation whereas when she is in the ‘sit’ position, she can still have her head high which promotes alertness.

How do I teach my dog not to pull on the lead whilst walking? Currently, when my dog does pull, I stop walking, and he sits but as soon as I walk again he is back to pulling.

The pulling on the lead can often be misunderstood. What you are doing by stopping and making the dog sit is great. However, what often happens is the dog sits with the lead still pulling and the dog sits whilst looking ahead but actually isn't sure what they should do. He is sitting down to contemplate what he should do next. Whilst he is thinking about what to do next, the owner then stops them by telling them to get up and carry on walking. This stops the dog coming to their own conclusion and he actually hasn't understood anything. I also believe that nearly every owner has taught their dog how to ‘sit’ and it becomes so engrained that they do it by default just to see if it has the desired effect that the owner was looking for. You need to allow your dog the chance to think about what they need to do in order to be able to walk. The dog, after a little while of sitting, may pull some more because they have learnt that pulling also normally works and means that they can walk again, however you need to hold your ground and remain still. When the dog looks at you and then walks back a little bit, that’s when you praise them because that is the desired behaviour you are looking for.

It’s important to remember that this needs to be practiced more than once and patience is key. To begin with, the dog will pull again and sit but you need to wait it out and reward them the moment you get the desired result. It can be time-consuming but you, as their human, are keeping them safe whilst allowing the dog to come to their own conclusion.

It’s also important that your dog wears a good and safe harness. I would recommend a harness that has the Y shape rather than a T shape and to use a non-retractable lead because they often encourage the dog to pull.

A big thank you to Debby Lucken from Pocodogs Training Academy for answering your questions and providing insight and helpful information on how to tackle your dogs unwanted behaviour. Check out her website and make sure to add Pocodogs on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube ( for more amazing tips to help get the best relationship between you and your pooch. Debby not only offers group training and 1:1 classes but she also offers online virtual classes to help you still train your dog whilst also quarantining.

If you didn't get a chance to send in your dog training related question then please email us or drop us a DM on our Tails and Trails Poole social media and we shall get back to you as soon as possible.

Photo Credit: Ivan Radic.

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