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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19661
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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My son & daughter in law are about to have their first baby.

Customer Question

My son & daughter in law are about to have their first baby. They have 2 American Eskimo (all white color) male dogs. The youngest is almost 3 years old. He barks at everyone and is aggressive toward younger or littler kids at times. They have tried multiple dog schools & bark collars. All failed treatments. Even after you have been in room with him for a while, he does calm down but is still skittish. If you leave to go to bathroom & come back, he starts all over again! I'm worried for my soon to be born grand daughter. I know they will be great parents & do everything to keep the baby safe. But, just wondering if you have any suggestions on breaking him of this bad behavior? Thank you for your time. Sally Fleming
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or repy, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply. I hope you can be patient.
I read your question, and I guess I'm not sure what you are looking for.
Are you looking to stop the barking?
Or does he have a problem with nipping people?
Do you know whether a trainer worked with the dog or whether it was your son or daughter in law who did the training under the trainers instruction?
Do you know how long ago that was?
How often do they train with the dog on a daily basis?
Do you know if the bark collar was fitted properly?
Do you know if the throat area was shaved or not
Was it a shock or spray bark collar?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Blake does have an issue with excessive barking and on occasion nipping at people when they are playing around especially in the back yard. Blake went to a dog trainer that Beth and Shamus trained through called auntie Dog in Tewksbury MA. They have also tried a bark collar with no shaved neck. The bark (shock) collar did not affect him, but they are not sure if they had the setting correct. Beth and Shamus worked with the dog every week during the training last year and through out the year on and off.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. There are a couple of ways of going about this, though I have to mention that he needs more obedience work done.
The first method would be to leash him and when he barks or lunges or nips, give a correction in the form of a quick short tug and a firm low toned "NO". After several corrections , they should notice that the dog does not bark or exhibit the bad behavior. Once that happens, they should reward the desired behavior with nice calm praise and a thin hot dog sliver. This will be effective if the dog displaying the desired behavior is rewarded when the other is not. It won't take the dog too long to realize that not barking gets him treats and barking gets him a reprimand.
The second option is to correctly fit the bark collar. They are very effective. However, if put on too loosely or if the contacts are not able to to reach the skin, they won't feel the vibration of the bark or be able to deliver a correction. I own an eskimo as well and the thick undercoat prevents the sensors from touching the skin. So most owner (myself included) shave the area where the sensor meets the throat area on the neck. This allows a good connection and the collar should then preven the barking or correct it.
They should work on obedience formally each day. It doesn't have to be at a class or with a trainer. The following site is helpful in teaching owners how to train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
Once trained effectively, they can teach the dog to stay away from the baby. They will leash your dog and if the dog gets within 3 feet of the baby, they will give the dog a short tug on the leash and a firm, low toned NO. It won't take him long before he realizes that he is not allowed near the baby. Once he starts stopping the required distance from the baby, start rewarding him with a tasty treat like a thin hot dog slice. At this point they will see him stopping long before he gets to the baby. It is important that they reward this behavior with both treats and praise. Once he has it down pat, they can start sometimes just using praise and sometimes treats so he doesn't know if he is getting treats or not.
At this point, they will want to teach him to move if the baby gets within 3 feet of him. So they will move the baby into his space and then using the leash move him away from the baby the required distance and give a treat. Since he already know he isn't supposed to be close to the baby, it may only take a couple of times before he sees that he needs to get up and move if the baby enters his space. Since treats are involved, they usually learn quickly. Again, treat for desired behavior. This is important because when the baby starts walking everywhere, the dog needs to move out of his way.
Most of the dogs that I have trained have learned within a few weeks but the owners worked with the dogs daily and were very consistent. Once your baby is around 3 years of age, then the baby should be able to say sit and down with a little conviction. At this point, you will start the baby giving the dog known commands to teach the dog that he has to obey the child as well.
I hope you found my reply helpful. If you need further clarification or more information, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

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