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Ask Lisa Your Own Question
Lisa, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16475
Experience:  CVT with a special interest in behavior modification through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
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I love my dog but he is the most irritating dog I've ever

Customer Question

I love my dog but he is the most irritating dog I've ever met in my life! He doesn't come when called, he randomly decides to poop/pee in the house (even though he's potty trained), he chews up everything (even though I've repetitively disciplined him for it), he pulls me around on the leash (tried to get him to learn not to, but I gave up), and the most annoying of all--he wants CONSTANT attention. I can't do my homework or even watch TV without him sitting there, staring, and whining nonstop.
I understand he needs attention and I'm trying my best but most of the day I'm busy at school. I get so stressed out from that alone and then come home to a torn up couch and nonstop whining. I can never relax!
He knows basic commands like sit, lay down, and stay, but I don't know how to get him to learn the other stuff! I am going insane and there is no dog trainer in my area. Please help me I don't know what to do!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question tonight. Just like an in person consult, I have some questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible....

How old is he?

What kind of dog is he?

How long have you had him?

Has he ever been to obedience classes?

How much exercise does he get daily?

Has he ever gone to obedience classes?

Is he on any sort of set schedule?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He just turned 1 year old last month.I've had him since the end of October 2014.He has never been to obedience classes because I live in a small town that doesn't offer anything like that. He hasn't been getting much exercise lately, and that is my fault. I understand the importance of exercising your dog, but I have been so stressed out from other obligations that I will stay up all night studying, doing housework, and taking care of other obligations. I used to take him on 30 minute walks every day when he was younger, but he was so hyper it didn't help. How long of walks do I need to do to get him tired out? What time of the day? And what can I do when it gets extremely cold outside (it got to -30 last winter)? My neighbors have a dog that I bring over almost every day and they play, but Tobi is 4yrs old and doesn't want to play nonstop like Paco.He is not on any sort of schedule really. I don't know if he is just a super hyper dog or what, I've had 2 dogs in my family before him and we never had to deal with any of this. He is half Boston Terrier and half Pugg.
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Has this behavior increased since you stopped walking him?

Is he crate trained at all?

Does he like all other dogs?

Does he use the bathroom in the house mostly when he's alone or any time?

When you walk him, do you use a traditional leash and collar?

(as a side note....there's a pretty serious thunderstorm going on here in WI....I may get knocked off line here shortly, and if I do, I promise I'll reply to you as oon as the power comes back on...possibly in the morning);

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, I would say his behavior has decreased since I quit walking him, but that's because luckily he got rid of SOME of his puppy behaviors.He isn't crate trained cuz like I said I just feel too bad for him. Ever since he ripped up my couch though, I've been using a baby gate to confine him to the kitchen. But even that makes me feel bad because his head is always down when I come home and the toys I leave for him don't move. I guess he doesn't like to play alone. He doesn't hate his crate, he'll go in there to bury bones in his blanket or to sleep if he wants but not very often.I used to walk him with a regular leash and collar, but he has permanent thinning of the hair on the underside of his neck because he pulls so hard and it rubs the hair off. So sometimes I try to use a harness, especially if I'm taking him on a run.When he goes to the bathroom in the house it's usally at night while I'm asleep. Then I get a lovely morning wake up of stepping bare foot into his pile. There have been a few times I have caught him out of no where just peeing on my carpet. When he poops sometimes he'll do it when I'm home but he always makes sure I don't see him doing it. So it's all kind of random.Yes, he loves other dogs, he always plays with Tobi, my neighbors dog, and anytime he sees a dog outside the window he starts whining and freaking out cuz he wants to go "meet" them.
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for all the additional information. I really appreciate it.

In cases of dogs who are acting up a bit in the home, the very first thing I always suggest is getting them into a basic obedience class. Not because he needs to learn how to sit and stay (although that's super nice too), but because attending these classes will build the bond between you and the dog and will elevate you into the position of top dog in the house since you'll be requesting him to do something and expecting that he follows through. It will also allow him to socialize with other people and animals in a safe, neutral environment.

The next thing I'd do is start the Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) training program. In my experience, if done consistently, this type of training offers the biggest results for both dogs and owners. With NILIF, your dog will obey your commands without any sort of physical discipline or frustration. The theory is that you raise yourself in the pack heirarchy by controlling all the dogs resources.

More to the point, you're doing to decide when to give your dog his food bowl and when it goes away. You're going to control when you pet your dog, when you offer toys or treats and when you're going to play with the dog.

I like this training because it works on every dog personality. Dogs who are shy get self confidence, dogs who are easily distracted are focused and shy dogs come out of their shell. Dogs like yours, who tend to be a bit pushy will learn patience and manners.

NILIF works like this: we're going to start by essentially ignoring the dog when he demands your attention. No matter how much he tries to get your attention..whether he's pawing at you, or barking at you or even bringing you things. You should absolutely step over him and ignore him as completely as possible. Don't look at him, talk to him or even make eye contact with him. Keep in mind, you're not trying to be mean to're trying to get him to understand that he can't demand you pay attention to him when HE wants it...with consistency, he'll figure out that you're in charge, regardless of what he thinks. As he figures this out...he will stop these troubling behaviors.

A side note...he may act up more when you first start training him. He's going to really work hard to get you to pay attention to him when he wants you to, but I promise if you don't give in, it'll be worth it in the end.

Everyone in the house is going to have to take part in these new training rules. Make sure they know that from now on, your dog is going to have to earn anything he gets in the house. There will be no treats, no petting, no anything without the right behavior from the dog. When it's time to eat, he's got to sit and wait before you feed him. If you want to give him a little tasty treat, then make sure he earns it by performing some behavior (could be simply sitting). If you're playing with him, only continue as long as you want, then pick the toy up, put it out of reach and walk way. Consistency is the key!!

The bot***** *****ne here is that NILIF is going to establish a very clear pack hierarchy in your house with you and any other human in the house in the top spot. It's done without cruelty or physical punishment, but will get the point across. In time, your dog is going to stop doing anything that you wouldn't agree with.

I would absolutely get back to walking him. Tired dogs are good dogs. I understand how difficult it can be though, so if this were me, I would invest in a Gentle Leader or Halti type leash. This is a training device that fits over the dog's nose and around her head. It is NOT a muzzle, but it does allow you to be able to control his head..and on a walk, if you control the head, you control the dog. You can find more information about this here:

In addition to the walk (which should be several miles a day to burn some of that young dog energy) may want to consider buying him a doggy backpack to wear. It can carry your keys, water bottle, treats for him. It gives him a job (carrying it) and the extra weight will wear him out on the walk faster than he would without it, which in turn, will keep him calmer and less destructive in the house.

This isn't an easy thing to fix...but I have no doubt that with the combination of obedience classes at a training center and your NILIF training at can absolutely get him in line.

I hope this helps!!

hanks for all the additional information. I really appreciate it.

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