Health and Behavioral Problem Discussions




Now You Can Have a Dream Dog!




In this section, Dr. Dare Miller answers our customers' letters.








Dear Dr. Dare:


This dog we've got burst out of the door like a shot from a cannon again this morning. My little girl was trying to go through the door at the time. She got the door open a little and out went the dog nearly taking her with him. I ran to pick her up. The poor child didn't even know what had happened. I could brain him! The other day he did the same thing with me while I was trying to hold him back. He went right between two cars and I swear under a third without ever looking back or slowing down. In fact, I'll bet he didn't know where he was when he did stop. I had to get him back from the pound. It was two days later and they said he was picked up clear over on the east side. When the pound called to say they'd found him my first reaction was not relief but a realization that now I'd probably have to go through it all over again. I was right. So here I am. But it's got to stop. He's getting better at it. Do they make hobbles for dogs? Isn't there something I can do? We are fond of him.


Cannon's ball.


Dear Cannon:


Yes. Rename him for one thing. Seriously, we do in various ways make the dog what he is. If you think of him as a cannon ball he's more likely than not to become one. Your dog doesn't have to act like that so don't expect it. You can and must quickly bring him under self-control. Get through to him and get him oriented to you rather than only to himself. But first, let's get rid of whatever causes him to be like that. Take for instance, your holding him back at the door. This is not good. Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) discovered around the turn of the 1900's and later described in detail the Opposition Reflex in dogs. If you push any where on a dog he'll push back. But more important still, he'll think and learn opposition to you. If you hold a dog back you're teaching him to want to bolt out that door, unless you say ok, then he can go through. Warning: as long as you physically keep your dog from going through the door you're actually stimulating him to dash out the door. Instead, teach your dog self-control with DOG-MASTER®. You drop it at the door as you move the door. Then praise your dog the instant he backs up by himself. Have your daughter move the door as you drop the instrument until whenever the door moves, he backs up or moves away.





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