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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20172
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a terrier and his naughty behaviour is increasing for

Customer Question

I have a terrier and his naughty behaviour is increasing for example, he screams and whines totally out of control when he know he is going for a walk. I say no to him and he has now started a gruble growl at me . On an evening he walk into the front room looks at you and walk off, to go back in his bed in another room. When you shout his name to come back he runs off. He is very demanding of youre attention. We have had him two years and I am now getting sick of this behaviour. When he is out for a walk he has an excellent call back but getting him out, on a morning is becoming increasingly stressfull and I am losing my patience. Please help with some advice as I am prepared to do what I can. we got him from a rescue sadberge and they believed  he was bullied by a learcher . We have had him castrated thinking this may calm him  down with no results. We have a companion for him also a bitch terrier and they get on really well, she is so layed back. They both get equal attention but while missy will sit upstairs in the front room with you Murphy just stays down stairs and sneaks around the hall way. When you go down to him he ignores you and runs in his room. When people knock on the door he goes absloultely ballistic barking actually screaming. I have told visitors to ignore him and I shut the door clear glass door were he  his so that he does not come running up to the visitor and bark at them for attention. He is always hyper to go in the garden, and if you let him out and shut the door he then scratches at the door barks and screams to come back in, you let him in, he then wants to go back out. He actually wants the back door left open so that he can come in and out as and when he wants. Unfortunately this is what we have done. I don't think I have helped this, I feel I have allowed this dominant behaviour because I felt so sorry for him when we rescued him. But I am aware this has to change. When he decides to come upstairs he jumps onto my husbands knee and stares at him to stroke him, he will snuggle in and then when he as had enough he jumps down and goes down stairs. If you called him to come back he does not acknowledge you. However if you were then to go in the kitchen and make noises , he comes  running up the stairs, if they is  nothing for him he goes right back down the stairs and ignores you. I have tried closing the living room door when he comes up, so that he hasn't got the power to roam around, he does not settle he walks around and around, lays for a few min on the floor and then walks around demanding attention looking at you and looking at the door for you to open. if we ignore this he will then jump on you and starts panting till you just get fed up and  open the door and he runs out. He is not the best at socilasing when out for a walk, we have a mussle now on him, and a halkie?? lead that also stops him pulling as he is terrible to walk pulling pulling.

He just seems hyperactive and never relaxes 

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,
My name is Jane. I've professionally worked with animals for over 16 years dealing with both health and behavioral issues. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
I need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your responses, it will likely take 30-40 minutes to type my response. I hope you can be patient.
Is Murphy allowed on the furniture?
Does he have his own room?
Has he had any obedience training?
I should be able to help with his issues but I do need to warn you that it is going to require consistency and work on your part and the family's.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi there both dogs have a big shares bed in the utility rom were that sleep at night, he has not had any obedience classes. Unfortunately we have let them both up on the furniture , this has now stopped though.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links to supporting websites at this time. So where there is a site listed, you may have to copy that to a separate browser window or tab to access the data there.

What you have on your hands is what I refer to as a dominate biting little dog. I see this "type" of problem weekly and they don't necessarily bite (though many nip) but they do intimidate their owners and carry on and basically use any tactic they can to get what they want.
There are some medical conditions that can cause sudden aggression and those may be a factor. Unfortunately, these would not be able to be ruled out without testing.

From your description, it doesn't sounds like a medical issue, but it is best to check to be positive.

It sounds like your dog may be having issues with dominance aggression. Many dominant dogs are described as well behaved until you try to get them to do something they do not want to do, and then they reprimand you either with a growl or bite if you don't heed the growl. Things like taking away something they want, making them move when they don't want to, waking them up, etc can cause them to reprimand (bite) you. Other exhibit behavioral issues that they have found works to get them what they want.

Dogs that are allowed on furniture (even if put on the furniture) tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level or higher if on your lap, they mentally feel elevated as well in the pack order and thus are the boss. Keeping them on the floor can help lower them mentally back to a submissive position in the pack. So the first thing is to not allow him higher that the humans or even on the same level. In addition, humans shouldn't be on the floor with him either. A small short stool is enough to keep them higher than the dog when petting the dog. Attach a leash and use it to remove him from the furniture. Give a correction in the form of a quick tug and firm "NO" when he attempts to get on and a treat when he starts not trying to get on the furniture. Thus you are providing negative reinforcement for the getting on the furniture and positive reinforcement for the desired behavior (not attempting to get on the furniture). I understand you no longer allow them on the furniture, but I want you to reward them for not trying to get on the furniture.

There are other ways to regain the dominant position in the house as well. The best way is to start obedience training. While a formal training class is great, you can start obedience training without a formal class. Before you can get into classes, I am including links to a couple of other sites that teach some good methods of training. Be sure and read both. Do not just have a trainer teach your dog. Have a trainer teach you how to train your dog. It works so much better and the dog will respect YOU and not just the trainer.

The following site is helpful. 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.

You will also want to keep a leash on him at all times initially to grab if he should disobey. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well your dog does with training. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you.

Now I want to address some of the specific issues and give you some clues on how to correct the behavior. I'm going to talk about the "come" issue first. You need to make coming to you enjoyable to the dog. So even if he wants to come to you, give him a tasty treat. It will take him a little while but he will start associating the command with good things and want to come. You need to treat all the time initially but will be able to cut back after he learns the command. If he typically ignores the "come" command switch to a different word such as "HERE" and use that from now on for him. It will also help him determine if you want him or your girl. Remember that the treat has to be a tasty treat.
Now you will be using your tasty treats to convince him to follow you around. The tasty, stinky treats like hotdogs coat your hand with a smell that the dog can detect and helps get the dog to do what you want. So let him know that you have the treat, but he doesn't get it until he does what you want. I use commands like "go" and "in" to let a dog know where I want them to be. I use "go" and point to let the dog know they should go in that direction. Initially I do this at doors when I want them to go out. Since it is something they usually want to do, they go out and associate the command with the action and the treat reinforces the behavior. I use in to send a dog into the house or the bathtub. The treats and training are the same as out.

Now these are things you will training for in addition or after obedience training. Those same treats are ones I use to have a dog walk on a leash. I keep the treat in my hand and the dog follows the hand while on the leash and remains at my side. When the dog strays from my side, I then give a short tug on the lead and a no. If the dog is walking where he should be for a few minutes, he gets a treat. Over time, he must walk where he should for increasingly longer periods of time to get the treat. Over time he will likely stop paying attention. When this happens, give a short tug and change direction. This teaches him to keep an eye on you at all times.

Now for his door issue. When first teaching him to sit at the door when visitors come, you can slip the leash under your foot, have him sit and use the leash to keep him in that spot in a sit or down position as you open the door. Initially he will fight it, but soon will realize it doesn't do any good to try and move away and will stay. When he does that reward him. Have visitors reward him as well. You can either ignore the barking and screaming as best you can or get a citronella bark collar. They are quite effective and do not hurt the dog. That may stop the barking and screaming. There are many issues to work on and I'd tackle the obedience training first as that will make the others easier and they may stop on their own after he acknowledges you as the boss.

Additionally, I would suggest you get a basket muzzle and make him wear it anytime children are around or visitors are there. Be sure to use the leash to make him obey you. If he growls give a short tug to get his attention and a firm "NO" to let him know, you are not going to allow his aggression. If he is sleeping, give a little tug to let him know that someone is there so he isn't startled when being woken up. .

In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques on the previous website, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . You may need to come back in a few weeks for clarification on specifics since there is so many issues that he has, but I will be here.
If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.

I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. I hope you found my answer helpful.

Let me know,
Jane Lefler