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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20171
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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my rescue 2yr old? is becoming worse with her growling

Customer Question

my rescue 2yr old? bitch is becoming worse with her growling and excessive barking when anyone comes in the room whilst im present, she follows me every where i go, wants to be beside me all the time, my daughter lives with us and it is quite upsetting for her and others are afraid of her. she barks at the slightest noise and music that may sound like a door bell and anyone walking past the house that she can see out of the window, ive started to have the curtains drawn during the day, she is nervous and has anxiety, she is currently taking a CALMEX capsule daily.i cannot rest and relax .
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi Jacustome,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
How long have you had her?
What obedience training has she had?
What breed is she?
When did this start?
Is she allowed on the furniture?
What form of reprimand do you use with her?
Is she walked on a regular basis?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes shes allowed on my furniture, due to her nerves i was advised not to take her to training classes as she may become more stressed. i was told not to tell her off but soothe her by saying good girl untill she calms.i have had her since early december last year and adopted her in march.she only behaves like this when im present. also runs and eats her food quickly if uneaten when anybody visits. I take her out at least once a day but for the past week since she heard children playing, pulls back and is afraid to carry on walking, she needs now lots of encouragement to go other than the old grave yard where she loves to run about.I now tell her NO when shes really barking at people walking by and tell her shes good when she stops, but i have to get up and walk towards others or move at least to get her to stop when in the house, she nipped my daughter last week, slightly.shes an Hungarian puli cross.spent a good part of her 1st year chained on farm land with no interaction from anyone , no shelter from all weather conditions and was then starved untill found. she is spoilt with too much love and fuss from me i think??

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.



Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. I'm really not sure of what credentials the person had that gave you some of this information. It rally goes against what most trainers and behaviorist know. However, let me go over some information for you.


First off, the dog needs obedience training. That is a very large part of the problem. The ultimate goal will be to get her into a class, but she needs training and now. The following site is helpful for teaching YOU how to train your 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.


Additionally, everyone in the family should participate in training, but you can start other family members helping with training once she is responding well to commands from you. This will help her see you as the boss and once others start working with her, them as higher in the pack than her. If she feels she is the boss, then she feels that she needs to reprimand people that do things she doesn't like and feels she needs to protect you since she sees you as her person, thus the growls and even nips to reprimand.


Once you are the boss, she should not feel like she is the protector and should not feel like she has the right to reprimand everyone. So start the obedience training. I suggest using hot dog slivers or liver slivers while training since they are high value treats. Each time she obeys a command even if for a treat, it does make her a little more submissive.


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. 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).


Now when a dog is misbehaving and you go and show attention and tell her good girl in a soothing voice, you are showing the dog positive reinforcement. In other words, the dog likes being told she is good and the attention, so she will learn to exhibit that behavior to get the good attention. So I would stop that techniques entirely.


Instead, when she exhibits behavior that is unacceptable, give her leash a little tug to break her concentration and tell her NO in a low toned voice. The tone is important as it is more growl like to indicate a reprimand. Now the other part of this is that after a few reprimands she should stop the growling. As soon as she does that, reward her for not growling with nice calm praise like "good girl" and a tasty treat. This is behavior modification. She'll learn that she gets good things when she acts in an acceptable manner.


The same techniques can be used for her barking at windows and passing strangers though many owners get a citronella collar so excessive barking is immediately corrected with a spray so they learn quickly to not bark.


I also want to give you another technique used called BAT.


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 .


Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.

Just a quick note to see if you have had a chance to try any of my suggestions yet. i hope you found my suggestions helpful.