Oh Behave!

Emmaline Duffy-Fallon is the head trainer at Citizen Canine Ireland. She is an expert dog trainer and a certified behaviour counsellor who graduated in the USA from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers under the guidance of Jean Donaldson and Janis Bradley.

Oh My Dog are delighted to have Emmaline here to answer your questions. She gives a detailed reply to every question and outlines the steps you should take to overcome your dog’s training and behaviour difficulties. If you would like to ask a question that hasn’t already been answered below you can contact us at info@ohmydog.ie. But please check below first!

We have a German Shepherd bitch coming up on 12 months old, this will be our 4th GS in 40 yrs, all other 3 dogs have lived to 11-12yrs, they were all friendly, sociable, sensible loving dogs, however this new pup is loving and friendly with us but fierce, bristle up and sounds cross with strangers. She is similar with family but when they speak to her she calms down. From a pup we have tried extra hard with her, reassuring her and working hard to build her confidence. This seems to be a nervous thing, if people try to make friends with her it nearly makes her worse, she reacts best if people ignore her, like a child she comes round in her own time and then will be quite friendly.

Is there anything we can do to reassure her and calm this initial reaction down? She has been the fastest trained of all our GS, but this cross attitude is not what we are used to. Away from home she is very good on the lead or off, comes back when called and doesn’t bother with people or other dogs, it’s only when she is at home. I understand this is her protective nature but we need to calm her if possible.

Your help with this would be much appreciated. Emmaline’s answer…

I am hoping you will be able to help me, we have two dogs at home, Juke is a Siberian Husky who will be 3 yrs in March and Lady is (we think her age is) 5 month old Whippet. Two beautiful dogs. We rehomed Juke at a year old and never had any major problems with him. He would sleep in his run at night and we never had to close his kennel door. He has always been content and overall a pleasure to have – a bit wired to begin with but what 1 year old isn’t!

Enter Lady… Lady strayed in to where I work, to be honest I couldn’t leave her behind. We only have her about 3 weeks and to be fair she is learning. The problem we have is since we put them in the run together. After the first few nights, Juke has done nothing but howl, bark, chew and pull at the gate. He won’t go into his kennel, which is completely out of character. Obviously I know there is something wrong I just don’t know what exactly or how to fix it.

Last Monday he was very down, with his tail and ears down and he would eat only a few little bits out of my hand. He just slept all day and didn’t respond very well. He worried me so much I considered calling the vet but when we brought Lady in that evening he bounced back. We never had any issue like this with him before. We brought him in a couple of nights when he was really unbearable and there was no problem inside, he just sat down and slept. We did recently put a light up over their run for security. Juke has had a lot of change in the last month and I just want to put it right. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated. Emmaline’s answer…

We have a golden rescue. The vet estimates his age anywhere from 5 – 7 years old. He is housetrained and very gentle. He peed and pooped in the house his very first day but nothing since, until this past week. He pees in the house and twice he pooped. We walk him twice but my husband works 4 days a week, I work 3 days. When we got him, we thought he’d use the doggy door. He refuses. Nothing we tried will encourage him to use it. I’m taking him to the vet to be seen but now my question is: do you think it’s fair to Leo to be cooped up in the house for 10-11 hours? Remember we thought he’d use the doggy door and my work hours only recently changed from half day to 3 full days. We really want Leo to stay but is it fair to him? Emmaline’s answer…
Hi there! I have 2 little Yorkies… both a year and a half old. They are from different litters but are like brothers as I got them around the same time. Over the last few months Teddy would always eat first and growl if Buddy came near him but Buddy would just sit and watch Teddy eat until Teddy is finished or almost finished. Then he would eat from Teddy’s bowl, whatever is left. But would rarely just eat from his own bowl even though it’s full and waiting for him beside Teddy’s! It’s like Teddy is the dominant one and Buddy knows this and waits for his turn? But it just means that I think Buddy isn’t getting as much food. It’s a weird one! Any ideas on how to balance this or should I just leave them to it? Emmaline’s answer…
Hi Emmaline, my dog is a rough collie and is about 5 years old. He is a nervous dog at the best of times and on a number of occasions when we were at work he went berserk in the house jumping up on the kitchen table, windows, getting into the bath, etc. We found him salivating profusely and panting when we returned – it looked as though he was desperately trying to get out of the house. We thought it was our neighbour’s gate banging that was spooking him as when this happened before while we were there he became quite panicked. But tonight for the first time he displayed this behaviour in front of us and continued to do this for a couple of hours. There were no noises we could hear and the weather was OK, i.e. no thunder so we’re very confused. In the past we thought he might have been bored but we have another dog in the house that keeps him company. The vet has seen him, taken bloods and nothing showed up. Can you suggest what may be wrong with him? I’m at my wits end with worry. Thanks in advance. Emmaline’s answer…
Hi, my dog Toby the Jack Russell is now nearly 17 weeks and he still won’t house train. I’ve tried everything, bring him outside every half hour and give him praise and treats when he goes on the newspaper. I’ve also tried dipping his nose in his pee. Can u help me? Emmaline’s answer…
Hi, my dog Toby the Jack Russell is now nearly 17 weeks and he keeps biting. I’m very scared he’ll become vicious. I’ve tried going ieeekk but it doesn’t work. What should I do? Emmaline’s answer…
My Golden Retriever Quillan is a terrible beggar at meal times and puts both front paws up on my lap to see what I’m eating and to try and beg for some food. It’s a result of being soft with him when he was a small pup and now it’s a bad habit. He doesn’t do it as much to my fiancée who is probably the stricter of the two of us with him anyway. How can I stop him from jumping up on my lap while eating? Emmaline’s answer…
I have a Golden Retriever who is just over a year old. I have had him for 4 months and he is so nervous he is depressing. He is brilliant with other dogs but is paranoid with people. I could lose my arm walking him in town. He is fine on the Green in front of the house and does not need a lead and will come back if called as long as no stranger is stood by me. I am getting a bit desperate if you have any ideas. Emmaline’s answer…
I have a boxer cross 6 months old. We have just moved house and can’t get her to settle in the utility at night. She used to sleep on her own in the old house. We have tried lights on and the radio playing, like when she was a pup, but she’s scratching the door, eating the skirting boards around the door and howling. Don’t know how to calm her without bringing her upstairs to my room which I have ended up doing. Emmaline’s answer…
I have a 2 year old Yorkie and about a month ago I got a 14 month old Cavalier King Charles. The Yorkie sleeps in the kitchen but I have had to put the King Charles in a different room because he kept the Yorkie up all night crying. The crying has now been replaced with scratching the door as soon as its light, waking the whole house up. Please help, I’m at my wits end! Emmaline’s answer…
My dog Maxi who is a St Bernard cross keeps putting her paw up looking for attention. She also nips me on the arm and leg when sometimes over excited. Emmaline’s answer…
We have a 3 year old Boxer Collie Cross who adores people and loves playing with other dogs. The problem is that any dog she sees passing by the window she is extremely aggressive towards. She barks excessively and whimpers and runs back and forth and at times the hair along the middle of her back stands up in spikes. She is the same when she is on her lead and meets another dog, the same excessive barking, lunging towards them and again the spikes along her back. The only time she is not aggressive is when she and the other dog are both off the lead (and they have never before passed by her window) and she is always submissive to the dogs that she does befriend. Her aggression has escalated over the last few days and she has slipped her harness to chase dogs on her walk. Their owners are afraid and become very irate with us, which is frustrating. I am now 4 1/2 months pregnant and can’t take her lead on a walk anymore because she is far too strong for me and I am anxious that this behaviour will escalate after the baby arrives. She has never shown any aggression towards a human and really does want to be everybody’s friend. She does a number of ‘tricks’ like sit, give me the paw, roll over, but really does not pay us any attention once she has her mind set on something. Emmaline’s answer…
My puppy is 10 months old and when she walks she hops for a few steps on her back legs and then walks again. What is causing this? Emmaline’s answer…
My 7 year old golden retriever has started peeing in the house – the same spot. Its now happening at night. He’s never been one to bark to go out and I think he is becoming more cautious on the stairs so he can’t get to me at night. He has also slowed down quite a bit from last year. Not as much energy. I did bring him to the vet. They said his labs are okay and its probably behavioural. He also has some new tumours that the vet feels are fatty and something to watch. I think its more than behavioural. What else can I do? Emmaline’s answer…
My 18 month red setter which we have owned since 2 weeks ago is kept outdoors in an insulated kennel in a large garden. Every night this week he has been barking about 0200 in the morning. He will stop after about 10 minutes then start again. The only cure seems to be bringing him into the house into the utility room where he stays during very cold nights anyway. The garden is private and has only one other house close by. How can we stop the barking? Emmaline’s answer…
I have 2 miniature dachshunds, one male, one female, both 7 years old. They are both badly socialised with children and they bark so loudly they frighten everyone. When we have any children to stay the dogs have to be locked away. Is there any way of correcting this. I urgently need help. Emmaline’s answer…
My dog eats her dog lead. She ate 3 leather ones already. How do I stop this? Emmaline’s answer…
My 8 month old St. Bernard bites when he is excited, which is often. Even if someone walks past his kennel he gets over excited and jumps up on them and bites (not snarling or angry). I know it is only playful biting but in a dog that size it can cause damage. I’ve tried ignoring him and correcting him but neither one has a lasting effect. If I stop moving completely and don’t look at him he stops but the second I move he’s off again. Emmaline’s answer…
Hi Emmaline, I have a female Terrier X who is 9 months old and has over the last month or so become more aggressive towards our female 3 year old Westie. Is there Alpha Female going on? Or does the Terrier X need to be spayed? Would this help with the fighting (as at some stage I would like to breed with the Westie). They have to be physically separated when the fighting starts, which is normally started by the younger dog. Both mouths are locked around each others neck and mouths. I have tried the submission holding that Cesar Millan uses on TV, and it works sometime but not always! Bella (Terrier X) is put into her bed – a med doggy cage when she makes a move on Beauty, and is kept there for a while, as Beauty will cower and hide when she is let out – becoming submissive but at times will stand her ground. Any suggestions would be a great help… to get peace back into our house of kids and dogs. Emmaline’s answer…
I have 4 boxers, they all sleep in their crates at night but the youngest who is six months still wets hers every night. Can you help me please? Emmaline’s answer…
I have a 9 week old Siberian Husky pup who will not stop howling at the back door when she is put outside. I bring her for several walks and bring her inside the house for half an hour at a time. Also in between walks I play in the garden with her but still she keeps howling constantly. Emmaline’s answer…
Hi. We had a baby 5 months ago & since then our dog (of 5 years) has been howling, barking & scratching the door down at night. Unfortunately, the arrival of our baby coincided with the death of our other dog (she was old & had been sick). We are at our wits end with him as no one is getting any sleep at night. I am trying to be patient with him & I do understand his life as he knew it has changed completely but we are all wrecked & trying to adjust to our new arrival. Have you any advice as to how we can help him adjust? He is fine during the day & shows no interest in the baby. He was sleeping downstairs with our other dog (before she died) for the best part of a year now, so he is used to not being upstairs at night time. He used to be in the hallway/kitchen, but he had started squeezing himself through the bars of the stair gate to get upstairs so we had to move him into the utility room (have no door to our kitchen). He is originally a rescue dog & is approx 8 years old. Thanks so much in advance. Emmaline’s answer…
Hi Emmaline. I have a Shih Tzu (15 months) who is an only dog and lives a quiet life with myself and my husband. He is a friendly little guy but unfortunately a boxer pup belonging to a neighbour came into our garden one day and frightened the life out of Alfie as he wasn’t expecting to see her. She is a lovely dog but much too big for Alfie as she paws him and jumps on him whenever we are out for our walk. Alfie just goes mad now when we see her and will not stop barking and generally going mad. Is there anything I can do to stop this happening. I lifted him up in the beginning because I was afraid this boxer would hurt him but I think that might have been a mistake. He is OK with other dogs we see on walks but not great with people, and if I stop to talk he barks for quite a while. Have you any suggestions as to what I can do about this boxer pup as it is making our little walks very unpleasant. I have asked the neighbour not to let her roam all over the place but unfortunately they are not great at keeping her in their own garden. Emmaline’s answer…
Hi Emmaline. We have a 7 month old male Boston Terrier called Boston. As they are such a rare and fantastic breed, we are thinking we might put him to stud once or twice. This obviously means not neutering him for another few years. I am hesitant of this as I have heard that it can lead to many behavioural and some medical problems. Can you please advise me on the best way of keeping Boston from developing aggressiveness? Also, if after 2/3 years, we decide to have him neutered, will it be “too late” if he has already developed aggressiveness?? Thanks in advance for your help! Emmaline’s answer…
Hi. I have a 4 month old basset hound called Frank, and am trying my best to train him despite his stubborn temperament. At night he sleeps in the kitchen and goes out the back all day… whilst myself and my husband are at work. Once I get home I walk him, feed him and sit down on the floor to play for a while. At this stage both myself and my husband try to sit down and watch tv for an hour… and Frank starts to bark continuously. It seems to be for attention?? How can we stop this?? He goes to bed no problem and sleeps through the night the minute he is put to bed with the light off. He just cant seem to settle with us in the sitting room. Emmaline’s answer…
I have a 9 month old Labrador Retriever and am worried about her barking and attention seeking! I was ill with an illness that causes fatigue years ago, then got better and got her but now I have somewhat relapsed and cannot provide enough exercise for her. I am wondering whether I should re-home her, even though I don’t want to obviously. She is still young and I’m afraid the pent up energy will start causing problem behaviours. Already in the past few weeks she has been barking a lot more. What do you think I should do? Thanks, Louise. Emmaline’s answer…
Hi, I have two Boxer girls, Tia 2 1/2 and Boca 14 months. They have always been inside and get loads of walks throughout the day and also to play in the back yard. My husband and I both work full time now and have a sitter go in 3 to 4 times a day to let them out and go to the bathroom, keep water topped up and feed them until we come home at 5.30. When home we walk them for about an hour and then later again for about 20 mins. They both seem happy and aren’t getting into mischief at home. But is this ok for them because obviously we want what’s best for them. Next summer we are thinking of getting them a shed and leaving them outside during the day but not until the better weather comes, if ever!! What do other people do with their dogs during the day. A dog door isn’t really suitable as we have french doors in the back!! Any advice or information you have would be great. Thanks. Jude, Tia & Boca. Emmaline’s answer…
Why does our golden retriever Elsan keep running away when we walk him. He does come back but not very easily and when we walk him he walks about a half mile in front of us. Emmaline’s answer…
Hi Emmaline, I have a rescue pom which I have about 2 years now. He is roughly 6 years old. The past couple of months he has started to wet on the kitchen floor in the same place every time it happens. This only happens when we leave him on his own in the evening in the kitchen when we watch tv or are eating in another room. He never barks to let us know he needs to go out either. Is there any advice you can give me on how to stop this? Thanks. Emmaline’s answer…
Hi, I can’t stop my dog from jumping up on other people. He doesn’t do it to me any more, but no matter how often I tell him not to, he persists in jumping up on everyone else. In fact he seems to delight in disobeying me. Also if he doesn’t get attention from people (including me) he nips and pulls at hands and clothes with his teeth. Again, the more I tell him to stop, the more he persists. It worries me, because I can’t allow him contact with other people, which is what he really needs to socialise him. Also he’s fanatical about food. If you give him anything different, even if it’s just something bland and boring, he throws himself at it as if he’d never had a meal in his life. He’s a rescue collie and was about 4 months when I re-homed him 2 months ago. Another problem is that he terrorises the cat, even though he knows that he’s frightening him. Hope you can help? Emmaline’s answer…
Stevie is a 9 month old white rescue boxer who has just come to live with us recently. We also have Eddie (red and 9 years old) who lived with our other boxer for 7 years. He’s very well behaved and always friendly. Stevie is not house trained, very underweight and has quite bad separation anxiety. She’s only been with us 3 weeks. I can see she wants to try and is slowly making progress. One of the things I am having trouble controlling is whether i’m in or out she gets up on the window sill, upstairs and down. Not only is she in full view of the street but also I’m terrified she’s going to get hurt somehow. I’ve tried shutting certain doors but then Eddie was getting cut off from two of his favourite rooms. Today a passer by knocked on my door to complain, and asked if I was aware that my dog was standing on the bedroom window sill. Can you help? Emmaline’s answer…
Our 4 year old boxer is a rescue dog who we’ve had for 9 months. He is friendly with people but we cannot let him even see another dog. Taking him for a walk is a nightmare. We had him neutered 2 months ago but we have seen no improvement at all. What can we do? Emmaline’s answer…
My 5 month old Boxer pup won’t go into her house at night. She stands 20ft away from her house and starts her playful barking and running away. The only way we get her in is when we eventually catch her when she’s back in the house and carry her out. She’s getting way to heavy to carry so how can I get her to ‘like’ going to bed? Emmaline’s answer…
This is going to sound really terrible but I am really getting sick of our dog. He is 2 years old. A german shepherd. He has always been aggressive with other dogs but lately it has gotten to the stage where we can’t even bring him for a walk as he is a nightmare. He sleeps in the house at night in his cage but when I take him in on my own at night he just will not go to bed for me (I have nearly always put him to bed without any problems). Tonight is one of these occasions where he won’t go to bed for me – so I have just put him back out the back garden. He is licking/foaming at the mouth at each side wall in our garden – we have dogs either side of us. If we go out to play with him, he runs over to one of the walls doing this licking business and it is as if he goes into a trance and he ignores us completely. He barks at the dogs also. He has also the odd time lately been weeing in the house – he is properly toilet trained. Emmaline’s answer…
I have a labrador who is nearly 2. I can’t train him on the lead. He pulls like mad and is very strong. Can you help? Emmaline’s answer…
I have a two year old Tibetan Terrier, I got him when he was a nine week old pup. The main problems with him are he barks in the car especially when we stop the car or put on the indicators. It is not just an excited bark more an anxiety bark I think. It is extremely annoying especially when trying to park. We have tried everything telling him to stop, ignoring him, water bottle, pet corrector but nothing works. He likes the car and has no problem getting into it. The other problem is he will only come when called if given a treat but this does not work if there are any other dogs around. I go to agility training with him. Emmaline’s answer…
I have a lab x neutered male. He is a rescue and we’ve had him for 2 years now. He’s very chilled out and laid back and loves everyone. I don’t leave him alone in the house as he was a terrible chewer when we first got him. I leave him out with my aunt & uncle who live a few hundred yards up the lane from me. He always stays there if we go on holidays or away for the weekend and if I’m out of the house for whatever reason. He loves it there, they spoil him rotten, feed him half their dinner, give him toast, you name it, they have 2 dogs and he loves tearing round with them. The problem is (finally!) sometimes he jumps their wall and runs all the way out the lane back to our house, even though I’m not there and my uncle has to go out for him, put him on his lead and bring him back, which he does with no fuss (the dog not the uncle!). I cannot for the life of me figure out why he does this and I feel guilty as my aunt & uncle are in their seventies and I don’t want them worrying about him doing this. There’s also the worry of him getting killed on the road. Even though it’s a quiet country lane, we do still get some cars and tractors. Any thoughts on why he does this and how we can stop it?! Thank you! Emmaline’s answer…
I have two puppies, one of 4 1/2 months and one of 11 weeks. When we are home we like to leave them out to play in our garden which is an acre in size but borders a very busy road on which one of our dogs has already been killed. If we do not keep an eye on them constantly, which is quite hard to do-they get out of the garden and run on the road and it has us petrified. We have dog-proofed the garden as best we can but they seem to be finding new ways to get out all the time. I want to be able to let them play in the garden, but how do I stop them roaming? I do not want to use radio collars on them. Emmaline’s answer…
I have 2 cavaliers, both 2 yr old males from the same litter. They are fantastic dogs except when someone is leaving the house, i.e. picks up keys, puts on jacket, picks up handbag and they go beserk barking and can’t be calmed down. When we take them for walks it takes 2 of us to get a lead on one of the dogs as he just loses control. We’ve tried ignoring, treats, muzzles, everything and with our first baby on the way in a couple of months need to get this behaviour under control. It only happens when someone is leaving or they are going for a walk, even on the walk one of them just doesn’t calm down at all and goes for every dog he sees and constantly barks. Emmaline’s answer…
Hi, my pup piddles a lot (not intentionally, just dripping). He piddles when he gets excited mostly, like at feeding time or getting ready to go for a walk? How can I train him not to do this? Emmaline’s answer…
Hi, my border collie has started going next door, which is on the road-side, and there are always other dogs about there too. I don’t want her going there because she doesn’t have any road sense, and I don’t want her getting into trouble with other dogs, as there are quite a few at the houses along the road. Please help, I just want my dog to return when called not take off running, and to stay at home. Emmaline’s answer…
My 14 week old Golden Retriever is a wee pet of a thing and very well behaved until I get her on the lead to bring her for a walk! She has a habit of ‘putting the handbrake on’ and she stops still on the road! How can I encourage her to walk for me without the ‘handbrake’? All help greatly appreciated! Emmaline’s answer…
Our dog drives us mad barking all the time, when the door bell goes, when someone passes a gate. We have tried everything from shaking cans of stones to a muzzle. Emmaline’s answer…
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