Ask A Trainer...

Over the coming weeks we will be answering some of the questions we've received over the years. Please remember that the answers are provided based on the details given. We cannot provide outlined or foolproof answers without having met the animal or worked with it. All answers are suggestions only and are followed/implemented at the owners own risk. 

"We got this dog from a friend and I believe he is 4 months old..he is a german shepherd and seams to look like me might of been hit alot...he won't move on the leash and always has tail between his legs...he won't look at me always has his head down and never wags his tail always seams scared and every noise he hears he trys to run and hide... I just don't know what to do...."

Situations like this are a tough one. Without knowing the past of the dog, I always encourage people to simply work with what you have. Train the animal in front of you. Not the unknown story behind it. We may never know if the pup was abused and there are many pups who may appear that way but unfortunately, it's also entirely possible that it is a genetic issue as well. Or a lack of socialization or neglect. There are so many what-if's that often times it's best just to progress with what you can actually see and that is 'behavior'. What is the puppy doing? What can you tangibly and repeatedly see affecting the animal and it's responses? Take note of those things (for future reference) and contact a trainer that can help you begin to build confidence in your own skills as well as the puppies.  The sooner you get to working on things like this, the better. 

"My 12 year old hound-rotty mix has started chasing (more of a limping hobble) and nipping at dogs's rears at the dog park. She will also growl and bark while wagging her tail, and she won't leave other dogs alone until she has had a chance to smell them and then yell at them. Most of the dogs there will ignore her but some don't know how to react. Can you explain what this behavior is?"

It is likely a mix of several things. Hounds love to follow their nose and often bark/are vocal towards anything that causes excitement or a reason to "alert". Not all breeds are quite as vocal as most hounds and this can certainly cause confusion for dogs who aren't sure what is so exciting. The nipping could be a way to demand a response from the confused/neutral/ignoring dog. Either way, it is a behavior I would encourage you to interrupt as it could understandably lead to miscommunication and if she's baying at the wrong dog, an aggressive response. It's important to make sure any of our dogs, when playing with others, play with well matched groups. If a dog doesn't seem to respond well to yours, that's totally normal and its time to move on.