Author - Junior Watson

Q&A: To leash, or not to leash

My family just took in a maltese that had been rescued from a neglectful home. She is wonderful with our cats and our children. My eight year old actually seems to be her favorite person.

She is quite sweet. However, she is very skittish, fearful of the leash and of putting anything onto her, making going outside difficult.

She is small and had most of her fur removed due to a flea infestation prior to our adoption. She needs to have some layers put on and to be comfortable with putting a leash on her, especially because she is house broken.

However, she hides under the table whenever we try with either. How do we get her to be less skittish, especially with layering up for the cold and using a leash? ~Lynn

Hi Lynn.

It sounds as if your poor little dog has had a traumatic past.

She is probably not used to being handled, and then when she has been handled, she may have been treated roughly.

You mentioned she really seems to like you child. It may be a good idea to have them make some attempts at ‘dressing’ her.

The dog needs time to build trust with you and gain more confidence. Often rescue dogs are skittish because of their past.

The best thing you can do for her is be very calm and patient. Never try to do anything quickly, or make any sudden or loud movements around her. Use a confident tone to reassure it is ok, do not feed into her insecurity by using ‘baby talk’ with her.

Try and find a treat she really likes and lure her into the jacket/collar and leash with the food (you can try peanut hotter, cheese, sandwich meat, etc).

Maybe have your eight year old hold her while you try and do this. Again, remain calm and confident, and be very patient with her. This will get easier in time, she just needs to understand that you are not going to hurt her.


Q&A: Companionship for older dogs

We recently adopted a small rescue dog (9 yrs old) to be a companion to our 10 yr old dog who has been lonely since our other dog died. From the description of the rescue dog from the rescue group, it seemed to be a perfect fit. We made a point that we wanted a companion for our other dog. However, the new dog has started snapping at the resident dog, and one time I was almost in the middle of it because I was putting their leashes on. We are disappointed that the new dog seems to have no interest in the resident dog or my son. I’ve tried to contact the rescue group to get some advice on this, but they don’t contact me back. Our resident dog loves to interact with other dogs and this is upsetting to us. Any advice?


Hi Carol.

Sounds like a tough situation.

Unfortunately it seems as if the rescue organization did not have a lot of information about the dog you adopted, and what seemed like a good fit at first, may have proven otherwise.

You didn’t mention how long you have had the rescue dog – If the adoption is very recent, it is possible that the new dog just needs time to settle in and find his place in your family.

Bonding with a human can take 6-12 months, especially if he has trust issues from abuse or abandonment. His interest in your other dog though, should be quite clear after several weeks.

A 9 yr old dog is considered a senior dog, and he may very well not have much interest in another dog at all.

The show of aggression is more of a concern. The dogs need to, at the very least, live amicably in the house.

You need to train the new dog that it is not acceptable to snap at your other dog. I would tell him a firm ‘no’, if he snaps at your dog, and then separate them.

You can set this up to practice in situations you know cause a reaction. You should always have the rescue dog on a lead when doing this so you have more control.

Depending on the severity of the aggression you may need to look at hiring a professional to help you and see if the situation is going to work out.

Good luck


Q&A: Collar Chaos

We have purchased a puppy border collie and we have had him 2 weeks. He’s almost ten weeks but we are struggling to get the collar on him.

When attempting to put his collar on he yelps and runs and hides. The only way we can get his collar on if he’s asleep.

Thank you, Natalie

Hi Natalie.

The simplest way to deal with this is to put his collar on and just leave it on.

There is no reason he can’t wear a flat collar around the house all the time, and he will soon get used to having it on.

When he is calm, busy interacting with you, or even eating, you should touch him around the collar area, and even lightly hold onto it. This will get him used to being touched around that area.

I would guess though that you will have the same issue when trying to put a leash on him.

The best thing to do with this is attach the lead when he is eating, or in the evening when he is distracted or tired, and allow him to drag it around for awhile.

Always stay near him to ensure he does not get it caught on anything. After awhile you can begin to pick the lead up and put it in your pocket so he gets used to walking around with you without any pulling on the leash. The bottom line is he finds it a bit scary to have anything put on him at this stage, so you just want to slowly get him used to it.


p.s. we’d love to hear how you and your dog get on and whether this information was helpful. Comment below to let us know

Q&A: My dog can’t take no for an answer


I am the lucky owner of a sweet, playful, energetic black lab mix named Charley (11 months old). We adopted him when he was 7 months old and put him immediately in basic training. He knows his commands, is not destructive, gets oodles of exercise and really is just a joyful, exuberant pup. He comes to work with me, so he is always being socialized with other people and dogs (and sometimes cats).

There’s this one thing, though….

At the dog park, he is super playful. When he finds a good match in another dog who has his same energy level, it’s fantastic. They run, tug, wrestle, etc. and it’s obvious that they’re having a great time. The problem happens when he decides he wants to play with a dog that clearly does NOT want to play with him. Here is what happens:

Charley (in a play bow): BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK (he has a loud bark)
Other dog: (ignores Charley):
Charley (still in a play bow): BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK
Other dog: (growls, bares teeth, nips, lunges)
Charley (still in a play bow): BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK

Sometimes (very rarely) Charley will get the message and back off. Most of the time, though, one of three things will happen:
1) The owner of the other dog will interfere and either think Charley is being aggressive and push Charley off or, if their dog is small, pick up their dog and make the situation worse
2) I will grab Charley and take him for a time out. These time outs work occasionally. When they don’t work, he just goes right back to that same dog. I have to grab him because I can call his name until I’m blue in the face and he still won’t listen. He’s fixated on the other dog. (For this reason, were are ramping up our recall practice.) Also, it’s next to impossible to grab him first try – usually I’m running around in circles like an idiot trying to grab him as he keeps barking and scampering away from me – he definitely thinks it’s a game.
3) Sometimes I will distract him with a tug toy, which acts as a doggie pacifier and shuts up the barking, but then he will just shove the toy in the other dog’s face to try to get them to play tug.

Anyway – how can I stop this rude, attention seeking behavior? Believe me when I say this dog does not have an aggressive bone in his body. I would love for him to be able to pick up on the energy of the other dog on his own and back off. What can I do? How can I teach him to be polite?



Hi Lauren.

Charley sounds like a great, fun, playful dog, but it seems as if he lacks some much needed social skills.

Most importantly, you do need to work on recall with him. In the park, you should be calling him frequently, have him sit at your feet, and give him a treat. Do not just call him when it is time to go home!

You then want to release him to begin playing again. At first you need to do this with little to no distraction around, and slowly build up to higher levels of distraction. It is a good idea to get a long recall lead (or you can even use a piece of rope), so that if he does not come the first time you can give him a ‘jerk and release’ correction to get him back on track.

I cannot stress how important it is to invest a lot of time into recall training, particularly with a lab that tends to be really independent. Having better recall training will then allow you to call him back if he is behaving inappropriately.

In the meantime, I suggest you make this type of behavior the end of playtime for him. If he continually tries to engage an unwilling dog to play, and will not back off, you put his lead on and leave the park. There is no second chance.

His behavior will annoy other dogs and dog owners, and could get him attacked if the other dog gets really annoyed. As far as actually getting ahold of him, again a strong recall will definitely help, but do not chase him.

Slowly and calmly approach him without even looking at him. You can try and lure him with a treat but if he is not coming, do not keep repeating ‘come’.

Remain as calm and disinterested as possible to ensure it is not fun for him. Once you do get him, remember to praise him no matter how annoyed you are. Your holding onto his collar should always be positive, you never want to scold him for this or you make him even less likely to want to come to you.


Have your dog training questions answered

Here at Dog Training Basics we work hard to ensure that our readers have their dog training handled so that they can get onto the fun part – living harmoniously with their healthy, happy, well-behaved hound.


Avoid this!

But sometimes, our readers find that their particular dog does something that doesn’t fall within our handy training guide. Or their dog just suddenly forgets all the time and labor intensive hours that have gone into their training and just will not come when called. For times like these we have a very special Q&A section where you can direct questions to our panel of dog training professionals, free of charge, here.

You can also browse through the questions that have already been asked here – Q&A.

You might be surprised by how many people have asked the same questions as you!

Did you find these answers useful? Let us know below!

The DTB Team


Stop – read this before you feed your dog

Thanks to that Oreo’s advert, we all know that chocolate isn’t good for dogs, but did you know that onions are bad for dogs, too?

So bad, in fact, that they can lead to anemia in dogs. But onions aren’t the only thing to look out for – Garlic and corn on the cob can be just as dangerous.

You can find out what else your dog should not eat in this handy guide we’ve put together before you take that delicious dinner out to your pup.

Is there anything your dog cannot eat? Anything s/he loves to eat? Let us know about your pooches dietary delights in the comments below.

Consistency | Dog Training


There are a few things that you need to know before you start training your dog, but this may just be one of the most important – 850

What was the most important part of your dog training?

The Best Dog Training Advice

Last week we asked our readers to share the best dog training advice they’d ever received.


Image via here

First to share with us was Helen Nicks:

“The best dog training advice I ever received was to use a ‘Halti’ type collar to stop pulling on the lead. Worked wonders!”

Have you been given any great advice? Share it with us below!

It’s Your Turn

Every week between the Q&A’s and doggy insights we post a handy tip on our website to help you and your dog get along a little better.

Now we’re turning the tables and asking you – our loyal, dog-loving readers – to share your tips with us.

What is the best dog advice you’ve ever received?

Comment below or email us and we’ll make sure your tips are posted for the rest of our readers to learn from (with your name, of course).

And hey, if you want to throw in a photo of you and your best furry friend, you know we won’t object.


Dogs and Fireworks

sad-dogHow to keep your dogs ears safe from big bangs

Halloween is upon us, and, while it is not usually a time for big bangs and displays of light, you might encounter the odd firework or two.

Now, we all know that dogs and fireworks don’t go together, and that dogs hear things a lot louder than humans do, so we thought we’d put together a list of tips to help you and your dog through any unexpectedly bright Halloween celebrations.

The first, and perhaps the easiest thing to – but something that only works if you know the fireworks are coming – is to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise during the day.

Make sure your dog has a safe and comfortable place to take refuge inside your house.

Try to keep your dog in a calm state – this means keeping stimulation to a minimum. Cover the crate or draw the blinds and keep him/her subdued with lots of tummy scratches. A Kong or favorite chew toy will be a good distraction, and a healthy activity for your dog.

If you must use a sedative, make sure it is something prescribed by or recommended by your vet.

Finally, make sure you prepare yourself for fireworks. Humans can easily transfer their feelings, shock or anxiety so try keep your cool.

Good luck!


Is there something that helps your dog get through festive fireworks? Let us know