Ask the Trainer

Ask the Trainer: Breaking an Unwanted Puppy Behavior

Dear Kevin,
Penny is a pit bull who has just recently started barking a lot (10 months old). She crouches down in a “I’m getting ready to pounce” position and then barks nonstop, essentially wanting us to chase her or pay attention to her. How do I break her of this habit?
-Rachel

 

Hey Rachel,

Being 10 months old she is right around what is referred to as the “terrible twos” for a dog. This means that she will probably be testing her boundaries and getting into a little bit of trouble. Also, being 10 months old she will just naturally have a lot of energy.
One thing I would recommend for anyone with a dog that has extra energy, is to increase the mental and physical exercise that it gets. Shoot for at least an hour of physical exercise a day. I say at least because in the grand scheme of things, one hour to a dog is not very much.When she is acting like this it tells me that she has some extra energy that needs to be released. I like to take these opportunities to do some training. Just some basic obedience like sits, down, coming when called etc. You could even take this opportunity to try to teach her a new trick. Basically, instead of trying to fight all that energy, try to take advantage of it and put it to use. It sounds like you guys can accomplish a lot.

Remember to stay positive and use lots of reinforcement when she does a behavior you like.

Thank you for the question!
Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA

Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org)  and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear. For more training tips and tricks, and to meet his amazing dog, V,  follow him on Facebook by clicking here.

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