As a dog trainer and behaviorist, I constantly see behavior which ruins your training or will create a dog that will always be a handful:
#1: Unruly Behavior in the Veterinarian’s office:
Yes, it can be a stressful place for your dog. But it is no reason to throw your hard work out the door and allow your dog to jump, sniff at other dogs or bark. I never allow my dogs to go up to another dog at the Veterinarian office, you don’t know if another dog is sick and how he is going to respond.
How to create a calm situation: Practice your training at your Veterinarian’s office. When you do not have an appointment, drive to your Veterinarian’s office and first practice some of his commands outside in the parking lot. Once he is performing flawlessly in the parking lot, move inside to the waiting area (of course, do these on a slow day and after asking permission).
If you do this often, when it is time for your dog’s appointment, he will be calm and the appointment will go much smoother than before.
#2: Retractable Leashes:
Retractable leashes are good for allowing your dog to find a ‘spot’ when vacationing or traveling. Not for walking or appointments.
Your dog should always be at your side. As the pack leader, you are controlling the walk in the park, into the Veterinarian’s office, groomers, etc. Allowing your dog to pull you or worse go up to another dog is bad dog manners.
#3: Small dogs:
The only problem with small dogs are their owners who think its ok that they bark and snappy at other dogs or humans. Just because they are small and you can pick them up doesn’t mean they should not be obedient. It’s a lack of early on training that make these dogs become snappier and barkier as they grown into mature dogs. It will not become easier as they ‘calm down’; bad habits are hard to break, so nip them in the bud early on.
#4: Begging or Barking for food or attention:
Again, it’s another bad habit that if not stopped early on, will be impossible to stop. It’s not acceptable behavior and if you ‘give the dog what he wants’ you are teaching him to control you. This will create a habit that will exist throughout the dog’s life and become more of a nuisance.
Some dogs bark for food, others bark when their owners get on the phone; this will in turn create stress barking at the boarding kennel, Veterinarian and groomer. The dog thinks he will get what he wants if he barks or begs. It is a great thing to promote if you never want visitors and your home and solitary life is for you.
#5: Allowing your dog to be at the end of the leash:
Your dog should NEVER pull you. Never. He should never take you to a tree, a person or especially another dog. You are the leader of this pack; you decide where you go and who you visit. If you allow this just one time, your dog will always pull you where he wants to go.
By creating calmness and control, you are establishing a pattern for behavior to last your dog’s life time. You will be thankful you did and I’m sure your Veterinarian and anyone else who comes into contact with your dog will be as well.