Q and A: Graduated Obedience Class But Still Not Educated And The Old Touchy Feet Syndrome

Graduated But Not Educated

My Boxer is a 1-year old male and he really makes a fool out of himself whenever someone comes to the door, or if anyone gets near him for that matter. He jumps in the air, wipes his saliva all over their clothes, and runs in circles around my guests. He does this to everyone who goes near him and, as I said, makes a complete fool of himself and also of me because I have had him attend a 10-week obedience class. Since he is friendly to everyone, he makes a very poor watchdog and a boxer is supposed to be noted for being an excellent watchdog. What should I do?

If your dog completed an entire 10-week obedience school, there should be no doubt in your mind that he knows the requirements of the basic commands such as sit, stay, down, heel, and come. Do you give him the command ‘sit’ or ‘down’ or ‘stay’ during these overly friendly rampages of his? If not, then why not? If you do, does he ignore your commands? If so, do you correct them instantly, and equally important, properly?

The problem here may not be with the boxer at all, but with you and/or the obedience school in which you attended. Your dog should not have been graduated without having demonstrated the necessary degree of owner control in all of these types of situations. Some retraining may be in order, or perhaps you should re-examine your method of correcting for disobedience.

One of the best methods of gearing down a high-geared dog is by placing them in a ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ command and then introduce a distraction and a temptation to see how the dog reacts. If he jumps up quickly and is distracted easily, then having him retrained with a better obedience school would be something that could help.

And as far as expecting your boxer dog to be ‘an excellent watchdog’, you have to understand that although specific characteristics do run common in particular breeds, no two dogs are like. In many cases, the watchdog instinct must be brought to the fore by proper training. Your dog may be a great watchdog but it needs to come out with training instead of just expecting it.

Touchy Feet Problems

How would I deal with a dog who is unduly sensitive about his feet? My one-year-old Chihuahua was ready to bite me the other day when I tried to wash off his muddy feet! Needless to say, we had a bit of a battle. The thing is, he doesn’t give me any trouble when I bathe him, but when it comes to his feet, he growls and snaps at my hand.  I understand that this is not uncommon behavior but I worry about the day in which I have to trim his claws for the first time. How can I progress with easy steps to the point where he will allow me to handle his feet? I am already enrolled in obedience classes with him as well.

The fact that you are enrolled in obedience training will make your job a lot easier. You will need the full cooperation of your class trainer. Suggest that he carry a few tidbits in his pocket and each time he gets to the foot area of your Chihuahua, present him with the treat. If he is the kind of instructor who frowns on treats during training, let him know that you want to condition your dog to associate his feet being handled with that of the joy of a dog treat.

Remember, dogs learn by associating their actions with pleasing or displeasing results. The pleasing result of a treat while having his feet examined will go a long way towards overcoming this problem. If your instructor does not agree with this fact, find another trainer.