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Dog Training/Behaviour


I need your help!  I had dogs growing up, but I got my first dog of my own and most of the time he is absolutely wonderful.  He does not beg for food, he doesnít yap or bark, he is perfectly happy by himself or on my lap when I want him.  My problems with him are avoidable, but I would like to fix them, not just avoid them.

I have a 1.5 yr old neutered male dog.  (Red heeler X black mouth cur).  I live on a farm so he is rarely on a leash.  He is very well behaved and comes when called and never leaves the property line.  He gets distracted when someone shows up or he chases something but he is always close by.  He is a very happy dog and I have never seen him show aggression.

My  issues:
1.       The few times he is on a leash, he was very well behaved.  He travels to horse shows with me and when I am riding he is usually tied to the horse trailer and he is quiet and sleeps while I am gone.  When on the leash, he pulls a little but learns quickly not to, and is respectful.  When people walk by he is fine.  He loses his mind (understatement!! He goes mental!!) when he seeís another dog.  When off the leash, he will run up to the dog and he just wants to play.  When on the leash, he goes crazy until he can be close to the other dog.  I donít want to allow him to see the other dogs just because he is going crazy, but he becomes so uncontrollable.  I have tried different leashes and collars but he just gets more and more crazy.  He is starting to sound aggressive, but he really just wants to go play.

2.      I live on a horse farm, and he has a natural instinct to herd animals.  He will avoid the animals most of the time, but if they start running he starts chasing them.  He listens to my command when I tell him not to do something, but if Iím ever not looking he continues to do it.  He has jumped up on a horse that I was currently riding because I took my eyes off home.  Basically, how can I get him to understand not to do something when my commands to stop arenít there?

3.      He loves to be outside.  He has a doggy door so I allow him to be inside or outside as he pleases (when I am home).  Unfortunately he can jump the gate.  He has never done this while I am home so I can continue to allow him this freedom, but when I leave he jumps the gate to follow me.  Therefore, I have to lock him in the house.  99% of the time he is good, the odd occasion he chews the house apart.  I have come to the conclusion to confine him to a small room (which he hates) but I canít risk him damaging more stuff.  I just hate locking him up when he only does it a handful of times.  I donít think its anxiety because he doesnít do this every time?  I have tried leaving him with toys and treats, and when I am home he will play with them.  When I leave, he wonít touch any toy and treat that I leave.  The minute I get home, he goes for the treat or toy.

Thank you for any advice you can give me!

The problem that you are having is common with some breeds and depending on how the dog was brought up may or may not be easily fixed. The dog hasn't reached full maturity yet which is good, but, may be something he is set in his ways on.
As for the tugging or pulling when he sees other dogs, this could be an alpha male issue with him wanting to exert the alpha male influence. This often depends on wether he is at home where dogs tend to be more prominent about the alpha male issue. One thing you can try is if he gets frantic or aggresssive towards another animal is to put him down quickly and firmly in a "down" position. Then have the other person with a dog walk around you in circles while you maintain the "down". This will teach your dog that you are the alpha male and that he has nothing to fear from the other dog.
Training a dog to look at you as the "Alpha Male" or "Pack Leader" is a very long and drawn out process, but if you need more help just let me know.
As for the chewing this is probably due to an abandonment issue.Some dogs literally get sick if they are left alone. You need to set up a camera and watch the dogs actions when you leave and then let me know how he acts.

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Chris Cantrell


Typically answer questions about basic obedience and search and rescue training for any types/breeds of dogs. I DO NOT answer questions regarding any health related issues. I DO NOT PROMISE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS OTHER THAN THE AREAS I HAVE LISTED. If you are going to ask a question I do expect to get sufficient information. I cannot make any promises that I can answer your question if it is a behavioral issue because you have to be around the animal to properly evaluate what the animal is or is not doing so do not expect a miracle through email.


Chief of local rescue squad. I have 2 trained K-9's. One is trained for live, cadaver and HRD. The second is trained for live search and in training currently for cadaver and HRD. Formerly trained Police K-9's for Patrol, protection and Narcotics.

Alabama Association of Rescue Squads, North American Search Dog Alliance

NASAR, AARS, Alabama Fire College

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