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Friday, January 7, 2005
Updated: April 26, 4:48 PM ET
How-to take care of a problem dog

By Mike Stewart
Owner/trainer
Wildrose Kennels

Editor's note: Mike Stewart has nearly 30 years of experience breeding and training sporting dogs and is currently training Drake, the official Labrador retriever of Ducks Unlimited. To learn more about Wildrose Kennels and the training methodology used by Mike, visit www.uklabs.com. If you have a training question, email Mike and he may answer your question in an upcoming column.


Problem pup

Mike,
My golden is 11 months old and is very hyper. We went to puppy camp for a week when he was 6 months old. He pretty much obeys the commands, but he has not yet mastered stay — only a few seconds does he sit. He has a problem pawing whenever I sit down or someone else. He does not leave you alone. I pet him and yet it never is enough. He also growls at my husband when he enters a room. What is that about?

Thank you,
Rose


Golden  Retrievers
By your dog's first birthday, his manners should be impeccable. He should sit, stay, come when called and heel — regardless of distractions.
Rose,
We have an obedience problem, pure and simple. You are simply not setting the standards and enforcing the rules. There's no reason an 11-month-old dog won't sit … even heel, stay and come when called.

Hyperactivity is a genetic problem. Is this the cause or could it be you have not established yourself as pack leader of the family hierarchy?

The pawing indicates that such is not the relationship. He is demanding attention and rules the roost. He will likely take the home and do everything except pay the taxes on the place unless you exert control over the dog.

Go back to the basics and get yourself and your dog in a comprehensive obedience course. Find yourself a dog trainer and get the dog's priorities as to pack leadership understood. Set the standards for behavior, and then enforce them at all times. Your dog's behavior can be amended in short order if you are willing to make the commitment of time, discipline and consistency.

Best of luck,
Mike Stewart