In the May 16 Sunday Source, the Expert feature listed an incorrect phone number for dog trainers Mark and Kelley Renshaw of Bark Busters. Their toll-free number is 877-280-7100. (Published 6/3/04)
DOG DAYS: Mark: I was in law enforcement for about 13 years and worked alongside dog handlers for tracking, bomb detection, and search and rescue. I loved it. So when Kelley and I heard about a dog training franchise with Bark Busters (703-327-2275, www.barkbusters.com), we thought it was a perfect fit.
PACK MENTALITY: Kelley: We go into people's homes and help train the owner to deal with the dog's behavioral problems. The most common are barking, jumping up and not listening. We never do anything physical. Dogs are pack animals, so we do a lot of exercises geared toward getting the owner to be the leader. We use body language and voice control.
RED FLAGS: Mark: Pay attention to subtle clues that might signal dominance and aggression issues. If your dog strives to walk in front of you, doesn't listen to you, or growls or lunges at people, those are warning signs.
BEDTIME BOUNDARIES: Kelley: If those behaviors happen, start ignoring your dog when he looks for attention. You don't need to give less attention, but it has to be on your terms. Start obedience training. Work on "sit," "stay" and walking on a leash. So many people have their dog sleep with them -- that's a sign the dog is completely in charge. Get the dog off your bed. It can make a bigger difference than anyone can imagine.
KIDDING AROUND: Kelley: Since this is National Bite Prevention Week, we want to teach people the right and wrong behaviors. Seventy percent of victims are kids under 12. It's very important that parents set clear rules. Kids should not be around a dog when he's eating or sleeping. They shouldn't approach a dog with puppies. They should never tease a dog, and they should never be the ones to discipline a dog. Kids are too inconsistent to be seen as good leaders. If they see a dog doing something wrong, they should tell Mom or Dad.
STILL LIFE: Mark: The only thing someone should do if the dog is being aggressive is absolutely freeze until the dog walks away. Most of the time if you're standing completely still, a dog won't jump -- it's very ominous for them. If the dog does jump, brace yourself and freeze. Don't push it away; it might perceive that as a threat. If a dog knocks you down, curl into a ball, protect your face and don't move.
DOGGONE IT: Kelley: There are all sorts of reasons why dogs bite, but generally they have to do with the relationship between the dog and the owner. Unless there's been some sort of professional assessment, the dog shouldn't be turned in to the pound.
As told to Kelly DiNardo
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