'Bad Dog Challenge' takes on a mighty barker

Posted July 10, 2008
Updated October 17, 2011

— Over the next few weeks, WRAL is going to see if we can turn bad dogs into good ones. As we work with a trainer, you might recognize some bad behaviors of your pooch's and learn tips to help stop them.

Our first dog for the Bad Dog challenge is Albie. He is a Puggle, a combination of a Pug and Beagle. At 8 months old, he hates his kennel, is not housebroken and likes to bark – a lot.

Life is all about the chase for Albie.

“Oh, I love him, but he drives me crazy,” owner Cara Zuehlke said.

Albie doesn't stop jumping, running or barking.

“He (also) loves to chew. He loves to go to the bathroom in the house. He likes to steal things,” Cara said.

Cara and husband, Chad, haven't had much luck controlling Albie with what they have tried so far.

“Pretty much just telling him 'no,'" Chad added

"We smack him with the newspaper,” Cara said.

So they entered WRAL's Bad Dog challenge, and Albie was among the dogs chosen to get some help from Jenny Marconyak, a dog trainer with Bark Busters.

The first issue to address: how he hates his kennel.

“He'll start banging it, jumping all over the place and screaming,” Chad said.

So when Albie starts acting up, Marconyak teaches Cara to growl back.

The goal is to get Albie's focus onto Cara and off his own bad behavior.

“If he's behaving badly and we come in the room and speak to him and give him eye contact and then we leave again, he's going to think, well, all I have to do to get attention from mom and dad is to act like that,” Marconyak added.

To help with housebreaking, take the dog outside right after letting him out of the kennel, Marconyak said.

“Go immediately to the spot where he is supposed to go and stand as still as you possibly can,”  Marconyak added.

When Albie goes back to barking again, Cara's goes back to growling and using the verbal command "wait."

“And tell him 'good boy. Good boy Albie,'" Marconyak said.

Before you know it, Albie is on his way from bad dog to good dog.

“I understand that they're dogs and they're not perfect, but a little control would be nice,” Cara said.

WRAL will profile another Bad Dog next Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Also, each Thursday at 8 p.m., tune into WRAL for the CBS show "Greatest American Dog."


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  • shortyrules Jul 15, 2008

    I bet the Dog Whisperer could get him under control in no time. I hope things work out for Albie and his owners.

  • The Fox Jul 14, 2008

    Aw, he looks like the Pugchug (Chug) I had years ago. Pug & Chihuahua.

  • lynddsy Jul 14, 2008

    1moms-have you thought about installing electric fence. for a dog that size it may help. is the kennel a fenced in area or a big kennel? if not fence then maybe a fence kennel and electic fencing.just suggesting.:)
    don't believe- i have used all that with her. i have a mixed dog that even the word treats brings her running. this one could care less when she gets out. she will get within two or three feet from me, even with a treat and as soon as i go to pick her up, there she goes. lol she will go right up to my neigbors next door and she is the one who usually brings her home. she was not home over the weekend and i had to track her down by vechicle. i live in the back of the divsion and don't THINK she will go as far as the street you turn off to get in here. i am however worried of someone stealing her or a bigger dog getting ahold of her.

  • DontBelieveTheHype Jul 14, 2008

    lynddsy - have you tried bringing food or treats or toys with you? Dogs love to play chase and will turn and run to keep the game going. The trick is to lure them to you with food or something that they want (squeaky toy, etc).

  • 1Moms_View Jul 11, 2008

    I have a houdini too. He hated being in a kennel or being alone. When he's in an outside kennel, he will escape, always. He has been crate trained and stays in his crate at night now. He knows voice and hand commands for stay, come and sit. BUT him escaping from the outdoor kennel while I'm at work is a huge problem. Twice he's been picked up by AC after a neighbor called them. Once he was found nearly 10 miles away. He's a Husky X WGS.

  • lynddsy Jul 11, 2008

    well, this is good advice for a puppy. i have a grown Carin terrier that is houdini and escapes the fenced in yard and won't come back when i call her. usually she stays right around the house and enjoys her pattern before she's done and i can get her to come in. today however, she was further up the street in the subdivision and i had to get her by car-and still had trouble doing that. she just looks at me and walks away. she also will get within about three feet of me and still gets away!! anyone got any advice??

  • phil Jul 11, 2008

    jenny is verry good trainer