'Bad Dogs' shape up with training

Posted March 31, 2009

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— A Yorkie, a Basset Hound/Lab/Shepherd mix and a Sheltie took part in our Bad Dog Challenge II. Each dog had a chance to work with a trainer for a variety of bad behaviors. After a few of months of practice, the dogs have made a lot of progress.

Bad behaviors can change with training Bad behaviors can change with training

Charlie, the 60-pound Basset Hound/Lab/Shepherd mix, loved too much. His affectionate behavior was overwhelming. He jumped, whined and tried to get as close to a person as possible.

Sharon Moll from PetSmart offered Charlie's owners some tips, and now he is doing much better.

“He's not cured unfortunately, but he's really close,” said Brian Champion, Charlie's owner.

Even when Charlie does slip up, the Champions say they have taught their friends to ignore him.

“He calms down a bit faster now, but he still does the yelp or whimper. He wants the attention so bad, he can taste it,” Champion said.

The Champions said they leave the loving for when 22-month-old Charlie is being a good dog.

“There have been times where it gets stressful but just don't give up," Jessica Champion said.

BooBoo almost had the Wise family doing just that. Not only did the 4-year-old Yorkie often go to the bathroom inside the house, but his barking, biting and growling made them worry about their 2-year-old son, Logan.

Trainer Donnie Hult with K9 Solutions helped the family get control of BooBoo's bad behaviors.

“There is some improvement. Not complete perfection, but there is some improvement,” said Amber Wise, BooBoo's owner.

BooBoo is doing much better with going outside, and with being around Logan. However, Wise said she knows BooBoo's road to recovery will be a long process.

“Don't let the dog get in control because it's harder to break later than it is from the beginning,” Amber Wise said.

Going for a walk with 16-month-old Mali, a Sheltie, used to be a real challenge for owner Nancy Riddle.

Mali lunged and barked at moving cars, and pulled Riddle around the neighborhood. But using a clicker and treats, Trainer Jenn Merritt with Blue Dog Creature Coaching helped Nancy get his attention on to her, rather than on passing cars.

Mali also used to freak out over reflections, but with the clicker training, she rarely does that anymore. While not perfect, Riddle said she believes Mali is overall a better dog.

“She's kind of like a child. She knows what she can get away with,” Riddle said.

Riddle says it is definitely worth engaging a trainer early in a puppy's life.

“You know, I thought I knew the breed because I had had one before. And I didn't need to do all of that, but I really did because every dog is different,” she said.

Now is your chance to submit your Bad Dog. WRAL News will take another batch of problem pooches and try to turn them around... stay tuned.


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  • fenderbassplayer1980 Apr 1, 2009

    Amber Wise. Are you the Amber Johnson that was from Four Oaks?

  • ruthgers01 Apr 1, 2009

    Another great local trainer is K9 Solutions ( ) They were wonderful with helping us train our pooch.