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'Bad Dog' Challenge III takes on crate-escaper

Posted May 19, 2009

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— Over the next few days, WRAL is going to once again see if we can turn bad dogs into good ones. We have three dogs – with different issues and different trainers – to show us the bad behaviors that need correcting.

Ellie thinks she is the pack leader Ellie thinks she is the pack leader

Our first dog for the "Bad Dog" challenge III is Ellie. She is a Spaniel and lives in Cary with Ryan Glover and Katie Baiden. The 11-month-old dog is on her fourth home.

Ellie's problem: she thinks she is the leader of the pack. She doesn't like to come when called, and often jumps up on people. When Ellie doesn't get her way, like when she has to spend time in her crate, she lets everyone know she is not happy.

“It just really makes you sad that she doesn't like being in there, but you can't let her out in the house because then she'll be tearing up everything else,” Glover said.

“One day we were gone for about an hour and a half and she chewed all six of the zip ties off and got out of the cage through the hooks,” Baiden said.

When Ellie gets out, she chews, destroying cell phones, shoes, drapes and blankets. Perhaps that is why Ellie has had many homes.

“We brought her back and she had a little energy, but we thought how cute, how sweet, she's a little puppy,” Baiden said.

But it is not cute any more. After a veterinarian prescribed Prozac, Glover and fiancee Baiden thought there has to be a better way.

They submitted Ellie for the "Bad Dog Challenge III" and Trainer Kim Bishop, who is like the Dog Whisperer (trainer Cesar Millan), was called to help. Bishop's training technique centers on making people the pack leader, not the dog.

“We're doing blocking ... she's staying behind because I'm claiming this ... this is my spot,” Bishop said while demonstrating her training technique.

Bishop's approach is more psychological. No food rewards, but calm, short verbal corrections with a leash tug. She is teaching Glover and Baiden to be the boss, and claim their space by creating boundaries.

“Saying 'back, back, back,' to a dog means nothing. They don't understand,” Bishop said.

The goal is to have Ellie follow the lead of her owners: on walks, through doorways and on the stairs.

“I get eye contact which I love. She wants to know what I want. She says, 'I need to get by you,' ... She's telling me to move, but I'm not,” Bishop said while training Ellie.

Bishop's parting advice: love Ellie, but lead her first.

“She's sweet. She's not always crazy,” Glover said.

Think Ellie is bad? Wednesday during WRAL's 5:30 p.m. News, meet a hound who set a house on fire.


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