'Bad Dog Challenge' takes on a mighty barker

Posted July 10, 2008 4:30 p.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2011 10:19 a.m. EDT

— 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."