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Dog is too rough on grandma

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Q: Oliver is a great dog most of the time. I live with my grandma, who just can't control him. I work nights, so she tries to take him for a walk, but he's always pulling her, lunging ahead. Also, he sometimes barks when she takes him out. Is there a way to get him to behave for grandma? All he wants to do is roughhouse. I hope you won't say we have too big of a dog to handle. Can you help?

G.O., Isanti, Minn.

A: "This is a common issue, and a fixable problem,'' said veterinary behaviorist Dr. R.K. Anderson, director of the Center to Study Human/Animal Relationships and Environments at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Minneapolis. "We control horses - certainly larger than this dog - with a halter, so why not a head halter for dogs?''

There are several brands of halters used for dogs, and Anderson invented the first of these, called the Gentle Leader. "Also, granny can use treats in her hand to motivate the dog to stay with her, but the Gentle Leader will give her control,'' Anderson said. "I just received a letter from a grandmother using a walker who was able to walk her dog because she was using a Gentle Leader.''

Oliver might be a lot of dog for granny, but this can work. I suggest grandma enlists hands-on help from a qualified dog trainer for further assistance.

Credit: Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, V.M.D.
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