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Pup Won’t Behave

by Barry KuKes
Dear Barry,
“My 11-month-old dog Maya does great with my husband and me, but she is aggressive to people and other animals, especially when walking her on a leash. We have started using a beep-vibrate collar as a training tool, but are there other methods that might be more effective?”
Perplexed in Port Orange

Dear Perplexed,
Maya is protecting you from other people and animals when walking her. This is a very common behavior that many dogs tend to display. A beep-vibrate collar is a great start to distract Maya when a stranger or animal approaches. I don’t recommend a shock collar because a vibrating collar is very effective without causing any discomfort. In addition to the beep-vibrate collar, incorporate some clicker training with a treat reward.
As a stranger approaches, press the beep function on the collar remote. If Maya responds appropriately, click the clicker and give her a treat with lots of praise. Many people will Velcro the clicker to the backside of the beeper collar remote so they can control both devices in one hand. Lastly, be consistent and frequent with the training. There are tons of videos on YouTube about clicker training if you need additional guidance.

Dear Barry,
“My dog is a total basket case when he hears thunder and fireworks. How can I make him more comfortable, especially on the 4th of July?”
Shell Shocked on the Sea Shore

Dear Shell Shocked,
This is a very common problem for many dogs. Some will become so frightened that they will run away from home to escape the noise, not realizing the noise is everywhere. Our intake numbers increase substantially on the days right after the 4th. Try the following.

  1. Close windows and blinds.
  2. Take the dog outside to do his business before the fireworks or a storm begins to intensify.
  3. Try a compression garment such as a Thundershirt.
  4. Use dog appeasing pheromones such as Adaptil or try calming treats.
  5. Offer a covered crate away from windows.
  6. Play music to drown out the sound of the fireworks or thunder.
  7. If the dog is a danger to itself, see your veterinarian.
  8. Stay and comfort your dog.

If you have questions about your pets, e-mail Barry at If he doesn’t know the answer, we will consult with someone who does, such as the Behavior Manager or Staff Veterinarian.
Remember, adopt, don’t shop.

Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the Halifax Humane Society in Daytona Beach. He can be reached at 386.274.4703, ext. 320, or at