Ask The Trainer with Jamie Damato, CPDT-KA

AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior Inc.

Q: Now that it’s nice out and we are spending more time outdoors, my Jack Russell, Bean, also gets more “backyard” time. Even though he is supervised, Bean digs in my garden, tramples my plants, and runs in the bushes. Right now I yell at him and put him back in the house. Then he whines and barks to join me again, and we go in circles all day! This is not relaxing for me or Bean … please help!

A: Well, it sounds like Bean is just doing what he was bred for: digging! Terriers are “earth dogs,” and the behavior you are describing is common for his breed. The good news is that you do have options for successfully enjoying your yard together. From now on, make sure to keep Bean on a leash when in the yard. You need to establish new rules about acceptable boundaries. Also, install some fences or other sturdy borders around areas that are completely off-limits. Finally, enlist help! Find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement to assist you in retraining Bean. One of the best methods is to have a strong recall word, so that if Bean is getting into mischief, you have a way to redirect his attention and count on him to come to you. With a little work and consistency, you and Bean will be enjoying hot summer days and sipping lemonade together soon.

Jamie Damato MigdalABOUT the Trainer

Jamie Damato Migdal has been working with dogs and their people for more than 16 years. From pet sitting to shelters, veterinary assistant, to dog behavior expert, Jamie’s experience and passion with dogs has made her a leading expert in behavioral training. Her techniques are based on real science, but can be easily understood by the layperson. Jamie’s areas of expertise include working with human-canine bond theories, canine aggression, and behavior disorders. Jamie is the founder of AnimalSense and is currently working on her new book, Dog Friendly Life.

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