Q: My Miniature Poodle is a good dog, but I’m having a problem with him. I frequently take care of kids in my home, and when I put them down for naps on my bed, my dog runs under the bed and won’t come out. If I try to take him out, he growls and bites. If I leave the room and let him stay there, he wakes the kids up. I need help fixing this.
A: The good news is, your dog is predictable. And since you pretty well know what he’s going to do, you can stay one step ahead of him through management, while you also do some training. Dogs are creatures of habit, so you’ll need to interrupt his current behavior pattern in order to help him create a new one.
Leash him before you take the kids into your room for their naps. Tether your Poodle to something solid while you put the kids to bed. When they’re settled, leave the room with your dog on lead and go straight from the bedroom to the kitchen, telling him he’s a good dog as you go. When you get to the kitchen, praise him and give him one or two of his most favorite treats.
By preventing him from practicing his hide-and-bite habit, you’ll help that unwanted pattern fade. By rewarding him for going to the kitchen with you after the kids are in bed, you’ll establish a new and more pleasant pattern. After doing this several times, he will realize there’s a new “ritual” in place and will eagerly escort you to the kitchen after the kids are bedded down. Soon after that he’ll be able to do this without a leash.