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Many of us have dogs who are absolute sweethearts and all they wanna do is meet new people and new dogs.
But a dog who won't stop pulling on the leash can become a bit of a nuisance.
So TeddyHilton.com reader, Lauren, wrote in:
My dog has been through professional obedience training, but he still goes absolutely bonkers whenever we see another dog on our walks. He just wants to run over and play with them and be their best friend forever. He pulls and whines and groans like mad. It's the one thing we don't seem to have any control over. We've tried a regular collar, an Easy Walk harness, and a choke chain collar but none have any effect on him whatsoever–he still pulls and pulls, sometimes to the point where he's choking himself and only his back legs are touching the ground.
How can we get him to relax around dogs? We'd love to have him greet the new doggies we see, but usually their owners assume our dog is aggressive and don't want to meet. :-/
Dr. Patrick Mahaney responded:
Thank you for your behavior and training related question. Your situation is common to many dog owners and requires consistent effort on your behalf to remedy.
As you have a relationship with your trainer, I suggest you seek advice from him/her, but I'll do my best to help from my perspective.
Dogs respond best to positive training, so make sure you don't scream at or scold him for exhibiting interest in other dogs. Carry an attention-getting squeaky toy, food treat, or other favorite canine-captiativing item to redirect his attention from the dogs acting as the source of distraction.
Once you have his attention, put him into a sit/stay and keep him there long enough for the excitement to pass. Either directly offer the reward to him or gently toss it away a short distance to promote retrieval. Once he retrieves, have him return to you for further direction (either having him drop the toy or offering another food treat).
Good luck. Keep it positive and consistent!