These reader questions were answered at the conference of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants held here April 20-22. Association members are consultants in dog, cat, parrot and horse behavior who are available to help owners whose animals have behavior problems. (Learn more at www.iaabcorg.)
Q: My 8-year-old Golden Doodle has gotten bigger than my 5-year-old Shiba Inu. He doesn't bite the Shiba, but kind of nibbles at her, and even tries to haul her around by her collar. Sometimes he even does this at night, so I crate him. Is there anything I can do curb this behavior?
-- D.S., Cyberspace
A: "Your Golden is an adolescent, and like all adolescents everywhere, he thinks he knows everything, and his judgment is terrible," says Marjie Alonso, association executive director and Boston-based dog behavior consultant. "Crating the dog overnight is a very good idea as a management tool. The more often you allow your dog to practice this behavior, the more often you'll see it, and the better he'll become at it.
"If you haven't done so already, enroll your dog in a positive reinforcement dog training class where you can focus on learning simple skills you can employ at home like 'sit,' 'stay' and 'down' to prevent the Golden from tormenting the Shiba. Also offer lots of play time, so your young Golden has an appropriate outlet for all that energy."