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D2007-12

Dear Daisy Dog

Duque, my 4-year-old Chihuahua-Jack Russell mix, barks and lunges at dogs on television. Telling him to stop has no effect, so when a dog appears on a television show or commercial, I have to cover his eyes. How can I civilize him?

Daisy Responds

The easiest way to improve Duque’s television etiquette is to distract his attention.

Start by outfitting him with a head collar, such as a Gentle Leader, which will give you more control.

When a dog appears on television, ask Duque to sit or lie down, and reward him with a special treat.

If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to initiate a desensitization program. It will take a few months, but it’s very effective.

To desensitize Duque, record several television shows featuring dogs, and play them, darkening the screen and turning down the volume.

If Duque remains relaxed, praise him and offer him food treats or a special toy. You can even feed him his regular meals while you play the dog shows.

Gradually – over the next few months – brighten the screen and increase the volume. As long as he remains calm, he may have treats.

If he barks at the television, discontinue the session for the day, and turn the television down a bit the next day.

Within a few months, Duque should be able to calmly enjoy dog shows on television.

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