Northwest Houston Dog Lover Training Owners to Lead Pack

1960 Sun
December 01, 2004
Written By: Steve Love

Cypress resident Bob Williams is on a mission to show dog owners that they can put a stop to bad behavior in seconds.

He's one of the newest franchisees of a company called Bark Busters. The company was founded in Australia in 1989 by a veterinarian who grew tired of seeing people bring in dogs to be euthanized because of behavioral problems. She knew they could be easily trained and began to teach dog owners how to take control.

Shortly after that, and without really trying, they found themselves featured on television news programs twice and in several newspapers. He's already trained about 350 dog owners, and because they've done so well so quickly, Bark Busters is looking to saturate the Houston area with franchises.

Williams said any dog owner would love a career with Bark Busters, not just for the chance to work with dogs, but to see someone's eyes light up when their dog finally behaves.

His favorite problem dog is the one that goes nuts when the doorbell rings.

He said owners have tolerated it for years but they do not have to; they just have to learn why their dog is acting that way. When a dog comes into a new environment, Williams said, they have about two weeks to figure out where they fit in. They see the family as their pack and the home is now their den. The dog evaluates all their new denmates and quickly realizes they have no clue how to act like a dog.

That's why a dog patrols the house, looking out every window and lets loose every time there's a knock at the door. They feel they're responsible for the safety and security of that den. This can also lead to separation anxiety. Most people plead with their dog not to mess anything up when they leave the home. Bark Busters says that's the time to be the most aggressive and show who the pack leader is.

When owners assert their leadership and strength as they leave the house, the dog can relax and anxiety goes away. It happens instantly, Williams said.

Williams said these dogs belong to a couple types of people. There are those who can already tell they're not leading the pack at home. Then there are those who think they're in charge because they raise their voice and the dog backs off. Williams said they just think they're they pack leader. In reality, they have not established and maintained any sort of dominance. They are inconsistent and they can easily see when their control is slipping because the dog will try things it has never tried before.

Establishing dominance does not even require harshness with the dog. In fact, that's against Bark Busters' policies.

He said dogs have three main methods of communicating: body language, their growl and their snap. Bark Busters teaches dog owners how to use those same methods to establish themselves as the pack leader. Once that's accomplished, the dog realizes it no longer needs to patrol the house and a lot of behavioral problems will disappear.

The dog will probably start doing the same again thing the next day, but if their owners will keep applying the techniques they learn, the dog will realize in a matter of days that whatever is happening at the door is none of their business.

Skeptics can rest assured; Williams said Bark Busters guarantees what they do for the life of the dog.

One of the great things about working with Bark Busters, he said, is he can call the home office and they're always helpful. Even if he's out on the field and comes across a challenging dog, they're ready to assist him over the phone. He also said there were no dogtraining requirements before he signed on.

As the only franchise currently in the Houston area, Williams serves the entire city and he's ready to help people take charge.

Reprinted with permission from the Houston Community Newspapers 04-25-05