Ask any dog trainer or professional animal behaviorist and they’ll tell you they have at least one story that still makes their blood boil.
This is one of mine. All names have been changed to protect the “innocent”.
It never fails to astonish me when I am called into a lesson and the owners are considering getting rid of a dog because of a behavior that they (or someone they hired) inevitably caused.
I had a lesson with a woman that had previously been a client with a...
When I was in my 20’s, I owned a Doberman named Tyler that would drive me crazy every time I would take him for a ride in the car. Since I had a job that let me bring my dog to work each day, Tyler was basically my shadow, and everywhere I went, he went. As soon as I would put him in the car to go to work, he would start to pace side to side and would whine, bark and cry out loud for my whole journey (about 30 minutes). I thought initially maybe he was scared, but he wasn’t...
Dogs are driven to be part of a pack. In the wild, that pack is of the four-legged, furry variety. But domesticated pets often find themselves serving as part of a human pack, with you, your children, your spouse, or whoever else lives in your home filling all those roles.
If you’re adopting a pet, you’re adding that animal to your pack, whether that pack is composed of people, pets, or a combination of both. Simply bringing the pet into your home can make things tougher for both...
If you have a dog, you probably know just how much mischief he can get into with his mouth. That book or shoe he chewed up tells you that chewing is a favorite pastime, especially for younger dogs. Dogs love to pick up anything that smells like you - clothing, telephones, remote controls, etc. While sometimes this behavior amuses us, it can often be dangerous for your dog and expensive for you. Recently I worked with a dog who took batteries off of a counter, swallowed them whole and had to...
Did you ever stop to wonder what your dog could possibly be thinking? You aren’t alone. Our little family members can’t tell us their thoughts, hopes, and dreams, so we’re left to try to read it through expressions and body language.
But there are some things we have learned about dogs over the years and that knowledge can come in handy when it’s time to train your companion. Here are a few insights into the mind of your favorite dog.
When you call your dog over, what happens? If you’re like many pet owners, you can’t guarantee your dog will come running. But this unpredictably can actually be dangerous, especially if your dog runs into traffic or gets too far out of your line of sight. But even without that danger, having a dog that comes when called is a huge convenience.
Training a dog to come when called isn’t easy. But with a little patience and a few little tricks, you can teach your dog to come on...
Training a new pet isn’t easy, but once you learn a few simple tricks it can be a little less daunting.
I often work with dog owners who are struggling with one or more behaviors that are becoming a problem at home.
To these owners, usually the answer is a simple fix. It takes plenty of patience and persistence, but the rewards are well worth it. Here are a few easy training techniques that will get great results.
One of the most...
Whoa! Put down the pitchforks!
I know, this topic can be…controversial. This title seems a bit contradictory, but positive punishment is basically applying something unpleasant or aversive to your dog to reduce the frequency of or stop an unwanted behavior.
In positive motivational training this is a basic “no no”. Hence the bad rap. And I totally understand that.
I have always been a believer and proponent of teaching most behaviors in a positive way. Using praise, treats,...
First and most important, dog urine marking is not a housebreaking issue. Though urine is involved, cause and correction are very different, so let’s not confuse the two.
Urine marking can occur in both male and female dogs of any age. However, it most commonly starts in adolescent male dogs and continues into adulthood. It can be a huge issue that is upsetting to the entire family, usually because of behavior or sanitary concerns.
It can be so severe an issue that many people give...
Puppies explore the world with their mouths.
It is completely normal for puppies to mouth just about everything, including us. And unfortunately for us, a puppy’s baby teeth are very sharp and painful - like little needles.
It helps, though, if we understand that they don't mean to be hurtful.
It doesn’t help the physical pain but it may allay some fears.
Some of my clients quickly jump to conclusions and fear they may have an aggression problem. But most of the time it is just...
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