Overprotective Pet Owner? Keeping an eye on your dog in the backyard is preventative, and not overprotective, behavior. Many pet owners assume hanging outside while their dogs play in the backyard is helicopter pet owner behavior. It’s best to hang out in your yard while your dog potties and plays. Of course, you can go indoors and grab a drink, but never leave your dog outside for longer than 5-10 minutes. Best Way to Prevent Unwanted Behaviors When dogs are left outdoors unattended, they can get into trouble quickly. Many dogs become lost because they’ve dug out from under their fence within seconds. Also, many accidentally walk through backyard gates unintentionally left open by service workers. Incessantly barking dogs usually practice this behavior when left alone in the backyard, and it can quickly become a problem with neighbors. Fence fighting behavior can start abruptly and will continue until someone is hurt. Some dogs are teased behind fences, which can certainly cause human aggression. Prevention is key, and it takes much less time than changing behavior. It’s Not Safe Dogs can eat sticks, stones and so many other harmful objects within seconds. Surgery is often required to remove ingested acorns, pinecones, pine straw, mulch and so forth, which can cost thousands of dollars and even your dog’s life. Backyards may contain poisonous mushrooms, frogs and stinging insects, which become fatal within hours. If you’re outdoors with your dog, you can prevent your dog from chewing or ingesting harmful objects. Keep an Eye on Your Dog When your dog is outdoors, sit outside and have a conversation with a friend on the phone or, even better, play a fun game with your dog. When your dog tries to chew on acorns, ask your dog to “leave it” and reward your dog with a yummy treat. Additionally, if your dog tries to engage in fence fighting, bring your dog indoors, so he doesn’t practice this behavior. Bored dogs will find something to do if
10-Step Canine Good Citizen Test 1. Accepting a Friendly Stranger Tested dog allows a stranger to approach and chat with handler for a few minutes, then turns around and leaves. 2. Sitting Politely for Petting Dog allows a friendly stranger to pet him or her while out for a walk with pet owners. Dog should not jump up on stranger. 3. Appearance & Grooming Friendly stranger is able to touch the dog’s front paws and ears and brush the dog’s body. 4. Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Leash) During an informal walk, dog is able to walk on a loose leash. Remember, a loose leash (no pulling) is considered polite leash manners. 5. Walking Through a Crowd Dog is able to walk happily through a crowd (three or more people) while remaining well behaved. Dog should not jump up on people. 6. Sit & Down on Cue Plus Stay Behavior Pet owner asks the dog to “sit” and “down” on cue. Both behaviors should be performed separately. Using a 20-foot line, pet owner asks the dog to stay in either a sit or down position until evaluator instructs pet owner to release her dog. 7. Coming When Called Pet owner walks 10 feet away from her dog while the dog wears a 20-foot leash, then calls the dog to her. 8. Reaction to Another Dog Leashed test dog is able to walk near another leashed dog without barking, growling or pulling toward the other dog. Both handlers will stop, shake hands and chat for a few seconds, then walk away in opposite directions. 9. Reaction to a Distraction Test dog should ignore or show slight interest in a distraction within his or her environment. Distractions can be many things, including an evaluator walking near the test dog with crutches, a cane, a walker or a baby stroller, or an evaluator dropping a phone book or pushing a shopping cart nearby. 10. Supervised Separation Test dog is left with the evaluator for 3 minutes while pet owner is completely out of sight. Upon successful completion, the tested dog earns the title of
What, exactly, could possibly be wrong with dogs sharing your bed? Well, there are other health issues you need to consider; the most dangerous being parasites. Obviously, fleas and ticks can create many issues for people and pets. From West Nile virus to Lyme disease, it’s important to keep your pets pest-free. Some trainers believe that sharing your bed with your pet can cause behavior problems (although these trainers tend to fall into the “old-fashioned” school of training). . Studies tend to back that up. There is a class of behavior known as “status-related aggression.” It can best be defined as aggression that results from a dog’s response to their owner. Occasionally, this aggression can be a problem for a spouse (although a marriage counselor may also be called for at that point) or a child who climbs into her parent’s bed in the wee hours of morning. Can letting your dog sleep in the bed increase your risk of being bitten? Perhaps. The important thing is to assess each case individually. If a dog begins to act in a possessive manner, it might be time to revoke bed privileges. . You’ll also have to take into consideration the amount of sleep you’re actually getting. If you, your human partner or your pets are restless sleepers, you can be assured that your rest will be disrupted regularly. . Is sleeping with your dog a risk? Sure, but not much more of a risk than sleeping with another human. In the end, you have to do what is right for you and your pets. If you do choose to share your sleeping time with a dog (or dogs), you should make sure he or she (or they) is free from pests, that his/her nails are regularly trimmed, and that he/she share your sleeping habits. Like everything else, it’s ultimately up to you how you live your life. Personally, I’ll take a few minutes less sleep and a very slight possibility of being bitten to have the comfort and security of knowing my dogs are near me late at night. It’s a small price to pay
Some impressive tug, hold and retrieve techniques on display from @santamonicapaws . . Check them out for more dog behavior videos and advice (plus beautiful scenery from the Santa Monica area!) . Dogs + the beach....what more can you ask for?
What’s the Big Deal About Petting Dogs? Many dogs strongly dislike greeting strangers; it’s just their personality. When people greet dogs, they walk straight over and start petting them. While some dogs love greetings, many dogs find greetings uncomfortable due to unwanted physical contact. Many fearful dogs try backing away, but their leash prevents them from moving, so dogs learn to bite to stop greetings. Think about it this way: Would you be comfortable having complete strangers walk over and pat your head? That’s exactly how some dogs feel, so respect their personal space. When Greeting a Dog for the First Time When you see a darling dog, stand still and don’t make eye contact with the dog. Look over at the pet owner and ask if you can pet her dog. Pet owners who listen to their dog’s choices will promptly let admirers know their dog is not comfortable with greetings. The pet owner may say “My dog is not friendly” or “He will jump on you.” If that’s the case, respect the pet owner’s decision to not allow greetings. Trying to convince a pet owner that you’re a dog wizard will only make the situation awkward. Just say, “Your dog is gorgeous, and I admire you for standing by your dog’s choices.” Let the Dog Choose to Greet If a pet owner agrees to let her dog meet you, it’s important to ask the dog first. Let the dog make the first move while you stand still. If a dog moves toward you, let the dog walk toward you and sniff your legs and shoes. Don’t bend over and pet the dog; instead bend down and let the dog greet you first. When petting a dog, rub his chest slowly and ask the pet owner if you can give her dog a treat. Slowly stand back up, while chatting with the pet owner, and let the dog continue to sniff you. If the dog chooses to ignore or walk away from you, respect the dog’s decision. Just say, “It’s okay, I can adore you from over here.” Forcing close physical contact will only frighten the dog even
For some impressive dog training tips, techniques and strategies, definitely check out @pure.pawsitivity . They offer in-person training plus webcam consults! . Here is one of their many great before/after videos. Description below! . Karma has been aggressive & isolated for a long time. The owners had tried everything, but Karma ended up controlling them! Their whole lives revolved around Karma's demands. EVERYTHING was on her terms. And yet, Karma was never relaxed at home; she whined, barked, demanded attention 24/7. It was hell inside her mind. 🐾 . Karma became aggressive because of insecurity--she didn't respect her owners or anyone else. She was the pack leader; and followers cannot tell pack leaders what to do. So when they encountered strangers/dogs outside, Karma set the rules and ignored her followers (AKA owners). 🐾 . However, the rules Karma set were based on an insecure, unbalanced mind, which is why you see explosive, unprovoked aggression. Karma is a great example of why dogs should never allowed to control the household--they will become deeply unstable & unhappy. The aggression was merely a symptom. 🐾 . So our task was to earn her respect, teach her healthy behavior, and then pass the baton to the owners. 🐾 . For this case, I brought my whole pack. Jacob has rehabbed many aggressive dogs with me; he is a natural leader who sets rules with new dogs right away. Today was Sophie's first big aggression case--she did great by staying calm & friendly! My husband (not a behaviorist, but a great assistant 😆) had the strength & poise to walk Karma, and maintain control when she attacked. 🐾 . Today Karma & Koda's owners report that they successfully walked past dogs/strangers! Sometimes, all clients need is to "see it to believe it." That confidence boost allowed them to become pack leaders. CONGRATS!
Get Referrals The best way to find out about reputable doggie daycare facilities in your area is through personal referrals. Ask people you know if they have ever taken their dogs to a daycare center. You can also use social media to inquire; if you have a lot of local Facebook friends, post a question asking for experiences with the daycare facilities in your area. Read Reviews Thanks to social media, you can find reviews on just about everything these days, and that includes doggie daycare centers. If you look on Yelp, for instance, you’ll get a good idea of what kinds of experiences other dog owners have had with a particular facility. Pay a Visit Don’t just take other peoples’ word for it. Visit the facility yourself, and do it without an appointment so you can see what it’s like when visitors aren’t expected. Ask for a tour of the facility, and keep an eye out for cleanliness, and secure fencing and gates. Do the staffers seem happy, and do the dogs look like they are enjoying themselves? Do the dogs have water available at all times? Ask Questions Find out how many staffers will be supervising your dog’s playtime. Ask how long the facility has been operating, and how dogs are evaluated. You want to make sure dogs are properly screened for aggressiveness before being allowed to interact with other dogs. Find out about the qualifications of staff members (do they have experience with dogs?) and how they handle emergencies, such as injuries incurred in a dogfight. Gauge Your Dog A good facility will request that your dog do a trial visit so staff can evaluate his behavior with other dogs. You shouldn’t be charged for this evaluation, which is usually an hour or more. If the facility accepts your dog as a daycare participant, see how he feels the next time you take him there. He should be happy and excited. If he cowers or shows any reluctance to leave you and go with the staff, he’s either not a good candidate for daycare, or his
Dog Ownership 101 Being a responsible dog owner starts before you even get a dog. Before visiting a shelter or calling a rescue, be certain that you have the time, energy and finances to properly care for a new pet. Here are a few rules to follow before the fact: 1. Don’t get a dog for your children unless you are prepared to do 100 percent of his care, if not right away then when they move out of the house. This is the voice of experience speaking. 2. Do your research and choose a breed or mix whose activity level matches your own. If you’re a couch potato, don’t get a Border Collie. If you want to go running or biking with your dog, forget the Pug. 3. How much space do you have? A large dog will be miserable in a studio apartment, while a small lap dog will be quite comfortable. 4. Do you want to deal with all the training required for a puppy? Adopting an adult dog who’s already housetrained puts you ahead of the game. Now that you have an idea of the type of dog you’d like, go online and search local shelters for a dog who fits your requirements. If your heart is set on a purebred, these can sometimes be found at shelters. Breed-specific rescues are also good sources for purebred dogs. If you go to a breeder, do some research to ensure she’s reputable. DO NOT buy a dog from a pet shop—these adorable puppies usually come from puppy mills, which keep breeding animals in deplorable conditions.
1. Touch Touch is such a simple dog behavior that can be used anywhere and for anything; it’s my favorite cue for all dogs. Dogs love this behavior too because it’s easy and super fun. Teach your dog to touch his nose to the palm of your hand when your hand is presented. There’s no verbal cue. Instead, your hand becomes the signal to play the “touch” game. Once your dog understands to purposefully touch his nose to the palm of your hand, move your hand farther away, so your dog walks over and touches. 2. Come When Called Training a dog to return back to you on cue is invaluable. This dog training cue prevents dogs from running off and getting lost, chasing things, fence fighting, and so much more. Start by playing this game indoors and use high value rewards. Every time your dog returns back to you, throw a party! Once your dog reliably returns to you indoors, it’s time to take this game outdoors and make it fun. 3. Body Handling All dogs should learn that body handling is super rewarding. Teach your dog that you touching his ears, paws, tail and belly make treats appear. Once your dog is comfortable with body handling, meaning he doesn’t pull away while you’re touching a body part, reward for longer sessions. Start slow and click your dog when he comfortably allows you to touch and look into his ear for a second. Gradually increase the time by 1-2 second increments. Reward your dog for mouth handling too, which is a great introduction to tooth brushing. Don’t forget your dog’s rear end too! Click and treat when lifting your dog’s tail, touching his belly and touching his rear paws. 4. Leave It The “leave it” behavior can be used anywhere too. Train your dog to ignore discarded chicken bones during walks, dropped food in the kitchen or another dog in the distance. “Leave it” is an amazing impulse control game too. Your dog will soon learn that his behavior really matters. Reward this behavior heavily and keep it light and
What is Positive Reinforcement Dog Training? Positive reinforcement dog training is when you reward your dog for a specific behavior, so the behavior will happen more often. When a dog sits, and he gets a treat, he learns to sit more often. Positive reinforcement works even when pet owners don’t suspect it. Positive Reinforcement Examples If you open a crate door, while your dog is barking inside it, your dog learns barking means you’ll open the crate door. Begging is a good positive reinforcement example too. If you feed your dog while he sits next to your plate, he learns that sitting close to your plate makes food happen. Yup, this is positive reinforcement too! Pros and Cons of Positive Reinforcement Training Pros Easy to do: You can’t make mistakes.; just reward behaviors you want to see more often. Fun for dog and pet owner: Positive reinforcement is fun because earning rewards is fun! Celebrating wins are much more fun than digesting mistakes. Extremely effective: Hands down, positive reinforcement works much faster than punishment-based dog training methods. Don’t believe me? Can be done anywhere: Dog training sessions can happen anywhere; just grab food treats and go! You don’t need fancy equipment: Throw out choke chains, pinch collars and electronic collars. All you need are a handful of treats, a clicker and your dog! If you’re training your dog outside, attach a leash to your dog’s body harness. Cons (And Solutions) Treat dependency: Dog will only work for treats. This is an easy fix; just fade training treats once a dog understands a cue. Withholding treats is frustrating: In the beginning, this can happen. Again, this is a quick fix. Set a dog up for success and reward every single step toward a goal. If needed, take a few steps back and build until the desired behavior happens. What if you don’t have treats? Simple. Use praise, games and the happy dance to reward your dog for good behaviors.
Getting an education these days has become easier and more convenient thanks to online classes. However, despite the flexibility that comes with an online education, there are benefits of a traditional learning experience you won’t find online. One-on-one instructor time The biggest difference between distance learning and traditional learning is one-on-one instructor time. Many online courses are formatted in a self-service format. There’s an instructor who leads the course, but oftentimes isn’t leading a real-time lecture. Instead, lectures are pre-recorded and uploaded for viewing anytime. Traditional classrooms allow students to have that unique one-on-one experience with instructors and receive instant feedback. Plus, classrooms allow for deep discussions not only between student and instructor, but also among all students. Structured learning Everyone’s learning style is different. While others can easily focus on their studies at home, there are others who would prefer a physical space dedicated to learning. Traditional classrooms offer that learning environment and structure. You attend class, learn, interact and return home. The separation between home and school can be quite appealing to those who find there are too many distractions at home. Social experience Aside from interacting with an instructor, students are able to interact with each other. This can be especially helpful for those transitioning from military life to civilian life. Veterans may find traditional classrooms helpful during this period and have the opportunity to meet others who may share the same experiences as them. Hands-on training Finally, most traditional learning programs come with more opportunities to get hands-on training. Traditional classrooms offer students that flexibility to learn in class, and then apply what they’ve learned in a real-life setting. At Animal Behavior College, our classroom students spend more than 100 hours working with shelter dogs