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Eliminate Food-Guarding Behavior in 7 Steps

Guarding possessions, whether it be food, a special toy, or any other item, is a normal behavior in dogs. When dogs ran wild, they were forced to guard their possessions to survive. Those who did guard their food, and/or their family were more likely to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, this could become an issue for us, as their family.

Guarding behavior can range from completely harmless to extremely aggressive. Some dogs guard their resources from everyone. And, others guard their possessions from only certain people (like ‘strangers’).

Some dogs guard their bone. Some dogs guard their toy. Some dogs guard their food.

Which of the above is your dog doing?

We’ll talk about how to resolve these issues. And, if your dog isn’t resource guarding, we’ll talk about how to prevent resource guarding as well.

Prevent the Behavior

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If you have a puppy, now is an excellent time to begin preventing resource guarding. Puppies are prone to developing food guarding behavior because they must compete with their litter mates.

As soon as you bring your dog home, you should begin hand-feeding. Sit down with your puppy and feed him one piece of kibble at a time. Speak softly to your puppy as you’re feeding.

Once your dog is comfortable with hand-feeding, you can move to the bowl. Set the bowl in your lap or directly next to you. Watch your dog’s behavior as she’s eating with you. Continue speaking to your dog in a soft, positive voice as she’s eating.

My Dog is Already Food Guarding

If your dog is currently guarding her food, there are ways to desensitize your dog. The process we will use is known as counterconditioning.

While completing these exercises, be sure to listen to vocalizations and watch your dog’s body language. This will help you understand how he or she is feeling during this time.

The First Step: Only Standing Nearby

You need to go about this step-by-step. Try standing a few feet away from your dog while she’s eating her kibble. During the first step, you should not try to move closer. Calmly talk to her in a reassuring manner while she’s eating. This should be repeated a minimum of ten times before moving to the next step.

The Second Step: Standing and One Step

In the second step, you should still begin by standing a few feet away from your dog. But, you can take one step closer to your dog at this time. When you take your step, throw a treat toward your dog’s food bowl. Then, step back to where you were in the first place. Each day, you can take an extra step (as long as your dog is calm/relaxed). Step 2 should also be repeated a minimum of ten times before moving to step 3.

Step 3: Standing and Walking Away

If your dog has successfully mastered steps 1 and 2, you can move on to step 3. If your dog is still uncomfortable, please stay with the first two steps.

In the third step, continue talking to your dog in a soft tone, while walking toward his food bowl. Stand next to your dog’s food bowl, place a treat in the bowl, and walk away slowly. This step should be repeated a minimum of ten times.

Step 4: The Treat Trick

Continue applying what you have learned in the first three steps. In this step, while your dog is eating, you can hold a treat in your hand. Slowly show your dog the treat as he’s eating his meal. This step should encourage your dog to stop eating what’s in the bowl and take the treat. Once your dog has taken the treat, walk away and stand a few feet away from your dog. Continue to do this at each mealtime until your dog has finished eating.

Step 5: Pick Up the Bowl

The next step… raising the bowl. Please only attempt this step if your dog is 100% comfortable with steps 1-4.

Stand next to your dog and pick up her bowl with one hand. Don’t pick it up all the way… only lift the bowl slightly from the floor. Then, return the bowl to your dog immediately.

Step 6: Now She’s Comfy

Once your dog is comfortable with step 5, you can take the bowl away, place a treat in the bowl, and return it. Your dog now associates you with goodies. At this point, your dog should no longer have any problem with you being near her food.

Step 7: The Final Step

The final stage is to help the other members of your family go through all six steps. Be sure everyone in the household completes the steps in the same manner you did. And, don’t skip a step! This will allow your dog to learn there’s no reason to guard his food… not only from you but from anyone.

DO NOT PUNISH

Do not punish your dog for guarding her food. Your dog is guarding her food because she thinks you’re going to take it away and she won’t get it back. Punishment often results in the behavior worsening as the trust between you and your dog is lost.

DISCLAIMER:

If your dog becomes aggressive with his or her food, you should not attempt to resolve this behavior on your own. Please contact a Canine Behaviorist to assist in the process.

 

6 Steps to Potty Training Your Puppy

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Young puppies have an extremely hard time holding their bladder and will need to relieve themselves frequently. Potty training isn’t an easy process, but with time and dedication, you’ll have a much easier time as your pup gets older.

Potty training should begin the moment you pick up your puppy. This will help her get on the right track, sooner. Although she may have accidents, she will begin to understand what is expected of her. And, this will mean less clean-up for you. In this article, we’ll go through the steps of potty training… the ‘do’s,’ and the ‘do not’s.’

Step 1: Praise Your Puppy Excessively

Being required to go potty in a designated area is new to any dog. A dog’s instincts don’t tell them they’re not permitted to use the bathroom inside the house. Their instincts tell them to find an area where they don’t sleep or eat, and use the bathroom there, whether inside or outside.

That’s why it’s so important to praise your dog excessively when he uses the potty outside. Your dog needs your feedback to be successful in potty training (and all other types of training). Be sure to praise your puppy immediately after they potty outside… or else they won’t know what you’re praising them for.

The praise can be in the form of an excited “yay, good job,” a yummy low-calorie treat or kibble, or both. Many dog lovers carry around a handful of kibble in their pockets out of their puppy’s daily portions.

Step 2: Utilize a Crate

There’s controversy in the dog world about using crates… some dog lovers want a crate and others feel it’s not necessary. But, the crate essentially becomes your dog’s ‘den’ or ‘safe space.’ The crate is also helpful because puppies don’t like to use the bathroom where they sleep.

The crate should have a soft layer of padding to it. A dog bed generally works just fine. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and move around, but not large enough for your pup to relieve himself and move to another spot to sleep.

You can also place toys in the crate with your puppy so they’re able to play if they get bored. Mental puzzle toys, and some type of chew toy, are usually best. The Kong toys work extremely well, they’re mentally stimulating, and puppies generally can’t rip them to shreds. One of the biggest mistakes puppy parents make is grabbing a toy that looks neat, but their puppy shreds the toy into small pieces and end up swallowing parts of the toy. This could lead to a blockage… and we don’t want that to happen.

For this step, it’s critical to note that puppies should not stay in their crates for long periods of time. The crate should only be utilized when you’re not able to pay attention to your puppy. Then, once their potty trained, you can leave the door to their crate open so they’re able to freely enter and exit.

Step 3: No Punishments

Punishing your puppy for urinating or defecating on the floor can do more harm than good. By the time you find out your puppy has had an accident, your pup likely doesn’t remember what they did. And, even if you catch them in the act, punishing your puppy could permanently damage the bond and trust they have with you.

Staying calm when they have an accident is essential. You shouldn’t yell, chase, or smack your puppy. You also shouldn’t ‘rub his nose in it.’ Not only will you lose their trust, but they will associate going potty with punishment and may resort to using the bathroom in areas you won’t find.

Some dog lovers will argue, ‘but rubbing her nose in it works.’ And, yes… sometimes it does. But, you risk the bond you will have with her for the rest of her life by using punishment as a learning method.

Step 4: Show Her Where to Go

If you catch your puppy in the act, instead of punishing, try to re-direct her attention. You can re-direct her attention by saying “let’s go potty outside” or something similar. Then, immediately bring her outside to show her where it’s okay to use the bathroom. Then, once she uses the bathroom in your designed area, that’s when you can excessively praise her. She will connect the dots, and learn you are happy when she uses the bathroom in that particular area.

Step 5: Don’t Overuse Puppy Pads

You can, and should, have puppy pads in the house while you’re training your pup. But, you shouldn’t set them up in multiple areas around the house. This is confusing to a puppy, and they won’t understand why it’s not okay to use the bathroom in the house. They also may not be able to distinguish between a puppy pad and an area rug, or why she’s allowed to use the bathroom in some areas of the home but not others.

Step 6: Establish a Routine

Establishing a routine with any puppy or adult dog is critical. Dogs have a great sense of time, and if you have a set routine it will make potty training much easier. For example, if you always take her potty after she eats, she will understand after she eats she goes potty outside. This may take time- so don’t get upset if she doesn’t immediately understand the routine. Don’t worry- she will.

The Bottom Line on Potty Training

The most important step you should be aware of in this process is to always be positive with your puppy. Dogs and puppies are eager to please you. They want to make you happy as often as possible. Also, understand every dog is different, and some puppies may take longer than others to learn what’s expected of them.

3 Fun Yard Games to Play with Your Pup

Keeping up with hyperactive puppies is a tough job. Puppies have a lot of energy that needs to be invested positively in keeping them happy, healthy, and active. Outdoor games will protect them from developing anxiety, sadness, and depression. There are many games that you can play with your pup to strengthen their mental and physical abilities.

Pups are fun-loving furballs that can entertain you at all time with their naivety.  Engage them in something different from the common fetch-games in your yard.

Here are three fun yard games that will be beneficial for the pup; and will ease your way for future training. The following games can expand the learning capacities of your dog to a great extent.

  1. Hide and Seek:

There are two sides to playing hide and seek with your pup, either you can hide a dog treat, or you can hide by yourself. Dogs are hunters by nature and love to search out desired things or people by utilizing their strong sense of smell. It will give the pup or the dog a space to express his inborn hunting strengths. Your dog will experience not only a physical exhaustion but also mental stimulation.

By playing hide and seek, the dog can stay engaged in the activity for a long time and can invest his energies more positively. Otherwise, pups and dogs get bored. Boredom can lead to frustration, anxiety, depression, and even a development of destructive behaviors.

Does your puppy have a favorite toy? Hide some treats in that, and hide it somewhere in the yard. It will require the employment of double the amount of dog’s intelligence.

One more trick to play hide and seek is that you hide different toys around the yard and call their names for your dog to find the specific toys!

The puppy’s intelligence, smartness, and alert behavior will help you train him easily later on. The more time you spend together having fun, the higher are the chances for him to take the training for a game. He will love to follow you and obey you just to have some fun!

The plus point is, his destructive capacities that can develop from hunting instincts are toned down and are trained in a better way.

  1. Pool Games:

Do you have a pool in your yard? What else can be more than perfect!

Pool games are ah-mazing for pups to have fun, learn, and get confident around water. Yeah! Bathing can become even easier. Fears can be curbed down better at an early age of life. When the dog is young, allure him to get into the pool and have some fun!

Why not play the ‘common fetch-games’ in the pool?

Fear of heights, water, and so on can be eliminated at puppy stage of dog’s life.

If you are an adventure-loving owner, then, get your dog prepared for future to move around with you comfortably. The basic point of pool games is to give ‘confidence’ to little pups so they can face their fears better!

However, be careful in the beginning—send your pup in the pool with a life jacket under your supervision. Moreover, hydrotherapy

Caution: Some dog breeds don’t like water. It’s in their genetics. Some rescue dogs suffered from a bad experience in their past lives. So, it’s better not to FORCE the puppy against his will. Game by force can cause anxiety and depression in dogs too.

  1. Tricks and Treats:

So, here comes the real fun! Make your pup learn new tricks by positive reinforcements. Allure him with treats, rewards, and appreciation. Make him jump over the sticks or crawl from underneath the planks.

What’s the benefit? Your pup will become a quick learner for the sake of your appreciation. His tricks will invite and attract people to appreciate and love him. Altogether, this will earn him confidence and fame throughout his life!

What’s more? Strong bones and athletic abilities are a great plus for future training.

Why I highly recommend these three yard games?

A few years ago, I bought a puppy, a black Labrador, named Leo home. They are amazing companion dogs, get more information here. Leo is a fun-loving pup but requires a lot of exercises. Regular training is required to tone down his stubbornness.

Leo’s high energy levels and intelligence levels were creating a concern for me to engage him at all times properly. Due to his high intelligence level, it was required of me to train him at a young age.

Previously, if I ever left Leo alone for hours, he used to get aggressive and stubborn. I looked out for fun ways to engage my new pup to channelize his energies properly. The most effective games that have paid me, in the long run, are these three yard games. They worked for me as well as for a lot of my neighbor dogs. Try them out, and you will admit it by yourself!

Puppy Potty Training

Potty training your puppy can seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it’s actually relatively easy. As long as you are committed, consistent, and follow the right steps, you will be able to successfully train your puppy to do her business outside. Take a look to find out the do’s and don’ts of potty training your pooch!

via The 4 Basic Principles of Puppy Potty Training [Infographic] — ecogreenlove

Click the link to learn the four principles, now.

Puppy Needs List

One of the common questions received by a professional in the dog world is–

“I am adopting a puppy soon, what do I need before I bring my new puppy home?”

This article will provide you with a checklist of the items you should grab before bringing your new puppy home.

Puppy Necessities

  • Water bowl
  • Food bowl
  • Leash
  • Collar: You may want an adjustable collar so you don’t have to purchase collars every time your new puppy grows.
  • Puppy Food (Note: Do not feed your puppy adult dog food. Puppy food and adult dog food are completely different. Your puppy will need puppy food to grow into a healthy, happy adult dog)
  • Dog tags: These are excellent to purchase before you bring your new puppy home. Puppies sometimes get lost ‘exploring’ and if this accident happens, your puppy is more likely to be returned to you safely.
  • Low-calorie, healthy puppy treats
  • Brush
  • Chew toys (you will want these!)
  • Gates (to block your new puppy off of ‘no-no’ areas)
  • Doggy bed

You may also want to consider a pet sitter if you will be working long hours through the day. Puppies need to go out often and you may come home to a puppy who has had a lot of accidents and a lot of energy.

When Does a Puppy Become an Adult Dog?

Our puppies grow up so fast. One moment we are holding them in our arms and the next minute, they’re all grown up. But, which age does a puppy become an adult?

Every Puppy is Different

Every puppy, and dog, is unique. If your puppy is not as mature as other puppies his age, don’t take this as a ‘bad’ thing. Some puppies just mature sooner than others. For the most part, you can consider your puppy an adult at around 1-2 years old.

Emotional Maturity

Emotional maturity basically means… when does the puppy start acting like an adult dog instead of a wild puppy? Well, this varies significantly based on environment, breed and other factors. German Shepherds, for example, often mature later emotionally than a Corgi puppy.

Switching Food

This is a common question Canine Nutritionists and Behaviorists are asked. When can I switch my puppy from puppy food to regular food? If you have a small breed dog, they can be switched as early as 9 months of age. Medium breeds can begin eating adult dog food at about one year of age. Large breed dogs should wait a little bit longer to transition– about 1 year and 3 months old.

Large breed dogs take longer to adjust to adult dog food because their bodies are still growing when small breed dogs are ready to transition.

I Don’t Know My Dog’s Age

If you aren’t sure of your dog’s age, you can ask your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is able to determine approximately how old your puppy is.

Destructive Chewing

Chewing is a dog’s way of ‘exploring the world.’ Often, we hear of puppies chewing excessively because it relieves the pain of teething. In other dogs, it is their natural instinct to chew to keep their teeth clean and healthy. Chewing is also a dog’s way of relieving anxiety or boredom.

Excessive Chewing Becomes a Problem

Excessive chewing in dogs becomes a problem. We don’t want them to chew up the items around our home. If items are being chewed, please don’t think your dog is a ‘bad dog.’ This is a common issue for many dogs and it is a normal behavior.

Puppies and Excessive Chewing

Our puppies need to chew on something. Their teething phase can last up to six months of age. So, during this time, you can expect your puppy to need something to chew on. There are many recommendations for the teething phase.

You can try giving your puppy some ice cubes to chew on, for example. Stocking up on puppy chew toys also helps significantly. Kong toys are highly recommended as they are the most safe in many cases.

Chewing Due to Boredom

Adult dogs may chew due to boredom. This can be due to a lack of exercise or mental stimulation. Every dog is different and requires a different amount of physical and mental exercise. Most dogs, on average, need about an hour per day of exercise to feel healthy and comfortable.

A tired dog is a happy dog. This is an important statement to remember. Try taking your dog on an extra walk each day, playing fetch or even taking her to the dog park. You can also take a look at the mental stimulation treat puzzles that are now available at most pet stores.

Remember to Be Patient

Remember to be patient throughout any behavioral problem. Scolding your dog and/or punishing your dog severely reduces the trust your dog has with you… and the bond you share.