Let’s Hear From You: What Do You Need?

Hello, everyone! I’m so happy you’re here. As you can see, the Dog Behavior Blog has been completely revamped. As I was sitting down to write an article for you, there are so many ideas popping through my head. But, before I write another article, I want to hear from you.

What do you need help with? What questions do you have? This is your opportunity to ask your questions, and allow me to address them in an article, or perhaps a series of articles, so you (and your fellow dog lovers) can learn more about their dogs.

As a professional in the industry, you sometimes skip over the most common questions. What’s familiar to you may not be familiar to someone ‘outside the box….’ if you know what I mean.

And, on top of your questions, is there anything you hope Canine Companions will offer in the future? Are you looking for a specific e-course, e-book, instruction sheet, recipes, etc?

Please feel free to submit a comment, or use the Contact Us page, to submit your questions, comments, and/or concerns.

I can’t wait to hear from you.

Amber L Drake

6 Unwanted Dog Behaviors That Dog Owners Encourage

Every dog parent strives to raise a behaviorally balanced dog, but most of them end up asking what’s wrong with my dog? We, accidentally, promote some unwanted behaviors in our dogs.

A lot of dog parents encourage unwanted behaviors because they find it cute. If the behavior has been rewarded for a long time, it becomes difficult to change it.

As it takes double to effort to ‘untrain’ a dog, so it’s best to avoid encouraging these six behaviors in dogs:

  1. Biting:

The nipping or biting habit is encouraged at puppy stage when the pooch is teething. As a dog parent, you should take appropriate measures to avoid prolonging of nipping behavior past the teething stage. If we let this behavior continue, the adult dog will find it acceptable to communicate through teeth and skin. A puppy’s nip doesn’t hurt. It can be ignored due to the cuteness of the puppy. But, when the adult dog plays rough by biting the skin, it becomes unbearable and difficult to stop.

It is best to curb the behavior at a young age by making loud, painful sounds whenever the puppy nips and bites your hand. You can distract him with chew toys. You can ignore the pup for a while after he bites you so that he learns his lesson and suppress the bitey behavior.

  1. Bark For Your Rights:

Dogs that get what they want when they bark for toys or food learn ‘demand barking’ behavior. The dog owners support the bossy behavior by paying heed to him when he barks. Most of the dog owners listen to barking dogs only to stop the noise. But, it trains them negatively to behave harshly rather than politely to get something.

To curb such demanding behavior, train him to sit down whenever he wants something. Make him calm down and sit before you serve food, give a chew toy, toss the ball, etc. If he barks at you due to impatience, walk away and do not concede to his demands.

  1. Jumping Up In Excitement:

Dogs usually jump up in excitement as you enter the house. We nurture the dog jumping behavior with equal excitement, laughter, and pats of encouragement. But, when a large breed dog grows up, his jumping behavior can cause injury. In case of small dogs, the behavior can be hurtful when a new baby arrives. The jumping up of dog can be irritating if you are leaving for a meeting and the dog messes up your shirt.

To avoid jumping up of dogs, simply ignore his leaps when you return home. When the dog calms down, pat and hug him for his nice behavior. It will train him to avoid the overexcited behavior.

  1. Anti-Social Behavior:

Anti-social behavior develops when your puppy or dog returns shivering after having an interaction with other dogs, and you hug him instantly to provide protection. This encouraging hug will stimulate him to behave fearfully every time he comes in contact with other people or dogs. There can be other reasons for a shivering dog, so understand the cause before you respond.

To avoid anti-social behavior, encourage your dog for interacting with other dogs. Give him treats or a pat on the back every time he interacts and plays with other pets in the park. This will boost his confidence to make new friends everywhere he goes.

  1. Pulling at the Leash:

If your dog continuously pulls on the leash as you go for a walk, then it’s a behavior that should be discouraged. Otherwise, the dog will consider the leash around its neck to be a trigger for pulling on it and moving forward. It can be irritating when you want him to sit and wait for you.

You should teach your dog that leash pulling will never work, and he can go forward only when the leash is loose. Don’t walk ahead when the dog pulls on the leash. When he lets the leash loose, reward him for behaving right. Give him treats for walking close to you to encourage the good behavior.

  1. Begging:

It is hard for a puppy owner to resist the begging pooch when he asks for food. However, it becomes a trouble when your dog is an adult, and you have to manage his diet requirements. If he gets obese, putting him on diet food will not be easy as he will continue to beg and you may persist to give in.

It’s best not to share your food with the dog, but give him his specific dog meal to eat. Ignore his begging face and do not feed him a single scrap of food to avoid development of such unwanted behaviors.

If you succeed in discouraging these six behaviors in your puppy, you will not have to worry about the wrong things in your dog.

 

Canine Veteran’s Day: How to Help

Tomorrow is Canine Veteran’s Day. And, here at Canine Companions & Dog Behavior Blog, would like to share some information about our canine veterans here. Please take a seat, and read/listen to the article.

You might even find your soulmate dog after reading this.

You’re going to want to grab your tissues before reading and watching.

What Do Dogs Do at War?

In war, our dogs are the first line. They are first to go into a dangerous territory. And, they let their handler know if it’s okay to continue walking, or to stop in their tracks.

Watch this documentary to follow dogs and their handlers through the tears, blood, and sweat during war in Afghanistan:

Robby’s Law: Saving Lives, Encouraging Adoptions

Before Robby’s Law was enacted in 2000, dogs who came back from war were euthanized. Now, handlers have the option of adopting their dog once they come back to the states. And, if their handler isn’t able to care for them… they are able to be placed for adoption.

Over 90% of canine veterans are adopted by their handlers at the end of their service. And, it’s not hard to understand why. Watch the videos below to see the strength of their love for one another.

To Show You How Special the Bond Handlers & Their Dogs Share

Army dog races into the arms of his handler three years later:

Veteran reunited with bomb-sniffing dog:

Military hero dog reunited with handler:

 

Adopting a Military Working Dog

Most of the MWD’s available for adoption are puppies, or relatively young dogs, who didn’t make it through the training (only about half graduate training).

There are occasionally older dogs who have been at war, though. They may have medically retired due to an injury, or retired due to their age.

It’s important to note that those dogs who have been to war often have PTSD- similar to our human soldiers.

Only recently have we learned that dogs can suffer from this condition following war times. These dogs have been exposed to everything we were- and potentially more- including gunshots, explosions, and other loud and/or violent experiences.

Symptoms of PTSD in dogs include:

  • Fear of noise
  • Fear of new situations
  • Avoidance or fear of buildings
  • Flashbacks

These can usually be managed, but they’re important for you to understand when considering the adoption of a dog from war.

Organizations to Contact About Adopting a Military Working Dog

You can contact the following organizations if you’re interested in adopting a military working dog:

United States War Dogs Association

Save-A-Vet

Mission K9 Rescue

Take Other Action to Help This Canine Veteran’s Day

There’s a petition going around to help canine veterans here. 

  • The petition changes the wording from “adoption” to “foster” in case a dog is placed into a police force after retirement.
  • The military handler becomes attached to the dog throughout his or her entire life; their name is on all paperwork, so they’re able to be with their dog forever if they would like to be.
  • And, if they aren’t with their dog, they are able to find out how they’re doing and where they are any time.
  • The petition also requests handlers be permitted to retire their dog if they don’t believe their dog is able to handle ‘the job’ any longer.
  • And finally, only the handler is able to agree and sign off on an adoption.

 

 

5 Steps for Successful Leash Walking

Dogs aren’t natural leash walkers. And, it takes patience to train a dog to walk on a leash… so don’t feel discouraged if your dog isn’t quite comfortable yet. It can be frustrating to feel a constant tug at the leash… but remember if they’ve never walked on a leash before- it’s a completely new experience.

Before you begin, make sure you have the right equipment to walk your dog. Yes, the right collar/harness and leash make a huge difference. Don’t choose a leash that’s too long, or too short. Harnesses* are generally recommended for beginners, too. A harness is less likely to harm your dog when they tug than a collar (especially for small dogs- if you tug on a small dog or puppy’s collar, you put the dog at risk for a collapsed trachea).

…featured on Moving Babies! Featured on MovingBabies

Dogs are also generally more at ease with a harness* than with a collar- which helps during training.

Training Steps for Leash Walking

Step 1: Help Your Dog Acclimate

Your dog should be given some time to get used to the collar or harness before you strap a leash to her. Try putting the collar or harness on, then give praise in the form of a low-calorie, healthy treat or a “Great job!” Give your dog a few days to get used to having the collar or harness on his or her body.

After a few days pass, you can clip the leash on your dog. Try just walking inside the house at first- where he or she feels comfortable. There are fewer distractions inside- and if your dog slips off the collar/harness or you lose the leash- you’ll be certain she’s safe.

You can even let him drag the leash around the house- giving him plenty of praise along the way. So, he associates the leash with happiness and rewards.

 Step 2: Teach Off-Leash Commands

Ensuring your dog has the basic obedience skills mastered will help you with leash training. Your dog should understand, “sit” and “come,” at minimum so you can make sure she’s safe outside. Teacher her these commands also strengthens the bond you share with your dog- which results in more trust.

When a dog trusts you, you are more likely to have success on the leash. She will understand you aren’t doing anything to put her in harm’s way.

Step 3: Give Her Commands While on the Leash

Now that your dog is comfortable wearing the collar/harness, and you have mastered some basic obedience commands, you can start working on her general obedience while on the leash (again, indoors).

Step 4: Walking Outside

When you first walk outside, remember- to a dog- there are so many things to see, smell, hear. You might notice your puppy or dog is easily distracted. That’s okay. Try to keep the walks short. And, keep a handful of low-calorie snacks in your pocket to re-direct her attention if she gets distracted.

Step 5: Prevent Pulling

You’re ready to go outside, and she’s no longer afraid of the leash, but she’s still tugging on the leash… now what? When she begins to tug, turn the opposite direction of the way you’re walking. For example, if you’re walking west through your yard, immediately turn east (being careful not to tug). You might see her look at you like “what are you doing?” But soon, she will understand you are the leader.

I Need More Help!

If you need more help regarding leash walking, feel free to join the Dog Behavior Group on Facebook where readers of the Dog Behavior Blog share ideas and ask questions.

Meet the Pit, First.

October 28 is Pit Bull Awareness Day* • Pit Bull Love is Every Day! 😉 This is not the first year I post about pitties [read an older post about the breed here]. It is however the first year I’m doing a post about them being a proud owner of one. Most of you already […]

via Pitbull Awareness Day — Marina Kanavaki

For a Limited Time Only!

For a limited time only, ‘Dog Talk: What Your Dog Wants You to Know,’ e-book is available for ONLY $4.99 at Barnes and Noble and Amazon! Grab your copy before the promotion ends!

Dog Talk: What Your Dog Wants You to Know

If you’re searching for a comprehensive dog book, this 400+ page book by Amber L. Drake is for you. Drake has over a decade of experience in canine behavior, and has developed this book in response to client questions throughout the years. Topics range from the history of the dog to canine behavior and nutrition. The print book is affordable at only $24.99 at Barnes and Noble at Amazon, or only $14.99 for the e-book.