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

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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.

 

 

How to Talk to a Nervous Dog

How to Talk to a Nervous Dog

Even the most confident dogs will feel nervous sometimes. Fear and anxiety are deeply rooted, automatic responses to real or perceived dangers. These triggers will vary from dog to dog (remember, every dog is different), but triggers might include:

  • Loud noises
  • Strangers
  • Other dogs
  • Small children
  • Confinement

You know your dog best and being alert to their potential triggers will help decrease or prevent their anxiety. So, what should you do when your dog is displaying signs of anxiety?

Showing Love to a Nervous Dog

Dog lovers are sometimes unsure as to what they should do when their dog is nervous, or anxious, because they’re worried they may reinforce the behavior. But, when it comes to fear, anxiety, and stress, there’s a difference.

Let’s think about it from our perspective. Let’s say we’re afraid of small spaces. And, we’re riding in an elevator. If your significant other soothes you while you’re in the elevator, will you stop fearing small spaces? Probably not. But, your significant other soothing you might help, right?

No one likes to be anxious, or scared, and it’s not a reaction that can be easily controlled. Or, really controlled at all. Your dog isn’t acting scared to get your attention. But, how you respond to their fear or anxiety could reduce the intensity of the situation.

Soothing a Nervous Dog

When your talking to your dog, and he is nervous, you should talk softly, and relatively high-pitched. This gets their attention, and may reassure him you’re there and he’s safe.

You should never yell at your dog when she’s nervous or anxious. This will add to their fear or anxiety. And, will likely result in the problem worsening.

Oh, The Treats!

If you’re going somewhere you know your dog will be anxious, or afraid of, bring some treats with you. Treats* will help to re-direct her attention to something more positive… you!

Watch Your Body Language

You’ll hear me talk about body language a lot when referring to canine behavior. That’s because body language is extremely important- for both us and our dog.

If your dog is nervous at home, instead of hovering over him and talking, get down to his level. You may add to his fear by ‘hovering.’ Getting to his level may make him feel more comfortable.

You shouldn’t handle your dog too much, or pet your dog too much, in a fearful situation… unless your dog is looking for you to. Some dogs want you to be right next to them, petting them, comforting them. But, other dogs need a little space when they’re not feeling comfortable. You know your dog the best- so you make this call.

Empathy in Fearful Situations

You should never force your dog into a situation when they’re nervous- whether this be meeting another dog, another person, or being in an unfamiliar space. A nervous dog could become

How to Get Your Pup to be All Ears

Dogs are an intelligent species; they can assist the disabled and are great detectives. However, at times we do feel that our dogs aren’t smart as they don’t listen to our commands.  Of course, it is difficult to make your dog walk off leash or to get him to leave the chicken bone he found outside. You keep shouting “Bad Boy”, “Bad Boy” but he just won’t respond, and you end up feeling helpless & confused. Whether you are a new dog-parent or you have had your baby for years, you may experience this behavior. Well, keep your worries aside as this guide explains the basics of teaching your pup to listen to you.

Communication is Key

The first step is to build a connection with your dog. Dogs are animals, and we can’t expect them to speak our language. They begin to understand our commands when they are trained to do so. Begin with talking to your dog, use simple and short sentences. Make sure you use the same words each time as your pooch will learn with repetition. Use a tone that is soft and immediately catches attention. Don’t shout or whine as your pup may get scared or upset.

You can use gestures as well, teach your dog to sit, stand or stay using basic gestures. Combining gestures with verbal commands help the dog understand effectively.

Where to Begin?

Start with teaching your dog his name. Make sure you train your pup in a quiet place with no distractions involved. Say his name and if he looks at you, immediately say “Yes” in a praising tone. Repeat this couple of times, try doing it when you are in another room and see if he comes running to you. Afterward, you can teach the basic commands such as Stand up, sit, lie down and stay.

Positive Reinforcement

Your pooch needs a motivator to make him listen to your commands and what is better than his favorite treats. Every time your dog does what he is asked to, offer him something he loves. Along with the treats you need to use a signal as a cue, say “Yes” or “Good Boy” whenever he behaves well.

Keep Practicing

We have all heard of the phrase practice makes man perfect, well the same goes for dogs. You need to repeat the same commands multiple times, using the same words and tone each time. If you started teaching your dog in your living room without any distractions, practice the same techniques in different settings with distractions around. Eventually, your pooch will perfect the ability to respond to the cues.

Figure out Why Your Dog Isn’t Listening

If your dog doesn’t respond to the cue the first time, try to find out the cause. Is it because there are too many distractions that are overwhelming your pup? Maybe there are interesting things around that fascinate your pooch. Whatever the reason may be, find it and try to teach to your dog from the basics in the new environment.

Your puppy may also choose to ignore your commands if that is the case, reinforce the behavior by incorporating short training lessons into his daily routine. Once your little pup grows up and begins to have adventures on his own, the connection between the two of you may weaken. In that case, you are the one responsible for making things work, spend time with your dog, plan new activities and strengthen the bond.

One thing to always keep in mind is that it’s all about training. No breed or genes will influence your dog’s behavior as much as your teaching. Remember that it will require patience; there will be times when you’ll want to express anger, but that is never the solution. Combine the skills with the effective tools, and you’ll be able to train your dog in no time.

Talk to you again soon,

Jenny Perkins, Guest Blogger at DogBehaviorBlog & Blogger at HerePup.com