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Dog Training Tip of the Month

Dog Breed Information
  • Breed Spotlight - The Great Dane - December 2011

    The Great Dane

    The Great Dane - Breed Spotlight

    Characteristics & History

    The Great Dane, easily identifiable by their large size and distinguished characteristics, is one of the most graceful of the giant dog breeds. The origin of the Great Dane as they are known today is said to be traced back to the Irish Wolfhound with a mixture of English Mastiff. The breed was originally used for hunting purposes, particularly to track boar; in addition to being used as estate guard dogs and human companions. While Great Danes can be traced back with research to the Germans originally, according to historians (as sited by the American Kennel Club website), Great Danes were even reportedly seen in drawings on Egyptian monuments as early as 3000 B.C.


    This exceptionally large dog breed is known for being powerful yet elegant, with an energetic and gracious disposition. The coat is short and thick, with colors including brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin and mantle. Although this very large canine typically ranges from 28-34 inches in height, and can weigh roughly between 100-200 pounds, these “gentle giants,” as they are commonly referenced, maintain a rather affectionate and friendly reputation. The Great Dane would prefer to be around people, as they are a very loyal and loving breed. They are also very reliable and courageous which makes them the perfect candidate for a watchdog.

    Dog Training Tips

    Understandably so, the Great Dane does not stay small for long and requires regular dog training from a young age. It is important to teach your pup that jumping up, or leaning on people is unacceptable. These behaviors can be avoided and corrected with positively reinforced training. You may need to contact your local dog trainer for more assistance.

    The Great Dane As A Pet

    Teaching your Great Dane dog obedience is vital to the success and happiness of your dog and the relationship he has with his human companions. Most owners who know how to properly handle their Great Dane will agree these canines are indeed “gentle giants” who have loving and patient personalities, making them a great family pet. These dogs are not prone to barking, and can adapt well in an indoor environment. Although these canines can adapt to indoor living, they need plenty of exercise consisting of at least a long daily walk.

    The Great Dane is an average shedder. Their smooth, short-haired coat requires minimal grooming and is easy to maintain if attended to with a daily brushing and dry shampoo when necessary. If you are looking for a loyal, loving, and gentle companion, then the Great Dane would make a great addition to your family!
  • Breed Spotlight - French Bulldogs - October 2011

    French Bulldogs
    French Bulldogs - Breed Spotlight

    History & Characteristics

    Dating back to the 19th century, French Bulldogs were, and continue to be used as a human companion. Lace makers from Nottingham, England bred these “toy” versions of the English Bulldog with the sole purpose of being a “lap dog.” After the Industrial Revolution brought lace makers and their miniature companions to France, the popularity of their breed increased tremendously and it wasn’t long before the “toy” bulldog became known as the “French Bulldog.” This smooth-coated breed has a variety of coat colors including, brindle, fawn, white, and combinations of brindle with white, or fawn with white. While most French Bulldogs stand at about 12 inches in height, and weigh between 19-28 pounds, their body structure is best described as being stocky, sturdy, and compact.

    Dog Training Tips

    French Bulldogs are active, intelligent, and an easy-care companion with a very curious and comical disposition. While they are very easygoing, this breed requires leadership, consistency and attention from its owners. Often times when an owner is too passive towards them, they become very stubborn and irritable, and in some cases adopt the title, “Small Dog Syndrome.” These behaviors can be avoided and corrected with positively reinforced dog training to ensure a happy and adoring Frenchie. This affectionate breed typically gets along well with strangers and other animals, and immensely enjoys spending time with their human companions.

    French Bulldog Care Tips

    French Bulldogs have smooth, short coats which are very easy to maintain. They are average shedders, and require very minimal grooming. Frenchies are commonly recognized for their triangular shaped bat ears, which stand erect on their large, square heads. Although they are indoor dogs and will be fine without a yard, they can be fairly active. For a happy and healthy Frenchie, they should be taken on daily walks and have plenty of indoor play. It is important to keep in mind, French Bulldogs are very sensitive to hot temperatures and should be closely monitored in extreme heat conditions, as they will run and play for hours if allowed.

    French Bulldogs As Pets

    French Bulldogs are well behaved and adaptable with a demonstrative nature and sweet disposition. While they may be very playful and alert, they are not overly energetic or loud, and are perfectly content to spend the day inside with their owners. French Bulldogs are perfect, loyal companions for anyone looking to adopt an easily trained dog, accustomed to apartment life.
  • Breed Spotlight - Lhasa Apso - August 2011

    Lhasa Apso

    Lhasa Apso - Breed Spotlight

    History & Characteristics

    Originating hundreds of years ago in the Himalayan Mountains in Tibet, the Lhasa Apso was considered a guardian breed who was kept to protect the inner household of royalty and the hallowed walls of Buddhist monasteries. Lhasa Apsos are often mistaken for being the typical type of “lap dog” which is not the case. While most Lhasa Apsos stand at approximately ten to eleven inches tall and only weigh 12-18 pounds on average, Lhasas often act as the protector of their master, a job they take very seriously!

    Dog Training Tips

    Lhasa Apsos are known to be small hearty dogs that are friendly but can also be assertive. They are very intelligent and lively, as well as spirited and affectionate. While they respond well to motivational training, Lhasa Apsos can often fall into “small dog syndrome” where they believe they are the masters of their domain, even superseding their owners’ authority. This temperament characteristic can cause varying degrees of negative behaviors such as suspicion of strangers or children, separation anxiety, and possibly aggressive tendencies towards other dogs. Lhasa Apsos can often object if they feel threatened or undermined as the head of the household. However, this negative behavior can be corrected with positively reinforced dog training to provide a happy and loving Lhasa who will make a great family pet.

    The Lhasa Apso As A Pet

    The Lhasa is a very popular breed within the show ring. They are known for their long flowing mane of hair that parts down the middle from head to tail. Their joyful and dignified prance often showcases their air of regal personality. Always active and energetic, the Lhasa Apso breed flourishes when presented with constant challenges such as agility dog training. For a happy and healthy Lhasa, it is recommended that the owner make sure to take their Lhasa on frequent (daily if possible) walks and allow them to get plenty of play time indoors as well for good exercise.


    It is very important that you keep your Lhasa well groomed as the breed can be prone to skin ailments or ear infections if their long coat and ears are not well maintained. The Lhasa Apso may not be the best breed choice for someone’s “first dog”, however the Lhasa is perfect for someone who is looking for a life long loyal pooch companion!
  • Breed Spotlight – The American Pit Bull Terrier - July 2011

    The American Pit Bull Terrier

    American Pit Bull Terrier Breed Spotlight Information and Dog Training Tips

    Misunderstood Breed

    The American Pit Bull Terrier (commonly referred to as a “Pit Bull”), is a misunderstood dog with an unfair reputation. The name “Pit Bull” carries a certain stigma, as they have often been characterized as violent and aggressive dogs by the media. However, this breed is not naturally aggressive, despite popular belief. Believe it or not, this type of dog in particular is very good with children, and is extremely loyal to his family.


    Pit Bulls do have a tendency to be reactive towards other animals. This is due to the fact that they are Terriers by breed. In the Animal Behavior College Dog Obedience Instructor Program, breed characteristics are discussed in more detail. It states, “Since many terriers were bred to hunt and kill vermin, they may hunt and try to kill small animals they encounter.” This makes Pit Bulls a more suited fit for an owner with experience or knowledge of the breed and someone with strong leadership skills. Terriers are also very active dogs that require a large amount of exercise and stimulation.

    Dog Training Tips

    These behaviors can be altered or managed with hard work and consistency on the part of their owner. The best way to do this is by socializing them as early on as possible with all kinds of animals. Pit Bulls are very tenacious and stubborn at times. They need a consistent pack leader in order to be well mannered pets. Dog training on a regular basis is essential in managing their behavior. This breed of dog should be consistently stimulated on a daily basis to make sure they are willing to work for real life rewards in everyday situations.


    Pit Bull’s come in a variety of colors, from blue to red, and have a very lean muscular body frame. There is a general misconception that Pit Bulls are the same as Staffordshire Terriers, when in fact, they are actually a different type of the same breed. There is a lot of confusion when it comes to identifying what category or type of breed your pit bull may be. There are English Staffordshire Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Pit Bulls and American Pit Bulls depending on who you may speaking to. The best option as a pet owner is to speak with your veterinarian to determine which category your dog falls into.

    American Pit Bull Terrier Care Tips

    Generally a warm climate is recommended for Pit Bulls, due to their short coat and lack of cold weather protection. However, there are many people that have Pit Bulls in cold weather climates. If this is the case, make sure that they have appropriate shelter from the cold elements. When it comes to grooming, general hygiene like nail clipping and ear cleaning is all that is necessary. Bathing your dog regularly will help prevent issues with fleas and ticks.

    Dog trainers have varying view points on the temperament of Pit Bulls, but most trainers that have worked with them agree that they are great family dogs with the right leadership in the home. They are eager to please their owners, and generally very lovable and friendly dogs. If you do consider pursuing an animal career, it is important that you are educated in the temperament and drive of this breed to set them up for success.
  • Breed Spotlight - Siberian Huskies - April 2011

    Siberian Huskies

    Siberian Husky - Breed Spotlight


    Known widely for being an Alaskan sledding dog, Huskies are both energetic and loving canine companions that are perfect for a physically active owner. They come in a variety of coat colors, ranging from pure white to silver, black, and even tawny. While they are most often seen with electric blue eyes, their eyes can also be chocolate brown or deep amber. As Huskies are engineered to withstand the coldest of temperatures, their fur is extremely thick, so they must be groomed regularly, especially if the climate that they reside in is warm.

    Obedience Training Tips

    Huskies are beautiful, affectionate, and intelligent dogs, but it is important that a potential owner consider the responsibility of caring for them before adopting one. This dog from the tundra must be regularly exercised, and needs a firm pack leader in order to learn and maintain obedience training. Training can be difficult if you are not 100 committed to their routine, because this dog breed is especially talented in the art of mischief, and will take advantage if you are not adamant and consistent.

    Keep Active & Avoid Boredom

    Siberian Huskies are working dogs by nature, so they need constant physical and mental stimulation, or they may become destructive out of boredom. If you need help, you can contact an ABC Certified Dog Trainer to help you with enrichment games for your Husky. It is not recommended that an apartment dweller becomes a Husky owner, as it is best for them to have a yard to run around in, but as long as you regularly take him out, he can be content with apartment life.

    Don't Forget...They're Made for Snow

    Keeping a cool temperature in your home is vital for a Husky owner. Since Huskies have thick coats year-round, it is extremely important that you keep your house cool enough for your dog to be comfortable. If you keep your dog outside during the day, make sure he has plenty of shade and water, as this breed is especially prone to getting heatstroke.

    Siberian Huskies as Pets

    Huskies are naturally friendly and happy-go-lucky dogs, but make sure that you socialize them early on, as they can become wary of other dogs and people if they are not frequently exposed to both as a puppy. They are friendly with children and other dogs, and prefer to live in a pack setting. Many dog training schools offer puppy socialization classes. Check out the ABC Find a Trainer Page to find one in your area.

    So, if you are looking for a jogging buddy or a dog that just loves to play, and have the environment and time to train them, consider adopting a Siberian Husky.
  • Breed Spotlight - The Poodle - April 2009

    The Poodle

    Poodle - Breed Spotlight

    Breed Characteristics

    According to the AKC “Dog Registration Statistics,” the Poodle was the 9th most popular breed in the United States in 2008. The Poodle comes in three size varieties, and a variety of colors, including white, black apricot, and grey but never parti-colored. Poodles are elegant in appearance, very active and intelligent. The Poodle is well-proportioned in its body stature. The sizes of the official AKC recognized Poodle breeds are determined by height, not weight. The Toy Poodle stands at 10 inches or under at the highest point of the shoulders, also known as the withers. The Miniature Poodle can stand anywhere over 10 inches and up to 15 inches at the withers. Lastly, the Standard Poodle will stand anywhere over 15 inches at the highest point of the shoulders. The various sizes and colors may be some of the reasons why the Poodle was chosen as one of the most popular breeds in 2008. You can find many colors and sizes of Poodles at a breed-specific dog rescue near you.

    Poodle History & Characteristics

    Poodles have been known throughout Western Europe over the last 400 years. The origin of the breed has been controversial over the years. According to breed historians the Poodle originated in Germany with some influence from Russia, not France like many believe. Poodles were not recognized by England until 1874, when The Kennel Club of England registered its first Poodle. The Poodle was used as a water retriever by hunters, who were known to train dogs to help them retrieve their game. The "Poodle clip," also known as the “Lion-Style” or the “Continental Clip,” was designed by hunters to help the dogs move more efficiently through the water. The patches of hair left on the body are meant to protect vital organs and joints which are susceptible to cold. The Poodle is one of the only breeds of dog with a hypo-allergenic coat. This makes them very popular for individuals that have an allergy to dogs. When properly clipped in the traditional fashion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity particular to himself.

    Poodle Training Tips

    A professional dog trainer will give you more insight into the breed’s distinctive character and how to properly motivate them. The Poodle belongs to the non-sporting group; breeds in this category are usually hard to motivate. The Poodle also has some common characteristics of the sporting group. This is why it is important to consult a professional when readying your Poodle for dog obedience . Your dog trainer will be able to fully assess and evaluate what drives and motivates your Poodle. Some are very hyper and distractible while others are very calm and docile. If you are looking for a versatile dog with a vast history that is well-suited for both those living in apartments as well as those with acres to spare, the Poodle could be the dog for you. While the Poodle requires frequent grooming, focused dog training, and daily exercise, he has been a popular companion dog for centuries.

  • Breed Spotlight – The Shih Tzu - March 2009

    Shih Tzu

    Shih Tzu - Breed Spotlight


    According to the AKC “Dog Registration Statistics,” the compact-sized Shih Tzu was the 10th most popular dog breed in the United States in 2008. Best recognized by its abundant, flowing, elegant coat comprised of long hair lined with a wool-like undercoat, the Shih Tzu can be of many colors, all of which are accepted by the AKC. However, your dog trainer will tell you that show judges prefer white on the forehead and tip of the tail. The Shih Tzu’s sturdy, upright body posture, with its head held high, eyes wide-set, and its perky tail curled over to its back, gives off an air of conceit and pride that is fitting for a breed whose name translates to “lion” in Chinese Mandarin. Weighing in between 9 and 16 pounds and standing only 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder, this little dog has wiggled its way into the hearts of Americans and other dog lovers all over the world.


    The Shih Tzu is of Chinese heritage and is believed to be a descendent of the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan mountain dog and/or Pekingese. During the 16th century Ming Dynasty, the Shih Tzu was a popular and well-respected pet in the Imperial Chinese court. The breed was so highly revered that the Chinese refused to sell or share them, even after they had begun trading with the Western world. It was not until World War II when English soldiers discovered this fluffy companion, and not until 1930 when the first pair was imported to England. The feisty little dog, which belongs to the toy group, was first officially recognized by Britain in 1949 and has been an AKC-recognized breed in the United States since 1969. Their huge personality, gentle nature, and overabundance of character are endearing qualities that have contributed to their popularity. Their particular sensitivity to heat due to their thick coats and their ability to cope within a small housing situation with or without an outdoor area makes them good choices for those living in apartments.

    Shih Tzu Dog Training Tips

    The Shih Tzu certainly lives up to the “small dog, big attitude” quality that is common to dogs of small stature. Because of this, your dog trainer will advise you to set clear boundaries and limitations regarding leadership and house rules in order to establish yourself as the pack leader of your household. In regards to the Shih Tzu’s personality, you and your dog trainer will find their apt intelligence, eagerness to please, playfulness, liveliness, energetic nature, alertness, courageousness, and friendly attitude to be helpful characteristics. However, depending on their level of dog training, the Shih Tzu can easily become aggressive, biting, growling, snapping, and excessively barking at anybody they lack respect for or in an attempt to gain what they want. Separation anxiety is also a common trait of this cute canine, as with many dogs in the toy group. They can also be difficult during housebreaking and are sometimes poor choices for children’s dogs due to the level of leadership they require. All of these undesirable traits can be prevented via consistent, focused dog training from a professional animal trainer, as long as the dog’s owner is consistent with all dog training instructions. A consistent exercise routine including daily walks to burn their mental and physical energy is highly recommended.

    Shih Tzu As A Pet

    If you’re looking for a cute, cuddly companion with the bravery and personality of a much larger dog, the Shih Tzu is for you. Always consult your animal trainer prior to adopting or purchasing a dog of any breed to ensure that you know what’s in store.

  • Breed Spotlight - The Bulldog - May 2009


    Bulldog - Breed Spotlight


    According to the AKC "Dog Registration Statistics," The Bulldog was the 8th most popular breed of 2008 in the United States. Bulldogs have a gentle and loveable disposition. They tend to form strong bonds with children, making them great family pets. The Bulldog needs minimal exercise and grooming. This dog belongs to the non-sporting group. When you train dogs, you will learn that dogs in this category may be difficult to motivate. This is primarily because dogs in the non-sporting group are bred for companionship as opposed to labor intensive jobs like herding livestock.

    Physical Description

    The Bulldog can be white, red, fawn, fallow, brindle or piebald in color. The perfect Bulldog should be medium in stature with a smooth coat. Bulldogs have no undercoat allowing only minimal shedding. The dog should have wide shoulders and a low-swung, thick-set body. The males should be 50 pounds and the females 40 pounds. There is no height specification, however when showing, the shorter the bulldog the more prized he will be. Generally the Bulldog will stand anywhere from 12-16 inches in height. The circumference of the dog’s head should measure at least the height of the dog at the withers. You measure the circumference of the skull from in front of the ears. The shoulders should be widespread and muscular. Your Bulldog’s forelegs should be short, stout, and also set wide apart, whereas the hindquarters should be longer, in order to elevate his loin higher than the shoulders. The front feet may be straight or slightly turned outwards and the hind legs must be pointed outward. When getting a Bulldog from a dog rescue, you should be careful in your selection. Because of the brachycephalic also known as short nose, some Bulldogs have breathing problems that may require costly surgeries. There may be some hip or joint problems as well, depending on the breeding of the dog.


    The Bulldog originated in the British Isles. Owners would train dogs to guard, control or bait Bulls. During these times, beef that was not baited was thought to be improper for consumption. The name Bulldog comes from the animal’s connection to bull baiting. The original Bulldog needed to be insensitive to pain, with a courageous and ferocious temperament. In 1835, as an Act of Parliament, there was a law put into effect called the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835. This law forbade owners from keeping any house, pit, or other place for fighting or baiting of a bull, bear, dog or other animal. When this happened, Bulldog enthusiasts set out to preserve the breed by removing its fierce characteristics. A few generations later, we have the typical companion Bulldog we all love and know.

    Bulldog Training Tips

    The Bulldog is the perfect dog for you if you desire a dog who is an affectionate companion or if you live in an apartment and require a dog with minimal exercise requirements and good manners. Keep in mind that every dog needs dog training, and the Bulldog is no exception. With their tendency to be stubborn and bull-headed, dog obedience training will keep our pooch eager to please and willing to obey all of your requests. Your local dog trainer can educate you on how to be the leader of your pack in order to maintain an orderly household.

  • Breed Spotlight - The Dachshund - June 2009


    Dachshund Dog - Breed Spotlight


    According to the AKC “Dog Registration Statistics,” the Dachshund was the 7th most popular breed in the United States in 2008. The Dachshund comes in two sizes, standard which can weigh 16-32 lbs. and miniature which is 11 lbs. or under. The Dachshund also comes in three different coat varieties. The coat types are smooth, longhaired, and wirehaired. The Dachshund has a multitude of acceptable colors and markings. The Dachshund can have the following types of markings: brindle, dapple, sable, brindle piebald, double dapple, or piebald. The following colors are acceptable for all types of Dachshund’s: black and cream, black and tan, blue and cream, blue and tan, chocolate and cream, chocolate and tan, cream, fawn and cream, fawn and tan, red, Wheaton, wild boar, black, chocolate, and fawn. The Dachshund has a low, long body with short legs which makes him well suited for ground work.


    The Dachshund originated in Germany over 300 years ago. You can find this breed in historical documents dating back to the 15th century. Early in the 17th century, the name Dachshund, meaning “badger-dog” became the title of the breed type with longhaired and smooth coats. The wirehaired variety was added in 1890. The Dachshund was originally bred to hunt badgers. The standard Dachshund, which is the larger of the breed, was used for hunting animals like wild boars as well as badgers, whereas the miniature Dachshund was used to hunt smaller game like foxes and rabbits. They excel in both above and below-ground hunting. A dog trainer will tell you that the Dachshund belongs to the Hound Group. As a member of the Hound Group, you will see that your Dachshund is easily distracted by scents and movement. Members of the Hound Group are also bred to work independently.

    Dachshund Dog Training Tips

    In dog training, you will learn that this means the dog will have a lesser pack drive than most other breeds. Therefore he will not have the desire to please his owner like most other dogs. Therefore, you will need to include a “no free lunch policy” and work with rewards that increase the dog’s natural drives, like a scented ball or a Buster Cube to motivate your Dachshund.

    Dachshund As A Pet

    If you are looking for a companion suitable for urban or rural living, the Dachshund is an adaptable pet. He will be happy chasing a ball in your apartment or a rat in the barn. With appropriate supervision he is a playful and friendly companion for your children. He has a friendly and courageous temperament. The Dachshund has moderate exercise needs and, depending on his coat, he may need regular grooming. Keep in mind that regular dog obedience is the key to maintaining a happy, dog-friendly household. The Dachshund has been and will continue to be a popular companion for many individuals.

  • Breed Spotlight - The Beagle - August 2009

    The Beagle

    BEAGLE - Breed Spotlight

    According to the AKC Registration Statistics, the Beagle was the 5th most popular dog breed in the United States in 2008. The Beagle is a hardy, squarely built, small hound. They make great family pets due to their friendly and curious dispositions. The Beagle is also favored for his compact size. The Beagle belongs to the Hound Group, which means he will be easily distracted by his surroundings. Your Beagle will benefit from regular dog obedience training.


    The Beagle originated in England as a hunting dog. Beagles were used to hunt small game like rabbits and quail. They hunted in packs, pairs, and individually. The Beagle was one of the more popular hunting hounds due to his willingness and sweet temperament. Today you can find Beagles doing scent work for police and narcotics units. There is some controversy over where the name originated. Some think it came from the French word “be’geule,” meaning “gape throat,” which refers to “the baying voice of the hounds when in pursuit of game.” Some think the name originated from the small stature of the dog. The name could have been derived from the Old English word, “begele”, or the French term, “beigh,” or possibly even the Celtic word “beag” all of which mean “small”. The Beagle comes in two acceptable sizes, 13 inches and 15 inches. The Beagle also comes in a variety of colors, including tri-color, red and white, and lemon. Typically, any true hound coloring is acceptable. The Beagle enjoys the company of humans and other dogs, because he has lived in a pack for hundreds of years.

    Beagle Training Tips

    Your local dog trainer will advise you to be a strong leader with your Beagle. Since the Beagle is a member of the Hound Group, he will have an independent nature about him. Hounds are bred to work independently, making their drive to please much lower than other dogs. Even though the Beagle is a friendly companion, he may become easily bored with little activity and get into trouble. Always make sure to provide your Beagle with daily physical and mental stimulation. Because the Beagle bark can be somewhat irksome to neighbors and family members, remember to reward your pooch for an alternate good behavior. It is necessary to begin obedience training at an early age. You can work on teaching your Beagle scent games to keep him entertained. One book you may want to check out is “Fun Nose Work for Dogs” by Roy Hunter.

    Beagles as Pets

    If you are looking for a friendly family companion, the Beagle is the dog for you. The Beagle requires daily exercise and minimal grooming. The Beagle is best suited with a small yard, however if he is walked daily, he will be well-suited to apartment living as well. The Beagle has been a favored companion for hundreds of years and will continue to be for many more.

  • Breed Spotlight - The Boxer - July 2009


    Boxer - Breed Spotlight


    According to the AKC Registration Statistics, the Boxer was the 6th most popular dog breed in the United States in 2008. Boxers seek affection from their owners, especially children, making them great family dogs. Not only are they good companions but they also make great guard dogs because of their protective nature. The Boxer is a part of the Working Group. Your dog trainer will tell you that the dogs in this group are generally dominant in character. This is due to the type of work they are bred to do; the dogs in the Working Group are bred for guarding or protection purposes.


    The Boxer was developed in Germany for dog fighting and to run down large animals in hunting work in the early 19th century. The Boxer was imported to America after World War I. The Boxer comes in two colors—fawn and brindle. According to the AKC, “The ideal Boxer is a medium-sized, square-built dog…” The male Boxer should be 23-25 inches at the withers, and the female Boxer should be 21 ½-23 ½ inches at the withers. Customarily, owners will dock the tail and ears of a Boxer. When showing your Boxer, it is acceptable to have uncropped ears; however, an uncropped tail will be severely penalized. If the ears are uncropped, they should be thin and should lay flat and close to the cheeks, falling forward with a definite crease when alert. The lower jaw should protrude further than the upper jaw, curving upward. The size of the head will be based upon the proportion of the muzzle to the skull. The muzzle should be one third the length of the head and two thirds the width of the skull. When in competition, the Boxer is first judged on general appearance and overall balance, then individual body structure with special attention to the head.

    Boxer Dog Training Tips

    In dog training, you will learn that the Boxer is often labeled as stubborn. This is due to the independent nature of the breed. Some owners may even suggest that their Boxers are dominant or possessive. In dog obedience, you will need to explain to your clients that they need to demonstrate fair and consistent leadership with this breed. If they do not the dog may take over the household. The Boxer should never show signs of a fearful or timid temperament. This is something you should review when choosing your pup, especially when adopting at your local dog rescue. Oftentimes, if a Boxer does not have a diligent leader, he will acquire bad behaviors like food or toy guarding. In general, the Boxer has a playful and friendly disposition; he is often seeking attention and approval from his human companions. This makes positive reinforcement the ideal type of training for Boxers. By using food and praise as rewards for your Boxer he will be more willing to work for his place in the home.

    Boxers as Pets

    If you are looking for a companion who is both affectionate and protective, the Boxer is the dog for you. The Boxer requires minimal grooming and daily exercise. He would be best fit in a home environment with a yard. However, apartment living will suit a Boxer who is exercised regularly. If you are a new dog owner, keep in mind that you will need to be a strong leader in the household with this breed. The Boxer is a good family dog as they are and have been protective playmates for children for decades.

  • Breed Spotlight - The Golden Retriever - September 2009

    The Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever - Breed Spotlight


    According to the AKC Registration Statistics, the Golden Retriever was the 4th most popular dog breed in the United States in 2008. The Golden Retriever is self confident, friendly and energetic. This breed is ideal for working in search and rescue, as well as assistance work due to his eager to please attitude. The Golden Retriever is a member of the Sporting Group, which means he may have a high distractibility, making some training exercises more difficult.


    The Golden Retriever originated in the late 1800’s in the Scottish Highlands. He was mostly used for hunting purposes. The Golden Retriever was developed by Lord Tweedmouth. He was trying to create a breed well suited to the Scottish climate and terrain. In his efforts he also brought about later integrations of the Bloodhound, the Irish Setter, the original Yellow Retriever, and the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel.


    The Golden Retriever has a feathered, medium-length coat. It can be golden of various shades. The feathering may be lighter than the rest of the coat. His coat is water-repellent with a rich undercoat. This makes him a great hunting companion on land and in the water. The coat may be straight or wavy. There should be moderate feathering on the underbody as well as the back of the forelegs. There should be heavier feathering on the chest, the underside of his tail and on the back of the thighs.

    Dog Training Tips

    The Golden Retriever is a highly active dog. He requires daily physical and mental activity. Your local dog trainer will tell you that you need to display good leadership skills. Without this, your pooch may become high strung, ill-behaved, or overly exuberant. His eagerness to please will allow him to be trained easily. However, since the Golden Retriever belongs to the Sporting Group, he may have a hard time focusing during training. This may make it difficult for him to perform such tasks as a sit-stay. The Golden Retriever is also known to be insensitive, which makes them more difficult to correct. This also makes them better companions for children. It is necessary to begin obedience training at an early age in order to keep your pooch happy and healthy.

    Golden Retrievers as Pets

    If you are looking for a friendly companion with a fun-loving and energetic attitude, the Golden Retriever is the dog for you. The Golden Retriever is a great family dog suitable for most any living condition. He requires daily exercise and regular grooming. He has been a favorite breed for centuries and will continue to be for many more.

  • Breed Spotlight - The German Shepherd Dog - October 2009

    The German Shepherd Dog

    German Shepherd - Breed Spotlight


    According to the AKC Registration Statistics, the German Shepherd Dog (GSD) was the 3rd most popular dog breed in the United States in 2008. The German Shepherd Dog is an energetic and fun loving companion. The GSD is one of the most well- known and beloved breeds. He is the worlds leading guard, police and military canine. The German Shepherd Dog is a consistently popular breed in the U.S.


    The German Shepherd Dog originated at Karlsruhe in Germany in 1899. Captain Max von Stephanitz and other dedicated breeders were responsible for producing the first German Shepherd Dog. In April of 1899, Captain von Stephanitz registered a dog named Horan as the first Deutsche Schäferhunde, which means German Shepherd Dog. The first GSD exhibited in America was in 1907.

    Bred To Work

    The German Shepherd Dog belongs to the Herding Group. This means that he will most likely have a high prey or chase drive. Since herding dogs are bred to work closely with humans, they are easier to train. This is due to the fact that a herding dog is highly sensitive to his master’s every move and command. However, this can also cause problems like separation anxiety in certain circumstances. This will happen when the dog becomes overly-attached to his master.

    German Shepherds As Pets

    The German Shepherd Dog is a great family pet. Once they have established a bond with children, they are perfect guard dogs and will have a protective relationship with them. Your GSD will also require a high level of physical and mental activity in order to maintain his obedience and not to become overly bored.

    Training Tip

    Your local dog trainer will tell you that your German Shepherd Dog should be given a job to keep him mentally active. There are many dog rescue organizations that specialize in finding homes for German Shepherds. If you are looking for a loyal companion, the German Shepherd Dog is for you. He is best-suited in a home with a yard; however, if properly maintained with daily physical and mental activity, the GSD is suitable in any home. He requires regular grooming, and once dog training is established, maintaining his dog obedience will be simple. The German Shepherd Dog has been a loveable family pet and working companion for many years and will be for many to come.

  • Breed Spotlight - The Yorkshire Terrier - November 2009

    Yorkshire Terrier

    Yorkshire Terrier - Breed Spotlight


    According to the AKC Registration Statistics, the Yorkshire Terrier was the 2nd most popular dog breed in the United States in 2008. The Yorkshire Terrier, also known as the Yorkie, is an energetic, friendly and determined companion. Although the Yorkie now belongs to the Toy group, he is a terrier by nature. He was originally used for catching rats in clothing mills in the nineteenth century. The Yoarkie is well known for his big personality in a small package attitude.


    The Yorkshire Terrier was named after the city of Yorkshire in England, where he originated. In the early years of the breed the Yorkie belonged to the Working Dog Group. Eventually the breed left the workforce and became a popular companion to families in European high society. Now we know the breed to be recognized in the Toy Group. The Yorkshire Terrier was first recognized by the AKC in 1885.

    Yorkshire Terrier Coat Characteristics

    The Yorkshire Terrier is most known for his long silky coat. It was often times said that his coat was a product of the looms. This derived from Yorkies working in the clothing mills in the nineteenth century. In order to keep your Yorkie’s coat in good condition, it needs to be brushed regularly to avoid matting. You may even want to trim his hair if it drags on the floor to avoid any foreign items getting tangled in the coat. The Yorkshire Terrier coat should be fine and silky. It should be straight and not wavy. The Yorkie should be black and tan in color; however blue and tan is also acceptable.

    Yorkshire Terrier Training Tips

    An animal trainer may express that the Yorkshire Terrier can be both difficult and easy to train. Due to the dogs small size many owners let their Yorkies get away with bad behaviors other dogs would never be allowed to do. Some Yorkies will become demanding and overly confident, often times they will develop jealous or possessive behaviors with toys and food. They will even become overly protective of their owners. Some refer to this as small dog syndrome. If the owners do not give these small pooches boundaries and limitations they can become very stubborn, making it difficult to train in the long run. It is important, especially with a small breed, to keep up with regular dog obedience in order to ensure a happy life for you and your Yorkie.

    Yorkshire Terriers as Pets

    If you are looking for a small dog with a big attitude and lots of heart, the Yorkshire Terrier is the dog for you. He requires minimal exercise and daily grooming. The Yorkie is well suited to many different living quarters because of his small size. The Yorkshire Terrier is a favored companion and will continue to be for years to come.
  • Breed Spotlight - The Labrador Retriever  - December 2009

    Labrador Retriever

    Labrador retriever - breed spotlight

    According to the AKC Registration Statistics, the Labrador Retriever continues to be the most popular breed in the United States. He is commonly and affectionately referred to as a “Lab”, and is known for his energy, loyalty, patience, and friendly disposition. Due to his outgoing and good-natured attitude, he is the ideal dog for an active family.


    Labrador Retrievers originated from Newfoundland, and were bred in order to retrieve game. Initially, he acted as an assistant to fishermen, and was trained to help pull in the fishing nets. He is well-known for his water-loving antics, and is always up for a swim. Energetic and eager to please, Labs are active participants in a variety of activities that go beyond just hunting. He also serves as an excellent guide dog for disabled people, a search and rescue dog, a police dog, and as a participant in agility training.


    Labrador Retrievers have short coats that are stiff to the touch, and relatively easy to maintain. He sheds seasonally, so he should be groomed regularly with a stiff-bristled dog brush, and bathed periodically. His coat is water-resistant, and beneath his top coat of fur is a soft undercoat, which protects him from harsh weather conditions. The most common colors for the Lab are black, yellow, and brown; however, combination's of these colors are infrequent in his breed.

    Dog Training Tips

    The Labrador Retriever is described as highly trainable, as both a family dog, and a sporting dog. It is important to train him in his youth, as he will become incredibly strong in adulthood and is resistant to being obedient if his leader is not 100 in charge. Teaching him dog obedience is vital to the success and happiness of a Lab. He should also be socialized at an early age, as he can become reserved or wary around strangers if he is not accustomed to their presence. His breed needs a strong pack leader, and he can become destructive or restless if he is not regularly exercised, so it is important to provide him with mental and physical activities in order to keep him happy and well-occupied. In order to effectively manage and train your Lab, consult your local dog trainer.

    Labrador Retrievers As Pets

    If you are looking for a family oriented, easily trained dog, the Labrador Retriever is the breed for you. He is capable of adjusting to apartment life, as long as his owner has a comprehensive grasp of animal behavior, and enough free time to frequently exercise him. The Lab is a well-known and widely loved breed who will serve as a loyal companion to anyone who adopts him.

  • Breed Spotlight: Australian Cattle Dog - March 2012

    Australian Cattle Dog

    Dog Training Tips - Australian Cattle Dog

    Characteristics & History

    Extremely intelligent, loyal, courageous and intense are just a few adjectives to describe the Australian Cattle Dog (ACD). As a member of the AKC herding group, they rank 60th among registrations. As the name suggests they are a native of Australia and excel in herding cattle. Created in the mid 1800’s from crossing the Australian national dog, the Dingo, with smooth-haired blue merle Scotch collies, a “heeler” was formed. From the best of those litters, they were crossed with Dalmatians to create their love of horses and protectiveness of their master. Next they were crossbred with the Black and Tan Kelpie which produced the intelligent determined working dog that we see today. Australian Cattle Dogs were accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1980.


    When Australian Cattle Dogs are born they are white for about 3 weeks. Then, their distinctive markings begin to appear. Their short thick double coat can be blue or red; mottled or speckled pattern, with or without black, and with blue or tan markings. Weekly brushing will help to keep his coat in good condition. Though short haired during the spring season the ACD will shed or “blow” their undercoat. Their body is muscular and compact, with pricked ears and a long low straight bushy tail.

    Dog Training Tips

    ACD’s, also known as Queensland Blue Heelers, are a favorite with American ranchers because they are able to work all day until the job is done. They do not waiver if cattle are stubborn and make a great family pet. As an owner of an Australian Cattle Dog you should be more determined than they are and have a specific job for them to do. A bored ACD will find something to do on his own and that self chosen duty may not be something that you wanted him to do. Though highly trainable, you need to be very positive in your training methods and not use forceful techniques. Using techniques of choke chains and leash corrections can result in “stubborn and difficult” dogs according to some. Where if you use positive methods you are more likely to get a focused pet who is eager to please.

    ACD's As Pets

    If you have children or small pets you will need to train your ACD to not “herd” them as they love to make sure anything that moves is under control and in order. This needs to be done at an early age. Nicknamed the “Outback Outlaw”, ACD’s are very independent and intensely loyal. Your puppy will bond with family members and may be wary of strangers. They do not need a lot of space to be happy. Daily exercise and spending time with their owner makes for a content puppy.

    If you or your dog trainer can successfully handle a Cattle Dog they will respect you and be in your heart forever.
  • Breed Spotlight: Havanese - June 2012


    As the national dog of Cuba, the Havanese is a descendant of the Old World Bichon- type dog. It is believed that it was cross-bred with other Bichon types, including the poodle to create what is now known as the Havanese. Sometimes referred to as “Havana Silk Dogs” this was originally another name for the Blanquito de la Habana (“little white dog of Havana”).
    Havanese Dog - Breed Spotlight


    The Havanese is a small sturdy dog with enormous charm. He is slightly longer than tall, with a long, untrimmed, double coat. Weight can vary greatly, but most are from 7 to 13 pounds and heights range from 8.5 to 11.5 inches. He is friendly, responsive, alert, intelligent and a playful companion. He gets along with people of all ages and all kinds of other pets. He is a good watchdog as he will alert to unusual activity.

    Dog Training Tip

    He is an eager and quick learned when it comes to training. He is a natural clown; the breed in the past has been trained for the circus. He learns all kinds of cues and tricks with pleasure as long as he is taught with positive reward-based methods. Because of their cheerful and readily trained nature, they are used for a variety of jobs involving the public, including: therapy dogs, assistance dogs (signal dogs for the hearing impaired), tracking, mold and termite detection.

    They also compete in a variety of dog sports: Dog Agility, Flyball, Musical Canine Freestyle and Obedience Training.

    Havanese as Pets

    He is an ideal family pet. Although a toy dog breed, they remain energetic and require some form of daily exercise. They are highly adaptable to almost any environment, and their only desire is to be with their human companions. Because of their strong social needs, Havanese will not thrive in an environment where they are isolated for several hours each day.

    The breeds’ non-shedding coat makes it suitable for allergy sufferers and regular grooming is necessary to keep the coat in top condition.
  • Breed Spotlight: Australian Shepherd - June 2012

    Australian Shepherd

    Australian Shepherd - Breed Spotlight


    The Australian Shepherd is a medium sized dog, recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as part of the herding group. Weight varies from dog to dog but Australian Shepherds are generally 40 to 60 pounds with height ranging from 20 to 23 inches. Bred to be active, adaptable, and very agile, the “Aussie” will require lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Aussies are also known to be highly intelligent and willing to please their owners.

    Coloring of the Australian Shepherd varies greatly. It is common to see merle marking of different shades or solid red. Australian Shepherds shed so it would be best to brush them occasionally (at least once a week).

    Training Tip

    Being part of the herding group the “Aussie” will need more exercise than a short daily walk. If you are working with or own an Aussie, it would be best to enroll your dog in a stimulating training class that can vary from basic obedience classes to herding trails, dog agility classes, or flyball. If the Aussie does not get enough quality exercise and mental stimulation, it could lead to behavior problems such as destruction of home items or guarding general objects.

    The Aussie is known to be willing to please their owners. This makes training more rewarding for the dog and owner. Strong leadership should be implemented by the owner so the dog does not naturally assume the leader role.

    As Pets

    Australian Shepherds are very alert and loyal family companions. Their strong loyalty to their family or pack can cause suspicion of strangers or unacquainted animals. Make sure to socialize your Aussie as much as possible from an early age to adulthood. They love to play so they do very well in family homes with children. Consultations with a dog trainer or attending dog training classes will help to curb their natural tendency to herd the children.

    Aussies can make great watchdogs as they are usually naturally protective of their pack. You can expect them to let you know when someone may be at the door! Due to the Aussie’s high energy levels, they are not suggested for small apartment owners. Aussies are not the type of pet who will typically lay around on a daily basis. They can do very well on a farm or anywhere with land and plenty of space to run. This breed is perfect for the active pet owner!
  • Breed Spotlight: Chihuahua - October 2012


    Chihuahua Breed Spotlight


    The Chihuahua or Chi is a toy sized dog and the smallest of all breeds. It is recognized by the AKC as part of the toy breed group. Weights vary from 2 to 6 pounds but they can reach weights of 10 pounds in some cases. Colors can vary greatly from black, white, fawn, and tan. The Chihuahua coat comes in two types. Smooth coats are the typical short hair Chihuahua. Some short-hairs can appear to be bald due to how thin their coat can be. Long coat Chihuahuas have thin but longer hairs throughout the body but tend to shed even less than their short haired counterpart. Both require little to no grooming as far as their coats go. Nails, however, should be trimmed as needed. Chihuahuas provide little to no problems for owners with allergies, making them a popular companion dog.

    Chihuahuas As Pets

    Lively and loyal, Chihuahuas are great companion dogs. They do well in apartment living and can also thrive in large yards with acres to run on. Socialization from a young age is required. Due to the Chihuahua’s size, they are often treated differently from other dog breeds (small dog syndrome), which can lead to several behavioral problems, such as guarding, snapping, or suspicion of strangers. Also, many Chi owners will allow their dog less daily exercise than that of a larger breed. It is easy to pick them up and carry them throughout daily tasks, taking away from daily interactions and mental stimulation needed for a canine of any size. It also takes away from important leadership exercises that should be practiced every day between the owner and dog.

    Chihuahua Training Tips

    The best training tip would be to treat your Chihuahua like you would any large dog. Do not baby them due to their size. Many Chihuahuas can grow to be very demanding and overly assertive. Establish yourself as a strong leader. Coddling the Chihuahua, offering free attention and treats can often force the Chihuahua into the leadership role. They tend to be very strong willed so it is important to strengthen your relationship on a daily basis. Everyday leadership exercises can include making sure to not give anything away for free. If your Chi is to get your positive attention or a food reward it should be earned by following basic commands. Also, since they are such a small breed it can be easy to allow them on furniture whenever they choose. This can encourage behavioral problems such as guarding.

    Socialization is also required from a young age. Chihuahuas can be very suspicious of new people or animals so it is important to begin exposing them to everyday situations once they have the appropriate vaccinations. Long walks, play dates, and enrolling in a dog training or obedience class will help with socialization.
  • Breed Spotlight - Maltese - December 2012

    The Maltese


    Maltese Characteristics and History

    The Maltese is a very petite dog typically weighing between 4 to 6 pounds. Although some of them may reach as much as 9 pounds, it is uncommon for them to exceed 7 pounds. Once known as “The Ancient Dog of Malta”, it was believed this dog breed originated from an island directly south of Italy called Malta Island. They have been identified in writings as early as 300 B.C. and are thought to be one of the oldest of all dog breeds with a history that can be traced back almost 2000 years. Evidence has been found that suggest the Greeks erected tombs for their Maltese-like dogs and the ancient Egyptians may have worshipped them. Although originally bred for hunting, they became favored as a lap dog in Britain during the time of Queen Elizabeth I. First seen in the United States in the late 1800’s, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Maltese as part of the toy group in 1888.

    Maltese as Pets

    Generally, the Maltese is not an outdoor dog. Their silky white coat may be difficult to keep clean and requires daily brushing to prevent matting. Favored as a lap dog for centuries across Europe, the Maltese is a very adaptable, gentle, and affectionate family pet that can do well in homes of any size. Known to be fearless, bold, and feisty, they may be inclined to challenge other dogs of any size if not socialized properly. Although they generally tend to be reserved around strangers, this breed also has a “wild side” which loves to run, play, and bark a lot. The Maltese do not like to be left alone and are known to suffer from separation anxiety when overly pampered by their owners.

    Training Tips

    Positive reinforcement training works best with the Maltese. They are very quick learners when rewarded properly during training and are less likely to have behavioral problems if walked daily. They can be very active and love to play indoors, but indoor play should never replace a daily outdoor walk. As with any breed, be sure to stay consistent with your training and maintain a strong leadership role. Proper socialization while your dog is still a puppy will help to avoid behavior issues in the presence of other dogs as they become adults. Contact an ABC Certified Dog Trainer in your local area for help with better understanding your Maltese.
  • Breed Spotlight - Doberman Pincher - January 2013

    Doberman Pincher

    Doberman Pincher


    The Doberman pincher, recognized by the American Kennel Club, (AKC) in the working group, is described as “Elegant in appearance, of proud and alert carriage, reflecting great nobility and temperament.” The Doberman is compactly built, muscular, powerful and square proportioned. Its coat is short, smooth and hard, showing off the exceptionally clean-cut lines of this athletic breed that comes in black and tan, blue and tan or red and tan. Weight varies between male and female; generally, they weigh around 60 to 75 pounds and stand 24 to 28 inches tall.


    The Doberman was originally developed around 1890 by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a German tax collector who created elaborate crosses of different dogs. His intent was to develop a breed that would be aggressive enough to protect him as he made his rounds in dangerous neighborhoods, and whose appearance alone would be intimidating.

    Intelligent & Loyal

    Dobermans are extremely intelligent and fast-learners, making them well-suited for police, military and guard work. They have been used for hunting and tracking criminals, as well as search and rescue, therapy and guide dogs for the blind.

    They are steadfast and loyal companions, and true friends to the people they love. Dobermans are not attack dogs. Their method of protection is to keep intruders at bay, pinning them to a wall or corner until backup arrives. Despite their reputation for viciousness, most pinchers are big softies at heart that love the companionship of people.

    Doberman Training Tips

    The Doberman should be trained with consistency and strong leadership in a firm but gentle manner. They are extremely sensitive and will shut down if treated harshly. Once leadership is established, most Dobies take well to advanced training. Their desire to work alongside people, their ability to take direction well and their menacing figure is what makes them excellent police dogs.

    By Beth Harrison, ABCDT
  • Breed Spotlight - St. Bernard - June 2013

    The St. Bernard

    Breed Spotlight - St. Bernard

    History of the St. Bernard

    Recognized by the AKC in 1885, and placed in the Working Group, the St. Bernard’s history began in the 11th century with the founding of the famous Hospice in the Swiss Alps as a refuge for travelers crossing the dangerous passes between Switzerland and Italy. The monks used St. Bernards on rescue missions due to their seeming ability to sense impending avalanches. Over time, the dogs gradually learned rescue techniques from the monks, and to this day, they still have the instinct to seek out and rescue people buried in the snow. Thanks to their superior sense of smell and huge paws, they can detect and dig out a person buried under 20 feet of snow. Over the course of 300 years of rescue work, St. Bernards saved the lives of more than 2,000 people. For these reasons, this breed is famous for its heroism.

    • Myth Buster: St. Bernards never carried brandy barrels around their necks while rescuing avalanche victims in the Swiss Alps. Instead, they wore jackets that held food and water.


    Descended from the Mastiff family, they can weigh between 100 and 200 pounds and are extremely strong and muscular. Because of their jaw’s shape, there is loose skin on the facial area, which means they drool—a lot. Make sure to carry a drool rag. The original St. Bernard was shorthaired, but was later crossbred with the Newfoundland to produce the longhaired version in an effort to give the breed a warmer coat. A longer coat was necessary due to the number of St. Bernards that lost their lives while rescuing victims of avalanches during severely cold winters. Whether short- or long-haired, they have a dense double coat, meaning regular grooming is required. Because of their size, they are susceptible to heart and joint problems, as such, regular exercise and a healthy diet are important.

    • Fun Fact: Because of how quickly St. Bernard puppies grow, more than 100 different puppies were used to film the movie “Beethoven’s 2nd.”

    Lifestyle & Temperament

    Often referred to as gentle giants, St. Bernards are wonderful family pets and are great around children. They are extremely compassionate, tolerant and affectionate. Proper socialization and strong but fair leadership should be implemented right away. When trained correctly, you will have a very friendly St. Bernard where your only concern may be getting knocked over accidentally due to his large size.

    St. Bernards prefer a cold environment. If you live in a warmer environment, make sure to provide plenty of shade and a small wading pool or misters when ever your St. Bernard is outside. Training can be fairly easy as this breed is eager to please. However, a dog trainer would advise that you begin training a St. Bernard at a young age as he can run out of energy quickly.

    Overall, the St. Bernard is a wonderful dog; a heroic rescuer on snowy mountains and an affectionate and tolerant family pet. Protect your St. Bernard from health problems by providing a healthy diet, regular exercise and grooming. The St. Bernard requires a lot of space and preferably a cooler environment. Contact your local dog trainer for help with training and socializing your St. Bernard at an early age.

    By Cara Lederman


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