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Dog Training Tip of the Month

Problem Solving & Treating Behaviors
  • Treat your Chewing Problems with Bitter Apple Spray - April 2006
    Puppy chewing, though cute at first, can turn into a very expensive and destructive habit. Your dog trainer can help you curtail this issue; however, you must take steps of your own to ensure 100 compliance. One way to discourage dogs from chewing is to use Apple Bitter Spray, a bitter-tasting spray used to deter inappropriate chewing. It is effective due to its terrible taste that dogs hate! It typically comes in a non-aerosol bottle and should be applied daily to objects you wish the dog to avoid chewing. This product alone typically will not break the dog from chewing; it should be coupled with proper dog training from both the owner and trainer to redirect the behavior. You can find this and other great dog training products at your local pet supply store.
  • Jumping - April 2007
    Jumping is a natural greeting and attention-grabber for dogs; however, especially with large dogs, it is not the most desirable behavior. You and your guests will often get knocked over. The best solution will involve specific dog training meant to teach your dog alternate ways to greet you and to get attention. Use knowledge that can be gained from an ABC Certified Dog Trainer; for example, exercise your dog’s “sit” behavior when greeting her. Reward the sit behavior by giving your dog attention, praise, and petting. Remember not to be too enthusiastic in your praise. This may encourage further jumping or other behaviors you want to avoid. The animal will respond best to focused feedback that is not overly energetic or enthusiastic.

    In animal training, it is critical to be consistent, especially when teaching your dog not to jump. Avoid rough games as well as vigorous petting since all of these interactions may encourage jumping. Owners that teach their dogs that jumping is acceptable at some times but not at others will constantly have a difficult time eliminating the problem. Consult your dog trainer if you feel you are being consistent but the dog is not responding positively to your efforts.

    To alleviate your dog’s jumping issues, when she jumps on you, immediately turn away from her. Most dogs will continue jumping for approximately 10 seconds before trying another approach. Typically, they will try to face you and jump again. If this happens, turn the other way and continue to ignore the behavior. Dog training, namely fixing a behavior like jumping that is considered enjoyable to a dog, takes patience. Some dogs may continue jumping excitedly for several minutes. After the dog stops jumping for at least two seconds and has all four feet on the floor, turn to her to praise and pet her. Your training motto for this behavior is “four on the floor.” Keep your hands low and slow. If she starts to jump again, turn away from her. When she stops jumping, turn around and pet her again. Continue this until the dog realizes you will pet her only when she is not jumping.
  • Housebreaking - May 2007
    Housebreaking is one of the most common concerns of dog owners. Targeted dog training is necessary at a young age in order to prevent dogs and puppies from eliminating in undesirable areas. Although being a dog owner does not make you a dog trainer, there are steps you can take to housebreak your own dog.

    First, it’s important to recognize that most dogs do not like to eliminate in the immediate area that they lie in. By confining your dog to a small area, you can make sure she will not eliminate until you take her outside to do so. Also, proper training for this behavior involves giving your puppy her meals at the same time every day. Remember to take her out to the same bathroom area using the same door each time at regular intervals. In the beginning, the animal trainer will advise you to take your puppy outside to go “potty” every 30 minutes. If you take her out and she doesn’t “go” within five minutes, bring her back in and confine her in her crate or another very restricted area. Keep taking her outside every 30 minutes until she eliminates. Every time she goes “potty” within five minutes of being outside, praise her and give her another five minutes to make sure she is completely empty. Going “potty” outside is rewarded by giving your puppy 10 to 20 minutes of monitored free time in the house. After seven days of no accidents, you can slowly start lengthening the free time in the house. If your dog is still eliminating in the house after completing these steps, seek professional training from a Certified Dog Trainer for further assistance.

    Any time your puppy is in the house, you must watch her closely so you can interrupt her if you see her getting restless, sniffing about, or even just moving away from the group. Don’t yell or charge over to her; you want to interrupt, not frighten her. Scaring her will only make dog obedience training more difficult. Then, calmly take her outside to “go.”

    If your puppy has an accident in the house, don’t punish or scold her! Calmly take your puppy out to her bathroom area and clean the accident with an odor neutralizer. Your animal trainer or a pet service professional at your local pet supply store can recommend an effective neutralizer. Most puppies have accidents in the house because they are allowed too much freedom in the house too quickly.

    Your careful and persistent training will soon provide you with a well-behaved puppy who knows to go outside to eliminate, so keep up the good work!
  • Is your Dog Digging Because He Is Too Hot? - June 2007
    During their ABC education, an ABC Certified Dog Trainer learns that dogs dig for multiple reasons –boredom, attempts to escape, searching for a hidden toy or bone, and many more. However, one overlooked reason that dogs dig is because they are too hot. If you aren’t an animal trainer or behaviorist, you may never guess that your dog is covered in dirt or mud because she’s trying to escape the heat. The weather can get very warm in many regions of the country, and many dogs will unavoidably have to spend some time outside in hot weather. So, before thinking that your pooch is digging to China, make sure and consider the temperature of the air outside. Ask your trainer to observe the dog to determine if she is in fact digging for cooling, and ask for training advice on how to stop it.

    Digging for cooling involves a dog creating cooling holes to lie in. A dog in the middle of this task typically will not stop digging unless something else is done to cool her off. There are certain breeds of dogs, long-haired breeds especially, that will suffer from the heat the most. All dogs need a place to be cool during the heat of the day. There are several solutions to attempt; ask your dog obedience trainer for suggestions. One recommended solution is installing an overhang or putting up a sturdy umbrella under which the dog can find shade. You might also consider clipping her coat short or purchasing a small wading pool for her to lie in so she can stay cool. With minimal dog training, you can likely get her to step into, wade in, and even lie down in a kiddie pool. Many dogs are content to lie in one or two inches of water in the pool and, although they would be muddy at the end of the day, they would be far less motivated to dig. Misting hoses available at hardware stores are not only good for cooling, but can also keep flies away. These are definitely items worth obtaining to help your dog stay comfortable in this hot weather.

    If you provide your dog with several ways to cool off and she still digs, you may need to contact your trainer for some focused dog training sessions. She may be digging for a different reason or for more than one reason. Also, when it’s hot outside, allow her to come indoors several times a day to cool down if possible. Hyperthermia is a danger that can be severely harmful. Again, consult your dog trainer for assistance.
  • Preventing Inappropriate Digging  - January 2007
    Here is some professional advice from the ABC Certified Dog Trainer program for preventing your dog from continuing to dig. Note that these tips are based on the dog already having dug holes around the yard.

    Without the dog seeing you, fill the already-created holes up with pieces of the dog's stool and lava rocks. Then, cover the poop and rocks with about one inch of dirt. Dogs will often dig in the same general area, so when the dog goes to dig there again, he will find it unpleasant and will either stop immediately or move to a new spot. If he moves to a new spot, just continue to fill the new holes. The dog should stop within a period of no more than two weeks.

    Dog training against this behavior involves never letting the dog see you planting or working in the garden. In addition, do not let him see you filling in holes he has already dug. If the dog sees you digging, it is only natural for him to assume it is acceptable behavior and mimic you.

    When you see the dog out in the back yard engaging in proper behavior (e.g. chewing on his toys, sunning himself, etc.), praise that behavior. Remember that to effectively train dogs, the more you positively reinforce a behavior, the stronger that behavior is going to be and the greater the likelihood that the dog will engage in it, both when you are there and when you are not. Work on obedience with your dog on a daily basis. The more you master as a team, the better his behavior will be. You are not only his animal trainer, but his best friend, too.
  • Begging for Food - February 2007
    If your dog is begging for food at the dinner table or in the kitchen while you’re cooking, you are probably already seeking a solution. You may or may not have already contacted your dog trainer, but either way, there are several steps that must be taken immediately to curb the behavior. Any and all feeding of your dog at the table must stop. The entire family must consistently ignore all of your dog’s begging behavior and every person in the house must adhere to the dog training plan. If your dog does not receive a reward for begging, the behavior will stop.

    The trainer will likely advise you to give your dog a Nylabone (or another type of sturdy rubber chew toy, like an empty Kong) just before you sit down to eat. She must not be given the chance to begin begging. It’s a general rule of animal training that when your dog fixates on something else, such as chewing her bone, she is much less likely to bother you at the dinner table. However, if she ignores the toy or gets bored with it and persists in attempting to beg for food, further training tactics will be necessary.

    Until your dog attains a decent level of obedience, you most likely won’t be able to trust her roaming freely through the house while you enjoy a meal. She may need to be put outside or in another room, or you can try putting her on a leash. Loop the handle of the leash under the leg of the couch or coffee table or wedge it in a doorway while you eat. Dog training properly calls for her to be tethered so that she is in sight but not able to reach the table. Verbally and physically praise your dog when she is lying or sitting quietly, but do not reward her with food until long after you’re done eating.

    Remember to follow the advice of your animal trainer and never feed your dog while you are eating. While it may keep her busy for a few minutes while the family eats, she will most likely finish first and then come to beg. Also, it teaches her that dinner time for the family is dinner time for her, too. Her mealtime and yours should be considered separate occasions.
  • How to Cease Your Dog’s Destructive Chewing - June 2010
    By nature, dogs are very playful creatures, which is what we, as humans, love about them. Yet sometimes, our pals develop annoying, and sometimes destructive habits that drive us absolutely crazy. No matter how much you adore your pooch, chances are you wouldn’t be happy to come home from work to find your dog happily gnawing on your favorite pair of shoes. Nor would you want him tearing up your furniture, and snacking on the cables behind the television while you were away.

    Sadly, destructive chewing, and unwanted chewing in general is a trait that many dogs develop, no matter how much dog obedience training they have had. But fear not – there are plenty of ways to eradicate this unwanted behavior in a positive way that will both allow your pal to have his fun, and stop your shoe collection from being destroyed.

    In the event that you discover your best friend munching on your possessions, irritated as you might be, do not react with anger against your dog. At the time it may satisfy you to shout at him for engaging in the unwanted behavior, but human logic and dog logic are two very different things. In your mind, punishing him for tearing up your couch will teach him not to repeat the act. In his mind, he has never been taught not to chew on unwanted objects, and you are cornering him for no good reason. If you get angry at him enough times without positively correcting the behavior, he could develop anxiety, or even react with defensive aggression. If you use positive methods to train dogs, you will find that your teachings are far more successful.

    More often than not, the reason why your dog is chewing up your things is due to boredom. If you are not home for most of the day, and simply leave him to his own devices, you should not be surprised to find that he has engaged in undesirable behavior. The best way to keep this from occurring is to take preventative measures ahead of time. Provide your dog with a variety of chew toys to play with if you are away for an extended period of time, and reward him when he gnaws on his toy instead of on your favorite chair.

    Another way to prevent the destruction of your belongings is to keep them out of your pooch’s reach. If you don’t want it in his mouth, make it inaccessible. Keep your shoes, socks, trash, and anything else he might decide to chew on locked away to eradicate any temptation.

    Excess energy is also a cause behind destructive chewing. When your hound has little play time, it is common for him to seek outlets such as chewing to let it out. Remember: your pal is not acting this way to retaliate, or punish you for not paying attention to him. He is simply unable to find another method by which to express his energy. By exercising him frequently, and setting aside a good amount of play time, your dog will be perfectly content with gnawing on his rawhide while you take care of your own business, and absolutely thrilled each time you take him for a walk, or play a game of fetch.

    As any animal trainer will tell you, with dedication and patience, you will be able to successfully train your pooch to cease chewing up your personal items. This behavior is undesirable, but can be eliminated as long as you stick to a strict and solid regime. With a little hard work, you and your best friend will be on the path to a healthier and happier relationship.
  • Dogs & Noise Fear - August 2011
    Canine noise fear is a somewhat common occurrence among dogs. These fears can soon become phobias, which are defined as “persistent, excessive, and irrational fear responses”. Noise fear can manifest in canines and cause the dog to show outward signs of fearful behavior including anxiety, attempts to escape, skittishness, panting, whining, howling, etc. There are various reasons why a dog may develop noise fear; the two primary ones being breed and “learned fear”. Certain canine breeds, such as herding breeds like Shepherds and Collies, are more genetically predisposed to developing noise fear. Also, regardless of breed, a noise phobia may be traced to a particular bad experience that a dog had involving that certain clamor. In almost all instances, the fear of noises and storms will escalate, worsening with each exposure. Soon the pet may become fearful of similar sounds or events associated with the noise. If this fear grows, they may associate certain sounds with a call to action triggering anxiety. For example, a pet afraid of thunder may also become afraid of rain due to the event association.

    In the case of thunderstorms, pets may also be fearful of storm-associated events such as a change in barometric pressure, lightning, and electrostatic disturbances. In some situations even smells associated with storms can cause a dog to have fearful anxiety. Noise phobias can include fear of thunderstorms, firecrackers, doorbells, blenders, and car alarms. Each dog is unique so each dog’s reaction to every day stimuli will be different.

    Dogs are products of their environment and the owner's reactionary attitude to the noise can influence the severity of the dog’s fear. For instance, if owners themselves are nervous during storms, noise phobias in their pets may occur more often or become more severe episodes. Similarly, the petting or comforting of your canine when they are reacting fearfully to a noise is actually positive reinforcement of their undesirable fearful behavior. It would be best for the owner to show no reaction when the noise occurs which will translate the message to the pet that there is nothing to be scared of, thus deactivating the noise as an anxiety trigger.

    There are several things that can be done to help keep exposure to many of the alarming sounds that can arise around the house to a minimum for your pet. There are products available to help aid in comforting your dogs when they are suffering from noise associated phobias. The Thundershirt has been known to sooth a dog noticeably with the first usage. The Thundershirt is a Velcro vest that your dog wears which provides a gentle constant pressure on the canine’s torso reportedly producing a calming effect due to the envelopment of their nervous system. It is most commonly used for dogs that are afraid of thunder storms but can also help with most noise fears and phobias. There are also multiple forms of all natural sprays that are said to help anxious or fearful dogs as well as collars such as the Calming Collar by Good Behavior. The Calming Collar is said to release all natural calming pheromones into the air that relaxes your pet regardless of nearby anxiety causing stimuli.

    However, despite the many behavior curbing products out there, the most ideal treatment for noise fear would be desensitization to the noise itself. For example, if your dog is afraid of the noise of the vacuum cleaner it would be best to have the dog contained in a separate part of the house while using it. You can start to expose your dog to the noise little by little, creating a positive association to the noise and desensitizing them at the same time. Set up a scenario with someone using the vacuum in the other room while you work with the dog on obedience and rewarding with the canine with the dog’s favorite treat. As time moves forward and the positive association is being put in place you can start to expose the dog closer to the noisy vacuum. This is the best way to work with your pet as a dog trainer and help them permanently cure their fears instead of just temporarily treating it!
  • Curing Dog Carsickness - January 2012
    Ever avoid a long road trip because you or someone you know is worried about experiencing car sickness? Despite common belief, human are not the only ones that suffer from this condition. Dogs can actually suffer from carsickness as well. Dogs may get sick on car rides for many reasons including but not limited to fast motion, anxiety, too much visual stimulation, etc.

    One of the best ways to curb these symptoms will be to help desensitize the dog to the car and ride. This must be done at the dog’s own pace while making a positive association for the pooch. To help build the positive association you must have something the dog will find rewarding and motivating. It will be up to the dog what will be the best reward. Some dogs would prefer their owner’s attention or their favorite toy as a reward more than food. Other dogs are motivated by small, chewy training treats so it is important to find a type that the dog is willing to work for and finds rewarding.

    In the beginning stages make sure to introduce this dog training exercise with no distractions, making the environment as pleasant as you can. This will set the dog up to succeed by making the environment less overwhelming. Start without the car running. Open all of the doors and lure your dog to the doorway that will be used most frequently. Make sure to praise and reward any movement towards the vehicle. Continue these steps until the dog can easily be lured towards the door at least 9 out of 10 times. Once the dog is able to comply 90 percent of the time than you can start introducing new steps to the exercise.

    Once your dog is at the door, attempt to lure the dog into the vehicle using their favorite reward. If the dog chooses not to follow through, you can gently lift them into position. Once in position, reward the dog heavily, making a positive association with the car for your dog. After the verbal praise and reward you can lure the dog back out of the car and attempt the loading / unloading process again until the dog finds getting into the car rewarding enough to perform the behavior at least nine out of ten times on their own.

    Once the dog is successful at least 9 out of ten times during this exercise and has started to get comfortable with the car itself, you can start adding new variables such as closing one of the doors. Introduce the new variables one at a time making sure the dog is performing the required behaviors at least 90 of the time before moving on and adding another variable. For example, at first only close one door, than move on to two, and so on until each new variable becomes comfortable to your dog. As long as the dog is compliant a minimum of 9 out of 10 times and does not overreact, you can keep adding more. Once you are able to close all of the doors without the dog over reacting, you should attempt to start the car. Continue to add praise and rewards as long as the dog is able to stay calm for at least a minute at first. As time goes on you can start adding more time to the exercise.

    Once the dog is able to remain in the running car without negative reactions, try taking a short drive. Drive the car just around the block at first, praising the dog as you go. When working on training any new behavior to your dog, it’s important to remember that part of training is teaching the dog a new behavior that he needs become comfortable with. Be patient. Once your dog becomes comfortable with this new action through praise and positive reinforcement, there would be no reason for your dog to become scared or anxious with it again. It may take some time to cure a dog's carsickness, but it will be worth it when you have a new drive time buddy!
  • Cabin Fever (aka Extended Indoor Boredom) - March 2013

    Stuck Inside With Your Dog?

    Getting sufficient outdoor time with your dog can be difficult if you don’t have ready access to safe walking areas or dog parks. If you live in an area that has harsh winters and wet springs outdoor activities involving you and your dog can also be curtailed.

    Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation

    Being housebound for extended periods can result in restlessness for your dog and you. Dogs of all types require daily exercise and mental stimulation to take away stress and prevent destructive problem behaviors. When dogs have too much energy, and no positive way to release it, they will display what most owners consider to be bad or problem behaviors. To help alleviate this, you can create a variety of reward-based indoor games and activities for your dog.

    Breed Specific Games

    The best way to determine which activities will engage your dog, you should design games that stimulate drives that are specific to her breed. All dogs were bred for different purposes or have certain characteristics that call for different types of interaction. For example, Labradors were bred to retrieve small game and objects. Different variations of fetch or hide and seek are the most beneficial for this breed.

    Games For Dogs In The Herding Group

    Herding group dogs, such as the Australian Shepherd, were specifically bred to herd livestock. A fun exercise for a natural herder is following or herding a laser-pen beam. By moving the beam in various directions, you can give your dog the illusion that she is herding the beam to a specific location. Please note: If you elect to use a laser device never shine it in anyone’s eyes, including your pet’s.

    Games For Dogs In The Hound Group

    In the hound group, dogs often show marked interest in different scents and motions. A great game to stimulate hound dogs involves hiding various training treats throughout the home and allowing your dog to track the scent and earn the reward when she finds it.

    What Motivates Your Dog?

    All dogs are motivated and driven by certain things. As a dog owner, it’s important to determine your dog’s motivations and sensitivities. This will help determine the games or activities that best suite your dog. If you have trouble researching what best motivates your dog’s breed, you can contact your local certified dog trainer or veterinarian for more information on her breed’s characteristics.

    All games and interactions should be rewarding to your dog. If it is not a rewarding activity, your dog will not form a positive association with the activity and she will most likely not repeat in the future.

    By Josh Sunga, ABCDT
  • How To Teach A Dog Manners - December 2013

    How to Teach Your Dog Manners

    Just in time for the holidays...

    The holidays can be a very busy time in many households. With all the people coming and going, it can also be a difficult time when dealing with your pet. It is very important to teach your dog how to behave in your home at any time, but especially when people will be ringing doorbells, and opening and closing doors. We want to make sure that the holidays are a safe and enjoyable time for you and your pets.

    Keep Training Treats Handy

    First, you want to make sure you are rewarding your dog whenever he is lying or sitting calmly. It is a good idea to keep some treats in different spots around your home. When you see your dog lying down, treat and praise him. We want to make sure that he knows this is the behavior that gets him attention and yummy treats.

    Why Doorbells Excite Dogs

    From there, you want to ensure your dog will not be barking every time someone rings the doorbell, or comes into the house. You also don’t want him jumping on your guests. The reason dogs bark at the sound of the bell is because they are used to the excitement that follows. When someone new comes in the house, they get lots of pets and affection.

    Desensitizing Your Dog

    You will need to start desensitizing your pet to the sound of the doorbell. You can do this by having a friend ring the doorbell and then do not react it. You want the dog to think that nothing happens when he hears that sound; just go about your normal routine. Do this 10 to 15 times throughout the day.

    Once your dog is not reacting, ask the guest to come inside. For this part of the treatment plan, you may want to have a leash and collar handy. You can tether the dog and allow the guest to approach him. Only when the dog has all four paws on the floor, will he get attention. If the dog jumps up, ask your guest to turn her back and not give the dog the attention that he is seeking. The leash will also help to ensure the dog can not jump on the guest. Once the dog has gone back to sitting or lying nicely, remember to praise him lavishly.

    Just as with any other treatment plan, consistency is very important. Dogs are pack animals and are looking for a leader. You want to make sure you are consistent when teaching any behavior.

    By following these few easy tips, you and your family should have an enjoyable and memorable holiday season.
  • When Your Dog is Not Treat Motivated - December 2013

    My Dog Doesn’t Care About Treats

    Positive-reinforcement-based Training

    A common complaint about positive-reinforcement-based training is that a dog doesn’t always respond to food lures. No matter how many times you repeat a cue and wave a treat in front of your dog’s nose, he just won’t listen. This can be frustrating, but resorting to using more abrasive techniques in an effort to have your dog comply isn’t necessarily the answer.

    Dangers with Using Compulsion Methods

    There are inherent dangers in using compulsion methods when you are frustrated and stressed. For example, if your dog is acting fearful, he will intently watch his surroundings and have a hard time listening to your commands. If you resort to using compulsion methods, your dog’s reaction will probably be the complete opposite of what you want and his fear might actually increase. Everyone has good days and bad days, even dogs. If your dog is challenging you, know that you can overcome it by following some simple guidelines that don’t involve the use of force.

    Distance Yourself from Nearby Distractions

    The first step is to stand further away from the area where there are distractions. Consider using a head collar on your dog; it is a gentle and effective way to redirect him. Determine how far away you need to be from the distractions in order for your dog to focus just on you. This could be 10-feet or even 50-feet away. After your dog responds successfully to your commands nine out of 10 times, try taking a couple of steps toward the area in question. The goal is to gradually have him move closer to the distraction (e.g., other dogs, people, squirrels, etc.) while still being able to focus on you.

    Use Treats They Really Like

    Next, ensure your treats are something your dog actually likes. Too often, owners will spend money on expensive dog treats, when their dog might prefer something simple, such as cheese or chicken bits. Your dog should get the best treats while in training. If he only gets those fabulous rewards while he’s learning, he will be motivated to work for them. Also, make sure your dog is hungry by withholding food for at least 6 hours before working with him. Also keep in mind that some dogs would rather play with a toy than be rewarded with food. Your job is to discover what rewards your dog values the most.

    Getting Professional Help

    If you’re participating in a group training class, ask your dog trainer to watch how you give your dog the command and lure. She should be able to offer some constructive criticism on your technique. Avoid repeating a cue as that only allows your dog to not respond the first time. Try to be aware of your body language and tone of voice; be confident, speak calmly and give clear hand signals to your dog.

    If possible, bring your dog to the group class location a few times in-between classes. Create a positive association with that spot by playing with him and giving him rewards. In addition, exercise your dog before bringing him to the group class. A tired dog is a good (and less distractible) dog!

    By following these tips you are setting your dog up for success which will create positive training sessions—with or without treats. Happy training!

    By Cara Lederman, ABCDT

  • Understanding Why Dogs Hump - March 2014

    Why Do Dogs Hump?

    Why Do Dogs Hump? Tips On Preventing it.

    Misconceptions About Dogs That Hump

    It is easy to feel embarrassed when you take your dog to the park or a play date and all he wants to do is hump other dogs. Many neutered dogs will still hump, which often perplexes the owner. People assume that their dog displays this behavior out of sexual arousal or to claim dominance. However, those reasons do not always hold true and the good news is the behavior can be stopped with a little training.

    Don't Punish a Dog Who Gives Warnings

    Most dogs do not like being mounted by another and will usually communicate that by snapping and barking at the offending dog. This is a warning signal: The dog is letting the other know his behavior is not okay and if she is further provoked she might bite. If your dog is the one being mounted and she give these warning signals, do not punish her. This is good canine communication because she is giving a warning. If warning signals are punished, your dog could learn to suppress them and go straight for the bite next time.

    Let Him Back Away

    If your dog is the one doing the mounting, observe his behavior after the other dog tells him to back off. If he immediately stops and backs away, this is ideal. This means he is not trying to claim his dominance over the other dog. If he was, chances are a fight would break out. Since he immediately backed away, it most likely means he does not understand appropriate play. Being snapped at for this behavior will teach the dog not to perform it.

    Use A Recall Command

    You can help your dog understand that humping is not appropriate behavior by teaching him the recall command. To begin teaching your dog to come to you on command, work with him in a low distraction area with no other dogs around. Keep him on a long leash and have extra tasty treats on you. Say your dog’s name followed by “Come!” or “Here!” If he does not immediately run to you, you can reel him in with the long line. When he gets to you, give him the tasty treats and keep his focus by practicing a Sit or Down.

    Make Recall More Rewarding

    After you practice this many times and your dog immediately runs to you 9 out of 10 times, introduce another dog to the area but keep yours on the long line. The goal is to make this cue more rewarding for him than humping the other dog. If you keep your dog focused on you for long enough, he will be less likely to run right back to the dog to try humping her again.

    Let Him Play and Test Him

    After many successful responses to the command, you can try letting him play without having the long line attached. If he does not respond to the command, make sure to walk over to him and take him away from the other dog for a minute while you practice some basic commands. If you need help with training the recall cue, contact your local dog trainer.

    Keep a Close Eye On Your Dog

    The key is to watch your dog’s body language while he plays with other dogs. You’ll be able to tell when he is about to mount another dog, and that is your cue to call him over to you. After consistent practice, your dog will learn that mounting causes problems but listening to you is rewarding.
  • When Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety - May 2014

    Separation Anxiety in Dogs

    Dog Separation Anxiety Tips
    Separation anxiety is one of the most difficult problem behaviors to address. It is also extremely hard to witness. Not only is it a problem for the owner, but the dog is affected negatively as well. The levels of separation anxiety vary greatly, as do the symptoms. It is important to treat the anxiety as soon as possible, as your dog could potentially hurt himself.

    Separation Anxiety Symptoms:

    • Barking or howling: This could be a symptom if the barking or howling is not triggered by any other stimuli.

    • Chewing or digging: Some dogs will chew or dig at doorways when left alone. This could result in injuries such as broken teeth or nails.
    • Escaping: This could occur when your dog is left alone. He might try to dig at or escape through windows. This is another time where the result can be broken nails or scraped paws.

    • Pacing: If you notice that your dog is pacing in a specific pattern, this might be the result of separation anxiety.

    Note: If your dog is doing any of the above behaviors when you are present, the cause could be something other than separation anxiety.
    To solve the issue of separation anxiety, you must be patient. It is a long process that takes dedication and understanding.

    Crate For Comfort

    One of the basic tools you can use is a crate. The crate serves as a “den” for your dog and should be a place where he feels comfortable. You need to desensitize your dog to his crate and make it an enjoyable place for him to be. Provide him with a stuffed Kong and plenty of chew toys when he’s crated. This will give your dog a comfortable place for him to go while you are not at home.

    Homecoming Desensitization

    If you are like many people, you probably give your dog a lot of attention when you get home. However, you might not realize that this could be the cause of your dog’s anxiety. It is important to not make your coming and going a big deal. You should ignore your dog for a few minutes prior to departing and when coming home. You can desensitize your dog to your leaving by going through your normal routine. Put on your shoes, pick up your keys and walk out the door. In the beginning, only leave for a few seconds, then come back in. Continue to do this while slowly increasing the time you are outside.

    Background Noise

    You could also play some music or leave the television on when you leave. This gives the dog the idea that he is not alone.

    Be A Leader

    It is also important that your dog feels that you are a strong leader. You should implement all the leadership exercises as explained in the tip “Leadership Exercises” under Canine Communication. If your dog knows you are his leader, he is less likely to feel anxious when he is alone.

    We all know we cannot be with our four-legged friends all the time, but by employing these few tips, you can ensure your dog will be happy and healthy while you are away.


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