From Fearful to Fear Free

Does it surprise you to know that too much fear, anxiety or stress can cause health problems in dogs? Some dogs are terrorized frequently, such as attending inappropriate aversive dog training classes, or even a sick dog who needs to see the veterinarian frequently. Some caretakers have no clue their dog is even fearful. “From Read More

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Exceptionally Fearful Dog

The world that we live in, especially in the United States, is a scary world for many dogs but none so much as the exceptionally fearful dogs out there. The expectations placed on dogs here can be exhausting to their emotional state. The amount of fear/anxiety that dogs who are worried about people/things/animals in their Read More

How to keep your dog happy and stress free whilst at a dog show

Family dog shows can be wonderful events to attend. They are great places to meet up with friends, spend time around lots of other dogs, show your own dog off and hopefully win some rosettes. Some dogs really enjoy these events and walk round the show ring with a relaxed body, bright eyes and a Read More

Striving for Fear-Free Interactions in All Dog Care Fields

Every dog behavior professional keeps a mental list of other dog care professionals such as dog walkers, pet sitters, boarding facilities, groomers, etc. that meet their own personal care standards. Those standards will likely mirror their own philosophy of how dogs should be treated. Those who practice behavior modification with modern scientific-based methods in their Read More

5 Things I Want Anyone With A Fearful Dog To Know

I see dogs that truly enjoy meeting new people and other dogs, and find myself wishing the same for my not-so-social dog. It's easy to get discouraged, but know that many people are experiencing the same things with their dogs as you are.

Fear of Going to the Vet

For your dog, the veterinarian can be a scary person to visit, and for good reason. A puppy’s first veterinary experience is often for vaccinations, which can create a life time of fear. If your dog puts the brakes on in front of the veterinary hospital or trembles as he waits for the vet to Read More

Fear of Cars

If your dog pants, drools, or vomits in the car, it might because he is experiencing motion sickness or is anxious. Your veterinarian can give medication for the sickness, but if your dog continues to exhibit these signs of stress, it could be because he is fearful. If you suspect your dog is having a Read More

Fears and Phobias

Fears and phobias are relatively common and can affect dogs of all ages and all breeds. But there is a difference between fear and phobia. Fear is a normal response to an actual or perceived threat or situation, while a phobia is an exaggerated fear response that can completely overwhelm a dog. Some dogs are Read More

Victoria’s Tips for Keeping Your Dog Stress-Free Over the Holidays

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Christmas decorations are already lighting up homes and businesses, and I even ran into Santa Claus at the mall! The holidays are a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, but they can also be a challenging time when you have pets. Anxious or reactive dogs are especially prone to stress during the holidays. Here are eight tips for keeping your dog safe and stress-free this holiday season.

FEARS (and trees!)

There are not a lot of things that “scare” me, but falling trees are one of the things that I worry about.  As I write this, I am sitting in a pitch dark room at 2am in the morning listening to the sound of roaring wind gusts outside.  We just had tornado producing storms with Read More

Socialization and Fear

Is your dog low on the “social butterfly” scale? If you’re wondering why your dog is not more playful with you, other people or dogs and what you can do, take heart. Most dogs can learn to be more playful and affectionate. Sometimes we have to train a water-shy Labrador to swim and socialize. Try Read More

The Hand That Feeds: There Are Better Options Than Hand Feeding

It used to be standard operating procedure for some dog professionals to advise new rescue dog parents to hand feed said dog in order to effectively create a bond. In some cases, it still is standard. It depends on who you ask. The same protocol is also suggested by some trainers for dogs who resource Read More

How We Can Make the Vet Office a Less Scary Place for Pets

Imagine being hung half way out a window by your suspenders 30 stories up, or being held up at gunpoint. That’s actually how I believe many of our pets feel at the vet office, or even before they arrive, as they realize that’s where they’re headed and fear begins to ramp up.

Can My Dog Be Stressed? [Part 2]

Here is the second of three excerpts from my forthcoming book - Building Confidence in your Growly but Brilliant Family Dog - which points out an area which will be affecting your dog mightily. Read the first excerpt here.  While you’re doing your best to improve the situation and you take a look at what may Read More

Can My Dog Be Stressed? [Part 1]

Those of us who have a reactive, anxious, or fearful dog, work very hard to make life easier for them (and us!). We try this idea and that technique, perhaps with distressingly little success. Some days our dog just seems worse! Here is the first of three excerpts from my next book - Building Confidence Read More

Teaching a Dog Not to Be Scared of a Leash or Collar

Desensitisation and counter conditioning are valuable skills to use with fearful dogs and great care must be taken when using these tools in order to make sure that we don’t push dogs beyond their limits, making their fears worse

Why I Train Without Force

If we love our animals, why do people find it acceptable to cause them pain or fear just for the sake of ‘training’?

Give Your Dog an Instant Safe Haven On Walks

We’ve all seen a small child clinging to Mom’s neck while he safely views the world from under her hair. A little puppy has the same need for a safe haven. You may have seen your own puppy hurtle in from the garden when there’s an alarming noise, and dive into her bed. Plunging into the Read More

How to Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks

Dogs have no way to understand what the those unpredictable explosions are all about. If the fireworks happen to be nearby, dogs may be able to smell them and even feel their vibrations, adding to their fear factor.

The Ultimate Dog Adoption Survival Guide

Adopting a dog? Work in animal rescue? This is the ultimate guide for adopting a dog and successfully and safely acclimating that dog to your family and home.

Positively Success Story: Aaro

I hope Aaro's story gives hope and inspiration to all who struggle with a more demanding dog. Positive methods DO work.

The Dog Aggression Epidemic

Why is it that our pet dogs are struggling more than ever to cope in our domestic world? Resource guarding, leash aggression, aggression towards other animals, and aggression towards people are some of the most common aggression examples that dog trainers see on a daily basis.

How Not To Groom a Biting Dog

Every now and then a video crosses my desk from people either amazed, dismayed or generally seeking my opinion on something. Such was the case when I was shared this video, and I felt it was a great learning opportunity to highlight some of the misconceptions and ‘teaching moments’ of what should not be done when teaching a dog with a history of biting while being groomed.

Why is My Dog Growling?

Understandably we don’t like our dogs to growl and it can be embarrassing, but growling is GOOD. Growling tells us what our dog is feeling. Growling gives us the key to open the door to the dog’s emotions. When we know what he is feeling, we then know what to do about it. Colin is Read More

Medical Before Behavioral

When veterinary behaviorists and well-schooled trainers are attempting to understand a behavioral issue, they will always be thinking "medical before behavioral". Why, you ask? Well, because our dogs are just like us. When we are uncomfortable or in pain, we tend to behave less appropriately then we might otherwise. Same for our pups.

Crack, Not Crackers: Choosing the right reinforcer

Recently, I was chatting with a friend whose dog Grace is a goofy, floppy lab mix. She’s well-behaved but goes bonkers when she sees other dogs in the park. It’s friendly but intense: She leaps and lunges and yips until she pulls her way to the other dog. “It’s the craziest thing,” Grace’s person told Read More

Positively Success Story: Scarlett

After losing my longtime canine companions, I decided to bring a new dog into our home when the time was right. I was looking for an older pup who was already trained and a breed that did not have many well-known health issues. I like to say that I found Scarlett but I really think Read More

Forcing Hugs on Dogs Can Amount to Punishment

When we hug our dogs we are sending out our affection and sharing our love. What we are giving out isn’t necessarily what the dog is receiving. To a dog, a hug is very bad canine etiquette, pushy behavior associated with establishing social status, an invasion of space, threatening.

How Does Your Dog See and Understand the World?

Scenario: A pleasant neighborhood on a sunny day, we observe a human and her dog taking a walk together. All of a sudden, the dog strains on leash, barking and lunging. The human tries to calm the dog down to no avail. She keeps looking around and sees nothing that should make her dog react Read More