Defining what aggression means is not easy, because there are so many variables associated with what is a highly complex behavior. But by investigating the function served by an aggressive act as well as why it occurs and what result it achieves from the dog’s point of view, we can begin to gain a better understanding.
If the thought of interacting with a wolflike creature makes your heart leap, meet wolfdog Journey, A cross of a wolf and a domestic dog several generations removed, Journey was selectively bred for social-butterfly abilities and wolflike appearance.
Dogs make wonderful companions and need to be treated with care and respect. Most dogs are very friendly and won’t bite. However, some dogs bite because they’re fearful, angry, frustrated or are protecting something that is valuable to them. It’s vital that you recognize not just the signs that a dog is uncomfortable, but also Read More
Wildfire season is upon us, so we want to be sure that your Fifi or Bowser happily hops into the car if you need to evacuate. Although the desensitization techniques highlighted in this article are applied to overcoming the fear of riding in a car - the same principles can be applied to any fear, Read More
“My dog is great with people most of the time but sometime when strangers rush up to him when we’re on our walks, he backs off and growls. The behavior seems to be getting worse. Why does he do this?”
While dog parks are ace playgrounds for Rovers to romp and Spots to socialize, without proper supervision, squabbles can break out like pimples on a teenager. Luckily physical injury is relatively rare, but sometimes the damage delves deeper than skin. A few bad experiences in an impressionable pooch can progress to a lifelong fear of other Fidos.
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
When a dog feels threatened by something, the first and safest option for the dog is to run away from the threat. This is called the 'flight response.' If the dog is unable to put sufficient distance between himself and the threat, the only other options left are to either submit in the hope the Read More
Pet dogs are impressively adaptive. Coping with new environments and situations is a product of domestication, and most dogs do extremely well adapting to the pressures of domestic life. There are some dogs, however, that find it hard to adjust, and consequently live in a constant state of stress, making life difficult for them and Read More
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
It’s not that dogs aren’t patriotic, but many dogs, and also some cats are terrified of the loud and sudden bangs we call fireworks. It’s actually adaptive to be hard-wired to be afraid of sudden loud sounds. We jump at such surprising sounds, and we might also run the other way or hide if we Read More
I spend much of my time as a trainer working with young puppies. They’re little sponges, absorbing every bit of information we send their way – both good and bad. You’ll hear the same puppy training advice over and over: make sure to socialize your puppy, start potty training immediately, and the like. But in Read More
The fireworks have begun, now what? Yes, I know you realize that by thinking in advance more might have been done to help your scared dog or cat. At this point, obviously anti-anxiety medication taking weeks to kick in won’t help. And it’s exceedingly unlikely that a gradual counter conditioning and desensitization program to the Read More
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.
Many dog trainers and behaviorists use counter-conditioning and desensitization as part of a behavior modification program. The average dog owner often has no idea what this means.
To help people fully grasp the mechanics of desensitization, I often use the analogy of learning how to swim. In other words, "Start in the shallow end!"
I hope Aaro's story gives hope and inspiration to all who struggle with a more demanding dog. Positive methods DO work.
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
The Canine Noise Phobia Series (CNP) is a 4-CD compilation of specialized audio recordings and innovative training protocols specifically designed to reduce and prevent noise phobias and anxiety in dogs. “In my work as a dog trainer both on TV and in private practice over the past 15 years, I have seen countless dogs suffer Read More
What do you think of when you think of a leader? Although many people might conjure up a vision of someone powerful or authoritative, a new study shows that the best leaders are humble leaders. It's hard to imagine what it would mean for the world of companion animal training if this concept was applied Read More
Although a dog’s brain is just one-tenth the size of a human brain, the part of the dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is forty times greater than that of a human's. A dog’s sense of smell is therefore estimated to be a hundred thousand times better than ours. Dogs use their nose Read More
There is a fierce debate raging in the dog training world between traditional dominance and punishment-based trainers and the positive training movement. Common Dog Training Myths: There is more than one way to train a dog. Positive training methods don’t work on 'red zone' dogs. Dogs only 'respect' leaders who assert their 'dominance.' Positive trainers Read More
Successful positive training relies in large part on determining exactly what motivates your dog the most. While each dog is different and some may be turned on by praise, play, toys, or life rewards like going for walk, very often food is that primary motivating force and can be a powerful tool for shaping new Read More
I adopted an 11- month old Yorkshire terrier from a rescue group in March 2009. The rescue group warned me that she was very shy and had not had the best of starts for a puppy. I had trained several dogs and was confident that with a little patience, she would be fine. After only Read More
Crate training is a popular way of encouraging puppies to hold themselves for longer periods of time and of keeping them safe when unsupervised. Used correctly, a crate becomes a favorite place for sleeping and/or quiet time but keeping a puppy or a dog in a crate for too long can also inadvertently encourage them Read More
Puppies are likely to experience emotional changes as they grow, so providing them with a good learning foundation makes it easier to deal with any challenges they might encounter. Investing time at the beginning of a puppy’s life allows that puppy to become a confident and well-adjusted adult and while most dogs cope well living Read More
Thunderstorm phobia is a relatively common problem for dogs, particularly for those that live in areas where stormy weather is more frequent. Whether fear of thunderstorms is elicited by a singular traumatic experience or prolonged exposure, the result is often highly distressing for dogs and people. Without extensive behavioral therapy and management strategies, phobias become Read More
The sight and sound of fireworks can be terrifying for dogs. Whether you celebrate the 4th of July or November 5th, any occasion that calls for fireworks can be severely traumatizing for your dog. The good news is that there are many ways you can reduce your dog’s anxiety. How to Help Your Dog Overcome Read More
It is very normal for dogs to be scared of children or one particular child, especially if they have not been raised with children or have been teased by them in the past. Even one experience can create an aversion or fear that is hard to erase and this causes all kinds of issues, especially Read More
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 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
Aggression in dogs is a massive issue. From dog bite prevention and public safety to the pet overpopulation problem due to over-capacity animal shelters, aggression is a leading cause of many of the major problems in the dog world. Dogs aggress under many different circumstances from leash reactivity to territorial issues, and aggression can be Read More
The 'Touch' cue teaches dogs that an approaching hand is not a threat and therefore does not require a negative response. Many advanced behavioral issues can often be traced back to seemingly innocuous beginnings like a puppy reacting nervously to an outstretched hand or general human touch. The key to avoiding the escalation of such Read More
There is much debate on whether a dog’s experience of emotion is similar to that of a human’s or if a dog’s behavior is simply influenced by an inner drive to survive. While we cannot claim to have all the answers yet, science is helping increase our understanding of how the dog’s brain works, producing Read More
If you treat fire with fire, you will get burned. This concept is not rocket science, but it is still science. A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior concluded that confrontational training methods such as hitting dogs, intimidating them with punitive force and using techniques of restraint like the 'alpha roll' actually Read More
We all have fears. Every single person has them, even the toughest of the tough and the baddest of the bad. We're supposed to have fears, it's what allows us as a species to survive. The problem is that many of us are mocked, or worse, for our fears, which only begets a higher level of fear or creates new ones. However, if we had the opportunity to work with someone we TRUST, who could TEACH us how to CHANGE our perception of what we fear, we could lessen or overcome that fear, thereby ENJOYING life even more.
Thunderstorm phobia is a relatively common problem for dogs, particularly for those that live in areas where stormy weather is commonplace. Whether fear of thunderstorms is elicited by a singular traumatic experience or prolonged exposure, the result is often highly distressing for dogs and owners. Without extensive behavioral therapy and management strategies, phobias become deeply ingrained and even harder to overcome.