• Category Archives Obedience Advice
  • Dealing with Aggressive Behavior in Your Dog

    No dog owner should be surprised that their pooch is capable of aggressive behavior.  Now domesticated, dogs for centuries were wild animals and that pack mentality still resides deep in their genes.  It may come out in an effort to exert dominance in your relationship.  Genetics are not the only cause of misbehavior in dogs.  Aggressive behavior might be caused by trauma in the dog’s early weeks or months as a puppy.  Neglect is often a factor.  Whatever the causes, no good will come from allowing aggression to continue and increase in your canine friend.  Take action as soon as you see it developing because it can become dangerous for you, your dog and others.

    The Reasons your Dog may be Aggressive

    Dog’s are socialized while still with their mother and litter mates.  They should remain there until at least 8 weeks of age for proper development and socialization.  During this time puppies exhibit normal aggressive behavior which often takes the form of play fighting.  They have a need to sort out the issue of dominance because every dog needs to know who is in control.  This is a survival instinct.  The pack needs to have a leader, and if none exists, they’ll pursue that spot out of necessity. Typically they quickly learn that the mother is in control of the litter and their aggressive behavior is calmed.  The first time they nip mom and she responds sharply they get the point.   This period of early socialization lasts until a dog is about 14 weeks of age, so if you bring home a puppy at 8 or 9 weeks a significant part of its early training is up to you.

    Once in your home a new challenge for dominance might ensue.  Your puppy may nip and posture aggressively.  You may be inclined to chuckle, but be sure not to encourage the behavior.  Be firm in your response without being aggressive yourself.  If you frighten the dog it may continue aggressive behavior because it thinks it has to in order to survive.

    It is also possible that your puppy comes from a line of its breed that gave birth to many leaders of the pack.  In other words, it is genetically predisposed to be more aggressive, the alpha-dog among its peers.  You’ll have a more challenging time socializing and training such a dog, but when done properly these dogs are also outstanding companions.  Another factor in aggressive behavior is a dog not being neutered or spayed.  If that is something you intend to do then taking care of that alteration will mellow your dog considerably.

    In the end, however, the environment that you provide for your dog will most significantly determine whether or not it is prone to aggression.  Harsh treatment or neglect, being poorly fed, being intimidated or taunted by a person or another dog or any considerable trauma will produce aggression in a dog just as it will in any animal or person.

    Effective Methods for Controlling Aggression in your Dog

    No matter what age your dog is, act quickly when aggressive behavior surfaces.  This is especially true in mature dogs who have reached sexual maturity – usually around 14 months.  It can be a sign of ingrained issues that need to be addressed.

    First of all, be sure that you have clearly established yourself as the dog’s leader.  If a dog is feeling insecure about who’s in charge it may become aggressive.  Be firm but gentle with your pooch.  Make sure that it understands basic commands and obeys them whenever you give the word.  Take the dog for walks and expect it to go at your pace without pulling or trying to run off.  Feed the dog at the same time every day, after you have eaten, and make sure the dog sits obediently before you put down its food.  Be a strong, gentle and encouraging leader and your dog will enjoy the kind of security it needs to be responsive to your direction.  Its aggression will no longer be necessary.

    Keep in mind that if your dog is moderately aggressive in your home it may be even more aggressive with strangers.  While you are dealing with aggressive behavior limit the dog’s interaction with other dogs and with people, especially children.  As your dog learns and exhibits better control of its aggression you can re-assimilate it into a wider sphere of contact.

    While aggression is common in many dogs it can be controlled before it becomes a serious problem.  Don’t hesitate to pick up some books or videos to help you understand how to handle your dog’s aggressive behavior, or enroll you and your pooch in a training class where you both can learn techniques for controlling aggression, making you and your dog much happier in the process.


  • Bulldog Puppy Training

    If you own a Bulldog – or if one owns you, right? – you’ve got one prestigious pup on your hands.  They are a purebred with a long and storied history.  Since the 16th century the Bulldog has stood as a proud symbol of England, exemplifying the nation’s spirit with a fearless, resolute and intensely loyal character.  The term “bulldog determination” sums it up pretty well.  That’s why training your Bulldog puppy can be a challenging adventure and you must be just as determined as your pup.  A job well done will yield a dog that will truly be your best friend for life.

    Selecting your Bulldog Puppy

    With the pure blood lines that Bulldogs possess come a few genetically based health issues and a puppy mortality rate higher than with most breeds.  Therefore, choose a puppy at least 8 weeks old and have it checked immediately by a vet.  The animal doctor will pay special attention to ears, nose and throat issues where common Bulldog problems arise.  Note: It  is also wise to spend at least a few hours with the litter watching the dogs carefully, including the mother, to make sure the one you choose doesn’t show overly aggressive behavior and isn’t anti-social.  Look for a friendly demeanor and you’ll be well on your way to having a wonderful dog in the household.

    Start trying your pooch as soon as you get him or her into your home.  This starts with adequate socialization.  The dog should be at least 8 weeks old because important socialization happens within the litter prior to this that is hard to duplicate.  Make sure your young dog gets plenty of attention and gains a comfort level being around a variety of people, including children.  If you have other well-behaved dogs let the new pup spend time with them, keeping a watchful eye so that is isn’t harmed or frightened by them.

    Essentials of Training your Bulldog Puppy

    The fun begins with housetraining.  Most Bulldog owners find that crate training works best since the dog will be reluctant to mess its living space.  This will also help overcome any stubborn tendencies the dog may have.  Once the dog is house broken that same attitude will work for you – the dog will rarely do what it knows it should not do.

    Creating the right environment is hugely important for all the training you give your dog.  This is done by clearly establishing yourself as the puppy’s leader, the alpha-dog of the pack you might say.  Gently and firmly let the dog know through your resolve that you are in charge and that behaviors like biting, jumping up on furniture or chewing on anything but the cat – uh, we should say on chew toys, will not be tolerated.  If your Bulldog puppy nips you give a little yelp to show the nip hurts and then respond with a firm “no!”  Your pooch will soon get the idea.  House the dog in its crate consistently.  This gives you a chance to control its behavior more closely during these formative weeks.

    Once the basics are established, move on to obedience training.  This stage should start once the dog reaches 3 months and should last another 3 months, roughly speaking.  Emphasize obedience to basic commands such as sit, heel, walk, and coming immediately when called.  The dog should learn not to strain at the leash during walks.  Essentially, you are helping your Bulldog learn to control itself, the foundation for good character in all dogs, as well as their masters!  While the forceful nature of the dog might lead it to resist your direction at first, once it submits the lesson will be learned for life.  Your persistence  will pay off for the long haul.

    Training your Bulldog Correctly is in its Best Interests

    Bulldogs are fearless and adventurous.  In today’s world those qualities left unchecked might get it into trouble.  Exploring the neighborhood, chasing cars or other animals, and mixing it up with the local skunk or porcupine may not end well for your furry friend.  Training your Bulldog in the ways we’ve discussed will offer good protection against the consequences of uncontrolled behavior. Don’t allow your dog off the leash until it has demonstrated its willingness to come immediately when called.  Let it prove itself in a confined area like your yard or the obedience class arena first.  While a French Poodle might turn tail and run at the first sign of danger, your courageous Bulldog is more likely to hold its ground.  While there is a time for that, there’s no use jeopardizing your dog’s well-being needlessly.

    Keep in mind that you chose a Bulldog and that they will live up to their inherent qualities.  This will mean that you’ve got to work diligently, bulldoggedly you might say, to get your pup properly trained.  Be the leader your dog needs.  When you prove that you are in charge and that you will protect and provide for your dog as long as it submits to your leadership, you’ll soon have an awesome pet.  Your furry friend will be stubbornly loyal, obedient, clean and well-mannered.  A dog like that is a great companion and asset to any owner.


  • Clicker Training for Dogs

    Clicker training has long been a useful  method for training all breeds of dog.  It is proven to be very effective in directing a dog’s action to get them to follow basic commands.  When done properly, clicker training may go very quickly and you can use it to train your dog to do a wide variety of things.

    Clicker Training Basics

    The basic idea is to teach your dog to associate the clicking sound with your instructions. You give the dog a command and when it follows through you mark its obedience with a couple of clicks as a reward.  At first, the dog should also be rewarded with a very small treat to help the association be a good one that goes deep.  As your dog matures, hearing the clicker and knowing you are pleased with its actions will be sufficient.

    The clicker works well because it is clear and the dog easily associates the sound of it with recognition of its behavior, and the delivery of a treat.  The clicker is a more consistent message than a verbal response by you, though words of encouragement in addition to a few clicks will be appreciated.

    The Steps in Effective Clicker Training

    The first step is to train your dog to obey a specific command.  Teach it to sit, for example, and each time it obeys use the clicker and reward your dog.  The association will soon stick and the pooch will be eager to obey whenever a command is given.  Use the same process with all the behaviors you are teaching your dog.

    The second step is to be consistent in your training so that the association deepens and the obedience becomes automatic.  Gradually wean the dog off of the treats and replace them with generous amounts of praise and pats on the head.

    Dispensing with the Clicker

    When done well, clicker training creates a deep and lasting association that cannot generally be accomplished through your verbal cues alone.  The link between your command, the sound of the clicker, and then a given reward is a powerful chain of events.  Consistently linking the three will soon develop a well-trained dog that will respond immediately to your command.  You’ll be able to dispense with the clicker.  Your command, followed by a word of praise for its obedience, will be all your dog needs to hear!

    You’ll be surprised at how well clicker training works and the variety of applications it will serve.  Use it to teach your dog all the essentials of a well-trained pet and the lessons will never be forgotten.


  • Training your Dachshund

    Dachshunds are cute dogs, no doubt about it.  But getting a dachshund properly trained may prove a challenge.  These little hot dogs can be disagreeable and nasty when it comes to submitting, so be prepared for a bit of a battle during training.  Is specialized training required for these dogs?  Let’s examine that question.

    Understand the Dachshund Disposition

    Training your thin little friend will require strong leadership and plenty of patience on your part.  These dogs are inherently stubborn and strong willed – characteristics that led to their survival in the wild despite their diminutive size.  The key will be to get the upper hand in the negotiations and then these qualities will work in your favor, as well as your Dachshund’s.

    Keep in mind that you are training an animal that requires strong leadership or it will resist it.  Prove yourself to be the one in charge with firm resolve that is never harsh or violent.  And remember that no matter how cute your puppy is, firm will must be used or your precious little pup will learn to play you for everything it wants.   A well-behaved Dachshund is a great companion.  A spoiled, whiny one can be a real pest.

    The truth you must remember is that neglecting your Dachshund’s training puts them at risk.  A Dachshund with a mind of its own get into trouble quickly.  It might mix it up with bigger dogs and possibly come out the worse for it—though pound for pound they are tougher than most.  They may also do too much jumping, a terrible strain on their elongated backbones. Good training will prevent those behaviors and protect the dog.

    The Basics of Training your Dachshund

    A Dachshund does require training that is tailored to the characteristics of its breed.  Dachshunds by nature are active and without enough exercise will be restless and anxious, and those things work against good training.  Bred as hunters to pursue and eradicate vermin, they’ve got a desire to run, sniff everything within reach, and exert themselves.  Make sure your dog gets a chance to do this regularly and especially prior to training sessions.  You’ll have a more contented, relaxed Dachshund to work with.  Otherwise your pooch will use that pent up energy in counter-productive ways that seem quite devious.

    Employ these tips for the most effective training:

    Use Short Sessions: Dachshunds have short attention spans and when they lose interest getting them to respond is pretty tough.  Be energetic to match their intensity level and work hard in 5-10 minute segments.  Once they get distracted by a chatty squirrel or a scent they want to follow, you and the lesson you think is so vitally important will be deemed a nuisance they can’t possibly bear!

    Start with Basics: For Dachshunds these include things like teaching them to sit, stay, go and heel.  It is also important to keep them from jumping on the furniture because they don’t belong there, but also because the landing when they jump off can damage their back.  If you do find your dog on the couch, lift it off rather than letting it jump off and give it a stern reprimand only once you have set it down, but while it is still in your grasp.

    Consider Clicker Training: Clicker training is proven effective with many breeds and Dachshunds take to it particularly well since they rely on their ears as few dogs do.   Clicker training is ideal for active dogs like these since the clicker can be heard at a good distance.  Get information on how clicker training is done and give it a try.

    Use Small Rewards: Positive reinforcement works better than the negative kind with Dachshunds because of their sometimes taciturn disposition.  Being harsh with the dog might cause it to grow more stubborn or even aggressive.  Like all dogs, however, they enjoy positive attention from the leader of the pack – you.  A small, tasty treat or a quick scratch behind the ear along with an encouraging word when they obey works wonders.

    Knowing up front that Dachshund training requires time, patience and energy will fortify you to give it what it takes.  Above all, don’t let your pooch use its cute looks to get its way with you.  A spoiled puppy is annoying.  A spoiled mature dog will nip, run off to seek adventure in the world, and generally make life hard on you.  Remedial will be nearly impossible.  Be the strong leader this dog needs and it will learn to follow your direction, becoming a valued member of your household.


  • Common Health Problems in Dog

    It shouldn’t surprise any dog owner that their pet is susceptible to certain ailments, just as all creatures are.  Knowing what to expect will ensure that you are prepared to act in order to minimize the effects of health problems.  This will minimize the potentially devastating emotional and financial toll these ailments can produce if symptoms are not responded to quickly.  Knowing how to prevent avoidable problems is also a key to keeping your dog healthy and your vet bills low.

    Potential Health Problems in your Dog

    Your dog’s health problems may take longer to come to light because you won’t know there is a problem until your pooch shows clear physical or behavioral symptoms.  Keep a close eye on your dog and examine him or her regularly for signs of trouble.  In this way you may catch health issues before your pet begins to suffer.  Knowing what to look for is essential.

    Obesity:

    Let’s start with an easy one to spot.  Does pooch look a bit chunky?  Is he 15% over his recommended weight?  If so, you’ve got a dog with a weight issue.  Left untreated it may cause diabetes or heart disease, both real threats to your canine friend.  Liver disease, skin problems and other ailments may follow.  Get your dog on the right diet with plenty of exercise, or risk losing your pet well before its time.

    Diabetes:

    This dread disease may be caused by the dog being overweight or it might simply be in its genetic history.  Make sure your furry friend is on a good diet consisting of the right number of calories, proper nutrients and essential vitamins.  Table scraps are off limits – in fact, cut out all human food.  If your dog develops diabetes that cannot be resolved with diet and exercise then regular trips to the vet along with medication and shots you may have to administer might ensue.

    Arthritis and Dysplasia:

    Older dogs have their aches and pains just like their masters.  Some breeds are more inclined to joint problems than others.  Keeping a dog with arthritis fit will be hard, and being overweight will compound the problem.  If your dog develops arthritis  or dysplasia the veterinarian will prescribe medication to ease the swelling and the pain.  Change the dog’s diet and the kind of exercise it gets accordingly.  These degenerative diseases can be managed if you’re willing to do what is required.

    Infections:

    Dog’s ears, eyes, teeth and skin are susceptible to infection as places bacteria can invade.  Check your dog all over for signs of infection that include redness, hot spots, swelling, oily sores, or rashes.  Keep your canine friend’s ears clean.  Brush its teeth weekly or more frequently, and give him or her a bath as often as your vet recommends – more often if trips to the lake or deep woods are part of its routine.  Bacterial infections are easy to avoid but deadly if not caught, so check for problems regularly.

    Allergies:

    In a typical dog’s environment there are a myriad of allergens ranging from pollen and dust to chemicals in carpet or household cleaners, and of course, the common flea bite.  Keep your dog on flea medication during flea season and check for infestation when petting or grooming your pooch.  Hot spots on their skin, runny noses or watery eyes are other symptoms that should be examined by your animal doctor.

    The best defense against canine health problems is a good offense.  This includes your dog getting lots of good exercise, eating a healthy diet and regular vet visits for checkups and necessary shots.  Stay on top of your dog’s health and you will be giving it the longest, happiest life possible.


  • Obedience Training for You and your Dog

    A quality dog obedience training class might be the best thing you do for your puppy as well as for your own success as a dog owner.  The class will foster good leadership skills in you and obedience in your dog so that you both can handle the wide variety of experiences that are likely to come up in the course of your dog’s life.  If you cannot afford obedience classes then your job is tougher but not impossible.  You can learn on your own and teach your canine pet what it needs to know.  Get what information you can and start with the following essentials.

    The Value of Obedience Training

    The goal of obedience training is to teach your dog what is expected of it.  Life is much easier for you both if your dog understands the ground rules and learns to follow them.  You must learn how to be a strong, confident leader your dog will be comfortable following.  This two-way street will benefit you both immensely.  Work on these specific skills.

    Be the Leader:

    Your dog needs a leader so that it feels secure in its place.  Learn to be in charge with a dominant, kind attitude toward your dog.  This is foundational to all the training you will do with your pet.

    Teach Basic Commands:

    Your dog must learn to sit, heel, stay, speak and be quiet.  If the two of you don’t master these basics, then major problems will developo.  Your dog will run off, be rebellious, and may become unresponsive to your direction.  Make it comply with these basics and the relationship for you both will be healthy.

    Eliminate Biting and Minimize Barking:

    Dog’s must not be allowed to playfully nip or aggressively bite.  Deal with such behavior summarily or risk a biting incident that may cause injury to a person or other pet and worse for your dog.  Barking is less serious and there are times you want your dog to alert you to things that are happening.  But it must learn to control barking at common things like neighbors passing or the mailman making his rounds.  These issues are best addressed when your dog is in the formative puppy months.

    Quality Walking:

    Most owners don’t understand the importance of walking their dog as a means to gaining healthy control.  On these walks your dog will truly learn who is the leader if you handle it correctly.  The dog should sit while you put on a collar or leash, wait while you open the door or gate, and only start when you tell it to go.  On the walk it must never pull or strain and should stop at corners when you direct it to.  If you and your dog master these basics you will have a well-behaved trustworthy companion.

    These are the kinds of things you and pooch will learn in a good class.  Work on them at home and if the opportunity arises to participate in a class don’t pass it up.  Work on these skills at home consistently.  Diligent early training will translate into a lifetime of good behavior for your dog.  Remember your role as the leader and be conscientious in fulfilling your responsibility to your dog to be a leader it can trust and follow.

    Ongoing Education at Home

    Even if you are able to take a class together what you do at home will make the most difference.  Work hard with your pooch when he or she is young.  If you don’t, it is much harder to impose remedial training on an adult dog.  Consistency, firmness, and lots of praise for good behavior are necessary.  It is also vital that everyone in your household stick to the rules you have set for the dog, to maintain a consistent environment that doesn’t confuse your canine friend.

    Dogs will respond to what they are trained to do.  If you do your job with care, patience and carefulness your chances of having difficult issues with your pet are greatly reduced.  Let your dog get away with bad habits and they will become ingrained.  For a contented dog and happy household stick to the rules and all will be well.


  • Separation Anxiety in Dogs

    Separation anxiety is a problem for dog owners who must leave their pooch to go to work, get shopping done, or simply have a life apart from Max or Ginger.  Cats couldn’t care less whether you live or die, but your dog is much more relational.  Your dog wants you there, and if you don’t train it to be confident and secure in your absence you may come home to a doggy mess or a chewed up chair leg.  Then the neighbor will drop by to say your pooch barked for 7 straight hours.  None of that is pleasant; all of it can be avoided.

    Why Your Dog Experiences Separation Anxiety

    It’s starts in the genes.  For millennia dogs were pack animals in the wild, and still are in many regions of the world.  Every pack has a leader, and when that alpha-dog is present, all is well.  You are now your dog’s alpha-leader and when you leave it may become anxious about foundational issues like its protection.  Basic training will allow your dog to overcome this separation anxiety and realize that it is not in danger just because you walk outside to dump the trash or to leave for work.

    Another reason that dogs experience this phenomenon is that some owners make a BIG DEAL out of their comings and goings.  Hugs and kisses are used to assuage their guilt upon leaving the dog and more of the same commences when they arrive home out of natural affection.  Since dogs learn from association and habituation you are teaching Jock or Sadie to become hyper when you leave or when they hear your car turn the corner and head for the garage.

    Controlling Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

    Here are some effective ways to help your furry friend relax when you depart.

    Don’t Make it a Big Deal: Spend a few quality minutes with your dog well ahead of your departure.  Speak reassuringly.  If possible, let Bailey get some vigorous exercise.  Then, when it’s time to leave, simply walk out the door without a word.  You may find that your dog is more comfortable being crated while you are gone. That sounds counter-intuitive but recognize that its crate is a safe, secure place for it to reside, much like the hole or den a wild dog will dig for safety.  At the very least leave the crate door open so Molly has the option of hunkering down in there if she wishes.  Upon your return be low-key as well.  Greet the dog with a hello but save the affection for later.

    Mix Up your Schedule: Dogs are big on routine.  They get trained that your alarm means you’ll be leaving soon.  You follow the same morning ritual and sure enough, in a matter of time you are gone.  If possible, use different alarms (radio, beeper, rooster, whatever) and possibly leave for work at a different time.  Use the front door or side door to vary your routine.  Climb out a second story window if it helps alleviate your dog’s anxiety.

    Help Your Dog Build Up Tolerance for your Absence: When you first get pooch home put him in his crate and leave for 10 minutes several times a day.  Build up to being able to leave him for an hour or more.  When your pet is 3-6 months old practice leaving for half a day.  In time you’ll be able to leave for your work day confident your dog will be just fine.  Use the crate until your dog no longer demonstrates behavior that represents acting out its anxiety.

    This Training is Necessary, Not Mean: Some dog lovers/owners think these measures are mean.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They will help your dog become mature and confident in your absence.  A overly-dependent dog that cannot handle solitude will be unhappy.  This training will allow your dog to relax while you are away, producing physical and emotion benefits for your furry friend.

    Keep teaching your canine companion that he or she will be just fine in your absence.  In time Jocko or Blondie will inherently recognize that the environment is safe and that you will provide for them when you return.  Your dog won’t be anxious or act out while you are away, especially if you teach it not to associate your leaving or coming with major amounts of attention.  You’ll both be much happier when the problem of separation anxiety is conquered.


  • Tested Tips for Training Your Dog

    Every dog owner looks for good tips to help them train their dog.  The key is to understand how your dog learns so you can be effective in training it.  Don’t over-think the situation or expect your dog to be smarter than he is.  Dogs learn by watching, by reacting to their leader.  The training is solidified when they are rewarded for obeying and when they experience negative consequences for failing to respond appropriately.  It’s really that simple.  Dogs have a long genetic history as instinctual animals living in a pack where they learned through positive and negative responses from their mother, the pack leader and other dogs.

    Your role is to tap into those instincts to be accepted by praising and rewarding them for the desired behavior.  Remember that inherent truth about your pooch and you will soon have a well-trained, wonderful canine friend.

    Foundational Training Tips for Lasting Success

    There are a handful of training tips that form the foundation for all of your dog’s future training.  If you and your canine friend master these everything that follows will be easy.

    Embrace the alpha position:

    Your canine’s pack animal instincts lead it to want a strong leader to follow.  In the absence of such a leader the dog may be confused or may even seek the position himself out of concern for its well-being.  Effective dog training begins with you making it clear that you are in charge and that you will protect your dog and provide for it when it follows your directions.  When the dog is confident that you are in control it will be content and much easier to train.

    Employ crate training:

    Many dog owners think putting their dog in a crate is unkind.  It doesn’t have to be.  If fact, the crate replicates a dog’s hole or den where it can be safe and secure.  The crate gives your dog its own space and it will appreciate that.  Make sure you don’t punish your dog by sticking it in the crate or it will have negative associations that will destroy its effectiveness.  Start using the crate when you first bring home your dog and place it in the crate often when you are there.  This helps the dog know that all is well and that the crate is a good place.  For training purposes it will assist in house breaking and will reduce anxiety and unrest along with the barking and whining those feelings produce.

    Make good use of the leash:

    The value of the leash is that you can use it to train your dog to relax and to keep itself under control.  You accomplish this by expecting the dog to sit while you put on the collar and leash and before going through the door or gate, for starters.  On a walk you then teach the dog to walk at your pace without straining or pulling.  If it does, you make it stop and sit so that it associates its behavior with the negative consequence of having to take a time out.

    Consider taking an obedience class:

    These classes are great places for both you and your dog to learn.  All the essentials of alpha leadership, basic commands, leash training and more are usually covered.  Dogs young and old will benefit from these classes and you will gain mastery over your own dog training skills.  You’ll also meet other dog owners to share tips and pointers with, plus you may find it convenient to schedule time at a local park to meet and allow your dogs to continue the socialization process.   Should we also mention that such classes have produced more than a few wonderful romances for dogs and masters?  Perhaps not.  But we will encourage you to practice at home the valuable lessons you and your pooch are learning in class for ongoing reinforcement.

    Be Consistent and Your Dog Will Respond

    Inconsistency creates confusion in any dog.  The tips we’ve mentioned all require consistency on your part to take deep hold with your furry friend.  The old “do what I say, not what I do” adage won’t work with Fido.  He will do what you do and what you consistently expect.  Establish clearly defined rules and then follow them every time.  For example, if getting on the couch is a no-no then don’t ever allow it.  If the dog needs to sit before being fed, stick to it.  It is important to get everyone in your household to buy into the rules so that your dog remains clear on the expectations.  The result will be a contented, secure dog.  While dog training requires you to be disciplined in your approach it will pay great dividends in helping your dog be a wonderful pet and companion.


  • Essential Tips for Crate Training Your Dog

    Perhaps you’ve heard about crate training and wonder if it’s the right approach for your new pup.  Most dog experts would offer a resounding “yes!” if you asked them, and then qualify it by saying, “as long as you know what you are doing.”  Here are the essential tips you need to know to make crate training a great experience for both you and your canine friend.  If you follow them your pup’s crate will help him or her cope with you leaving the house, will reduce destructive behavior and uncontrolled barking and will make housebreaking go much more smoothly – no pun intended!

    Do it Right and Your Pup Will Love the Crate

    Dogs are untamed critters way back in their gene pool.  In centuries of domestication their wild side has not been eradicated.  In the wild dogs seek out small holes and dens for important keys to their survival including safety and warmth.  A crate very nicely replicates that safe place if the owner knows how to use it.  Without such a place a dog will become anxious, not having anywhere to retreat to when they feel threatened.

    Basic Steps in Effective Crate Training

    The first and most important step is to begin crate training as soon as you bring home your rambunctious puppy.  An older dog who has never been crated will find the adjustment tough, but it may still be worth trying if your adult dog is having issues related to anxiety or misbehavior.  So start early when possible and your furry friend will quickly adapt.

    The second step is to place the crate in a place where people will frequent or congregate.  Your puppy is a social creature as you know, and when you or others are around your dog will feel more secure and content.  Place them in the crate for short periods of time to start with and go about your business.  This will train the dog that the crate is a normal part of its existence.

    Next, choose a crate that is large enough for your dog to stand up in and turn around but not much bigger.  If your doggie has too much room in the crate accidents tend to become more of an issue because the dog can relieve itself in a corner and still bed down away from the mess.  That’s just the way it is and you won’t like it. Keep the crate clean and equipped with water (but not too much) and a chew toy.  Make it comfy.  Your dog will enjoy having a little space all of his own.

    When you place the dog in the crate speak reassuringly and then let her get used to it.  She may whine a bit at first but just let her know everything is okay and in short time she’ll relax.  If you remove your pooch before she settles down she’ll learn to be whiny to get your attention.  That’s not so good.  After she’s been in the crate and quiet for 15-30 minutes let her out if she gets restless and give her praise.  She’ll understand she did well and that you, the leader of her “pack,” are happy.

    Gradually build up the amount of time you leave your dog in the crate.  It is very helpful if you or someone else in your family who is committed to the crate training process is at home most of the time in the early going.  An hour is a good first goal for your doggy to be crated.  Then aim for 2 hours and so on.  All night in the crate will signal a good milestone.  Then work towards having the dog in the crate for a period of time that matches your work day.  In time you won’t have to leave your best friend in the crate all day but until the dog demonstrates a comfort level with being left alone – meaning it won’t scratch the door, chew the furniture, bark for hours, etc., use the crate for everyone’s well-being.

    With consistent and patient crate training your dog’s separation anxiety and poor behavior will be greatly reduced and your pooch will come to love their little piece of the world.  Their anxious moments will be calmed and they’ll have no reason to act out in destructive ways.


  • How to Stop Your Dog from Biting

    Many dog owners have to deal with their dog nipping and biting at some point, most often when the dog is young or if their older pooch wasn’t adequately trained as a puppy.  It can sometimes be a challenge to control this behavior, especially in older dogs, but it is vital that you do so.  A puppy that nips and bites is considered a nuisance but an adult dog with a tendency to bite is dangerous to others and may have to be put down.  Be proactive in your efforts to prevent trouble of this kind.

    Nip the Problem in the Bud with your Puppy

    Training your puppy not to bite should be a standard and important part of the training process.  In these formative months you are giving the dog an understanding of its world that will benefit you both for the dog’s entire life.  Knowing it must not bite or show aggressive behavior is part of that understanding.

    Never assume that your puppy is biting just to be playful.  This play fighting is how young dogs learn within a wild pack which animals are dominant.  A young pup is instinctually challenging for position and allowing the behavior to persist will give it reason to think it is in charge.  All good puppy training begins with the owner’s assertion of authority over the dog.  Putting a stop to aggressive behavior is the best way to do that.

    When your puppy nips or bites it is best to simulate what would happen in a litter or pack.  Give a short yelp to let the dog know the bite hurt and also respond with a light pinch on the dog’s flank.  Also give a stern, but not harsh, warning to stop it.  While some recommend giving the dog a chew toy it is best to wait until the dog understands that biting is not acceptable first.  A chew toy helps the dog burn off anxiety or steam but doesn’t teach it that aggressive behavior won’t be tolerated.  If you are having trouble changing your dog’s behavior consult a professional trainer or sign up you and your dog for an obedience class.  You will both benefit immensely.

    How to Stop an Older Dog from Biting

    If your older pup or mature dog is still biting take immediate action to stop it.  Do not play aggressively with your dog – no wrestling or tug of war with a towel, for example.  It is vitally important that you assert your role as the “alpha-dog” or leader of the pack in your household.  Sometimes older dog’s bite because they are anxious about their wellbeing.  If your dog knows without question that you are in charge it will actually relax and bite less because its feelings of security have been enhanced.

    Set rules about boundaries, how your dog should behave on walks, and even simple standards like making the dog sit patiently without whining while you fill its dish.  If you teach a dog to start eating only when you’ve given your okay, then you are on your way to having a well-trained dog that won’t bite unless it is seriously threatened.

    How to Stop Older Dogs from Biting

    A dog that is never trained to avoid biting may become dangerous once fully mature.  It may attack other pets or turn on its owner in some cases.  It views itself as the pack leader and will do as it sees fit.

    If you have a dog over 12-14 months that is a biter consider consulting a professional trainer.  That may be your best and last chance to change the dog’s core understanding of its place in your household and to change its behavior.  Otherwise you’ll have a very tough decision to make about your dog’s future.

    So, begin the “no biting” training as early as possible for the dog’s wellbeing and everyone else’s.  Be firm and assertive while remembering to praise and reward good behavior.  Biting problems in adult dog’s can almost always be traced back to poor training when they were puppies, so don’t neglect this vital part of their development.