Puppy Play Biting – Facts and Fiction

One dog training method myth I’d like to bust is the idea of stopping puppy play biting by holding your dog’s nose and saying “NO BITE!” Let’s take a closer look at Puppy Play Biting – Facts and Fiction.

I feel strongly about this topic because it so obviously contradicts what we know about dogs – one of their primary methods of communication is body language. To quote Carina Norris on Beantown Dogs.net, “…dogs use a large proportion of this constant motion for communication, as their emotions and intentions are reflected in their movements and posture.”

Here’s why it’s so ridiculous. The second a person touches strokes, caresses, or even “grab’s violently” as a way to teach their dog a lesson, their dog is most likely expecting some kind of love and attention. When training a big dog, for example, a German Shepherd in a mountainous region like the Utah snowy areas, these behaviors are instinctive and the dog really needs them.


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How can I tell if my dog is in pain?

When a dog responds slowly or refuses to respond to a command he knows very well and generally responds to enthusiastically, or grumbles/snaps when touched or handled, he may be in physical pain. It is important to have one’s dog thoroughly examined by a veterinarian before undertaking any dog obedience training or problem-solving.

I once had a boxer that was very reluctant to follow the command “sit”. Even she knew the command, she refused to obey, or seemed to be at least very reluctant. When taking her to an animal trainer the problem got worse, she even started limping. A vet determined that the (young) dog was suffering from osteoarthritis and obviously the sitting down caused her pain.


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Dogs – what to watch for if you have children

It is undisputed that a dog is a wonderful companion, for adults and for children. It’s almost Christmas and many people want to surprise their children with a dog. Such a great idea but please be careful. If you adopt a dog into your family and have children, make sure that they understand that certain behavior, sounds, and certain movements can trigger an animal’s instinct to attack.

First and foremost let me state that newborns and toddlers should NEVER be left alone with ANY dog. Even if your dog knows the child, is a long-time companion, don’t do it. An infant’s cries and coos sound very much like a small, wounded animal in the canine’s ears. A dog’s instinct can take over to consider this “wounded animal” as a food source, and that’s how bites happen.


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Aggression between dogs in the same household

First and foremost it has to be said that the most aggressive are female dogs to each other. Male dogs can be aggressive, especially if you have two dogs of different ages in your household.

Sometimes the younger dog that probably came as a puppy to you all of a sudden starts with 2 to 4 years to challenge the older dog for the lead role. In many cases the older dog might give up his alpha status, but not in all. It depends very much on the age of the dog. The owner making mistakes though triggers many times the aggressive behavior.

Let’s try to explain first the hierarchy of dominance between animals. There are “alpha dogs” and “submissive dogs”. Keep in mind, you as the owner are even ABOVE the alpha dog in the hierarchy! (more…)

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Lost Dogs

The National Humane Society estimates that out of five million family pets reported missing each year, as many as two million are stolen. The majority of these pets end up at research institutions. Just thinking about this makes me sick!

How to prevent this?

  • Get an ID tag for your dog and mount it securely on his collar or harness.
  • Better though, have a microchip implanted. (More information at shelters and vets).
  • Have your animal tattooed.
  • If your pet stays outside on a run or fenced yard, make sure the gates and fences are secure.


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Dog Behavior – What to do when your dog demonstrates problems?

Many dogs develop problem behavior but there are some easy ways that usually help to solve these problems without the need to consult a specialist. So check out this post about Dog Behavior – What to do when your dog demonstrates problems? If your dog demonstrates problem behavior such as:

  • aggression
  • jumping up
  • compulsive habits
  • separation anxiety
  • persistent barking
  • fears and phobias
  • toileting problems
  • pulling on the lead
  • poor recall
  • general naughtiness and disobedience

then you probably have a dog who is confused about his or her place in your pack (i.e. your family or household).  It is a dog’s natural instinct to live in a pack and every pack needs leadership.

But if there is no clear leadership and decision-making coming from the humans (in the dog’s eyes), he or she will take on that task themselves.  This is a very big responsibility and a very stressful job, leading to some or all of the problems listed above.  Swapping roles with your dog means that he or she can relax, chill out and enjoy life and therefore, the unwanted behavior stops too.

I can teach you the principles of a method of canine communication and understanding developed by Jan Fennell, author of several books including The Dog Listener and The Seven Ages of Your Dog. She has also made TV programs and a DVD called The Dog Listener.


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How To Potty Train Your Dog

Dogs are clean animals. If they can avoid it, they will never soil themselves or their sleeping areas. That goes as well with their place of feeding. Dogs might develop a certain habit of where they like to do “their business”. My dog will NEVER go on concrete, on naked soil – it has to be grass. So if you wish to know more about How To Potty Train Your Dog, read on and learn all about it.

Watch your dog carefully and act accordingly. If you only walk him on concrete your animal might hold back during the whole walk and still have the urge to “go”. In that case accidents in your house can happen. I also trained my do to only urinate in the yard, nothing else.

When you first get the dog limit his “living” area. You should not let a new animal roam around the house unattended. If you prefer not to crate train, assign him a smaller space (with tile floor) where he will spend most of his time. Spend time with the dog in this area, play with him, let him sleep and eat there.

Your dog needs his special resting place, that might be toys, a dog bed, a dog basket, a large blanket, whatever you think he is comfortable with. As soon as the dog sees this area as his “home” he will avoid by all means to soil it.


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Dog Training – Recalling Your Dog

Recalling your dog is one of the most important areas of training when it comes to safety.  But so many of us let it lapse once the puppy training is done or the training classes are finished. Then, we only rely on it in an emergency. So this post Dog Training – Recalling Your Dog is key in upbringing your dog in a good and responsible way.

And when a dog’s distracted by something exciting, that recall training from years ago may not work! Or the dog learns to associate you calling with only a negative consequence e.g. putting the lead on to go home.

So here are some tips for successful recall:


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Puppy Training – The Basics

It should be a given that anybody who wants to adopt a puppy has prepared the basics to make that little guy feel comfortable and welcome. The basics include food and water bowls, collar (harness, I recommend harnesses for small dogs), leashes, toys, bed. So read on and learn all about Puppy Training – The Basics.

You certainly want to have some food ready also but I highly recommend sticking – at least a few weeks – with the food the puppy is used to. A sudden change might trigger diarrhea. Ask the shelter, breeder, pet shop what food the puppy is currently on and get the same brand.

Because puppies are not house-trained yet and might eliminate all over the place it is not a good idea to have the new arrival sleep in your bed. Start crate training immediately and be aware of, that you might have to get up at night once or twice, to let the little guy relieve himself.

Some puppies feel very vulnerable and considering that it has been taken away from mom and the littermates that should not be surprising. Puppies need lots of attention, lots of love, and lots of sleep.

When you play with your puppy do it quietly and don’t let your kids scare it with an outburst of emotions either. And always keep in mind, puppies tire easily. If you have the feeling it has enough, just leave it alone, it will most likely take a nap.


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Dog Adoption – So Many Benefits

When you are looking to get a dog, consider adopting a homeless animal from your local shelter. Whether you want a puppy or a mature dog, a purebred or a mixed breed, your shelter has the best selection of animals. Dog Adoption – So Many Benefits. Check out also this Cesar Millan video:

As an additional advantage, you can be sure that all animals are in good health and don’t show any signs of abnormal behavior. Most animals from shelters will already be spayed and neutered, the costs are normally included in the adoption fee. Other good sources are pet shops that have monthly/weekly adoption programs.

Puppies, kittens, actually all young animals are usually very adorable. But these young animals require a great commitment of energy and time from their owners. Some of these really young ones almost require a 24/7 presence of the owner, which is hard to commit to with our work and busy schedules. If your daughter wants just a cute toy, get her one of these beautiful and cute gifts. Not a puppy.

An older animal is a much better option when you work, it does not need that much attention, care and exercise or stimulation as a young puppy. And don’t underestimate the advantage of a dog already been housebroken! Most of them have in addition the “bad teen-years”, as I like to call it, behind. Your furniture will probably survive without chew marks, your cables and carpets also. (more…)

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