Dog Training and Behavior

Information provided in these articles is intended to provide some guidance for you and your pet. Not all animals behave (or respond) in the same manner. Should you have questions or concerns about anything you see here, please consult your veterinarian. While we work with vets on a regular basis, we are not veterinarians. We feel the articles here provide useful but general guidelines and suggestions for working with your pet. Please note, some articles may be disturbing to young children. Please preview articles to make sure they are appropriate for your child.

What is mouthing?
If you watch dogs play together, they often mouth each other in a sort of mock bite. Many dogs play with people in the same way — by mouthing our hands or other body parts. Though mouthing is not biting, it can become too aggressive to be acceptable.

Is your dog escaping from the yard? Here are two reasons why this could be happening and some possible solutions to the problem:

Chasing is a natural instinct for a dog, but it is not appropriate behavior in your home when directed toward your cat. The following guidelines can help you deal with this behavior through management (preventing the problem) and training (motivating the dog to change his behavior).

Dogs sometimes resort to submissive urination when they don’t want to challenge someone that they perceive as dominant. Other dogs are prone to urinating when they become excited. The submissive urinators are often timid or young dogs who lack confidence in themselves. Submissive urination can be their response to intimidating encounters with either people or with other dogs.

What is object guarding?
An object-guarding dog is one who guards objects that he considers to be valuable. Often, the object is food or a treat, but it can also be other objects such as a toy, a bone or an item picked out of the trash.

Please use caution at all times when working on managing object guarding and food aggression. If you are at all uncomfortable with doing the techniques described below, ask a reward-based trainer for help in teaching your dog not to guard food or objects.

Dog toys can provide fun, mental stimulation, and exercise for your dog.  By focusing on a specific task, like repeatedly returning a ball, Kong or Frisbee, or playing "hide-and-seek" with treats or toys, your dog can expel pent-up mental and physical energy in a limited amount of time and space.  This greatly reduces stress due to confinement, isolation and/or boredom.

Having a reliably housetrained dog is a very important goal for most owners. Whether you’ve just gotten a puppy or adopted an older dog that isn’t housetrained, the same training principles apply. A dog who was previously housetrained may need a refresher since time spent in a kennel or changes in their schedule can make even the best-trained dogs lose habits they developed in the past.  Here are some guidelines for helping you successfully housetrain your dog:
 

Like “stay,” “leave it” is a cue that may prevent your dog from being injured and may even save his life. “Leave it” should be taught to all dogs and practiced frequently. Hazards that you want your dog to leave alone include antifreeze in a puddle; sharp bones, broken glass or any other dangerous trash on the ground; and even a dog squabble at the dog park. Your dog responding to the cue “leave it” can be the difference between you giving quick praise or heading to an emergency vet clinic. 

Most dogs want to go out for walks and get very excited when the leash is brought out. But, do you have one of those dogs who is so enthusiastic that he literally pulls you out the door?   Walking should be fun for both you and your dog – and there are some things you can do to make it so. Start by checking your dog’s collar. It should be snug enough so she cannot pull out of it, but not so tight that you can’t put a finger or two between the collar and her neck.

The best way to have your dog come reliably is to make it a party every time you call her and she comes to you. Whether the party involves giving treats, affection, praise or toys, she should never have a reason to think twice about coming to you. 

Just like you, your little four-legged friend can benefit from an exercise routine. Regular exercise improves muscle tone, joint flexibility, digestion and cardiovascular fitness. Exercise also helps prevent obesity down the road, which has been linked to numerous health problems in dogs.  Besides making your puppy healthier, exercise also makes him happier. He'll be more relaxed and less destructive with a proper exercise regimen. You will need to tailor your dog's exercise program to his age, size and breed. 

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