Blog

Oct
12
The Economics of Energy

All dogs have energy but adolescent dogs have TONS! I bet you already knew this!

Dogs must burn off all that energy either physically or mentally, specifically through their feet, mouths or brains. When a dog isn’t stimulated in each of these areas daily and in an appropriate way, the energy will be expended in inappropriate ways. It is a simple case of supply and demand. Here are some suggestions on how to provide creative ‘demand’ for your dog’s seemingly endless supplies of energy!

  • Feet (physical) – They need to RUN! Walking, no matter how long or how far, just won’t cut it. They really need some good cardio activity where they can burn off steam! Play fe...


May
08
Talking Dogs!

We’ve all heard the expression, “There’s an App for that!” It must be true because recently,I saw that someone had designed a smart phone application that translated ‘dog’ into English. Of course, they are just for fun and don’t really translate, but it was fun to think about. The truth is, you really don’t need an app to understand your dog. All you need is a bit of knowledge and some observational skills to receive and understand the message they are sending.

Dogs communicate in a variety of ways. Scent, vocalizations and body postures all convey information to other dogs. Scent is form of communication that we currently don’t know much ...


May
08
Leashes On! To Greet or Not to Greet?

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Is it ok to let your dog greet another dog while on leash? You see it happening everywhere. Everyone does it, from neighbors to complete strangers in the park. It looks easy and fun, and it is considered a very social thing to do, for both people and dogs. With leash laws and dogs that aren’t trained to reliably come when called, how else can you let them socialize with members of their own kind?

The truth is, allowing dogs to greet on leash can be tricky and even risky. Leashes can increase tension between dogs when they greet because they are so close to each other and have a limited escape. This inability to flee can make dogs uncomfortable and cause them to react inappropriately. Co...


May
08
Oh No You Didn’t!

The first thing most people think about when they bring a dog home is how to stop bad behaviors. Stopping them is important but even more important is preventing bad behaviors from occurring in the first place. Prevention not only keeps bad behaviors from becoming habits, it also stops the dog from finding out how much fun those bad behaviors can be! Behaviors that are fun for the dog will get repeated with greater frequency.

Imagine the dog who likes toilet paper. At his first opportunity, he enters the bathroom grabs a mouthful and runs! This gets the nearby human to immediately chase him in what he considers to be a great game of pursuit. Young dogs are explorers, so when you bring one int...


May
08
Shhhhhh!!!!!

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After a long cold winter, the warmer weather is finally here! As soon as it is warm enough, my first reaction is “let’s open the windows”! It is wonderful to be able to let the fresh air in but sometimes noise, like the sounds of dogs barking, filters in as well. This is the time of year when people suddenly become aware of their dog’s barking. Either because the warm weather is providing more opportunities and things to bark at or because the neighbors are complaining. Either way, it is a problem.

It is a familiar request. “Can you please help me to stop my dog from barking?” Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as the question. There are many differ...


Aug
13
The Risks of Being Social

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A social dog is one that is comfortable in new situations, with a variety of other dogs, people and things. Having a social dog means that you are able to take them with you anywhere that dogs are allowed to go, without any drama. Socialized dogs don’t bark excessively, lunge or misbehave. They aren’t skittish or anxious, they adjust quickly to new situations and relax.

I have had lived with under-socialized dogs that required management and special care and I have had the privilege of owning social dogs that were easy going, friendly and confident. These dogs are a joy to live with everyday and I can include them in almost every aspect of my life. I would want it no other way.

Get...


Jun
29
Fireworks and Frantic Fidos

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WHIZ! BANG! POP! WHEEE!

It is almost the 4th of July and the fireworks are about to begin! This is a time for great excitement and family fun! Unfortunately, it can also be utterly terrifying for your dog.

The loud sounds that fireworks make, along with the bright flashes of light, are foreign to your dog. They have no idea what these things are; I imagine that they probably perceive them as some sort of cataclysmic natural event.

A scared dog, or any animal for that matter, can run blindly from the thing that frightens them. After the 4th of July, shelters are inundated with dogs that have fled their yards, homes and slipped their collars because of the fear that fireworks instill. The lucky o...


May
08
Mounting: What is it and why?

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This past week I was asked about mounting behavior (i.e., ’humping’) and why it occurs. Since this is a frequent question, I thought that a blog about it might be a good idea.

This is the one behavior that seems to really freak people out. Most people erroneously attribute it to dominance. It is important to remember that dominance is NOT a personality trait. It is a term used to describe the outcome of a confrontation over a desired resource. The one that walks away with the resource, is dominant, in that moment. The next confrontation may have an entirely different result.

So let’s get to it, dogs mount for several reasons:

1. Excitement – anything that excites your do...


Apr
14
Dominance and the Pet Dog

Dominance in the pet dog has become a common topic of discussion in just about every training session I conduct. Nervous and fearful owners confide in me “My dog is dominant” and then they timidly ask: “How do I dominate my dog?”. The more confident few even ask: “How do I teach my dog that my child is dominant?”.

Over the years I have heard just about every behavior you can think of attributed to dominance. From unruly behavior like jumping up on people or eating poop, to mounting, dominance is thought to be the root of all bad behavior. Just Google dominance in dogs and you will find a treasure trove of misguided information on the subject. I found one si...


Aug
06
So, what’s in a name?

One of the more interesting things I’ve noticed over the years in training dogs is how the names of dogs have changed. I remember when dogs used to be named Buddy and Bowser, Rex and Rover or even names that focused on their appearance like Rags and Patches. In the last 10 years however, there has been a shift away from those traditional names. Now my class roster is full of names like Chloe, Abby, Allison, Oliver, Harry, and Charlie! And those aren’t the owner’s names either!

This is a wonderful trend and one that I think can be attributed to the fact the people are considering dogs as members of the family. Things can only improve for dogs as their status changes from fami...