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Thursday, August 27, 2015


So last week we discussed the first five behavioral problems seen in dogs:  Digging, Chewing, Begging, Not Coming When Called, and Pulling on the Leash.  For more on these see the previous post.  The last five of the top 10 behavioral issues are:

6.  Separation Anxiety.  The goal is to make sure your dog knows that you will always come back.  Start by leaving for just 5-10 minutes.  Give a chew toy and leave the radio or TV on.  Do this several times.  Always be calm and don't make a big fuss when returning so he knows that it's okay for you to come and go.  Stay away in a little longer increments after he seems okay with the shorter time frame, gradually increasing time away.  Crate training is a good way to prevent separation anxiety, although this is easier with a younger dog.  Always ask your vet for advice on crate training an older anxious dog.

7.  Whining for attention.  If you pet your dog, look at her, or do anything except ignore her, you are teaching her that whining works.  To stop this, turn your back when she whines, look away or leave the room.  Make sure to pet, play with her and give rewards when she is not whining.

8.  Jumping.  If the dog jumps on you, raise a knee to bump the dog down to the ground.  Do not give him any attention unless both front paws are on the ground.  Then you can greet and pet or tell him to sit.  Then wait until he does before petting.  Keep greetings low key.

9.  Biting.  Any dog can bite if they feel nervous or threatened.  Socializing your dog early can teach him to feel relaxed around people.  Gradually exposing him to many different settings, places, and people will help him to feel safe.  Spend a lot of time with your dog so they learn to trust people, but be especially careful when your dog is around kids and food.

10.  Barking.  Some dogs bark out of frustration.  Yelling at your pup will just make it worse.  Obedience training can help frustration barking.  Teaching your dog to sit before doing something fun can help them to learn to control her impulses and learn patience.  Distracting them from the source of the barking with a toy or command.  Also making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise both physical and mental each day will help.  A tired dog is less likely to bark out of frustration or boredom.
Sunday, August 16, 2015


My son recently adopted a new puppy and we've been working on some training.  I thought I'd share some of the ideas I found that may help others.  I've broken it down so it's not too long.  I'm posting the first five here and next week I'll post the last five, so stay tuned...
  1. Digging.  If your pooch has a digging problem, scolding them after the fact doesn't help.  If you can catch them in the act, say "no" and distract them with a toy.  You may also remove them to an area that is okay to dig, i.e., sandbox with buried toys, etc.  Whatever you choose, be consistent.
  2. Chewing.  This is a problem especially for puppies who use chewing as a calming mechanism as well as a way to explore their surroundings.  This is a habit that needs to be broken right away.  Give them their own chew toys and give them to him when he chews something he shouldn't.
  3. Begging.  This habit is preventable.  If you just never give food from the table they won't learn to beg.  If you adopt a dog that already has this habit, you may need to try crating or removing the dog to another room at meal times to break the begging habit.
  4. Not coming when called.  Always praise your dog when he comes to you whether you called him or not.  This way they learn that coming to you is a good thing.  If he doesn't come when called, don't chase him.  Call again while moving away from the dog.  If he still doesn't come, tell him to sit and go get him.  Always use "come" or "here" when calling instead of his name.  If you just use his name he may not understand what you want from him.
  5. Pulling on the leash.  Never let your dog pull on the leash or he will learn that pulling pays off.  Keep the leash short but loose.  Whenever the leash goes tight, stop walking and he'll stop to see why you aren't moving.  When he comes back, reward him, then start walking again.  It won't take long before he learns that pulling is getting him nowhere.