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Saturday, 20 June 2009

Dog Behavior Problems:

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Dog Adoption Tips I Learned From My 2 Dogs

There’s a hole in your life that only a dog can fill. You want a special dog, perhaps just a full-grown adult. Maybe your code of ethics calls for saving a dog’s life – not buying an expensive purebred.

I’m not a veterinarian or a dog trainer, but I’ve enjoyed two successful adoptions. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way.

(1) Clarify your requirements ahead of time.

Once you’re standing in front of a cage, it’s easy to say, “Well, he’s a lot bigger than I expected, and I really wanted a female, but oh he’s SO cute!” No amount of love or training will help if your dog needs more exercise than you can provide.

(2) Know the difference between shelter and rescue groups.

Most cities have humane societies where you can view dogs and make a choice. Rescue groups typically hold animals in foster care – which is good, because you can ask the foster mom all sorts of questions. For example, they can say, “This dog lived with two cats so you know you can trust her.”

(3) Be prepared to pay.

Shelter animals are not free, but you do get value for money. Expect to pay a fee that may include spay/neuter costs, licensing, and/or veterinarian visits.

(4) Consider an older dog.

By the time a dog has turned three or four, she’s as big as she’s going to get. No surprises! You’ll also have clues regarding his temperament.

(5) Plan to confine the dog during a period of transition.

Your new dog doesn’t get it. She was in a loving home (or left alone in a yard all day or even abused). Then she spent a few weeks in a cage, feeling lonely and isolated. Maybe she’s been passed around to multiple homes.

Bottom line, she’s stressed. She may chew, dig, bark, or even lose her house training at first.

Crating the dog prevents destructive behavior. My dogs both looked visibly relieved as they retreated to their crates every day. “Time to relax,” they seemed to say.

(6) Invest in training.

Most dogs are turned over to the shelter because of behavior problems. If you’re new to the world of dog behavior, take a class or hire a professional. Most behavior can be corrected, even among older dogs. But if you’re not sure, ask a professional. Some behaviors can’t be “fixed.”

(7) Incorporate large doses of exercise and walks into your day.

Walking together builds your bond and a tired dog is a good dog. Begin the exercise program immediately so you can gain a sense of how much exercise the dog needs – an important factor in the dog’s adjustment – and start training for the basics on the way home from the shelter.

Dog Aggression: Children and Their Pets

It's terrifying how common tales are of dogs savaging young children. You might think that it’s just Pit Bulls or certain breeds that do this kind of thing but it's common across all breeds. Children have the uncanny ability to make dogs angry without intending.

Most families will luckily never have to deal with anything remotely as traumatic but if you own a dog and have children; or have children visiting often - then you too must take some responsibility for their actions and behavior.

You want to prepare your children by teaching them a few simple rules about playing with the dog.

The first step to understand the aggression. So, what causes dogs to become aggressive? There are a few different kinds of aggression that dogs experience. If they are scared they become aggressive, if something threatens their territory or family and as an act of dominance assertion.

An aggressive dog's ears will pin back; their tail might stand up and they will growl. The growl is a warning.

What’s the best way to deal with an aggressive dog?

If you have the luxury of realizing before something happens that the dog is upset and about to hurt your child or you there are some things you can do:

- It's most important to try to keep as calm as possible; the dog will sense your fear
- Speak in a soft voice - remove the disturbance if possible.


What can you do to prevent an aggressive dog?

- Teach your children that the dogs have feeling too and are to be treated with care. This means no rough playing with the dog. Some breeds of dog become agitated and roughhousing can greatly upset them. Enough to bite your child!

- If your children are very small you will need to take care to supervise them at all times. You cannot leave a toddler with a dog without risking something going wrong. Very young children do not understand how to treat animals yet.

- The importance of having a well trained dog cannot be stated enough. When you get a puppy take them to obedience classes straight away. Even if you don't have children it's important to have a well trained dog. You don't want your beloved pooch to harm someone else's children.

If you have children and are considering buying a dog; there are some considerations that can make it far less likely for an aggressive dog. Choose carefully - some breeds are known to have a low tolerance and others are known to be child friendly.

Dogs have a long standing relationship with humans - dogs love people and visa versa. By following these pointers you should be assured of a happy calm dog that won't harm anyone. A carefully trained dog will give you peace of mind and most importantly - become an important part of your family life.

Dog Aggressive Training: Understand & Eliminate Your Dog's Aggressive Behavior

Aggression behavior in a dog is a normal form of canine communication similar to human frustration or anger. Like human, aggressive behavior occurs in every dog. The different lie in the level of aggression shown in them, and this is where dog breeds come into the picture.

While some breeds are born with a greater tendency to become aggressive, problems usually occur in homes that knowing or unknowingly encourage the development of a dog’s aggressive behavior.

It’s important to know what is going on when your dog show aggression, biting unwelcome strangers in your house is justifiable aggression. But if he bites the postman or you when you push him off the couch is certainly a crime!

There are basically 3 main types of aggression behavior shown in dogs namely, dominance aggression, possessive aggression and territorial aggression.

Dominance and possessive aggression are one of the most common reasons why dogs growl at or even worse bite their owners. This type of behavior does not develop in a vacuum and is always a result of the dogs’ interaction with its environment and owners. The dog has been accessing his position for some time and decided to challenge you for the alpha leader position.

If your dog is showing aggressive behavior towards you or any family members, he has to be brought down to earth again. You must let him know that he is the lowest ranking member in the family:

1. Avoid physical punishment if possible, it is too provocative and may make matter worse.

2. Review your relationship with your dog to determine why your dog is challenging you. Do remedial steps to assume to role of the alpha leader role again:

- You must eat first before your dog does.

- You must go through doorways first.

- Do not let your dog win you in games of strength. (Tug-of-war, wrestling)

- Do not let your dog assume a superior position against you. For example, you lying on the floor while your dog’s two paws pressing against your chest.

- Set & enforce your house rules consistently, let him know that he has rules to follow.

Territorial aggression is display by dogs that are fiercely overprotective. Prevent this problem by introducing and socializing your dog when he’s young to break down his suspicion of strangers. Try to expose your dog to more things and different people, which means bring him out more often! Let your dog know that these people are harmless and his territorial aggressiveness will died down naturally.

If you are unsure of your dog’s behavior when you bring him out to the public, be sure to put him on a leash and muzzle if necessary. This is to not only to safe guard the general public but also your dog. More often than not, dogs are always put to death should they bite and injure someone. No "ifs" No "buts"!

Lastly, remember that aggression is no small problem and need to be seriously dealt with. If you are losing control over your dog or feel that he by and large outsmarts you, seek professional help and advice immediately.

Dog Agility Equipment: Where do I begin?

There is such a wide selection of dog agility equipment, where do I begin? There are several factors to consider when making your agility equipment purchases. Two major factors are your goals and your dog.

Are your goals to develop a deeper bonding with your dog by taking agility classes together, having fun, and seeing how far you and your dog can progress with agility skills? Do you have a timid dog and want to develop confidence in him? Or do you have a high drive dog and want to help him burn energy in a controlled manner? Do you want to do agility as a just for fun activity or are you setting your sights on making it to the nationals and becoming an agility instructor? All the previous factors are important to consider when purchasing your equipment.

An agility course has contact equipment, jumps, weaves, tunnels, closed tunnel, and possibly a pause table (depending on your agility venue). It would be wonderful have a full course of agility equipment in your backyard, but its not necessary to learn the sport. Contact equipment consists of dog-walks, A-frames, and teeters. It is a good idea to have at least one contact obstacle. Many people select to purchase a teeter because the motion often causes a dog hesitation. If you can't fit a regulation piece of equipment in your yard, consider an 8' dog-walk instead of a 12' or even select from mini-contact equipment that is available to train your dog on.

Jumps. You can never have enough single jumps, but you also might think about a double jump or triple jump. If you cannot purchase a double or triple jump, you can place two or three single jumps together to practice. Eight single jumps give you lots of drills and exercises to practice and interchange.

Tunnels, chutes, and tables are variations to add to your course. Tire jumps are very popular to have in backyard training. Pause tables are essential in our agility training program. They are our center and focal point for developing our directional commands and building distance.

Weaves, critical for having at home. The type of weave to purchase depends on your method of teaching. Is your agility class using weave chutes, angled weaves, or straight lined weaves. If your instructor is teaching a specific method, than its easiest to purchase the same type of weaves. We have trained five different agility dogs, each with a different method and in the end they all have nice weaves.

There are a variety of training aids that can help you develop the behavior you want from your dog on the equipment. Buja boards are excellent for timid dogs that need to build confidence slowly. Contact trainers are great for back chaining your contact behavior, and they are smaller so you can bring them indoors for winter training also.

Dog Agility Training for Your Puppy

You may be thnking, "When can I start agility training with my new puppy?" You can start immediately, with certain recommendations. Puppies are always learning, so every time you are with your pup you can be playing and socializing with agility in mind. Always remember, if you can control your puppies environment, you can teach and train the behaviors you want, left on their own, even in a fenced yard, puppies will learn and develop behaviors that later we may want or need to extinguish.

Expose your puppy to different surfaces. One of the first behaviors we teach our pups is "Box" or "Table". This behavior transfers to the agility pause table. Lure pup up on a low pause table, treat them on the table. You can call the pause table anything you want. (If I was starting over I would name the pause table "Box" instead of "Table" for my dogs because on the agility course there is the potential to have too many "T" words, i.e. tunnel, tire, table, and teeter. The problem is I am also a creature of habit, and under pressure revert back to my default words, "table" would be one of them.)

Teach your pup to "Box", meaning to get up on a variety of obstacles. In our training field we use "Box" for upside down kennel tops, the bottom of barrels turned upside down, bird crates, and more. Be creative with your pup, get them to get up on all kinds of surfaces, exposing them to different shapes, sizes, and textures. Once your pup is comfortable getting up on a "Box", then you can begin to ask them to sit on the box also.

You can also begin to use Buja boards for motion training. Buja boards are generally made from plywood, 36" x 36" with a painted surface or covered surface. On the underside, there is a 2x4 box where a partially deflated ball is placed. This enables the Buja board to rock gently. At first you can reward your pup for getting one paw on the board, then reward for two feet and eventually all four. Depending on your pups temperament will determine how fast they get comfortable on the Buja Board.

Perch training can also be started with young pups. The Perch is generally a 1'x1' wood surface that is raised by 2"x4"'s underneath. So the Perch is about four inches in height. The Perch helps teach pups rearend awareness. Again, you can reward your pup for getting one front paw on the perch and then the other. Perch training is mostly used with just the front paws on the Perch.

These are just a few behaviors you can teach your young pup. Exposure to a variety of surfaces and heights will help your pup build confidence in his future agility training.

Dog Barks Continuously While Owners Eat



I have a two year-old female Boxer named Amber and a six year-old female St. Bernard named Crystal. My question is regarding the Boxer, Amber. Whenever my husband and I sit down to eat dinner, watch TV, or when company comes over, she incessantly barks at us. She doesn't want to play with her toys and nothing can distract her from this barking. We try to correct her in a deep tone, but she only gets crazier; i.e.. jumping up, biting our clothes. From reading your book, it seems that she needs a motivational correction, such as her training collar. As of now, we do not leave it on her, except for when she is being walked. Should she be wearing the collar when we are home and she's in the house at all times? Can you please make any suggestions to correct this behavior so when we want to relax or have guests over, it's pleasant. She gets plenty of exercise and tons of attention. I'm not sure what to do. Thanks in advance!!



Remember the section on the pinch collar? And the emphasis I placed on how you will teach your dog to become, "collar-smart" if you only use the pinch collar during walks?

Remember the part about consistency and how the dog MUST receive a negative association with ANY unwanted behavior? And how just saying, "NO!" without attaching an association to the word will NOT produce any results? If not, please go back and re-read... it's in there!

"But Adam... the dog has since eaten the book! Please just give it to me, plain and simple!"

Okay... here it is: Your dog must be wearing the pinch collar and the tab ANYTIME you are with her. If you were a canine rather than a human you wouldn't need the pinch collar as you'd just go over to your dog and give her a nip on the neck.

Let's recap: When she barks you need to tell her, "No!" and then give a firm tug on the leash. If she continues to bark, then either:

- Your correction didn't have any meaning to her...

Or...

- She's testing to see if you're going to correct her for barking THIS TIME just like you did LAST TIME. If your correction is motivational then you'll only need to do this two or three times before the problem stops forever.

Dog Barks When Left Alone

Please let me know if you have any suggestions to help curb a barking problem when we are not home. Our 2 year-old Shepherd/Chow mix rarely barks when we are home, but when we leave her in her nice pen outdoors when we are gone she yips and barks. We have tried stuffed animals and kong toy with food inside. Do we need to get a bark collar? Any other suggestions or info on the collars would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Beth Nordstrom

Dear Beth:

First, I would try to figure out what is causing the dog to bark. It may be nothing more than nuisance barking. In which case, a bark collar would work best.

But I'd first rule out all other factors, such as:

- A neighbor's kid who may be taunting your dog.

- Lack of exercise/stimulation.

- Throwing a toy outside of the pen and then barking in an attempt to "make it come back"

- Any number of other factors that could be eliminated before dropping $100 on a bark collar.

I don't know what type of exercise regimen you've got your dog on now, but it probably wouldn't hurt to buy a bicycle and start taking your dog for long runs. (It's good for you, too!)

As for which bark collars to use... the ones that I've had the most success with are the Tri-Tronics Bark Limiter. I've tried the cheap yellow ones they sell at the pet stores and have found them to be poorly engineered, consistently over or under-correcting your dog, and resetting themselves too quickly.

The citronella collars are largely a joke. The get clogged and jam frequently. The citronella runs out. Plus, I'm not crazy about spraying the stuff in your dog's eyes.

That's all for now, folks!
Adam

Dog Beds

Our dogs come in all sizes, shapes and breeds; therefore, there are many different types of dog beds and pet bedding available to buy online. If you are looking for a small dog bed, a large dog bed or even an extra large dog bed, they can all be found right here!

When looking for a dog bed you need to keep in mind your dog breed, and your living style. Some people like their dog beds to match with their home decor, and therefore, should be looking for a designer dog bed. Other people may want their dog to feel like a King or Queen so they want a luxury dog bed, a personalized dog bed, or a fancy dog bed. Or maybe you are looking for a bed that will not be at your primary residence so you want a cheep dog bed or a discount dog bed or wholesale dog bed. Wicker dog beds are a great addition to any home or home away from home. What ever your dog’s desire it can be found here.

If your living style is one of travel and adventure then your dog’s bed needs to be compatible with that style. You need to look at buying a dog car bed or an outdoor dog bed or a canopy dog bed or a waterproof dog bed or a bed tent for a dog or even a dog travel bed. Depending on what kind of travel you do will depend on the type of travel dog bed you buy.

If you have a large breed dog, or even a small breed dog you may be looking for free shipping for your dog bed many online stores will offer this, you just need to inquire. If your dog breed is prone to physical problems or your dog is just getting old, or you want to really pamper your dog then look at memory foam dog beds, and orthopedic dog beds. Elevated dog beds and raised dog beds as well as a dog bed ramp may come in very handy with your dog.

Take care of your dog; after all they are a part of your family.

Dog Behavior Problems: Help! My Dog is a Nuisance When He Misbehaves!

How many times have I hear fellow dog owners say, “I hate it when he barks non stop… or he utterly embarrassed me when he mounts people’s leg”. Dog owners usually have no problems to fill in tons of their dog behavioral problems into the above statements.

I have to admit that I feel disappointed, even sad whenever I hear dog owners say that statement. Why? Because, these owners have failed to see things from their dog’s prospective! To put it simply, I should say that they don’t understand their dogs at all.

Dogs do not misbehave because they're spiteful, or are out to annoy or anger you. They just behave in a manner which is expected of a dog!

The fact is that dog behavioral problems that we can’t stand are not problems at all to the dogs. In fact, do you know that dogs “misbehave” for a reason or two? To list a few:

1. Dogs bark because they have something to say, something to tell you.

2. Dogs dig because they smell something underneath the ground.

3. Dogs chew because they are teething and are feeling uncomfortable.

4. Dogs chase after moving objects because they are following its instinct.

5. Dogs turn aggressive because they want to protect you.

For your information, most dogs actually misbehaved (in our eyes) because of the lack of care, concern and training from their very own owners:

1. Health Issue – Many behaviorists & dog trainers believe that at least 20% of all behavior problems are related to the dog’s health in some way or another. For all that you might know. Your dog could be misbehaving because he is sick or in pain. Bring him to the vet for a thorough check-up if he misbehaves suddenly when he has always been a good dog.

2. Imbalance Diet – Feeding your dog the wrong food, with too high in protein, fat or carbohydrates is known to cause hyperactivity. Sugars, starches and many other factors in your dog’s diet can also cause behavioral problems in your dog. Always read the label of the food before you feed him, seek advice if necessary. Remember that dogs need different type of food in different stages of their life.

3. Exercise - Lack of exercise also cause plentiful of problems. A dog that doesn’t get enough exercise is unhealthy and tends to be hyperactive, and display destructive behaviors. Dogs depending on breed type need plentiful of exercises - Do consider this factor before you get a puppy.

4. Lack of Leadership –I can’t stress enough on the importance of the leadership issue. Dogs display TONS of behavioral problems when they lack a leader. Aggressive & destructive behaviors, leg lifting, marking, mounting, barking & etc… It’s very important that you assume the role of the alpha leader!

You must understand that all dog develop behavior problems. These dog behavior problems never develop in a vacuum. They are always the outcome of the interaction between a dog and its environment, including you! Most canine behavioral problems can be controlled if not solved completely. You just got to put in some effort and understand that prevention is better than cure.

Lastly, do try to see and comprehend things from your dog’s prospective the next time your dog misbehaves. You’ll soon find that you love him even more!

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Dog Behavior Training - Dog Aggression Toward Its Owners

A dog that growls at and/or bites its owner does so for some reason, even if the behavior appears to be "unreasonable" to the owner. If your dog displays aggressive behavior towards you, for the safety and welfare of you, your family and your dog, it's important to find out why as quickly as possible.

Call your vet right away and schedule an appointment for a complete medical examination. Talk with your vet about testing your dogs hormonal balance, neurophysiologic functions and allergies. The test results may reveal the underlying cause. This has been especially helpful in dogs that have mood swings.

When growling or biting has erupted as a consequence of scolding or punishment for behavior such as chewing, jumping, general unruliness, or overprotection of food, these problems must be dealt with swiftly and firmly to correct the aggression it is initiating.

As the dogs owner, you must understand that your dog growls or bites at you as a result of defensive feelings. Even the dog that growls when ordered off the couch is reacting defensively, as it feels its dominance status has been threatened.

If scolding and punishment provoke aggression, your dog is reacting to a perceived threat to its physical safety. In either of these situations, your own threatening behavior may be producing negative results.

If the results of a medical examination show no signs of a medical condition that would be causing this behavior, you will have to examine your own behavior closely to determine what you are doing to make your dog feel threatened.

Dog Behavior Training For Your New Pet

Some of us might remember that old song, "How Much Is That Puppy In The Window?" Even those that don't recollect this once popular tune can certainly relate to the experience of simply falling in love with every cute little puppy you encounter.

It doesn't take long to figure out where the phrase "puppy dog eyes" comes from. Unfortunately our animal shelters, swollen with older relinquished pets, are a sad testimonial to the fact that too many instances of "puppy seduction" end up in a household disaster because well intending folks simply do not understand the basics of dog behavior training.

Dog behavior training should the first concern of new puppy parents. Put the crates, bedding, leashes and food aside for a moment. Your dog behavior training resources must be in order if you are to effectively transform that sweet little puppy into a functional member of your household.

Responsible breeders and pet shop owners should take the time to instill this requirement in the minds of new dog owners before you leave their facility. Too often, the excitement of a new pet and the completion of sale or adoption formalities distracts both parties from addressing dog behavior training as the highest priority of pet ownership.

On the surface one might conclude that dog behavior training is a process which benefits the new dog owner. While this is most definitely true from the perspective of owning a well disciplined, controllable pet, one ultimately comes to learn that it is the dog which benefits more from proper training than the owner. Simply put, an untrained dog quickly becomes a nuisance rather than a welcome addition to the home.

Owners unfamiliar with the basics of canine behavior and who have not pursued a path of effective dog behavior training quickly become frustrated with their newly acquired animal. This stresses the dog and seriously compromises the pet's future potential for learning what is expected of him. The relationship of owner and pet quickly becomes a relentless downward spiral and eventually the animal ends up in a shelter.

Quality dog behavior training is the ultimate gift you can give to your dog. It ensures the dog's experience will be positive and catalyze a long lasting, irreversible bond between your family and their new pet.

Dog Behavior Training From An Early Age

By the time you have your dog its behavior will have already been greatly influenced by his mother and his siblings.

Here’s an example: If his mother barked to attract some attention, her puppies will probably behave in the exact same way. The experiences that occur between three and twelve weeks of age are crucial in the development of a dog’s personality.

The best time to get a puppy is when it is about eight weeks old. By making sure that it has as much varied experience as possible during the month that follows, you will lay the groundwork for easier, more productive, and rewarding training.

Meeting New People
You need to make sure that your new puppy meets as many different people as possible while it is still young. If you can, take him to work, take him out in the car, and take him to your friend’s homes whenever possible. Let the puppy play with dogs that you know are healthy, and introduce it to children and other adults.

Personal Investigation
Playing with toys will provide the puppy with mental and physical stimulation. Find out which toys the puppy likes (they often have favorites), but you need to make sure that the toys are unlike other domestic items, such as shoes. You can use his favorite toy as a reward during training.

Play Constructively
You can play active games with your puppy, but you need to make sure that it is you who is in control and ‘dominant’ in the puppies eyes. While you play, watch the puppy’s behavior, and if it is about to sit, issue the “Sit” command. This gives the puppy some early association with basic commands and what they mean.

Give Immediate Rewards
When the puppy obeys a command, you should offer an immediate reward, such as stroking or praise with words. Remember: You’re the dominant member of the pack, which means you should always be in control.

Early Habits Can Last A Life-Time
If you carry a puppy constantly when it is very young, it will expect similar treatment when it feels insecure as an adult. Bear this in mind.

Give Mental Stimulation
Puppies that are actively stimulated between the age of three and twelve weeks grow into adults that are good at both learning and problem solving. A puppy learns best by observing its mother’s behavior.

Understanding Fear
You must try to keep an eye on all of your puppy’s activities, to ensure that any frightening situations he may encounter are kept to a minimum. Fears learned at an early age can become lifelong phobias unless they are overcome with training.

Gatherings
All dogs must learn to behave properly, both with their own species and with others, especially people. This isn’t always an easy task, so the best time for them to learn is when they are still very young – less than four months old is best.

When it’s possible, make sure that the puppy meets other species such as cat’s horses when it is very young.

Here’s why: Early socialization to other species reduces the likelihood of future problems. With the advice of your vet or local dog training club, it’s a good idea to participate in supervised weekly puppy evenings. At these gatherings, puppies learn how to respond to other dogs and to strangers in a controlled way.

Social Deprivation
Dogs that lack early social experiences can sometimes become more difficult to train. Restricted contact with people when the puppy is young can cause limitations in the dog’s ability to obey commands.

Before getting a dog, find out as much as possible about its early experience. The more a puppy has been handled while young, the more likely it is to respond well to obedience training.

Puppies raised with hardly any contact with people can be very difficult to train for the average person without the help of a professional dog trainer. So remember to ask questions about the puppies experience with being handled.

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