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Fear & Confidence

Solving Your Dog’s Behavior Problem Crisis

One of the most irritating – and common – phone calls I receive in my capacity as a professional dog trainer is when dog owners urgently ask me to help solve their dog's behavior problem immediately – even though, as it often turns out, the problem has actually existed for years. Sometimes, it's even phrased as, If we can't get this fixed now

Know When Your Dog is Scared

Recently, on the drive home from our annual vacation in Maine, our 11-year-old Brittany, Vinny, suddenly and inexplicably awoke from a sound sleep, and began to tremble, pant, pace, and obsessively lick at the sides of his travel crate. When I crawled back over the seat to find out what was wrong, I observed that Vinny's eyes were squinty

Building Up Your Dog’s Confidence

graceful exit!üThe "get behind" game establishes you as a human safety shield for your dog. It's good to use when you are unable to escape the proximity of something that might otherwise scare your dog. (Thanks to Sarah Richardson

New Recommendation for Fear-Based Behavior Problems

In May, I attended a seminar given by noted veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman, section head and program director of the Animal Behavior Department of Clinical Sciences at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. The seminar, “The Well Adjusted Dog: Secrets to Understanding Canine Behavior,” covered a number of behavior problems, including aggression, separation anxiety, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and canine compulsive behavior.

How to Help Your Noise-Phobic Dog Get Through Loud Events

July 4th is still a month away, but in many parts of the country sound-sensitive dogs and the humans who love them are already struggling with the effects of thunderstorms. Our Corgi, Lucy, is a thunder-phobe, and we know all too well the impact thunder and firecrackers have on her (and our) quality of life. Fortunately, the following can make life better for you and your dog during noisy events.

Taking More Steps To a Calm Dog

Every behavior and training professional has seen her share of WCCS dogs. Some have developed their own programs to help humans help their dogs.

Help For a Dog With Car Phobia

Behavior issues, from simple good manners infractions to the more concerning problems of phobias and aggression, appear in dogs both large and small. But while training to modify behavior issues might look the same regardless of size, in other respects, the bigger the dog, the bigger the problem. When a Dachshund has a lapse in housetraining, the cleanup process is significantly easier than if an Irish Wolfhound has an accident. If a Havanese frantically jumps up on your elderly Aunt Tilly, the collateral damage is less than if a Great Dane does the same. And if a Yorkie is terrified of riding in the car and refuses to get in for an emergency trip to the vet, he can be picked up and placed inside – not so when a Newfoundland steadfastly refuses.

Help for Dogs With a Healthy Phobia of Stairs

Occasionally I’ll get a call from a client who is having trouble getting their dog to go up or down stairs – a frustrating dilemma when you want your canine companion to be able to accompany you wherever you go. First, be sure your stairs are covered with a traction-providing surface, so he doesn’t slip and scare himself if he tries to use them. Next, here are some tips for overcoming this challenge.

Conditioning Confidence in Your Dog or Puppy

There was once a time when you rarely encountered the word socialization" in dog circles. Today it's the new training buzzword; if you haven't heard it at least three dozen times by the time your dog is a dozen weeks old

Fear-Free Dog Training Methods

or threatening his general well-being if he made the wrong move. It wasn't fear of punishment – or fear of me – or some sort of amorphous "respect" that he had for me

Tug O’ War is a Fun Game to Play With Your Dog

Contrary to conventional wisdom in some dog training circles, tug is a great game to play with most dogs - as long as you and your canine pal play by the rules. Lots of my clients have dogs with aggressive, reactive, and other stress-related behaviors. One of the best ways to help reduce stress is to increase exercise. Tug is great exercise. I'm constantly encouraging my clients to play tug with their dogs. Inevitably when I suggest it I get a puzzled look and a tentative protest that "some trainer" told them playing tug would make their dog dominant and aggressive. I sure wish I could meet that pervasive "some trainer" some day and convince him/her otherwise. It just isn't so. Tug has a lot going for it besides just being good exercise. Most dogs love to tug. Of course, the caveat is that you play tug properly - with rules, which I'll discuss in a minute. Here are some of the many other reasons this game ranks high on my list of approved activities.

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