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Properly Supervising Dogs

Five types of dog-to-dog supervision, from left to right (or from 1 to 4 stars): No adult supervising dogs; Adult present but distracted; Reacting after the dogs are too close; Having a plan, being prepared; Fully present, adult supervision

Do Dogs Smile?

A well-accepted theory among dog behavior experts is that dogs smile because they know that we humans love it. We see our dogs lounging on the rug with their mouths hanging open, lips pulled back, looking utterly satisfied with themselves, and we go ga-ga with praise and pets. Dogs probably also observe their humans smiling at them and among themselves; they know people smiles are inherently positive (at the very least, benign), and that they can communicate amicability by miming that behavior.

Is My Dog Depressed?

When a dog is suddenly no longer interested in their favorite activities, whether it's playing Frisbee in the park or chasing squirrels in the backyard, most animal behavior experts will tell you to look for a physical explanation, not a mental-health recommendation. Taking your four-legged friend to the vet for a physical exam should always be the first response to what seems like depression. A change in behavior can usually be attributed to underlying physical conditions like arthritis or pain.

Houseguest Etiquette for Dogs

Those of us who love dogs tend to assume that everyone else in our circle of friends and family does, too. Sadly, that's not always the case. In fact, even those who do share our passion for canine companions don't always appreciate the over-enthusiastic attentions of a happy hound, especially when they are trying to enjoy the company of human friends in the comfort of a private home. Whether you are a visitor bringing your own beloved dog with you to someone else's house, or a host greeting friends at your own front door with your canine family members milling about your feet, here are some tips to help you make sure your dog/human visits go well.

Dog DNA Tests: Mixed Results

While some of the early mixed-breed identification tests used a blood sample, all of the products on the market today extract DNA from cells swabbed by the dog's owner from the inside of the dog's cheek. The swab is sealed in a container provided by the company and mailed off to the company's lab. There, technicians extract your dog's DNA from the swab, and use computers to identify and compare specific bits of it to bits taken from dogs of known lineage.

How Long is Too Long to Leave A Dog Alone?

Few people today would admit to leaving their dogs home alone for 24 or 48 hours or more, but leaving the dog home for 10 to 12 hours is not at all uncommon – and questioning this practice can sometimes lead to social ridicule. If an owner decides that after being gone all day, she'd rather not confine her dog or leave him alone for an additional few hours in the evening, she might be met with less-than-understanding responses. You're not coming out because you want to be home with your dog? That's crazy! You're letting your dog control your life!""

Training Your Dog to ‘Wait’ and ‘Stay’

can save your dog's life.
Thanks to Morgan Macy, training assistant at The Canine Connection in Chico, CA, for demonstrating these techniques.üStart teaching the food bowl wait" with the food bowl held high. Look for your dog to shift her eyes from the bowl to your face.üClick (or use another marker) to indicate she's doing it right

Letters and Corrections: April 2018

There are many ways to add mental stimulation to a simple game of fetch. For example, we can ask the dog to jump onto a platform and lie down before we throw a disc for him. We can ask him to go through an agility tunnel before catching the ball. The important thing to recognize is when the dog is getting over threshold and stopping the game or reducing its intensity until the dog calms down. If you know the signs of hyperarousal, depicted in the infographic in the original article, then you will be more able to help your dog.

Training an Over-Aroused Dog

It's true that dogs like Australian Shepherds, a breed commonly referred to as high drive" and thought of as "needing to work

How Can You Know What Your Dog is Feeling?

Dog body language can be quite difficult to read, so it's important to consider the context when interpreting behavior. Not only do you need to consider the environment (for example, dogs will pant when they're hot, but also when they're stressed), you also need to look at all of the body parts together. Although many people attempt to correlate each type of movement with a specific emotion, the easier approach is simply to compare the overall pictures of a distressed dog to a happy dog.

Your Dog’s Behavior: When to Manage, When to Train

How do I stop my dog from stealing food? How do I get my dog to stop drinking toilet water? Why does my dog run off all the time? These are just a few of the countless things dogs do that make their guardians run to professional trainers for help. The reality of dog behavior modification is that often the solution to a dog's bad habit is not through training the dog, but through carefully managing every opportunity the dog has to practice unwanted behaviors.
Dog on leash

The Emotional Lives of Dogs

Traditionally, dog trainers have spent little or no energy considering a dog's emotions when training or changing behavior; indeed, trainers or owners who did talk about emotions were often ridiculed and accused of anthropomorphizing. But when emotions are driving behavior, a dog cannot simply choose to stop doing the behavior without ramifications. The reality is that animals (including people) are quite often not rational actors. If that sounds counterintuitive to you and you believe that behavior is largely chosen rather than the result of emotional experiences, perhaps a few examples will help you understand.

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