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Behavior

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.

Do Electric Shock Collars Harm Dogs?

Do you use an underground electric shock fence to contain your dog? Are you considering having one installed? I hope reading this will change your mind. More and more neighborhoods prohibit or limit the useof fencing, and as this occurs, the use of these non-visible electric shock perimeters has drastically increased. Manufacturers and retailers claim that these products are humane, effective means by which to safely confine dogs without disrupting the aesthetics of neighborhoods.

Put A Stop to Door-Darting Dogs

Door darting is an impulse-control problem. It's also incredibly self-rewarding. Remedying the issue requires teaching the dog to exhibit self-control around an open door, while employing diligent management to prevent the rehearsal of unwanted behavior. The following tips can help.

Nose Work is Great Exercise for Dogs!

When your dog has learned how to search, this makes a great rainy day indoor exercise activity. You can also routinely scatter her meals around the yard so she has to search through the grass to find them; put her on a long line if you don't have a fence. You can also name her favorite toys and have her find them. You can even have family members and friends hide and have her find them.
Dog at door

Stop Your Dog’s Demanding Behavior

A dog's demand behavior is her effort to communicate her wants and needs to you. Her demand behaviors increase in intensity because she is frustrated when she doesn't get what she wants. Imagine how frustrating it would be to keep asking for something and have someone deliberately ignore your requests. No wonder she gets frustrated!

Managing Dog-Aggressive Dogs in the Family

If you do nothing else about the aggression between your dogs, you must scrupulously manage their movements and activities. Every time your dog successfully engages in a behavior that you don't want her to exhibit, it makes it that much harder to convince her that it's not a useful behavior strategy. Every time your dog aggressively communicates to another canine family member, it increases the potential for unresolvable aggression between the two and serious injury to one or both.

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