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The best in health, wellness, and positive training from America’s leading dog experts

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Behavior

Training Your Dog to Behave Around Guests

Whether you have a pup with normal puppy energy or an obstreperous teenager who has good manners lessons to catch up on, clicker training can be a magically effective and gentle way to convince a dog to calm down. No yelling, no physical punishment; just clicks and treats for any pause in the action. That said, the biggest challenge with a hyper" dog is that any praise or reward may cause her to begin bouncing off the walls again. It is nearly impossible to deliver a treat to an excitable dog while she is still in the act of being calm. By the time you get the treat to her mouth she is once again doing her Tasmanian devil act."
aggressive dog training

Training and Socializing Dog-Aggressive Dogs

Going for a walk with your dog may be one of your favorite ways to exercise and relax, but your pleasant outing can quickly turn into a stressful one if you happen to encounter another dog running loose. If the other dog is threatening or your own dog reacts aggressively, the situation can become downright dangerous. Like most owners of dog-aggressive dogs, Thea McCue of Austin, Texas, is well aware of how quickly an outdoor activity with her dog can stop being fun. Wurley, her 14-month-old Lab mix, is a happy, energetic dog who loves to swim and go running on the hike-bike trails around their home. But when he's on leash and spots another dog, he sometimes barks, growls, and lunges. Since he is 22 inches tall and weighs 60 pounds, he can be hard to handle, says McCue. When he pounced on one little 10-pound puppy

Who You Gonna Call?

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Working With Obsessive/Compulsive Dogs

The dainty, 18-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel appeared perfectly normal and happy when she and her owner greeted me at the door, but I knew better. Her owner had already advised me over the phone that Mindy was a compulsive “fly-snapper,” and that the stereotypic behavior had intensified in recent weeks, to the point where it was making life miserable for both Mindy and her owner. Indeed, it was only a matter of minutes before I saw Mindy’s expression change to one of worry, then distress and anxiety, as her eyes began to dart back and forth. Her efforts grew more frantic and her demeanor more anxious, and included stereotypic tail-chasing, until she finally ran from the living room into the safety of her crate in the darkened pantry.

Upper-Level Management

Garbage-raiding, counter-surfing, barking at passers-by ... How do you train your dog to stop his bad behavior? Often, the answer isn’t a matter of training at all!

How to Stop Lunging Behavior

My nine-month-old Bouvier puppy is in training, but I am having trouble finding a positive way to stop his lunging; he is very strong. I am using a choke chain, and my current trainer feels I'm not firm enough in my corrections. I don't feel comfortable using the choker, but also don't like the idea of the Halti because it might be even more dangerous if he lunged.

Eliminate Aggressive Dog Guarding Behaviors

It’s most common for dogs to defend their food, but edible items are not the only things that dogs will keep from all potential rivals. Some dogs will defend their “ownership” of toys, a favored place to sleep, or the water bowl. Behaviorists and dog trainers call these protective behaviors “resource guarding.” A dog who defends his food from other dogs is exhibiting a perfectly normal and appropriate canine behavior. In the wild, where food supply equals life, the dog who gives up his food easily has a poor chance for survival. Resource guarding is far less acceptable, of course, when it’s directed toward us.

Relieving Separation Anxiety Symptoms

You were gone for less than an hour, and when you returned home, your dog Maxx had already destroyed your new sofa, defecated on your antique Oriental rug, and inflicted deep gouges in the just-repainted front door frame. You have tried leaving him in the backyard, but he chewed through the fence and got picked up by animal control. Maxx has separation anxiety – a behavior problem that results from a dog’s natural instincts to want to be near other members of his pack.

Taking Measures to Prevent Separation Anxiety Related Behaviors

Separation anxiety (SA) stems from a dog's natural survival instinct to stay in close proximity to the pack. In the wild, a canine who is left alone is more likely to die, either from starvation, since he has no pack to hunt with, or from attack, since he has no pack mates for mutual protection. Given the vital importance of a dog's canine companions, it speaks volumes about their adaptability as a species that we can condition them to accept being left alone at all! We're lucky we don't have far more SA problems than we do, especially in today's world, where few households have someone at home regularly during the day to keep the dog company.

Managing Canine Behavior

September can be confusing for dogs who have grown accustomed to the constant attention of human friends over the summer. This is an especially difficult time for puppies, acquired in June, who have never been left alone for as many as eight to 10 hours a day. Suddenly the pup is abandoned by the pack, and an animal who would rarely be alone for long periods in his natural environment is left to his own devices for several hours at a time. Small wonder that this is the time when housetraining commonly breaks down, destructive behavior erupts, human tempers flare, and dogs are either banished to backyard isolation, returned to breeders, or dumped at animal shelters.

Solving the Barking Problem in Your Home

Dogs bark to communicate. If we start with that simple understanding, the idea of dealing with a “problem barker” becomes a whole lot easier. It changes our focus from doing anything we can to make the dog “shut up,” to figuring out what the dog is trying to say – so we can address his concerns, and finding more constructive and quieter ways for communication to occur. We’ve asked two canine behavior experts to step in and help us solve the barking problem.

Quiet Barking in Your Neighborhood

Probably the most common complaint about dogs is the noise they make. The good news for neighbors is that usually problems can be resolved without resorting to legal means, through informal negotiation or mediation. And if that fails, there is almost always a law against noisy nuisance dogs. If you can't get these laws enforced to your satisfaction, you can sue the dog owner to get the nuisance stopped and to recover money damages. But substituting a major hassle with expensive lawyers for a small one with a bad-mannered spaniel isn't much progress. Lawsuits are especially undesirable when the other party is a neighbor – after all, you'll still be next door to each other no matter who wins.

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Most of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight, their owners don’t know it, and their veterinarians don’t feel comfortable talking to their clients about it.