I asked trainer and Whole Dog Journals Training Editor Pat Miller to write about the risks and responsibilities of off-leash dog walks in this issue. Thats because Im a huge fan of hiking with my dogs off-leash, but I recognize that the activity is a huge challenge for many dog owners.
There is absolutely no evidence, not one bit, suggesting that providing comfort and security to a distressed dog causes the dogs anxiety or fear to increase. Why then, does this myth persist among dog owners and even with some trainers? Why are owners still advised to ignore their dog when he is distressed or anxious or fearful, as if providing any attention to the dog will reinforce those emotions?
Theres a significant difference between professional dog trainers and many dog owners: Owners tend to react to things the dog has done that they dont like; in their minds, this reaction is what might be called training. In contrast, trainers set up situations so that their canine pupils dont have any opportunities to practice undesired behaviors, and actively teach dogs how rewarding it is to perform desirable alternative behaviors, instead.
Taking a dog for a walk or hike off-leash must be done appropriately and legally in order to prevent any number of risks to the dog, other dogs, or humans who may encounter the off-leash dog, as well as livestock or wildlife in the area. Off-leash dogs may run off and get lost, run onto roads and cause serious accidents, cause hikers to fall and bicyclists to crash, and chase or even kill other animals.
There's a method to keeping your dogs off the furniture if you don't want them there. I personally love a dog on my lap or under my arm when I'm sitting on the sofa. Not only do I enjoy the cuddling, I also get cold easily and love the warmth of dog bodies next to me. In our home, we keep the furniture covered with blankets for easy removal when company comes (dog hair begone!) and both dogs are taught to get off and/or stay off when asked to do so.
but finds it even more rewarding to teach their owners how to build a better relationship with their canine family members
If the symptoms your dog exhibits are straining to urinate, frequent, small accidents or repeated, small puddles when going outdoors, a likely cause is a lower urinary tract issue such as a bladder infection, bladder stones, or cystitis (bladder inflammation). Diagnostics will include a urine sample, urine culture, and possibly xrays of the bladder. Some breeds such as Schnauzers are more prone to certain lower urinary tract issues like bladder stones.
The "search me!" game uses lots of energy and can tire out your very active dog, and offers very practical applications as well. Start with treats, since most dogs will happily look for food. You can eventually ask him to look for hidden objects (favorite toys, your lost keys) and even hidden or missing humans!
but at best
passing by humans and/or dogs without fussing or pulling. Don't expect this to happen without practicing and rewarding your dog for the behavior you want!üThanks to Ally Padgett and Rosi Garcia (above)
Being able to teach your dog to move away from something when asked is an invaluable tool, both for your dog's safety and for your sanity. Note: Be sure to repeat each step eight to 12 (or more) times, until your dog eagerly responds to the cue before progressing to the next step.
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.