When dogs fail to correctly perform cued behaviors in new settings, or in the face of distractions, they aren’t being stubborn, willful, or dominant, as many people believe. Rather, they are struggling to meet the demands placed upon them in that moment. In order for a dog to truly know a behavior – for it to become fluent – we must invest the time to train for the many types of situations we are likely to encounter with our dogs.
Which canned dog food is best? What is wet dog food made out of? What common ingredients of canned dog food do I NOT want my dog eating? Since the start of Whole Dog Journal 20 years ago, we have worked to seek out and highlight the pet food companies who are dedicated to high quality dog food ingredients, fair prices, and national accessibility. There are more "healthy" and "natural" dog food options than ever before; WDJ is here to separate the truly good canned dog food from just the well-marketed ones.
Dogs whine for a variety of reasons. Understanding your dog’s motivation for whining will lead you to the appropriate modification approach. Misinterpreting the whine, or simply chastising or otherwise punishing your dog for whining, can exacerbate the behavior and even give rise to other more serious behavioral issues. Consider these possible causes.
Hundreds of drugs developed for human pain are used by veterinarians to treat chronic pain in dogs, but only nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (abbreviated as NSAIDs and pronounced “EN-seds”) and two non-NSAID prescription drugs (Galliprant and Adequan) have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for canine use. For many veterinarians, prescription drugs are a first choice for the treatment of chronic pain, while for some they are a last resort. Used well, drugs can make a world of difference for older dogs, but they are controversial because of their documented side effects.
Arthritis pain, which affects four out of five older dogs, interferes with everything that makes life special for our best friends. Wouldn’t it be great if we could turn the clock back? Technology may not yet offer a time machine, but it can seem that way for dogs treated with modern therapies that make them feel like puppies again. Would laser treatments, shock wave therapy, Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency therapy, or other innovative treatments help your dog jump onto the sofa or run and play the way she used to?
In our apparently endless quest to prove our species superior to all others who walk this earth, even as those other dominoes fall, we have long clung stubbornly to the belief that dogs and other species were seriously deficient in the cognition arena. Defined as “perception, reasoning, understanding, intelligence, awareness, insight, comprehension, apprehension, discernment” (and more, depending on the source), cognition also includes the ability to grasp and apply concepts, and “theory of mind” – the ability to recognize and understand the thoughts of others.
Not that long ago, dog carriers were typically limited to bulky plastic or wire crates that were cumbersome to move from place to place. Today, dog owners have many choices when it comes to portable kennel options, including a growing market of lightweight, folding soft crates that are easy to transport from place to place. The crate is a useful training tool to help teach housetraining skills, manage over-arousal, and protect against unwanted destruction when owners are unable to supervise an untrained dog of any age.
I first used a crate as a canine management tool in the early 1980s. I was a little skeptical of the concept (“Put my dog in a box? What?”), but within two days was completely convinced that this newly touted training tool had merit for both housetraining puppies and as a “safe space” for older dogs. Decades have passed since then, and I continue to believe that crates are a valuable tool for successful dog keeping.
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.
There are many different ways of feeding dogs – commercially prepared dry, wet, semi-moist, freeze-dried, and frozen options, as well as home-prepared diets that are cooked or raw, including both BARF (bones and raw food) and prey-model methods. Because feeding can evoke a strong emotional response in the human who fills the food bowl – in our world, food is love, after all – our reflexive response is often to assume that the way we currently feed is the best way.
I have yet to see a high-arousal nipping, jumping, body-slamming dog who has not been successfully helped by an appropriate combination of exercise and training. In fact, I received an email just today from the owner of the 13-month-old Labrador Retriever that I met with two weeks ago. She was thrilled to report that she has already seen significant improvement in her dog’s behavior. I’ll be checking in with the Golden Retriever client soon.
Lots of us go out of our way to look for biodegradable dog waste bags. After all, we want to be earth-friendly in as many ways as possible. Who wants to think of their dog’s poop festering away in a traditional polymer bag designed to survive a zombie apocalypse? Unfortunately, the term “biodegradable” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Truth is, when it comes to dog waste bags, it’s not easy to be as “green” as we’d like to be.
Dogs sometimes don’t do what we ask them to do. Annoyed, we might repeat a cue several times – louder and a little more sternly each time – usually with very little effect. “Fido, come here. Fido. Come. FIDO. I said here! COME! I mean it!” We all do it. I once heard someone threaten to count to three – or else! (It didn’t work.) Often, the dog is then labeled as “stubborn.” It’s easy to think that’s the reason he “won’t listen.” I get it. It does kind of look like your dog is blowing you off.
The balls that rose to the top of our review are ones that survived months of playing by fairly aggressive chewers without much more than cosmetic damage – and that the dogs themselves returned to play with again and again. There were a few balls included in our review that the dogs almost never selected to play with; for some reason, they were less engaging than the others.
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! When you think about it, it is a true marvel of our unique relationship with the canine species that they are able to communicate so effectively with us, and we with them.