June 2017

Reduce Reactivity

I don’t claim to have all the answers, but, in my opinion, becoming aware that we have a problem is how we start fixing it. Much of our society is anxious and mad right now – and so are our dogs. For their sake, and ours, and that of our country, I think we all need to take a breath and practice calming ourselves and each other. We can use the techniques trainer Stephanie Colman describes in her article in this issue! Changing our own emotional responses to things that reflexively make us angry and anxious can’t help but improve our moods – and just may improve our dogs’ moods, too.   More...

Summer Activities for Your Dog and You

Subscribers Only — Before you embark on a trip with your dog, think of her individual preferences in addition to yours. It’s wonderful when your dog is easygoing and gets along with everyone. Our dog is one of those – she greets all humans and other dogs (and even cats and rabbits!) with a happy tail wag and sniff. But your dog may not be as social, so determine realistically the sort of places and times where your dog will be most comfortable. Is there a particular path or trail that is less populated at certain times? If your dog is reactive, maybe it’s time to work on some counter-conditioning and desensitization before embarking.   More...

What is Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo?

Shampoos meant for dogs with sensitive skin should contain as few ingredients as possible. A shorter ingredients list means the product has fewer possible ingredients that can potentially cause a reaction. For this reason, hypoallergenic products generally omit some of the ingredients that provide some of the traits many of us are accustomed to having in a shampoo – compounds we have come to expect in a shampooing experience, but that are unnecessary and potentially harmful to the truly super-sensitive dog.   More...

Listening to Your Dog's Body Signals

Subscribers Only — The dog training world has become exponentially more aware of the significance of dog body language communication over the past two decades. We know how critically important it is in keeping dogs and people safe, and in building relationships of mutual trust and respect that result in lifelong bonds between canines and their humans. And yet we still see training and behavior professionals as well as regular dog owners who utterly fail to understand what their dogs are desperately trying to say to them.   More...

How to Give Ear Drops to Dogs

Instead of tending to the bottle only when it’s time to apply medicated drops or ear wash, make a point to handle the bottle multiple times per day. Set the drops on the counter and toss your dog several small treats. She might be suspicious and ignore the treats at first. That’s fine. Act like you didn’t notice and busy yourself in the kitchen, ignoring both the medication bottle and your dog.   More...

How to Help a Leash-Reactive Dog

Subscribers Only — Beyond the human hang-ups and logistical challenges associated with a dog who now displays reactive behavior in the presence of other dogs, we must consider the impact on the dog. Reactive outbursts are the product of distress, and distress is serious business. It takes a long time for the body to recover from the jolt of hormones that happens during a distressful event. This altered brain state can leave your dog susceptible to triggers he might not otherwise react to, which is why many dogs can seem “edgy” for some time following a particularly stressful event.   More...