March 2004

Features

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,” enjoy hard exercise. But while I believe that every dog benefits from having a job, I think less work is better for these especially smart, active, and sensitive individuals, particularly in their first three years. In my opinion, it’s far more valuable to teach dogs like this to settle themselves, instead of trying to physically exhaust them. And forget about employing the “forced settle” method – an oxymoron that leaves the dog no choice in the matter and often exacerbates the dog’s so-called hyperactivity.

Get Your Dog to Rest After Surgery

When our dogs undergo surgery or suffer an injury, they don't understand that remaining calm and inactive while their bodies heal is necessary to a strong recovery. It's up to us, their guardians, to keep our dogs calm, happy, comfortable - and stimulated - through their recovery period, so that they do not over-exert themselves and create another injury.

The Puppy-Raising Challenge

I’ve been a professional dog trainer for 10 years. I’ve tackled all kinds of behavior issues ranging from mild annoyances, like jumping up, to serious aggression or anxiety problems. I’ve doled out training and management advice to dog-owning families expecting babies (of the human kind), guided adopters in their selection of a puppy or adult dog, and counseled clients on what to do after their shiny new puppy finally arrives. I’ve taught group classes of various themes, including puppy kindergarten – so many puppy classes, I’d heard and seen it all.

The Guide Dogs of America's Puppy Socialization Schedule

Most service-dog organizations rely heavily on volunteers to welcome the organization’s puppies into their homes – and hearts – for more than a year, during which time the volunteers are responsible for teaching basic obedience, impeccable house manners, and how to be confident and calm in a variety of public settings. Socialization is a huge part of raising any dog, but it’s especially important when the dog is destined for a career spent largely away from home. When it comes to socializing a puppy, how you do it matters – a lot!

Help! My Dog Always Smells Bad

Most of us love snuggling with our dogs and burying our noses in our dogs’ soft, shiny coats. But if you find yourself avoiding that last activity due to your dog’s persistent unpleasant odor, read on!

Common Toenail Injuries on Dogs

Nails: All dogs have them. In fact some dog breeds, like the Great Pyrenees, have 22 of them. Yet nails are commonly ignored by many dog owners. There are numerous common problems with this area in dogs, ranging from minor broken nails to more devastating diseases like cancer. Proper maintenance with nails trims and periodic inspection of the nail and nail fold will ensure early detection of any problems with your canine friend.

Training Your Dog to 'Wait' and 'Stay'

When the use of aversives was the norm in dog training, we simply punished our canine companions harshly enough that they were afraid to do these unwanted behaviors. With the advent of positive-based training, its emphasis on relationship, and our appreciation for getting our dogs to do stuff, today’s more enlightened humans use a kinder, gentler approach to teach impulse control. We teach dogs that if they choose to control their own impulses, good things will happen!

How to Teach Your Dog Object Names

Teaching your dog to differentiate between objects is a fun brain game that can be stretched out over days or weeks. He doesn’t need to learn it all on the first try! Keep sessions short and fun, making sure your dog gets plenty of reinforcement to keep him interested.

Hemangioma in Dogs

The cause of hemangiomas is idiopathic (unknown). These growths usually don’t appear until at least middle age. Thin-skinned, light-colored breeds often experience hemangiomas. You’ll most likely find a hemangioma on the dog’s trunk or legs, especially hairless areas like the lower abdomen.

How to Cope With Losing a Dog

It’s important to remember that grieving is normal, natural and healthy. It’s okay to cry, scream, yell, get angry, and be depressed and sad, as long as you aren’t harming yourself or anyone else. If at any time you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, or feel that you are “stuck” in one of the stages of grief, you can seek help from pet-loss hotlines, grief counselors, and other health professionals who specialize in helping people through the grief process.

Shaping Your Dog's "Sit"

Shaping – taking a desired behavior, breaking it into small steps, and reinforcing the steps until you build the final behavior – has become a standard dog training tool, especially in the force-free world. Those who are familiar with shaping regard it as invaluable for teaching and refining behaviors. If you don’t yet have experience with shaping, try this exercise with your dog. It will help you realize how subtly and precisely you can influence the movement of virtually any part of your dog’s body.

The Mudbuster

Using the Mudbuster tool to clean Woody’s feet has dramatically cut down the number of towels I go through. Instead of needing a separate towel each time I have to clean all four feet (but especially his front/digging feet), I half-fill the Mudbuster with water and dunk each paw into the device a few time. Then I can use the same towel all day to quickly and simply dry his freshly cleaned feet. To finish, just pour out the muddy water and rinse the Mudbuster in the sink. (It can be run through the dishwasher for a more complete cleaning.)

The Best Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Foods of 2018

Most of the ingredients in freeze-dried diets are raw and/or very lightly processed. All the freeze-dried raw diets we reviewed are grain-free – not because we think grains are inappropriate in these foods; it’s the food manufacturers who seem to have decided that raw feeders won’t buy a product that contains any grain. Many people who feed home-prepared or commercial raw diets to their dogs when they are home replace this diet with a freeze-dried raw food when they travel, or when the dog is left with a sitter who doesn’t want to deal with a fresh or frozen raw diet.

The Marvelous Mutts

At a performance by The Marvelous Mutts, as the name suggests, you won’t see any pedigreed dogs, but you will definitely witness focused owners and competitive dogs! Looking at a photographic gallery of The Marvelous Mutts, one could easily be confused with having found the listing for a rescue promoting their mixed-breed adoption candidates. Instead, it’s an inspiring model, both for what rescue dogs can do and what highly motivated dog owners can do for shelter and rescue dogs.

Dogs and Children: How to Keep Them Both Safe

Fortunately, there are many things we can do to improve the odds for safe child-dog interactions, beginning with the dog herself. Ideally, every dog should be well socialized with babies and children from puppyhood. Many young adults adopt a pup at a time when children are, if anything, a distant prospect, without seeming to realize that kids could easily arrive within the 10 to 15 years of their dog’s lifespan. Even if there will never be children in the dog’s immediate family, chances are she will encounter small humans at some point in her life. By convincing her very early on that children are wonderful, you greatly reduce the risk that she will ever feel compelled to bite one.