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How to break 72 common dog bad habits? 50 Meanings of Dog Behavior Dog Bad Habits: Biting, Licking, Eating, Chewing, Begging, Barking Decoding Abnormal Dog Behavior & Training Problems How to Train a Dog to Not to Pee How to Stop Tail Chasing Dog? Good & Worst Dog Habits their Meaning How to Punish a Dog for Bad Behavior? Dog Training & Behavior Problems A Complete Guide to Dog Behaviors & Habits Understanding Dog Behavior & Body Language How Do I Break My Dog's Bad Habits? Common Dog Behavior Problems and Solutions How to Reverse Dog's Bad Habits Common Dog Behavior Misconceptions Common Dog Behavior Training Issues Strange Dog & Puppy Behavior What is the Behavior of a Dog? Dog and Puppy Common Habits Explained Common Dog Behaviors Explained What is Aggressive Behavior in Dogs? Stop Dog's Quirky Behavior: Licking, Eating Poop, Barking, Circling, Chewing, Begging How to break Dog's Bad & Strange Habits Dog's Obedience & Habits Training How to Stop Dog's Paw Chewing & Licking Dog Behaviour Issues & Problems How do you discipline your dog? When & How do you Punish a Puppy? Why Does My Dog Sigh all the Time? Why is My Dog Getting More Aggressive? Dog Behavior Training Tips Dog Behavior Training Dog Training Tips & Techniques Good & Worthy Dog Habits Dog & Puppy Behavior Explained Understanding Your Dog Behaviour Dog Behavior Problems Solved Dog & Puppy Social Behavior Abnormal Dog Behaviour Decoding Dog Behavior Understanding Dog Body Language The Annoying Dog Habits Dog Training Problems Dog Sleep Behaviours Stop Dog Biting Dog Habit Records Leash Biting Dog Training
Before you fly off the handle, one of the most important things to understand about correcting bad behavior is that punishment doesn't work.
Many times, dogs don't understand what they are being punished for, and will respond by learning to hide the behavior. Remember, it is always important to discuss behavior issues with your veterinarian who can determine if they are caused by a medical problem.
1. Urine Marking Inside the House
This is one of the most worthy bad behaviors. Dogs pee on things to mark territory or leave messages for canine friends, which is generally acceptable outdoors. If you catch your dog urine marking or even preparing to mark inside the house, quickly interrupt him with a "no" or an "oops" and take him outside. Then reward and praise him for choosing to urinate outdoors. To prevent frequent urination in the same household spot, remove the scent of previous urine marks with a good enzymatic cleaner.
Dogs bark at the doorbell for any number of reasons. They could be excited or anxious about visitors, or they might bark as a watchdog tendency. Some dogs even equate their barking with you opening the door, so they think they're training you to open the door when they bark. One of the best ways to stop barking at the doorbell is to teach and reward an alternative behavior, like sitting on a nearby mat and waiting for the door to be opened.
Digging is an extremely rewarding activity for dogs, whether they are digging to reach a scent or simply to release pent-up energy. Help your dog practice this behavior appropriately by giving him a sandbox or section of the yard where he's allowed to dig. Make sure this area has clearly marked visual boundaries, and use treats and toys to make this new digging place more exciting than the old one.
Those shrill yaps from the backseat can be your dog expressing many emotions, from fear and frustration to exuberant joy. The best way to address barking in the car is to employ restraint equipment, like a harness or a crate to help your pet feel more secure. Other options include using a pheromone spray to help relax your dog, or giving him a chew toy to focus on during the car ride.
No matter how cute or desperate for food your dog looks, consistency is the key to curbing dinner-table begging. Make sure no one in your family feeds the dog from the table. Even if his begging only works once in a blue moon, he'll repeat and escalate the behavior until all his barking and whining pays off with a rare food reward. Instead of giving in, provide your dog with an appropriate dinnertime activity, like enjoying his own toys or food puzzles.
6. Chewing Inappropriate Objects
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, since they explore their environment with their mouth. It also relieves stress and boredom, and helps keep their teeth clean. When you catch your dog chewing inappropriate objects like shoes, as many dogs do, redirect the chewing to an appropriate item, like a chew toy or stuffed Kong. Then praise your pup for selecting an acceptable outlet for his chewing behavior. Talk with your veterinarian about which chews are safe for your dog.
It's one of the more difficult habits to break, since Fido experiences a huge reward for stealing the food: He gets to eat it! The easiest way to solve this problem is to eliminate the opportunity. Don't leave food around, and use baby gates or fencing to restrict your dog's access to the kitchen when you are not there to supervise him. Teaching the "leave it" command is useful for when you catch him in the act of stealing snacks.
Simply, put a lid on it! Dogs are natural scavengers. If your dog's destiny had taken a different turn, he'd be out there in the big world fending for himself, so dogs are built with a natural tendency to forage and search for good stuff. So get a trash can with a secure cover, and keep the trash can closed. For more tantalizing tidbits, use your sink's garbage disposal to get rid of temptation, or bag it and carry it out to the big bin to avoid all temptation. Give your dog other activities that satisfy his urge to forage. You can do this by throwing a handful of kibble out on the back lawn for him to find, or getting a treat dispensing toy you can fill with kibble. Most dogs will ultimately find these activities more rewarding that tipping over the trash.
Dogs do what works for them! If the dog learns he can get your attention by scratching on the door, then that behavior will continue. For many unwanted behaviors, simply ignoring the behavior until it extinguishes is the answer, but this wouldn't be a good time for that strategy (unless you want a hole scratched in your door!). The first step would be to try to understand why your dog is scratching on the door, and take measures to address that. Is the dog getting outdoors for potty breaks frequently enough? Is the dog left outside alone too long? Think about re-arranging things so the condition that's causing the scratching is reduced or eliminated. Once you know what the situation is and have taken steps to alleviate it, you may still have some scratching going on, old habits are hard to break! You can discourage further scratching by temporarily modifying the environment to make scratching less attractive. For instance, attaching some double-side sticky tape on the door usually is effective, the dogs seem to dislike the feeling of the sticky stuff on their paws. Or get some carpet runner from your local home improvement store - the kind that comes in long plastic sheets, smooth on one side and with pointy little bumps on the other side. Attach that to the door where the dog scratches, pointy-side up. The dog won't care for the feel of the bumps on his paws, and usually quit. Installing a plexiglass panel can also discourage scratching, if the dog's toenails don't have anything to catch onto, scratching becomes less interesting and knowing your door's not being destroyed can help you ignore the behavior until it goes away on its own.
Discourage going vertical by heavily reinforcing sit and down. Jumping up on people is a self-reinforcing behavior - that means it feels good enough just doing it to justify continuing to do it. Dogs jump up to get some face time with people they want to greet, this is similar to the greeting style of many dogs with other dogs, but doesn't make it in the realm of human etiquette. But if you teach the dog it feels just as good or better to sit when approaching a human, that new behavior will quickly replace the old one. NEVER push a dog off you - this makes jumping up worse! OR knee the dog, it's not effective and someone's going to get hurt. And hollering as the dog will only add to the excitement level and probably make the jumping more vigorous.
Again, heavily reinforce sits and downs. If you have a problem with the dog jumping on the furniture while you're sitting on it, have your dog wear a leash or drag line indoors until you can get the behavior under control. If the dog jumps up on the sofa while you are there, grab the dog's leash - not his collar, and gently guide him to the floor while saying not hollering Off!. If the dog tries again, repeat the exercise. If the dog tries again, just guide him back to the floor, say Off! and put your foot on his leash so that he's not able to climb back up. While he's on the floor, reinforce the sits and downs, and before long, the attempts to jump up will cease. If the dog jumps on the furniture while you are not around, make it impossible for him to do so by placing empty cardboard boxes on the sofa and chairs so that there's no room for him to get up. If you size your boxes properly, you can nest them one inside the other for storage while you are not using them. Or you can get some more carpet runner and lay that bumpy side up on the chairs and sofa cushions. I haven't found a dog yet who wanted to take a nap on that stuff. Once your dog has gotten out of the habit of jumping on the furniture, usually 3-4 weeks, you can put the carpet runner away for another day.
Some dogs eat their own poop, or the poop of other dogs (or both!). First, make sure Fido is properly nourished. Some professionals believe that dogs eat stool to recoup nutrients they are not getting from their regular diets. Second, focus on prevention. If possible, separate the elimination area from the play area. Let Fido access the elimination area for that purpose only. When it's play time, keep him out. If that's not possible, pick up poop as soon as it happens. Finally, keep baby diapers and soiled baby clothes out of reach. If prevention doesn't work, the next best option is to distract your dog before he has a chance to eat stool. Obviously, this requires close supervision. As soon as you see Fido sniffing poop, command him to leave it or call him to come to you.
There can be lots of reasons for FIDO, for eating poop, including:
A nutritional deficit. You can have your dog checked by a vet to determine if this is a problem.
Cheap-o dog food. Many brands of inexpensive dog food have ingredients the dogs will eat readily, but can't digest. So the dog poop comes out full of interesting food stuff your dog is happy to eat again. Get a better brand of dog food!
Over-feeding. Dogs feed too much at each meal will pass stools containing a larger proportion of undigested nutrients then dogs who are fed appropriate amounts for their size. Quit overfeeding.
Feeding too infrequently. Dogs should get their daily ration served up twice a day to optimize the digestive process and get the most nutrition from each meal. Dogs fed once a day may pass stools with lots of undigested nutrients that they'll happily consume for their own second meal.
Boredom! Remember, dogs that are bored and/or under-exercised will figure out lots of activities on their own to stay busy with, and they're almost never anything you'd choose! Poop-eating can be one of them. Always make sure the yard or area where your dog is confined is clean and droppings are picked up as soon as possible. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise, and has lots of things to do to help stave off boredom.
A dog may develop separation anxiety if there is a change in the owner's work schedule or change of environment. Anxiety often increases the longer the owner is gone and may result in behaviours such as whining, pacing, salivating, excessive licking, barking, howling, hyperactivity, scratching, chewing, digging, urinating or defecating and destruction of property. Dogs with separation anxiety also have an overly excited response when the owner returns home, even if they have only been gone a short while. Scolding or punishing the dog leads to more confusion, more anxiety and worse behaviour. Noise phobia - fear of thunderstorms, is also common in dogs. Do not comfort your pet - this may be interpreted as reward for his fearful response. Punishment will only cause more anxiety. Ask your veterinarian to suggest behaviour modification techniques or refer you to a behavioural specialist or trainer. Dog appeasing pheromones are also an innovative way, used along with other behaviour modification practices, to control and manage unwanted canine behaviour associated with fear and stress in adult dogs and puppies.
If your dog exhibits dangerous behaviour toward any person, particularly toward children, seek professional help from your veterinarian, an animal behaviourist or qualified dog trainer. Aggressive behaviour toward other animals is also a reason to seek professional help. The key preventative measures you can take early in your dog's life are: adequate socialization in varied situations with people and other dogs, consistent and proper training, spaying or neutering (spayed or neutered dogs are three times less likely to bite than intact dogs), teaching appropriate behaviour - avoid playing aggressive games with your dog such as wrestling, tug of war, or siccing your dog on another person. Don't allow puppies to chew your hands. Set limits!
The possible reasons of dog's agressive children biting:
The dog is protecting a possession, food or water dish or puppies.
The dog is protecting a resting place.
The dog is protecting its owner or the owner's property.
The child has done something to provoke or frighten the dog (e.g., hugging the dog, moving into the dog's space, leaning or stepping over the dog, trying to take something from the dog).
The dog is old and grumpy and having a bad day and has no patience for the actions of a child. The dog is injured. The child has hurt or startled it by stepping on it, poking it or pulling its fur, tail or ears.
The dog has not learned bite inhibition and bites hard by accident when the child offers food or a toy to the dog.
The child and dog are engaging in rough play and the dog gets overly excited.
The dog views the child as a prey item because the child is running and/or screaming near the dog or riding a bicycle or otherwise moving past the dog.
We've all seen our dogs immediately run to the rear end of a new dog they've just met. The common myth is that they are adjust saying hello but this disgusting dog habit has a much deeper meaning. Dogs have two glands inside their anus which emit a strong scent. Dogs sniff each other to get a whiff of that scent, which carries vital information about it's host the dog's sex, health status and temperament. So, if your pup immediately decides he doesn't like a dog, it probably means he didn't pass the sniff test! The nose knows best!
Often accompanied by giggling, pointing and sheer embarrassment is the disgusting act of a dog humping your leg. Contrary to popular belief, your dog's humping is not usually sexual in nature. If that were true, the humping would stop when a dog is neutered and no female dogs would partake in the activity! Humping is all about dominance - a dog establishing rank over other dogs. Or you. Most of us have had the unfortunate luck to be in the presence of an enthusiastic leg humper. So, how do you stop this behavior? Training. The more you train your pup to sit, shake or stay, the more respectful he,ll be of your position in the pack and the less likely he'll feel the need to establish his dominance on your leg. So, next time your beloved dog partakes in some disgusting habits, just remind yourself there,s probably a completely logical explanation for his behavior. Remember, they have their reasons. Weird, disgusting reasons!
Licking is a dominant behaviour. Allowing your dog to lick you is like rolling over and exposing your vulnerable belly. Dogs that are insecure of their position in the pack, or just generally unstable, will lick to claim power they don't have. When this behaviour is ignored it can manifest into quite an obsession. It's the human's job to be clear with boundaries and stop the licking by making a loud short sharp noise to redirect the licker's focus. When the dog looks up, ask him to go "back". Take a step forward to force him to step back. As soon as he repositions all four paws say "back" again to reinforce. Be consistent, clear and kind and lick lunacy will soon be over. A dog should not be allowed to over-groom themselves with constant licking either. If there is a rash have it checked out before it leads to an infection.
19. Refusing to Eat
There are numerous reasons a dog might refuse to eat. For example, getting a large number of treats during the day, sickness or changing to a new food can result in a dog not eating. If the food is changed to something the dog does not like, change back to the original food or use the original food and gradually change to the new food by adding small amounts of the new food to the older food until the dog does not refuse the new food. If the dog does not eat due to receiving treats, cut back on the treats throughout the day. When there is no logical reason for the appetite loss, take the dog to the veterinarian for a health check.
20. Food guarding
This is a common problem since dogs do tend to protect their food. This behavior is based on the same instinct that drove their ancestors into protecting their food in order to survive in the wild. Although common this behavior must be corrected, especially if the owner has small children who may try to make contact with the dog while he's eating.
Do not ever hit the dog or take his food away when he's acting territorial since this will only confirm to him the need to guard his food. An effective way to break this habit is by teaching him how to behave in the case of the small treats you are usually giving him as a form of praise. Whenever you offer him a treat encourage him to take it by voicing a command and if the dog snaps too hard at the treat, voice a stopping command in a harsh tone and try to delay the food until the dog is ready to take it gently. Don't forget to praise him when he does this. Practicing this sort of behavior will make the dog learn that his owner has the right to control the small treats he's being offered. In time, this method can be expanded to his regular food bowl.
Keep your dog on a 20 - 30 foot long line every time you take him outside. When you call him, make him come. If he runs away, step on the line, and then go to him and correct him. Then walk back to where you originally called him and make him come. There is a technique to this so that you don't make your dog leash smart, which I go into more detail about, in my book. But in a nutshell: You are playing a mind-game with your dog. When he's given up on the idea that he can run away from you are substitute the long line with the tab - 1 foot leash. The dog's lack of higher logic and reason will prevent him from knowing the difference, if you do it right.
There might be two reasons for your puppy chasing cars. Either it is safeguarding its territory or it simply hates cars. To control this behavior, keep your puppy in a safe yard where it cannot see the street. While taking your puppy for a walk, put it on a leash. If it starts to trail a car, yank on the leash firmly. When it shows restraint, pat it. One way to prevent this behavior is exercising your puppy regularly. This releases the pent-up energy in your puppy. An exhausted dog may not be interested in chasing cars.
Your dog may find the constant light and motion on your TV addictive. While there might not be any significant risks to your dog's health, you still need to prevent your dog from falling off a chair or table if she tries to paw the TV screen. You can ask your vet to help you find a dog behaviorist or trainer to help curb your dog's addiction to TV.
26. Pacing & Circling
We have all seen it and have all wondered why it happens. That moment when your dog walks over to its favorite spot and spins circles before sitting or laying down. Some dogs spin once or twice, and some dogs have been known to spin dozens of times, but we all wonder the same thing. Why? Well, there are no definitive answers, but there is a somewhat logical reason. Some theories point to the idea that if a dog was doing this in the wild, its circles would be clearing up the area of debris that it was about to lay down in. Sort of like a nesting habit. They say the behavior is so hard wired into the dogs subconscious, that it has yet to be bred out. What we need to understand is, if this move helped keep dogs alive when they were wild, then it makes sense that it is an instinct that still exists in them, even in their domesticated state. So the next time you see your dog spinning circles, remember: that just shows you he was once a wild beast, living among the land.
It's important to understand your dog's sleeping habits and how they influence its behavior, particularly when your dog gets disturbed. You see, Dogs will usually sleep for around 13 hours every day. Although this can vary between different breeds, this still means your dog is going to be asleep for almost half it's life!
There are few things more frustrating than having your dog loose in the front yard, calling him to come, and having him run in the opposite direction. There are so many things to worry about: getting hit by a car, scaring a neighbor, etc. So what are you doing to encourage your dog to come when called instead of running from you? It's actually pretty simple. You call Fido, and Fido ignores you. You chase him, and he runs faster. Finally, you decide to go home and get a treat. You show your dog the treat, and he comes running. Then, you hide the treat and scold him. What have you just taught him? That coming when you call is a really, really bad idea. Instead, try teaching your dog before he's experienced freedom that coming when you call is the best thing that could ever happen to him. Start in a safe environment with a treat in your hand, but make sure he's doing something he finds really interesting, like chewing on his favorite toy. Show him the treat, and call him by name. When he comes, give him the treat, and make a huge fuss over him. The goal is to make him think that coming to you is far better than freedom. Practice this over and over until he doesn't hesitate for a second when you call him.
If you have ever let Fido pull you down the street by the leash, you have taught him that it's his job to walk you rather than the other way around. The problem is obvious if Fido is a large breed. If he is a tempest in a teacup, his pulling may look cute. But you are still allowing him to think that he's the boss. Whether he wants to chase a squirrel, terrorize the neighbor's cat, or sniff a mailbox, he thinks his agenda takes priority. It's your job to teach him otherwise. As with most things canine, it's more effective to reward the positive than it is to punish the negative. When Fido starts pulling, stop in your tracks. Don't look at him, don't talk to him, don't do anything until he has turned toward you and is giving you his full attention. Once that happens, start walking. If possible, lead him to where he wanted to go; just make sure that you're the one determining the course. If he wanted to go somewhere or do something inappropriate, just start walking again. The most important thing to remember is that the walk should get very, very boring as soon as Fido pulls. The fun only starts back up when he stops pulling and gives you his attention.
A left over habit from the dogs' ancestor is the art of rolling in something not so nice. Fox poo is a great example of this but dogs are rarely fussy. If it smells they roll in it and do so with gusto. You know the signs, a small black, tar-like, smear on the ground leads to a swift head dip. The word "no" is barely from your lips before the dog's neck is smeared and the hound is trotting around proudly spreading their whiff like it's an expensive perfumed oil. The dog owner with a "regular rolling" canine eventually develops an art to deal with the habit. The infrequent or opportunist roller always catches their person unaware. How many times have you hopefully hosed a hound with a bottle of water yet still smelled the stink all the way home in the car?
Sometimes a dog becomes aggressive towards the owner or other people and Austin says this is mainly because the owner doesn't show enough leadership in the relationship. If a dog is aggressive towards his owner, nine times out of 10 the owner of the dog is weak and the dog says you are not my leader, I feel insecure around you, I have to take the leadership role. A leader doesn't hurt the dog, doesn't scream at the dog and doesn't hit the dog!. The leader is a person who the dog feels very safe and secure around so when the dog has a strong leader, he is very rarely aggressive. I see this with many young girls 19 to 20-year-olds, who get these Malamute puppies fluffy, cute and they grow up and take over. If you feel you are in a dangerous situation and you are worried about your safety, you can train your dog to accept you as leader,
Put a bowl in front of your dog.
You put a tiny bit of food in the bowl and you say you may eat and allow your dog to eat.
If your dog is aggressive towards other people, have the person put the food in the bowl and give your dog permission to eat. You must have your dog on a lead when other people come to feed.
This action says to the dog that people coming to him are good and the owner telling him when to eat elevates the owner.
Don't let him eat, get in the car or cross the road until hes told. Elevate yourself.
It's natural for a dog to mark territory, but they can take it too far, especially if they're under stress. With help from you in regulating their world and teaching them appropriate behavior, a dog can be trained to mark territory only where appropriate. As with guarding their food, marking territory is behavior that is ingrained in all dogs. While you can't train to teach your dog to sit at the table with a knife and fork, you can teach him to control this habit. This section will give you the advice you need.
Owning a dog that bites can be a serious issue. You need to be honest about how far your dog's particular behavior problem has progressed before you can deal with it properly. There are lots of reasons why a dog will bite and there are several levels of biting, from a puppy that nips at your hands to an adult dog that snaps under stress and actually breaks the skin. Your own solution to stop dog biting will depend on your dog's age, why he bites, and how extreme the biting is. Biting generally occurs when your dog is put in situations he finds stressful. The more stressors he's exposed to at one time, the more likely he is to bite.
A puppy that's not encouraged to build self-confidence can become an overly shy dog. It's during a puppy's socialization period that his confidence is instilled. Some breeds tend to be more timid than others, however, shyness can become a serious behavior problem with any dog that's not properly socialized. Shy dogs tend to be afraid of everything from people and strange objects to loud noises. You can't force a dog to be brave; you can only encourage him through praise and leadership.
Does your dog whine? If you pet her, look at her, or do anything except ignore her, you teach her that whining works. To stop it, turn your back when she whines, fold your arms and look away, or leave the room. Pet and play with her when she's not whining.
Dogs like to sniff each other's bottoms, but it's different when they nose up to someone's crotch! It's not bad manners, according to your dog. Dogs can get a lot of information about other dogs by sniffing around down there. They probably get the same info by sniffing people, too. If your dog's nosiness bothers you or the people they sniff! Obedience training may help.
It's common for dogs to scoot or drag their bottoms across the ground after doing their business, especially if their stool is loose. But if a dog scoots a lot all day, see your vet. Scooting can mean impacted anal glands, which you should get your vet to treat.
41. Eating Grass
Your lawn may not look yummy to you, but your dog has other ideas. Dogs aren't just meat eaters. Sometimes they like a little greenery, too. Eating grass, sticks, and even dirt is normal. As long as they don't do it a lot. If your dog binges on grass, it could mean stomach problems. If your dog eats a lot of dirt, it could be a medical problem, like anemia. Call your vet to check.
If your dog salivates when you're grilling steaks, that's normal. But drooling too much, or for no good reason, could be a sign of a health problem. If your dog drools a lot and starts having behavioral problems, such as chewing or hiding, it also could be a sign of anxiety. Consult your vet.
Some dogs will try to herd anything: cats, ducks, even kids. They were bred to herd. They naturally want to move things around or collect things because it's what their genes are telling them to do. Even though herding can be normal, it still can be a problem. With training, dogs can learn to herd only when you want them to.
44. Paw Licking
Dogs lick their paws to groom themselves. That's normal, as long as they don't overdo it. When dogs lick their paws too much, it's often because of an infection or skin allergy. Sometimes, it's a habit. Talk to your vet to find out the cause and how to treat it.
Your dog is curled up in bed, eyes shut and paws twitching. Every now and then, he whines. He's probably dreaming. If you could see a dog's brainwaves during sleep, they seem to have REM cycles. REM or rapid eye movement is the stage of sleep when people usually dream. So what do dogs dream about? That's one secret our four-legged friends get to keep.
Because dogs sweat through the pads on their feet, most of their body heat is expelled through their mouth when they pant. It's their primary means of regulating body temperature. Dogs also pant to cope with pain.
47. Chasing Birds
Another wonderful gift from their predator ancestors, dogs have a natural instinct to chase birds. They have even evolved to chasing balls, sticks, Frisbees and more!
48. Exsessive Shaking
Does your Fido shake his leg when you scratch that special spot? This is due to a natural instinct referred to as the "scratch reflex." Meant to warn the pup to get rid of the scratch, it is a bit pointless when he's enjoying your rub-down.
The dog and the love of fire hydrants is pure myth. The behavior is more of an innocent need to urinate. It's in a male dog's nature to lift his leg and pee, and a fire hydrant is the perfect height! However, when a dog sniffs and then urinates on a fire hydrant, most likely another dog has done it before him.
50. Fear of Thunderstorm
I have listed this problem here, not because it is a behavioral problem in the classical sense, but it is a real problem to the dog and something that the owner can do something about. Called a Thunderstorm Phobia or simply Storm Phobia, this condition occurs when a dog is overly frightened of one or more aspects of the storm causing him to display physical, psychological, and behavioral signs.
Leash Biting is pretty common between various dog breeds. It does not really matter the size of the dog in this case. The reasons for this habit could also vary: just bored out dog, frustrated or agressive dog and finally dog could just project the energy while biting his leash. This energy surrounds the pooch as far as it being leashed and can not freely enjoy the movements and play.
Many dogs chase their tails because it's fun, or because they like the attention it gets from amused humans, but sometimes it can be a sign that something is wrong. Dogs may chase their tail because of discomfort caused by worms or fleas, while a dog that is suffering from separation anxiety or trauma may start tail chasing as a compulsive disorder. While it may be that your pet is perfectly happy, if you notice your dog constantly chasing its tail and looking distressed while doing so, a visit to the vet will make sure it isn't in any danger. The first step is to simply take the dog's attention away from tail chasing. This is easily done by showing that you have a food treat, but do not give it away just yet! Next, give your dog a command to follow. Telling them to "sit" is usually ideal, and this should be relatively straightforward if they are already well versed in basic obedience. Once they have sat down, you can give them the food treat. This will have been enough to distract your dog, and they shouldn't return to the behavior straight away. The food reward further reinforces the calm, "sitting" behavior - rather than the frantic tail-chasing behavior.
Step 1 - To the vet - Start out by taking your pup to the vet to rule out any possible medical conditions causing him to chase his tail.
Step 2 - Spend time with your dog - Spend plenty of time exercising your pup and playing with him on a daily basis. This may help to burn off of excess energy.
Step 3 - Teach tricks - Work with him to teach him a new trick. This will provide a distraction that will take his mind off chasing his tail.
Step 4 - Use the trick commands - Use the command for his new tricks when he starts to chase his tail. If he stops and does what he is told, reward him with a treat and plenty of praise.
Step 5 - Repeat - Keep repeating this training until your pup stops chasing his tail on his own or will stop each time you give him the command to do so.
Dogs grunt all the time, even in their sleep. Most of the time, they do it without even realizing that they are doing it at all. The reason behind all the grunting is due to hard breathing that is reduced in pace. The sound just happens to come out when they are at a very relaxed state, while they are normally resting or sleeping, curled up happily in their bed. Of course, some grunting might be a sign of a bad dream, but still nothing to be worried about. But if your dog grunts all the time, this could be a sign of a respiratory issue, so it would be best to have them checked out by their veterinarian.
54. Smelling Before Peeing
Unlike humans, dogs have a whole ritual before getting down to business. But while we wonder why they need to smell around before going number 1, and even number 2, it is all because of their noses. Dogs are known for their highly sensitive sniffers, which can be incredibly helpful to them. They are actually looking for a spot that no other dog has marked first to make sure that when they finally go potty, the spot is theirs and theirs alone. That way, when your dog goes on a walk the next day, he or she can still sense where they went and know that they can always head that way again.
56. Licking You
They say dog saliva is clean, and in many ways, this is true. But it does not mean that they can not pass on diseases and other bacteria to their humans when they lick them. Dogs can't help it though, cos when they lick you, it is because this is basically their way of trying to assert their dominance over you. But it can also mean that they want your attention as well, since they have learned that licking you means that you will give them exactly that. Just hope that they do not lick you right after they have been busy eating their own poop. If that's the case, saliva won't be the only thing they will transfer on to you!
Whining is just another habit that dogs do to get your attention, but it's not the only reason behind it. Dogs whine for a number of things like when they are hungry, cold, scared, and even when they are feeling lonely. It is basically one of the only ways that they can communicate with you. So the next time that you hear your dog making tons of howling noises and whimpering sighs, be sure to go check on them and see what they need. It might disturb you from what you are doing, but your dog will surely know that they are loved.
58. Back Hair Stands
Piloerection is explained as "a reaction of the sympathetic nervous system that causes certain muscles to contract and hair follicles to protrude outwards from the skin." With humans, the way this shows itself is usually with goosebumps, but with dogs, it is getting hackles or the raising of the hair on their backs. But more than knowing what it is, a big question is why does it happen to your dog? The usual reason is his reaction to anxiety and feeling uneasy in a certain environment or because of something that he is reacting to. The next time you notice this, make sure to try to keep your dog relaxed and try to figure out what's stressing him in the first place.
59. Circling Before Sleeping
It's so much fun to watch a dog lay down for bed, probably because they circle their bed so many times before finally flopping down on the spot it makes you dizzy. And while humans might find this habit a bit strange, it is basically instinctual for dogs. Centuries ago, dogs would make their own beds in the grass and mud by circling around and making themselves a comfy spot. Lucky for them, nowadays they no longer need to make their own beds but the habit is so ingrained in their blood, they just can not help it!
60. Scratching The Floor
Probably one of the most irritating habits of a pet dog is when they scratch at the floor. They will do it to wood, tile, carpet, and basically any type of surface they can get their paws on. Unfortunately, no matter how much you hate it, dogs can not help but do it! That's because they feel the need to assert their dominance by leaving some sort of souvenir that is they have been there. Much like peeing everywhere, they are basically saying "I was here!"
61. Scooting Butt On The Floor
Probably one of the funniest, and what looks to be painful, habits that dogs do is scoot their butts all over the floor, no matter what that floor might be like. But the reason why they scoot is because of health issues, and not pretty ones either. The most common reasons are because they have parasites, diarrhea, allergies, anal gland tissues, dingleberries or other irritating problems. If you notice your dog scooting around, be sure to bring them to their vet to get them properly checked out so you can help them deal with it properly.
62. Getting Comfy On The Sofa
No matter how many times you attempt to keep your dog off your couch, it seems that every time you take a look, they are laying peacefully atop your very own favorite spot. But while it is the perfect napping place, when a dog chooses to lay down on the sofa, it is because they want to prove to you that they can. It is a way to show their dominance and proclaim that they are just as much the king of the house as you are. Of course, another reason could also be that they just want a whiff of your scent when you are not around.
Much like tail wagging, dogs pant when they are tired. But have you noticed that they also pant when they are doing nothing at all? That is because this is the way that dogs regulate their body temperatures. Unlike humans, dogs just can not sweat it out the same way that humans do. They need to pant in order to help them get their temperature down. If you notice your dog sweating even when they are not being physical, offer them some water or bring them to a colder area to help them cool their bodies down.
64. Eating Grass
Have you ever caught your dog taking a few bites out of the grass in the backyard? It may seem odd to you but actually, it's very normal. First, dogs eat grass to help them go number two. It is one way that cleanses out their intestines, like their very own doggie colon cleanse. Another reason is because they actually like it! It is just a habit that makes them feel happy and something they honestly enjoy. Just be sure to keep your new born dogs away from the grass when they are still young because they can get parvovirus from it, a dog disease that can be fatal, especially for young pups.
Much like humans, dogs blink in order to keep their eyes moisturized. And amazingly, they can even wink, closing one eye rather than both. But aside from trying to keep their eyes from getting dry, another reason that they blink is for communication. This is how they show others that they are friendly, their own way of saying "I come in peace. I mean no harm!" so that the person can feel at ease with them, and vice versa.
66. Barking At Other Dogs
This particular habit is very easy to understand. When a dog barks, it is asserting its dominance, so when a dog is barking at another dog, it's trying to prove that he or she is the alpha in the group. Sometimes the barking goes on without the dogs even really looking at each other but she feels threatened and ready to pounce. Be sure to keep your dog away from the other one unless you want to deal with actual biting, gnawing or other physical behaviors that will surely happen if you do not control the situation.
67. Digging Quickly
While other breeds of dog might actually do this more than others, almost all dogs enjoy digging as much as the other. That is because it is one of their more primal instincts when they would always chase down other animals that would hide underground for food or for sport. It was something that dogs did for hundreds of years when they lived in the wild, even before they became domesticated animals. Some things are just too instinctive for any domestic pet to give up.
68. Hiding The Treats
Dogs love to take whatever treats they were given and hide them in different places. The reason for this was because back in the day, when dogs had to hunt their own food, they did not always know when they would get to hunt again so they would hide away what they did not finish and go back for it another time. This was their way of assuring themselves a proper meal when they needed it! We all know that dogs are incredibly intelligent creatures compared to others, but this is just another habit that puts them above the rest.
Have you ever noticed dogs howl at the most annoying times? Usually when a dog hears a high-pitched sound, like a siren or train whistle, they howl back. It is unclear if this is because they are annoyed, or it is causing their ears discomfort. If a dog is doing a low growl, he is anxious and fearful. Any scared animal is unpredictable. Do not surprise her when her nerves are getting the best of her.
70. Licking Face
Some people allow their pet to lick their faces while others get grossed out if they even lick their hands. Either way, when a dog licks you he is being submissive. This dog behavior means he is easing some of his stress and showing you love.
71. Couch Trashing
If you ever come home to a couch that has been completely ransacked, your pup has separation anxiety. Most dogs get over this eventually, but in the meantime, take the time to walk him and get some of his energy out before you leave him alone.
Yes, your dog may be hooked on you which can lead to separation anxiety and loneliness. You may want to make sure that your dog has some quiet time alone and also socializes with other people and dogs so your dog doesn't get addicted to you and become depressed when you aren't home.
EFFECTIVE METHODS TO DEAL WITH DOG's BAD HABITS This article proudly presented by WWW.DOGICA.COM
HOW TO TRAIN THE DOG TO NOT TO PEE This material proudly presented by WWW.DOGSBARN.COM
Following these simple tips will show you how to stop your dog peeing in the house and help you discover what the underlying cause might be. There can be many reasons that your dog or puppy urinates inside your home, whatever that may be peeing inside is a big No No, and something you will want to put a stop to immediately.
When you bring a new puppy home it is inevitable there may be a few accidents, but with an older dog there is usually an underlying issue and we need to understand what this might be in order to be able to solve the problem. Rescue dogs can suffer from problems if they haven't been properly house-trained in their previous homes or have been fearful and suffered from stress while in Kennels. Older dogs like humans find it difficult to control their bladders for long periods as they enter their twilight years and one of the more common causes for adult dogs who won't stop peeing in the house are behavioural issues.
Very often people say "My dog is peeing in the house for no reason" - There is always a reason and more often than not that reason is the owner. Housebreaking a puppy or re-training an adult dog takes patience, time and a watchful eye.
How to Stop Your Dog Peeing in the House
Crating Dogs don't like to go the toilet in their personal space Creating a comfortable secure environment for them during alone time or through the night can reduce accidents. Make sure you get the correct size crate for your dog putting a Chihuahua in a crate for a Great Dane will not only give him somewhere to sleep but quite a large toilet area as well.
Make Alone Time Fun Dogs left alone for long periods can suffer from separation anxiety which can result in them urinating either through nervousness or inability to hold it in for long periods of time. Puppies should never be left alone for long periods and if you have an older dog try to make alone time less stressful. Leave them puzzles or hide treats, even leaving the radio or television on can help them feel more secure.
Sprays There are numerous commercial sprays on the market that can stop a dog urinating in a particular area they contain different chemicals or natural compounds such as cayenne pepper that dogs dislike and will avoid. There are also sprays that you can buy that you use on the place you want your dog to pee that actually smell of urine in order to encourage him to go in the correct place. You can also make your own homemade repellents which work just as well and are much cheaper.
White Vinegar Canines can't stand the smell of acetic acid so will avoid areas sprayed with a solution of White Vinegar. Dilute with equal parts water and spray over the affected areas. Not only will it keep fido away but will also clean and neutralise any areas he has already used as a toilet.
Rubbing Alcohol To use its correct name, Isopropyl alcohol has a powerful scent that is extremely disagreeable to dogs. Dilute the mixture with an equal amount of water and spray carpets weekly or after cleaning. This solution also has anti-bacterial properties and will disinfect the area thoroughly.
Lemon Juice Mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with water and spray onto carpets. A more pleasant smell for humans it will remove any lingering odours while keeping your dog at bay.
Have a Neighbour or Dog Walker Pop In If you need to be out of the home for longer periods of time it can be a good idea to get a neighbour to pop in so your pooch can have regular potty breaks or if funds allow perhaps hire a dog walker. A well-exercised dog is less likely to pee in the house and after a long walk will settle down happily instead of fretting.
Never Punish It can be frustrating to have a dog that pees in the home but it is important to never shout or punish the dog by hitting it. This will only make him fearful and nervous. If you haven't seen him do the deed he will have no idea what he's done wrong and if you catch him in the act it will only make him fearful of relieving himself in-front of you in future.
Day Care If you have to work all day every day then you should reconsider getting a puppy, but if you have an older dog that gets on well with others why not consider day-care. He will have fun while you go to work, socialising and playing with others of his kind and the opportunity for plenty of toilet breaks.
Vigilance Whether you are house-training a puppy or an older dog you need to be vigilant, keep them where you can see them at all times and always give them the opportunity to go to the toilet when waking up from a nap, or after food or drink. If your four-legged friend needs a midnight toilet break set the alarm. It might seem like a chore initially but it shouldn't last long and will be worth the effort.
Rewards As with all dogs the best way to get them to do what you want them too is by rewarding them either by lavishing them with praise, giving them their favourite toy or usually the one that works best of all, treats! You will soon come to know what your dog responds too best so use it to your advantage when he pees where you want him to.
Keeping Calm Puppies don't have the muscular control of older dogs and many pee from either excitement or nervousness, although not really a house-training problem and something they usually grow out of it can be embarrassing when they pee all over a guest's shoes. This can be avoided by teaching your puppy to sit and ignoring them until they become calm and relaxed when you enter a room and encouraging any visitors to do the same.
Take Time Off It is impossible to house-train any dog be it a puppy or adult if you are not there, even if you only work part-time you need to take time off to do the job properly and consistently. It won't take long but it really is vital to prevent your pet from peeing in the house.
Check With the Vet Although puppies pee and sometimes a rescue dog that has spent time in kennels may not be house-trained it is unusual for an adult dog to start relieving themselves indoors without an underlying reason. Older dogs especially, can develop many conditions that can increase the need to go or lose control of their bladder muscles. If you haven't had any problems previously and now your older dog is peeing indoors, it is a good idea to check with your vet to rule out anything serious.
Socialization One of the saddest reasons for a dog peeing indoors is fearfulness. Dogs that have not experienced the sounds, smells and sights of the world at large when young can develop phobias that stop them feeling comfortable when going to the loo outside. A loud noise, fireworks, thunder can all be terrifying to a dog. Their nervousness keeps them constantly distracted instead of dealing with the business at hand. making it more likely for them to pee inside the home. It is important to introduce to lots of experiences whilst they are young to build confidence.
Don't Cover the Smell Eliminate it Dog's urine omits a powerful enzyme that tells them to "Please Pee Here!" therefore it is vital to not just clean up any accidents that may occur but also to eliminate the odour completely to stop your dog peeing on the carpet.
Introduce a Word Many owners find that introducing a word associated with going to the toilet helps their dog with training to go potty outside. Our canine friends are usually eager to please and having a word such as "Busy" or "Pee pee" can help them understand what is required if re-enforced and used all the time until they get the hang of it.
Keep Them With You Outside Not Alone Do not put your puppy outside and leave them there expecting them to do the business. Not only will you not know one way or the other if they have been, often they will be so involved in getting back to you and wondering where you have gone which can cause stress and they will concentrate on that rather than going to the toilet.
Avoid Exciting Games Until Business While trying to housetrain any dog it is important you keep them from being distracted. Avoid playing with them until business is taken care of they will be much more interested in a game of tug or playing with a ball than going to the loo. Keep the games for afterwards when not only will they enjoy the playtime but see it as a reward.
Neutering A common problem with male dogs and in particular small breeds is territory marking this can occur if there is more than one pet in the house, if you bring home a new baby or even if someone visits. New and strange smells will encourage a dog to mark his territory and can result in him cocking his leg on every piece of furniture in your home. So how can you stop a male dog from marking? You can try correcting with a firm no or short spray of water when you see him about to raise a leg or actually Neutering can lower the testosterone hopefully making your canine companion slightly less territorial.
Medication There are many medical conditions that can contribute to dogs peeing in the house. Diabetes is a common one where the dog drinks so much he cannot hold it in like he used too. Older dogs can also suffer from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, a similar condition to Alzheimer's in humans. This makes them confused and they may not even remember peeing at all. Older spayed bitches can sometimes leak urine while sleeping due to decreased hormone levels. Your vet can usually help in these cases by prescribing medication to help with the problem.
Shaker Bottle or Water Spray Making your own Shaker Bottle or water spray can often help you stop dogs from frequent peeing in the home. As soon as you notice your pooch doing the pee dance which inevitably involves sniffing, circling and finally squatting give the bottle a firm shake or spray him with the water. This will be enough to stop him from peeing enabling you to take him outside to the correct area. When he relieves himself shower him with praise. This method can have quick results in stopping your puppy peeing everywhere, if used properly - Don't scare the dog the point is to distract him not make him fearful.
The Boss Dominant dogs both male and female can assert their authority as the pack leader by peeing around the house this is a common trait found in smaller breeds who have been spoiled and allowed to get away with other undesirable behaviours. So how do you stop small dogs peeing in the house? Don't worry this problem can be easily solved by reasserting your authority and showing them who is boss. Don't baby them, use firm training methods, make them sit and wait to be fed re-enforcing the fact that it is you who is the pack leader and not them.
Soaked Paper A common method especially used for puppies who pee indoors is to encourage them initially to pee on newspaper you can use the urine soaked newspaper to show them where to pee outdoors as the powerful smell will encourage them to go in the same place. Hopefully the paper will only be needed for a short time and they will soon get the hang of where the toilet is.
Limit Drinks Before Bed Although it is advisable to have a constant supply of clean fresh water available for your dog at all times for dog's who are having problems going through the night without an accident it might be wise to limit their intake on an evening say after 8.00pm. Common sense is needed here though if they have been on a late night walk, enjoyed a strenuous game or the weather is hot don't let them go thirsty.
Never Rub His Nose in It Back in the day this was lauded as the correct way to house-train a puppy, how wrong we were! It is c??ruel and confusing. The puppy has no idea what he has done to displease you he lives in the moment and at that moment he is learning that you-the person he loves most in the world can be unpredictable and someone to be feared. This will only encourage him to hide from you when peeing in future, making it much more difficult to train him.
Keep on Leash When Visiting If you have a puppy who is not yet house-trained or an older dog who pees in the house it is always a good idea to keep them on the leash while visiting friends that way you are in control of your pooch at all times which can prevent any embarrassment or not being invited around again.
Ask the Breeder When you bring your new puppy home a responsible breeder will give you lots of information about what he has been feeding the pup, whether it has had its first vaccinations and any health checks. Therefore, it seems reasonable that you ask if the puppy has started his toilet training and if so is he used to puppy pads or newspaper. Carrying on with something your new best friend is familiar with will reduce the likelihood of accidents.
Paper Training Many dog owners train their puppies on paper or puppy pads initially, this is especially useful if you don't have immediate access to an outdoor area, Perhaps if you live in an apartment, The best way to do this is to situate the paper or puppy pads near to the door, that way when you see your pup heading in that direction you know he needs the toilet.
Gradually reduce the amount of papers until the little fella is fully trained and they are no longer required. This method can take a bit longer than going straight outside but with patience your puppy should soon learn that peeing in the house isn't acceptable.
Belly Bands As a last resort, if your dog has an underlying medical issue that cannot be resolved by medication or suffers from incontinence you can purchase Dog Nappies or "Belly Bands" These bands wrap around the dog's belly and contain an absorbent pad for any leakage helping to keep your home free from any accidents. They should not however, be a lazy man's alternative to house- training. Teaching your dog there is no designated area for peeing and giving them carte blanche to go when and wherever they want is counter-productive and will only give you more work in the long run.
Belly Bands It requires patience to stop a puppy peeing in the house and even more so to prevent an older dog from doing so. We have to remember it is not their fault, they are not on a mission to annoy us or make our lives difficult. Understanding the reason for your dog peeing in the house is the key to solving the problem. Try one or more of these tips on how to stop your dog peeing in the house and you will find that your four-legged friend will soon be peeing where he is supposed to Outside!
Dogs have a natural desire to please? Huh! This is a tough myth to debunk because we like to think our dogs want to please us. But consider this: Would you work hard if there were no paycheck involved? Dogs exist to please themselves, not us. It just so happens that for some dogs, the things that please them also please us. And for some dogs, it's reward enough to be in our company and get a pat on the head, so they will repeat whatever behavior brought that about. If the dog doesn't find something rewarding in some way, it's highly unlikely he will repeat his behavior!
MYTH: Love is what dogs need first of all! Beyond doubt, dogs need our love. But many owners tend to unconsciously ignore or forget about other needs and instincts of the dog. First of all, all dogs need sufficient physical and mental exercise including discipline. If a dog doesn't burn its physical energy and its mind is not occupied with some kind of directed activity, the animal may become destructive, aggressive, fearful, possessive, or develop an obsession. Because of their nature, dogs primarily need physical and mental exercise, and only then love. And.. Jealousy is NOT a true sign of love! Remember about that!!!! PUPPY MISCONCEPTIONS WEBINAR by ROYAL CANINE BREEDERS CLUB
Some dog breeds are more aggressive than others - This is probably one of the most common misconceptions about dog behavior. While some breeds have naturally stronger hunting and fighting instincts, the final role in raising a well-balanced and stable dog belongs to the owners. There are a lot of examples of snappish little dogs that run the household and keep the people in a tight grip. There are also a lot of obedient Pit Bulls and Bull Terriers that, typically, have a reputation of aggressive dogs. Please do not be biased. If a dog is raised with clear human leadership, good obedience training and proper socialization, it should ensure a well-balanced and stable temperament whatever the breed is.
Don't blame the breed for your mistakes. Understanding the unique and sometimes confusing behaviors and characteristics of dogs plays a large part in our ability to own and care for them correctly. But sometimes, the things we read and hear about dogs are not at all true.
MYTH: Dogs are naturally pack animals with a clear social order This one falls apart immediately, because all the evidence suggests that free - ranging dogs, such as pariahs, feral and semi-feral populations don't form packs. Dogs actually form loose, amorphous, transitory associations with other dogs. And males do not participate in the rearing of young as occurs in a wolf pack.
MYTH: If you let dogs exit doorways ahead of you, you are letting them be dominant There is not only no evidence for this, there is no evidence that the behavior of going through a doorway has any social significance whatsoever. In order to lend this idea any plausibility, it would first need to be ruled out that rapid doorway exit is not simply a function of their motivation to get to whatever is on the other side combined with their higher ambulation speed. Dogs walk faster than us.
MYTH: In multi-dog households, "support the hierarchy" by giving presumed dominant animals patting, treats etc. first, before giving to presumed subordinate animals. There is no evidence that this has any impact on inter-dog relations, or any type of aggression. In fact, if one dog were being aggressive toward another, the laws governing Pavlovian conditioning would dictate on opposite strategy: Teach aggressive dogs that another dog receiving scarce resources predicts that they are about to receive some. If so practiced, the aggressive dog develops a happy emotional response to other dogs getting stuff, a helpful piece of training indeed. No valuable conditioning effects are achieved by giving the presumed higher ranking dog goodies first.
MYTH: Dogs have an innate desire to please This is a concept that has never been operationally defined, let alone tested. A vast preponderance of evidence, however, suggests that dogs, like all properly functioning animals, are motivated by food, water, sex, and like many animals, by play and access to bonded relationships, especially after an absence. They are also, like all animals, motivated by fear and pain and these are the inevitable tools of those who chew the use of food, play - however much they cloak their coercion and collar tightening in desire to please rhetoric. So when a trainer says s/he is relying on this, make sure it's not code for some sort of metal collar.
MYTH: Rewards are bribes and thus compromise relationships Flow like a fountain without need of consequences, is opposed by more than sixty years of unequivocal evidence that behavior is a tool to produce consequences. Another problem is that bribes are given before behavior and rewards after. And, a mountain of evidence from decades of research in pure and applied settings has demonstrated over and over that positive reinforcement reward makes relationships better, never worse.
MYTH: If you pat your dog when he is afraid, you are rewarding the fear Fear is an emotional state, a reaction to the presence or anticipation of something highly aversive. It is not an attempt at manipulation. If terrorists enter a bank and order everybody down on the floor, the people will exhibit fearful behavior. If I then give one of the bank customers on the floor a compliment, twenty bucks or chocolates is this going to make them more afraid of terrorists next time? It's stunningly narcissistic to imagine that a dog's fearful behavior is somehow directed at us along with his door dashing.
MYTH: Punish dogs for growling or else they will become aggressive Dogs growl because something that is upsetting them is too close. If you punish them for informing us of this, they are still upset but now not letting us know, thus allowing scary things to get closer and possibly end up bitten. Ian Dunbar calls this removing the ticker from the time bomb. Much better to make the dog comfortable around what he is growling at so he's not motivated to make it go away in the first place.
MYTH: If you give dogs chew toys, they will learn to chew everything This is a Pandora's Box type of argument that has zero evidence to support it. Dogs are excellent discriminators and readily learn to distinguish their toys from forbidden items with minimal training. The argument is also logically flawed as chewing is a behavior that waxes and wanes depending on satiation & deprivation. Dogs without chew objects are like zoo animals in barren cages. Unless there is good compensation with other enrichment activities, there is actually a welfare issue.
MYTH: You can't modify "genetic" behavior All behavior is a product of an interplay between genes and the environment. And while some behaviors require less learning than others, or no learning at all, their modifiability varies as much as does the modifiability of behaviors that are primarily learned.
MYTH: My lovely four-legged companion's saliva will heal my wounds While a dog's saliva does contain enzymes that may aid healing, it also contains harmful bacteria that may not only make your wound worse but may also give you severe infections. Therefore, seeking the ancient remedy of a dog's healing powers is not worth the risk in today's world of omnipresent disease,causing microbes - an anti-bacterial, medicines, and bandages are infinitely better!
MYTH: Dogs respond best when you are "leader of their pack." Plenty of dog trainers have gained popularity by teaching a "pack leader" approach, which calls for people to assert dominance over their canine companions. Owen, who is certified by the Council of Professional Dog Trainers, says this method can do more harm than good, particularly if your dog is already fearful or sensitive. She adds that punishment-based training methods such as prong collars can increase a dog's stress level, leading to a more anxious pooch over time. Instead, try this: Introduce structure and routine to help dogs learn house rules. For example, she doesn't mind allowing a dog on the couch, as long as the animal heeds everyone's command for it to get down. Also, make sure everyone in the family is consistent about applying the rules. We don't need hierarchy because the dogs know we aren't dogs - we don't need to communicate in dog language, just provide rules and routine.
MYTH: My puppy will outgrow that annoying behavior No she won't. Many new pet parents accept unwanted behaviors from a puppy: like jumping up or nipping, thinking she will grow out of them. In fact, unless those behaviors are addressed, they will continue and the longer they are permitted, the stronger they may become. Don't wait for something that is never going to happen - training is the only answer to bad behavior.
MYTH: Setting limitations for a dog is cruel Limitations are something completely natural. Moreover, it is something most dogs need because of their instincts. In the wild, any pack leader will set limitations and rules for the rest of the pack. Even parents will usually set limitations for their kids in order to protect and discipline them. Don't hesitate to clearly let your dog know if there is something it is not supposed to do.
MYTH: When my dogs jumps on me, it's a sign of love and happiness It may be so, but it may also be a sign of dominant behaviour. It's not that your dog should not jump on you at all, but it should jump on you only with your permission. If this is not the case and the dog keeps jumping on you over and over again while you wouldn't like it to and you can do nothing about it, it's clearly being dominant.
MYTH: My dog understands what I tell it If you train your dog to understand certain words such as typical dog commands - to sit, lay, stay, etc,. Then, to some extent, you may say that your dog understands words. But talking about daily communication, it's not the words that dogs understand but the body language and the inner energy you emanate. If you feel fear, the dog will instantly know it. Dogs are much better mind and emotion readers than we think them to be. That's why it is important to be a confident pack leader: if you don't feel true confidence within, the dog will feel it and won't obey whatever you say. Dogs don't follow affectionate, compassionate or unsure leaders. Dogs follow confident and firm leaders.
MYTH: Anti-social and Aggressive dogs can't be rehabilitated Unfortunately, there is a number of cases when this is true but it is quite rare. Most "hopeless" dogs can be rehabilitated successfully. That will take a lot of patience, firm leadership, time and probably even professional help, but it's worth it. There nothing is impossible for a person who really cares. Dogs live in the Now, their "thoughts" are always in the Now. They have a great ability to leave past troubles behind and to move on, as long as there's a caring person beside that understands dog psychology and dog instincts.
MYTH: Love is what dogs need first of all Beyond doubt, dogs need our love. But many owners tend to unconsciously ignore or forget about other needs and instincts of the dog. First of all, all dogs need sufficient physical and mental exercise including discipline. If a dog doesn't burn its physical energy and its mind is not occupied with some kind of directed activity, the animal may become destructive, aggressive, fearful, possessive, or develop an obsession. Because of their nature, dogs primarily need physical and mental exercise, and only then love. Remember about that.
MYTH: Jealousy is a true sign of love Your dog should realize that you are free to do what you want and whenever you want. This is your privilege as a pack leader. If your dog is jealous of you, it most probably doesn't accept your leading position and considers you to be its "property". Usually, jealousy is just another form of possessive behaviour.
MYTH: I don't know why my dog is so hyper, I walk him twice a day and when he comes home, he's more excited than when I left the house! Your dog might need some serious exercise like playing with dogs at the park, running, retrieving etc, which is more than what a walk can ever provide. You can liken it to a limited walk or two as a source of exercise for a youth who should be cycling, playing sports. Some dogs were bred for their high energy and walking around the block holding a leash in one hand and tweeting with the other will not be enough. There's a reason dog walkers in this city are a busy bunch.
MYTH: Sitting Down Is Not Normal For Dogs Dogs in the wild rarely sit. Think about wolves on the TV: They are either in motion, standing or lying down and dogs are just the same in this respect. Until people teach them to sit, they don't know how.
MYTH: I had always put my hand in my dog's dish so he could trust me when he was eating, yet the other day he growled at me when I tried to take is bone away Your dog is protecting something he deems more valuable than his regular food. Over my 15 years as a trainer, this was the most common aggression I came across. While it's important to de-sensitize a dog around its food, something a dog deems more tasty - human food, pig's ears, rawhide could cause the dog to react. This could be a dominance related behavior and should be dealt with before it escalates. It is possible to teach a dog to drop what he has in its mouth and walk away so you can retrieve food or any other item safely without risking injury.
MYTH: I was thinking of getting a second dog to keep the other one company If you are getting a second dog to keep your first dog company, you are likely getting out of guilt because of your busy schedule and feel you're not meeting your dog's needs. It's also not just about getting a second dog, as it's also important the dogs are compatible. Either way you slice it, even if you have 5 dogs, it will always be about what you bring in their lives and a second dog is never a substitute for its owner.
MYTH: We believe a dog should live outside I guess my question to you is, why have a dog? I've always imagined what it's like for a dog, who craves companionship and lives to belong to a pack, what it must feel like when he's relegated to sitting in solitude while you're going on with your life. Even if you exercise the dog, the most important thing to a pack animal is reinforcing his pack instinct, which is supposed to be replaced by we humans in the form of companionship. If you don't want a dog among your family or in your home, might I suggest you volunteer with the SPCA. By the way, if your dog lives such a life, I don't want your business. if it's not good enough to live in your home with your family, get lost.
MYTH: My dog will communicate her illness to me - I don't really need to be on a constant check Even though they are domestic creatures safe in their homes, dogs still possess some of their primate instincts of surviving in the wild. Therefore, they may perceive their illness as a weakness and may try to hide it.
MYTH: Dog like wearing the AT-AT Halloween costume you bought them! On the flipside of a shared ancestry with wolves, it's possible the modern dog perceives wearing a piece of clothing as being scolded. I think about that when I think about dressing a dog in a raincoat and what that might feel like for the dog. I'm reminded of the wolf behavior where one wolf when they are kind of punishing or scolding another wolf, they will kind of stand over the other wolf, literally stand over them, taking a physically superior posture and making them be inferior. And they sort of press down on the back of the dog who's underneath them. And I wonder if wearing a tight piece of clothing would be like, "Oh, there's some kind of dominant animal around me, scolding". But that's conjecture, intentionally used to prove a point. It's crucial to understand that when it comes to our perception of dogs and how similar or not, they are to wolves, our knowledge is limited.
MYTH: Only male dogs "hump" and lift their leg to pee Nope females can do it too. Maya in fact used to regularly hump her teddy bear. This is usually something seen in female dogs that are dominant, as humping or lifting their legs to pee higher, is the same as claiming that item as theirs.
MYTH: A dog that jumps up on its owners loves them and is happy to see them Your dog might love you, but jumping up does not show that. Jumping up on people is being pushy and dominant. A submissive wolf would never jump up on the pack leader, or it would be punished. If your dog jumps up on you, seek some professional advice on how to correct this behavior.
MYTH: A dog that sits on you loves you Just like the jumping up, a dog that sits on you is actually claiming you as his. This is the same for a dog that puts its weight against you, leaning against you when it sits by your side. It is saying - "hey everyone, this human is mine, and I am in charge". Its not a good thing, and you should seek advice on how to correct this.
MYTH: Dogs eat grass when they are sick It is true that some dogs will eat grass when they are ill or nauseous. However, many dogs eat grass for other reasons including boredom, displacement behaviors, and opportunity. Some dogs just like eating grass because it is fun. This is not a problem as long as the grass has not been treated. So, as long as your dog just likes eating small amounts of grass and it does not make him sick, there is no need to stop this behavior.
MYTH: When a dog chews up shoes or destroys furniture it's because she's punishing the owner FALSE: Dogs chew on shoes, furniture and other human items not to punish their owners, but simply because it feels good on their teeth, it relieves boredom, releases energy and, in some cases, may indicate separation anxiety.
MYTH: All dogs like to be petted on their heads FALSE: While some dogs are accepting of this, not all will. Depending on a dogs' past experiences they may be hand shy. The safest way always to pet a dog is going under the chin.
MYTH: One dog year equals seven human years This generalization is not true at all. In fact, the first year of a dog's life can be equivalent to the first 12 to 14 years of a humans. A dog's age is dependent on many factors such as breed, size and genetics. The average small dog can live 15 to 18 years whereas a large or giant breed dog may only live 7 to 10 years.
MYTH: A cold wet nose means a dog is healthy Wetness, dryness, or the temperature of the dog's nose can vary with normal daily activities and is not a reliable indicator of health or illness. Changes in daily routine, activity and appetite are much more reliable indicators of how a dog is feeling.
MYTH: A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human mouth This myth probably originated from the observation when dogs lick their wounds, they seem to heal faster. The reason they heal faster is not because dogs have a clean mouth, but because the process of licking debrides away damaged tissue and stimulates blood flow which, in turn, promotes faster healing. If your dog is like mine, litter box treats are his favorite snack food. The fact the dogs do not brush their teeth twice a day and 80 to 90% of dogs over three years of age have some form of periodontal disease, it is unlikely your dog's mouth is cleaner than yours.
Dogs will grow out of bad behaviour It's tempting to hope that unruly puppies will settle down as they grow older, but you have a much more realistic chance of your puppy becoming a well-behaved dog if you teach them to be well-behaved. There's plenty of great advice online about how to effectively and humanely train your dog, but if you need some extra help investing in some obedience classes will pay off in the future.
Behaviour is all down to breed While it's true that different breeds were developed for specific purposes it would be incorrect to say that every dogs' behaviour is solely down to their breed. Their upbringing has a large part to play in their personality and behaviour, so don't assume that a dog belonging to a breed typically associated with being friendly and calm doesn't have the potential to be aggressive and anti-social if you be aggressive and anti-social if you don't teach them to behave around humans and other dogs with sufficient care and training. That doesn't mean that as a parent you should avoid breeds that aren't so good with children - you just can't expect dogs to develop certain traits based on their breed alone.
Jumping up on your lap While your dog might do this because they want to show you affection, it can also be a sign of dominant behaviour. If you are happy for your dog to sit with you, make sure you teach it to stay first and wait for your command to join you, otherwise it might start demonstrating more problematic signs of dominant behaviour.
Chasing tails You probably think that a dog chasing its own tail is completely harmless - and in some cases you'd be right. Many dogs chase their tails because it's fun, or because they like the attention it gets from amused humans - but sometimes it can be a sign that something is wrong. Dogs may chase their tail because of discomfort caused by worms or fleas, while a dog that is suffering from separation anxiety or trauma may start tail chasing as a compulsive disorder. While it may be that your pet is perfectly happy, if you notice your dog constantly chasing its tail and looking distressed while doing so, a visit to the vet will make sure it isn't in any danger.
MYTH: Dogs Can't See Flat-Screen TVs It is often thought that dogs are completely unable to see images on flat screen TVs due to their various experience of vision. However, this is not exactly correct. CRT TVs - the old-fashioned typ, produce the images at about 24 frames per second, which appears as a moving image. This is because we have flicker fusion frequency - the number of frames we have to see in one second to see a film continues without flicker of 16-20 frames per second. In dogs, this flicker fusion frequency is much higher, it is around 40-80 frames per second. when the dogs are watching CRT TVs, they can see lots of flickering But it is needed to understand about the modern TVs. The myth that the dogs are unable to perceive the images on flat TVs is almost definitely false because the number of frames produced in one second is much higher than the rate produced by old-fashioned TVs, this is understood that they can able to perceive something.
MYTH: Bad behaviour should be punished We have also briefly mentioned this misconception in our article on how to educate a puppy. The most obvious way to get a dog to understand that they are doing something wrong is to punish them right? Wrong! It's been proven over and over again that dogs do not understand punishment, if they do stop misbehaving it is due to fear of their owner, not to the understanding that a particular action is wrong. Although dogs should learn a keyword like "no" for the owner to use in case of misbehaving, they should be educated with positive reinforcement, by being given a treat or encouragement when they do something right.
MYTH! All dogs like to be petted on their heads Some dogs do like to be petted on their heads but many do NOT.
MYTH! Only male dogs will "hump" or lift their leg to urinate This is not true. Female dogs, especially dominant female dogs, will lift their leg to urinate and "hump" other dogs or objects. This can be true even in spayed female dogs.
MYTH! Dogs will let you know when they are sick This is not true. Dogs generally are very good at hiding that they are sick by survival instinct, thus not to appear vulnerable to "prey". Often by the time they show you that they are sick, their disease or condition is quite advanced.
MYTH! Dogs hate mail carriers Most dogs are protective of their family and their home, and the dog recognizes the mail carrier as a stranger who needs to keep a distance. Unless you have had the same mail carrier for years and your dog has had a chance to socialize with him or her, expect a bark.
MYTH! My dog should tolerate anything my children do The reality is that young children often do not know how to interact with dogs in a caring considerate manner. Allowing children to sit on dogs, pull on their body, hit them with toys, disturb them while they eat may actually teach children the wrong lessons. Dogs are living, breathing, emotional beings that need to be treated kindly and with respect.
MYTH! Dogs that destroy the house when home alone are being spiteful Dogs that go to the bathroom indoors bark and are destructive when home alone are most likely suffering from separation anxiety. They are unable to relax and be calm when separated from their human family. They need a behavior modification plan, treatment and perhaps medication to learn how to be home alone.
MYTH! All dogs hate cats! While it's true some dogs may give chase and the cat may hiss and flick a paw or two, this myth is false and easy to disprove.
MYTH! Dogs prefer to be outside rather than being cooped up in the house all day By nature, dogs are pack animals. They'd prefer to be with their pack. Since you are a part of that pack, that means that they'd rather be wherever you are. If you are outside, they will want to be outside. If you sre inside, they will want to be inside. Of course, you can't have your dog with you all the time, such as when you are at work or at the grocery store. So why not have him outside while you are away? In truth, most dogs behave better when they are inside. When outside and on their own, many dogs are prone to barking, whining and digging. Your home is your dog's den and, further, it smells like you. It's often comforting for him in a way that being left outside can't be. In fact, your dog may believe he is being banished from the den if forced to stay outside.
MYTH! Putting a dog in a crate is cruel Dogs are not only pack animals by nature, they are also den animals. When used properly, most dogs come to love their crates. You may have noticed that your dog likes to lie beneath your dining room table or other confined spaces, and the crate isn't all that different. Both resemble a den. Crates can be a great training tool, particularly when housetraining puppies. Puppies don't like to soil where they sleep, so they learn to control themselves until they are let out. It's important to remember that puppies should not be left in crates for more than 3 or 4 hours without being let out to go to the bathroom, and it's best to use the crate with the intention of ultimately weaning your dog off of it.
Crates can also be used as a comforting personal space for your dog, a place where you can tell him to go to as needed. This can be handy in a number of different training situations, such as when dealing with dogs who bark excessively or dogs who are afraid of thunder. It can also be good if your dog needs a timeout from a situation like when visitors come to the house. There are some dogs who do best being crated when left alone to keep them from behaving destructively. You can keep your furniture and other items from being chewed or otherwise destroyed, but you will also keep your dog safer. Again, keep in mind that dogs need plenty of opportunities to be let out to go to the bathroom and get some exercise.
MYTH: Dogs need to be shown who's boss While this is true to some degree, there is often a misconception concerning how to go about it. The key to showing your dog that you are the boss is to be his leader. Your dog needs to respect and trust you. That doesn't occur if you try to show him that you are boss by hitting or otherwise physically punishing him or by yelling at him. Remember that you need to be fair. You must show your dog what to do and how to behave, and you must praise and reward him when he does well. In fact, positive reinforcement - rewarding your dog's good behavior rather than punishing his bad behavior - is often the best and most successful approach to training. Using forceful or aggressive training methods can lead to behavior problems and, worse, fear biting.
MYTH: My dog knows he's being naughty Your dog can only know that he's being naughty if you have taught him what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is not. If you have taught him well, he will behave well. Barking, digging, chewing and other similar behaviors may be undesirable in your eyes, but they are normal, instinctual behaviors for dogs. Your dog doesn't automatically know that these behaviors are not allowed and it's up to you to teach him, otherwise he won't have a clue what naughty is or isn't. Part of this is understanding where undesirable behaviors come from, particularly if they start up suddenly. Often times, dogs become bored or frustrated with being left alone and will exhibit destructive behaviors. In this case, make sure your dog has plenty of social time with you. Further, exercise can help a number of behavior problems. Obedience classes can help as well.
Many owners say that their dog looks guilty when they have come home and found that he is done something bad. They think that because he looks guilty, he knows that he's been naughty. This isn't true. If you have come home to find that your dog has been naughty, you most likely react by getting mad, getting angry, yelling, etc. Your dog may appear "guilty" in response, but in truth he is only reacting to your emotions and your body language. Unless you are able to catch him in the act of his bad behavior, he can't connect your yelling and being angry with that bad thing he did ten minutes ago or two hours ago. He just knows that you are upset and he's scared by it. If you do this often, you are only teaching your dog to be scared of you and to distrust you. He may then appear "guilty" when you come home because he's learned that you coming home is a scary thing.
MYTH: Some dogs have jaws that lock All dogs have the same facial muscles and structurem none has locking jaws. All dogs can be taught to be gentle - to release on command.
MYTH: If a dog scoots - drags his anus across the floor, he has worms Although dogs with tapeworms will scoot due to the itchiness of the worm segments, not all scooting dogs have worms. Allergies, diarrhoea, or stuffed anal glands, can cause this behaviour.
MYTH: Dogs are great judges of people, so if a dog doesn't like someone, it must mean there is something wrong with that person Total False. In the majority of cases, dogs who react aggressively or fearfully to a person are not doing so out of a negative moral evaluation of the individual, but are responding out of their own self-preservation. With that said, there have been plenty of circumstances where pets have used an apparent sixth sense to pick up on cues that went unseen by their human and actually saved their human's life. However, the majority of dogs I see in my training practice are unfriendly with a person because they are reacting out of fear to a certain physical attribute, movement or the physical proximity of a person, and are not reacting based on any moral evaluation of the individual.
MYTH: If your dog eats his faeces, he has worms Many dogs eat faeces, theirs or another's. It is not necessarily a sign of intestinal parasites. Many mother dogs will do this to clean her newborn puppies and some pets will do it as an attention getting behaviour. The problem may also be poor nutrition and a learned habit.
MYTH: Dogs misbehave out of spite If you come home from work to find your favorite pair of shoes destroyed, it may be easy to think your dog is punishing you for being away or simply just being spiteful. But dogs aren't capable of acting out of spite or revenge. If your dog is destructive while you are away, he's probably just anxious or bored. Try providing him with a fun activity to keep him entertained, like a puzzle feeder.
MYTH: If your dog cowers when people approach, she was probably abused before you got her There are loads of possible reasons for a dog to cower beyond a history of abuse. For example, she may not have been properly, or genetics may be a factor. She could have learned to duck away from people trying to grab her collar, or she may simply dislike having her head or ears handled. Work with your veterinarian, veterinary behaviorist or certified trainer to try to identify the cause of the cowering, especially if your dog shows any signs of aggression, such as growling or baring her teeth. Depending on the cause, you may try changing the way you and other humans in her life, by getting into a kneeling position with your body turned to the side. Then invite her to approach you and reward her when she does.
MYTH: If your dog doesn't enjoy being around other dogs, there's something wrong with her Invalid. Like humans, some dogs are while others prefer solitude or just a few friendly, familiar faces and there's nothing wrong with that. The reasons for a dog preferring to avoid other canines are myriad, but the breed can play a big role, as can a lack of socialization during her early months or just personal preference.
MYTH: Your dog doesn't listen, because she's trying to show you that she's in charge Your dog doesn't listen, because she's trying to show you that she is in charge. Smart as they are, dogs just don't have the same complex emotions as we do. It's more likely that your dog's not doing what you are asking, because she doesn't understand what you want or because you are not providing the proper motivation. If the payoff isn't worth it, she's likely to hold off on doing the behavior until you make it worth her while.
MYTH: Your dog is punishing you when she chews up things like shoes and furniture Nope. Chewing is a natural behavior that feels good on the dog's gums, plus it alleviates anxiety and lack of stimulation while releasing energy - that's more likely her motivation for mauling your Manolos. In some cases, destructive chewing can also indicate Separation Anxiety, though, so if it happens frequently, talk to your vet. Chewing inappropriate items can also lead to gastrointestinal obstructions, so it's better to give your dog more appropriate chew toys and lock up your shoes if you can't be there to supervise.
MYTH: When your dog misbehaves, it's always your fault Untrue. A dog might misbehave for any number of reasons, like a lack of proper socialisation or preventive training, or the dog's genetic tendencies. Dog owners are often well-meaning but misinformed, so it's important for owners of misbehaving dogs to set aside any feelings of guilt or shame, and work with a pet professional to learn proper and focus on postive reinforcement methods, while getting the good dog behaviors they want.
MYTH: You Should Let Dogs "Fight It Out" If you see two of your dogs fighting, should you simply let them continue and solve the problem themselves? Most often not, however you should not typically attempt to put yourself in between two fighting dogs, as you might get hurt. Depending on the level of the fight and your willingness to intervene, you can try to separate the dogs by grabbing their rear ends and quickly pulling them away from each other. You can also use your foot to push away the rib cage of one dog - do not kick the dog, simply use your foot to put space in between the two fighting dogs. You can also try to stop the fight using distraction techniques, such as a loud noise or even opening a bag of treats. Other distraction techniques to break up a dog fight include:
What Makes Your Dog Tick? There are many ways you can gain increased understanding about your dog's behavior and methods of communication. For instance, simply observing your dog's tail can reveal many clues about her emotional state:
A tail held high is a sign of confidence or alertness. The dog will release more of her scent from her anal glands this way, thus making her presence known.
A tail held high and wagging is often a sign of happiness with a relaxed facial expression.
A tail held horizontal to the ground can mean your dog is exploring.
A dog that tucks her tail between her legs or wags it low to the ground and quickly may be showing you that she's nervous, anxious, insecure or feeling shy - the tucked-in position also prevents her scent from being released. Dogs can also be identified by their barks and bark differently in different contexts, essentially producing a variety of bark subtypes that may act as specific forms of communication. For many pet owners, simply observing their dog closely will reveal whether he is hungry, lonely or excited to play.
MYTH: You should always go through the door before your dog It is based on the myth that if a dog goes through the door before you then he is trying to dominate you but in reality he is just excited to see what is other the other side of the door.
MYTH: Dogs that chase their tail are having fun In reality they are stressed and performing an OCD behaviour. They often catch they tail resulting in the need for a partial amputation.
MYTH: My dog loves it when little Johnny rides on his back This seems to be based on the idea that because the dog has not bitten little Johnny then he must be having a great time. In reality he is probably just suffering little Johnny and his breaking point is not far off at which point he will bite.
MYTH: Dogs are great judges of people, so if a dog doesn't like someone, it must mean there is something wrong with that person FALSE: In the majority of cases, dogs who react aggressively or fearfully to a person are not doing so out of a negative moral evaluation of the individual, but are responding out of their own self-preservation. With that said, there have been plenty of circumstances where pets have used an apparent sixth sense to pick up on cues that went unseen by their human and actually saved their human's life. However, the majority of dogs I see in my training practice are unfriendly with a person because they are reacting out of fear to a certain physical attribute, movement or the physical proximity of a person, and are not reacting based on any moral evaluation of the individual. A dog will attack a stranger mainly out of fear or fright that the person may cause physical harm to them. This they read from the person's body language.
Are the Feet Red, Swollen, or Crusty/Flaky? This could be indicative of a local irritant, such as deicer or inflammation/infection from bacterial, fungal and/or parasitic sources. Even if the inciting cause is no longer present, constant licking and chewing can become a self-propagating cycle of continued trauma to the skin and continued inflammation - a condition also known as pyotraumatic dermatitis.
Are There Any Irregular Lumps or Bumps? Cysts or other growths or small abscesses can occur, causing discomfort and licking.
Dry Skin Dry skin can be as uncomfortable for a dog as it is for a human. The dry air that comes with winter can cause your dog's skin to dry out. If your dog's diet does not contain enough fatty acids that help moisturize and protect his skin, that could be a cause of dryness. When your dog's skin is dry, it becomes itchy or irritated, and your dog may bite at his paws because of the discomfort. Unfortunately, when your dog is biting and licking at his skin, this can cause the dry skin to become chapped, making him even more uncomfortable.
Something Is Stuck If your four-legged buddy is outside a lot without his doggie shoes, chances are pretty good he may be chewing at his paw because something got stuck between his toes during the last outing. If it is winter time with ice and snow on the ground, perhaps a small chunk of frozen stuff or salt got stuck. In fall, spring or summer months, a small stone or twig might be lodged where the movement of walking just did not force it out. Your pup may just be using his teeth to remove something that shouldn't be there.
Fungal Infections Yeast organisms (fungi) are normally found on your dog's paws, but an underlying condition can cause them to multiply and cause problems. Licking excessively is a tell-tale sign of a yeast infection, Levitzke says, along with red nail beds, a reaction to salivary enzymes. Other symptoms include itching, redness and discharge. Yeast infections are often secondary to allergy, the doctors say, with the most likely culprit atopic dermatitis. However, environmental or food allergies also could be to blame. The vast majority of dog paw problems are skin problems that are worse at the feet. Your vet can test the area to determine if yeast is the culprit and treat the infection with topical products, antifungal wipes and shampoos. If these treatments don't do the trick, the underlying allergy may need to be addressed with antihistamines, steroids or anti-itch medications, Levitzke says. If a food allergy is suspected, elimination diets, where ingredients are taken out and then added back in can help identify the trigger. Ringworm, a fungus found in soil or brought in from other animals, plants or from dog parks, also can infect your dog's feet, and is not actually a worm or a ring. It can look like a swollen toe or an abscess. Your vet will examine a sample of hair or skin under a microscope or send it to a lab for diagnosis. You can treat ringworm and prevent its spread with medicated bath products and a thorough cleaning of your dog's environment. Ringworm is contagious and may spread to humans or other pets.
Bacterial Infections Like yeast, bacterial organisms also are normally found on your dog's paws, but a secondary health condition can cause them to multiply excessively. Symptoms include licking/biting, redness, swelling, pain/itching and abscess. Your vet can take a sample tissue from the affected area and evaluate it to determine if bacteria are the problem and, if so, prescribe either oral or topical antibiotics and antibacterial shampoos and soaks.
Ingrown Toenails Nails that are not trimmed properly or naturally worn down by walking outside can become painful ingrown toenails. Your vet can treat them with antibiotics and pain medication, but severely ingrown nails might have to be surgically resected.
Torn Toenails A torn nail is common in the emergency room, Levitzke says, often after a tussle with another dog or a paw snags on carpeting or other material. When the entire nail has been pulled off, take your dog to the vet for immediate treatment to stop bleeding and manage pain. Antibiotics also might be prescribed. If the nail has been incompletely removed, the treatment would be to remove the remaining bit.
Burns Hot asphalt can hurt your dog's paws, and burns need to be treated immediately. Bandaging usually is required as a protective barrier on the skin or paw pad affected. Antibiotics and pain medication are also typically indicated.
Frostbite Think of frostbite as a cold burn. As with burns from hot asphalt or pavement, these injuries need immediate veterinary attention. Treatment for frostbite includes bandaging, pain control and anti-infection measures. Avoid this injury by limiting your dog's exposure to the elements.
Winter Salt Prevention is the best way to avoid these injuries. Put booties on your dog's feet and use dog-safe salt. If your dog does get salt on his paws, wipe it off with a towel/paper towelsIt tends to burn particularly when the paw pads with salt on them touch the snow, so try to avoid walking through salt and then snow, or wipe off feet between getting salt on them and walking through the snow.
Ticks One of the more common places ticks hiding is between the toes. It is best to have a veterinary medical professional remove the tick. Never take a lit or recently lit match to the tick. If you can't get to the vet, use tweezers to grip the tick from the head and gently pull it out. The head must become detached along with the body for successful removal. Pet supply stores also sell special tick-removal tools.
Mites Mites such as Demodex canis can present a frustrating problem and require a deep skin scrape or a biopsy to diagnose. These mites can cause Demodicosis in which the mites that normally live in your dog's hair follicles multiply and cause swelling, hair loss and scaling on your dog's paws. Your vet will examine hair or skin samples under a microscope to accurately diagnose the condition, which is treated with medication, sometimes for several months.
Hairy Feet Dogs with lots of hair on their feet can catch gum, sticky asphalt, burrs and thorns in crevices, which can be hard to find and painful to remove. Prevent these problems by having the hair clipped by your groomer. Ingrown hairs manifest in short-haired dogs as tiny pimples and can lead to furunculosis, an infection deep in the hair follicle that can abscess and cause tissue damage.
Itchy Feet Fleas biting the tender skin between your dog's toes can cause itching similar to what humans experience with mosquito bites. According to the licking triggers section of the website Dog Paw Licking, pesticides and other lawn and garden products applied in areas where your four-legged friend is hanging out with you could be causing the skin of his feet to have an allergic reaction. Inside the house, floor cleaning products aimed at removing dirt and grime also have enzymatic agents that can irritate the skin of a dog's paws. Regularly washing your dog's feet to remove irritants might help reduce allergic reactions he wants to handle by chewing at his paws.
Wound or Injury Again, this goes back to the dog's natural instinct to use his mouth to cure anything that ails him. Dogs lick their wounds, and the same applies to an injury on a paw. Perhaps a minor cut or abrasion went unnoticed by his human companion and Fido has resorted to using his own saliva as a cure. Trouble is, a dog's mouth and teeth are chock-full of bacteria that aren't healthy for the broken skin usually caused by paw chewing. According to Mar Vista Veterinary Clinic, the wound resulting from excessive licking or gnawing is called a lick granuloma. It is a raised ulcerated area that is basically raw exposed skin. When a wound gets to this point, antibacterial treatment administered by a veterinarian is necessary.
Just Bored or Stressed According to VetInfo, some veterinarians theorize that some dogs develop the habit of licking or gnawing on their paws to keep themselves occupied or to keep their minds off stressful or painful situations. It's like the human equivalent to chewing your nails. Maybe it's a self-soothing method. Maybe your dog is just bored and perhaps if you give him a new toy, he'll gnaw on that instead.
Mental Therapy According to VetInfo, the paw licking and gnawing easily becomes a vicious circle that a dog cannot seem to escape. Addiction to the behavior easily develops, as the release of stress-reducing endorphins that the dog has experienced in the past provides a sort of mental reward to the dog. Finding a replacement for that "high" is necessary. Options include toys or food treats. Having the dog wear socks can reduce his direct tactile contact with what his feet touch, thus reducing awareness of his feet. The only struggle with that, according to Dog Paw Licking, is that socks come off quickly. Also, some socks are colored with dyes that are just as irritating. Mar Vista Veterinary Clinic offers some recommendations for medications such as doggie Prozac.
Paw Bath A daily paw cleansing can remove allergens from your dog's paws. Fill a small container with a few inches of lukewarm water and add enough povidone-iodine to make it look like fresh-brewed iced tea. Dip each paw in the solution for two to five minutes. Wipe his feet dry with an old towel and he is all done. Do this once a day.
Distraction If you suspect your dog is licking his feet out of boredom, try distracting him. Give him a toy, treat or lots of attention whenever he starts licking. Make sure he's getting plenty of exercise. Interactive toys for times when he's alone serve as a good distraction; toys filled with treats that require a lot of work for him to reach the treat are ideal.
Ointment Sometimes a good ointment is just what your dog needs, especially if the pads on his paws are dry and cracked or there's a cut or abrasion. A triple-antibiotic ointment is a good choice. Put bandaging over the ointment and distract your dog so he won't be tempted to rip off the bandage.
Food. Food allergies can show up as skin irritation, and low-quality diets can leave your buddy with dry, itchy skin, which can also cause licking around his paws. It can be hard to pinpoint a food allergy and usually requires help from a vet. If you suspect food might be giving your dog problems, transition him to a high-quality diet that doesn't contain common allergens such as wheat, corn, soy or chicken.
Pest Control Fleas, ticks and mites can make your dog itch like crazy. Usually he will itch everywhere, and not just on his feet, but an infestation can cause excessive foot licking. Treat your dog with a flea bath, dip, powder or a spot-on solution. Be sure and treat his bedding and living area as well, so he doesn't get re-infested after the treatment.
SWOLLEN DOG PAWS CARE by WWW.PETMD.COM Swollen paws in the dog, or more commonly, one swollen paw, is a relatively common injury, as most dogs do a lot of moving around on different types of surfaces in the course of their average day! In some cases, the cause will be clear, such as a thorn embedded in the foot, but in other cases, it is not so easy to work out! Swollen paws in the dog may be due to a minor problem or something more sinister, and so it is worth learning more about how to check the paws, narrow down potential problems and find out what to do next. We will cover these factors in more detail within this article.
Common Causes of Swollen Dog Paws Allergies.
Sore paws from too much exertion on hard surfaces.
Burns to the paws from walking on a hot road.
Damage such as a broken toe.
Stings from wasps or bees.
Tumours between the toes.
Injuries such as a foreign body being lodged in the paw.
How many paws are swollen? First things first, getting to the root of the problem can be simplified a lot by doing some deductions based on how many paws are affected. One swollen paw is likely to mean a foreign body in the paw, injury to one paw, or possibly, that their paw has been stung by a wasp or a bee. Check the claws too, as a damaged nail can also lead to swelling, and it is also important to search between the toes for any signs of a tumour or other problem. If both of the front paws are swollen but the rear paws appear ok, your dog may be suffering from an allergy that is causing them to lick, chew and otherwise bother the paws. If your dog has sore spots or other itchy areas on their body, this is the most likely culprit. If all four paws are affected, check out the pads of the paws to see if they may have become burnt from walking on a hot road, or abraded and sore from too much exercise on hard surfaces. Take special note if your dog is also coughing, which may seem to be unrelated, but in combination with swollen paws may be an indication of a heart problem.
How to Deal with Swollen Dog Paws? Working out what has caused the swelling is the key to resolving the issue, and will tell you whether or not it is something minor that you can manage at home, or if your dog will need to visit the vet. Foreign bodies that are lodged in the paw but that have not broken the skin, or that have not caused a deep injury, may be removable at home. Then, washing and cleaning the paw and keeping an eye out for infection will usually be sufficient. If your dog's paws are swollen due to overexertion, allowing your dog to relax and recover fully, and avoiding high impact or long walks on hard ground in future should help. You may also want to consider soaking your dog's feet in an Epsom salt solution too. If your dog is suffering from allergies, you will need to speak to your vet to get help to narrow down the culprit, and work out how to proceed. If your dog's paws smell cheesy or yeasty, they may have developed a fungal infection, and again, your vet can prescribe a treatment. If your dog's paws are sore due to burns from walking on a hot surface, you may be able to cool them down and wait for your dog to recover at home by soaking their feet. However, if the paws are abraded, bright red or weeping, you will need to go to the vet. Don't ignore sore paws if you cannot find out the cause; there may be something serious amiss, and you should always contact your vet for advice if you are at all uncertain.
DOG CHEWING HABITS... Foot licking can simply be a habit-formed behavior that occurs when the dog is relaxing, stressed, or bored. Some dogs even chew at their nails with this type of behavior. Depending on what your veterinarian finds on examination, treatment to stop this behavior will be aimed at the underlying cause. For cases of allergy or infection, there are medications and/or dietary changes that can be made to assist with the problem. In situations where pain is the underlying cause, that should be dealt with directly to alleviate the licking. Growths or abscesses are usually treated surgically. It is also important to be vigilant about environmental hazards to feet, such as deicing compounds in the winter and hot pavement tar in the summer. For difficult cases, a visit to a veterinary dermatologist or university veterinary teaching hospital may be in order. Behavioral modification to stop paw licking and chewing, like any behavioral modification, takes time, patience and consistency. There are several topical products that can be used to discourage this sort of behavior. Physical restraint, such as an e-collar, is also sometimes used for medical conditions to allow the foot or paw to heal and thus alleviate the urge to lick. Distraction is also a good technique: playing games, offering other toys and incentives to keep your dog occupied, coupled with positive reinforcement, will help break the cycle. If additional behavior help is needed, consider working with a specialist in veterinary behavior.
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Even though we love our pets, their behavior sometimes needs improvement. It's never their objective to annoy; it's just that they haven't yet learned (or have forgotten) the proper way to act. If you believe your pet could benefit from etiquette lessons, know that it's not difficult to teach a dog or cat to behave better. To make the most of your relationship with your pet, teach good habits using:
Practice Once you decide on a behavior to focus on, give your pet plenty of opportunities to practice it. Try it at different times of day, in different situations, even in different locations around the house.
Praise Animals love to be adored and told how good they are. When yours masters a new habit, praise him or her in an enthusiastic voice. Use the pet's name and say how wonderful they are. Pat them on the head or scratch your pupil behind the ears as you praise.
Rewards Who doesn't like a cookie - even if it's in the form of a dried fish morsel, for a cat? Accompany your praise with a treat. Even a small piece communicates how proud you are.
Important Habits to Learn ComeThe best time to teach a cat is before mealtime. Call her name right before you reach for the kibble or can opener. With repetition, she will start to believe that hearing her name means to make a beeline for you. Away from the kitchen, call her name and have a reward like a sliver of tuna or chicken. Repeat. Similarly, with a dog you can use food and practice, praise and reward.
Go - When placed in a clean litter box, most cats figure out what to do. With a kitten, gently take her paw and use it to scrape the litter. If instinct doesn't take over, keep her in a confined space with the box until she uses it. Clean and repeat. With dogs, it's all about timing and crate training helps, too. And remember to praise and reward good behavior with enthusiasm.
Be a Good Traveler - Whether you need to take your pet to the veterinarian down the street, or on a trip around the world, good behavior can make travel less stressful for everyone. To keep your pet and others safe, make sure that you have an appropriate restraint or carrier for your pet. Make test runs to get your pet accustomed to leaving the house. On a trip, allow time to stop and provide water and a bathroom break.
Leave It - Pets are naturally curious, and dogs in particular are scavengers. To convince yours to give up something he finds that's toxic or potentially dangerous, teach him that the "Leave it" command is always followed by a tastier reward.
Don't Pull - Walking even a small dog can pull you off balance, so it's important to control your pet rather than the other way around. With the dog on your left, walk quickly, talking to the dog as you go. Stop, treat, and go and make every walk a training session until your dog consistently keeps pace with you.
Getting daily exercise - Your dog adores getting outside for a nice long stroll, and so should you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking) every week for adults ages 18 to 64, and for adults 65 plus with no limiting health conditions. "If you can walk two miles in 30 minutes, that's a pretty good pace," says Raul Seballos, vice chair of preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. The best way to mimic your pup? Bring her with you when you walk. That's because dog walkers are 34 percent more likely to meet federal benchmarks for physical activity, a recent study found. If you'd rather swim, bike, or hit the gym, go for it, Just do something you enjoy.
Having meals reliably prepared and served. - When you feed your dog, you serve him using his special bowl, the same amount, every day. When you dine, you should control your own portions, too. "The last thing you want to do is put big serving dishes out,". That's because you'll likely keep eating (and overeating) from the dishes on the table just because they're there. A better solution? "Be aware of what you're eating and plan in advance,"
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So, you got a new four-legged family member and you have noticed some weird things going on while your new canine friend is sleeping. Do not be alarmed. Although these things can be an indicator that your dog is in pain or is having some other health issues in some situations, be assured that the probability is that everything is okay. Normal to the experienced dog owners and dogs themselves unaware of the situation, some things your dog does while sleeping are just downright strange.
Why Does My Dog Walk in a Circle Before Lying Down? Your dog's ancestors slept in the wild and probably trampled down a "nest" of grass, leaves, or snow to sleep in. When your dog circles before lying down, he's displaying this ancestral tendency, which is basically a way to get comfortable and feel safe. Your dog may also dig or scratch at your couch or carpet prior to lying down. This, too, is an ancestral behavior, as wild dogs dig holes to lie in. The hole help keeps dogs cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Most dogs only circle a few times before getting comfortable. If your dog seems to circle endlessly and has trouble settling down, this could be a sign of arthritis or a neurological problem and should be checked out by a veterinarian.
Shiver However it may sound strange, brainwave patterns of sleeping dogs and people are pretty much the same. Dogs pass through the same series of sleep cycles as humans. They also have vivid dreams occurring during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage, which, according to some experts, may vary from the size of your pet. Allegedly, the frequency of REM cycles occur depends upon the size of your dog: small dogs may have dreams every 10 minutes but large dogs have fewer dreams that last longer. This is when your dog's legs start twitching and his eyes darting around behind closed lids. Relax, everything's fine. All mammals dream and when they enter REM sleep, a section of the brain stem kicks in to partially paralyze their muscles. Thankfully, this prevents them from physically acting out their dreams. Shivering is no cause for alarm.
Cry Crying also occurs during the REM sleep, the deepest stage of sleep. However this stage may be deep, it's the one in which you pet becomes active. It's important to remember not to wake your dog up when they cry in their sleep, no matter how tempting it may be or how worried and sad you may be.
REM sleep is an indication of healthy brain growth, and it will occur less and less as your pup grows older. Nightmares are a beneficial thing actually, because they serve to help us avoid dangerous situations during the day and help us get rid of our fears, at least partially. Dogs are no strangers to this.
Whimper Scientists have found that, just like people, dogs actually dream while they sleep. Not all animals dream, but dogs are definitely one of those which do. Scientists discovered that when asleep, dogs have nearly the exact same brain waves as sleeping people do, with the same areas of the brain lighting up. This explains why dogs are vocal while they sleep. Like humans, they are simply expressing some small outward reaction to the dream their mind has thought up for them.
Bark This one may be the most annoying one for the dog owner. Your beloved pet is just dreaming, and sure, it may be a bad dream but it also may be a good one. Not all barks are bad. Remember that that's the way canines communicate, among other ways. Sure, your pup may be dreaming about defending from a vicious predator but it also may be dreaming of nice things like play time with other dogs, chasing birds and greeting you at the mere glimpse of your silhouette down the street. Like in most cases, just let your dog dream, the barking although annoying will stop shortly.
Crawl Under The Covers Whether or not your dog at bedtime may just be a matter of preference. Animal behaviorist Dr. Brenda Forsythe says experts theories for this behavior range from a dog's need to feel companionship while sleeping with a human "pack member" to an evolutionary behavior from when wild dogs raised their puppies in small, dark dens. Crawling under the covers may actually be more common in breeds that were bred to burrow, like.
Curl Up Many dogs curl up like a caterpillar when they sleep, even when they've got plenty of room to stretch out. It might seem uncomfortable, but it's a cozy, secure position for dogs, sort of like the "fetal position" for humans. In the wild, dogs dig a nest and curl up in a ball for warmth to sleep. This not only conserves body heat, it also protects the bulk of their organs from predators. Many dogs particularly enjoy having a blanket to "dig" in and curl up on or under. If your dog often sleeps stretched out, it means he's either hot or very secure in his surroundings.
Twitch During sleep, dogs go through three stages: NREM (non-rapid eye movement), REM (rapid eye movement) and SWS (short-wave sleep). Like in the SWS stage of sleep, when dogs breathe heavily, the REM stage also has particular movements to it. In this stage your four-legged friends act on their dreams by twitching or moving all four paws. Dogs that stretch out when they sleep are more relaxed than those who sleep all curled up, so they are more prone to twitching in their sleep. Twitching in their sleep can be funny and cute to the owner, but also stressful if the owner doesn't know what's going on. Your lovely family member is probably dreaming of running freely and having fun, so there's no need for worry. It has been noticed that young puppies and senior dogs tend to move more in their sleep and to dream more than adult dogs, for reasons yet unknown.
Growl This occurrence is not as annoying as barking, because it's not as loud, but it's not the most pleasant of all "dog dreams" side effects. Dogs mostly dream about their favorite activities. Although most people understandably associate a growling dog with an aggressive dog, this doesn't have to be the case. Sure, growling can be an "unmistakable warning sign" that tells other beings to "back off," but canine specimens can also growl when they're frightened or defensive and they also often engage in play and growling. Do not be afraid that your pooch has an alter-ego developing in their sleep. Everything's OK.
Shake Shaking takes a bit more serious note. There are many possible reasons of your beloved canine shaking in their sleep. These reasons can range from completely normal dream state to a serious, life threatening condition. If you think that your pooch has the case of the later, take him or her to the vet. The mere sight of your beloved dog shake during his or her sleep is disturbing for the dog owner, and mostly because they are unsure of what is causing it and whether or not the dog is in pain. The safest way to find out of course is to get a checkup. There are several health conditions that cause a dog to shake during sleep: the non-alarming Rapid Eye Movement (REM), and the health-regarding Epileptic Seizures and Ballistocardiogenic Tremor.
Muscle Spasms Muscle spasms during sleep are not pleasant for dogs as they are not pleasant for humans. When it comes to our four-legged friends, they happen because of bad dreams, and they are totally normal. However, if they get really bad, you should consult your vet. You should also take a moment to think did you feed your dog anything new lately, and has he or she been eating before bedtime? If the answers are "yes," then take the food into consideration as a reason for the muscle spasms. It's maybe what they are eating that is causing the nightmares. If it can happen to humans, it can happen to dogs, but check with the vet to be on the safe side.
Kicking Kicking is a side-effect of your dog's dreams. During a dream, the brain cuts the connection to the parts that control movements in order to stop the dreamer from physically acting out the dreams, and thus quite possibly, keeping the body safe. But of course, that disconnection isn't perfect - It's the same things with dogs as it is with humans. You probably noticed that your very own legs twitch as you start to dream. Dogs also have the same mechanism, so a kick or two are not alarming, despite the fact that they may seem strange and shocking to the watchful human eye. However, if the movements get excessive and a lot more aggressive than before, maybe your dog's disconnect mechanism is faltering or maybe he's just getting more deep sleep and dreaming more. If your pet is getting hurt in the process, consult a vet.
Sleep Run The most shocking and unusual of all doggy things regarding sleep, sleep running is the most normal one of them all. It is important for the owner to restrain himself or herself from waking the dog up, because it can cause a slight chaotic moment in the pet's brain. Sleep running is a perfectly normal thing dogs do while in the REM stage of sleep. Your dog is running freely in the safety of his or her own mind, and there is no need to be alarmed. It's just the case of the above mentioned disconnection. Owners who have more experience with dogs love this sort of thing so typical for dogs, because it's usually a really funny, cute experience. Of course, try not to laugh so loudly, so your beloved pooch won't get an unpleasant, distressing wake-up call.
General Guidelines for Correcting Your Pet's Misbehavior When trying to break a dog's bad habits, the owner must take into account the importance of avoiding having his dog's misbehavior reinforced by his actions. The owner must correct his own behavior first before attempting to create changes in his dog's habits. If the owner does things to encourage the dog's misbehavior, it is not surprising that the dog doesn't learn that his actions are displeasing for his owner. For example, if the owner wants his dog to stop barking, the animal won't ever cease with this behavior if the owner gives the dog what he wants as a result of his barking. Indulging in your dog's inappropriate demands will only reinforce his bad habits.
An owner should always be consistent in trying to break his dog's bad habits. If you prompt your dog to do a certain thing one day, and in the next you completely forget about it, you will only succeed in confusing your dog and getting mixed signals is not compatible with a change in behavior. You've got to be committed if you want to break your dog's bad habits. This rule applies to the nature of your commands as well. You need to stick to your commands if you want to force the dog to obey, so make sure every other person uses the same commands as you do. If you want your dog to learn which things are okay to chew and which are not, which places are suitable for urinating or where he is allowed to dig in the yard, you need to provide him the alternative. Interrupt the dog if you spot him misbehaving and direct him to the designated place or toy. When he complies, praise him and give him a treat. This will help the dog accept your alternative and forget all about his previous misbehaviors.
If you want your dog to be trained quickly and efficiently you need to follow a certain schedule. Commitment is again the key in breaking your dog's bad habits. Thus, take some time to practice with your dog without being interrupted by something or someone. No matter how nervous you are about your dog, do not punish him but work on correcting his behavior and praise him when he complies. If your dog has started to pick up bad habits or is forgetting their manners in certain situations, read on to find out how to tackle this behaviour, and reverse bad habits for good.
If Scooter has developed bad habits, it's your job to help him unlearn them. Whether your dog has a chewing, barking, jumping, counter-surfing or digging fetish, scolding or punishing him won't make him stop; it might make things worse, or cause him decide to continue the undesired behavior in your absence. After ruling out medical conditions that could trigger bad habits, learn how to correct his behavior so you both can be happy campers.
Make sure that no one is sabotaging your efforts! Firstly, it is important to look at why your dog might have fallen into bad habits in the first place! If you are clear that it has simply happened because of a gradual blurring of your dog's boundaries and a failure on your part to correct bad behaviour, this is relatively straightforward, and the onus is on you to undo the problem! Also, talk to your family and anyone else that lives with you to ensure that they understand your dog's boundaries, and are not inadvertently undoing all of your good work and confusing your dog, such as by feeding them when they beg, or allowing them to sleep on their beds if these things are forbidden.
Setting clear boundaries Decide upfront what you want to achieve, and what is and is not allowed of your dog. If you are not clear about this, your dog certainly won't be! Physical boundaries are important too in some cases, for instance, if you want your dog to stop digging up a flowerbed, fence it off, or supervise your dog in the garden until they learn to leave it alone. You can always close doors to rooms that your dog is not allowed into, or keep items that your dog is prone to taking without permission out of their reach.
Removing the reward gained from bad behaviour Whatever undesirable behaviour your dog is manifesting, their ultimate desire to do it will come down to a simple equation of action and reward. For instance, if your dog likes to dig through the bin, their reward comes from potentially finding food scraps. If your dog enjoys chewing on your shoes or a certain item of furniture, the sensations and textures that this provides will be a reward of its own. Sleeping on a human's bed might be snuggly, warm and comfortable and just what they want! There is a twofold aspect to removing the reward from behaviours of these types: ensuring that your dog does not gain from the bad behaviour, and providing a viable alternative for them. Here are some examples:
If your dog likes to dig in the bin, you can use child catches to keep the bin firmly closed, and ensure that any food waste is placed in your outside bin right away. Offer treats when your dog willingly leaves the bin alone when told.
If your dog is prone to chewing things that they should not, consider using a dog-safe repellent spray on the items in question so that they are unpalatable to your dog, and provide good alternatives to chew.
For dogs that like to sleep on the bed, either close off the room in question, or find other ways to make it undesirable such as turning down the heating or removing the bedding from the bed during the day. Make sure that your dog has a nice snug bed of his or her own to go to!
Positive reinforcement and redirection Positive reinforcement training is the most effective way of teaching a dog to do anything, so use a combination of redirection and positive reinforcement to teach them new behaviour patterns. When your dog is up to no good, tell them "no" firmly, and when they pause or stop, offer a treat and praise. Keep repeating this procedure until your dog gets the hang of it, and comes to learn that there is a better reward on offer if they are good!
Boundaries and Supervision Restricting Scooter's access can keep him from giving into bad habits, such as chewing off-limit items and raiding the trash. Use baby gates to barricade off-limit areas, or confine him to a crate or dog-proof room when you can't watch him. When you're home, watch him like a hawk. The moment he gives into his bad habit, blow a whistle, shake a can of coins or squirt him with water to break his concentration. With consistency, he'll stop the behavior to avoid the unpleasant consequence.
Aversives Use the element of surprise or textures or flavors to teach Scooter right from wrong. If he's chewing inappropriate items, spray them with a commercial dog deterrent that will make him think twice about repeating his behavior; if he's lounging on the couch, spread an upside-down carpet runner over it; if he's digging up the yard, install a motion-detecting sprinkler system to startle him. Do this consistently while you figure out what's triggering his undesired habits.
Redirecting Rather than punishing bad behavior, reinforce good behavior. Each time you catch Scooter giving into a bad habit, stop him and redirect him to a desired activity. For instance, if he's chewing on your shoe, make a noise and show him a chew toy, or when he's digging up the yard, show him to his digging pit. When he shows interest in the toy or digging pit, praise him lavishly and offer treats to reinforce the good behavior. With consistency, the pleasant consequences might make him want to repeat the good behavior more than the bad.
Enrichment Enriching Scooter's life can put a stop to undesired behaviors. Many dogs develop bad habits because they're bored or crave attention. To combat this, increase the amount of physical and mental stimulation Scooter's getting. Take long walks and play games with him, provide a variety of toys to play with for home entertainment and regularly practice obedience training. The quality time spent with you and the release of pent-up energy can make Scooter a well-behaved dog.
Keep your dog occupied Dogs that are bored or lonely are exponentially more likely to act out and pick up bad habits than other dogs, and it will also be harder to train them out of them. Ensure that your dog is getting enough attention, and is not left alone for long periods of time. Spend plenty of quality time with your dog when you are at home, and ensure that they have plenty of toys and games to keep themselves entertained with!
Finally, ensure that your dog is getting enough exercise to fulfil their needs, as a tired dog is much less likely to get into mischief!
Have you ever had a dog escape your arms or car or home? What is the first thing you do? If you're like most people, you chase after them. They run and then you run. It seems almost instinctual, doesn't it? I've come to believe that it REALLY IS INSTINCT that takes over when we chase after our loose dogs. It's not just something we do when our own pets get loose, but something we do when a friend's dog gets out of the house or when we see a stray dog running down the street or the highway. There is even a recent video showing police officers chasing after a dog on a highway in California. They never even had a chance of catching him. It was a losing proposition.
The problem with our first instinct (to chase) is that it rarely gets us closer to getting them. In fact, the more we run the more they run, and in most cases, they run even harder and faster. It must be pretty scary seeing a bunch of people chasing you. (Heck! It's scary being a human and having a bunch of people chasing you! I would run too!) I don't imagine a dog is likely to stop and ask itself "Does that person mean me harm?" No. They're probably thinking "I am in danger. I need to run!". The truth is it can be pretty hard to go against the instinct to chase a loose dog, but we really must learn to so, because when we chase we risk putting ourselves and the loose pet in danger.
What to do if a dog gets loose: Please note: These may not work with every dog, but they have worked with many.
Stop, drop and lie down - It might sound silly, but dogs find the behavior odd. When you don't give chase and instead lie down and lie still, a dog will get curious and will often come back to see if you are okay or to see what you are doing.
Stop, drop, and curl into a ball - This is also a curious behavior for a dog. Because you are not moving and your hands are closely wrapped around your head, they see you as less of a threat and will come to check you out. This gives them a chance to sniff you and realize it's you, their owner, or to allow you to pet them and grab their collar.
Run in the opposite direction - What? Run away from the dog? That's right. Some dogs love a good chase. Instead of you chasing them, let them chase you. Even if the dog is not up for a good chase, he may be curious about your odd behavior and follow along until you can get him into a building or car or someplace where it is easier to corral him.
Sit down with your back or side to the dog and wait - Again, dogs are thrown off by this odd behavior and will become curious and approach. The other advantage is that by sitting down with your side or back to them, you appear less threatening and they are more likely to approach. If you have good treats, place a few around you to draw them near.
Open a car door and ask the dog if she wants to go for a ride - It almost seems too simplistic and silly to be true, but many a dog has been fooled into hopping into a car because they were invited to go for a ride. It makes sense, especially if the dog has learned to associate the car with good things (e.g., the dog park). Although it is no guarantee, I can tell you that I have seen nearly every one of these work with one of our shelter dogs. The key is to fight your instinct to chase the dog and do something that is not as instinctual. Instead, do what seems counter-intuitive to both you and the dog.
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