Champ finished his basic manners training by going through a mock therapy dog certification
test. He aced it and I'm sure he will make a terrific therapy dog.
At only 11-weeks of age Phoebe learned how to Sit and Down on cue. Because she is so young we took plenty of play and potty breaks, but she still ran out of gas before the end of our session.
Sonny knew how to sit, though inconsistently. His Down was even worse, and he would only do it if you touched a treat to the floor. Today we taught him how to do both, using verbal and hand cues, and now he can lie down with us standing straight up and pointing to the floor.
TIP #1: PHARMACOLOGICAL INTERVENTION
"I'm not going to put my dog on drugs!"
"I don't want my dog to be a zombie!"
I have heard these types of comments over the years from owners of dogs with major separation issues. The sad part is that as much as those folks loved their dogs and thought they were protecting them by avoiding drugs, the dogs were suffering greatly, and could have been greatly aided by pharmacological intervention. Now, I'm the last person to cavalierly suggest that a dog needs to be on drugs; it's not the right solution for every individual, and there are potential side effects with any type of medication. But the side effects of chronic, severe emotional distress must also be considered. Just as with people, constant or even frequent anxiety can cause all manner of physical ills. Dogs can become afflicted with gastric ulcers, atrophy of the lymphatic glands, and even suppression of the immune system, which in turn opens the door for illness and disease.
That said, a course of drug therapy, as helpful as it may be, is not likely to solve your dog's separation issues on its own. Drugs are meant to be used in conjunction with a behavior modification program, not as an alternative to it.
- excerpted from Don't Leave Me!
TIP #2: PHYSICAL EXERCISE - A PRIMER TO TRAINING
Intense physical exercise alone won't tire out a high-energy dog, but it does take the edge off so that when you're ready to work with him to teach calm behaviors, he is able to focus and participate in the training. The physical exercise sets him up for training success.
First, let's agree that leaving your dog out in his own fenced-in backyard does not qualify as "exercise". He needs to be actively engaged.
Outings to your local well-run dog park can be a good exercise option. If you don't have one in your area, invite compatible canines over to play in your dog's fenced yard. If you don't have one, invite yourself and your dog over to your dogfriend's fenced yard for play dates.
Absent any access to a dog-friendly fenced yard, play with your dog on a long line. A 50-foot line gives him a 100-foot stretch to run back and forth and work his jollies off.
Caution: Work up to 50 feet gradually, so he learns where the end of the line is. You don't want him to blast full-speed to the end of his long line and hurt himself. Also, wear long pants. A high speed long-line wrapped around bare legs can give you a nasty rope burn.
If none of those work for you, having him wear a pack when you walk him, or even better, pull a cart (which takes significant training), or exercising him (safely) from a bicycle may be options for using up excess energy.
- excerpted from Calm Down Rover! Teach Your High-Energy, Hyperactive Dog to Chill Out & Relax
Today Mabel learned how to Sit and Down. We taught her with both a verbal and hand cue and by the end of our session she was responding with the hand cue only. Such a smart girl at just 12 weeks of age.
By teaching Heel and using a high rate of reinforcement we taught Baxter and his brother
Chevy that paying attention to us is very rewarding. In no time they were both walking
Sonny's owner called me because when on leash he has pulled her down multiple times.
But with the right harness and reinforcing the behaviors we like we taught him how to walk
nicely without jumping and pulling.
TIP #1: SPEED EATERS ANONYMOUS
"I feed my two dogs together, and the smaller one seems to gobble her food without chewing it and then throws it back up a few minutes later. Why does she do this?"
She may be worried that if she doesn't wolf down her food, your other dog will get some of it. This is rational fear, but her coping strategy isn't ideal. How about feeding your dogs in separate rooms so the little one feels less pressured by the presence of the bigger dog? If she still eats so fast that she vomits even when she eats in private, then spread out her food over a large surface (such as a cookie sheet) or in several small bowls in different parts of the room so she can't hoover up her entire meal in one breath. And if you now feed your dogs only once a day, divide the food into two or three smaller meals per day instead. Knowing that her next meal is just around the corner may help your gobbler to relax and enjoy her food less anxiously.
If these measures don't work and the vomiting continues, make an appointment with your vet to check for a medical problem.
- excerpted from The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook
TIP #2: ACCEPTABLE RESOURCE GUARDING
Resource guarding is a natural, normal canine behavior. In fact it's a normal behavior for most warm-blooded animals. Even we humans guard our resources - sometimes quite fiercely. Think about it. We lock our doors. Store clerks have loaded .22 rifles under checkout counters, while homeowners keep shotguns and baseball bats leaning in the corner by the back door. Banks keep valuables in vaults. Some of us get insanely jealous if someone pays too much attention to our significant other.
Dogs guard their resources as well, sometimes quite fiercely. This is most troublesome when they guard from humans, but can also get them in hot water when they guard from other dogs. That said, some dog-dog guarding behavior is quite appropriate and acceptable.
As an example: In a dog park or doggie daycare, Dog A is chewing happily on a (insert any valuable resource here). Curious, Dog B approaches. Dog A gives Dog B "the look." Dog B quickly defers, saying "Oh, excuse me!" by calmly turning and walking away. No harm done. Much of the time the dogs' owner isn't even aware that this occurred.
- Whole Dog Journal
Phoebe is a 10-week old Golden Retriever/Miniature Poodle mix. We will be helping to teach her manners and socialize her to people, places, and things.
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI