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DOG TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR

Can Dogs Get PTSD?

Warriors with nightmares and other symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were described as far back as the Bronze Age in Assyrian literature. Fast forward 3,600 years to 2009, when researchers found that some military working dogs were unable to go back to their jobs as bomb sniffers following exposure to combat in Afghanistan. The researchers, a combination of PTSD experts in human psychiatry and psychology along with veterinary behaviorists, came up with a strict set of criteria for canine PTSD in those military dogs. They included escape or avoidance of work-related environments; changes in rapport with their handlers; and interference with critical tasks, including controlled aggression.

Even Mild Punishment Has a Negative Impact

You consider yourself a loving dog owner who would never hit your pet or otherwise cause harm. But did you know that even mild forms of punishment you might inflict regularly without thinking could damage your dogs psyche and create behavioral issues?

Four Steps to Relieving Separation Anxiety

Owners dont see separation anxiety in action. After all, theyre not home when a dog panics over being alone. But they sure see its aftermath - the destruction of household objects, elimination in inappropriate places, escape attempts that lead to broken teeth and nails, and neighbors who complain about excessive barking in their absence.

Eco-Friendly Dog Products

In our increasingly environmentally aware society, more and more people are becoming concerned with how their purchases are affecting our ecosystem. With that in mind, here are some carbon footprint-friendly options for your dog, whether youre buying first-time items or replacing some staples in your dogs collection of accouterments.

Dog Bites: Costly In More Ways Than One

Dogs dont bite to show that might makes right or to make clear how scary or nasty they can be. Most dogs bite out of fear, stress (including stress that leads to resource guarding), self-protection or protection of their human family members, or severe pain.

How the Animal Behaviorist Should Make You Feel

Aggression is the number one reason people bring their dogs to animal behaviorists, and these owners are often in an agitated emotional state because they are afraid they cant control their pet in dangerous situations. Now a new study out of the University of Bristol in the UK demonstrates that owners emotional needs need be addressed as well as those of their reactive dogs so that they can effectively apply positive reinforcement rather than punishment when training their dogs not to act aggressively.

Is An Electric Fence the Right Tool for Letting Your Dog Play Outside?

It might seem like an electric fence is a great idea for all dogs. Unlike an actual fence, it keeps a dog safely contained without obstructing his view in any way.

Getting Your Dog Over the Hump

Many people have a strong negative reaction to seeing dogs humping. They interpret it as a sign of sexual aggression. And if its their own dog doing the humping, they feel embarrassed by it, as if its somehow a reflection on them. They start yelling at their pet and trying to pull it off the other dog, which backfires because dogs like attention - even negative attention - and your strong reaction could only prove positive reinforcement for the behavior. So what should you do?

Is It Cognitive Decline?

All of us, dogs included, lose some mental agility as we grow older. A gradual reduction in brain size coupled with the loss of neurons as the years go by translates to a slowdown in cognitive ability. But is it senility or, as its called in dogs, canine cognitive dysfunction? If the drop-off in mental acuity is fairly precipitous, with noticeable differences taking place over months rather than years, theres a good chance it is.

With All Training, Consistency is Key

The old saw that rules are made to be broken may be fine for people on occasion but is a disaster for dogs. Dogs are extremely uncomfortable without consistent rules, even if their behavior might have you thinking otherwise.

The Dog Wont Stop Barking, But Is Removing His Vocal Chords the Way...

Up to 7 percent of dogs are brought to veterinary behaviorists because of too much barking, but that number may underestimate the prevalence of the problem, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In one survey, almost 13 percent of owners identified too much barking as a concern.

Dear Doctor: Dog is too modest to go while on the leash

My dog will poop only when he is off leash. It is a problem because he is very reactive, and Ive sometimes let him off leash to go to the bathroom while worrying that he might chase a bicyclist or jogger. I want him to be able to romp off leash sometimes but not all the time. How can I get him over the modesty hump?