Home DOG TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR

DOG TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR

Tug of war doesn’t have to be off limits, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to teach your dog how to play it.

To Play Tug of War or Not to Play?

Time was that animal behaviorists said not to play tug of war with a dog because it could make him too aggressive. The thinking was that it would over-build a dog’s confidence and the next thing, he’d be biting you to get his way. But the thinking has evolved. In fact, for meek, overly submissive […]
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Dear Doctor: Play-fighting or just plain fighting?

Q. Sometimes my dog interacts with another dog in a way that seems kind of frightening. They growl and will even bite each other, then pause for a second and go back for more. Neither dog comes away angry or scared, but I wonder if I should let these episodes happen. I can’t quite tell […]
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Growl, Snap, Bite — In that Order

Before a dog reaches the age of 6 months, she will begin to show whether she’s feeling aggressive through various signals. She will also use those signals to indicate how aggressive she’s feeling. Growl. The least aggressive of the signals in her warning arsenal, a growl means “knock it off.” Heed that warning, and teach […]
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A dog often yawns when he is feeling stressed or anxious. It should serve as a potential cue to dog walkers and passers-by that the animal is uncomfortable.

Walking a Dog Who’s Afraid of People

Last month we discussed walking a dog who is uninterested in or a little wary of people outside of his social group, but who won’t fall apart if he is approached. But what if your dog is truly afraid? Perhaps he quakes, literally, with his tail between his legs. Maybe he urinates submissively, too. Alternatively, […]
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Some dogs are happy to go walking with a human family member but don’t want to greet other people they pass. Nothing wrong with that.

Please Don’t Pet My Dog

While dogs in general are predisposed to liking people and may even have evolved to bond with us, that does not mean that every dog is interested in being petted by strangers with whom they happen to cross paths. That’s okay. “A dog that’s not interested in people outside of her family or social group […]
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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?
Sad dog waiting alone at home

If Your Dog Refuses to Go Out In the Rain

Some dogs absolutely hate to go out when it’s raining. It becomes a tug of war at the door. Yet you want your pet to be able to comfortably relieve himself rather than try to hold it in (and potentially fail in that attempt). And you don’t have a backyard you can let him out […]
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Dog jumping

No More Jumping on People

Teaching your dog to refrain from jumping up on people is not one of the easier behavior training tasks. One reason is that your pet is usually exuberant while doing it — she’s showing that she really likes the person she’s jumping on and is eager to engage. It can be hard to say no […]
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Using a Shock Collar for Getting a Dog to Come

Ask 100 dog parents the one thing they wish their dog would do that they currently don’t, and the answer will be, “Come when I call.” Perhaps that’s why so many people with dogs use electric shock collars. When you push a button on a gizmo that you hold in your hand, the dog receives […]
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Should You Wake Your Dog From a Nightmare?

Lots of dogs move their limbs during sleep, twitch, or emit soft barking sounds. None of those are signs of nightmares. They just mean a dog is dreaming. If it’s a nightmare, you’ll know it. A dog will clearly exhibit distress and perhaps even fear and may scream as she sleeps. Should you wake her? It’s […]
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For Whom the Doorbell Tolls

Doorbells are intrinsically exciting for dogs,” says the head of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM. “They signal something is about to happen, so it’s associated with arousal.” Some dogs will even run to the front door when they hear a doorbell ring on television. There are dog owners who can list all […]
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Many dogs do not like being hugged around the neck.

Dear Doctor: The Dog doesn’t like our Child

Q. About four months ago we adopted the sweetest rescue dog named Violet — a Lab mix of about 60 pounds who loves to take walks with us, fetch toys, and is generally happy to be in our company. A couple of weeks ago, however, we noticed that she has started to get up and […]
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