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DOG TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR

Handsome Butch has had more items removed from his stomach than his “mom,” Barbara Freeman of Los Angeles, cares to count.

When the Pica Gets Out of Hand

Thin rubber gloves, the plastic bag the newspaper is delivered in, a piece of fabric, the rubber gasket on a Yeti drink holder…. These are just some of the non-food items that standard poodle Butch has eaten and subsequently had to have removed from his stomach or intestines, reports Your Dog reader Barbara Freeman of […]
When you use the wrong words to describe your dog’s behavior, you could be misunderstanding his good intentions.

Words Can Harm Your Dog

You know the jingle, “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words can never harm me.” It doesn’t apply when it comes to your dog. There’s a set of terms people frequently use to describe their pets that mischaracterizes the way the animals think and their motivations for engaging in various behaviors. That in […]
Welsh Corgi Pembroke dog

Dear Doctor: A look that can’t be denied

Q. My dog has a way of looking at me ever so sweetly — kind of intensely and warmly, and perhaps slightly pleadingly — that gets me to do anything she wants. It’s a look that nets her everything from an extra treat to having me tuck her in if she’s lying by my pillow […]
Some dogs would rather do a trick in exchange for a toy rather than a treat.

Won’t Perform For Food

If you have a Labrador retriever you can skip this article. There is nothing a Lab won’t do for a morsel of food. That’s true for a lot of dogs, actually. But there is a sizable subset of canines who are not motivated to learn a specific trick or behavior simply because they will receive […]
A dog who can’t stop licking her toes may be suffering from an allergy and need medical treatment.

When the Licking Won’t Stop

You can’t get your dog to stop licking herself. Or perhaps she can’t stop licking you, or inanimate surfaces such as the floor or furniture. What’s going on? “There are many possible reasons a dog licks more than seems right,” says the head of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM. Sometimes, the itching […]
Not the harmless activity it may seem.

Why Chewing Sticks Is a Bad Idea

We’ve all seen dogs who are perennial stick chewers. No sooner do they get outside than they pick up a stick and start chomping on it. It may seem harmless, but it’s not. If your dog is a regular stick chewer, you should teach him to “leave it” or “drop it” on cue or, if […]
Chihuahua shaking itself

Dear Doctor: Shake-Out

Q. My dog does a full-body shake-out several times throughout the day. Could it be a sign of a neurological problem? Maye Oliver Los Gatos, California A....
Some dogs keep going after their own tails to the point of utter exhaustion — yet they can’t stop.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

For some dogs it’s tail chasing to the point of exhaustion. For others, it’s continuous licking of the lower legs and feet — so much so that the dog strips off part of his skin and develops a pink and knobby heap of granulation tissue called acral lick dermatitis. (The non-stop licking can even end […]
Who’s walking whom?

Stopping an Undesirable Behavior

Has your dog ever gone faster than you wanted, tugging vigorously enough on the leash that it’s annoying — or even a bit dangerous? Has he ever nudged you from behind to get you to  pick up your pace? Just as we like to train our dogs to do things when we want them to, […]
This whale scat detection dog has helped in the effort to save marine life.

Help Wanted: Whale Poop Sniffers (Will Train)

You already know that dogs have an amazing ability to sniff out everything from explosives to an oncoming seizure in a human companion. But did you know that some dogs are trained to detect the odor of whale excrement as well as that of other endangered animals? The fecal samples give scientists trying to protect […]
Vacuum cleaners can be very scary for dogs, but you can help them get past their fear.

Fear of Inanimate Things

We have good news for you. If your dog is afraid of something — the vacuum cleaner, slippery floors, car rides — you do not have to go against your instinct to protect your pet from whatever terrorizes him. In fact, forcing him to keep coming into contact with something that frightens him and perhaps […]

Is “Bad Dog!” Ever the Right Thing to Say?

We often hear people use the phrase “Bad Dog!” when their pet is doing something they don’t want him to do. We think the phrase should be dropped, and not just because the words are often uttered with anger, which does nothing to help a dog calm down so he can learn a new way […]