The science on whether a lower-protein diet will curb aggression has been mixed.

Less Protein to Reduce Aggressive Behavior?

At the level of folklore, it makes sense to think that a diet relatively low in protein would help inhibit aggressive tendencies in a dog. After all, throughout history protein has been the nutrient associated with red-blooded men who use aggression to hunt and then dine on protein-rich animal food to keep up their strength […]
Wait, did she say Harry or Larry?

They Can’t Distinguish Between Words That Sounds Alike

If you use “Down” to get your dog to lie on the floor and “Done” for telling your pet that no more treats are coming or that a game is over, he may mix up the cues and not know what you’re asking him to do. That’s because dogs can’t tell words apart if they […]
Training dog

Is it a Command or a Cue?

”When I first became a veterinarian, I didn’t really pay attention to what word I was using to describe training dogs and other animals,”...
It’s important to teach them to go from nipping to just mouthing.

Will the Teething and Nipping Ever End?

A puppy’s adult teeth generally start to come in when she reaches the age of 3 months. It hurts; the new teeth have to cut through the gum line. That’s why she teethes on everything — your furniture, your shoes, your hands. She’s trying to relieve the uncomfortable sensation. To dull the pain, run a […]

How Your Personality Impacts Your Dog

Extroverts have better results than introverts when they work with an animal behaviorist to help their dogs get over various fears, according to new research from the veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania. Investigators followed 75 people and their pets through several months of training with animal behavior professionals. The research suggests that people […]

What Won’t Work When Teaching “Come”

Renowned veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, once said that when asked what is the one thing most people would like their dog to be able to do, they respond, “Come when I call.” But ironically, people often engage in behavior that is designed to make a dog not come. They tell their pet to come […]
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 […]

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 […]

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 […]
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, […]
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 […]

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?