DOG TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR

Making a dog feel threatened is not a wholesome (or productive) way to get compliance, animal behaviorists say.

Dog-Training Techniques Depicted in Media Spark Concerns

Recent television and online programs showing punishment-based training methods for dogs, including the use of painful collars, are causing animal behaviorists and others to speak out. Many experts have also expressed concern about these shows’ promulgation of debunked notions of pack mentality and, by extension, alpha dogs. There are no dog packs with alpha leaders. […]
The dog on the couch is okay — if you say it is.

Things You Think Make You a Bad Dog Leader (But Don’t)

“In many of my conversations with clients, they are very apologetic about the fact that their dog sleeps on the bed with them,” says...
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 […]