DOG TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR

5 Signs of Deep Affection You Wont Want to Ignore

You know your dog loves you, but sometimes she may say it and you could miss, or ignore, the cue. Here are five ways she might express love that warrant your returning the sentiment with some soft stroking and loving words. After all, youd feel a little bad if you told someone you loved them and they didnt say it back, even if you knew they felt that way.

When the Dog Wont Stop Eating Poop

First-time dog owners who have new puppies that engage in the habit of eating poop are often told its a behavior of dogs under one year of age and that their pet will grow out of it. But plenty of adult dogs eat poop, too. In a survey of 3,000 dog owners conducted by Benjamin Hart, DVM, of the veterinary school at the University of California, Davis, it was found that one in six dogs is a serious stool eater.

Fear of Fireworks

These are the times that try dogs souls - if they suffer from noise phobia, that is, which many dogs do. The booms of July 4th fireworks leave them panting, pacing, drooling, shaking, barking, and running for cover. What can you do about it?

Leash Rage

Imagine if we had to greet people by slapping them in the face, or by swearing at them before we said hello. It would get things off on the wrong foot, says the head of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM, and thats how it is for dogs on leashes. Meeting on leash is not natural for dogs. On their own, they approach each other tentatively, in a wide arc from the side. They evaluate the other dogs body language and determine whether to come forward or retreat. But on leash theyre forced to come face to face - with other dogs, with people. Its considered impolite in the canine world to approach too head-on. And for some dogs that are fearful, the head-on greeting may trigger aggression. They cant get away - theyre tethered to you, after all - so they feel they have no other choice. They need to guard their perimeter. Its a very common problem that I work with.

Patience, Please! Shes Sniffing.

Imagine if you came across a headline like World Peace Declared or Your Neighbor Threw a Block Party and You Werent Invited. Then, just as you were getting to the juicy part, someone pulled your head away and you couldnt learn the pertinent particulars. Thats just how it is for your dog when you yank her head away from a blade of grass that she has been sniffing for what seems like forever. Why? Because while we read our world largely with our eyes, dogs read that same world with their sense of smell.

Is Her Aggression a Response to Fear?

How many times have you heard people say their dog is less aggressive off-leash than on? Thats often because their aggression is born of fear. Off the leash, they are free to move away from whatever is making them scared - another dog, a person. But on leash, theyre stuck where you want them to be, which they might perceive as right in harms way. So they bark ferociously; they take one step forward in a threatening posture, then two steps backward to protect themselves. Sometimes, if their nerves really get the better of them, they snap.

How to Make Vet Visits for Dogs Less Scary for Them

Taking your dog to the vet on a regular basis is one of the most important things you can do as a responsible owner. If your dog is scared of the vet - or worse, if your dog is terrified of the vet - youre not alone. This is a big reason why some owners put off or avoid altogether the recommended wellness checks.

The Solution for Dogs Afraid of Slippery Floors

You may love gleaming hardwood or tile floors, but to some dogs, they are like skating rinks. Slippery floors are apt to strike fear in puppies in particular, but a dog of any age can be affected.

What to Do When Your Dogs Aggression is Directed At You

It used to be called dominance behavior. A dog growls if his owner goes to pick up one of his toys, or steps into space the pet considers his and his alone. But today, animal behaviorists call that kind of deportment conflict aggression, with the understanding the dog is not trying to exert dominance over his human caretaker but, rather, feels inner conflict about whos the leader in the household. Hes actually anxious and worried that hes unprotected and feels he must step up to take care of himself. Its akin to a four-year-old who acts out because he hasnt had the proper structure, guidance, and limits to feel secure.

An End to Excessive Barking

Up to one in seven dog owners identifies excessive barking as a concern, says the American Veterinary Medical Association. Barking dogs also constitute the majority of animal-related complaints in some locales, the organization says. And the complaints can get legal, leading to eviction proceedings and other actions.

Dear Doctor: Why has the dog started urinating in the house?

My three-year-old, 10-pound Malti-poo (half Maltese terrier, half miniature poodle), Teddy, has started leaving little drops of urine around the house. I let him out in the morning, and he does his business beautifully, and I also let him out at night, when he also does what he has to. My husband is so upset about this new behavior that he is ready to give the dog up. Please help.

Dear Doctor: Citronella collar for training?

Would a citronella collar work to stop them in their tracks - the kind that emits a citronella spray when you press a gizmo? A fenced yard is not an option, and I do not want to shock my dogs with a shock collar or with the perimeter around an electric fence.