DOG TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR

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: 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.

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.

Misbehavior In Your Absence Can Signal a Case of Separation Anxiety.

Shes perfectly house trained as long as youre home but relieves herself on the floor when youre not there, making you pay for leaving her alone. Or she pulls all the trash out of the garbage can and strews it throughout the house. Rest assured shes not being vindictive. Shes feeling panicked.

Quirky Habit or Medical Condition?

You often notice your dogs teeth chattering. Is she cold, or is it something else? What about the dog who frequently seems to snap at the air? Does she have an aggressive streak, or might she be exhibiting signs of a neurological condition? What follows are six quirky behaviors and, given the context in which they are performed, what they might mean.

What We Say. What They Hear.

Its often said by animal behaviorists that dogs can learn up to 200, even 250 words. Can they?

Teach Your Dog to Wait

If your dog has learned an effective Sit, which is the first word many of our pets come to understand, you have employed an important tool for getting her to stay put - or Wait. You can command her to get moving again with a word like Release or Okay.

Off!

Its one of the most annoying behaviors many dogs engage in - jumping on people, including their owners. They clearly dont mean harm. On the contrary, theyre usually excited and trying to be friendly. But it can hurt. It can also soil clothes or even knock some people over, including the elderly and the very young. At the very least, it can be unpleasantly startling. Why is it often so hard to train a dog out of this behavior?