This page is dedicated to providing tips and tricks about many subjects, ranging from training tips to how to handle the loss of a pet. This page will be updated regularly, so be sure to check it frequently. Each time this page is updated, the previous topic will be placed on the Tips Archive page so you can refer to previous topics.
Be careful when you walk your dog. A few
years ago I worked with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department on a case.
Evidence indicates the fellow was walking his dog in a rural area when 5 dogs
belonging to a new neighbor attacked his small dog. To prevent injury to his
dog, the fellow picked it up. The loose dogs caused so much damage to his body
that he died.
If you have no deterrent and a dog attacks, drop the lead and stay away from the fracas. I KNOW how hard this is to do. But if you leave your property with NO deterrent, you’ve already chosen to be impotent in case of attack. I don’t know why you’d choose to be unable to defend yourself or your dog against attack, but if you make that choice, do not blame only the aggressing dog. For all you know, he/she was just defending his/her territory against your dog’s intrusion. He/she may be defending puppies or a new baby in the home. Since you cannot know whether or not this is true, be prepared. But DO NOT PICK UP YOUR DOG. The only thing worse than having your wonderful dog injured or killed is to have you injured, disfigured, or killed. You can take steps to prevent that. Please do so.
Click here for A Dog's Prayer
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
And finally, never trust anyone until you sniff his butt.
Since your dog doesn't know what you intend to accomplish, it will take your training message literally. You enjoy far greater success if you give some thought to exactly what it is you want the dog to learn.
Rewarding compliance maintains behavior. When you reinforce your dog for obeying your SIT command, it is likely to continue to sit when you tell it to do so. That's the definition of reinforcement; it strengthens the preceding act and makes it more likely to recur.
But your dog often gets a very different message than the one you intend to teach. If he jumps up onto you and you wish to stop that, a common approach is to punish his jump and say "Good OFF!" as you get him off you. But that method teaches many dogs that they are rewarded for getting off of you, and he can't get off of you until he's on you. I've worked thousands of dogs that have been handled this way, and years later they still jump onto people. When you reward him for getting off you, you reward his compliance or tolerance of your force. But many dogs learn that they cannot earn the "Good OFF!" praise until they jump, so it continues. They willingly tolerate a one-second reprimand to get 5 second of praise.
Using a harsher reprimand is not the answer. A dog cannot jump on you until he's approached you. Harsh reprimands discourage his approach, not his jump.
Always first decide what you want. Do you want him to get off of you (or your visitor, sofa, bed, counter) when you tell him to, or do you want him to not jump on you or it in the first place? If you don't want him to jump on you, don't teach him that getting off after he jumps up gets him rewarded.
No, I'm not saying you're incompetent! I mean this literally: You cannot teach NOTHING. Learning requires only normal neurological function. If a dog's senses and brain function normally, it will learn something from everything that happens to it. "Did I teach it anything?" is never the question. The real question: "What did I just teach this dog?"
Did you teach it to respect you or ignore you? Did it learn you will enforce your directive or that you'll give in if it resists? That working with you is fun, pleasant and positive or dull, boring, harsh work? If you use forceful physical corrections, did you teach it that force and violence succeed? Did you teach it that a correction means pain or terror, and therefore to trust you less from now on? Does it now know that you're a boss or just a bully? Do YOU know the difference between them?!
You're always teaching SOMETHING. If you're not sure exactly what it is, don't work with it until you're confident what the lesson will be, and that you in fact want it to learn that. What you teach a dog is up to you - even if you don't know that learning is happening. Don't teach it what you don't want it to know. It sounds simple, but anything simple is also simple to mess up. Be mindful, aware, careful, and respectful, because that wonderful critter is ALWAYS learning.
For years I've heard that a dog's memory is only 3 or 5 or 10 minutes long, and then they forget what you just taught them. HAH! After being away from people all night, must you re-teach your dog its name every morning?
Notice how this type of drivel always comes from an
absolute authority on learning, memory, and animal neurological acquisition
system functions? SURE!
Something must be learned before it can be remembered, and it must be perceived to be learned. If at a lecture I'm so distracted by a stunning dog or a gorgeous human that I didn't hear the last remark, I will not remember it because I never heard it, so I never learned it in the first place. And some things the speaker says will have more impact on and relevance to me than others, so my increased interest in certain things makes them far more likely to be retained in my memory.
Some things powerfully enhance learning and memory. Trauma, for example. You're not likely to forget something you learned that badly traumatized you when it happened. And it doesn't have to happen often. Trauma is a very powerful memory enhancer. Do you really want to strike, choke, or hang a dog?
Joyful fun also enhances memory. You likely learned the alphabet at almost the same age you learned the times tables, from the same teachers, in the same school, with the same classmates, and both subjects were given equal importance. But - don't lie! - you remember the alphabet much better than the times tables. Why? Because you not only learned the letters, you COLORED them and SANG them and PLAYED them and WORE them and ACTED THEM OUT! You were the A and Billy was the C and Sally was the T and together you spelled CAT! But you DRILLED the times tables. "Six times eight is forty-eight! Six times nine is fifty-four!" No fun there. Unless your work entails mental multiplication, you likely were anxious to put the times tables behind you right after that final exam!
That's not unique to humans. Many years ago when I was
first taught how to train dogs, I noticed that dogs learned faster during our
play sessions following the classes! It might take several minutes, or even
several sessions, to make sure they knew the correct responses to commands, but
they learned the difference between "ball" and "ring" and
"rope" NOW! They were FUN, PLAYFUL things! I realized I was teaching
more quickly and efficiently during our play sessions than during the classes!
So, not only did I end up (hopefully) teaching them something, they taught me a
I've been fortunate to have many fine teachers. Most of them were animals.
Don't underestimate canine memory. If they forgot where the good hunting spots were 10 minutes later, they'd have gone extinct millions of years ago. Enhance retention with fun, playful repetition and dogs will impress you with their incredibly long memories!
and Behavior Problems
Thanks to research, we have drugs today that can help us help our pets over some behavior problems caused by stress, anxiety, and seizures. Such drugs make it possible to help more animals than ever before. My own dog, and several client dogs, suffer seizure disorders, so I know first hand how valuable certain drugs can be. But they should be used correctly.
A major consideration before using drugs: They're not a "magic bullet" to solve problems. Many people are satisfied when the dog just appears to be better. When drugs get rid of the symptoms, why bother to treat the problem? There are cases on record where a permanent improvement resulted from drug use, whether or not we understand why. Let's face it: Some things just get better, and treating the symptoms during that process isn't bad! But don't confuse drugging the symptom with solving the problem.
Some dogs suffer such extreme stress or anxiety that implementing effective behavioral procedures won't work. The dog is simply not receptive due to severe stress. Extreme stress also inhibits new learning, so it's hard to teach the dog a new way to behave when its ability to learn is compromised. It's just such cases where meds can serve best - not to cure the problem, but to make the dog receptive enough to your therapy to have you succeed.
Drug use for behavior problems is best done in addition to proper behavioral methods, not instead of them. If necessary, use the drug to facilitate the success of your behavior therapy. Don't rely upon the drug to solve the problem.
"That's What Dogs Do!"
We're often told that it's alright to do a particular thing to correct or punish our dogs or pups because "that's what dogs do to each other" or "that's what wolves do." Therefore, because "it's natural" and "they naturally understand what you mean," it's correct for you to do it to them.
This approach is wrong for several reasons. First, is this in fact what wolves/dogs do to each other or their pups? If wolves/dogs use their mouths and you grab with your hand, that's NOT what wolves/dogs do; they don't have hands. You doing that with your hand is NOT the same thing. Canines kill with their mouths, but nothing ever taught your dog that humans kill with their hands. How many of you have killed something with your bare hands in front of your dog?
You're also told to pin your dog down by the scruff of its neck to "show it who's boss" because that's a "natural" canine act of dominance. A dog rolling over to avoid being severely injured when a dominant dog grabs it threateningly by the neck is NOT the same thing as forcibly pinning your dog by the scruff of its neck. One is voluntary, the other is brute force and violence. Have you ever tried to pin a sizeable dog by the neck just with your grip? A difficult task. If a dominant canine pins another against its will by the scruff of its neck, why is there never any neck wound? Don't believe everything you're told about wolf/dog behavior or how to mimic it.
Second, this implies that there is no value difference in any behavior based upon the species that commits the act. This means wolves/dogs infer the exact same value whether the act is performed by a bear, a mountain lion, a human or another canine. Nonsense. No living creature we've ever studied applies the same value to all species.
Third, this suggests your dog cannot tell the difference between a human being and another dog, or between a mouth and a hand. If your dog is that stupid, return it.
A major point: You're often told to induce or force your dog to submit to you to "show it who's boss" or to demonstrate to your dog that you are the "alpha" animal in your pack. Fact: Most dog bites against humans are committed by submissive "fear biters." Submission is the underlying cause behind many bites; it's pathogenic - it causes problems. Inducing dog submission increases the likelihood that it will someday bite someone; it contributes to the motive behind most bites. Inducing submission INCREASES the number of human injuries. Why pay a "professional" trainer to induce, or teach you how to induce, your dog's submission? You want your dog obedient just as a combat commander or emergency room physician or head nurse wants their staff compliant and responsive. But no one needs, respects or values submission. You want your dogs to listen to you, not wimp out and submit. Submission is BAD; it causes problems, including bites. If you're paying a "professional," demand more expert treatment, care and methods than that. Make sure they know the difference between a boss and a bully. If ANYONE tells you to bully, pin, jerk, hang or scruff your dog, get out of there NOW and DON'T PAY THEM.
The same goes for powerful equipment. If a trainer suggests you use a collar with metal prongs, head halters, or electric shock collars, you're dealing with the wrong trainer. The stronger the equipment, the weaker the handler. Your trainer's job is to get your dog responding well to you while it's on or off conventional equipment. If they cannot do that, they're not worth your money.
IT IS NOT ALRIGHT FOR YOU TO COMMIT AN ACT ON YOUR DOG JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE TOLD "THAT'S WHAT DOGS DO TO EACH OTHER."
Adding A New Dog
Having two dogs is easier on you than having just one. Your sole dog
looks to you to
But here's an important consideration: The more alike dogs are, the
more likely they'll fight
If you already have a dog - or if you had two but recently lost one
- you might automatically
A general rule: Dont add a new dog if your present one's age
is two digits. Except in very rare circumstances, if your dog is 10 or more years old, you
and he/she will be better off as a sole
____________________________________________________________________________ Answer : Good for you for giving this dog a good home.
At 9 months of age, teething is over. But check her gums thoroughly to make sure she doesn't have an impacted baby tooth stuck in there. If she does, controlling her mouthing will be difficult.
Your ready toy could teach her that she gets toys and play when she's excited and mouthy. Don't inadvertently reward her mouth use with toys and play. A common mistake is that distractions discourage behavior. Toys won't discourage mouth use when they follow mouthing and involve taking the toy with her mouth.
Try this: Teach her to refuse to take something into her mouth using the common words "Drop!" or "Leave!" In minutes she'll learn not to mouth anything when she hears those words. Then, of course, lavishly reward her for refusing to take the object, which may include your hand or arm. "Take!" means she may and should take the object into her mouth; "Leave!" means to refuse to take it or to drop it. Then use the word to prevent her from mouthing when she approaches or when she's excited, and she'll soon stop mouthing you but will not fear or resent you or others.
If you worry that you have not made a difference, you have, for only those who do not worry about it have not. If you feel overwhelmed, if the weight of problems is too heavy to bear, remember it is a shared burden and the strength of numbers can accomplish much.
If you think society and government are blind, it only serves to remind us that we need to change one mind at a time, one law after another. We effect change by cooperation, not by isolation. If you consider that we cannot save them all, and what difference does one make? You ought to know the joy of the one who is saved. Mourn those we cannot save. It is a eulogy to their being. Do not let their loss be in vain.
Be kind to yourself, remember your needs and those of your family and friends of every species. If you give everything, what will you have left for yourself, or for them? Strive to be happy and healthy. You are needed. Achieving balance in life is a lifelong struggle. We who help those who do not have all that they need should be among the most grateful for what we have.
Be proud of your accomplishments, not your opinions. The quality of your efforts is more important than the quantity. Forgive your own deficiencies -- sometimes your caring is sufficient. Everyone can do something, it is up to you to do the thing you can. A kind word and a gentle touch can change a life.
If seething anger wells up within you because people are the problem, remember your humanity and that people are also the solution. Concentrate on specific needs, pay attention to the individual, they make up the whole.
See beyond the unlovable, the unattractive, the impure and the wounded --see that their spirit is as deserving as the rest. Help them heal. Their eyes are windows to their soul and the mirror of your sincerity. All species, all beings, share this Earth in a chain of life.
Care more about what makes us alike than what separates us. Policies, rules and regulations are not infallible. Apply them judiciously, interpret them wisely. No decision based purely on money is ever the right one. Listen to your heart.
Sometimes we have to do that which we are most afraid of. Be true to yourself and your beliefs. Family may abandon you, friends may disappoint you, strangers will ridicule you. People shun what they don't understand. Help them to understand -- kindly, softly, gently.
Those who do not respect all life are to be pitied. Often the wrongdoer is as in need of help as his victims. Forgive, then teach by example.
Educate yourself or you cannot hope to teach others. No action based in hatred is ever right and anger drowns out wisdom. Yours may be a voice crying in the wilderness; make it a voice to be respected. Listen more than you talk, be courteous and reliable. Learn to ask for help. Never waiver from the truth. Know that it takes a lot of strength to cry, and with every defeat, we learn.
All Creation celebrates that which is in its own best interest. The Children are our hope - nurture them. Nature is our legacy -- protect it. The Animals are our brethren -- learn from them. Your rewards will not be material, but they will be meaningful, and the courage of your convictions can survive anything.
We are small boats cast adrift on a cruel sea, but someday the tide will turn toward a safe harbor. No matter how dark the storm clouds, or deep the pain of heartbreak -- never forget: We are their heroes.
~ Dedicated to all who have worked for
change. May your efforts be blessed. You have made a difference.
A DOGS PRAYER
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in the world is more grateful for kindness than my loving heart.
Do not break my spirit with a stick for though I would lick your hand between blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the worlds sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet please take me inside for I am now a domestic animal no longer used to bitter elements. I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though you had no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water for, although I would not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food that I may stay well to romp and play and do your biding, walk by your side and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should yours be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to take my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather, hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I draw that my fate was ever safe in your hands.
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