The hands-down, most common reason for dogs licking paws or chewing their paws is skin disease. Anything that causes the skin to become itchy and inflamed will generally do the trick, and the paws are an easy target for your dog to lick.

Furthermore, the nooks and crannies of the paw and between the pads often provide an excellent area for bacterial and yeast overgrowth that can occur secondary to skin disease. The most common type of skin disease in dogs is allergic skin disease. Allergens, which can be environmental (eg. Plants, pollens, dust mites etc) or food allergens can lead to generalised inflammation of the skin.

When the skin becomes inflamed, red and itchy, it is more prone to becoming secondarily infected, and this makes it more itchy! Something you can try for itchy paws is a good antibacterial/antifungal shampoo such as malaseb. Often however, medications are required to treat the infection and the underlying itch. Beware – skin allergies are often quite a long-term problem and a long-term medication such as Atopica may be required.

Another fairly common reason, especially if your dog is only licking one paw, is something stuck between the toes. This can usually be seen by identifying a ‘draining sinus’. Grass seeds are common culprits due to their pointed shape.  It is possible, but less likely, that more than one paw is affected.

A lick granuloma is a lesion that results from constant licking of one area. It is often a raised, red or hyperpigmented (dark) , hairless area of the skin that results from the trauma of constant licking. Often it is a self-perpetuating cycle, as the damage to the skin from licking, causes the skin to be itchy, which leads to further licking.

It can start from your dog licking at an area of the paw with a splinter or an area that is inflamed from skin disease, then the licking becomes habitual. In these cases your dog can continue to do it even once the inciting cause is removed. Anxiety is another cause of a lick granuloma, but it should be stressed that this is fairly rare.

Non-visible pain (e.g. pain from arthritis) is also a fairly uncommon cause of paw licking. Usually you will notice other signs such as stiffness after rest, trouble going up and down stairs or getting in/out of car or reluctance to exercise.

When to worry:

  • Try to examine your pets skin between the toes both on the top of the paw and underneath between the pads. If it is sore, red or itchy, and a medicated shampoo isn’t helping, then it is a good idea to have a vet check.
  • If you see a draining sinus, which often appears like a reddened blister with a hole in the tip, then it may indicate a foreign body such as a splinter or grass seed and this may need to be removed at the vet.
  • If your pet is limping
  • If there are other accompanying new or unusual symptoms such as pain, stiffness, anorexia etc
  • If the paws are sore to the touch

The post Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws? appeared first on Love That Pet.

The hands-down, most common reason for dogs licking paws or chewing their paws is skin disease. Anything that causes the skin to become itchy and inflamed will generally do the trick, and the paws are an easy target for your dog to lick.

Furthermore, the nooks and crannies of the paw and between the pads often provide an excellent area for bacterial and yeast overgrowth that can occur secondary to skin disease. The most common type of skin disease in dogs is allergic skin disease. Allergens, which can be environmental (eg. Plants, pollens, dust mites etc) or food allergens can lead to generalised inflammation of the skin.

When the skin becomes inflamed, red and itchy, it is more prone to becoming secondarily infected, and this makes it more itchy! Something you can try for itchy paws is a good antibacterial/antifungal shampoo such as malaseb. Often however, medications are required to treat the infection and the underlying itch. Beware – skin allergies are often quite a long-term problem and a long-term medication such as Atopica may be required.

Another fairly common reason, especially if your dog is only licking one paw, is something stuck between the toes. This can usually be seen by identifying a ‘draining sinus’. Grass seeds are common culprits due to their pointed shape.  It is possible, but less likely, that more than one paw is affected.

A lick granuloma is a lesion that results from constant licking of one area. It is often a raised, red or hyperpigmented (dark) , hairless area of the skin that results from the trauma of constant licking. Often it is a self-perpetuating cycle, as the damage to the skin from licking, causes the skin to be itchy, which leads to further licking.

It can start from your dog licking at an area of the paw with a splinter or an area that is inflamed from skin disease, then the licking becomes habitual. In these cases your dog can continue to do it even once the inciting cause is removed. Anxiety is another cause of a lick granuloma, but it should be stressed that this is fairly rare.

Non-visible pain (e.g. pain from arthritis) is also a fairly uncommon cause of paw licking. Usually you will notice other signs such as stiffness after rest, trouble going up and down stairs or getting in/out of car or reluctance to exercise.

When to worry:

  • Try to examine your pets skin between the toes both on the top of the paw and underneath between the pads. If it is sore, red or itchy, and a medicated shampoo isn’t helping, then it is a good idea to have a vet check.
  • If you see a draining sinus, which often appears like a reddened blister with a hole in the tip, then it may indicate a foreign body such as a splinter or grass seed and this may need to be removed at the vet.
  • If your pet is limping
  • If there are other accompanying new or unusual symptoms such as pain, stiffness, anorexia etc
  • If the paws are sore to the touch

The post Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws? appeared first on Love That Pet.

The hands-down, most common reason for dogs licking paws or chewing their paws is skin disease. Anything that causes the skin to become itchy and inflamed will generally do the trick, and the paws are an easy target for your dog to lick.

Furthermore, the nooks and crannies of the paw and between the pads often provide an excellent area for bacterial and yeast overgrowth that can occur secondary to skin disease. The most common type of skin disease in dogs is allergic skin disease. Allergens, which can be environmental (eg. Plants, pollens, dust mites etc) or food allergens can lead to generalised inflammation of the skin.

When the skin becomes inflamed, red and itchy, it is more prone to becoming secondarily infected, and this makes it more itchy! Something you can try for itchy paws is a good antibacterial/antifungal shampoo such as malaseb. Often however, medications are required to treat the infection and the underlying itch. Beware – skin allergies are often quite a long-term problem and a long-term medication such as Atopica may be required.

Another fairly common reason, especially if your dog is only licking one paw, is something stuck between the toes. This can usually be seen by identifying a ‘draining sinus’. Grass seeds are common culprits due to their pointed shape.  It is possible, but less likely, that more than one paw is affected.

A lick granuloma is a lesion that results from constant licking of one area. It is often a raised, red or hyperpigmented (dark) , hairless area of the skin that results from the trauma of constant licking. Often it is a self-perpetuating cycle, as the damage to the skin from licking, causes the skin to be itchy, which leads to further licking.

It can start from your dog licking at an area of the paw with a splinter or an area that is inflamed from skin disease, then the licking becomes habitual. In these cases your dog can continue to do it even once the inciting cause is removed. Anxiety is another cause of a lick granuloma, but it should be stressed that this is fairly rare.

Non-visible pain (e.g. pain from arthritis) is also a fairly uncommon cause of paw licking. Usually you will notice other signs such as stiffness after rest, trouble going up and down stairs or getting in/out of car or reluctance to exercise.

When to worry:

  • Try to examine your pets skin between the toes both on the top of the paw and underneath between the pads. If it is sore, red or itchy, and a medicated shampoo isn’t helping, then it is a good idea to have a vet check.
  • If you see a draining sinus, which often appears like a reddened blister with a hole in the tip, then it may indicate a foreign body such as a splinter or grass seed and this may need to be removed at the vet.
  • If your pet is limping
  • If there are other accompanying new or unusual symptoms such as pain, stiffness, anorexia etc
  • If the paws are sore to the touch

The post Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws? appeared first on Love That Pet.

The giant Irish Wolfhound has a gentle temperament and a somewhat reserved nature.

Irish Wolfhounds are independent by nature, but bond very closely to their families. They were trained to think independently in their hunting past, rather than relying on close direction. They are gentle with children and incredibly intelligent dogs.

WHAT DOES THE IRISH WOLFHOUND WANT IN THEIR PERFECT LIFE PARTNER/FAMILY?

I would love to live in a family that loves long walks and outdoor life. My ideal family has older kids and has time to spend with me. I love to live with other dogs and also rarely chase cats.

AT A GLANCE

Lifespan 6-10 years
Weight 40-70 kg
Height (at shoulder) 71-90 cm

 

PERSONALITY

Gentle – this gentle breed loves to cuddle up on the couch and be with the family. They are lovable, sweet and kind and despite their enormous size they would never (deliberately) hurt a fly.

Intelligent – These intelligent dogs are very trainable and need at least 2 hours a day of exercise and training when young and continuing on into adult-hood. Without mental stimulation and training they become easily bored and sometimes destructive.

Loyal – this breed will often bond very closely to one person in the family and be extremely loyal. This can translate to a dog that is not suited to long periods of being alone and perhaps even a bit snappy if not socialised appropriately.

EXERCISE & TRAINING

Exercise Requirements Medium – 0.5-1.0 hours per day
Training Requirements Medium – 0.5-1.0 hours per day
Apartment Friendly? No

 

Although these are larger dogs, they don’t need more exercise than a small breed dog. They do need daily walks and firm training to ensure they are happy and easy to live with.

GROOMING

Trips to the Groomer No- easy care at home
Tick Friendly? Yes
Hypoallergenic No
Brushing Medium – Weekly brushing required
Hair fall Moderate Shed – will drop some hair, but not excessive
Coat Type Medium

 

The wiry coat of the Wolfhound is low maintenance, so no need for excessive brushing. They can be smelly dogs and difficult to bathe due to their size, though a mobile dog groomer can help with this feat.

FAMILY SITUATION

Good With Kids Good – okay with older kids, but maybe not those under 5
Good With Other Small Pets Medium – Ok with other pets, supervision advised
Sociability High – Loves other dogs and best in a multi-dog household.

 

The Wolfhound is a gentle, loving family pet, but should be supervised around younger children simply due to its size. Unlike many hunting dogs, Wolfhounds can often be suited to cats with households, but they should be supervised around smaller pets. They are sociable animals who don’t like to be left alone, so consider two dogs.

EXPENSES

Overall Expenses (Annual) High $2000+
Veterinary Expenses (Annual) High – $300-$500+
Food Expenses (Weekly) High – $20-$30+

 

The Wolfhound can be an expensive dog to own in its comparatively short life. Food and veterinary bills are often high simply due to size.

HEALTH & WELLBEING

MAJOR HEALTH CONCERNS

Bloat and Gastric Volvulus: Large deep-chested breeds are prone to bloat, which is where the stomach rapidly expands with gas and fluid. Bloat can often then lead to torsion or twisting of the stomach, which is rapidly fatal if not treated immediately.

Hip Displaysia – Many breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, and while more breeders are hip scoring in an attempt to breed out this devastating disease, in some cases it can still occur, particularly with overfeeding at a young age.

DCM – Dilated Cardiomyopathy can occur in large breed dogs. This enlargement of the heart can progress to heart failure, weakness and collapse.

Bone cancer – Irish Wolfhounds have a higher prevalence than many breeds of developing cancer, particularly bone cancer. If your Wolfhound has any form of lameness, please get it checked early.

PREVENTATIVE CARE & WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

Avoid overfeeding or over exercising your Wolfhound when growing to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia.

Feeding two smaller meals a day and avoiding exercise within an hour of eating can reduce the chance of bloat and torsion.

Ask your vet to regularly check your dogs heart for signs of DCM or heart disease.

BREED ORIGIN AND INTERESTING FACTS

The Irish Wolfhound is on average taller than the Great Dane, but with a slimmer build. The world record for tallest dog has usually been a Great Dane not a Wolfhound, however.

It is thought that Wolfhounds were brought to Ireland in 7000BC.

Wolfhounds were bred in Ireland as hunters (mainly for wolves) and also guarded homes, stock and their children. Today they often make terrible guard dogs due to their gentle nature.

Wolfhounds were often owned exclusively by royalty and during AD600-900 the numbers you could own depended on your status.

During the 18th Century their numbers had declined so much that the breed almost completely died out. Deerhounds and a few other breeds were incorporated to increase numbers again.

 

RESCUE AN IRISH WOLFHOUND

Petfinder lists all types of dogs who need homes, both purebred and mixed breeds, adults and puppies.

The ASPCA often has Irish Wolfhounds for adoption, just do an advanced search on their adoption page.

The post Irish Wolfhound appeared first on Love That Pet.

The giant Irish Wolfhound has a gentle temperament and a somewhat reserved nature.

Irish Wolfhounds are independent by nature, but bond very closely to their families. They were trained to think independently in their hunting past, rather than relying on close direction. They are gentle with children and incredibly intelligent dogs.

WHAT DOES THE IRISH WOLFHOUND WANT IN THEIR PERFECT LIFE PARTNER/FAMILY?

I would love to live in a family that loves long walks and outdoor life. My ideal family has older kids and has time to spend with me. I love to live with other dogs and also rarely chase cats.

AT A GLANCE

Lifespan 6-10 years
Weight 40-70 kg
Height (at shoulder) 71-90 cm

 

PERSONALITY

Gentle – this gentle breed loves to cuddle up on the couch and be with the family. They are lovable, sweet and kind and despite their enormous size they would never (deliberately) hurt a fly.

Intelligent – These intelligent dogs are very trainable and need at least 2 hours a day of exercise and training when young and continuing on into adult-hood. Without mental stimulation and training they become easily bored and sometimes destructive.

Loyal – this breed will often bond very closely to one person in the family and be extremely loyal. This can translate to a dog that is not suited to long periods of being alone and perhaps even a bit snappy if not socialised appropriately.

EXERCISE & TRAINING

Exercise Requirements Medium – 0.5-1.0 hours per day
Training Requirements Medium – 0.5-1.0 hours per day
Apartment Friendly? No

 

Although these are larger dogs, they don’t need more exercise than a small breed dog. They do need daily walks and firm training to ensure they are happy and easy to live with.

GROOMING

Trips to the Groomer No- easy care at home
Tick Friendly? Yes
Hypoallergenic No
Brushing Medium – Weekly brushing required
Hair fall Moderate Shed – will drop some hair, but not excessive
Coat Type Medium

 

The wiry coat of the Wolfhound is low maintenance, so no need for excessive brushing. They can be smelly dogs and difficult to bathe due to their size, though a mobile dog groomer can help with this feat.

FAMILY SITUATION

Good With Kids Good – okay with older kids, but maybe not those under 5
Good With Other Small Pets Medium – Ok with other pets, supervision advised
Sociability High – Loves other dogs and best in a multi-dog household.

 

The Wolfhound is a gentle, loving family pet, but should be supervised around younger children simply due to its size. Unlike many hunting dogs, Wolfhounds can often be suited to cats with households, but they should be supervised around smaller pets. They are sociable animals who don’t like to be left alone, so consider two dogs.

EXPENSES

Overall Expenses (Annual) High $2000+
Veterinary Expenses (Annual) High – $300-$500+
Food Expenses (Weekly) High – $20-$30+

 

The Wolfhound can be an expensive dog to own in its comparatively short life. Food and veterinary bills are often high simply due to size.

HEALTH & WELLBEING

MAJOR HEALTH CONCERNS

Bloat and Gastric Volvulus: Large deep-chested breeds are prone to bloat, which is where the stomach rapidly expands with gas and fluid. Bloat can often then lead to torsion or twisting of the stomach, which is rapidly fatal if not treated immediately.

Hip Displaysia – Many breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, and while more breeders are hip scoring in an attempt to breed out this devastating disease, in some cases it can still occur, particularly with overfeeding at a young age.

DCM – Dilated Cardiomyopathy can occur in large breed dogs. This enlargement of the heart can progress to heart failure, weakness and collapse.

Bone cancer – Irish Wolfhounds have a higher prevalence than many breeds of developing cancer, particularly bone cancer. If your Wolfhound has any form of lameness, please get it checked early.

PREVENTATIVE CARE & WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

Avoid overfeeding or over exercising your Wolfhound when growing to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia.

Feeding two smaller meals a day and avoiding exercise within an hour of eating can reduce the chance of bloat and torsion.

Ask your vet to regularly check your dogs heart for signs of DCM or heart disease.

BREED ORIGIN AND INTERESTING FACTS

The Irish Wolfhound is on average taller than the Great Dane, but with a slimmer build. The world record for tallest dog has usually been a Great Dane not a Wolfhound, however.

It is thought that Wolfhounds were brought to Ireland in 7000BC.

Wolfhounds were bred in Ireland as hunters (mainly for wolves) and also guarded homes, stock and their children. Today they often make terrible guard dogs due to their gentle nature.

Wolfhounds were often owned exclusively by royalty and during AD600-900 the numbers you could own depended on your status.

During the 18th Century their numbers had declined so much that the breed almost completely died out. Deerhounds and a few other breeds were incorporated to increase numbers again.

 

RESCUE AN IRISH WOLFHOUND

Petfinder lists all types of dogs who need homes, both purebred and mixed breeds, adults and puppies.

The ASPCA often has Irish Wolfhounds for adoption, just do an advanced search on their adoption page.

The post Irish Wolfhound appeared first on Love That Pet.

Dog Aggression

A dog’s bark may be worse than his bite, but most of us would rather not find out one way or the other.

Growling, baring teeth, snarling, snapping, and biting are all aggressive behaviors. Although these messages are among the handful of communication tools available to dogs, they’re generally unacceptable to humans.

Because dog aggression is so complex, and because the potential consequences are so serious, we recommend that you get professional in-home help from an animal behavior specialist if your dog is displaying aggressive behavior.

Types of Dog Aggression

Fear-motivated aggression is a defensive reaction and occurs when a dog believes he is in danger of being harmed. Remember that it’s your dog’s perception of the situation, not your actual intent, which determines your dog’s response. For example, you may raise your arm to throw a ball, but your dog may bite you because he believes he’s protecting himself from being hit. A dog may also be fearfully aggressive when approached by other dogs.

Protective, territorial, and possessive aggression are all very similar, and involve the defense of valuable resources. Territorial aggression is usually associated with defense of property, and that “territory” may extend well past the boundaries of your yard. For example, if you regularly walk your dog around the neighborhood and allow him to urine-mark, he may think his territory includes the entire block. Protective aggression usually refers to aggression directed toward people or animals whom a dog perceives as threats to his family, or pack. Dogs become possessively aggressive when defending their food, toys, or other valued objects, including items as peculiar as tissues stolen from the trash.

Redirected aggression is a relatively common type of dog aggression but one that is often misunderstood by pet owners. If a dog is somehow provoked by a person or animal he is unable to attack, he may redirect this aggression onto someone else. For example, two family dogs may become excited, and bark and growl in response to another dog passing through the front yard; or two dogs confined behind a fence may turn and attack each other because they can’t attack an intruder. Predation is usually considered to be a unique kind of aggressive behavior because it’s motivated by the intent to obtain food, and not primarily by the intent to harm or intimidate.

Individual Variation

The likelihood of a dog to show aggressive behavior in any particular situation varies markedly from dog to dog. Some dogs tend to respond aggressively with very little stimulation. Others may be subjected to all kinds of threatening stimuli and events and yet never attempt to bite.

The difference in the threshold prompting aggressive behavior is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. If this threshold is low, a dog will be more likely to bite. Raising the threshold makes a dog less likely to respond aggressively. This threshold can be raised using behavior modification techniques, but the potential for change is influenced by a dog’s gender, age, breed, general temperament, and the way in which the behavior modification techniques are chosen and implemented.

Because working with aggressive dogs can be potentially dangerous, behavior modification techniques should only be attempted by, or under the guidance of, an experienced animal behavior professional who understands animal learning theory and behavior.

What You Can Do

First, check with your veterinarian to rule out medical causes for the aggressive behavior.

Seek professional advice. An aggression problem will not go away by itself. Working with aggression problems requires in-home help from an animal behavior specialist.

Take precautions. Your first priority is to keep people and other animals safe. Supervise, confine, and/or restrict your dog’s activities until you can obtain professional guidance. You are liable for your dog’s behavior. If you must take your dog out in public, consider a cage-type muzzle as a temporary precaution, and remember that some dogs are clever enough to get a muzzle off.

Avoid exposing your dog to situations where he is more likely to show aggression. You may need to keep him confined to a safe room and limit his contact with people.

If your dog is possessive of toys or treats, or territorial in certain locations, prevent access and you’ll prevent the problem.

In an emergency, bribe him with something better than what he has. For example, if he steals your shoe, trade him the shoe for a piece of chicken.

Spay or neuter your dog. Intact dogs are more likely to display dominance, territorial, and protective aggressive behavior.

What Not to Do

Punishment won’t help and, in fact, will often make the problem worse. If the dog aggression is motivated by fear, punishment will make your dog more fearful, and therefore more aggressive. Attempting to punish or dominate a dominantly aggressive dog may actually lead him to escalate his behavior to retain his dominant position. This is likely to result in a bite or a severe attack. Punishing territorial, possessive, or protective aggression is likely to elicit additional defensive aggression.

 

Reward-based training, good communication and structure is useful as a basis for fixing many different types of behavior problems.

There are many things that can make our dogs difficult to live with and problem behaviors can easily snowball. Issues such as aggression towards other dogs, anxiety, and unruly behavior can often be assisted by structured and consistent training. There are various programs out there, including Nothing in Life is Free, Learn to Earn and No Free Lunch. They are all pretty similar and the emphasis is on encouraging your dog to look to you for direction.

While not all behavior problems will be instantly fixed by good training, providing consistent and clear patterns in your dog’s world can be extremely reassuring to them. Anxious dogs, fearful dogs, those that seem to have attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity, all types of personalities can benefit from this technique.
Good communication between pet and owner, finding ways to motivate your dog to do specific tasks for rewards switches the relationship very subtly into one where good behavior gets rewards.

Why Use This?

Unfortunately for many pet owners the dog that they have ended up with, is not necessarily what they imagined. Without structure and guidance, our dogs will not understand what we want from them and their learning becomes a little random. Dogs are intelligent creatures and whether we give them structured training or not, they are learning cause and effect all the time. For example I jump up on mum when she gets home and she looks at me and touches me, so I’ll keep on doing it.
In many cases dogs develop attention-seeking behaviors, bark, pull on walks, jump up on everyone and may even be aggressive towards other people or animals. If you’ve ever wistfully gazed upon those ‘perfect’ dogs at the park and wished your dog was a little better behaved, this program can help.

Rewards – Won’t That Make My Dog Fat?

The most consistent way to reward good behavior is to use food rewards. Some dogs are play motivated too, but it can be hard to deliver play quickly and on cue. Dog’s don’t find praise that rewarding, sure they might wag their tail and look happy when you say their name or say ‘good boy’ in a friendly tone of voice, but it won’t drive them to perform and encourage them to learn new skills like a treat will.

If you have a very food motivated dog, you are half way there. You don’t need to use high calorie treats, tiny pieces of liver treat, chopped up carrot (put it in the bag with the liver treats, so it’s a bit ‘seasoned’), small pieces of BBQ chicken, or if your dog is overweight, just use regular dry food throughout the day. Much more exciting than eating out of a bowl anyway! For more healthy treat ideas, visit here.
If your dog isn’t that excited by food, you may need to start rationing a little and rather than just filling up a food bowl and walking away. Use all food as a training aid.

Don’t I Need to Dominate my Dog and be a Pack Leader?

The prevailing wisdom around 10 years ago was that if you were a strong pack leader, your dog would obey you without question. This type of training was based on physically asserting your dominance often in some pretty distressing ways, particularly for anxious dogs. Even now that behavior theory has moved on, there are still lots of trainers using punishment and outdated techniques that are harmful to the pet-owner bond.
We commonly get people guiltily saying that their dog sleeps on their bed as though that is the cause of all problems. There is no problem with your dog sleeping on the bed, going through doorways before you or eating before you. Dogs don’t see us as other dogs and the Dominance Myth has been thoroughly discredited. Keep it simple and just reward the good stuff and ignore the bad.

Shouldn’t I Punish my Dog?

Just as treating your dog like a wolf is confusing, punishment is also confusing, so put down that rattle box, avoid the water spray and give up on shouting at your dog. None of these things correct behavior, they just lead to confusion. Your dog usually has no idea what you want, so that ‘guilty’ look is just fear. Guilt is actually a pretty complex human emotion, which luckily our doggy companions don’t suffer from. Lucky them! Punishment is so often used inappropriately and often sets up a situation where your dog fears what you might do. Keep things positive and work on reinforcing the good.

Why Does Learn to Earn Work

This program is known by a few names, but essentially the idea is that if your dog performs a set behavior, a reward is given. Spreading these rewards out throughout the day and through different situations means your dog will start to look to you for direction and for ways to please you.
Sometimes, the only way our pets get our attention is by coming to you for reassurance or doing something ‘naughty’. We often reinforce annoying attention-seeking behaviors like jumping up, whining for attention, barking and chewing.
If we only pay children attention when they throw a tantrum or hit their sibling, rather than when they are playing quietly, they are much more likely to act up. Somehow it seems much easier when we think about kids, rather than dogs, but learning theory is exactly the same. A two-year-old is at a similar intellectual level to a dog, but is probably a bit less keen on liver treats.

How to Start

Most dogs know how to sit, so this can be a great starting position. Allocate a portion of treats (or regular dry food) to be distributed throughout your time with your dog. Take this zip-lock bag with you everywhere, on walks, in the house, outside, absolutely everywhere. If you prefer not to smell like a liver treat, put treats strategically throughout the house, so you can access them easily. Then start asking your dog to sit for a treat randomly throughout the day. You can also ask them to sit before, a walk, patting and any form of attention.
If your dog knows any other tricks, this is your chance to work on them. And feel free to train some more advanced skills too, just for fun!
While this is happening, ignore any attention-seeking or naughty behavior. If your dog tends to come to you and put his nose into your hand for a pat ignore it and call your dog over randomly for pats when you decide. We don’t want you to withdraw your affection, but just give it on your terms.

Needy Dogs

For those Velcro dogs that always seem to need reassurance, follow you everywhere and need your presence, it can actually increase their happiness levels. Often a Velcro dog wants attention at a time you can’t give it, like when you’re cooking dinner. This can mean you push them away sometimes, but happily cuddle them at other times. This inconsistency can make anxious dogs worse and they increase their attention seeking behavior because the rely on it to feel secure. But it’s never enough, is it? They will never gain confidence if they rely upon you reassuring them. Increasing predictability and teaching your dog how to get your attention for performing a behavior is the key to increasing their confidence in their own abilities.

Hyper Dogs

For those hyperactive dogs that seem unable to concentrate, wait until they calm down. Exercise them as much as possible and work on puzzles to keep them mentally stimulated. For your program, as soon as you get a second of calm, redirect with a sit and reward. For dogs that leap around and can’t seem to concentrate for a second, work on ignoring the leaping and jumping to start with. As soon as your dog jumps, just turn your back and avoid eye contact. Don’t say a thing until your dog stops for a second and all 4 feet are on the ground. Then give eye contact and ask for a sit. If your hyper dog can’t concentrate enough to sit and immediately jumps up again, first work on just rewarding any calm offered. Even if that calm is just 1 second of all 4 feet on the ground. There is more information here.

Extinction Burst

It will take time for a negative behavior to stop, so be patient. Your dog has probably been behaving a certain way for a very long time, so don’t expect him to stop immediately. In fact, research shows that if a behavior was previously rewarded, the tendency is to try even harder to get a response. If you push a button for the lift to arrive, but the lift doesn’t arrive, you are definitely going to push that button harder and even more times before you give up and take the stairs.

Just be consistent. Don’t confuse things by even looking at your dog when he acts up!

What Next?

So you’ve been rewarding your dog for sitting throughout the day and being consistent in your interactions. Focus on asking your dog to sit for everything and make sure even when you go to the park he is still focused on you. For many dogs, even this change will fix a problem behavior. If not, you might need some more focused strategies.

The post No Free Lunches – Simple Tips for Good Behavior appeared first on Love That Pet.

Reward-based training, good communication and structure is useful as a basis for fixing many different types of behavior problems.

There are many things that can make our dogs difficult to live with and problem behaviors can easily snowball. Issues such as aggression towards other dogs, anxiety, and unruly behavior can often be assisted by structured and consistent training. There are various programs out there, including Nothing in Life is Free, Learn to Earn and No Free Lunch. They are all pretty similar and the emphasis is on encouraging your dog to look to you for direction.

While not all behavior problems will be instantly fixed by good training, providing consistent and clear patterns in your dog’s world can be extremely reassuring to them. Anxious dogs, fearful dogs, those that seem to have attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity, all types of personalities can benefit from this technique.
Good communication between pet and owner, finding ways to motivate your dog to do specific tasks for rewards switches the relationship very subtly into one where good behavior gets rewards.

Why Use This?

Unfortunately for many pet owners the dog that they have ended up with, is not necessarily what they imagined. Without structure and guidance, our dogs will not understand what we want from them and their learning becomes a little random. Dogs are intelligent creatures and whether we give them structured training or not, they are learning cause and effect all the time. For example I jump up on mum when she gets home and she looks at me and touches me, so I’ll keep on doing it.
In many cases dogs develop attention-seeking behaviors, bark, pull on walks, jump up on everyone and may even be aggressive towards other people or animals. If you’ve ever wistfully gazed upon those ‘perfect’ dogs at the park and wished your dog was a little better behaved, this program can help.

Rewards – Won’t That Make My Dog Fat?

The most consistent way to reward good behavior is to use food rewards. Some dogs are play motivated too, but it can be hard to deliver play quickly and on cue. Dog’s don’t find praise that rewarding, sure they might wag their tail and look happy when you say their name or say ‘good boy’ in a friendly tone of voice, but it won’t drive them to perform and encourage them to learn new skills like a treat will.

If you have a very food motivated dog, you are half way there. You don’t need to use high calorie treats, tiny pieces of liver treat, chopped up carrot (put it in the bag with the liver treats, so it’s a bit ‘seasoned’), small pieces of BBQ chicken, or if your dog is overweight, just use regular dry food throughout the day. Much more exciting than eating out of a bowl anyway! For more healthy treat ideas, visit here.
If your dog isn’t that excited by food, you may need to start rationing a little and rather than just filling up a food bowl and walking away. Use all food as a training aid.

Don’t I Need to Dominate my Dog and be a Pack Leader?

The prevailing wisdom around 10 years ago was that if you were a strong pack leader, your dog would obey you without question. This type of training was based on physically asserting your dominance often in some pretty distressing ways, particularly for anxious dogs. Even now that behavior theory has moved on, there are still lots of trainers using punishment and outdated techniques that are harmful to the pet-owner bond.
We commonly get people guiltily saying that their dog sleeps on their bed as though that is the cause of all problems. There is no problem with your dog sleeping on the bed, going through doorways before you or eating before you. Dogs don’t see us as other dogs and the Dominance Myth has been thoroughly discredited. Keep it simple and just reward the good stuff and ignore the bad.

Shouldn’t I Punish my Dog?

Just as treating your dog like a wolf is confusing, punishment is also confusing, so put down that rattle box, avoid the water spray and give up on shouting at your dog. None of these things correct behavior, they just lead to confusion. Your dog usually has no idea what you want, so that ‘guilty’ look is just fear. Guilt is actually a pretty complex human emotion, which luckily our doggy companions don’t suffer from. Lucky them! Punishment is so often used inappropriately and often sets up a situation where your dog fears what you might do. Keep things positive and work on reinforcing the good.

Why Does Learn to Earn Work

This program is known by a few names, but essentially the idea is that if your dog performs a set behavior, a reward is given. Spreading these rewards out throughout the day and through different situations means your dog will start to look to you for direction and for ways to please you.
Sometimes, the only way our pets get our attention is by coming to you for reassurance or doing something ‘naughty’. We often reinforce annoying attention-seeking behaviors like jumping up, whining for attention, barking and chewing.
If we only pay children attention when they throw a tantrum or hit their sibling, rather than when they are playing quietly, they are much more likely to act up. Somehow it seems much easier when we think about kids, rather than dogs, but learning theory is exactly the same. A two-year-old is at a similar intellectual level to a dog, but is probably a bit less keen on liver treats.

How to Start

Most dogs know how to sit, so this can be a great starting position. Allocate a portion of treats (or regular dry food) to be distributed throughout your time with your dog. Take this zip-lock bag with you everywhere, on walks, in the house, outside, absolutely everywhere. If you prefer not to smell like a liver treat, put treats strategically throughout the house, so you can access them easily. Then start asking your dog to sit for a treat randomly throughout the day. You can also ask them to sit before, a walk, patting and any form of attention.
If your dog knows any other tricks, this is your chance to work on them. And feel free to train some more advanced skills too, just for fun!
While this is happening, ignore any attention-seeking or naughty behavior. If your dog tends to come to you and put his nose into your hand for a pat ignore it and call your dog over randomly for pats when you decide. We don’t want you to withdraw your affection, but just give it on your terms.

Needy Dogs

For those Velcro dogs that always seem to need reassurance, follow you everywhere and need your presence, it can actually increase their happiness levels. Often a Velcro dog wants attention at a time you can’t give it, like when you’re cooking dinner. This can mean you push them away sometimes, but happily cuddle them at other times. This inconsistency can make anxious dogs worse and they increase their attention seeking behavior because the rely on it to feel secure. But it’s never enough, is it? They will never gain confidence if they rely upon you reassuring them. Increasing predictability and teaching your dog how to get your attention for performing a behavior is the key to increasing their confidence in their own abilities.

Hyper Dogs

For those hyperactive dogs that seem unable to concentrate, wait until they calm down. Exercise them as much as possible and work on puzzles to keep them mentally stimulated. For your program, as soon as you get a second of calm, redirect with a sit and reward. For dogs that leap around and can’t seem to concentrate for a second, work on ignoring the leaping and jumping to start with. As soon as your dog jumps, just turn your back and avoid eye contact. Don’t say a thing until your dog stops for a second and all 4 feet are on the ground. Then give eye contact and ask for a sit. If your hyper dog can’t concentrate enough to sit and immediately jumps up again, first work on just rewarding any calm offered. Even if that calm is just 1 second of all 4 feet on the ground. There is more information here.

Extinction Burst

It will take time for a negative behavior to stop, so be patient. Your dog has probably been behaving a certain way for a very long time, so don’t expect him to stop immediately. In fact, research shows that if a behavior was previously rewarded, the tendency is to try even harder to get a response. If you push a button for the lift to arrive, but the lift doesn’t arrive, you are definitely going to push that button harder and even more times before you give up and take the stairs.

Just be consistent. Don’t confuse things by even looking at your dog when he acts up!

What Next?

So you’ve been rewarding your dog for sitting throughout the day and being consistent in your interactions. Focus on asking your dog to sit for everything and make sure even when you go to the park he is still focused on you. For many dogs, even this change will fix a problem behavior. If not, you might need some more focused strategies.

The post No Free Lunches – Simple Tips for Good Behavior appeared first on Love That Pet.

Teaching Dogs the "Come" Command

For dogs, learning to come when called is not only a behavior issue. It’s a safety issue.

For instance, if your dog slips out the front door and races down across the yard, you must be able to get him to stop and come back before he runs into the street.

Bear in mind that the “come” command isn’t always the best option when you want your dog by your side. For instance, if you haven’t fully trained your dog to understand what you want when you say “come,” don’t use that command and expect results. It’s better to go and get him than to say “come” repeatedly.

Keep practicing the “come” command until you are certain your dog will respond immediately the first time you call.

Method 1 for teaching your dog to come: The back up and recall method

You can practice this method in the house or while out on a walk with your dog.

  • Put your dog on a leash.
  • Hold the other end of the leash, say “come” once, then quickly move backward.
  • Keep moving backward until your dog gets all the way to you.
  • When your dog catches up to you, say “Yes!”
  • Give your dog a treat.
  • Training tip: Teach your dog polite leash behavior
  • The Back Up and Recall is a good way to teach your dog not to pull on his leash when you take a walk.
  • Each time he starts to pull, say “come,” and move backward until your dog gets to you. Say “Yes!” and reward him with a treat.

You may spend much of your first few walks going backward, but it won’t take long for your dog to learn that he must pay attention to where you are going instead of choosing his own path and speed.

Method 2 for teaching your dog to come: The long line

You can also practice “come” outside using a long (20-foot) training leash. The long leash makes it easy to catch your dog if he gets distracted and wants to wander around the yard. For this method, you’ll need the help of another person.

  • Attach the long training leash to your dog’s collar.
  • Your assistant should stand behind your dog and hold him by lacing her hands across his chest.
  • Get your dog’s attention by holding a treat in front of his nose and talking to him in an excited voice.
  • Run away a few feet then call your dog to “come.” Encourage him by clapping your hands or making noises but don’t repeat the “come” command.
  • When your dog runs to you, say “Yes!”
  • Give him a treat.
  • As he gets better at “come,” run farther away before you call him.

Training tip: Make it a game for your dog

As your dog learns “come,” practice inside (a leash isn’t necessary) by having your assistant distract or hold your dog while you go out of the room. Call out, “come.”

When he finds you, say “Yes!” and give him a treat. Over time you can make this game more difficult, by moving to more distant rooms of the house before you call “come.”

Maximus lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Maximus’s owner is Clayton Bernacki, and Maximus’s walker is Eleanor. At Waggy Walkys we love our client’s and their owner’s. 🙂

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