With Dogs Drake and Jade, my two German Shepherd Dogs, welcomed my daughter’s rescue pup, Ollie, to the family. Ollie is a 10 month old Shetland Sheepdog or “Sheltie”. He is very emotional, noted by his passive, hesitant behavior to move forward. When there is something important to him, however, he becomes pushy and in […]
Jade shows a relaxed, confident expression in this photo. This is Jade moments after she recovered from an emotional barky greeting with a scary dress! As Jade and I were sitting on this bench, I noticed Jade close her mouth, narrow her eyes somewhat, and track a women across the road. The young woman had
Reactivity Defined: I will define another category of Reactive Dogs. In the past, I have written about dogs who are very social and react because they are “Persistent Players” and love to play with dogs. Our canine friends have different reasons for reacting at the sight of another dog. Once you are able to identify
I continually see the need for more education in cases of dog aggression towards humans. For some reason, when a dog growls at a human, the human’s response is to yell, hold them down or force it into confinement. Many clients admit this scolding has caused an increase in stress when the dog is near unfamiliar people.
Modern trainers use clickers to train their dogs because it aids in the animals understanding of what is rewardable. The animal quickly learns that when it offers the behavior again, it will be rewarded. This positive reinforcement approach will often cause an immediate “wow” moment for both handler and animal.
The clicker is a small hand-held gadget that emits a sound when you press it. The sound the clicker makes is a signal to your dog that the behavior it just offered is rewardable. This “click” is always followed by a food reward. Think: Click and Treat! Note, the clicker is NOT for getting attention.
Good dogs resolve conflict — all by themselves!
Below, I outline an incident that occurred at a local park in detail and include what each dog’s body language indicated. There are good lessons here on how dogs resolve conflict and set the rules for the playground!
Will your dog likely develop Anxiety when home alone?
If you suspect your dog is suffering from a form of Separation Anxiety, contact your vet, as many of the symptoms can also be medical in nature. Your vet may include a complete blood cell count, biochemistry, thyroid test, and urinalysis to gather more information on what may be causing some of your dogs behavior changes.
So, what are the signs you should look for?
Is your dog slightly environmentally insecure or worried in new places? Does your dog hesitate when walking down some streets or new parks? Do her eyes become enlarged as she scans the area often? Maybe her body looks compressed, or she moves slower then normal with stiff leg movement. Maybe she sits and refuses to move forward, yet if you turn around, she quickly moves in the direction of home.
“Why” your dog may not be able to change her behavior like other dogs…
Have you attended a dog training class, maybe a Leash Lunger or Reactive Dog Class? You see other dogs in class improving, but your dog continues to scan the environment instead of looking at you.
As a dog trainer, I often work with dogs who have bitten people, yet I am able to hand feed and often begin body handling them without getting bitten myself. Since dog bite prevention is a critical focus of my reward-based dog training, I will share some simple techniques to reduce your chances of being bit by a dog.
Learn to read dog body language:
If the dog is facing you, look for signs he is calm and relaxed. These would include a loose body (free of tension), open mouth, relaxed ears, soft blinking eyes, relaxed neutral tail and ears. These are communications signs from the dog that he is feeling okay about you near him. This handsome boy is offering me friendly relaxed body language as he stands at an angle showing he is feeling comfortable about my presence.