Dominance: Reality or Myth

Unfortunately a popular reality TV show has captured people’s attention and is talking about dogs as pack animals and again perpetuating the idea of using “calm-assertive energy” (read: fear and intimidation) to resolve issues with problem dogs. Like most “reality” TV shows

by Donald J. Hanson, BFRAP, CDBC, CPDT-KA

It was in the September of 2000 that the first version of this article appeared in Paw Prints, the Green Acres Kennel Shop newsletter. I have updated the article ten years later because sadly there are still too many people, some of them animal professionals, and some who try to play the part on TV, promulgating the dominance myth.

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Does Your Dog Come When You Call?

Many people contact me to help them with recall or getting their dog to come when they call them.

A good recall begins with a strong relationship between the human and the dog. The dog who happily comes when called shares a bond with them and trust them completely. They go to them repeatedly because they associate their owner with good things.

If you call your dog and they look at you as if to say why? “Why should I?”   It would be nice if relationships were that easy, but we know any relationship has a balance of trust and respect.  Anyone parenting children can see similarities as we are able to say “because I said so!” Many of us have learned to give a specific reason, expressing our intentions clearly we will have better success and maintain a healthy relationship with our children in the process.

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Bite Prevention – Warning signs

Clients often say their dog bit without warning, however if you understood dogs body language, you would have seen signs that your dog was worried prior to the bite. Signs of Stress: Head lowered  Tail tucked  Lip licking Panting and Pacing barking Excessive salivation Ears pulled to the side or way back Hiding behind the

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5 Body Postures: A Dog is Asking For Space

If humans better understood dogs body language then we would have less dogs resorting to a bite when they feel stressed or threatened.  We see several cues that this scared boy does not want to be touched.  Signals that are asking for distance are often very subtle.

Level 1 distance Cues:
1. Dogs body is leaning away from the approaching hand.
2. Dogs paw is raised in a submissive manner.
3. Head is moving away asking for increased distance.
4. Eyes are avoiding the stranger
5. Mouth is closed, rather than open and relaxed.

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Fight or Flight Response in Dogs?

On a recent trip, I found myself in a nice hotel lobby visiting friends.  I decided it was time for “goodbyes” so I headed for the elevator.  When the door opened, there were three rather imposing-looking men standing along the back wall.  I froze for a second!  Do I get in and turn my back

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Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant now available in Portland Maine

BIG NEWS!! I am very proud to announce my hard work and continued education has earned me the title ofAssociate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant- ACDBC.  I am the only ACDBC south of Bangor, and the only one in Portland, Maine.  My desire to better understand dog behavior and behavior problems is on going and I will

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Behavior is Shaped by the Environment

I try not to sound like a broken record, but I do continually hit home the fact that the environment is training your dog.  Specifically, the environment is shaping your dogs behavior in small successes each day, each minute. Why is this important?  If your puppy barks frequently to get your older dog to interact

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Changing Behavior

When changing your dogs behavior or habits it is best to go slow and keep it simple.  Changing habits takes time and while the process may seem overwhelming at times, remember small successes are a big deal! Steps to changing your dogs behavior:  1. Make a plan, put it in writing, including specific detailed goals

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