Ask A Dog Trainer: 6 Clever Uses For Your Dog’s Hand Touch Cue

Most basic obedience classes teach a hand touch where your dog learns to put their nose on your hand. Some may even learn it in puppy class. At the time, it may seem like just a cute trick, but once your dog knows the basic hand touch, there are many useful behaviors you can teach your dog – including ways to help around the house and things that could save your dog’s life. The following are just a few of … Read more

5 Tips To Prevent Your Boxer From Pulling On A Leash

Exuberant Boxers often cause frustration when their owners try to walk them on-leash. All you want is a nice, calm walk but they want to bounce and pull. Boxers are big enough that leash pulling is not only irritating, it can be dangerous. It takes some patience, but your Boxer can learn to walk nicely. The following easy training tips will help make sure that your Boxer doesn’t pull on the leash. #1 – Start Young As soon as you bring home your Boxer, … Read more

5 Tips To Prevent Your Pit Bull From Pulling On A Leash

The Pittie personality is loving, comedic, and full of energy. That energy can often be hard to harness while on-leash, making them a difficult dog to walk if not properly trained. Coupled with their solid and strong bodies, you may find yourself being walked where your dog wants to go. The following training tips will help make sure that your Pit Bull doesn’t pull on the leash, putting you back in control of your walks. A video posted by Fight Abuse … Read more

Feeding Tips For Dogs Who Guard Their Food

Feeding a dog who guards his food can be dangerous. You can get bitten and you can even (accidentally) make the guarding behavior worse. There is a safe way to do it so that both you and your dog have a positive experience, which can actually help diminish the behavior over time.   Why Dogs Guard Food Dogs guard food (and other things like toys, people, etc.) because their instinct is telling them they need to protect their resources. Wild … Read more

How To Teach Your Dog To Heel

A formal heel is an amazing thing to behold: dog right at your leg, staring attentively up at you while you walk. It’s something even non-dog people can appreciate. You may feel it’s something you and your dog can never accomplish, but it’s actually easier than you think and can even be fun with the following tips. What Is “Heel,” Anyway? First, let’s define what we are looking for. Knowing what you want the behavior to look like before you … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: Why Does My Dog Not Respect My Boundaries?

Do you have a pushy dog? You know the type – jumps all over you, invades your space while you are trying to eat, barks for attention or toy throwing. They may even knock your kids over by being too friendly. These are not bad dogs. These are dogs that do not understand the concept of manners. It’s a frustrating way to live for the owner, and sadly, these are often the dogs that end up in the shelter. A … Read more

The Leash Matters – When To Use What Type

Why did you chose the leash you did? Maybe based on color or because a friend or trainer recommended it? Many of us don’t take a lot of time thinking about the leash. We just fasten the nearest one to our dog’s collar and go. But the leash is very important. It keeps your dog under control and affects the safety of you, your dog and other animals or people nearby. So next time you reach for the leash, stop … Read more

5 Signs Your German Shepherd Is Stressed

German Shepherd Dogs are intelligent, sweet and loyal to their families. If you have one, you know this is true. You also know many of them suffer from stress. As a trainer, I see a lot of nervous German Shepherd Dogs that have a hard time focusing or relaxing in new places or around new people. The first step to helping your German Shepherd Dog is recognizing when he is feeling this way so you can help him. The following … Read more

Litter Lessons: What Your Dog Learns From His Littermates & Mother

A litter of puppies may seem like they don’t do much – eat, sleep, play a bit, repeat. But you may be surprised at just how much those puppies are learning and how what they learn will affect the dog they become. In fact, behavioral problems you are dealing with now may likely have stemmed from what happened (or didn’t happen!) before you bring your puppy home. Those First Several Weeks While those puppies are certainly eating and sleeping a … Read more

Did You Know Your Dog Can Feel These 5 Complex Emotions?

We’ve all wondered about what our dog is feeling or thinking. Obviously, we know dogs can feel pain, fear and hunger. But what about other more “complex” emotions? In the last decade, scientists and canine behaviorists have used technology to find out more about our dogs’ emotions than we ever thought was possible. Thanks to them, we now have a deeper understanding of our best friends and what they feel. How Exactly Did They Study It? You may be wondering … Read more

How To Help Your Dog Cope With Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs is one of the worst behavioral issues. Dogs suffering from it can be extremely destructive – not only ruining your home, but harming themselves. I’ve heard of dogs eating through walls and jumping out second story windows that were closed. A photo posted by @dodgeranddaisyblue_boxers on May 2, 2016 at 3:06pm PDT Why Dogs Suffer From Separation Anxiety So far, canine behaviorists have not been able to identify why some dogs develop separation anxiety. It could … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: Why Does My Dog Whine?

If your dog whines when it needs to go outside, chances are you figured that out pretty quick. But what about the other times? Why do some dogs seem to whine all the time or at odd times of day when they clearly don’t have to “go”? If you live with a dog that whines, you know how frustrating it can be to hear it. But also how frustrating it is to not be able to understand what your dog … Read more

Help For Dogs That Bark At Every Noise

Do you have a dog that barks at every little noise? Whether it’s another dog barking, the doorbell, or simply you opening a cupboard, your dog feels the need to bark. Dogs who are overly sensitive to sound – sometimes called “alert barkers,” can make daily life extremely unpleasant and even require you to post signs on your door! Luckily, there are ways you can help your dog stop the incessant barking. Why Some Dogs Bark At Noise So why are … Read more

What’s In A Name: A Trainer Explains The Importance Of Your Dog’s Name

My last several dogs had all been adults when I got them and had come with names, so when I finally got a puppy, I agonized over just the “right” name. I think it took me three weeks to finally settle on the call name “Merlin.” Why did I have such a hard time? Because your dog’s name is something you are going to use more than you could ever possibly imagine, and choosing the wrong name can cause trouble … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: Will My Dog Grow Out Of These Bad Behaviors?

Your puppy just ate your shoes, bit your ankles or had an accident on the rug. Your adolescent dog won’t respond when you call him, barks at everything in sight, or won’t stop jumping up. Whatever it is, chances are someone close to you has said, “He’ll grow out of it.” But is this really true? The short answer is no. Dogs don’t grow out of behaviors like they grow out of collars. A puppy that bites and is never … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: How Do I Make My Dog Summer Road Trip Ready?

Hitting the open road this summer with your four-legged best friend can be one of the best ways to spend the summer. It can also be one of the worst if your canine companion is not ready for a road trip. There is so much to think about when planning a trip with your canine buddy that oftentimes people forget about the most important thing – the dog himself! Your dog needs to be “prepared” for the trip maybe even … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: Why Does My Dog Growl When I Approach His Food?

All you wanted was a nice family pet. What you got was a dog that turns into Kujo whenever food is involved. A dog that acts this way can be dangerous, especially in a house with kids. Unfortunately all too often dogs exhibiting this behavior end up at the shelter because the owners just couldn’t figure out how to fix the situation. Why Your Dog Gowls When You Approach His Food This is a type of resource guarding. The behavior … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: Why Do Puppies Bite & What Can Be Done About It?

Puppies are wonderful bundles of fur and joy, until they sink those razor-sharp baby teeth into your skin. That’s about that time that many dog owners start question why they got a puppy (that, and potty training!). It can even get so bad that the puppy, now an adolescent, gets relinquished to the shelter. So why does that adorable puppy that you just want to cuddle bite you? There are several reasons and knowing why can help you curb the … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: Why Doesn’t My Dog Respond To My Cues?

Few things are more frustrating to a dog owner than when a dog doesn’t respond to a known cue. You went to basic obedience class and your dog learned every cue perfectly. Not only did he graduate, but you swear he was the star student – the teacher’s pet if you will. And chances are, your dog was. So why isn’t he responding? Top Reasons Dogs Don’t Listen To Their Owners There are many reasons why a dog may not be … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: Why Does My Dog Give Me “The Guilty Face” ?

You come home from work and your dog has gotten into the garbage. You’re tired from a long day – maybe your boss yelled at you about your low sales. You stomp over to the garbage, call your dog in a gruff voice and glare at him as he gets near enough for you to yell. You know your dog knows he’s done something wrong because it’s written all over his face – that guilty expression.   …Or is it? Why We … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: Why Does My Dog Bark At Other Dogs While On A Leash?

Many of us get a dog for the opportunities they provide us – going on walks, to the beach, dog parks, or maybe even taking training classes and competing in sports like agility. All of those hopes and dreams can come crashing down the day your dog first barks at other dogs while he’s on a leash. Suddenly, everyone is looking at you with judgement, as if to say, “Why did you bring that awful dog out in public”? It … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: What Do I Do If My Dog Is Possessive With Her Toys?

Some dogs are not good at sharing. Once they get possession of a toy, it’s theirs and they do not want you to take it. This can result in growls and, if the owner is not careful, bites. Toy guarding is a fairly common problem that plagues those who were hoping for a nice family dog. Why Some Dogs Growl When You Try To Take Their Toys Behaviorists are not actually certain why dogs do this. On the surface, it’s quite simple: … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: Why Does My Dog Growl When People Approach Me?

It’s wonderful when we have a special bond with our dogs. Many of us get a dog for that very reason – to have a devoted companion. However, some dogs can get a little too attached to their humans and the result can lead to trouble. Dogs that growl when someone tries to approach you, can end up biting. It’s something that needs to be addressed immediately. Why Dogs Growl When People Approach Their Owner Dogs that growl (they may … Read more

Why Dogs Sometimes Bite & What You Can Do To Prevent It

There are many sides to this story, and everyone that interacts with dogs has a responsibility to help prevent bites. This includes learning dog body language (see charts below) and exercising caution, especially when allowing children and strangers to interact with them. Understanding why dogs bite is the first step towards prevention. Why Dogs Bite The answer to this is simple: communication. Dogs don’t speak our language. But they have vocal cues that they use as well as body language … Read more

Follow These 5 Rules To Respect A Reactive Dog, And You Could Help Prevent A Disaster

There are a lot of articles that offer advice and support for the reactive dog owner. Even I have written a fair few. This last week I got a candid email from a reader that brought up a great point – there are two sides to every dog encounter. Yes, there is the owner of the reactive dog, but there is also another person that plays a role in how this scenario unfolds. So today we are addressing the person who … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: How Do I Get My Distracted Dog To Focus On Me?

You are trying to teach your dog to sit. You’ve tried every trick in the book and he just won’t put that rump on the ground. He’s turning his head every which way, he’s staring off into the distance, he’s rolling around on the ground, he may even be lunging and barking at the bird that just flew by. Sound familiar? If your dog acts like this, it’s time to stop training. When we are training our dogs, we are … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: What’s The SIMPLEST Way To Potty Train?

Puppies are absolutely the cutest thing on this Earth…until they have their first accident in your house. On your brand new carpet. That’s when a lot of new pet parents start rethinking their decision to own a dog. But it doesn’t have to be that way! As an adult, I had always adopted older shelties. When I finally got my first puppy, I was a bit nervous about potty training. To be honest, it was one of the reasons I … Read more

5 Ways To Continue Training When Your Pup Is Laid Up

There is nothing worse than a dog with an injury. You can’t tell him why he can’t fly around the house or explain to her why she can’t go for that two mile walk she is used to. I just went through this with my youngest dog, Merlin. At almost 3, he is full of energy and is used to doing herding or agility – or both – every day. So when he tore his paw and had to wear a … Read more

Ask A Dog Trainer: How Do I Fix A Pushy Dog? (Hint: You May Be Reinforcing The Behavior!)

Do you have a pushy pup problem? Don’t worry, you are not alone! Pushy dogs quickly become a nuisance, and some even end up in the shelter because of their bad behavior. However, there is no reason why you can’t reform your pushy dog and live happily ever after. Why Do Dogs Become Pushy In The First Place? Dogs are opportunists, meaning they are going to do what works for them. That’s why once your dog has gotten food from … Read more

Tips To Strengthen Your Dog’s “Stay” On Command

So you went to puppy or basic obedience class with your new dog and you learned the basics of “stay.” Your dog did a really good job at staying for 5 – 10 seconds while you rewarded him frequently. But how do you get to a 10-minute “down stay,” with you out of sight? What about staying while you open the front door or remaining in place when a cat races by? Strengthening your dog’s stay can feel daunting and … Read more

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