Tips for …….. Recognizing Early Resource Guarding Behaviors

Resource guarding is a behavior that can be improved with training and management.  Guarding extends well beyond the food bowl.  Aggressive displays, both subtle and overt, can happen while the dog is in possession of various items: toys, chews, “stolen” objects, outside debris.  Dogs also guard locations: their spot on furniture, space inside your house […]

Tips for …….. Working your dog through adolescence

Dogs grow through developmental phases like all other animals.  The adolescent phase begins at around 6-7 months of age and continues until about 18 months.  Behavior changes are expected.  Elements in the environment that seemed insignificant during puppy time can loom much larger in adolescence, escalating into over threshold arousal displays.  The presence of other […]

Tips for …….. Managing an over-excited puppy

When puppies land in their new homes, they have limited exposure to the world and a small number of life experiences.  They have no real skills.  Everything is new.  It takes very little stimulation to push most puppies over their arousal thresholds.  Enter those annoying (and painful) behaviors:  nipping, clothes grabbing, jumping, and aimless zooming.  […]

Tips for …….. How Behavior Modification Works

Many dogs acquire behavior patterns along the way that do not harmoniously fit in with our human routines.  These are not bad dogs, only those who have yet to learn the skills needed to grow into successful pets.  Unskilled dogs are simply behaving like dogs, left to their devices, without information and direction from us.  […]

Here Comes the Fun!

We humans love the fun that dogs bring into our lives.  Playing goes a long way in forging a wonderful connection.  Everyone can strike a balance between engaging in play with our dogs and providing fun and mentally enriching activities that are independent.  The items in this recommended list offset boredom, which is a leading […]

“I’ll be Back”

Lots of puppies and rescue dogs – adolescent and adult – are described by their people as “Velcro dogs”.  This is not unusual and not necessarily a predictor of persistent separation distress behaviors.  Of course, these young or disadvantaged animals are not yet secure in their new or changed environments. Ultimately, we must move about […]

Working at the Dog’s Level

When a dog owner comes to believe that his dog cannot be trained, it is often a result of working beyond the dog’s level during the training effort.  Working at the dog’s level means making observations and assessments of your dog’s ability to connect and respond to the handler.  Then, adjusting environmental elements to facilitate […]

Canine Case Files: Mick – Dysfunction at the Door

Mick is a sweet, smart, and active Corgi.  His arousal level can go from 0 to 400 mph in a split second.  This escalation is a result of his seeing a delivery truck in front of the house and the driver approaching, the clanging /vibration of the mailbox lid, and the sound of the doorbell. […]

Canine Case Files: Teddy – Off the Kitchen Table!

Teddy is a sweet Cavapoo, who learned that access to the kitchen table was easy.  Not to mention highly gratifying.  There was a bench on one side and chairs on the other side of an oblong table.  It was easy for Teddy to hop up on the bench and sit with the family while they […]

Canine Case Files: Bosco – Object Stealing

Bosco is an 8-year-old bully breed mix.  There are two young children sharing his space on a regular basis.  This situation can be stressful for any dog whose exposure to children has been limited until it is upon him!  It is no surprise that often Bosco’s behaviors indicate that he is over a threshold level […]