Canine Case Files: Paco – Learn to Play

The final segment of Paco’s three-part case story provides guidance on teaching a dog to play.  Often rehomed dogs have little to no experience playing with a human.  They are busy surviving, perhaps actively avoiding people.  Some have developed a preference for the company of other dogs.  Others have learned that hands and clothes are […]

Canine Case Files: Paco – “Cujo” on the Leash

The second of Paco’s three-part case story outlines our program to change his leash walking behaviors.  I can only conjecture what his prior experiences were before landing in my house.  He had engaged in at least one altercation, because there was a small crescent-shaped hunk missing from one ear.  Many dogs are friendly towards other […]

Canine Case Files: Paco – Kitty Relations

I recently lost my dear friend, Paco. He was a Black Labrador/Dachshund mix, who was rescued from “dead dog” beach in Puerto Rico in 2007. Paco had great longevity genes, reaching the ripe old age of 17. He was 5 years old when I adopted him. I am sharing my early journey with Paco because […]

K9 Fun and Games 2: More of the Best Toys and Chews

Play between dogs and their humans creates a strong bond of companionship and trust.  This includes games we play together as well as providing fun, independent activities. Boredom is a leading cause of behavior complaints. It is also a top-ranking source of stress for dogs. Toys vs. Chews Separate your dog’s playthings into two categories:  […]

Puppy Expectations

A new puppy means new “tricks”.  No matter how many dogs have been part of your life, your new puppy is an individual.  Puppy raising techniques have changed, because the body of knowledge in the animal science world is always evolving and improving.  For many, family dynamics and lifestyles have also shifted.  The current puppy […]

Got a Guarder?

Guarding behaviors are complex and can be a puzzlement to dog owners.  One moment, the dog can be very sweet and loving, and the next moment, she’s growling and snapping.  What happened?  The human moved too close to the guarding dog and an intense spike in arousal occurred.  Dogs resource guard food, toys, chews, locations, […]

Repetition + Reinforcement = Relevance

Learned cues, situations, people, and places become relevant to a dog, depending on their exposure and experience.  Repeated experiences that are accompanied by gratifying outcomes are meaningful to the dog in a pleasant way.  Experiences work in reverse, too, with aversive outcomes.  Our dogs are learning all the time, preferably from us. Repetition Dogs require […]

What’s That Noise?!?!

Many dogs struggle with noise sensitivities and the resulting behaviors.  These are among the most challenging to change.  Typically, these dogs have difficulty finding a relaxed state of mind and remaining bodily – and often vocally – quiet.  Triggers can be undetectable to us humans, which adds to the complexity of making changes.  Some triggers […]

Life Skills: Meet and Greet

There are many components to successfully teaching a dog to calmly meet and greet people.  Training plans vary depending on your dog’s temperament and in the house vs. outside contexts, among other factors.  The plan for a fearful dog is different than that of a socially confident dog than that of a dog who likes […]

Stay with the Crate

Crate adjustment can take time; it’s a gradual process.  Most dogs learn to like the crate and choose to go in there as a safe, and quiet space.  If the terms “crate” and “cage” carry a negative emotion, call it by another name.  “Room”, “den”, or “house” can alleviate anthropomorphic association. Accepting containment and learning […]