Q. My dog likes to tease my cat by lurching and barking at him, almost like he wants to play. How can I get my dog to play nice?
A. Consider that your dog may not be playing; he may be tapping into instincts to attack or "prey drive." It is your job as the alpha to show your dog how to respect the cat. To achieve this, the dog needs to learn basic obedience. This is the cornerstone of all dog training. Basic obedience training shows the dog that you are the alpha, and that the dog needs to follow your directions.
When or before the cat enters the room, put the dog in a down-stay. Keep the dog on a leash so that you can keep him controlled. Practice keeping the dog in a down-stay even when the cat is in the room.
Cats and dogs both have natural instincts. Cats have an instinct to freeze when a predator is close by. They freeze because dogs can't see as well as they can smell; the sudden movement of a cat will be picked up by a dog's nose. Dogs have an instinct to chase the sudden movement of another animal, as the scent of the animal hits the dog's nose.
Through basic obedience you can overcome your pets' instincts to chase and be chased.
Depending on your dog's temperament this may take some time. Choose a regular time each day to practice with your dog on leash. Eventually your dog and cat will learn to respect and trust each other, with your consistent leadership!
Dogs, Moving and Yikes! Carpet!
"I have a girl dachshund. She was potty trained or acted potty trained for the first couple months. She has been peeing and pooping in the house when we are gone. It feels like she is doing it because she is upset that we left. But I could be wrong. Do you have any classes that can help with this? We will be moving into a place with carpet and she will destroy it if we dont get her trained."
A longtime potty-trained dog can suddenly start peeing and pooping in the house if it is struggling with a transition. Just like children, dogs take time to adjust to a new house. Step into your dog's paws for a second, and imagine 5 guys come into your house, move all of your stuff in a couple hours, drive off, and then you're crated and taken to a place you've never smelled before.
Moving is a major transition for a dog. Your home is your dog's domain and territory--it's all he knows! It is very comforting for a dog to be in its own home. When he is uprooted suddenly, he's going to express his confusion and anxiety by peeing and pooping (and for some reason, it feels extra good to do this on carpet!).
To reduce the stress of moving, gradually introduce your dog to the new surroundings. Just like you would show your children the new house, take your dog to the new place. Let your dog sniff, smell, and acclimate to the new place. On move day, it is imperative that your dog sees you moving furniture from one place to the other. Take him on at least two move runs, and let him see what's happening!
If you're one of the lucky ones and have a crate-trained dog, put the dog in the crate when you can't supervise the dog. Remember to keep some chew toys in the crate! An hour or so later (after you've figured out where the furniture is going to go), take the dog outside where you want the dog to relieve himself. If the dog does not relieve himself, without being mad at the dog, take the dog back to the crate.
An hour or so later (after you've unpacked your dishes), take the dog back to the yard and allow him to relieve himself. If you succeed, praise the dog! Otherwise, repeat the process until the dog relieves himself outside. This method can be used even if your dog has not previously been crate-trained.
If your dog marks an area it needs to be cleaned with Nature Miracle. Regular cleaners do not have the enzymes that kill the dog scent! When a dog smells that scent, it's like when a human hears a fountain and suddenly needs to pee! You MUST get rid of the dog scent to keep the dog from peeing in that same marked territory!
Barry O'Dea of On Command Dog Training is Northern Nevada's leading dog trainer.
There are virtually millions of animal lovers around the planet and a significant number of them keep dogs as domestic pets. The point to note, however, is that few dog owners are aware that the health of their families is, in a way, inextricably linked to sound dog health. Here is some useful information on good dog health care, for those who may already own one, or, those who do not but intend to. If you count yourself among either, read on. Regular check-ups are the key: As any qualified veterinarian will tell you, this constitutes the very basis of good dog health care. Periodic check-ups can reveal whether your dog may have rabies, tumors, or any viral, bacterial, skin, fungal, heart, gastrointestinal diseases, etc. As the saying goes - 'prevention is better than cure' - this also holds true to avoid any dog health problem. Preventive treatment should include such imperatives, e.g., vaccination, dental care, parasite removal, etc. This will ensure that your dog enjoys good health at all times. Moreover, this is not just a commitment to your family's health but one that will also contribute to good public health. Good nutrition is a healthy choice: Another important factor to ensure all-round, dog health care is good, balanced nutrition. Keep in mind, feeding your dog with little scraps of leftover food at the table, is not good and must be avoided. Your dog's diet should include an adequate mix of nutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Avoid overfeeding, as this can lead to obesity, a dog health problem that is common and growing in several western countries. Another critical factor to ensure good dog health is to avoid such food that may contain toxic ingredients. Do consult with any qualified veterinarian who can guide you on what dog foods are dangerous and those that are not. Sound reproductive health is wealth: This doesn't just apply to humans but also plays an important role in total dog health care. Spaying (a term applicable to female dogs) or Neutering (applicable to both, but particularly males), is primarily a sterilization process involving the removal of the female's ovaries and uterus or the male's testicles. This is usually recommended by all animal control agencies or such organizations as ASPCA, when dogs are no longer needed for, or capable of, breeding. Apart from ensuring good post-sterilization, dog health, this will also help to avoid unwanted puppies. All-round hygiene keeps dogs happy: Nothing will make your dog happier than to be free of parasites, e.g., ticks or fleas. Such parasites can also cause a dog health problem. Dogs free of ticks or fleas are also free of stress as well as more comfortable and relaxed. Therefore, make sure to bathe and shampoo your dog regularly, while also removing parasites. You can find good animal hygiene products at any medical store or supermarket near you. Lastly, in addition to the above, there's another critical aspect that can also contribute to good dog health care, and that is humane treatment. If you treat your dog well, he or she will show it in many, many ways. Look closely, you'll detect that smile, you'll see those ears fold back and a vigorously wagging tail. After all, it's not for nothing that dogs have proved to be "man's best friend".
Separation Anxiety in Dogs
When I talk about problem solving so many times I end up using the word escalation. The reason I use it so much is that in dealing with problem solving issues I have seen very small behavior problems become full blown behavior problems when not addressed. You can see that in Housebreaking, Getting in the Trash, and just about any problem that an owner will need to deal with. SEPARATION ANXIETY is one of the biggest examples of that. SEPARATION ANXIETY is a problem that can really vary from dog to dog, and some dogs have a little anxiety naturally. Others let this anxiety manifest into something that can become a serious issue that can cause major stress on the dog. Most of the time SEPARATION ANXIETY originates from the animal not wanting to be left alone. As I had mentioned, what you will find with SEPARTATION ANXIETY is that there are different degrees or levels of a specific problem, and SEPARATION ANXIETY could be exhibited in a number of different behavior problems. If the owner has caught a behavior problem early enough, the animal will have never had a chance to let the minor behavior problem become a major one. But if it is something that has gone unnoticed for a period of time, it could take a lot more time to deal with. From what I have seen, it seems like some of the dogs that will show more cases of SEPARATION ANXIETY are some of the smaller dogs that can be a little more temperamental such as Shi-tzus, Maltese, and Chihuahuas, and many of the Toy Group. But I have also seen some large dogs have the problem as well. As the name suggests, most of the time this behavior problem stems from a dog not wanting to be left alone. From what I have seen, there seems to be something that goes on in the animal's head which really can elevate the level of anxiety within the animal. I think that if you understand how this escalates, it may help you understand the behavior itself, and most importantly, help you eliminate it. If you take a look at a dog with SEPARATION ANXIETY and were to watch him when the owner were to leave the house, the same pattern of events would happen. If a dog is allowed to run loose, one of the first things that happen is that they seem to want to pace right off the bat. As a matter of fact, many times they will run and move in a certain pattern, and that pattern quite often remains the same. It may be along the perimeter of a fence, it may be back and forth in front of a screen door, and it may be running back and forth throughout the house. And as the dog begins to pace, it can be done at a slower speed or faster speed. This pacing is the animal's own unique way of dealing with stress of being away from the owner. Here's where things start to change within the animal. As the animal becomes a little more stressed out, and things begin to escalate, this pacing now is coupled with the animal whining and even barking. This whining and barking really will vary within the breed and individual personality of the dog. In extreme cases, you will hear nonstop barking or whining all day long. As the animal becomes a little more stressed out and things start to increase even more, he may begin to start digging at the door, gate, or the last place he/she saw you. It really doesn't matter if it's inside or outside either. If he is in the house, it may very well be the front door that the dog will scratch at. He may also choose the carpet, chairs and couches to dig at. If the dog is in the backyard and the last place the dog saw you was walk through the sliding screen door, he may very well dig at the screen door. In the backyard you may also begin to see the dog start to dig holes and dig up plants. As things continue to elevate even more, and the dog begins to not only dig at things, but the digging begins coupled with chewing and tearing. Once the dogs starts tearing at things such as screen doors, and those things are torn, quite often the dog will start chewing on them. If your dog is in the house, the chairs or couch he has once dug at, now become things he chews on to deal with the stress. And probably the most severe type of SEPARATION ANXIETY is when the animal is so stressed out that he begins to lick, and even chew on himself. As you can see, there are certainly different levels of this problem. The solution to dealing with SEPARATION ANXIETY, as well as many of the behavior problems, is to eliminate the opportunity for SEPARATION ANXIETY to escalate. The method that I have seen that has been very successful involves CRATE TRAINING. Our goal is not put the animal in a situation where he can have a chance to get stressed out. At the same time, we are going to try to find things that he likes that he can have when we want him to be alone. Many times, a dog likes the security of a CRATE because they are naturally "den animals". This means they like enclosed areas naturally.
Dogs Getting into the Trash
Dogs getting into the trash, or getting into other places that you don't want, are behaviors that can really develop and manifest into major behavior problems. The main reason these unwanted behaviors occur is that the owner simply never corrected the dog for them. Sometimes you want to put yourself in your dog's place. Why does the dog go into the trash? They go there to eat. Because they have found that out over time, this has become a very reinforcing thing. They will continue to repeat it over and over. Remember that the completion of the bad behavior is what is reinforcing to an animal. This makes them feel good because they got what they wanted which was the trash. It doesn't matter whether it was to eat the trash or just tear it apart. Just getting to do it was rewarding enough to them. There are three things you want to remember in attacking this problem, and these things are common in dealing with many behavioral issues regarding an animal getting into an area you don't want them in.
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