Fear or Aggression?

Fear or Aggression?

  Let’s take a look how a dog’s past experiences may influence their future behavior.   You have adopted a male dog, and he’s settling in well. In fact, better than you dared hope. Encouraged, you introduce him to the other dogs at the local park. Everything is going well. He behaves perfectly and meets dogs of all shapes and sizes, without issue.   Then it starts to rain. A woman walks past with an umbrella and your dog, bares his teeth, growls and snarls with a real intent to do harm. If you had not had him on his leash, he might have attacked the woman. Then it happens again! He snarls at an elderly man walking with a cane. Your friends say that your new furry friend is “aggressive.”   What the world sees as an aggressive dog, may just be in reality fear. In your dog’s past life, his owner may have abused him repeatedly by beating him with an umbrella. Your dog associates umbrellas with pain causing him to lash out in fear. He extends this fear to any object that looks like an umbrella, including canes, brooms or any long object a person can carry.    A fearful dog has two options: run away or stand and fight. If he decides an attack is his best defense, the outside world deems him aggressive.   Your job as an understanding owner is to unravel this chain of events and retrain him. An intricate puzzle, the best bet is to desensitize him slowly. Exposing him to the fearful stimulus at a sufficiently safe distance where he...
Totally Hairifying!

Totally Hairifying!

  Ugh, *#$#$%$% dog hair!  In my world dog hair is just a fact of life. I allow our dogs on the furniture (personal choice) when I invite them.  But for many owners, a dog on the couch is unacceptable.   Here are a few tips to keep your couch hair free:   Make the floor a better place to be: If you are used to sitting on the floor, get a comfy cushion and sit on the floor with your dog.   Lots of toys & positive attention: Try a treat ball! They can’t roll those about on the furniture.   Barrier gates: Prevent access to a room — unless your dog is supervised.   Teach and reinforce the “off” command: Don’t confuse commands “off” with “down.” Be consistent; ‘off’ means four paws on the ground versus ‘down’ means belly on the ground.   Teach your dog to sit only in a specific spot: Like on a specific blanket placed on the couch. May take time to teach – but it is doable.   Remember consistency is the name of the game — everyone in the household needs to participate following the same rules of the dog staying off the furniture, so your dog is getting the same reinforcement from everyone.  ...