Category Archives: Training and Behavior


They may seem to be bold explorers, sniffing at and mouthing just about anything, but all dogs have an instinctive fear of anything unfamiliar to them. Fear causes stress on the body, which affects long-term health. To help your dog avoid the negative health effects of stress, it is important to socialize her. Socialization is the process of exposing your dog to a wide variety of places, situations, objects and people. A well-socialized dog is a confident, healthy dog that you can take anywhere.

The things that startle their dogs often surprise owners. Hats, balloons, garden statues, and other mundane things that seem to pose no threat. To your dog, however, it is an unknown. If you are a subdued person, your dog might show fear around a bubbly extrovert. Basically, any situation or object your dog is not accustomed to can create fear and stress in her. It is best if the socialization process begins when the dog is a puppy. This is a key learning time for dogs, so they become socialized more quickly. However, even older dogs that were not socialized as puppies can reach that confident, relaxed state. Socializing a dog that is more than one year old may take a little longer, but the results are rewarding.

Socializing a dog is a very simple process: take the dog to as many different places as you can. Your dog will pick up on your body language and follow your lead, so it is important for you to act confident and relaxed, especially when your dog hesitates. While you are walking about, stop every so often to pet your dog and talk to her in a happy voice. Naturally, feeding her a treat or two will give her a positive association with the environment.

At some point during socialization, your dog will plant her feet and refuse to budge or try to hide behind you to avoid a stranger. How you react in this situation sends an important message to your dog. If you pick her up or talk soothingly while you pet her, you are telling your dog that she is right to be frightened. On the other hand, if you ignore her behavior and go about your business—perhaps walking a different direction to distract her-her fear is not rewarded. Since your goal is to give your dog confidence, not traumatize her, never force your dog to accept a person or situation. Respect her feelings, and try again later.

While you are out and about, remember that you are your dog’s guardian. Keep an eye out for excited children running towards your dog. A good way to handle this kind of situation is to stop the kids verbally about 10 feet from your dog. Explain to them that your dog is just getting used to new places and new people. Ask them to approach quietly and one at a time so that your dog learns that children are nothing to be afraid of. Letting the children feed your dog a treat is sure to help her learn to accept these high-energy, enthusiastic strangers.

Regular Grooming

Why dogs need Regular Grooming

  • If you have a groomable breed (Poodle, Bichon Frise’, Cocker, etc.) the grooming should be a regular routine so the dog gets accustomed to this type of handling. If the dog is not used to his grooming, the time spent can be very traumatic.
  • Regular grooming helps keep the hair from becoming matted, removes dead skin cells and excess hair. Your pet is clean and pleasant smelling making him more comfortable and more huggable.
  • Regular grooming can stop problems before they start. For example: keeping nails neatly trimmed helps prevent foot related problems and keeps you from being scratched.
  • When grooming your dog, the stylist goes over every inch of his body several times. Often a groomer can spot a problem such as a tumor, swollen lymph nodes, ear infections, cuts or parasites that you may have overlooked, alerting you to see your veterinarian early.
  • A routine visit to the grooming salon helps socialize your dog by exposing him to new people, sounds, smells and other dogs.

Stool Eating

Coprophagia – Dog Eating Feces

Does your dog eat his or another dog’s feces or stool? This behavior, although quite unacceptable and embarrassing to humans, is quite natural and acceptable to dogs. In nature, nursing mother dogs eat the feces of their puppies in order to keep the den clean. Also, eating feces utilizes undigested material and can be viewed as a food source to most canines.

Research has pointed to several reasons for this behavior including nutritional deficiencies, boredom and habit. No conclusive reason has ever been found and it is believed that this may just be a normal behavior found distasteful by a dog’s human companions.

Feces should be picked up immediately from the yard to remove the opportunity to consume it. Bored dogs who are inactive or alone for long periods can become coprophagic. Exercise and stimulation are called for in these cases. Some veterinarians have suggested that the behavior may be cause by a deficiency of B vitamins and vitamin K which can be found in feces. Meaty diets often times result in aromatic stools so dry kibble is recommended. All such dogs should be fed a consistent, balanced diet in two or three short meals a day.

Several remedies have been tried to help treat coprophagia and different methods work on different dogs. One easy remedy is to add plain yogurt to your pet’s food. Yogurt contains live cultures of acidophilus , a beneficial bacteria, for a healthy digestive system. Acidophilus may also help with gas, bloating, diarrhea, dry skin, dull coat and bad breath.

There is a real danger of your dog picking up disease and parasites from eating feces of other dogs and animals such as rabbits. Simple aversion therapy can be done by letting the dog approach the stool on a long lead. If he starts sniffing it, give a strong leash check. If he passes by, praise him.

Car Sickness

Does your dog get sick every time he rides in the car? Does he jump all over you in a frenzy making driving difficult and dangerous?

Traveling with your pet can be fun and exciting, or it can be disastrous. Dog car sickness is the number one reason people do not travel with their dogs. Training, conditioning and planning ahead is the key to a successful trip and these guidelines can help.

If the only riding experience your pet has is to the veterinarian or groomer, he will be very nervous. Take him for short enjoyable rides that involve walks in the park or a treat stop. Once your pet can handle short rides around town, plan a “Practice Trip”, an afternoon ride with activities.

“Buckling Up” is not only for people Dog Car Sickness dog travel crate dog seat belt Buckling Up but for pets, too. Unrestrained pets can cause an accident by distracting the driver, and in an accident, will become a projectile. Pets also can bolt from a car and get lost in an unfamiliar area or run out into traffic. Purchase a dog travel crate or dog seat belt for your pet and include their use in your practice runs.

Including fun walks on your short trips can make riding more pleasurable and helps reduce dog car sickness. Consider applying a flea, tick preventative and repellent to protect your pet from diseases such as heartworm, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease

Make sure your dog’s ID Tags or other identification is on his collar. Consider adding temporary tags with your cell phone number. Should your dog become lost or missing while away from home, you can still be reached immediately if you have your cell phone with you.

We often read headlines like “Dog Dies in Car.” The heat in your car can become unbearable within minutes, even on cloudy days. If you must leave your pet in the car for short periods, windows must be more than cracked. Window guards will allow air flow without letting without compromising security. Allow your pet free access to water and CHECK ON YOUR DOG FREQUENTLY.

The time you spend training and traveling with your dog is valuable time that you will both enjoy. It will increase the bond between you and help with socialization. If introduced successfully, car rides can open up a whole new experience of traveling and vacationing with your pet.