Spaying and Neutering

Some people are squeamish about altering their dogs. Some feel that it would change their dogs. Some are sensitive about doing something to their dog that they wouldn’t do to themselves. And some people can’t afford it.
dog training behavior problems obedience
Health benefits
Females who have been spayed before their first heat are less likely to develop mammary or
ovarian cancer.
Males who have been neutered will not develop testicular cancer and are less likely to develop
prostate cancer or have benign tumors on their rectum.
Behavioural  advantages
It is a myth that dogs who have been altered will become calmer and better behaved. That will only come with training and lifestyle changes. However, spaying and neutering will solve those problems related to the sex drive. Both male and female dogs will be less likely to escape and roam for purposes of procreation. Neutering male dogs can cut down on male -on- male aggression, as an intact male will not recognize an altered dog as another male, thus will not feel threatened by him.
The number one reason to spay or neuter
Every minute in the United States 6 dogs or a cats are
euthanized in shelters. Breeding your dog will only add to those statistics.
If you can’t afford the surgery, some vets or shelters are willing to help defray the costs, there are also organizations that can help. Ask your local vet or shelter what organizations are in your area. 

Types of collars

Harnesses and Collars

“Evolution did not necessarily equip dogs to be made captive to collar and lead.”
~Per Jensen
Types of collars
Nylon or Leather Buckle Collars 
This is the most basic type of collar and will help your puppy get used to wearing something around his neck. The name tag and rabies information typically hang from these collars and leashes clip to the D-ring for walks.
These collars are safe provided that the dog does not pull against them. If your dog pulls against them it can cause tracheal damage, vertebral damage, and increased ocularpressure. 
Choke, or Strangle Collars
Choke, or strangle collars (sometimes called chain collars) are metal collars with interlocking links. People who use these collars correctly apply pressure to the base of the dogs neck to check the dogs behaviour. This is a popular method of punishment based training. Used properly, these collars can bring a 96% chance of tracheal, and by extension, esophageal damage.(1) Unfortunately, most people who use these, use them wrong. This makes the chance of injury much higher. Other injuries can include, but are not limited to; vertebrae damage, Spinal cord injuries, hind leg ataxia, transient foreleg paralysis, whiplash, (2) organ damage, blindness, bruising of the larynx, fainting and laryngeal nerve paralysis. (3)
Prong, or Pinch Collars
A prong collar is a metal chain collar with metal points that point inward to the dog’s neck. If the dog pulls against the collar or if you pop the collar, considerable pressure is placed on the dogs neck. Prong collars are popular with punishment based trainers. These collars are preferable to choke collars as the metal points keep the bulk of the pressure off the trachea. However, this product is not without health risks. Though the prong collar only boasts a 16% chance of tracheal damage, the risk is still there. There has been at least one case, a Weimeraner in Germany, where the prong actually punctured the trachea! (4) Additionally, the pressure caused by the prong collar can cause esophageal and spinal damage as well. Unfortunately, due to the route a dog’s optical nerves travel, Prong collars may also cause blindness in a dog.(5) They’ve also proven to cause thin corneas, glaucoma, and corneal lacerations. (6)
Dogs trained on prong collars exhibit greater levels of stress while on walks. Moreover, that stress extends to later walks, even when the prong collar is not present.(7) After just one use, the dog learns that the presence of the owner on walks means pain. Pretty tragic considering we are supposed to be their protectors. There is also increased risk of aggression using prong collars. Some dogs associate the pain they feel with whatever is present in their surroundings. If you popped the collar near a child, for instance, that dog may learn that children cause pain. This could lead to a dog becoming child aggressive. There is a 40% chance of aggression using prong collars. (8)
Martingales
Also called combo collars, limited or partial slip collars, or Greyhound collars. Martingales are half nylon, half chain. These collars provide less pressure than a choke collar but more than a nylon collar. Martingales are great for dogs with narrow heads as the collar can tighten when needed to keep a dog from slipping free.
Some people use these for training and they use them the same way as one would use a choker. This is not recommended, as when it is used that way it carries the same risks of tracheal and vertebra damage as a choker does.
Head collars
Head collars (Haltis or Gentle Leaders) are collars that go over the dogs muzzle and buckle behind the neck. They are designed to lead dogs by their heads. They are often used for dogs who pull a lot or by people with disabilities.  Many dogs will react negatively to the head collar. Some will buck wildly when it is first put on, others will posture (lower their back and ears). Some dogs get used to it and can enjoy a nice walk with their people, other dogs will continue to buck. If your dog can not get used to the head collar, I strongly recommend discontinuing its use.
There were a couple of studies performed on the head collars. The first took place in 1998 by the Department of Physiology College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. This study compared the head collar to the nylon buckle collar. Physiological and behavioural responses were compared with measurements testing blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and pupillary dilation. Surprisingly, results showed no difference in the physiological response to the types of collars. Behavioural results showed that dogs were more disobedient while wearing nylon collars, but pawed their noses more and watched the handler less while wearing a head collar. Surprisingly, despite posturing and nose pawing, physiological tests show that dogs are not under increased stress while wearing a head collar.
The other study was performed in 2002 by Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, College Station, Texas. This study compared the different brands of head collars and the dogs overall acceptance of the product. This study shows that with time, dogs become accustomed to the head collar and have no preference in one type of head collar over another.
While both studies suggest that head collars are safe for everyday use, if you are uncomfortable with your dogs reaction to this product then I urge you to try a regular collar or a no pull harness instead.
Harnesses
Harnesses go around the chest of the dog, these are safer alternatives to collars and some people feel it gives them greater control. Traditional harnesses encourage pulling by building the chest muscles and providing resistance. Harnesses can make dogs pull more efficiently, however, if a dog is properly trained not to pull then this is rarely a problem. For toy breed dogs and dogs with neck or back problems, harnesses are a much safer alternative to collars.
No pull harnesses
These are types of harnesses that physically, yet gently stop a dog from pulling. These alternatives are safe for both the person and the dog. Some are designed to lead him from the front (as opposed to the back) others put gentle pressure under the dogs forelegs and prevent them from pulling. The idea behind any training tool like these, is to eventually get the dog out of it. They work well for those who need them; they provide no additional stress to the dog and keep the dogs under greater control than traditional collars, prong collars or chokers.
Shock Collars
Also called electronic collars or e-collars (not to be confused with Elizabethan collars, the funnel type collar used to keep a dog from licking his wounds). Shock collars are used to train dogs to hunt, prevent them from pulling, keep them confined, prevent them from barking, and some people have attempted to use them to teach a dog not to pull, jump, or engage in other nuisance behaviours.
Shock collars can cause heightened fear and aggressive response in dogs. There is a 40% chance that a dog trained with a shock collar will become aggressive. Advocates of shock collars claim they do not hurt. This is false, in order to work it has to hurt. It has to hurt badly enough that the dog will think twice before engaging in the behaviour that caused the shock. Unfortunately, dogs do not always know what caused the shock, often it seems random to them. In fact shock collars cause enough pain and controversy that they have been banned in 13 countries! This is because it meets all the criteria for abuse.(9)
There is a well known study done by Richard Polsky in 2000 that showed dogs kept in invisible fences showed a high risk of aggression towards humans. Psychologically, electric fences are no different to a dog than being tied to a tree. Dogs are subject to stimulation, but they can’t reach it. This sets off their frustration drive which is tied to the rage function in the brain. Additionally, since there is no visible fence to protect the dog, the dog has only himself for protection. There is nothing stopping another animal or a person from coming in and harming your dog. There have been cases of dogs killed by birds of prey or other dogs when they were trapped in the fences with nowhere to go.
Other studies (10) have found a rise in stress hormones in dogs who have been trained on shock collars. Dogs associate their owners with pain, this association lasts even when the dog is not wearing the collar. This study found that dogs have higher stress even then dogs who were abused.
Physical risks of shock collars include third degree burns, elevated heart rate and a risk of seizures. 
Bottom line: there are two types of shock collar advocates: those who do not understand them, and those who profit from them. Do you really want to risk your dogs health and well being for somebody who’s in it for the money?
A Special Word on Shock Collars, Prong Collars and Choke Collars.
I previously mentioned the physical dangers of the various collars, but I only touched on the psychological dangers. The reason for this, is because for all three of them, they carry the same psychological risks. In the interest of efficiency, and to make things easier for you to read, I put them together here rather than list them separately in the above columns. I will now expound on the emotional and psychological problems that these collars cause.
The hippocampus of the brain, is the region where anxieties, fears and phobias are stored. Logically, when an animal is introduced to a stressful or painful environment, they will react with fear or withdrawal. Any kind of repeated reinforcement (whether positive or negative) will produce better, more efficient and more numerous connections between neurons. When this kind of stimulus continues, learning will occur in the lateral amygdala. This is one model for learning contextual fear. (11) 
When exposing an animal to an electric shock or the pop of a prong or choke collar, we may also inadvertently be changing other behaviours or processes as well.
There was a well known study (12) that involved training German Shepherd Dogs to be guard dogs. Dogs that were shocked in training but not shocked during later evaluations held their ears lower, and exhibited more stress -related behaviours compared to dogs who were trained without the use of shocks. These differences continued throughout training and on into fieldwork. When the owner or handler (i.e. the person administering the shock) was present the physiological changes in the HPA axis were the most profound.
What we can deduce from this is that A) this type of training is unnecessarily stressful, B) it is painful and C) dogs learn that the presence of his owner and the commands becomes a cue for the shock.
This study is the most widely one used to day and it teaches us that while dogs trained by electric -static shocks can become guard dogs, their behaviours towards humans have changed, they’ve become uncertain and over-reactive. A combination that often proves dangerous to both dogs and humans.
Aroused States and Physical Violence
It is well-known that impulse control functions of the pre-frontal cortex is coordinated with the amygdala-mediated emotional interpretation of social and environmental stimulus. Sudden change that requires rapid assessment of a threat has the potential to create an aggressive response. Aggressive dogs frequently display exaggerated autonomic responses to threats including excitability, panic and fear.(13)
There is a well documented link between dog abuse, spousal abuse and child abuse. Studies that investigated domestic violence showed that the perpetrators experience intense autonomic arousal and symptoms of panic at the moment of the attacks. They experience heart palpitations, increased respiration, tremors, fear, and feelings of losing control. Dogs who are in states of arousal also exhibit signs of increased blood pressure and heart rate. The similarities between the two can not be overstated.
Police officers who have responded to calls of domestic violence know not to use force or pain to diffuse the situation. In such states of arousal, the perpetrator will become more unpredictable and dangerous.
Dogs, whose brains and bodies are under the same signs of stress and arousal as humans while aggressing, can not be handled. Hopefully by now, everyone knows not to break up a dog fight using your bare hands, in that heightened aggressive state, the dog will not know it is you and bite back. Using a shock collar or prong collar to “control” an aggressive dog causes the same problems as trying to physically interfere with a fighting dog. In that heightened state of arousal the dog becomes more angry.(14) One simply can’t use force and violence to stop violence. Our brains aren’t set up to work that way.
There are better and safer alternatives to aversive devices, that have been proven in the long run to work even better. There is no need to rely on outdated methodology when science has provided us with more effective and safer means of training. Canine behaviour, genetics and chemistry are growing fields of ethology and science. It is better to be on the cutting edge of science then left behind. 
Note:
Whichever type of collar you decide to use, collars should only be used to attach the leash and the dog tags. Collars should never be used for training. Not only does using a collar for training increase the chance of serious health risks, but it teaches the dog that the collar is in charge, not you. If the dog only responds if he is wearing a collar then that means that he is not trained to you. A dog should respond the same regardless of whether or not anything is on his neck. For dogs that pull, try walking them off lead in a fenced in area. This teaches them to pay more attention to you on walks, no matter what they may be wearing.
Editorial
There is a lot of controversy surrounding collars and harnesses. Most people want to do the right thing for their dogs and it can be confusing knowing exactly what is right for your particular dog. There are many people out their with very good intentions who will advise you what you should use to help control your dog. If your friend, coworker, trainer or family member recommends something, thank them for their advice, but if you do not feel comfortable doing something, don’t do it. If the person advising you can not back up (with peer reviewed evidence) what they are trying to sell, then it may not be something that is right for your dog.
At the end of the day, he is your dog. He is in your care and you must do absolutely everything you can to care for him properly, for he trusts you so completely.
I do not have the luxury of basing anything on opinions, too many people count on me for the safety and well-being of their dogs. Everything written above is falsifiable (can be proven) and based on peer-reviewed studies done by researchers. I have provided the references below, I urge you to study for yourselves, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Update:
In 2012, an experiment was conducted in Switzerland that tested shock collars on people. You can find an outline of it here. 
They link to some videos on YouTube of their experiments. I find it interesting that the same visible signs of stress on the test subjects are quite similar to the visible signs of stress I’ve witnessed on dogs during their training sessions.
The test is interesting both as an insight in to shock collar training for dogs but also as possible insight into human behaviour as well. If there are any psychologists reading this, I’d love to hear your two cents. 
dog training history
references:
1.Neurologist Jean Zuniga, MD. PhD
2. Bremmier et. al. 2000
3,4. Per Jensen
5. Dreyton Michaels PhD.
6. Pauli, et al. 2006
7.RVincent and AR Mitchall  
8. RL Johnson (1976)
9. Dr. Karen Overall, PhD
10,11. Shalke et.al.
12. Shilder and van der Borg 2004
13. Steven R. Lindsey
14.Dr. Karen Overall Ph.D

History of Dog Collars

Mankind has been using dog collars for hundreds of years. They’ve been used as fashion statements, protection for the dog, restraint, training tools and status symbols.
Ancient Egyptian
Images of dog collars can be found in Egyptian paintings dating as far back as 3,500 B.C. These collars were made of leather and contained the dogs’ names and often were stylized in the art of the period.
Ancient Greece
In ancient Greece, dogs were often guardians of livestock. To protect their necks against predators, dogs were fitted with leather collars spiked with nails.
Ancient Rome
The ancient Romans were loyal and devoted to their dogs. Legend has it that Caesar publicly rebuked the masses for showing more devotion to their dogs than their children. A mosaic has been unearthed depicting a dog with a fancy studded collar and leash. 
Recently, scientists used infrared on the collar of a preserved dog found in the ruins of Pompeii. The collar was inscribed with a message  expressing the owner’s appreciation to the dog for saving his life against a wolf attack.
The Middle Ages
Different dogs had different jobs in the middle ages and they wore collars reflecting their positions. Hunting dogs wore simple leather collars as a means of identification. Shepherd dogs wore spiked collars similar to the collars of the Grecian shepherds. Spiked collars were also used in the sport of wolf hunting. These resembled prong collars but with the prongs facing outward…and much sharper of course. The dog would be sent as bait towards a wolf, and though the collar was meant to protect the neck, the dogs were not expected to survive. Many dogs were sacrificed for this cruel sport. 
Dogs fortunate enough to be owned by upper class ladies were kept not as companions, but as ornaments. They wore collars made out of precious stones and metals. 
The Renaissance
In the 1500s a middle class began to merge and people began to keep dogs as pets, rather than as workers or ornamentation. Simple, affordable, leather collars were made for these dogs. The padlock collar became popular during this time period. These were collars with padlocks attached to hinged metal and only the owner had the key. This was seen as a failsafe way of proving ownership if there was any question. Assuming of course, that the key was not missing or stolen. 
The Industrial Revolution
By the 1700s, brass, silver and gold engraved collars became all the rage. These collars displayed the owners name and witty sayings.
Some collars made from precious metals or leather would have ornate bells as decoration. 
Present Day
Today’s collars run the gamut from utilitarian to designer wear. They come with flashy stones, expensive baubles, or even multi-million dollar diamonds. They can be made from hemp, for environmentally conscious dog owners, or leather, nylon, pleather, or vinyl. They can be reflective to keep your dogs safe at night. They can be used as punishment, identification, or style. 
It is interesting to note that people throughout the ages have adorned their dogs with everything from basic, brutal, to designer collars depending on the attitudes of the owners and the jobs of the dogs. There really is nothing new under the sun.
History of Dog Collars
 
History of Dog Collars
History of Dog Collars

Dog Welfare; A Brief History

Dog Welfare; A Brief History
Editorial:
Right now there is a disconnect between human welfare and animal welfare. Animal activists are often accused of loving animals more than they love humans. They are often asked (usually mockingly) “which would you save first a human infant or a baby animal?” People have long held an ‘it’s us or them’ approach in regards to the species that we share this earth with. However, that is a logical fallacy. It’s not and never has been us or them, rather it’s us and them. As humans we share 99.9% of the same DNA with chimpanzees, 98% of the same genetic code as pigs and 85% of the same genetic code as dogs. As previously stated, animals are sentient, they are capable of the same basic emotions as humans, they have the capacity to love, grieve, feel pain, and suffer just as humans do. By what right can we say that a human’s capacity to suffer is greater than a horse’s capacity to suffer, or a pig’s or a dog’s?
Charles Darwin found that emotions evolved in both humans and animals. He believed that these emotions connected us, not only with our own social community, but also with the rest of the earth. The very roots of human emotions, intelligence and spirituality came from animals. This is a very important commonality between us and it makes how we treat them more important than ever.
How we treat animals is of the utmost importance because it can only lead to, not detract from, better treatment for all. A person who recognizes the importance of the life of a butterfly will recognize the importance of the life of a human. A person who regards the life of a dog, will be much more likely to regard the life of a person with a different race, religion, or ideology. There is a very well-known link between animal abuse and psychopathic behaviour. The FBI recognizes animal cruelty as a predictor of violence against people. A national study(1) has established that 71% of women in battered women’s shelters have reported that their spouse has threatened to kill one or more of their pets and 57% actually carried out the threat. Of those women, 58% had children and of that 58, 32% of the children have hurt or killed a pet. The Massachusetts SPCA has reported that 70% of animal abusers had committed at least one other crime and 40% had committed violent crimes against people. How we view and treat animals is important because it teaches us how to treat other people.
Human societies have waxed and waned in regards to recognizing the importance of animal welfare. (There is a notable correlation in the timeline in how they treat other humans of differing races, religions and socioeconomic classes.) In the modern western world, we have come so far from where we’ve been but we have so much further to go. This is an issue where we must not become complacent for too much is at stake.
Dog Welfare; A Brief History
A Brief History
The first animal shelters date back as far as the 1700s, but they were used to store animals until they could be killed. Stray dogs and cats were considered a public health and safety threat. Dogs and cats carried diseases such as rabies and the plague. Packs of wild dogs were considered a threat to livestock. To this day, in many countries including Britain and the United States, farmers are allowed to kill dogs on found on their property.
In Britain in 1824, 22 philanthropists came together and founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This was the first organized effort at animal welfare. Society at the time as a whole, did not recognize the sentience of animals, and viewed animal welfare as a waste of time. The original members of the SPCA worked hard to spread a campaign of education to an uncaring public and their diligence paid off. In 1840 Queen Victoria granted permission to rename the organization the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Ideas of animal welfare floated across the pond. In 1854, the Humane Society of the United States was founded. In 1866 Henry Bergh, after witnessing the common cruelty to carriage horses, founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York City. This was followed by the American Humane Association in 1877. 
However, the ASPCA was one of the few organizations that put forth the effort to conduct animal welfare campaigns, and educate the public while running animal shelters. The public began to rally behind the ASPCA and support animal rescue. In 1869, the Women’s SPCA of Pennsylvania established the first animals shelter geared towards rescuing animals. By 1894, the ASPCA began sheltering dogs and cats in New York.
While the ASPCA and similar groups were a needed step in the right direction, the rest of society was slow to catch up. Most shelters were merely storage facilities until the dogs could be euthanized, little to no effort was made to re-home them.
The 1960’s and 70’s saw great social change in America. Along with greater freedoms for people, greater welfare was finally granted to dogs as well. In 1966, the Animal Welfare Act was signed into law. It is the only federal law in the U.S. that regulates the treatment of animals in research, transport and exhibition. The AWA requires that minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for animals bred for research, commercial transport, public exhibition or commercial sale.
The 1960’s and 70’s also saw a rise in nonprofit shelters. These organizations were more concerned with the welfare of the dogs than previous ones had been. These shelters were little more than rows of cages placed on concrete floors. The animals inside had a few days or weeks to be adopted before they were euthanized. This is still true in many shelters today. Although greater effort is being made than ever before, there are simply too many dogs. With an average of 6-10 dogs per litter, a single dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in 6 years. There are only 6,000 animal shelters currently in the United States, filled with 8 million dogs and cats. Half of them will die there. There is not enough space to house these animals, and not enough money to properly care for them.
Dog Welfare; A Brief HistoryDue to this problem, better animal shelters are beginning to emerge. Greater effort is made to re-home the animals, and greater care is being placed on the prospective adopters. This is to prevent the dogs and cats from being abused, neglected and even abandoned again.
Among the millions of dogs in shelters, 25% of them are purebred dogs. This prompted some AKC breed organizations to begin to form their own breed-specific rescues. Most of the dogs in these groups are placed in foster homes, rather than kennel-lined shelters, the dogs there have been temperament tested, spayed/neutered, and vaccinated.
In the past, dogs would be adopted out of shelters, and their puppies would wind up in the same shelters. People finally caught wise and began to spay and neuter dogs in shelters. This effort has seen enormous success. In the past 20+ years, the number of homeless dogs has decreased significantly. While about 4 million dogs and cats are killed in shelters each year, in 1990 over 8 million dogs and cats were killed in shelters.
Because the Spay/Neuter programs have been so successful, fewer dogs are winding up in shelters. Most people who work in shelters are animal lovers who oppose euthanasia. This led to the creation of no-kill shelters. These shelters will not kill an animal for space, but they will euthanize those who are very old, ill, injured or aggressive. No-kill shelters do not kill for space, but that means that when they are full, they cannot take in any animals until they have room. The animals that they are forced to turn away end up in other shelters, which may or may not be no-kill.
Animal rescue has come along way in the past 40 years and especially in the past 150 years, but there are still millions of healthy pets that need homes. Every puppy that gets sold by a breeder or pet store means one less dog that will be adopted by a shelter.
The life you save from a shelter could turn out to be your best friend.
Dog Welfare; A Brief History
(1)Frank Ascione Ph.D Department of Psychology Utah State University.

Common Behavioural Problems

One thing that people HAVE to realize in order to have a healthy relationship with their dog is that morality is a human concept. Dogs are not “good” or “bad,” neither are they capable of “revenge.” Dogs are only capable of understanding  “is this beneficial, is this harmful or is this neutral?” Dogs are like humans in that they will do what benefits them. The trick is to make sure that actions become mutually beneficial. We have to understand a dogs underlying reason for engaging in certain behaviours. 
Barking
Let us get real here, nobody likes an excessively barking dog. Barking is a dogs warning system and a dog is the best alarm system you’re ever going to have. You want the dog to bark once, but hush when you tell her to. To begin, you want to remember that excessive barking could result from an under exercised dog. The average dog needs an hour or two of aerobic exercise daily depending on the breed. If your dog is not getting that, then he may bark to relieve the mind crushing boredom that comes from staring at the inside of your living room or the back yard all day.
So you’re giving him proper exercise and he’s still barking, by now it may be an established habit. So all you have to do is break the habit. Teach him “hush.” To teach a dog hush, when he barks say “hush” then click and treat. Eventually, when he is performing consistently, say “hush”, but don’t click and treat every time. Once he knows a command, make him wonder when the reward will occur.
If your dog is barking at stimulus that he sees indoors or outdoors, you may want to block his view. Move furniture or plant foliage or cover windows so he can no longer constantly see your neighbors cat, child or whatever is causing the barking. 
Warning:
Do not use shock collars to teach a dog not to bark. Many of these have serious health and behaviour risks associated with them. Many of the behaviour problems will manifest itself in different ways that may necessitate more drastic measures thus continuing the cycle. Further, dogs know who put the collar on them, so a dog instantly learns to only behave when the collar is on, but to misbehave when it is off. Sadly, as soon as you put one of these collars on, the dog learns that you are the source of pain. This causes a rise in cortisol (stress) levels when ever your dog sees you again. Using a shock collar once can permanently damage your relationship with your dog. (1) Dogs who have been ‘trained’ on shock collars have a much higher risk of euthanasia from behaviours associated with the shock than dogs who have been trained using other methods.(2)
Never debark your dog. This is a surgery that removes tissue from the larynx so the dog does not bark normally. Dogs who have been debarked do not stop barking, you just can’t hear it. In many cases the dogs voice returns so that repeat surgeries become necessary. Dogs that have been debarked are at greater risk for choking. 
1 Shilder MBH 2005,
2 Dr. Karen Overall DVM
Possessive Aggression
Possessive aggression is one of those things that is better prevented by teaching a dog frustration tolerance when he is a puppy. However, if it is too late for this then there are a few ways you can manage this problem.
Realize that it comes from insecurities over lack of control. If he is afraid that you will steal his food, running away won’t solve that problem, but biting you will. To teach him that you can be trusted around his treasured possessions you want to take it slow.
For food guarding you can put him on a set schedule and and you can hand feed him for awhile until he trusts you. When he is eating take away his bowl, put a treat inside and give it back. Repeat several times over the course of a few weeks. This will teach him that good things happen when you take his bowl.
If your dog is guarding toys teach him the ‘drop it’ command by pulling the toy out of his mouth and saying ‘drop it’ the reward for drop it is that he immediately gets the toy right back. This teaches him that he can give up a treasured possession and he will see it again. This helps to establish trust between you.
Note: if you can not safely pull the toy out of his mouth, bribe him with a treat.
If your dog is guarding you, remove the dog. If you are holding him, set him down. If you are not holding him and he is near you cue him to sit. If that fails put him in a “puppy time out” (another room) for a few minutes and then let him try again. Repeat as necessary.
 
dog training, nutrition, heroes
dogs kids training nutrition
sentience, ethology, understanding dogs
Chasing Cars
Some dogs with a high prey drive will chase after cars. This can be very dangerous should the dog actually catch the car. The best way to handle this is to teach the dog that car=sit. When you are out on a walk and you spot a car, immediately cue the dog to sit. The second he sits, click and treat. Repeat this for every car until your dog starts sitting automatically when a car passes. Sitting and running are incompatible actions. If he is sitting next to you he will be a lot safer than if he is chasing cars.
Digging
Digging is natural behaviour for dogs. There are many reasons why dogs dig. For some breeds it’s a natural behaviour. Terriers were bred to go to ground to hunt vermin. Spitz breeds were developed in the far north and would often dig through the snow to bury food for later or dig up mice. For these breeds, redirecting that behaviour would be the best bet. One way to do that would be to give him a sandbox. (This can be done pretty cheaply with a kiddie wading pool and some sand) Bury treats or toys in the sand and let your dog have fun digging them out.
Dogs dig to relieve boredom, bury possessions, cool off in the summer, make comfortable beds, exercise, hunt rodents and bugs, and to explore.
To discourage digging, make sure your dog has plenty of exercise. The best behaved dogs are always the ones who are getting their mental and physical needs met. The next step is to fill the holes that your dog has dug. A sandbox can redirect bored or treasure seeking/burying digging as well.
If your dog is digging under the fence, dig a six to 12 inch trench underneath the fence and lay chicken wire. This makes it much more difficult for the dog to escape. Try to ascertain why the dog is escaping. If he is an intact male, he may be trying to get to a female in heat. Neutering will solve that problem. If he is escaping because he is bored or lonely, walking him will help relieve boredom while providing exercise and socialization.
Fighting
Dogs will sometimes get into scuffles with one another as a means to defend territory, out of fear, or to protect their resources. It is always better to prevent fights than to break them up. The best way to prevent a fight is to socialize your dog. Very rarely will well-socialized neutered/spayed dogs fight.
If you have a dog who you know is prone to fighting, the worst thing you can do is tense up when another dog approaches. If you tense up everything from the tenseness of the way you hold the lead to your body posture to your facial expressions will scream “TROUBLE!” to little Fido. He will then get on high alert and be more likely to try to fight. The best thing you can do is relax. Put all the tension in your legs where Fido can’t see it. Keep a loose leash, keep walking and keep up a happy stream of conversation to to your dog. Act normal, not tense.
All dogs should be obedience trained. If you’re out with your dog and you see another dog approach, cue your dog to ‘sit’, or ‘down’, or ‘watch me’ or any other variety of commands you can think of to get your dog’s focus on you and off the stimulus.
You are also going to want to change your dog’s perception. If you know your dog aggresses at dogs who are 10 feet away, take him 12 feet from a dog and click and treat when your dog notices another dog. Once he’s fine from 10 feet away, take him 8 feet away and then click and treat. When he is fine from 8 feet away take him 5 feet away and so on. Timing is crucial. We can not award bad behaviour. It is imperative that you treat before your dog has an opportunity to aggress. With any set back (and setbacks are common during training) go back to the beginning and take your dog a comfortable distance and start all over.
DO NOT strike your dog, yell at your dog or in anyway act negatively. Violence begets violence and such displays will only make matters worse.
Inter Pack Aggression (A.K.A. sibiling rivalry)
If you have dogs within the same household who can’t seem to get along, there are some things that you can do to smooth things over.
First: Feed all dogs seperately. This will not only cut down on fights over possession, but it will also prevent obesity and allow you to monitor your dogs food intake.
Second: Make sure that there are plenty of toys to go around. It seems silly to type this as everyone with multiple dogs knows that dogs only want what the other dog has even if it’s the exact same toy. However, if you have 3 dogs, throw 7 toys down and check frequently to make sure that everyone is playing nicely. Remove the toys if a fight breaks out.
Third: Be ever vigilant. If you notice stiff posture, hard stares or any other signs of a challenge cue “Leave it” in a firm (but not loud) tone of voice. When this breaks up the behaviour praise all the dogs. If necessary reassert your own dominance by giving a command (any command) and then click and treat when the dogs obey. The command reminds them that no matter what, you are still in charge.
Fourth: Respect the hieracrchy that they’ve established among themselves. Don’t champion the underdog as this has the potential to make things much worse.
Sometimes it is best to let the dogs sort things out for themselves. Our interference sometimes makes things worse. However, if you suspect bloodshed always intervene before a fight arises.
Chewing
Young puppies need to chew. Developmentally they are still in the infant/toddler stage. This means that to learn they must explore and they explore with their mouths. Physically, they are in the teething stage. Their gums hurt and chewing relieves that. Older dogs must chew to exercise their jaws and relieve boredom. Chewing is not a problem. Chewing the wrong stuff is a huge problem. At best you are out a few bucks having to replace a sofa. At worse it can be fatal. A dog chewing a live wire (e.g. a computer cord) is at serious risk for electrical shock.
Let your dog chew but let him chew on appropriate items; toys, bones or rawhide. If your puppy is teething, give him a specially made puppy teething toy. Freezing it will help sooth the puppy’s tender gums. Your puppy should be in a crate when you are not home, or are at home but not watching him. Not only will this aid potty training, but it will keep him safe from household dangers. Rotate toys frequently, this will prevent puppies and older dogs from becoming bored with their toys.
If you catch your dog chewing on a forbidden object interrupt with an “EH,” or similar obnoxious noise, and give him something that he can chew on. It is not enough for us to teach a dog what not to do if we are not teaching him what he can do. If we are not providing an alternate behaviour, then he will always return to that bad action because that will be the only thing that he knows.
There is no such thing as a completely safe toy. If your dog has burst the stitching or a toy has become small enough to choke on, then discard the toy.
Note: Rawhide is very controversial. Young puppies and dogs with sensitive stomachs should not be given rawhide. Remember that price matters. Cheaper rawhide may contain bacteria, like salmonella, or even toxic ingredients, such as lead or arsenic. If possible try to buy American made rawhide. Though this may be near impossible to find. Replace the rawhide when it becomes small enough to swallow.
Granulated rawhide is easier to digest, but also will not last as long as compressed rawhide. These are good for moderate or sensitive chewers. Compressed rawhide is best for heavy chewers as they will last a long time, but they are more likely to cause stomach upset. Choose which is best for your dogs needs.
dogs kids training

Aggression!

Aggression is a serious problem in dogs and one that is becoming increasingly common. The consequences from aggression are quite severe; for the victim and their family, the dog’s owners and the dog itself. 
Aggression!The potential for serious emotional and financial cost is high. The victim may experience severe lacerations, disability or loss of life. The dog’s owners may have to pay several thousands of dollars in hospital bills, lawsuits and fines. The dog may be impounded or euthanized.
As with many things in life; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 
About 50% of dog bites involve children. Children, especially young children, tend to be low to the ground, make quick movements (which may frighten a timid dog), run (which will set off a dog’s chase instinct), squeal, scream or otherwise make loud noises (which may set off a dog’s prey drive). Children who are used to dogs tend to run towards dogs (which a dog may perceive as charging), make eye-contact with them (which a dog may see as a threat) and smile (which to a dog, might look as if they are bearing their teeth).   
Unsupervised toddlers may wander towards a dangerous dog or behave inappropriately to an unsocialized dog. NEVER LEAVE A YOUNG CHILD UNATTENDED WITH A STRANGE DOG. 88% of fatal dog attacks among toddlers occurred when there was no adult supervision.(1)Teach your child how to properly greet a dog and keep a watchful eye that everyone is playing safe. 
 
Aggression!
“Aggression” can encompass a wide variety of behaviours that can arise for any reason, under any circumstance at anytime. Always remember that all dogs bite. Saying a dog will never bite is like saying a human being will never hit. They will in the right circumstances and it is up to us to minimize the chance of it happening. Dogs (and all animals) can only respond to danger in one of two ways: either to flee or to fight. A leashed or tethered dog can not flee, he will have little choice but to bite. This is often mistaken as aggression, but it’s more ‘fear-aggression’ A fearful dog can be far more dangerous than a confidant, dominant dog because he perceives danger but cannot always run. 
Typically, a dog will give warning before aggressing. 
+Stiff body posture, especially if he leans towards or away from you.
+Deep chest growl
+Lunging or charging
+Mouthing
+Baring teeth.
+Snarling
+Snapping
+Nipping
+Biting
Dogs almost always warn before biting (even if it is only a matter of seconds between the warning and the bite) the exception is a dog who has been punished in the past for growling. Never strike a dog who growls or barks, never use choke chains, prong collars or shock collarsto correct a dog who displays these signs as these will create a dangerous dog. Many times people don’t recognize warning signs so they believe that the dog bites ‘out of nowhere.’ Always make sure that you understand how to read a dog’s warning signs. 
Aggression!Determining whether or not a dog is aggressive is not a precise science since there are eight functionally classified types of aggressive behaviour: fear, dominance,* possessiveness, protectiveness, predation, punishment, pain and intraspecific. (2) It is interesting and should be of note that while mammals all possess the same core emotions  many of these categories show different neurobiological mechanisms in dogs or other species. These mechanisms affect the probability of a bite when a dog is restrained, in competition (over resources) or encounters fearful stimuli. One can not refer to a dog as “aggressive” as this is grossly inaccurate. One can only say whether a dog displays aggressive behaviours and ideally, what caused the bite should be classified among the category that best describes what sparked the event. (Fear response, possessiveness, etc.) 
*In the years prior to Moyer’s research it has come to light that so-called dominance aggression is indeed a misclassification as truly dominant dogs and wolves don’t aggress. Complicating the fact is that  so-called dominance is really a set of identifiable behaviours that can change. (3) However, this, in no way, should detract from Moyer’s work.
Fear Aggression
As I mentioned earlier, there are only two responses to danger; fight or flight. When a stimulus that sparks fear is present, the animal (including humans) prefers to escape from whatever is sparking the fear response. However, escape is not always an option. If an animal cannot run from the stimulus it will have little recourse but to switch to the fight mechanism. They will try to defend themselves from the Big Scary Thing. A dog can fear a dog, person, snake, monkey, elephant or whatever and still attack if she thinks that is her only option. A fearful dog will first display fear posture  and try to run but then turn aggressive when corneredNever, ever corner an animalFearful dogs may retreat when pursued, but when the person or animal turns to leave, may run up from behind and nip. Usually fearful dogs will bite multiple times, but never put a lot of force in each bite, usually enough to pierce the skin, though. A close cousin to fear aggression is Defensive Aggression. Defensive aggression is also motivated by fear, however a defensive dog will bite first and ask questions later. A defensive dog will very rarely attack a person who calmly walks away from them, but will not hesitate to pursue a dog or person who either advances towards the dog or freezes. 
Possessive Aggression 
Wolves have to compete for food and shelter just to survive in the wild. They have to compete for mates to pass on their genes and avoid becoming an evolutionary failure. Until the Industrial Revolution, dog food didn’t exist, the average dog had to compete for food. Although today’s dogs generally have it better than their wolf cousins and their scavenger ancestors, some dogs still show guarding tendencies. Some dogs will display aggression when another dog or person comes near their toys, bones or food. Some dogs display guarding behaviours towards their crate, bed or furniture.    
Protective Aggression
Wolves are social pack animals who look after their own. If one pack mate is in danger, the rest rush in to protect their brother. Dogs will sometimes display protective aggression when their human pack is in danger, particularly if said human pack member is an infant or child. In extreme cases, a dog may perceive anybody; friend, extended family member or stranger as a threat. Protection aggression won’t manifest until a dog reaches maturity (if at all). 
Predation
Although dogs have come in from the wild some 35,000 years ago, instinct isn’t something that goes away overnight. Some dogs will still exhibit predatory response to fast moving people, animals or objects. Some dogs who chase small animals may bite and kill those animals should they catch them. Some dogs will “catch and kill” squeaky toys if left too long with them. Though rare, some dogs will have predatory drive towards infants crying since they high pitched cries can sound like certain prey. However, the odds of this happening are extremely slim. 
Predatory aggression differs from other types of aggression since there is little to no warning before an attack. 
Pain 
A dog (or any animal) who is experiencing pain may behave aggressively. A dog who is experiencing chronic pain may be more likely to show aggressive response. Aggression brought about by pain may bite with little warning. All first aid kits should contain a muzzle and take precautions when treating a sick or injured dog. 
Training collars (pinch, prong or shock) can sometimes elicit pain aggression in dogs, especially when used incorrectly.  
Intraspecific Aggression. 
This is aggression towards other dogs and can be divided into two camps: dog aggression and inter pack aggression. Dog aggressive dogs are typically happy friendly dogs towards other people and children but can turn on a dime and aggress towards other dogs. Particularly unknown dogs. This can be motivated by fear, protection, territory, predation or other factors but it is unique in that only other dogs are targeted. Inter pack aggression is aggression directed towards other members of the pack. Social pack animals often live by certain rules set to minimize conflict. These rules keep order, but if one dog believes that another dog broke those rules, than a fight may begin. Social relationships are very complex but anything as simple as sleeping in another’s spot, or eating from the wrong bowl or as complex as an ‘alpha roll’ may provoke inter pack aggression.  
Territorial Aggression
Dogs’ closest cousins, the wolves, are very territorial. The live in a clearly defined territory which they defend from invaders. If an animal who is not part of the pack enters their territory the wolves will drive off they intruder. We sometimes see this instinctive behaviour in dogs. They charge at people or animals who they feel is a threat to their territory. Many people value this trait in dogs and purchase dogs with the intent and expectation that the dog will defend the person’s property. This can be a good idea that isn’t. A dog can not always tell the difference between a friend, the mailman, the delivery boy, your grand mom and a robber. Training a dog for the purpose of defending your territory is akin to setting a loaded handgun with a hair-trigger on your coffee table. 
Some dogs defend the boundaries of the person’s property, some defend the home itself and some defend the actual person (though often this is categorized as protective aggression or possession aggression). As your dog reaches maturity he may begin to to develop territorial aggression if the behaviour is not checked at a young age. 
 
affordable in home dog training dog obedience dog problems
If your dog is displaying aggressive behaviours it is wise to consult your friendly, neighbourhood veterinarian, if for no other reason than to rule out a medical condition. Dogs in chronic pain, cognitive disorders, seizures, sensory deficits, orthopedic problems or other medical conditions are more likely to undergo personality changes, short tempers or aggression. If a medical condition is the cause you will need to cooperate with your vet to improve the outcome. 
Do not attempt to treat an aggressive dog yourself. Seek professional help.  A qualified professional can help you customize a treatment plan to meet your individual dog’s unique needs. Ask your vet for recommendations on a certified animal behaviourist. Not all trainers are qualified to help you so make sure that she has the education and experience necessary to treat canine aggression.
How to prevent aggression
Train your dogA dog should be able to sit, lie down, stay and walk politely on lead. A dog who is under your verbal  and/or visual command is less likely to be a threat to himself or others. 
Socialize your dog. Between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks and again between the ages of 2 and 3, a dog should come in contact with 100 different people (of different sizes, disabilities, ages and races) and 100 different dogs, cats and other animals. As they age, continue to expose them to different people and animals. This will teach them to learn important communication and gain confidence. Well socialized dogs get into fewer fights than under-socialized dogs. 
Spay and Neuter your dog. Un-neutered males are more likely to bite than neutered males. Female dogs in heat, pregnant females and lactating females are more likely to bite and behave in an unpredictable manner. 
Never leave your dog unattended.  If you can’t monitor your dog you won’t be able to see what provokes him,  and you won’t be able to stop someone from teasing or injuring him.
Don’t chain a dog. Dog’s who spend their lives chained up experience more stress, frustration, vulnerability, and territoriality than dogs who are indoors or at least behind fences. They are over twice as likely to bite as dogs who do not spend their lives tethered. 
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) 
Some communities have enacted breed specific legislation that makes ownership of certain breeds illegal. Research indicates that BSL does little to change dog bite statistics. This is likely because any dog can bite when provoked and BSL does not address the actual problems that cause dog bites to be on the rise. (Factors which include poor training or complete lack of training, isolation, restraint (being chained up or on lead), fences (both invisible and visible) and lack of socialization, among others.)
Breed Specific Legislation is very difficult to enforce and often the counties that enact them end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to enforce the bans. Responsible breeding would go much farther and be much cheaper than breed specific legislation, especially when there is no science, research or evidence to support that one breed of dog is inherently  more aggressive than another. It is knee-jerk legislation and  anti-intellectualism at its worst…and innocent dogs suffer and die from it. 
Public education and enforcement of existing laws would are the most effective means of reducing dog bites. 
Don’t be a Victim
If you spot a dog who is unrestrained and poised to attack, you can still protect yourself. 
Don’t cut and run.  If you run, you will ignite the dog’s chase instinct and he will catch you if he wants to. An average dog can run 20 miles per hour. You can’t. 
Remain motionless. Keep your hands at your side, and avoid making eye contact with an angry dog. But keep an eye on him with your peripheral vision. 
Never turn your back on an angry dog. You want to be able to try and predict a dog’s moves and you can’t do that if you can’t see him. 
Slowly back away from the dog until he loses interest or is safely out of sight. 
If the dog does attack; Curl into a ball on the ground, with your face tucked into your chest, while covering the back of your head and neck with your hands and remain motionless. This will protect your vital organs, face and neck and reduce the likelihood of the attack becoming fatal. 
 
Aggression!
(1) American Humane Society
(2) Moyer KE: Kinds of Aggression and their physiological basis Part A. 
(3) Morgan Spector: Moving Beyond the Dominance Myth. 

Allegedly Aggressive Breeds

 

wolves, aggressive dogsWhich breed of dog is the most aggressive is a controversial topic for many people. For every person who claims a chihuahua is inherently dangerous, there will be one who claims to have known one “who was totally friendly.” One dog does not make a study. Claiming to have been bit by a dog or to have known a dog who one time bit your neighbor’s, friend’s, uncle’s cat does not make a breed dangerous any more than knowing one really friendly dog makes the breed safe.
It is good to remember that when it comes to animals (or people, for that matter) if it has teeth it can bite. This doesn’t mean that it will bite, only that it has the potential to. If you see a strange animal, be it a dog or a bunny rabbit, don’t give him an opportunity to bite you. Give him room and let him come to you only if he so desires. On the whole, dogs actually have a very low level of aggression compared to other animals. This is due to the hundreds of thousands of years they spent evolving with us. It wouldn’t do to have dogs turn on us, so we bred them to be affectionate and bond to us. According to ethologist, Dr. Vilmos Csanyi, dogs bond more strongly to humans than they do even to other dogs. All breeds of dog can either be friendly or dangerous depending on his individual personality combined with early upbringing and socialisation.
While it is true that gangsters and other criminals  have a disproportionate number of aggressive dogs, it is less well accepted that even nice, well meaning people can raise an unfriendly dog. Keeping a dog in a fence or a yard all day, not walking him in novel areas, not socialising him properly, or using punishment-based, dominance theory training can all lead to aggressive tendencies in dogs. This is not to say that all dogs kept alone in yards 24/7, trained with brutal methods or poorly socialised will become aggressive. Only that it increases the likelihood of it happening.
Before you get any dog, you want to research the breed and make sure that it is the right breed for your lifestyle. Any dog can become aggressive,but most dogs won’t. All dogs need to be well socialised. It is good for a dog to come in contact with a hundred different people and dogs before it is 4 1/2 months old. There will always be those who claim that some dogs are more dangerous than others. There will always be those who are afraid of one breed or another for various reasons. The media does a good job of keeping us all afraid of things. It is up to us to be logical and reasonable. We must all look at facts before letting fear or other emotions cloud our judgment.
Allegedly Aggressive Breeds.
Below is an alphabetical list of dogs with bad raps or high bite statistics. This list has been compiled after extensive research into popular myths and media sensation, coupled with the most recent bite statistics. Keep in mind that bite statistics do not take into context the environment with which the dog was raised, nor the situation where the victim was bitten. Bite statistics don’t distinguish between play bites, defensive bites or aggressive bites. Also remember that many bites go unreported and many people are unable to correctly identify breeds and breed mixes, so reliable numbers are difficult to come by. Listed by the individual breeds are scores from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) from as recent as March 31, 2011,which tests dogs based on his ability to cope with humans and their environment. Please note that the ATTS test scores are influenced by the numbers of dogs tested. Because of this, I listed the overall test score, number of dogs tested and number of dogs who passed the test. The ATTS is based on a pass/fail scale.
  1. Akita. The Akita is a very large and powerful Japanese dog. They are known to be loyal to their humans. As loyalty is valued in Japanese society, there is a spiritual significance to Akitas in Japan. When a child is born, the family will receive an Akita statue to promote health, happiness and longevity. This breed may be very loyal and affectionate to his people, but he does need lots of early socialisation, particularly to other dogs. The ATTS rates this dog a 76%. 534 Akitas were tested, 406 passed.
  2. Alaskan Malamute. This gentle giant makes a playful pet for active people. Malamutes tend to get along well with other dogs, children and adults, however, they get bored easily and need constant mental and physical stimulation. The ATTS ranks the malamute at 85.3% with 224 tested and 191 passed.
  3. American Staffordshire Terrier. The Am Staff is one of a number of breeds that make up the dog commonly known as a ‘pit bull’. The Am Staff is a high energy dog, who needs physical and mental stimulation every day. Do not get this breed if you do not have time to devote to giving him the proper care, exercise and affection that this dog thrives on. This breed is very people oriented.Some people, with evil intent, took advantage of this breeds eagerness to please and turned her into a fighting dog. This same group of people sometimes breed for aggressive tendencies. Should you choose to buy this breed from a breeder it is very important to do your research and make sure it is one of a number of reputable breeders and not an irresponsible one. Early socialisation, particularly to other dogs is very important. The ATTS ranks this breed at 84.2%  627tested, 528 passed.
  4. American Pit Bull Terrier. The American Pit Bull Terrier (pit bull, or APBT) is a fun loving, energetic, strong and confident breed. It is very friendly towards people and they are especially good with children. At the beginning of the 20th century these were known as “Nanny Dogs” because of their reputation of being naturally affectionate towards children. They are adaptable to city or country life, but these are not kennel dogs. Their eagerness to please makes them much better suited to sharing their lives indoors with their people. In the nineteenth century, blood-thirsty men developed this breed for fighting other dogs. They needed to be able to safely handle them, so they bred them to be eager to please and easy to train, but brutal to other dogs. Early socialisation, particularly to other dogs, is very important to this breed. The ATTS ranks the APBT at 86.4% 627 tested 528 passed.
  5. Australian Cattle Dog. This working dog is agile, energetic, strong, courageous and has great stamina.These dogs bond very closely to their family, but they need a job to do. Early socialisation to people is very important for this breed so they don’t become distrustful of strangers. ATTS 79.1% 187 tested 148 passed.
  6. Beagle. This popular hunting dog is often known for their happy personality, their eagerness to please, their powerful nose and their distinctive bay. These dogs’ brains are in their noses and once on the scent it can be difficult to break their concentration. The ATTS ranks them at 80.6% with 72 tested and 58 passed.
  7. Belgian Malinois. Belgian Malinois, Sheepdog and Terveren are all part of the Belgian shepherd family. Belgian Malinois are  highly tractable dogs with a strong work ethic. They are very affectionate with their humans, but can be reserved with strangers. They are high energy, one man dogs. Early socialisation is very important with this breed. Due to their loyalty and work ethic, they are often used as security dogs. The ATTS ranks them at 91.9% with 298 tested 274 passed
  8. Belgian Sheepdog.The Belgian Sheepdog is a courageous, strong and dignified dog. They are indispensable on the battle field where they work as couriers, ambulance dogs and draft dogs. They have found work as search and rescue dogs, they’ve herded livestock, they’ve been guide dogs and therapy dogs. This energetic breed is steadfastly devoted to his human and can be over protective. Early socialisation is very important for this breed. The ATTS ranks these guys at 80.5%, 486 tested and 391 passed.
  9. Belgian Terveren. This versatile working dog has been known to excel at herding livestock, obedience trials, therapy dogs, guide dogs and security dogs.  Like all Belgian Shepherds, they are loyal, one man dogs. Early socialisation is very important. The ATTS ranks Tervs at 79.9%, 472 tested, 377 passed.
  10. Boxer. The boxer is an energetic, fun loving breed. These dogs respond well to positive training and are great dogs for active people. Their ease of training has provided them with jobs from everything to war dogs, guardians, and seeing eye-dogs. Their affectionate personalities have led to a surge in popularity, they are one of the most popular breeds in America. The ATTS ranks them at  83.7% 424 tested and 355 passed.
  11. Bull Terrier. This breed is a friendly, playful, affectionate clown. It  was bred in England to bait bulls and fight dogs. Because of this, early socialisation to other dogs is very important. He generally will not start a fight, but he will finish one. The ATTS ranks Bull Terriers at 90.9% 77 tested, 70 passed.
  12. Chihuahua.This diminutive breed is growing in popularity. Their low maintenance makes them a favorite among apartment dwellers and people with active lifestyles. They tend to be one-man dogs and can be fiercely loyal to their humans. Because of their small size people and dogs can sometimes seem more threatening than they really are, so early socialization is a must. The ATTS rates them at 71.1% 38 tested 27 passed.
  13. Cane Corso. The Cane Corso is an even-tempered, highly tractable dog that is loyal and affectionate with their family, but can be shy and distrustful around strangers. Early socialisation to humans and dogs is a must with this breed. The ATTS ranks the Cane Corso at 83.0%  with 106 tested 88 passed.   
  14. Chinese Shar-pei. The Chinese Shar pei is a serious, independent and dignified dog. It is a one man dog, loyal and affectionate to his family. They need early socialization to people and especially to other dogs. The ATTS ranks the Shar pei at 70.6%. 211 tested, 149 passed.
  15. Chow Chow. The chow chow is a dignified breed. He is a loyal, independent, one man dog. With early socialisation they can be quite good with strangers and children, but socialisation to humans and other animals is important. The ATTS ranks them at 71.4% 98 were tested,  70 passed.
  16. Cocker Spaniel. The “merry little cocker” was originally a hunting dog, but quickly found his way into the hearts of dog lovers everywhere. The cocker spaniel is a high energy, fun loving and friendly dog. The ATTS ranks the cocker spaniel at 81.9%,  227 tested, 186 passed.
  17. Collie. The collie is a family oriented working dog. They get along with adults, children and animals. They can be overprotective, so early socialisation is important. This is an active breed that needs daily mental and physical stimulation. The ATTS ranks them 79.9% with 856 tested and 684 passed.
  18. Dachshund. An April 2011 study by the Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science, rated the Dachshund the most aggressive dog breed. With 1 in 5 biters, it may seem that they earned that ranking. This high raking underscores the need for early socialisation in dogs. Well socialised dachshunds tend to be friendly, playful, good natured, fun loving dogs. There are many different types of dachshunds, but temperamentally, they vary little. The ATTS ranks the smooth, miniature (the most common) at 80.0% with 35 tested, 28 passed.
  19. Dalmatian. The Dalmatian is an active, lively dog that loves to run. It is friendly and affectionate, but needs early socialisation so as not to be distrustful around strangers. It has a strong work ethic and responds well to positive training. The ATTS ranks the Dal at 82.4% with 330 tested, 272 passed
  20. Doberman. The dobie is a loyal, active, devoted dog. Their ease of training makes them popular working dogs and their alertness makes them great guard dogs. They are great with children and other dogs. Dobies need mental and physical simulation every day in order to thrive. The ATTS ranks them 77.7% with 1,592 tested and 1237 passed.
  21. English Springer Spaniel. The English Springer Spaniel is out going, friendly, hard working and full of enthusiasm. It is very affectionate with their people and very good with children, but may be too active for small children. This breed is very adaptable to most environments provided they get daily exercise. The ATTS ranks them 83.8% with 28 tested 23 passed.
  22. German Shepherd Dog. The GSD is a stable, confident, versatile, hard working dog. They have worked as war dogs, police dogs, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs and they are very popular as seeing -eye dogs. She is warm and playful to family, but may be wary of strangers. Early socialisation is a must. GSD’s are generally good with children and other pets. Their ATTS rank is 84.4 with 3,078 tested 2,597 passed.
  23. Great Dane. The Great Dane is an even -tempered, good-natured gentle giant, that does well with children and other dogs. They are easy to train, but because of their massive size, early training is important. The ATTS ranks the Dane at 79.9% with 278 tested and 222 passed.
  24. Jack Russell Terrier. This is an energetic, affectionate, loyal breed that needs daily, mental and physical stimulation. Despite rating number 3 on the Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science list of 33 most aggressive dog breeds, Jack Russells generally do well with people, though early socialisation is preferred.  Early socialisation to other dogs, however, is crucial as this breed can be scrappy. The ATTS rates the JRT at 84.1% with 63 tested and 53 passed.
  25. Mastiff. The mastiff is an affectionate, calm, loyal, patient breed. They are stead-fast and generally good with children and adults. They do need early socialisation and because of their size, early training is also important. The ATTS ranks them at 85.1%, 188 tested, 169 passed.
  26. Old English Sheepdog. The Old English Sheepdog is a high-energy, spirited, friendly dog. The OES, gets along well with children, adults and other dogs. With abundant exercise, they make excellent house dogs, but they do tend to shed quite a bit. The ATTS rates the OES at 76.6%, 47 tested, 36 passed.
  27. Pekingese. The pekingese is an independent, dignified dog who seems very aware of their royal past. They are good natured and playful with people they know, but need early socialisation to children and other dogs. They respond well to positive training, but shut down with punishment based training. The ATTS ranking is 93.3% with 15 tested and 14 passed.
  28. Presa Canario. The Presa Canario is a calm, alert, confident dog. They need moderate exercise and early socialisation to humans and other dogs. They are affectionate and gentle with their family and children but can be wary of strangers. Their ranking in the ATTS is 90.9% with 33 tested and 30 passed.
  29. Rhodesian Ridgeback. The Rhodesian ridgeback is a good-natured, easy going dog, devoted to his family. They are independent dogs, who need firm, yet positive training. They are generally good with people, but need early socialisation. They have a high prey drive so special attention is needed if you have other small pets. The ATTS ranks them at 84.4% with 455 tested and 384 passed.
  30. Rottweiler. The rottie is a calm, courageous, gentle, hard working dog. They started out as draft dogs, but have been used as military dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, guard dogs and companions. Rottie’s respond well to training and need moderate exercise and early socialisation. The ATTS rank is 83.7%, 5,446 tested, 4,558 passed.
  31. Siberian Husky. The husky is an active, friendly, out-going dog. He is an independent dog that needs aerobic exercise every day. This breed responds well to positive training and makes a great dog for an active family. The ATTS ranks them at 86.8% with 296 tested and 257 passed
  32. Toy Poodle. Poodles are affectionate, sensitive, easy to train dogs. They are active, but due to their size, can live easily in a house or apartment. They thrive on human companionship and are playful and loving to their families. Toy poodles need early socialisation to dogs and children. Their rank in the ATTS is  82.7%52 tested43 passed

A special note on Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds.
These dogs are often demonized by the press. Several years ago, I personally witnessed an intact lab mix bite and kill a schnauzer puppy at a grooming salon. The schnauzers owner, (who was more interested in going to the bar with his friends then taking the puppy to the vet) was on the news that night claiming that a pit bull had killed his dog after first charging his young son. The story was a fabrication; the son was in no danger and the man lied about the breed involved, but the press ate it up. Pit bulls, Rottweilers and other allegedly aggressive breeds are a hot button topic, guaranteed to sell papers. These dogs get a bad rap, and are some of the most feared dogs, but most are friendly and gentle. In the hands of criminals any dog can become dangerous, with improper handling or lack of socialisation, any dog can bite. (Again, that’s not to say they will bite.)The Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science ranks these breeds as average risk for bites. Cities like London, Denver and Miami that have breed bans in place, see no drop in actual bite statistics.The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that no single breed is genetically more predisposed to bite than any other.

Sadly, this will not stop much of the fear mongering currently going on.Many people react emotionally,instead of logically, this is what makes us human. But when innocent dogs are euthanized over mass hysteria, our humanness ends up failing our best friends. This is criminal.
Now, the numbers show that these breeds may be no more likely to bite than any other breed, however, when they do bite, because of their size, they are much more dangerous. I may laugh if a chihuahua bites me, but if a Rottweiler bites me, I’m on the way to the E.R. With these big dogs (and this is true for all dogs) early socialisation is very important. It is much easier to do it when the dog is young than to have to play catch-up when he is older. Why take chances with an unsocialised dog, when socialising him is so easy?  If you are going to get one of these breeds, please, be responsible. These guys have it hard enough.

Saying Goodbye

“The misery of keeping a dog is his dying so soon. But, to be sure, if he lived for fifty years and then died, what would become of me?” ~Sir Walter Scott
The worst part about being owned by a dog is that they simply don’t live as long as we would like. Advances in medical science and nutrition have given dogs longer lifespans then they had a few decades ago, but the average lifespan of a dog is still tragically short.
Some dogs lose their life at a young age due to illness or accidents. It can be especially difficult to see a life cut short at such a young age.
When you get a dog, you have a certain plan for him. Whether it’s to be a companion, a helpmate or even another family member, you have a basic idea of what you want. To lose a dog unexpectedly is very difficult. It is made worse because you can’t prepare and often have no closure. 
Saying GoodbyeSome dogs die peacefully after a nice, long life. None of us can control aging, terminal illness or death. These are all part of the great cycle of life that is beyond our control. The only thing you can do for your dog is be there for her. Make her as comfortable as possible, provide for her and shower her with all the love that you feel. And in the end, know that you did all that you could. The death of an old dog is not a tragedy. Not if you gave her your all during life.
Saying Goodbye
Unfortunately, sometimes it is up to us to make the decision to end the life of our faithful friend. Truly, few, if any, decisions are more difficult to make. Your dog depends on you to do what is best for him and sometimes, sadly, that means putting an end to his suffering. No one can tell you which path is the right one to take (though many people will try). As long as you are acting in the best interest of your dog, then you are doing the right thing.
If you find yourself faced with the decision to ease your dogs final transition, ask yourself the following questions:
Does your dog have a terminal illness?
Is your dog in pain beyond what medications can help?
Will more treatment improve his quality of life, or simply prolong it?
Can your dog control his bodily functions?
Does he still have an appetite?
This is a very difficult decision to make and it is made worse by all the emotions surrounding it. If you answered yes to most or all of the questions than maybe it is time to speak with your vet about euthanasia. Whatever you decide, as long as you are acting in the best interest of your dog there is no need for guilt.
Saying Goodbye
Coping with Loss
Anytime a loved one passes can be a dark and difficult time. It can sometimes be worse when that loved one happens to be your dog. Some well meaning people will tell you “Oh, it’s just a dog, it doesn’t matter” or they’ll tell you to just go out and buy a new one. People think of dogs as ‘man’s best friend’ but few seem to really understand what that means. It can be harder to lose a dog than a person because the level of support that you need may be absent.
There is absolutely nothing that I can tell you that will take away the pain that you will feel when you have to say good bye. If such words existed I would say them a thousand times.
Some religious traditions teach that your dog will greet you in Heaven or that they will come back again in another form. These beliefs can certainly make it easier to cope with such a loss. Some people find that making memorial can be helpful. Scattering Fido’s ashes in his favorite park or even in the backyard may bring some peace. Getting a memorial stone is a nice way to remember. Placing photos around your house or making a scrapbook may be helpful. Donating to your local humane society or animal charity in his name may bring you peace and help benefit other animals.
Some people find that it is helpful to get another pet to ease their loss. Others will never get another pet again.
There is no wrong way to grieve.
Find people who understand your loss, it can be very helpful to talk with people who have been through it all before. Talk with family and friends, members of the clergy or grief counselors. Letting out all the pain and hurt you feel can be of enormous help.
Saying GoodbyeThe Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….
Author unknown
If Tears Could Build a Stairway
If tears could build a stairway,
and memories a lane.
I would walk right up to Heaven
and bring you back again.
No farewell words were spoken,
No time to say “Goodbye”.
You were gone before I knew it,
and only God knows why.
My heart still aches with sadness,
and secret tears still flow.
What it meant to love you –
No one can ever know.
But now I know you want me
to mourn for you no more;
To remember all the happy times
life still has much in store.
Since you’ll never be forgotten,
I pledge to you today~
A hollowed place within my heart
is where you’ll always stay.
Anonymous
Saying Goodbye        “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ~Jack Lemmon

Trivia, Heroes and More!

dog training behavior problems nutrition history ethologyTrivia
->Scientists have recently discovered that dogs can smell autism in children.
->The dachshund is classified as a hound, but is really a true terrier. The confusion stems from a mistranslation of the word ‘hund’, German for ‘dog.’ Literally dachshund means badger dog.
->The name of the dog on the Cracker Jack box is “Bingo”
->Americans spend more than $5.4 billion dollars on their pets each year.
->Due to their large, mobile ears, a dog can locate sound in 6/100th of a second.
->Seizure Alert dogs can warn their owners of an upcoming seizure attack up to an hour before it occurs.
->Americans spend four times more on dog food than on baby food.
->Pekingese is one of the oldest breeds of dogs, having lived in China for over 2000 years. Pekingese were sacred dogs, the punishment for stealing a peke was death.
->Therobromine is the ingredient in chocolate that is lethal to dogs. In large amounts it is even lethal to humans. As a rule, the darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is.
->Humans and dogs share 80 to 90% of their genetic code. Almost 60% of the genetic diseases in humans correspond to genetic diseases in dogs.
->in ancient Egypt when a cat died it was customary for a person to shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning. When a dog died, they shaved their entire bodies.
->October is Adopt-a-Dog month.
->During their first year of life, children in homes with dogs are less likely to develop allergies than children in homes without dogs.
->During the first 18 weeks of life a puppy needs to come in contact with 100 different people and dogs to be properly socialised.
->An estimated 1 million dogs in the United States have been named the primary beneficiary in their owner’s will.
->Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not sweat by salivating. They sweat through the pads of their feet.
->Dogs can hear sounds that are too faint for us to hear, and also can hear noises at a much higher frequency than we can. Their hearing is so good that they probably rely more on sound than on sight to navigate their world.
->It has been established that people who own pets live longer, have less stress, and have fewer heart attacks.
dog training behavior problems nutrition history ethology
 Heroes
In 1993, Weela, an American Pit Bull Terrier, saved the lives of 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses and a cat. Heavy, January rains caused the Tiajuana River to flood, trapping a family of ranchers, the Watkins. For six hours, Weela and the Watkins fought the elements to cross the flooded river, reach the ranch and save the family’s 12 dogs.
Over the month, Weela crossed the flooded river to bring food (placed in a backpack strapped across her back) to seventeen dogs and one cat stranded on an island. The dogs and cats were rescued on Valentines day.
During one of Weelas trips back from bringing food to the dogs and cats, she stumbled on a group of thirty people attempting to cross the flood waters. Weela, barking and running, refused to let the people cross where they wanted. Rather, she herded the people to an area where the water was more shallow and calmer. There they were able to cross safely to the other side.
A different flood stranded 13 horses on a large manure pile. Weela led a rescue team to the horses, and the rescuers were able to bring the horses to dry land.
The Ultimate American Pit Bull Terrier.Jacqueline O’Neal.
In 1989, Reona, a 109 pound Rottweiler left her house, jumped over three fences entered another house and rescued a 5 year old epileptic girl named Vivien Cooper during an earthquake. The dog pushed Vivien against some kitchen cabinets and held her there until the earthquake had passed. 
1989 Kenn-L Ration Dog Hero of the Year.
Topper, a Belgian Tervuren, worked at both the Oklahoma City boming site and Ground Zero at the World Trade Center after 9/11. He was awarded the American Kennel Club Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) in 2002.
2002 ACE Award Winner
Salty, a Yellow Lab guide dog, was with his owner Omar Rivera, who is  employed by the Port Authority. They were on the 71 floor of the World Trade Center when the first plane struck. Rivera, knowing there was no chance for him, dropped the leash so that Salty would have a chance to escape the carnage. However, Salty refused to leave his side. With Salty on one side and his supervisor, Donna Enright, on the other, the trio made it down all 71 flights of stairs. Despite the glass and debris swirling underfoot in the ankle high water. In spite of the commotion and smoke and noise, the three made it to safety. Salty never hesitated, but stayed by his owners side through it all.
2003 Dickens Award Winner
MORE!
How to Keep your Dog Safe on a Hot Summer Day
->If you have to leave your dog outside, make sure she has plenty of shade, plenty of water and a spill proof water bowl.
->NEVER LEAVE A DOG UNATTENDED IN A PARKED CAR. Even with an open window temperatures can reach 140f. In those temperatures heat stroke can set in very quickly.
->Walk your dog in the early morning or late evening.
->Brachycephalic (pug-nosed) breeds can not cool off as efficiently as regular dogs. Be sure to keep them indoors with the air conditioning.
->If you need to cool off a dog quickly, wet a paper towel with cool (not cold) water and place it on the dogs paws. This will bring his body temperature back down to safe levels.
How to Keep your Dog Safe in the Winter
->Make sure he has plenty of fresh water. A dog is at as much risk for dehydration in the winter as in the summer.
->Make sure he is getting enough calories to help him deal with the cold. He needs the extra energy to keep his body temperature normal.
->Make sure he is well groomed. Matted fur will not provide as much insulation as a well groomed coat. Make sure that the fur around his feet is trimmed so as not to collect snow.
->Keep him dry, warm and away from drafts.
->Don’t leave a dog unattended outside for long periods of time. Dogs are as likely to get frostbite as humans are.
->Keep your dog off frozen ponds, rivers, etc. Dogs have fallen through the ice and drowned. People have also drowned attempting to save their dogs.
->Don’t leave your dog unattended in a car with the engine running. Dogs can asphyxiate if the carbon monoxide from the cars engine gets trapped inside.
->Keep him away from Anti-freeze. Anti-freeze is lethal, and most have a sweet taste.
How to Keep your Dog Safe at Halloween
Halloween is a fun holiday for kids and adults alike, but for your dogs, it can sometimes be a time of stress. Here are some tips for keeping your dog relaxed and safe during the holiday. 
  1. Dogs are known for their sense of smell, not their vision. Halloween costumes can be confusing to a dog, they do not know what it is they are seeing. Additionally, a constantly ringing doorbell, noisy children and other such commotion can scare your pet. If your dog seems to be having trouble, keep him in a separate, more quiet room. (Not his crate.)
  2. Keep decorations (and their wires and cords) out of reach of chewing puppies. 
  3. If you must dress up your dog; make sure his vision, breathing, and  movement are not constricted. If your dog appears to stressed out by the costume then you should remove it. Never leave a dog unsupervised in his costume.
  4. Take measures to ensure that your dog does not dart outside while you are greeting trick-or-treaters.
  5. Candy is not healthy for dogs and chocolate can be deadly, keep the candy out of reach. Signs of chocolate toxicity include nervousness, tremors, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases seizures and death. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.  Xylitol, an artificial sweetener has been linked to health problems in dogs. For those who prefer healthy treats; raisins can also be toxic to dogs. Candy wrappers and lollipop sticks can pose a choking hazard.
  6. If you take your dog trick-or-treating with your kids, keep him on a short leash and out of traffic. 
  7. If your dog is a kennel dog, bring him in for the entire night. He may get spooked by the noise and mayhem and run off or dig out. He may also be the victim of a cruel prank. He will be much safer inside for the night. This is doubly true if you also happen to have a black cat. Bring little fluffy indoors for the night. 
  8. Make sure that your pets are wearing clearly visible ID tags with current information. 
  9.  Keep lighted candles and jack-o-lanterns away from all animals.  
  10. If you witness or suspect acts of cruelty to animals on Halloween (or any other night of the year), alert your local authorities.  
Keeping your dog safe on Thanksgiving
  1. Nix on the table scraps. If you must feed your dog people food at Thanksgiving, put the food in his bowl so as not to encourage begging. Ensure that the food has not been seasoned and don’t give him any food that may be harmful.
  2. Give a dog a bone. Poultry bones can present a choking hazard, keep Fido away from the table and garbage so he has less chance of getting into dangerous foods. 
  3. Teetotaler. Make sure that Boomer does not get into any holiday punch. Alcoholic beverages in excess amounts can lead to coma and death. Don’t set alcohol within reach of your dog. 
  4. Keep your pup pooped. Take a vigorous walk or have a lively play session so your dog stays relaxed and happy while every one is gathered around. Over anxious, or rambunctious dogs can get underfoot and create a hazard for themselves and your guests. The best behaved dogs are those that get their mental and physical needs met.
  5. Doggy Hotels. If you must travel, make the necessary arrangements so that your dog gets the care they need during your absence. 
  6. What’s cooking? Keep your dog out of the kitchen, stuffing can contain poisonous ingredients for your dog, yeast from uncooked bread can rise in your dogs stomach and chocolate and sugar -free candy (xylitol) can be deadly.
  7. Don’t Dine and Dash. Check that Lassie’s ID tag is on her collar and the information is current. Should she escape at anytime during the hubbub, Dog Tags will make it more likely that you will be reunited.
dog training behavior problems nutrition history ethology
 Fears and Phobias
As previously mentioned, dogs have many of the same emotions as humans. This can be great when a dog is in a happy, seeking state of mind, but not so good when the dog is scared. Being afraid, and having a phobia are two different things. 
Fear, though unpleasant, can be beneficial. It can cause one to be more mindful of danger and less likely to take careless risks. When a dog sees a stimulus that causes fear; she may begin panting, run, or if there is no escape route, become aggressive, her heart rate will increase and she will salivate more. Once the stimulus is removed, the dog is no longer fearful. 
Phobias, on the other hand, are often irrational and extreme. So extreme, in fact, that the dog’s daily activities may be disrupted. He may not eat properly or even sleep. In the worst cases it can cause the afflicted to act without out reason and meet with some harm, in the case of a panicked dog meeting traffic, for example.
Fear, left unchecked, may develop into a phobia over time. 
Here are some of the more common fears and phobias that dogs have and how to manage them.
Separation Anxiety
Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety are reacting to the social attachment system which is related to the panic system in the brain. Dogs who experience separation anxiety are actually suffering from physical pain. Signs that your dog may suffer from this can include destruction, vocalization, elimination (particularly in the shoes or on the bed), and an obsessive need to be out. This can include scratches around windows and doors. 
Remember that elimination can be a potty training issue, so don’t assume that a dog who has an accident in the house has separation anxiety. It could just be an accident. Location often matters, soiling ones shoes or bed are far more indicative of separation anxiety than soiling on the stairs. Destructive behaviours and vocalization can just as often be caused by boredom. Sufficient exercise is key for a healthy dog. Puzzle toys and rotating his toys can be very helpful in occupying a dogs mind while you are gone. 
Separation anxiety is often over-diagnosed, but an estimated one in six dogs suffers from it. If you suspect your dog may suffer from separation anxiety, seek out a reputable behaviourist and a vet. 
Some places to start treating separation anxiety is to desensitize your dog to your coming and going. When you return from the end of the day it is important that you ignore your dog until you get settled. Overly emotive displays of affection upon your arrival signal to the dog that you were in danger while you were gone. If your dog thinks that every time he sees you will be the last time he sees you, that can cause no small amount of stress for your dog. Be matter of fact when you leave and you return, this will tell your dog that you are safe, you know what your doing and that when you leave you’re probably going to come back. 
You can also practice leaving. Randomly throughout the day, put on your shoes, a jacket, grab your purse, take your car keys and leave the house. After a few seconds, come back inside. Repeat this exercise, with varying lengths of time. Sometimes grab your car keys, walk to the door, but don’t leave. This will keep Fido guessing about your departure while simultaneously reminding him that when you leave, you will also, eventually, return.  
You can supplement this by occasionally giving Rex a treat when you pick up your purse, briefcase or car keys. Let him see that good things happen when you perform these actions. Some dogs benefit with the addition of a dog door. Some dogs benefit from being crated, for some dogs, crating will worsen the condition. It all depends on the individual dog.
Separation anxiety can be a lifelong battle, but it can be successfully managed. Relapses are common, but treatable. Behaviour modification can be treated with or without the use of drugs. Talk to your behaviourist or veterinarian about appropriate therapy, guidance and medication. 
Vacuum Cleaners, Blenders, Lawnmowers and other big scary appliances.
Vacuum cleaners make loud noises and move erratically. Some dogs may try to hide from them, some dogs may try to herd them, some dogs may try to attack them, and I’ve even heard of the odd dog attempting to ride one! If little Bailey is afraid of the vacuum cleaner, try counter conditioning. When the dog is in the room, bring out the vacuum. Do not turn it on, leave it in the middle of the floor. When Bailey approaches, click and treat. Do not rush her, fears can only be overcome at the comfort level of those afraid. Once Bailey is comfortable being around the device when it is off, remove her from the room and turn the vacuum cleaner on, but do not use it. When she approaches, click and treat until she is used to the vacuum being on. The third and final step is to remove her from the room, turn the vacuum on and move it around. As she approaches, click and treat. This may take several sessions. 
If your dog is afraid of the blender or other small appliances, run them until Rover gets used to the noise. Reward curious behaviour and refrain from punishing fearful behaviour as this will make the fear much worse. For health reasons, sometimes substitute food, toys or bones for treats. 
If your dog is afraid of the lawnmower, get him used to the sound of it using the methods stated above. However, for safety reasons, always keep the dog away from a moving lawn mower. Place him inside, or tied up elsewhere when ever you mow. 
Thunder and Fireworks
Some dogs habituate quite nicely to storms, some dogs fear it only while indoors and some dogs react in panic no matter where they are or how distant the storm. Dogs can sense an approaching storm due to changes in atmospheric pressure. Dogs may hide, pant, vocalize, tremble, pace, act destructively or even run away. Some of these reactions can be far more dangerous than others. 
You may be able to help your dog by creating a safe environment like a crate, or an area under a bed. Some den like area where your dog feels safe and secure. This area should always be accessible to Max, even when you are away. When you are home, you can try masking the noise by playing loud music, particularly music with a loud bass track, or watching a loud, action packed movie. This will help cover the noise and, at the very least, make it more uniform. If you have a white noise machine, that may also help. 
Some people are able to redirect their dog’s attention by playing a game, exercising or performing a vigorous training session. This will not only get your dog’s focus on something fun but provide positive association with the thunder or fireworks.
In extreme conditions, it may be necessary to treat this problem medically with anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medication. Consult your vet if you feel your dog’s phobia is a threat to him. 
Fear of people and other dogs
Some dogs fear people and or other dogs because they were not properly socialised. It is beneficial for a dog to come in contact with 100 different people and dogs before they are four and a half months old. Here’s the catch: at that age they are very vulnerable to disease, so when ever possible carry them everywhere and don’t let them walk near another dog’s feces. 
Some dogs fear people and other dogs because they have been attacked by a person or another dog. The solution is the same. 
If a dog is exhibiting fear of another person or dog, he may tremble, pant, try to escape, vocalise, he may exhibit piloerection (fur on end) and he may stiffen. Never correct a dog for showing these signs. Punishing a dog for growling only teaches a dog that growling is bad. The next time he comes across an object he fears: another dog, adult or even a child, he will not growl, he may go straight for the bite. A growl is good. A growl is a dog verbally telling someone to “back off” The last thing you want to do is take away a dogs warning system. 
If a dog fears a person or dog from 20 feet away, stand with your dog 25 feet away, well within his comfort zone. When he sees the stimulus, click and treat. When he is comfortable with dogs or people from 20 feet away, stand 15 feet away and click and treat. The trick is to reward the dog before he has a chance to react, not after. Timing is crucial. We do not want to teach a dog that fearing people is good. When he is accepting people or dogs from a distance of 15 feet take him 10 feet away and then click and treat.
When he is accepting people from 10 feet away, take him 5 feet away and have a friend or a friendly stranger toss the dog a treat. When he is accepting treats from a friend from 5 feet away, have your friend squat down and hold out a treat from the flat palm of his hand. Make sure that the friend remains absolutely still and refrains from making eye contact with your dog. Your dog may perceive this as a threat. 
Have as many people as possible try this until your dog realizes that people are beneficial. 
If it is other dogs your dog fears; give him treats 10, then 5 feet away. If your dog can reliably sit, when he is accepting treats from a distance of 5 feet consistently, move him next to a dog, place him in a sit and then click and treat. 
Try this repeatedly until your dog realizes that dogs are beneficial. For any set back (and set backs are common during training) start over at the very beginning. 
A special word on Thundershirts
Thunder shirts are anti-anxiety wraps designed by trainer Susan Sharpe after reading about a deep pressure squeeze machine invented by Temple Grandin. Sharpe designed a jacket style wrap made to apply pressure to the dog’s body. There has been much success with these, and similar style devices. However, you can not leave these on too long. After 20 minutes the effect wears off and you have to take it off and reapply. For separation anxiety, this would be ineffective as you are not there to remove the wrap. For short term anxiety; car rides, thunder, large gatherings, and in cases you may be uncomfortable treating medically, this wrap may be a great benefit to your dog. 
Soccer Mom
Most jobs for dogs became obsolete years ago, but dogs still need mental and physical activity in order to thrive. Listed are some sports and activities you can enter your dog in. Look some of these up in your area.
  1. Agility: This is an obstacle course for your dog to run. It provides your dog with both structure, exercise and it’s a great opportunity for you and your dog to bond. 
  2. Flyball: Is a relay competition sport where your dog runs and jumps over hurdles to retrieve a ball. The first team to finish is the winner.
  3. Disc Dog: Competitions. Some of these dogs can do some amazing things catching frisbees with their handlers.
  4. Dock Diving: Is great for retrievers and poodles. Your dog jumps off a dock into the water. Distance is the scoring factor here.
  5. Hunting and Field Trials: are a great chance for your dog to use his natural instincts while exercising his body.
  6. Earth Dog Trials: are great for terriers. These competitions also provide a natural outlet for a dog to go to ground and is great for exercising and bonding.
  7. Skijoring combines dog sledding with skiing.
  8. Obedience Trials: Want to prove that your dog is just flat out better than everyone else’s dog?  Just enter him in an obedience competition.
  9. Stock Dog Trials: Have a Border Collie in the city? This activity is great for herding breeds to show off their talents.
dog training understanding behaviourThe Lighter Side
Two women, Beth and Paige are arguing over who’s dog is smarter.
Beth says to Paige, “My dog is so smart. Every morning he fetches the morning paper.”
“I know.” says Paige.
“How did you know?” asks Beth
To which Paige smugly replies, “My dog told me.”
*************************************************************************************
How many <dogs> does it take to change a light bulb?
Border Collie: Just one. And when I’m done I’ll make sure the wiring is up to code.
Pointer: I see it! There it is. Right there!
Lab: I’ll do it! Pick Me! Oh, Pick Me!!
Rottweiler: Change your own %^&* bulb
Greyhound: If I can’t chase it, who cares?
Old English Sheep Dog: That thing I ate was a light bulb?
************************************************************************************
Three men are out walking their dogs on a hot summer day, when they come across this Pub. It’s hot out and the men are thirsty. The first man turns to his friends and says, “I have an idea, we’ll tell them we’re blind and these are our seeing -eye dogs.”
His friends think this is a good idea so they decide to go in one at a time so as not to arouse suspicion.
The first man enters the pub with his German Shepherd by his side.
“Hey buddy” says the barkeep “You can’t bring your dog in here!”
“I’m blind, sir” answers the first man “And this is my seeing -eye dog”
The bartender obliges and the man walks in and orders a pint.
Ten minutes later, the second man enters with his lab.
“No dogs allowed, pal” says the bartender. The second man explains that he is blind, and this dog is his guide dog, so the bartender allows him entry.
Fifteen minutes later, the third man enters the bar. “We don’t allow dogs in the bar.” The barkeep tells him.
“But sir,” replies the third man “I’m blind and this is my seeing-eye dog.”
“A pekingese?” Asks the bartender, incredulous.
The third man, not missing a beat, asks “This is a pekingese!?!!”
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 7 folds RETURN                                                                Anna Watson
“Who me?”
7 folds RETURN                                                                   Anna Watson
bad dog cartoon dog training
folds RETURN                                                                Anna Watson
dog cafe cartoon training
*Cartoons are property of 7 folds RETURN ©Anna Watson
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Young Johnny is playing the violin in his bedroom. He is quite new to the instrument and it squeaks badly. His father is in the living room with the family dog, trying to read the paper despite the noise. Eventually, the squeaking becomes so bad, that the dog begins to howl. The commotion continues for quite some time.
After awhile, the din gets so bad that the father yells up to his son. “For crying out loud. Johnny! Can’t you play anything the dog doesn’t know!”
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Two men, Jerry and Tom, are sitting in a boat, duck hunting with their dogs. Jerry shoots a duck and his lab dives into the water, swims across, grabs the duck and gently brings it back.
A few minutes later, Tom shoots a duck. His poodle steps into the water, walks across the lake, gently grabs the duck, walks back and places the duck in Tom’s lap.
“Whattsa matter?” Jerry asks “Your dog can’t swim?”
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WHAT I ASKED FOR
WHAT I NEEDED
When I got my new dog
I asked for strength that I might rear her perfectly;
I was given weakness that I might feed her more treats.
I asked for good health that I might rest easy;
I was given a “special needs” dog that I might know nurturing.
I asked for an obedient dog that I might feel proud;
I was given stubbornness that I might feel humble.
I asked for compliance that I might feel masterful;
I was given a clown that I might laugh
I asked for a companion that I might not feel lonely;
I was given a best friend that I would feel loved.
I got nothing I asked for,
But everything that I needed.
I got a dog 
~anonymous

Nutrition

dog food nutrition
Dogs are living a lot longer these days, thanks to advances in veterinary care as well as advances in nutrition. Until the industrial revolution, only the dogs of the very wealthy were fed regular meals. And these dogs were fed better than the majority of humans on earth! The rest of the dogs were on their own. A dog’s history has largely been that of a hunter and scavenger. The industrial revolution brought commercial dog food and with it, increased longevity in dogs. Within the last couple of decades, we’ve seen greater advances in dog food and medicine and yet another leap in lifespans.
I don’t like to recommend one brand of food over another. What’s right for one individual dog may not be right for another, but you can’t go wrong if you look at the food’s ingredients. 
Commercial Dog Food
Commercial dog food is constantly improving. We know more about nutrition now than we ever did and our dogs benefit from that.  The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) set down some guidelines that commercial grade dog food must adhere to. AAFCO standards ensure that dog food must be formulated to have the correct phosphorus to calcium ratios, fat, protein, and carbohydrate percentages plus the trace minerals that a dog needs. These standards have been put in place by veterinarians and nutritionists.  
The price of raw materials, food and fuel keeps rising with no end in sight. This means that not only our we paying more for our food, but it also costs more to feed little Benji. And if you have a Great Dane, Mastiff or other giant breed dog; forget about it, the cost to feed him can go through the roof! The average American spends more for dog food than they do on baby food. In light of this, it is understandable why one would be tempted to choose a $10.00 for 20lb bag of food over a 15lb bag that’s $25.00. Caveat Emptor. In my experience, you get what you pay for. What you save on dog food you may spend at the vet on allergy medicine, flatulence pills or worse.
The difference between premium food and bargain food goes far beyond price and covers the quality of ingredients. Typically, premium food will have ingredients with higher digestibility and greater nutrient value. Bargain brands will use more fillers and low-quality ingredients like meat and bone meal, or soy. Because these are fillers, you end up feeding your dog more to make up the difference. This will not only end up costing you more of your hard earned cash, but it can also add bulk to your dog. Obesity is the number one health problem in dogs and it is much easier to keep the weight off than it is to take it off. Bargain food will often add dyes to the food to make it look more appetizing to humans. However, you are not the one eating your dog’s food, little Frisky doesn’t care about dyes (her color vision isn’t so hot to begin with) and they add no nutritional value to the food. 
When I was a child, walking down the dog food section of a pet store or grocery store didn’t take very long. There really wasn’t a huge variety to choose from. Today, the dog food section can (and sometimes does) fill an entire store. Choosing the right food for Fergie can seem like a monumental task. I’m here to break it down for you. 
First, look at the age of your dog. A puppy needs more fat and protein than an adult dog. AAFCO guidelines require a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat for puppies and most foods exceed that. Large breed puppies grow quickly and and too much weight can put too much stress on their joints. Large breed foods are designed to slow growth and keep off the extra pounds. Large breed formulas also tend to contain glucosamine and/or chondroitin, which helps a dog’s joints. Small breed puppies usually benefit from higher fat and protein levels than large breed dogs because they tend to reach full size by 6-8 months. 
Before 6 months, split your dog’s meals into three or more feedings a day. Unless told by a vet, avoid supplements. These can throw off the nutritional balance that your dog needs. 
Second, look at your dog’s life style. An athletic dog, hunting dog or jogging partner needs more protein and higher calories than a dog who lounges around the house all day.
Third, look at the availability. If you get Trixie’s food at Bob’s Premium Pet Food Store and he shuts down, then little Trixie is out of luck if Bob was the only place that carried it. On the other hand, if it is too available, that usually indicates low quality ingredients since it has to be cheaper in order to ship it to more stores.
Fourth, quality is of the upmost importance. The first ingredient should be protein source like chicken, lamb, by-products, or meat meal. Avoid soy and meat and bone meal. These are low quality and can be very difficult to digest. The dog food should be easy to digest, otherwise it’s just going to go out the other end and provide no benefit to your dog. Premium foods have around 80% digestibility and super-premium foods have about 90% or higher. If you are unsure, you can contact to dog food manufacturer.
Beneficial Ingredients
A named meat source should always be the first ingredient followed by healthy grains like rice, oatmeal, and barley. Vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, avocados, and cranberries are showing up in more dog foods. These can be great ingredients, but make sure that the rest of the ingredients check out as well.
Ingredients to Avoid
Avoid beef, wheat, corn and soy as these are common allergens in dogs. Increasingly, chicken is a common allergen, which is unfortunate as it is difficult to find a food or treat without it. However, for dogs that are not allergic; chicken is a lean, easy to digest source of protein. Wheat and corn are bad for dogs as they provide no beneficial nutrients, they just pass through which may make potty training more difficult. Beet pulp (from the sugar beet) is a controversial filler; it is a source of fibre, but can exacerbate existing kidney problems.
Common Manufacturer Tricks
Beware of ‘split’ ingredients. Let’s say that an ingredient list has chicken, brewers rice, whole grain rice, rice and brown rice. Since the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th ingredients are rice, and ingredients are listed by weight, then realistically, rice would be the first ingredient. Since dogs are opportunistic carnivores, they need more meat than anything else.
Be wary of unnamed meat by-products, or meat and bone meal. These ingredients are found in only the lowest quality foods. There is a reason those meats remain unnamed.
Watch out for a meat source that is not followed by a qualifier. For instance; “chicken,” instead of “chicken meal.” Chicken is inclusive of the water content, which makes up 80% of the weight. In order to put the meat in the dry dog food, they must remove the water content, the remaining 20% of the product goes into the food. Instead of being the first ingredient, realistically, it would be one of the last. If this is the only meat source in the food then your dog is not getting enough meat.   
dog food nutrition
Raw Foods and Homemade Diets
Raw foods have been a fad for a while now, it is based on the idea that dogs in the wild do not cook their food. While this is indeed true, most of the meat that domestic dogs eat does not come from a serene forest. It comes from the slaughterhouse. It is wise to cook meat for the same reason that humans eat cooked meat. Raw meat can carry some very dangerous pathogens.
In the wake of the massive food recalls in 2007, many people have found it prudent to make their own dog food. While it is possible to make a healthy meal for your dog, it is very difficult to get all the nutrients that your dog needs in the quantity that they need. Many homemade diets are incomplete and improperly balanced which can cause severe nutritional deficiencies. If you can make him a better diet than vets and nutritionists, more power to you. If you feel the need to make the food yourself, talk to a nutritionist at a local veterinary college about a consultation and analyzation. You may also want to check out AAFCOs official website to purchase their official publication for formulating your own food. 
Raw foods may contain dangerous pathogens which can harm your dog while cooking food can destroy some of the vitamins and nutrients. A high-quality commercial dog food is the best bet. 
Dangerous Foods
  1. Alcoholic Beverages
  2. Avocado
  3. Apple seeds
  4. Apricot pits
  5. Caffeine
  6. Chocolate
  7. Currant
  8. Dairy
  9. Fish Bones
  10. Garlic
  11. Grapes (and raisins)
  12. Macadamia nuts
  13. Mushrooms
  14. Onions
  15. Persimmons
  16. Peach and Plum Pits
  17. Poultry Bones
  18. Raw Eggs
  19. Rhubarb Leaves
  20. Salt
  21. Sugar
  22. Tabasco
  23. Yeast
  24. Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
Foods that are Beneficial for Dogs
  1. Apples
  2. Bananas
  3. Blackberries
  4. Blueberries
  5. Carrots
  6. Cranberries
  7. Cooked Chicken
  8. Cooked Eggs
  9. Cooked Salmon
  10. Flax Seeds
  11. Green beans
  12. Oatmeal
  13. Pumpkin
  14. Strawberries
  15. Yogurt
dog food nutrtion