A Dogs View

 

dog training behaviourA dog’s world is not our world. Despite popular belief, dogs are not furry, four legged children. They are a species completely separate from us. One of the biggest differences is language. As obvious as it sounds, dogs have no language, they have communication, but not language. As humans, we tend to take language for granted. With language, I can think about having dinner at my favorite restaurant. I may not be hungry at this moment, but I was able to anticipate a future need (hunger) and formulate a plan (where to eat). With language I can formulate abstract ideas about life, philosophy, or science. If I read the sentence “The pen is blue.” I have an idea of an object (the pen) and its basic characteristics (the colour blue, its basic pen-like shape, the ability to write stuff). With language I can live in the past, present or future. I can remember (without external stimulation) the time I went hang-gliding. I can feel the wind through my hair, and the freedom that comes from flying with the eagles, I can feel the chill of the atmosphere  at 2,000 feet. Using language, I can communicate those sensations to you. With language, I can dream of the future. I can plan a trip to Brazil and imagine lying on their famous beaches, drinking fancy cocktails in fancier glasses. I have never before drank a cocktail on any beach, but because of language, I can get an idea of what it may be like. I can compare airline prices and find a decent hotel. With language it becomes easy. Without language, we could only live in the present.

Animals have memories, but they are sparked by external stimulation. They can recognize a familiar face and the joy or fear that comes from seeing that face, but they can’t remember that trip you took to Florida last year.
Dogs, and other animals, think in pictures. They are capable of basic emotions (love, anger, jealousy, happiness and grief), but not complex emotions (a love/hate relationship, guilt, embarrassment, shame). Like a human’s brain, a dog’s brain interprets and analyzes information and acts accordingly. Whereas humans use language to help us interpret information, dogs use their senses.
A dogs senses are different from ours.
They can see in darkness much better than we can. They can see at a distance better than us, though we are much better at seeing objects that are closer to us. A dog can spot a person waving at him from 20 yards away, but may miss that treat lying directly in front of him. Dogs are not necessarily colour blind; they can see blues, greys, greens, black, cream and white. By contrast, humans can see over 7 million different colours.
A dog can hear over four times the distance that humans can hear and can hear tones that we can’t distinguish. They have 15 different muscles in their ears and can pinpoint a sound in just a fraction of a second.
With 2 billion smell receptors in their nose, versus 40 million in ours, an average dog can smell over 100,000 times better than we can smell. They use their sense of smell, among other things, as a communication tool. A dog is constantly bombarded with smells. They can smell autism, cancer, menstruating women, age, diet, alcohol intake, fevers and even drugs inside the human body. 
A dog’s sense of taste is not as developed as a human’s, they are capable of tasting sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. A dog’s sense of taste is linked to his sense of smell. A dog will not eat what he can’t smell.
Dogs seem to be tactile like humans. They communicate by touch and most really love to have their bellies rubbed! A dog’s entire body is covered with touch sensitive nerve-endings. A dog can detect subtle changes in air flow and air pressure. This is one of the many reasons a dog can sense ahead of time when a storm is coming. There are many acupressure spots on a dog (their chest, their head, their spine) that when massaged can even calm down an anxious or hyper dog. 
A dogs world is not our world, but we have evolved together throughout the millennia. We train them and all the while they are training us. We learn each others body language and coexist. We depend on each other, as dogs were evolving to adapt to us (their brains grew smaller, their jaws became weaker) we evolved to adapt to them. Our brains also grew smaller, our sense of smell became less defined, our eyesight became weaker. It almost seems as if we evolved to depend on each other. We coexist. This has been true since the beginning of time and will likely continue until the last man or dog dies out. We have formed a partnership, we cooperate with each other and when done right, we’re in perfect sync.

Communication

dogs parks and day camps
The biggest thing that separates humans from animals is language. Not communication mind you, but language. Animals have a pretty complex system of communication and the more complex the pack, the more complex and nuanced the communication. I briefly run down communication here but I want to really expound on it here. Both you and your dog will benefit if you learn his form of communication. Even if you do not have a dog, it is helpful to know what they are thinking and can even save you from harm!
Dogs communicate primarily through body language, sound and touch. 
Postures and movement convey rank, mood and intent. To understand what a dog is thinking or feeling you need to look at her entire body. If you focus on just one body part you could be missing the whole story and the results could be dangerous. 
ethology and psychology dogsLook at the dog’s head: If she is holding her head high then she is interested in her environment, what she smells, hears or sees. Confident dogs hold their heads proud and high. If her head is high and her neck is arched, then not only is she confident, but she is showing off her superior rank to other dogs. (One might compare this to high ranking humans who hold their heads high and puff their chests out.) If her head is high but her neck is cocked, then she is showing her interest and curiosity. If her head and neck are level, her body is crouched and leaning forward and her posture is stiff then she is ready to charge forward. This could be the result of a curious and playful nature, or an aggressive response. 
If her head and neck are level or level but lowered below her shoulder, her body is stiff and she is leaning backward then she is ready to escape. This dog may bite if cornered. 
If her head and neck are level or level and below her shoulders, her head is turned to the side and her cheek is turned up, then she is ready to appease. 
If her head and neck are level or level and below the shoulders and her body is curved so the head and tail are facing the same way  then she is feeling fearful and cornered. This dog may bite if approached.
If the head and nose are down, the nose is tucked towards the chest, eyes are averted, and the dog is crouching slightly, then she is displaying a lack of confidence and a show of submission to those who rank higher. 
Look at the dog’s tail: If a dog is holding the tail high, stiff and unmoving then the dog is assessing his surroundings. He is ready to take on a challenge if the mood calls for it. If the tail is high and has a stiff wag then he is displaying dominance and is ready to fight if necessary. 
If the dog is holding his tail high, wagging it stiffly and in a small arc the dog is willing to engage in friendly play if the other dog is willing to play with him. It may also be a sign of sexual interest if the dog in question has not been altered. 
If the dog is wagging his tail in a relaxed manner and in a wide arc, then he is friendly and enthusiastic. 
If the dog is holding his tail stiff, straight, and horizontal then the dog is assessing the situation, is interested in his surroundings and is ready to engage in chase if the individual he is focused on flees. 
If the tail is horizontal and still then the dog is interested but not really going to chase or move towards other animals or people. 
If the tail is horizontal but the tip is drooping then the dog is assessing the situation, but is unsure of whether to proceed or run. 
If the tail is down, but has a gentle wag to it, then the dog is friendly, but shy or unconfident. 
If the tail is tucked but wagging, then the dog is unconfident, but willing to be petted only if you approach him slowly. He may panic and run if you take things to fast.
If the tail is tucked and still then he is fearful and will run if approached and bite if cornered.
If the dog has tucked his tail, rolled over on his side or his back, (and may or may not urinate) then that dog is making himself the most submissive he can possibly be.
understanding dogs and their behavior
Look at the dog’s ears. If they are perked and facing forward  then she is interested and curious. 
If they are partially lifted facing forward then she is interested, but not enough to approach. 
If the ears are slightly back, but perked, then she is relaxed.
If the ears are lifted halfway and face the side, then she is worried, but also curious. 
If the ears are lowered, either facing the ground or backwards, then the dog is worried and wishes to escape. 
If the ears are lowered and  pinned to the sides of the head, then the dog is terrified, but may be to afraid to run. She will likely bite if approached or cornered. 
Look at the dog’s eyes. If he is staring intently,  and his gaze is hard and unwavering, then he is an overly confident dog and may be aggressive or display a predatory nature. 
If the eyes are averted, then he is submissive and possibly afraid. 
If the eyes dart back and forth from a person or animal than he is afraid or nervous. 
Look at the teeth. Dogs bare their teeth out of fear, predation, play fighting or aggression. If she is showing you a small portion of her teeth then she is warning you what she is capable of. As she becomes more threatening she will expose more teeth. Angry dogs who bare their teeth will also display deep facial folds or wrinkles. A dog who is ready to attack will display wrinkles from the tips of the mouth to well above the nose. 
Do not mistake a dog baring her teeth for what is known as a “doggy” or “canine’ grin. Some dogs will smile in a friendly way or as a greeting, Some dogs will grin when relaxed. A doggy grin is accompanied by relaxed posture and slightly closed eyes. A dog who is smiling will only show relaxed wrinkles around the mouth.
animal shelters and rescuesLook at the fur: When a dog is feeling fearful or aggressive, then he will display piloerection (His hackles along his back will be raised).  This is an evolutionary response to make him appear larger than he actually is. Many dogs who display piloerection are not angry dogs, some are anxious or nervous. Some dogs will do it when they meet other dogs and if he feels their is no threat, he will lower his hackles. 
Look at the posture. Remember what your mama always said; posture is important. If the dog is crouching or skulking near the ground then she is submissive and may be afraid. 
If she is standing tall, stiff, rises on her paws and leans forward then she is confident, curious, and excited. But she may also be aggressive or predatory. 
If she initiates a play bow (front elbows touching the ground, head down and backside up in the air) then she is playful and friendly. Often you will see a play bow preceding play and during play.
If she is on her back, showing her belly, then she is submissive or scared. 

Check Your Ego At The Door

Dogs love unconditionally. They’ve seen you at the lowest points in your life and they’ve been there through the high points. They’ve seen you naked, they’ve heard you sing. They’ve been there throughout accidents, illness and health. When done right, it is a true partnership.
dogs and childrenPeople get dogs for a variety of reasons. Some feel that they need protection, some feel that their family won’t be complete without a dog, some people fall in love with the first furry face they see and just can’t resist. Some people need dogs to be their eyes or ears, some need warning that they’re about to have seizures. Some people get a pitbull or a Rottweiler so they can look “tough,”  or “street.”  Some people get dogs so that they can pit them against each other for sport and profit. Some people get a Yorkie or a Chihuahua to carry around in their purse so they can show off how “High Maintenance” they are.
Regardless of your reasons, the dog rarely has a say in it. Puppies come into this world as blank slates. You will get out of them exactly what you put into them.
I’ve seen huge men walking Chihuahuas and my first thought was “Now there goes a real man.” Conversely, I’ve seen men walking walking huge dogs using prong collars and spiked harnesses and thought how sad it was that men that big can’t control a harmless little dog without resorting to aversive methods. I’ve seen people hit dogs for licking them in the face, I’ve even seen a man hit a dog for whining. There is nothing more pathetic than that.
Dogs are sentient beings, they have feelings and emotions comparable to ours. They are not and should not be status symbols. You want to look tough? Go work out at the gym and get muscles the size of your head. You want to look like a diva? Buy a pink corvette and wear clothes you can’t afford. But leave the animals out of it. They get no say.
I’ve seen people strangle dogs, scream at dogs and kick their dogs because they didn’t obey a command in a timely manner. To those people I ask: Do you do everything right as you’re told to 100% of the time? I know I don’t. Animals are intelligent beings who deserve the same compassion as anybody else. They are not status symbols. They are not here because our ego demands it. If you are so insecure that the only way you can feel like a man is to slap a spiked leather collar on a Great Dane, then you would be better off without the dog. Save the money you would have spent on dog food to go see a shrink and work out your problems. Both you and the dog will be better for it.
I’ve seen people go into debt to provide veterinary care for their dogs.  I’ve seen people go without food so that they could feed their dog. I’ve seen the highs and lows of mankind when it comes to animals. Just remember that that little being beside you depends on you 100%.
There is nothing inherently wrong with spiked collars for decoration. There is nothing wrong with a feminine woman who enjoys small dogs or a big guy who likes big dogs and vice versa. Just make sure that you’re getting the right dog for the right reason. Get a dog whose energy level and personality matches yours, you’ll both be happier and get the most out of your relationship.
how to pet a dog

Sentience

Lay people have acknowledged for hundreds of years that animals have consciousness. We see it when a dog or cat is trying to figure out a new stimulus. We see it when they dream. When a dog sleeps, he may rapidly move his paws, he may whimper, you see his eyes rapidly moving back and forth and we can see that he is in the deep stages of REM. We know that he is dreaming, but we may not know what he is dreaming about. The very fact that he is dreaming proves his sentience. If you have no consciousness, then you can’t dream. 

dominance training

Over the last hundred years or so, science has begun catching up to what most people already knew. Animals are sentient beings. It seems absurd to the average dog owner, but scientists are uncomfortable with the idea of consciousness in animals. If an animal is aware of his surroundings and can feel pain, then blinding him with cosmetics in test studies suddenly seems more cruel. Accepting that animals are conscious beings went against previously held beliefs and conventional wisdom at the time. Realizing that animals are conscious beings meant developing and testing new theories. However, science is now accepting the fact that animals have feelings. According to Dr Jaak Panskepp, a neuroscientist at  Washington State University, animals are capable of these core emotions;

Seeking, Rage, Fear, Panic, Lust, Care and Play.
These “generate well-organized behaviour sequences that can be evoked by localized electrical stimulation of the brain.” Translation; if you stimulate the brain system for one emotion you will always get the same behaviour.
Seeking: According to Panskepp, seeking Is the basic impulse to search, investigate, and make sense of the environment.” Seeking is a combination of curiosity, wanting something really good and anticipating it. Seeking drives a tiger to stalk his prey, it’s the reason ants farm aphids for nectar, it’s why beavers build dams so elaborate that they change northern topography.
Seeking is why humans desire to learn, it is also why we desire shiny objects. We are always looking for something we don’t yet have. Seeking is a very pleasurable emotion, it is tied to anticipation. Sometimes looking forward to getting something is just as good or even better than actually getting it.
Rage: This is a very basic emotion, one that even newborns experience. It occurs when the subcortical area of the brain is stimulated. Frustration is a mild form of rage that is caused by physical or mental restraint. (This is why keeping dogs constantly tethered can be so damaging and even dangerous.)
Fear: Fear is located in the subcortex of the brain, in this lies the amygdala, or fear center of the brain. Animals feel fear when their survival is threatened in one way or another. When the amygdala is damaged, fear is gone. There are reports of wild animals becoming very tame after damaging the amygdala.
Panic: According to Panskepp, panic is related to the social attachment system. It is likely that the panic system evolved from physical pain. Dogs who experience separation anxiety are literally experiencing pain when they fear that their pack will not return.
Lust: Without lust there will be extinction. Lust is sexual desire and is very necessary for species survival. Lust is instinctual and unless an animal has been altered in some way, there is no suppressing this instinct. People who have had intact animals have no doubt noticed the lengths that an animal will go to to fulfill these desires.
Care: Care refers to the maternal love that an animal feels for its young. 
dogs wolves history
Play: Play is located in the subcortex. Science can not yet explain play, though it is thought to be a sign of good welfare. Play is something that the young of most mammals engage in. By playing, animal young are able to practice fighting, food gathering and fornication. Skills that will serve them well into adulthood. Play is something that young animals leave behind when they enter adulthood; with two exceptions: dogs and humans. Humans and dogs are the only animals who continue to play as adults. Dogs are the juvenile forms of wolves. They share much of the same DNA, but never fully grow into adulthood. Humans share much of the same DNA as chimps. Based on that, there is a theory that humans are the juvenile forms of chimpanzees. Humans grew smarter, but never really grew up. While I can not say for sure whether or not this theory is correct, I’m sure it needs much more testing and observation, I find it fascinating nonetheless. 
These core emotions, found in all mammals (including humans) and birds, come from the same systems in the brain. When experts dissect brains or study them in x-rays, it is very difficult to tell the difference between the Hindbrain and Limbic systems of a human’s brain and an animal’s. Humans have a larger, more fully developed neocortex. The neocortex controls higher, consecutive functions. Primates, Dolphins, and possibly elephants have a neocortex, though a humans is larger. The frontal lobe, located in the neocortex, controls reasoning, judgment, problem solving and impulse control. The neocortex is where we differ from most animals. Most animals have a Limbic system of the brain, the Limbic system controls the emotions.
Ian Duncan, professor of Animal Science at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, notes a time line on animal sentience, public and scientific awareness of sentience, and welfare. Starting in the Renaissance among the populace and in the 1800s among scientists and philosophers. Scientific study of sentience lagged in the mid 1900s but picked up again with a vengeance towards the latter part of the century.  It got to the point where some scientists were attributing the same complex emotions in animals from dolphins to butterflies! This led to a negative backlash, where once again, scientists were afraid to mention sentience at all. We are now in a period where it has leveled off again. We recognize that, because of the limbic system, animals and humans are capable of the same basic emotions.
If we understand how animals feel, then we can better understand their needs and how to meet them.  A handful of dedicated researchers have spent years teaching sign language to gorillas and language comprehension to parrots, both with great success. This has opened up a previously unknown world of animal minds. It is really exciting to me to see where this will lead. 
Treaty of Lisbon
On 1 December 2009, European Union members ratified the Treaty of Lisbon, which grants legal status to animals by virtue of sentience. This is huge as it now offers European animals greater standards in welfare. Live animals used for experiments must now be spared pain in every stage from transportation through the experiment and even until the death of the animal. Animals must now be constantly monitored for stress and the environment must meet all the animals needs. Scientists are also looking for more viable non-animal models to test on.
1 December 2009 was a big day for European animals!
dog training behavior problems nutrition history ethology

Made In North America

This Website was Made In North America. 
Made In North AmericaThere has been a lot of concern lately about food coming out of China, and with good reason. Many of the recalls in recent years have involved food imported from Asia, and especially China. Many Americans and Europeans are opting to eschew foreign goods in favour of domestic made products. This is partly to support local economies and largely out of concern for proper quality control. 
Alas, finding food that is 100% China-free is harder than it sounds. Some labels that claim “Made in USA” only mean that they were assembled here, from parts made or grown elsewhere. Legally, for a product to carry the “Made in America” label, the product must be made in America. There are no rules in place regarding the individual parts of a product. If Mary’s Premium Dog Food has a Made in America tag, it only means that it was assembled there. 
The sad news is, that many food ingredients are made in China, especially vitamins. The odds are high that if you buy a product with these vitamins in it, it came from China. China is the largest importer of pet food ingredients in the U.S. 
While I can’t guarantee that a product is 100% made in America with 100% all American made parts, I can provide a helpful list of dog foods and treats that bear the Made in the USA label. Who knows? Maybe if enough people make enough noise we may see some genuine change. Businesses are about profits. If the money trail begins with domestic products, there will be a greater demand for said product and thus a greater supply. One can only hope.
Made In North AmericaAll foods made exclusively with U.S. ingredients except where stated otherwise.
Dog Food
-4 Health Dog Food
-Abady Dog Food Company
-All American Pet Company
-Artemis Holistic Pet Food (All foods from U.S except lamb from New Zealand)
-Aunt Jeni’s
-Azmira Holistic Animal Care Products (All foods from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand and sea meal from Scotland)
-Back to Basics
-Bench and Field
-Blackwood Pet Food (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand)
-Blue Buffalo (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand)
-Blue Seal
-Bone Vivant
-Bravo Raw Diet (Products from U.S. except lamb, venison and beef which are imported from New Zealand and Australia)
-Burns Pet Health
-Canidae
-Canine Caviar (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand)
-Champion Petfoods. Ltd (Made in Canada, except rice from U.S. and lamb from New Zealand)
-Cloud Star
-Dad’s Pet Food
-Diamond Pet Foods (American and Canadian ingredients)
-Dynamite Speciality Products
-Evangers (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand or Australia)
-First Mate Pet Food (All ingredients from U.S. and Canada except lamb from New Zealand)
-Flint River Ranch
-Grandma Lucy’s
-Great Life
-Halo Purely for Pets
-Happy Dog Food
-Healthy Pet Products
-Holistic Blend (Made in Canada except lamb from New Zealand)
-Homestyle Select
-Kirklands Signature Blend (Made in U.S. and Canada)
-Life4K9
-Merrick Pet Foods
-mORIGINS
-Muenster Milling Company (Made in U.S. except flaxseed from Canada)
-Natura Pet Products
-Natures Logic (Some ingredients are from Canada, France, New Zealand and Norway)
-Natures Recipe
-Nutram Pet Products (Made in Canada except lamb from New Zealand and herbs and vitamins from Europe)
-PHD Products (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand)
-Plato Pet Treats (Made in U.S. except some preservatives from Europe and Glucosamine from India)
-Primal Pet Foods (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb and venison from New Zealand)
-ProPac Superpremium Pet Foods (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand or Australia and Flaxseed from Canada)
-Rudy Green’s Doggy Cuisine
-Solid Gold Health Food for Pets (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand and potato protein from Europe)
-Sportmix Pet Food (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand and flaxseed from Canada)
-Steve’s Real Food Inc.
-Three Dog Bakery
-Tuffy’s Pet Food
-VeRUS Pet Foods (All ingredients from U.S. except lamb from New Zealand)
-Wysong
Honourable Mention
-ZiwiPeak, Ltd (All ingredients from New Zealand)
While not made in North America, ZiwiPeak gets a nod for not being made in Asia
Note: All foods listed here comes from research dated 16 May, 2012. All foods listed were made with U.S. ingredients except where mentioned otherwise. Food with negligible ingredients from China did not make this list. However, as stated above, the likelihood of any food being completely free of Chinese ingredients is slim. This list is to merely provide a jumping point for people looking for American made dog food, A Dog’s View does not endorse any product on this list. If you have any questions or concerns about any product listed, please contact your manufacture.

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.
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