Pulling on the leash

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Pulling on the leash: (How to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash.)

Medium and large breed dogs are often left untrained until they are 6 to 8 months of age or older. During this time of rapid growth and increased strength, whenever the dog was taken for a walk, he/she would enthusiastically pull ahead especially after having been confined for a while.
Dogs pull because of eagerness to explore and exercise, because they naturally walk faster than humans and because they have a natural inclination to pull in the same way as draft animals. If you put a collar around their necks, they will pull as we have often seen huskies pulling sleds. Read the rest of this entry »

Jumping up

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Jumping up is possibly the most common complaint of dog owners.
Human greeting culture consists of shaking hands or bowing. Dogs on the other hand lick and sniff each other and jump up as a submissive greeting. Puppies jump up and lick the corners of adult dog’s mouths to get them to regurgitate food for them to eat. It is instinctive behaviour and the purpose of jumping on humans is also to get at our faces and to get attention.
This jumping up is retained when they join their human pack where, at first, it is regarded as “cute” until it becomes annoying, hurts or spoils our clothes. We allow it when they are small and resent it when they grow up. Read the rest of this entry »


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DIGGING: How to stop your dog from digging holes in your garden.

Digging is a very natural, instinctive and enjoyable activity for dogs. They dig to bury a bone, to escape, to find a cool or warm spot depending on the season or because it is in their genes. A whelping bitch, for example, will dig her own den to protect her pups if she does not have a better, more secluded area.

The ancestors of the modern domestic dog had to dig for survival. They dug to store and find food and to create shelter for themselves and their pups. Later, some breeds such as the terriers were bred to hunt underground prey such as moles, foxes and badgers. Digging is in their blood and if they are bored, digging keeps them busy. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Join A Club?

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Q: Why join a club? 

A: It’s where the trainer gets trained.

New trainers need to learn about the training equipment, how to fit a choke chain correctly, how to hold the leash, footwork, body language, commands and much more.

Obedience training should, amongst others, also teach how to teach the basics, when to click and treat, how to praise or to correct, to be consistent in training and the importance of timing.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Do I Praise My Dog?

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Q: How must I PRAISE my dog? 

A: A very important aspect of training is rewarding good behaviour. It stands to reason that the more times the dog is rewarded the quicker he will learn. That is why we must create situations where the dog can be praised repeatedly for good behaviour.

It is also important to remember to organise training with increasing levels of difficulty so that the dog can be praised. We are also often inclined to notice bad behaviour rather than good behaviour. We do not praise our dog for quietly chewing a hoof or bone, but go berserk when he chews your slipper.  Read the rest of this entry »

“Rescued” Dogs

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There are thousands of animals, mainly dogs, in rescue facilities all over the country desperately wanting and waiting for a loving home and a caring family to adopt them. For many animal lovers, it is the ideal place to find a pet. They look forward to providing the love and affection that these animals may have been deprived of and believe that they will be able to sort out any behavioural problems they may have had in the past.

Why do dogs end up in shelters?
In reasonably well-off societies about 60% of dogs are given up to shelters, because of perceived behavioural problems. Most will make perfectly good pets in sensible caring homes. A small percentage with more serious behaviour problems will take those habits to their new homes and will require dedicated intervention and understanding to reduce and eliminate the problems. There are also some dogs that are re-homed simply because of circumstances, such as when the owners have died or emigrated, divorced or have moved to new homes where dogs are not allowed. Their histories are well known and documented. However, as some owners believe it is best to conceal anything that may reduce their dogs’ chances of being homed, there is no guarantee that any dog is going to be completely problem-free. Read the rest of this entry »

Why A Food Treat?

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Q: Why food treats?

A: Rewarding your dog for good behaviour helps to keep him happy and sharp. Food treats can be a very effective aid in dog training if used responsibly as part of a properly planned obedience programme. This is especially true of puppies. Using food treats work because you do not have to convince a dog that he loves food. Since you control the dog’s food, you become more powerful when it comes to motivating your dog to work for you. The choice is between giving the food for free or make him work for it. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do I Administer A Treat?

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Q: How do I administer the food/treat?

A: When we start to train our dogs we firstly need to train them to pay attention to us. If the dog does not pay attention to you, you cannot train it anything. When a dog is on a leash and is called, it is expected to look at the trainer.
Teaching the dog to accept food, preferably from the mouth or near the mouth, means that you will have the dog’s undivided attention and he will be looking into your face. All new dogs must go through a period of attention getting exercises. The method depends on the breed and age of the dog, but it is ideal for puppy training. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking up a dog fight

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HOW TO BREAK UP A DOG FIGHT (Without getting hurt)

Dog-dog aggression is awful to witness, but it is the way dogs settle their disputes, dominance and whatever.
We do not know why a group of nicely socialised dogs that sees and work next to each other week after week will suddenly go for each other on an occasion. When dogs do not like each other that is the way they behave. It is also not correct to think that females fight less than males. I fact, female on female aggression is possibly more common than we would like to admit. Males and females seldom fight. Read the rest of this entry »

What Are Calming Signals?

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Q: What are Calming Signals? 

A: Although dogs are pack animals that live according to a system of hierarchy and will often try to assert their dominance when given the chance, it is quite obvious that most dogs do not spend the majority of their lives involved in conflict and that even in wolf packs serious fights are rare. In fact, dogs spend most of their time using body language to signal that they are not looking for a challenge, so putting other dogs at ease and maintaining peace within the pack and, if well-socialised, with outsiders as well. By studying how dogs interact freely with one another, it is possible to identify ten clear “calming signals” which dogs use to avoid conflict or placate those around them. Being familiar with these signals can help dog-handlers and owners to know when their dogs are agreeable to something and also when they are feeling stressed or threatened, making training and socializing more effective. Calming signals can also be used by owners and trainers to modify/eliminate unwanted behaviours in their dogs. The ten calming signals are as follows:  Read the rest of this entry »

How To Become Pack Leader?

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Adding A Dog

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The worst way to introduce two dogs is head to head in a small space.” Gwen Bailey

It is not uncommon for families to decide to get a companion for their dog to play with while they are away at work and the children are at school. Very often they are able to add the newcomer to the family with relative ease and since they experienced very few problems in the process, may end up with a multi-dog household. However, not all additions to a canine family are trouble free because dogs have their own clear-cut rules about an ideal companion for them and inexperienced owners may not have given enough thought to the selection of the new dog. It may be fine with the other dog/s but may hate cats or may not be sure of children. We may regard the dog as “part of my family,” but it must be remembered that by bringing the dog into your home, you allowed him to join your “pack.” Read the rest of this entry »

Car Sickness / Nervousness

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House Training Adult Dogs

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(See PUPPY for house-training puppies)                             

In the excitement of bringing home a new dog, things like house-training are often far from our minds, however, the very first thing that we should do when our your new dog or puppy arrives at your home, is to show him the toilet area that must be used, because he will have no idea where it is allowed to relieve himself. We must make sure that we show the dog in such a way that he can understand and you certainly do not want to spoil the first days by having to reprimand him for making a mistake. Read the rest of this entry »

Cats & Dogs

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Cats & Dogs

When one has dogs and cats one wants them to live together calmly – even if they don’t want to be friends. Keeping them apart is no solution because you will have to do it all the time and sooner or later someone is going to leave a door open and then you may have serious problems. Dogs can kill cats very easily, even if they are only playing. One shake is enough to break a cat’s neck.

Bringing them together, however, can be quite difficult. If the dog or the cat or both are young it usually is a lot easier than with an older dog or cat.
It must be remembered that puppies are babies and are very curious about cats and will want to get as close to them as possible. Chasing cats for them is a fun thing and is very natural for all dogs because their prey drive (instinct to chase and catch) is triggered by movement. While the cat is sitting still the dog may ignore her, but in motion, she becomes something quite different and exciting and the dog will obey his ancient instinct without thinking. Dogs usually want to chase and play with cats, and cats usually become afraid and want to run away. Kittens are especially vulnerable because they are so much smaller, curious and trusting. We need to provide a better alternative to chasing cats otherwise the dog will simply continue doing so.
Once a dog has experienced the thrill of a “kill,” especially in a pack, he is very likely to do it again.

When introducing a dog that has previously chased cats into a home where an adult cat is the resident, the dog must and can be taught fairly quickly to tolerate cats, but only if the owners are willing and patient and consistent in their training.

Firstly, you will have better control of your dog if you have taken him to obedience classes. Otherwise, you need to start obedience training as soon as possible. He should be able to reliably perform “Sit”, “Down”, “Stay” and “Leave it.”

Secondly, cats’ lives are never the same after the arrival of dogs, so their living arrangements must be changed for a while (at least weeks if not months). Their food and litter trays must be up and out of the way so that they have “safe” places to go to. The cats must have free reign of the house and the dog and cats must not see each other for a few days. Do not be tempted to “stage” a meeting! The dog should be supervised at all times until they meet. Above all avoid fearful and aggressive meetings. The longer the problem continues, the longer it will take to resolve. Punishment will only make matters worse.

Stroke the cats and then let the dog smell and lick your hands and then go to the cats and let them smell your hands. Take a blanket or towel that the cats slept on and let the dog smell it. Likewise take a dog’s toy or blanket to the cats to smell.

Later take the dog into a room where the cats have been. Let someone look after him and play with him for 20-30 min.. Bring the cats to sniff under the door. Do not force them to stay if they want to run away. Let the dog out and after a while, encourage the cats back into the room where the dog had been. Play with the cats for a while. This switch allows them to experience each other’s scent without a face-to-face meeting.

If possible, wrap a cat in a blanket and hold her against your chest so that she looks over your shoulder and cannot see the dog. Now, without the cat realising it, you may be able to get close enough for the dog to sniff the cat’s tail (this is something the dog wants to do quite badly) and at the same time the dog must see that you are one with the cat.

Now, far away from the cats, you do a “crash course” (about 10 times a day) on “Leave it!” Take a tasty tidbit between your fingers and sit down near the dog while holding it about the height of the dog’s head. Play with the food so that he can see it. As soon as the dog tries to get it, close the food in your fist and firmly say, “Leave it!” (This is my bone). The dog is likely to ignore you, lick your fist or even nibble at it, so you stare at him and repeat, “Leave it!” When the dog realises that you are not going to release the food and backs off, open your hand and say, “Take it.” (It usually takes up to four attempts from the dog to get at the food before he realises that you mean business.) Repeat as often as needed until the dog understands what “Leave it!” and “Take it” means. What you are aiming to achieve is for the dog to immediately back off when he hears, “Leave it!

When you are confident that the dog understands the “Leave it!” command, play with the dog and let someone bring a cat some distance away. Have treats and draw the dog’s attention away from the cat. The moment the dog notices and “stares” at the cat, you MUST act and say, “Leave it!” or “Watch me!” and distract with a tidbit. Instead of chasing the cat, the dog must realise that nice things happen around you when he sees a cat. Love and praise the dog when he obeys you.

Feeding can next take place on the opposite sides of the door. This may have to be a gradual process in which you gradually bring the food closer to the door.
When they are comfortable eating while exposed to each other’s scent, a face-to-face meeting can be attempted at feeding time. At first, they are fed on opposite sides of the room.

The cats must be high up and the dog on the floor and on lead, held by you. As soon as the dog has finished eating he must leave the room. After a few days he can be allowed to stay, but in a “Down” position. The cat can now be distracted with some food or catnip in order to relax and forget about the dog. Repeat this step several times until the both the cat and the dog tolerate each other’s presence without fear. By coming together to eat they begin to develop a social habit that bonds them together.
Avoid punishing the dog while the cat is near. It simply teaches the dog not to chase cats when you are near. You want them to become friends and not resent each other.

Always consider the safety of your cats! When I built my barbeque area I included an escape door or “Cat’s crossing” for them.

Other helpful ideas:

A Basic Obedience class will help you to get better control of your dog in establishing yourself as a leader to be respected.

By tying the lead of the dog to your waist you can ensure that while you are walking about, that the dog cannot chase a cat and the cats can see that they are not being threatened by the dog. When the dog thinks of sniffing the cat you say, “Leave it!”
Making use of a drag line when outside can prevent the dog from molesting the cat when he is not very close to you.

Separating the dogs and cats by means of a glass sliding door can be very effective. They can see each other, come very close to each other and even smell each other. With the feral kittens that we are at present fostering for TEARS, the rescue organisation, it has worked very well. The dogs, Coyote and Juno, have been able to see us play with the kittens and that they are additions to the family. This, however, does not apply to Minette or Sparky, two of our resident cats who are not yet ready to make friends. Felix does not seem to mind them at all.

Remember to give your cats extra attention during the period of introduction. Talk to them a lot and fish out their favourite food.

Separation Anxiety

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Sound Sensitive Dogs

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Pulling on the Leash

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Jumping Up

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By admin Posted in Problems / Comments Off on Digging

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