- “Adolescent Changes” From Dog Star Daily. No, you’re not losing your mind — the cute puppy who would never leave your side is now blowing you off and stealing from the trash. Learn what to expect, and take heart. A well-behaved adult dog is just around the corner!
- “Surviving Your Puppy’s Adolescence” Trainer Tehani Mosconi provides you with tips and tricks of the trade.
- “How to Calm Your Dog by Playing Tug” Nan Arthur at KarenPryorClickerTraining.com offers a comprehensive look at the game of tug, which many trainers (myself included) agree is a wonderful energy burner for young dogs. Arthur shows you how to choose a good tug toy, rules for play and how to teach a quick, safe release.
- Is Your Dog Ready for Agility Training?” If you’re thinking about agility to keep your young monster occupied, Sarah tosses out questions to ponder before beginning a training program.
- Your adolescent dog and the dog park The Association of Pet Dog Trainers offers three articles geared toward determining whether your local dog park is a good fit for your dog, including “Dog Park Etiquette,” “Pros and Cons of Dog Parks,” and “What Makes a Good Dog Park (PDF).”
- “Safety Tips for Running With Your Dog” A tired dog is more often a good dog. This article from Runtheplanet.com offers a number of health and safety tips for getting your partner into shape.
- “When To Seek Help With Your Dog” Sarah talks about how to tell whether your dog’s behavior is more than just adolescent rowdiness.
Come and support the newly formed Southeastern Ohio Kennel Club this Sunday, Sept. 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East State Street Park in Athens.
The AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Test will be held twice during the event. The cost is $10 per dog.
Featured demonstrations will include agility, obedience, disc and dog bite prevention, and representatives of animal-related organizations will be on hand to talk to owners and their dogs.
Polite, leashed dogs are welcome at the event. For more information and a schedule of activities, visit our SEOKC event page.
Those little balls of fluff are adorable, but life can become miserable without accomplishing at least these five tasks first:
- Buy a crate. A crate is an indispensable tool for house training, as well as keeping your belongings and your puppy safe while you are gone. Crate-training takes a few days if your breeder hasn’t already started it with your new puppy, but most puppies take to it quickly if you are diligent.
- Choose your vet. If you don’t already have a veterinarian for other pets, ask your friends, co-workers or breeder who they recommend. If possible, schedule a “well puppy” visit with your veterinarian for the day after you bring your puppy home. (Most breeders will require the puppy be examined by a vet within 48 to 72 hours of purchase for the health guarantee to be honored.) When shopping for a vet, don’t hesitate to ask about recommended vaccination schedules, costs, restraint methods, and whether the clinic offers any “extras,” such as boarding or microchipping.
- Enroll in a puppy kindergarten class. A training class for puppies aged 8 to 18 weeks is a vital component of your new puppy’s life. These classes will not only get you started on the basics of obedience training and house manners, but should also allow your puppy the opportunity to play with other puppies. This is a must if you plan for your puppy to interact with other dogs throughout its life. Again, ask friends, your vet and breeder for recommendations, and visit the class in advance of enrolling, when possible.
- Prepare the menu. Decide before you bring your puppy home what food you will feed. Kibble, raw, home cooked or frozen — the variety of choices at the moment is astounding, so take some time to research options before selecting a food or feeding method. The solution is to choose an option that meets your puppy’s nutrient requirements, and that you feel good about preparing and feeding.
- Get some toys. What’s life with a puppy without dog toys strewn about the house? Choose sturdy, easy-to-wash toys that appeal to your puppy’s desire to chew. Rope tug toys and “puppy” chew bones are fine, so long as your puppy is only playing with them while supervised. Do not allow a puppy to chew any toy not specifically labeled for chewing (especially rope or cloth toys). Buy enough toys that you can rotate a couple sets in and out of your puppy’s life — they’ll be like new again!
You think you know your dog? See if your dog has been subject to any of these popular canine myths.
Talk to anyone from your next-door neighbor to your cousin who shows dogs, and you’ll hear a variety of interpretations on dogs and dog behavior. Some of the most common myths I hear regarding our canine friends are debunked below.
Myth: Dogs are essentially wolves.
Some dogs may have wolf-like characteristics, but rest assured they are 100 percent domesticated dog.
Because science tells us dogs are direct descendants of wolves, animal behaviorists and dog trainers assumed for a long time that dog and wolf behavior are interchangeable. We now know this is not the case. Biologists now hypothesize dogs are not pack animals, but semi-solitary scavengers, and do not form social hierarchies the same way wolves do.
Using “alpha rolls” or other forceful techniques in an attempt to thwart perceived “dominant” behavior is unecessary, and is often seen by dogs as an act of aggression.
The Monks of New Skete, who popularized the wolf-to-dog culture trend in their book, “How to Be A Dog’s Best Friend,” have since omitted such training suggestions in the book’s revised edition.
Top animal behaviorists, including Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson, Patricia McConnell and Karen Pryor, agree solid leadership is best achieved by controlling the dog’s access to resources without resorting to the use of force.
Myth: Dogs want to please.
This is not entirely untrue. Dogs DO want to please – themselves. Dogs are exceedingly selfish. They do what they do because making us happy means they get more of what they want – attention, food and freedom.
Our mistaken belief in dog altruism is why we are so perplexed when the dog uses a behavior we DON’T like — such as jumping up, barking or digging — to get what it wants.
The good news: You can use this ubiquitous doggie trait to your advantage by controlling the dog’s environment and the consequences of its behavior. For example, if the dog is getting in the trash, you can confine the dog or confine the trash. Or if you’d like the dog not tear the door off its hinges as it goes out, you can request a sit from the dog before opening the door.
Myth: Dog training takes lots of time.
Teaching your dog new tricks takes lots of consistency, and a little time. Breaking bad habits takes more consistency, and a little more time. Every interaction you have with your dog is a training situation. When the dog paws at your leg and you absentmindedly reach down to pet it, you are training. When the dog lies quietly at your feet while you watch TV and you absentmindedly reach down to pet it, you are training.
The key to teaching good habits and breaking bad ones is to not be absentminded around your dog! Be consistent and be aware, and the training will take less time than you think. To borrow from top K-9 trainer Steve White: Remember that training is taking place until either you or the dog achieves room temperature.
Myth: An aggressive dog is a protective dog.
Aggressive dogs, simply put, won’t tell friend from foe. Dogs, in most cases, are much less adept at reading human intentions than we’d like to believe. My dogs bark wildly every time I return home, despite repeated admonishments of, “It’s STILL me!”
An aggressive dog is much more likely to threaten or injure you, your family, neighbors or friends than it is to ward off intruders. If you want a dog for protection, go out and get the biggest, happiest dog you can find, then train it exceedingly well in obedience. Would-be bad guys won’t want to find out what else the dog knows, and you won’t have to worry about the dog misfiring on you, your family, friends and other animals.
Myth: Dogs don’t have feelings.
Well, anyone who’s ever looked into those adorable, deep brown eyes knows this isn’t true. But science is finally catching up to the fact that dogs and other animals, while not expressing the emotional range we recognize in humans, are sentient creatures. The Economist in February reported that new scientific research is beginning to shake tradition to allow for the recognition and documentation of animal emotions. Personality aspects distinctive to dogs were labeled “sociability,” “affection,” “emotional stability” and “competence,” in studies by Samuel Gosling at the University of Texas in Austin.
Dr. Gosling’s conclusions will allow behaviorists to better understand individual animals’ personality differences, while giving dog owners one more reason to refer to their pets as members of the family.