How owners inadvertently create aggressive puppies.
In a world inundated with certain TV famous trainers and the alpha roll/dominance theory still plaguing our lives, it is no wonder the number of aggressive dogs has sky rocketed.
People bring home their new puppy They are so excited and happy and in love. They read the book, the watched the show. They know what they need to do to make sure they are a responsible pet parents and they are excellent students.
But puppies do puppy things. They chew your shoes, find your socks to play with, and have accidents on the area rug. The ever so diligent student and owner grabs the scruff of their puppies neck and flips them onto their side and effectively "Alpha Rolls" their dog while sternly telling it NO. Their dog cowers giving "submissive" body language and that's exactly what the owner has been taught is the right response. They are the "Alpha" over their dog. They are the boss and their dog now understands it. This continues for every regression as the dog grows. As the dog gets bigger the owner uses more weight to roll them and essentially bullies their dog into "submission". That is until their dogs brain transitions into an adult brain and the dog decides to say NO. The owner rolls their dog for misbehaving and their dog growls back. The owner is shocked and offended by their dogs actions to try to "dominate" them by growling. They yell and roll and perhaps even smack at their dog. proving they are dominant over their dog.
Now many of you may be reading this and thinking, Yes, that is what should be done. But Fear causes aggression. Even though the very scientists who studied wolves and came up with the Dominance Theory (including David Mech) openly stated their findings proved their hypothesis wrong. Even though The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, and countless other Professional Animal Behavior Experts have proven this to not be correct time and time again. It really took 1 book and 1 Tv series to give false information to billions of people globally. To "Dominate" your dog you have to instill fear. Not respect. Fear causes a dog to feel threatened and growl, bark, lunge, and bite.
Many owners will continue down the path with a trainer who believes in these outdated methods and either get rid of their dog because there is something wrong with it, or they will turn off all normal and natural warning signs and end up with a dog who bites "unprovoked". Training is such an unregulated industry that anyone can say they are a trainer but may not have an actual clue about animal behavior or canine learning theory.
There are so many other useful and humane methods to stopping behavior issues that never require fear intimidation pain or bullying. The number of dogs I work with due to biting and fear behaviors is astronomical. It is amazing what a good advertising and a man in the television can do when owners think this is a true animal professional.
Make sure you do your research and do not buy into the gimmicks of "dominance". In truth your dog wants to be a part of your family to love, trust, and protect you. But they do not want to stage a coux and dethrone you as the leader of your home.
In 2015 the Dog Flu became an epidemic. Spreading across continental North America like a wild fire. Now we all realize that the media will blow things out of proportion if it means it will increase viewers or readership. But how concerned do you need to be about the Canine Flu and your dog? Should you vaccinate? How is it spread? Is it still a threat?
Canine Flu (H3N2 and H3N8) is prevalent in the US. It is a highly contagious virus that is similar in symptoms to an upper respiratory infection. This is also contagious to cats. H3N8 was first detected in 2004 and was a strain that evolved from an equine flu and in Florida. H3N2 was first detected in March 2015 after dogs were rescued from North Korea and brought to the Chicago area.
Both viruses have had their chances to spread causing an "epidemic", meaning 10 or more cases in one area, in multiple areas in multiple states such as Indiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri and Louisiana.
Symptoms of Canine Flu are similar to that of an upper respiratory infection and when caught and treated early have a very good prognosis.
"H3N8 has an incubation period of 1 to 5 days, with clinical signs in most cases appearing 2 to 3 days after exposure. Dogs infected with H3N2 may start showing respiratory signs between 2 and 8 days after infection. Dogs are most contagious during the incubation period and shed the virus even though they are not showing clinical signs of illness. Some dogs may show no signs of illness, but have a subclinical infection and shed the virus.(AVMA)"
The virus can remain on surfaces for 24 hours. So ensuring proper disinfection procedures at your dogs daycare, training center, and in your home are very important.
Staying away from public dog parks that are not monitoring dogs vaccinations and health prior to entering are also excellent ways to avoid contamination.
While a Canine Influenza vaccination is available it is considerably expensive averaging 100.00 or more per injection and it is a multiseries injection. Similar to the human flu shot the canine flu shot has not been noted to have much efficacy in dogs it was administered to.
Many victims of the Canine Flu were older dogs, ill dogs ,or puppies, with compromised immune systems that allowed them to be over taken by the virus. With relatively few victims the canine flu is not really something you need to be concerned about.
But ensuring your dog is checked regularly so you notice changes in behavior and if an illness occurs are huge and your first step toward making sure your pet stays healthy.
Sources for information:
Dogs Naturally Magazine
When it comes to choosing a reward for training most, if not all, of my students know I am all for using Kibble. However, there comes a point when your dog is learning something difficult and they need that treat "value" amped up.
We as humans work for our paychecks. If we work 40+ hours of backbreaking work and only get paid minimum wage we are probably not going to feel the love. But if we get a raise, even by 40 cents for doing a good job and not having more responsibilities added we will feel emotionally satisfied.
However, if we as humans get paid minimum wage for back breaking work, and never get a raise and then are asked to do even more week we are probably going to look for work elsewhere.
By that same token, if we are doing 40+ hours a week of back breaking work, we get paid 15.00 an hour, overtime, PTO, benefits, and get a raise based on evaluations every year we are apt to work harder for this employer because we feel valued.
While dogs do not have the same emotional response to their training as we would to say a job, a dog who is having issues with walking on a loose leash needs a better reinforcement than their kibble. So for this we may use something like a nice tasty hot dog, or some pieces of boiled chicken breast.
When this reward is offered for doing the proper action of walking on the leash without pulling, it is new, tasty, and something they do not get. So the value of that treat is much higher than a kibble and the dog wants to earn that reward. So the reward of the hot dog is something that holds higher value to the dog than the kibble. It then becomes a functioning reward for that dog.
The same exact situation with a dog who does not like food or toys but prefers attention from the human can be recreated. A simple good job as verbal praise from the owner is used routinely but an ear scratch and excited praise may be used to teach the dog to do the same loose leash walking exercise easily now that you have amped up the value of the reward.
To hve a functional reward it needs to be something the dog wants to receive and is very excited to receive. Not just what we want to give the dog.
Continuing on the path of +R training we also want to note that if you are constantly having to lure your dog with a treat you are not training properly. While a lure may be used when teaching something the first few times you want to only reward when the behaviors have been given without food being directly present. Otherwise you have conditioned the response only to the presence of food and not to the actual behavior being asked.
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BAD DOG You Went Potty On The Floor, AGAIN!!!!!! Part 1
Does this sound familiar? Its actually one of the MOST common training issues I am presented with and yet, the easiest to remedy. First lets start with the basics of timing.
What is timing? Timing is the amount of time your dog can hold his urination or bowel movements at any given time. It is also the amount of time your dog can go after eating a meal before she needs to relieve herself.
The math (yes there is math required- but I promise you can do it) for this is to take your dogs age in months and add 1. Ex: 4 month old puppy (4+1=5) the most they can hold their potty needs for is 5 hours.
Meals- Your puppy will need to be relieved within 1 minute to 30 minutes of finishing their meal.
As an added note when puppies are playing and running around they are making that little digestive system of theirs work overtime and usually end up having accidents. It is not uncommon for a puppy to just stop in the middle of play with no warning and go. This is because they haven’t developed bladder control or control of their bowels.
When potty training there are three methods you can use:
Potty Pads (also known as paper training but do not use paper its not only unsanitary it actually teaches the dog to pee on newspaper, school work, etc)
Crate Training (should be no bigger than allows for the dog to comfortably walk in, stand up, turn around, and lay down)
Litter Box (yes like a kitty)
You need to choose the method that works best for your dog and your lifestyle.
Before I go too indepth into the details of the methods I want to cover clean ups and alerts.
Dogs alert you in many ways that they need to be relieved. They will stop, start sniffing, walking in circles, or start lowering their rear end. When you see any of these you need to instantly swoop up your pup and take them outside. Keep paper towels strategically placed around your home to hold against puppy in case they start to have an accident continue to pick them up and take them outside.
Be consistent take your dog through the same door to the same place each time. Reward with praise and a treat after the potty has started. Remain soft spoken. Do not tell your dog to Go Potty x ? # of times before they start to go. Say it once and then wait it out silently. This is best started on a leash so you can keep your dog in the space you want them to go potty in.
NEVER and I repeat NEVER Yell At, Spank, Hit, or Swat your dog! NEVER and I repeat never rub your dogs nose in their urine or feces.
Here is WHY: An old school thought of training was if you did these things your dog would stop going in the house. The Facts behind it are as follows:
It builds distrust of you
It teaches your dog you equal pain
It causes your dog to hide from you when they potty so you cant reward properly let alone effectively keep your house clean from urine and feces
>>and NOTE if you have already done this and Your dog is hiding to go- This is NOT your dogs fault! It is YOUR fault. It is now YOUR job to mend those bridges and start fresh with your dog. Rebuild trust and start potty training properly. <<
For accidents AKA THE CLEANUP-
Many people utilize Bleach or Vinegar to clean accidents:
Bleach is very harsh breathing wise and contact wise and when mixed with ammonia (what is excreted in urine) is toxic to pets and humans.
Vinegar is used as a deterrent or repellent. While its a great cleaner its not recommended for use in areas where you want your pet.
or for tile/non colour treated areas- hydrogen peroxide.
These products dissolve the urine enzyme that dogs find and think Oh hey this is a potty area. Using water only just spreads it, using regular cleaners doesn’t dissolve the enzymes.
The other key to know is that if you see a urine spot on the carpet its actually 3-5 times larger under the carpet as there are 3 layers to your carpet - minimum.
*secondary insulator (not always present)
Another way to keep your eye on your dog is to umbilical tether them. Hook the leash to your waist. If you can not supervise them they need a safe zone. A place where if an accident happens its easy to clean up.
Now we have learned about the foundations of potty training. This week were going to touch on the specifics of 1 of the 3 main types of potty training. Potty Pads or Paper Training.
Paper Training- This is usually the most common form of potty training and can actually be combined with crate training. To effectively paper train your dog you need the following items:
-Absorbent Potty Pads (Never newspapers)
-A playpen 6" taller than your puppy when they stand on their back legs OR a baby-gate or two.
You start with a small space at a time. food water, bed, and toys go on one side. The pads go on the opposite side. Dogs do not like to potty near their food or bed aka their “den”.
When out and about in the house potty pads should be centrally located and your dog should never be left unsupervised. If you notice circling or the start of a squat pick your pup up and place them on the pad. It does take a decent amount of consistency. If your puppy tries to pick up and play with the pad tape the edges down with masking tape. When your puppy goes on the pad give lots of praise and a treat.
Make sure to change the pads once they have been used. Scented v unscented doesn’t really matter as the “scenting” is usually quite limited. Realize that depending on the size of your dog you may need to make a square of up to 4 large pads.
Make sure to clean any accidents as previously discussed. and follow us on facebook www.facbook.com/coachellavalleydogclub
So many people have requested this help. So in addition to our previous discussions we will now discuss crate training. When we crate train it is never used as a punishment we never want our dogs to feel negatively about the crate. We have to build a positive association for it to become their personal safe space.
Leave the gate open lure them in with a treat. Once they are walking in and out you then close the gate for 30 seconds and then open it and treat and reward your dog. Make it a fun game for them.
Many people have concerns about using a crate for instance when they start using the crate their puppy may cry out loud and that’s okay because this is totally normal. What you want to do is encourage your dog to self soothe and not accidently reward them by letting them out of the crate when they are actively crying because you are inadvertently telling them that crying gets them what they want, to be out, and to have attention. Which will make the duration of the cries longer. Wait until they are quiet for 15 seconds before you let them out of the crate. The crate should stay in your room where they will sleep when they are older. And if you spend a great deal of time in the living room it would be beneficial to have a second one out there or a safe zone as I will discuss in a bit.
Dogs do sleep together if you look around your home you will see dogs snoozing or laying near each other and in the vicinity of you so keeping your dog in a crate in another room is not the kindest thing to do to a dog. What we want to use the crate for is to teach our dogs to not go potty in the house. But we also want to make sure we teach our dogs not to eliminate in the crate by following a general timing rule and ensuring the crate is the appropriate size. Granted if you have a growing puppy you will want a crate that is large enough for them as a full grown dog but one that comes with a divider panel so you can make the space smaller or larger as your dog grows.
The crate should only be tall enough for your dog to comfortably walk in standing and lay down comfortably. Any larger and they may eliminate in their crate. Any smaller and the space is too small for them ergonomically but can also cause anxiety and tension. I prefer wire collapsible crates that the dog can see and have total airflow through. I do not like fabric crates or plastic crates for anything but travel.
Make sure you do not leave toys they can chew or eat and choke on when you are not there to supervise them.
SAFE ZONES: To make a safe zone you will need either a baby gate or a puppy playpen and to section off a space of the house so that on one side you have potty pads and opposite to the potty pads you have their water bowl, bed, and safe toys etc. You can tape down the potty pads and line the edges with no chew spray to prevent your puppy or dog from turning them into a chew toy.
These spaces are used when you cant watch your dog like a hawk, or when you are leaving for longer periods of time and you are having someone take your pup out but not before their bodies would need water and to have to eliminate.
Unlike a crate where we leave no food or water, we leave food and water in a safe zone.
Age of dog in months = Maximum hours they can hold potty
2months = 3 hours
3 months = 4 hours
4 months = 5 hours
5 months = 6 hours
6months and older 7 maximum hours
When you force a dog to hold their potty longer than the maximum time you run the risk of:
Urinary Tract Infections
As you can see it is not a small issue if a dog is left in a crate for a longer period of time, it is a big deal. Use a safe zone or have a friend, neighbor, pet sitter, or dog walker take them out to go potty.
As always make sure you never reprimand for accidents, use a pet safe disinfectant, and clean your pup immediately. Take your dog out the same door to the same potty spot each time, reward for eliminating in the proper area and do not engage in play until after they have eliminated. This may take 10 to 15 minutes.
TROUBLE SHOOTING: if you adopt a dog and they eliminate on themselves and this happens over and over this is usually something that someone else taught them and you are now tasked with fixing it. Take them out every hour and reward outside. Make a fake potty area as we previously discussed and with time you will get them through it. It is common and usually between the ages of 9 and 11 months. This is similar in children who have neglectful parents that allow them to sit in filthy diapers and pullups. The child learns to not cry as their sounds of distress are met with silence. Someone else broke this for your dog and with love and patience you will repair this.
If your dog wakes in the middle of the night to go out lets say, at 2am, then it becomes every night at 2am. We can cover their crate with a blanket so they can still hear and smell us but not see us. Then wait until 2:15 or 2:30, at 2:15 or 2:30 take your pup out. Do this nightly. Push back by 15 to 30 min and within a few weeks you will be “sleep” training your pup to stay asleep and through doing such teaching them to hold potty as natural as possible so they wake up and eliminate when you take them outside and you return to a normal nights sleep.
Certified Dog Trainer, Certified Behavior Consultant, Mother of an Amazing Autistic Child, and to several Wonderful Dogs, Horses, and a Cat named Einstein.