Behavior & Training

Dog Training for Beginners – How to have the perfect training session!

Hey there!

Here’s another post on dog training for beginners. Dog training can be a long and hard process, especially when you’re working with an older dog who has been taught wrong manners or hasn’t been trained at all. This post is mostly addressed to people who have rescued or bought an older dog and are beginning the process of teaching their pooch some manners.  This post isn’t on teaching actual command or tricks but shows you how to have an easier and more effective training session!

Set rules and boundaries! If you want to have rules remember to set them from the start! Since you don’t want your pooch sitting on the couch, never let him on it. Dogs don’t understand maybe or sometimes. They can either do something always or never, otherwise, they don’t obey your commands. You have to be very strict about following the set rules and never let those big, beautiful eyes fool you 🙂

The timing is key! We all know when to correct our dog but we often forget to praise when he is doing something right. Be sure to remember to praise your pup right after it is corrected. The correction and praise should be impeccable!

Be the leader! You should always be firm. Tell your dog what to do, don’t ask him if he’s feeling like doing it at the moment. If he’s not up for it then show him what you want and tell him once again. Remember, being firm doesn’t mean being rude or aggressive.

Remember to praise! We as dog owners, often focus on correcting our pup and often forget to praise him while he’s doing something good. It’s really important to build a close connection with your dog. It’s really easy to get frustrated with your dog and hard to remember to praise him! This is an observation made by numerous dog trainers. When you’re having trouble with your dog coming back to you, don’t get angry. Instead of being frustrated, praise him once he actually does what you’re asking for. If your do is quietly lying on the floor and chewing a bone or toy, be sure to tell him what a good dog he is!

Stay fair and take it slow! Be fair to your dog. If you’re expecting him to learn a trick or command, show him what you want and help him understand. Once you’re sure that you and your pup are on the same page, begin training! If you see that training isn’t bringing any progress try again. Remember to take things slow, a fast and intensive pace won’t help you with training. Everything takes time so be patient and know that you may need to re-teach some things if you go too fast!

 

Pet music

Relax and Calm Your Animal

Hey, guys!

We’ve released a new album called Relax and Calm Down Your Animal Companion (Calming Music & Nature Sounds for Dogs and Cats, Pet Therapy Ambient). It’s made up of 30 tracks which are meant to calm and relax your pets. These songs are perfect for relieving stress and preparing your pet to sleep through the night. Be sure to listen to the album on Spotify and if you enjoy it, be sure to download!

Calming Music for Your Pet - Anxiety Relief

You can also buy it on iTunes and on the others online stores:

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#BreedIntroduction

Breed Introduction – Great Dane

Hello, friends!

Today I would like to start a series called “Breed Introduction” where each post will allow you to meet a different breed. Many of us like certain breeds based on their appearance but aren’t sure if they are the right dog for us. These posts should help you find the perfect dog for your family. Today we’ll be introducing the Great Dane which is my personal favorite.

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The Great Dane is one of the biggest breeds in the world, adult males weigh up to 90 kilograms! That’s more than a typical grown man! Of course, not all great danes are as heavy, females weigh between 45-60 kg and males from 55-99kg. Their height ranges between 70 and 90cm and their life span usually reaches 10 years. Sadly these amazing creatures are prone to gastric torsion, hip dysplasia, and rheumatism based on their anatomy, which means we might have to run to the ER and hope for the best.

Great Danes are also known as the Apollo of Dogs and Gentle Giants. The German name of the breed is Deutsche Dogge or German Mastiff. Just like their nickname says, they are gentle dogs often seeking physical affection with their owners. They’re usually good with other dogs, families and other noncanine pets.  However, if not properly socialized, a Great Dane may become fearful or aggressive towards new stimuli, such as strangers and new environments. It’s best to train with an expert from the early stages to eliminate unwanted behaviors in the future.

The next thing you should now is the variety of coats!

Fawn and brindle

  • Fawn: The color is yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows and may appear on the ears.
  • Brindle: The color is fawn and black in a chevron stripe pattern. Often, also, they are referred to as having a stripe pattern.
  • Harlequin and black
    • Black: The color is a glossy black. White markings on the chest and toes are not desirable and considered faults.
    • Harlequin: The base color is pure white with black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body; a pure white neck is preferred. The black patches should never be large enough to give the appearance of a blanket, nor so small as to give a stippled or dappled effect. Eligible, but less desirable, are a few small gray patches (this gray is consistent with a merle marking) or a white base with single black hairs showing through, which tend to give a salt and pepper or dirty effect.
      Gray merle (Grautiger) dogs are acceptable in conformation shows under the FCI as the gray merle dogs can produce correctly marked black/white harlequin dogs, depending on the combinations. The aim for deleting the colour gray merle as a disqualifying fault is to provide a wider gene pool. Their status is that they are “neither desirable nor to be disqualified”.Consequently, this color must never obtain the highest grading at dog shows.
    • Mantle – The color is black and white with a solid black blanket extending over the body; black skull with white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole white collar preferred; a white chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs; white tipped black tail. A small white marking in the black blanket is acceptable, as is a break in the white collar.
  • Blue: The color is a pure steel blue. White markings on the chest and toes are not desirable and considered faults.

Other colors occur occasionally, but are not acceptable for conformation showing, and they are not pursued by breeders who intend to breed show dogs. These colors include white, fawnequin, brindlequin, merle, merlequin, blue merle, chocolate and fawn mantle. The white Great Dane coloring is typically associated with vision and hearing impairment.
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It’s easy to tell that these huge teddy bears aren’t cheap pets. Maintaining a healthy diet tends to be expensive based on the ammount of food they eat. They need a normal amount of exercise and plenty of love from their owners!

I hope this post helped you learn a little bit about the breed! What dog should we talk about next?

pobrane

all photos found via Google Images
Behavior & Training

Dog’s vision

Continuing with the curiosity of dog’s world, today we are going to talk about dog’s vision.
I think all people, at least once in their life, ask themselves: “Can the dog see?” and “Can the dog see the colors or only black and white?” and again “Which colors can dogs see?”… In this post, we will try to answer these questions and will focus on other aspects regarding dog’s vision. We can start!

Movement vs Detail

Dog’s eyes are more sensitive to the movement than to the detail. In fact, the dog sees up close in a very blurry way. To see the details of an object, the dog has to be at least 50 inches from it. All this has been proved thanks to a test: if the dog owner stands 300 yards away, probably the dog can’t see him, but if the dog owner is on the move, the dog can see him even up to 2 kilometers far. Don’t forget, the dog was born to hunt, so seeing objects on the move is maybe the most important feature of his vision.

Colors or Black and White

Dog’s eyes structure is very different from human’s eyes structure, so that makes the difference in the perception of colors. Dog’s eye has more retinal rod than cone cell, compared to human’s eye. Retinal rod permits to see black and white also in low light. While cone cell permits to recognize the colors even if they don’t appear significantly in dog’s vision. In fact, the dogs can’t see as many colors as humans. Green and red are seen as yellow tones but they can see blue and violet very well.

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Field of vision

Dog’s field of vision is more or less 240°, with a binocular visual zone of 80° and two monocular visual lateral zones of 80°. It all depends on the dog’s breed, based on his anatomy.

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All images via Google
Behavior & Training

Does the dog have memory?

Does the dog have memory? Maybe the behavior and the memory of dogs are considered the most inquiring things to know about our four-legged companion. Specifically, a lot of studies had been focused on the ability of the dog to memorize objects and actions useful to do a specific task. That’s not all, the latest studies show that the dog can elaborate strategy to solve a problem and he will learn thanks to imitating. I’m going to explain more in this post.

Dog’s memory: a feature for every situation
Short-term memory: used to remember actions that have happened right now. Our friend can forget all he has memorized once he finished doing the action. The dog uses this type of memory for successive actions: to take the ball and to put it in the dog basket, etc.
Long-term memory: consisting of all his life’s experience and sensation regarding mostly information taken during the adolescence (until 3-4 months). All these experiences remain pressed on the mind of our dog friend and help him to recognize dangerous situations to prevent them. Note that the dog, as the human, never stops to learn but, while growing and getting old he may need to experience more repetition to learn the action.
Procedural memory: used to do complicated actions (to find the way to come back home, to sneak an object through a crack). The process comes thanks to a map in the dog’s mind that can be adapted for any type of context.

Dog and memory: how to act                                                                                                            

So, dogs also have memory, and any experiences leave a trace on their mind. They can be positive experiences as cuddles and food but also negative experiences that probably will stay in his mind forever.
So… Pay attention when you interact with your four-legged companion… He has memory!!!

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Behavior & Training

Separation Anxiety

Hi again!

Since we’ve started to talk about behavior problem in the last post, I’d like to continue the topic and talk about separation anxiety. This is a major behavioral problem which touches many dog owners.

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  • What is separation anxiety? What causes it?

    Separation anxiety is when dogs become triggered by being left alone. They are often afraid of being left by their pet parents or people they are attached to. Some pets may also show signs of anxiety when their owners are preparing to walk out the door. Many dogs start barking seconds after being left alone and often show distress behavior within a short period of time. These behaviors can often lead to self-harm and household destruction.

  • Common symptoms
    – 
    Urinating and Defecating
    – Barking and Loud Howling
    – Chewing, Digging and Destruction
    – Escaping
    – Pacing
    – Coprophagia – some dogs defecate and then consume their excrement

  • Treating separation anxiety

    First of all, be sure to visit your vet and make sure that your dog is healthy. Once you’ve done a check up, you can try to begin treating your pet’s anxiety problems. I would recommend meeting with a specialist but you can it’s not necessary.

    “If your dog has a mild case of separation anxiety, counterconditioning might reduce or resolve the problem. Counterconditioning is a treatment process that changes an animal’s fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one instead. It’s done by associating the sight or presence of a feared or disliked person, animal, place, object or situation with something really good, something the dog loves. Over time, the dog learns that whatever he fears actually predicts good things for him. For dogs with separation anxiety, counterconditioning focuses on developing an association between being alone and good things, like delicious food. To develop this kind of association, every time you leave the house, you can offer your dog a puzzle toy stuffed with food that will take him at least 20 to 30 minutes to finish.” – ASPCA

    If your dog has a severe case of separation anxiety, it requires a more complex desensitization and counterconditioning program. I would recommend trying the counterconditioning program with the help of a specialist. We often do not understand all the signals that our pet is sending and may need someone, who can help us meet their needs. I would also try the “Crate Method” which requires you to teach your dog that the crate is it’s “safe place”. Crate training does not suit all dogs. You should definitely monitor your pup while being at home and be sure that it doesn’t show any signs of stress while being in the crate. Exercise and aerobics are also great for helping your pet relax. Be sure to take him for an intense walk, run or swim before leaving him alone. Your dog will come back tired and probably want to rest for a while. Play some relaxing music for pets and allow your beloved friend to relax and calm down after a physical effort. You can also read through the ASPCA article linked above for more tips given to you by professionals.

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Behavior & Training

Dogs – Aggressive Behavior

Hello,

Many dog owners experience behavior problems based on aggression. Although many people think that these unexpected attacks aren’t based on the current situation, there are many occasions that cause unwanted behaviors.

Black dog face
Male Doberman

Let’s learn about aggression.

1. What is it and what is it caused by?

Aggressive behaviors occur in various situations. Dogs are usually protecting their territory, defending their offspring or protecting themselves. Aggression is based on a wide range of behaviors which usually begin with a warning and can cumulate into an attack.

2. Do dogs warn us before attacking?

Many of our pets warn us before attacking. Here is the course of the attack beginning with warnings and ending with painful wounds.

WARNINGS
– becoming very still and stressed
– lunging forward or charging at the target
– losing contact with the owner
– growling
– showing teeth
– snarling
– snaps

ATTACKS
– quick and harmless nips
– quick bites that leave a mark
– bites with pressure that may cause bruising and punctured wounds
– repeated and rapid bites

Once we noticed that our pet is showing any signs of attack, we should try to calm him down and eliminate the situation that caused unwanted behavior.

3. Classifying aggressive behavior
Answer a few questions which will allow you to understand what really happened.
– When and where did the attack occur?
– What else was going on at the time?
– What had happened and who/what created a stressful situation?
– What seemed to stop the unwanted behavior?

An accurate diagnosis will help you to classify your dogs behaviors into the following categories.

Territorial Aggression

Some dogs will attack and bite an intruder, whether the intruder is friend or foe.

Protective Aggression

Dogs may show aggressive behavior when they think that one of their family members or friends is in peril.

Possessive Aggression

Many dogs show the tendency to guard their possessions from others, whether they need to or not.

Fear Aggression

A fearful dog may become aggressive if cornered or trapped.

Defensive Aggression

Motivated by fear, defensively aggressive dogs decide that the best defense is a good offense.

Social Aggression

A dog who perceives herself as high in status may show aggression toward family members.

Frustration-Elicited Aggression

A dog who’s excited or aroused by something but is held back from approaching it can become aggressive.

Redirected Aggression

Redirected aggression occurs when a dog is aroused by or displays aggression toward a person or animal, and someone else interferes.

Pain-Elicited Aggression

An otherwise gentle, friendly dog can behave aggressively when in pain.Expand to read more
Sex-Related Aggression

Intact male dogs will still vie for the attention of females in heat, and females will still compete for access to a male.

Predatory Aggression

Some pet dogs show classic canine predatory behaviors, including chasing and grabbing fast-moving things.

4. Can aggression be cured?

I came across and article from the ASPCA which inspired me to write this post and they’ve nailed the answer to this question.

“Pet parents of aggressive dogs often ask whether they can ever be sure that their dog is “cured.” Taking into account the behavior modification techniques that affect aggression, our current understanding is that the incidence and frequency of some types of aggression can be reduced and sometimes eliminated. However, there’s no guarantee that an aggressive dog can be completely cured. In many cases, the only solution is to manage the problem by limiting a dog’s exposure to the situations, people or things that trigger her aggression. There’s always risk when dealing with an aggressive dog. Pet parents are responsible for their dogs’ behavior and must take precautions to ensure that no one’s harmed. Even if a dog has been well behaved for years, it’s not possible to predict when all the necessary circumstances might come together to create “the perfect storm” that triggers her aggression. Dogs who have a history of resorting to aggression as a way of dealing with stressful situations can fall back on that strategy. Pet parents of aggressive dogs should be prudent and always assume that their dog is NOT cured so that they never let down their guard.”
I also highly recommend to work with a behavior specialist, or trainer who can help decrease unwanted behavior and possibly “cure” your dog. Just like the quote written above says, you can never let your guard down even if there are no signs of aggression for years. You never know when someone/something triggers your pet.

I really hope that this post helped you understand you pet more! The next post will include tips on training your dogs and help them to live happy lives!