Three Steps for Puppy Play Biting Solutions


White lab puppyPlay biting is a stage of development. It is likely to occur when your puppy is EXHAUSTED or UNDER EXERCISED. Most pups naturally grow out of the stage at about 6 months of age unless people do things that prolong the period.

I’ve met some older dogs, 1-2 years old, who still nip and mouth, which poses a true problem. This is an indication that their humans did not understand play biting and unknowingly created a play biting habit.

Here are three steps you can use to deal with play biting by a puppy 8 to 16 weeks old. If your older puppy is play biting, CLICK HERE for SOLUTIONS.


STEP ONE: Stop asking your puppy to bite during playtime.

Avoid games that involve pushing, poking, tumbling, hugging, especially game that involve getting on the floor with your puppy. Hands off during play! Rough play gives puppies the wrong ideas! Play games like sit for a treat, hide-n-seek, chase the toy on a rope, or fetch.

STEP TWO: Tell your puppy that play biting makes you go away.

Tether your puppy. Engage him or her to play with a toy. When the puppy bites you, say ouch and then walk away. The puppy cannot follow you because he or she is tethered .

STEP THREE: Teach your puppy how to bite and play with toys.

Immediately return to your puppy and offer a suitable toy. Praise your puppy for chewing the toy!

ALan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Teach your Dog Inside Voice – Capture Dog’s Natural Behavior and Place it on Cue

Big_MacOne of the neat things about using an instant reward marker is how you can capture a natural behavior and then teach your dog to do it on cue.
Here’s a recent email exchange with my client, Elizabeth, who has a 4-5 month old large mix breed dog, Big Mac.

BETH’S EMAIL:
Well, I taught him….Inside voice….and he acts like he is going to bark but doesn’t make a sound……Now he just sits and looks at me and gives me inside voice!!!!  This is fun……Thanks!

OK….I have created a monster!!!!!  This new trick he learned for inside voice…..HE WON’T STOP!!!!  He just sits there an looks at me and keeps doing it…..I keep praising him and I sometimes give him a treat….but ok…what do you do when he has it down right?????

MY REPLY:
Hi Beth,

I’m glad to hear you are teaching Mac new stuff!!!!

Please tell me, in detail:

How did you teach him? Did you mark the behavior with your instant reward marker when he used the inside voice (IV)?
Did you tell him anything about outside voice?
Did you say anything?

Now- do you ask Mac for inside voice? If so, how?

Your next step is to place the behavior “on cue”, which means he only does it when you ask.

Answer my questions and I’ll tell you how.

BETH REPLY:
How did you teach him? Did you use the “X” when he used the inside voice (IV)? Yes….I caught him doing it once and said X and gave him a treat.  Did that a couple of times  I caught him again said X and inside voice and again gave him a treat….  Then I just said inside voice and he started doing it….Now I don’t say anything and he keeps looking at me doing it….This is where I don’t know what to do…..I don’t want to discourage him

Did you tell him anything about outside voice? No I have not said anything about outside voice

Did you say anything? Yes inside voice

Now- do you ask Mac for inside voice? Yes If so, how? Now I put my index finger to my lips like SHHHH quiet and I say Inside voice……He’s got it down tooooo well.

Your next step is to place the behavior “on cue”, which means he only does it when you ask. Ok….Now how do I do that because right now he is sitting here looking at me doing it over and over and over……I praise him but he’s not looking for praise he wants a goodie!

MY EMAIL:
Hi Beth!

You are almost there. I’m so proud of my new student!

Exactly what do you want Mac to do, and under what conditions do you want the behavior to occur?

Exactly what do you want Mac to “not do” and when?

BETH REPLY:
Exactly what do you want Mac to do, and under what conditions do you want the behavior to occur?  Kinda like your tough guy thing with Bentley….it’s just something cute!  Do it on command……Mac….Show your inside voice!

Exactly what do you want Mac to “not do” and when?  I don’t want him just sitting at my feet doing it over and over again……I feel if I don’t acknowledge when he does he will get discouraged.

My EMAIL
Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Reinforce the behavior you want.
Step 2: Punish the behavior you don’t want.

Don’t add touch or his name or talk to him during this exercise.  Follow these instructions as written! 🙂

Step One:
Cue the behavior (shhh signal), X the behavior, give tasty food treat. Don’t talk or pet him. Repeat the same sequence 3 more times for a total of 4 cycles.

Step 2: Say nothing- no cue – no talk – no touch. Wait until he vocalizes. (DATA A:note how long it takes for him to vocalize). Immediately look away, turn your back on him for about 10 seconds. Do not speak or make eye contact during this time out.

Turn back towards him, say “Hi Mac”-
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until DATA A equals 10-15 seconds.
When you do Step 2, he will probably bark louder and be more demanding. Perfect. That means he’s about to give up!
When he quiet for 10-15 seconds in Step 2, praise him! Add touch!!!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Private and Group Dog Training – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

Stop your dog from pulling you on walks!

Canny Collar USA Dealer

Puppy Making you Crazy? Tether that Turbo Girl!

tetherMost of us would not walk an untrained puppy, off leash, next to a busy street. We realize the puppy is not trained, and she may wander into the street and get hit by a car.  We use a leash to keep the puppy safe.

Inside the house, it’s a little safer. No cars are going to break your puppy’s legs, and your puppy can’t run away from you and get kidnapped or lost. But she can get into trouble and be quite a nuisance!  You can always crate your puppy, but that doesn’t teach her how to behave inside the house.

The same applies to backyard adventures. Puppies dig in flower beds, run on top of pool covers, chew air conditioning low voltage wires and eat plants – RIGHT in FRONT of YOU! You are not going to teach your puppy by yelling and screaming or spanking when the puppy gets into trouble. Your job is to prevent the puppy from practicing naughty behaviors. You’ll teach that rascal later, but for now, PREVENT the practice!!

You need a sort of halfway house, something between crating and letting your puppy run loose and terrorize the backyard or household.

The easy solution is to use a tether. A tether is a rope, with a snap attached to one end.  It’s like a leash without the handle. You can tie the loose end around a doorknob, table leg, or your waist to prevent your puppy from stealing objects and racing through your house. Never tie your dog to a piece of furniture and leave him. Tethers are for the times when you are nearby. When guests come over, ask your puppy to sit and then step on the rope to prevent jumping or racing out the door. I like to tie it around my waist so I can give Bentley instructions, and tell him what to so (sit, down, stay, etc.) when life gets exciting.

I buy 50 foot packages of nylon rope from Lowe’s to make a tether. The rope is round, and unlike a flat leash with a loop, it’s not as likely to get wedged under a furniture leg. The rope is inexpensive. I buy smaller diameter rope for small dogs and 1/2″ or 5/8″ diameter for medium and larger dogs.

If the puppy chews it, so what? I’ll have a shorter tether or make a new one.

I like them to be 5-9 feet. That gives me enough slack to wrap the tether around my waist or around a piece of furniture.

Attach the tether and let the puppy drag it as she explores your den. You can step on the tether to keep her from jumping up or running away with your remote control.  You can tie it to a piece of furniture with a dog bed nearby. You can wrap the end around a door knob as you change clothes. You can use the tether outside too.  Instead of calling and calling, and having your puppy ignore your come command, just pick up the rope and coax her to come to you.

If you use the tether, it’s a good opportunity to teach your puppy about leashes, collar pressure, and staying connected to you. Instead of pulling the puppy with the rope, use your charm and coax her to stay nearby. Practice LOOK (attention on cue) and HERE, as you putter around the house.

If you prevent your puppy from practicing bad habits, you will be glad!

Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley – Memphis

Private and Group Dog Obedience Trainer

Collierville, Memphis, Germantown TN

Dog Fights are Scary – Interdog Aggression

dog_fightIt’s scary when dogs in the same household fight. The solutions can be as simple as feeding the dogs in different areas, or as complex as implementing a behavior modification plan for inter dog aggression.

Your first steps are to identify triggers and situations when the dogs are more likely to fight. Manage the environment so the fights are less likely.

Remove high value toys and food items; avoid situations that are known to trigger fights. This means you may have to kennel one, or both, dogs. If your dogs are not keen on kenneling, you will need to teach them to relax in the kennel.

Each dog should be able to to perform these basic obedience commands:

Look, Here, Sit, Down, Stay, Go-to-Place

To teach these commands, you’ll need a conditioned reward marker, and a reward system.

Obedience training, the reward system, and a conditioned reward marker are very important communication and motivation tools. These will increase your relevance to your dogs, and the dogs will begin to listen to you, and think about their behaviors.

The aforementioned tools and steps will create a healthy relationship.

After you have developed a relationship, you can work with your dogs, using specific triggers.


Your Choice- Obnoxious Dog or Well Mannered Pet

Jack Russell TerrierEvery day, I speak with clients about meeting their dogs’ basic needs. Most of us assume our dogs are getting plenty of exercise and stimulation when the dogs are alone (or with other dogs) in a large fenced area. The dog is in the great outdoors, so she must be getting enough exercise, right?

Wrong. This is not usually the case, unless you have a turbo Jack Russell Terrier, like the one pictured in this post. Crisco hunts and chases critters for hours. Occasionally she’ll dig, because, she’s a terrier! Do not be surprised when your terrier redesigns your flower beds or digs up a shrub. The word terrier comes from the Middle French terrier, derived from the Latin terra, meaning earth. Get it? 🙂

Some dogs do know how to entertain themselves when alone in the yard.

All dogs, and especially guarding types such as German Shepherd Dogs, are at risk for refining territorial aggression if their primary jobs involve constant watching and barking at people and other dogs that pass by the yard. Yikes, that can’t be good!

Beagles and hounds may bay or bark for hours on end.

Labrador retrievers and other breeds dig, destroy fencing and furniture, chew low voltage air conditioning wires, lick bar-b-q grills, dismantle wooden decks, scratch back doors, run along fences and bark at the dogs next door, et cetera.

Some of my clients keep their dogs in the back yard because the dogs are ill mannered inside the house. The same dogs are ill mannered in the back yards.

If you want to reduce normal, unwanted behaviors, you’ll need to meet your dog’s basic needs. Make a list of behaviors you would like from your dog. Learn about training methods and teach your dog. Take your dog for daily walks in the neighborhood.

You can have a rude dog who makes your life miserable, or you can have a well mannered pet. It’s your choice. Visit other pages on this dogand site to begin your adventure.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley – Memphis TN – Canine Relationship Solutions

Private and Group Dog Obedience – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Bartlett, Cordova TN

Inappropriate Elimination Questionnaire- for Dogs that were Previously House Trained and Inside Elimination Represents a Change in Behavior

Maggie HoundSometimes I see clients whose dogs were previously house trained, but recently started eliminating inside. The causes can range from medical or dietary issues, attention seeking behaviors,  to anxiety and fearful behaviors. You’ll  need to determine the root cause before you can fix it.

Here is the inappropriate inside elimination questionnaire that I use for remote house training consultations. I use this form to determine the root cause.

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______________________________________________________________

Inappropriate Elimination Worksheet– for dogs that were previously house trained and inside elimination represents a change in behavior.

Have medical tests been conducted since the onset of the inappropriate elimination behavior(s) for the specific goal of identifying or ruling out a medical cause(s) for the behavior(s)? 

Yes No

How long has the problem behavior been occurring?

__________________________________________________________________________

How often does the behavior occur?

______________________________________________________________________________

Is the number of incidents increasing in frequency? Yes No

Behavior occurs only in the (visible) presence of persons yes no

Behavior occurs only in the absence of persons: yes no

Behavior occurs both in the presence of and in the absence of persons: yes no:

Were there changes in the external environment that coincided with the onset of elimination disorder? (i.e. new/remodeled home, moved furniture, installed fencing (including ‘invisible’ fencing), added room mate, schedule change, added pet, lost pet, lost room mate, etc.)

Yes No

If yes to above question, please explain.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Was there a change in dietary and elimination environment at or after the onset of the behavior? (type/brand/amounts of food recently changed, water consumption change, location of outside area used for elimination, willingness to go outside, etc.)  Yes No

If yes, please explain._______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Are there any other behavioral changes you have noticed at or after the onset of the problem elimination? (destructive behaviors, barking, mounting, object stealing, tail chasing, shadow stalking, storm phobia, firework or noise phobia, eating non-food items, etc.)  Yes No

If yes to the above question, please explain.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Does the problem behavior occur more often in any particular location(s)? Yes No

List area(s) of most recent problem elimination and flooring type. (i.e. inside crate in den, kitchen on tile floor, back bedroom on carpet, living room curtains on carpet, cabinet in kitchen on tile floor, etc.)

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Please check the type(s) of elimination occurring inside.  Urination Defecation

If defecation selected in previous question, circle the consistency of stool.

Hard Soft but firm Firm then partially liquid Diarrhea Variable

Will the dog readily walk outdoors for a walk, or to play?

Yes No

Will the dog readily eliminate outdoors –on or off lead -in the presence of traffic, strangers, other dogs, loud noises, in bad weather, rain, cold, or other distractions?

Yes No Maybe _________________________________________

Where does the dog eliminate outside? List area and ground type. (i.e. back patio on concrete, back yard-anywhere on grass, backyard in designated area on grass, backyard on grass or concrete, during walks on grass, during walks on street, etc.)

______________________________________________________________________________

Does the dog eliminate inside regardless of schedule of outside exercise/outings and may eliminate immediately after you return indoors?

Yes No

Does the quantity of inside-the-home excretions indicate full-fledged elimination?  Yes No

Are there numerous small amounts of urine deposited inside? Yes No

Please list any additional information you feel is relevant to the inside elimination problem behavior. Thank you.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley Memphis

Teach Your Dog Commands for Moving Through Doorways – Inside / Outside

Bent_InsideInside – Outside

Description: The dog moves through an open door on command, on and off leash.

Function: Teach the dog to move through doors on command.

Prerequisites: Condition a reward marker; “Sit”, “Attention – Without Cue”;

Target Here”

Time: 4 Days

Many of my clients complain that their dogs will not enter and exit their houses on command. The dogs ignore their owners, stand and look at their owners, or run away.

Off leash obedience is an advanced skill, even when the dog is in a fenced area. Before you can expect your dog to obey when he or she is 50 feet away, first you should practice when the dog is on a short leash, then a long line.

There are many reasons a dog might not be motivated to obey. Some dogs may prefer the inside because of the weather outside. If an owner has a history of calling their dog inside, placing the dog in  the crate, and leaving the house, the dog may remember and be hesitant to come inside. Other dogs like to chase critters and bark at noises outside.

Regardless of the underlying reasons, training and practice is the solution. I use the “Inside – Outside” game to teach dogs to move through doorways. To play the game, follow these suggestions.

First Day:

Place your dog on a 6 foot leash.

Stand inside your house next to an exit door.

Tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Tell your dog, “Outside”.

Open the door and walk outside. Don’t pull that rascal through the door. Make some “kissy” noises to charm your dog as you and your dog walk through the door to the outside. Mark the instant he or she passes through the doorway.

Close the door.

Drop the leash.

Toss a treat on the ground outside, several feet away from the door.

Pick up the leash.

Tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Tell your dog, “Inside”.

Open the door and walk inside. Don’t pull that rascal through the door. Use your voice to charm your dog as you and your dog walk through the door to the inside.

Mark the instant he or she passes through the doorway.

Close the door.

Drop the leash.

Toss a treat on the floor inside, several feet away from the door.

Repeat the sequence 2 more times for a total of 6 trials (3 Outside – 3 Inside) during each practice session. Hold 3 of these practice sessions every day. End each session with a walk, a game of fetch, or any of your dog’s favorite play activities.

Next Day:

Play the Inside – Outside game 3 times each day for a total of 18 trials. Practice at each door you plan to enter and exit with your dog during each session. For example, if you use 2 doors, practice the sequence 2 times at 1 door and 1 time at the other door. If you have 3 doors, practice one sequence at each door.

Third Day:

Stand inside your house next to an exit door to a fenced area, with no leash attached.

Call your dog, using the two-finger target.

Mark the instant your dog touches the target and immediately tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Tell your dog, “Outside”.

Open the door.

Step into the door opening.

Your dog will pass through the door.

Mark the instant he or she passes through the doorway.

Toss a treat on the ground outside, several feet away from the door.

Close the door. Your dog will be on the outside and you will be on the inside.

Immediately walk outside. Close the door.

Call your dog, using the two-finger target.

Mark the instant your dog touches the target and immediately tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Open the door and tell your dog, “Inside”.

Step into the door opening. Your dog will pass through the door. Mark the instant he or she passes through the doorway.

Toss a treat on the floor inside, several feet away from the door. Close the door. Your dog will be on the inside and you will be on the outside.

Repeat the sequence 2 more times for a total of 6 trials (3 Outside – 3 Inside) during each practice session. Hold 3 of these practice sessions every day. End each session with a walk, a game of fetch, or any of your dog’s favorite play activities.

Fourth Day:

Fade the marker and the food treat, and reduce your motion of moving into the doorway. When your dog moves through the door, offer verbal praise and toss a ball or a toy instead of a treat. You can step inside or outside with your dog, or not.

Stand inside your house next to an exit door to a fenced area, with no leash attached.

Tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Tell your dog, “Outside”.

Open the door.

Your dog will pass through the door.

Praise your dog.

Toss a ball or toy outside, several feet away from the door.

Close the door. Your dog will be on the outside and you will be on the inside.

Open the door and walk outside. Close the door.

Tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Open the door and tell your dog, “Inside”.

Your dog will pass through the door.

Close the door. Your dog will be on the inside and you will be on the outside.

Repeat the sequence 2 more times for a total of 6 trials (3 Outside – 3 Inside) during each practice session. Hold 3 of these practice sessions every day. End each session with a walk, a game of fetch, or any of your dog’s favorite play activities.



Does Your Dog or Puppy Pull on Walks? Start with the Basics. Capture & Teach Attention!

bentleyfielddisc1Dogs and puppies pull during walks because, from their points of view, it works. They get to move forward when they feel the pressure of the collar or harness against their bodies. Every time your dog pulls while walking on lead, he or she is learning to pull. The behavior is being fertilized! It will grow and become strong. Yikes!

There are many methods and tools one might use to teach a dog or puppy to walk nicely on a leash. Many people are content to only “halfway” address the behavior. This is evident by the number of people who use pinch collars, choke collars, Gentle Leader head collars, no-pull harnesses, Weiss Walkie, or any other STOP pulling equipment, forever. Their dogs will not walk nicely unless the threat of discomfort is present via the fitted equipment. The equipment is a condition for “walking nicely” behavior. Without the equipment, the dog pulls. With the equipment, the dog heels by the handler’s side or walks on a loose lead.

What I meant by “halfway” is this: the tools and equipment, just like verbal corrections and jerking the leash, are designed to STOP pulling. That’s okay by me; you can use the equipment forever and your dog will not pull. But, do not confuse that with teaching your dog to walk nicely or to heel. What you have done is convinced your dog to walk nicely by the threat of equipment pressure! My goal is to use the equipment as a temporary aid, while I teach the dog to walk nicely. Then I can use the equipment or not, depending on the environment.

My current favorite tool for controlling an exuberant dog during walks is the Canny Collar.

If you want to discontinue the use of equipment, you have two target goals. One is to STOP the pulling behavior, the other is to START “walking nicely” behavior!

I know what you are thinking, “my dog always pulls on walks; how can I use rewards to increase good behaviors if the dog never ever walks without pulling?”

Glad you asked. Start with the basics. Teach your dog to stand with you on a loose lead, before you teach your dog to walk without pulling.

First you’ll teach your dog to stand near to you, with a loose lead, before you ever start walking. You will teach a command that means, “look towards me, I will pay you!” I call this Attention on Cue – while standing”.

Next, you will practice “Attention-on-cue” in many different locations, while adding distractions. Then you practice “Attention on Cue – while walking”. Take a step or two with your dog and ask for the look.

Finally you teach your dog “Attention without Cue – while standing”, then “Attention without Cue – while walking”. “Attention without cue” is when your dog checks in or looks at you voluntarily, without any commands or cues from you.

Once your dog has mastered “Attention”, you can start working on loose lead walking or heel. With a bit of time and effort (and the knowledge to teach attention), you can discard your pinch collar, choke collar, Gentle Leader head collar, et cetera!

Visit this page to learn how to teach your dog Attention-on-Cue, While Standing.

Attention-on-Cue, While Walking

After your dog has mastered Attention-on-Cue, While Standing, it’s time to add the distraction of walking.

This skill is a component of “walk-on-loose-lead”. It would be better to play without a leash, in a hall or narrow walkway, until your dog learns the game. Then you can practice in the back yard or on leash in public.

I taught Bentley this behavior on my narrow, front patio walkway. I started the game at the gate, so Bentley had only one direction to walk.


Get some high-value treats. Start at the end of the hall or narrow walkway. Practice “attention-on-cue, while standing”. Perform 2 to 3 trials.

Then somehow get your dog to walk ahead of you as you both start walking. I told Bentley “this way” and started walking forward, but you don’t necessarily need a cue. Just start walking and your dog will probably start walking too.

As soon as your dog is “a dog’s length” ahead, give your attention-on-cue command. Mark the instant your dog turns his or her head towards you.

Walk back to the starting point (end of hall) to deliver the treat. This is called one cycle or trial. The cycle began when you started walking and ended after you delivered the treat.

Repeat, but on the next trial, let your dog get 2 dog lengths ahead before you give the cue.

On the subsequent trials, you’ll increase the distance by one dog length each trial. For example, your dog will be 5 dog lengths ahead before you give the command during cycle 5.

Increase the distance during each trial until your dog will look back towards you when he or he or she is 8-10 feet ahead.

.

The distance change from cycle to cycle can be very small or large. In the example, I used one dog length as starting distance and increased the distance by one dog length each cycle. You might start at one foot or even 1″ . . . whatever it takes to get the behavior.

Once your dog will perform without distractions, ask someone to stand in the hall while you practice. Then ask them to move their arms, tap their feet, sing, et cetera, while you practice. The goal is for them to become just a wee bit more exciting from cycle to cycle.

After your dog has mastered the behavior in the hall or narrow walkway with distractions, move to a different area with different distractions.

Even though your dog performs well inside, with minimal distractions, be prepared to repeat the beginning steps of the exercise whenever you add distractions.

Attention – Without Cue

Attention-without-cue is helpful when you are interacting with the dog and you want the dog to ignore other distractions and stay connected to you. This is a prerequisite for loose lead walking.

Here’s how to teach the dog to stay connected to you.

This exercise places the responsibility of ‘staying connected’ on the dog, not the handler.

Place your dog on a 6 foot leash. Stand quietly in one area. Your dog will sniff and explore. Be patient. Say nothing. Wait until the dog looks at you.

MARK the instant the dog turns his head towards you and then deliver a treat. Repeat until the dog is constantly looking at you. When this occurs, move to a different location a few feet away. The dog will be momentarily distracted. Repeat the process in the new location. Do this in 3 different locations each session. Hold 3 sessions each day for optimal results!

Once the dog gets better at volunteering the look, repeat the process with a longer leash. A longer leash gives the dog more choices of things to explore, which is the next grade or level of distraction.

As you practice this behavior, you can add other distractions like people standing or walking, other dogs, et cetera.

Once your dog is voluntarily checking in while you are standing, wait until your dog is not looking and take a step or two. If he or she moves with you or turns towards you, mark the instant he starts to move. This is a great way to begin teaching your dog to walk nicely on a lead.


Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer, Canine Specialization

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis TN

Owner: How’s Bentley

Does Your Dog Own You? Resource Guarding of Territory, Food, Items, or People

Ace_BallResource guarding is when dogs posture, growl, snarl, bark,  snap, lunge, or bite for reasons we believe are efforts to keep other animals or people away from what they consider to be valuable resources.

Resources include food, territory, items and persons.

Food related aggression, territory aggression, and possession aggression are specific labels for different types of resource guarding.

Resource guarding can be confused with protection aggression and fear aggression.  People believe their dogs are protecting them, when in reality, the dogs are guarding what they believe to be their property, or the dogs are exhibiting fear aggression. Fear aggression is often present with territory aggression. Resolving the fear issue is the solution.  A behavioral history, questionnaire, careful observation,  and testing can usually identify the specific types of aggression.

In my experiences, resource guarding is commonly directed at other dogs, which many people accept or manage. When the aggression is directed at people, I am likely to get a new client.

Food related aggression is seen more often when high value rawhides, bullie sticks, pigs ears, etc.  are involved.

Some dogs guard dry dog food (less common), and severe cases involve dogs that guard empty bowls, and feeding or food preparation locations.

Territory aggression is when dogs posture, growl, snarl, bark,  snap, lunge, or bite when animals or people approach specific areas. Clearly defined areas, such as fenced yards, motor vehicles, homes, crates, kennels, rooms, chairs, couches, beds, and areas underneath furniture are guarded by dogs who exhibit territory aggression.

Less defined territories, such as doorways, and the areas within the length of the dog’s leash or tie out can be considered valuable by some dogs.

Possesive aggression is when dogs guard non-food items, regardless of the location.  Common items are toys, and stolen treasures, such as socks paper towels, ink pens, remote controls, etc.. Some cases of posessive aggression can be resolved by teaching the dog basic obedience commands such as leave-it and drop.

Some aggression behaviors can be fueled  by miscommunications and the balance between dogs and people, better described as the relationship. In some cases, the dog’s physical, social, or emotional needs are not being met, and / or, the chosen training methods are flawed.  A 21st Century Canine Relationship Specialist can help you with these areas. Visit the APDT to find a trainer near you.

Regardless of the type of aggression, the first step is to manage the environment so the dog does not practice (and people or other animals are not injured). Prevention can include simple steps like removing high value food items, feeding in a crate or secure area, crating the dog during social events, removing toys, housing the dog inside the home, and dog proofing the home.

Next, you’ll need to establish a clear system for communication and motivation. Condition a reward marker and follow the rewards awareness program, no free F.A.T.!

There are specific exercises for treating different types of resource guarding. Each dog and case is different. The treatment plan must be fluid and should be adapted for the dog’s success. You’ll probably need help from a dog behavior counselor.

Visit this Solve-It section on this site for specific examples and detailed solutions for aggression.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

Private Dog Training in Memphis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist


iPhone 3Gs Video ** Ouch, My Westie Terrier Keeps Biting My Feet!

Peyton Terrier 1Puppies are cute, but not so cute when they attack your sock as you try to fit one on your foot! Ouch! That puppy just bit my toe!!

You really cannot teach your puppy when life is happening. Sometimes, you just need to prevent that rascal puppy from perfecting nuisance behaviors.

A tether is one of my favorite tools. A tether is a rope with a leash snap attached to one end. To make a tether, attach a leash snap to a 7-10 foot piece of nylon rope. I use 1/4″ nylon rope for small dogs, and 3/8″ or 1/2″ braided nylon rope to make a tether for medium and large dogs.  You can purchase the braided nylon rope at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Tethers provide a sort of half way house between being crated (or otherwise sequestered), and having full freedom to roam inside your house and get into trouble.  I advise clients to tether puppies when eating, changing clothes, or when entertaining friends.  Toss a dog bed on the floor, give your puppy a free range bullie stick, and tether your puppy to a piece of furniture near you.

You can use this free range bullie stick to condition your dog to “love” his dog bed. The free range bullies do not stink like the Merrick bullies stocked at local pet supply stores. CAUTION, This chew has the potential to turn Fluffy into Cujo! Read about Food related aggression by clicking anywhere in this sentence.
Click here for free instructions for teaching your dog to want to GO-TO-PLACE. .

Or, you can tie the rope around your waist and let your puppy shadow you throughout the house. The idea is to limit the puppy’s choices, and to give your puppy helpful feedback about correct behaviors!

Or, you can tie the tether to a plush dog toy and drag the toy as you walk. That will give your puppy an alternative to chasing and play biting your feet and ankles.

Peyton Terrier

If your puppy has not learned to come bump your target, let him drag a tether when playing outside.

Today I visited a client who had participated in a group class during the summer. As soon as I saw Peyton, a West Highland terrier mix, I remembered why my client enrolled. That guy is a yahoo turbo!!! We attached a tether and played a bit in the yard. Select the You Tube Video of Peyton linked below to watch this guy scramble!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

Private Dog Training in Memphis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist

New iPhone app -Dog and Puppy Shake – Fun Facts and Trainer Truths
21st Century Dogs – Dog and Puppy Club

Changing Bad Crate Habits – Puppy Barking, Urinating in Crate

Mini DauschundBarking in the Crate

When accompanied by eliminating in the crate, drooling, or self-injury, barking in the crate can be a sign of separation anxiety.

Dogs with separation anxiety have been compared to people that have anxiety attacks.

Separation anxiety is an emotional condition fraught with panic and fear.

Crating a dog with true separation anxiety is never a good idea.

Even if your dog exhibits only two of these symptoms, he could be truly distressed. If this describes your dog or you are not sure if your dog has true separation anxiety, ask your vet for the name of a canine behavior counselor.

Barking and whining can be normal signs of protest or a true alarm. I’ve met pups who bark to tell their people there’s been (or about to be) an accident.

In some respects, a crated puppy can be compared to a baby, alone in a crib. If your pup is not wet, hungry, thirsty, or ill, let him cry.

Slowly introducing your pup by pairing the crate with meals and special treats usually removes most objections to being crated.

Even after you have properly introduced your dog to the concept of the crate, your pup may bark for short periods.

This is normal. Ignore the barking; don’t make eye contact; say nothing.

For if you do, your dog will think he is on the path to freedom and will continue barking.

It’s important to stick to your plan when teaching pups about crying in the crate.

If, after 30 minutes, you give in and release your crying puppy, he or she will learn that crying for 30 minutes is a good strategy for freedom.

Wait until your pup is quiet and relaxed before you praise and/or release him. This will teach him that being quiet and relaxed has good dividends!

If your pup barks for long periods of time, it is always possible that you are not meeting your pup’s exercise requirements, crate-time is too long, or he is genuinely anxious. Review your exercise regime and review your introduction sequences.

Most normal, well-exercised dogs and pups that are gradually introduced will discontinue their barking strategy after a few episodes of being crated.

If this does not describe your pup or dog, start the introduction routine from the beginning or consult with a professional.

Eliminating in the Crate

When accompanied by drooling, self-injury, and barking, eliminating in the crate can be a sign of separation anxiety.

Other common causes are urinary tract infections, medical conditions, and medications.

If your pup or dog eliminates in the crate, first rule out medical and behavioral issues that might contribute to inside elimination.  Visit your vet first!

Most people limit crate time to include only the periods when they are gone, asleep, or unable to supervise their dog. If these periods are too long for the individual dog, then it’s best to arrange for someone to exercise the pup.

An alternate plan is to set up the crate or confinement area with a bathroom as discussed previously.

Sometimes a puppy or dog has already formed poor elimination habits. These guys eliminate inside their crates and are not offended by the presence of their own waste. Here’s how I address these situations.

Purchase a different style of crate.

Here are two different styles of crates you can buy at Amazon with free shipping.

Get an exercise pen. Move the crate to another location and place it inside the exercise pen. Cover the floor of the entire area with newspaper or house training pads.

Here’s a great, black epoxi exercise pen,
for sale at at Amazon. Select the Super Saver Free Shipping!

Here’s a suggestion I read in one of Ian Dunbar’s books.

Place plastic on the entire floor of the confinement area and cover the plastic with grass sod.

Buy extra sod so that you can rotate the soiled sod outside for cleaning and replace it with clean piece of sod from the outside.

Place a crate inside the confinement area with the door removed. Follow the same instructions as newspaper training and slowly remove the grass sod from the area.

For even tougher cases, set up the confinement area with sod and discard the crate.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

Private Dog Training in Memphis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist

iPhone 3Gs Video ** Do it or Suffer: Your Weimaraner Needs Exercise!

WeimaranerToday I went with my clients, Derrick and Megan, to Shelby Farms to exercise Bimmer, their 1 year old Weimaraner dog. Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch 2 iPhone 3Gs videos of Bimmer playing fetch.

I first met the clients January 2009, when Bimmer was a puppy. Derrick and Megan were model students, and it shows. Bimmer was an excellent guest at the dog park. Derrick and Meagan have a wonderful Weimaraner dog who is well mannered and loads of fun! That’s not the case with owners who do not obedience train or exercise their dogs.

If you do NOT teach your puppy basic obedience and provide enough stimulation for your dog, problems will emerge. Excessive digging, escaping, jumping, barking, chewing, and destruction are common signs that an untrained dog’s needs are not being met.

At 4.500 acres and 20 bodies of water, Shelby Farms is one of the largest municipal park in the USA.

In the lower picture, Bimmer has a fire hose fetch toy. I could throw this toy much farther than the plastic retrieving dummy. Dogs seem to really like fire hose material. Although it’s not a chew toy, the texture is a bit different and the fire hose is very durable. Amazon has a great selection. Here’s the best one I’ve found at the best price.

Weimaraner Fetch

Click below to see 2 videos taken with iPhone 3Gs. The Splash is my favorite!

Fetch

Splash

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – 21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions
Reactive Dog Group Workshops
Mini-Obedience Courses
Group and Private Dog Training in Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Bartlett TN

New iPhone app -Dog and Puppy Shake – Fun Facts and Trainer Truths
21st Century Dogs – Dog and Puppy Club