Being an owner of a dog at a dog park is a lot like being the parent of a toddler at a grocery store; only the behavior of the loved one you are at the dog park with can be a lot more uncertain. In fact, some people take their dogs to dog parks simply because they have nowhere else to let them run around. Because of this, the dog in question may have poor manners and pent up energy to deal with. This doesn’t have to be your problem. By following these five tips, you can make the best of the situation.
Do Leash Training
If your dog isn’t trained to behave around other dogs, it’s a good idea to start out with some basic leash training. Yes, you want your dog to be able to run free, but you can’t just open the gate and hope for the best. Leash training is a great way to get your dog to stick close to you whether a lead is attached or not. Dogs learn how to heel while on a leash, and can gradually move onto heeling without the leash. This is a crucial step in getting your dog to obey other rudimentary commands so you can have more control over him at a dog park. Read More »
We know that our dogs can tell us apart from a stranger. They know our individual scent and the sound of our voice, but just how well do they know our face? Could a dog pick out the person he loves by appearance alone? According to a 2013 study, a dog can not only recognize his owner’s face among others, he can also recognize them in a picture.
Researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland trained 23 pet dogs and eight kennel dogs to lie still in front of a TV screen as they watched a series of images while their eye movements were tracked. Each dog was tested individually. The dogs were shown images that included photos of familiar human faces and dogs, as well as faces of people and canines they had never met. The pictures on the screen alternated between upright and inverted.
Using eye-tracking technology, sensors were fitted just above the dog’s eyes to determine where he looked and how long his gaze was when watching each image. When a picture appeared, the first place each dog looked was in the area around the eyes, which indicated they understood the images were faces. Researchers found familiar faces and the eyes held each dog’s gaze longer than unfamiliar faces. All of the dogs gazed longer at faces of their own species, however, than any of the human faces including pictures of people they knew.
Dogs cannot verbally tell us when they are not feeling well. They show it in altered behavior or physical cues. As we get to know the normal ways they act, any changes in their actions and reactions may be a sign that something is wrong. Here are five things to watch for.
The most obvious signs that your dog is not feeling well may be a visible injury, infection or vomiting, but other signs take observation skills on your part. Skin lesions or irritating rashes, coughing, difficulty breathing, lumps, discolored eyes, excessive scratching, abnormal drooling or bad breath are all possible signs that can mean your dog is not feeling up to par. They may be signs of a simple condition that is easily treated, or of something more serious. If you have doubts or you can’t easily figure out what is actually wrong, go see your vet.
As friendly as your dog normally is with you, does he sometimes act skittish when it comes to new people? In some cases, dogs do this because they may have been abused before you got them. In other cases, the dog might just be naturally skittish. It may take some effort on your part, but you can do a lot to help your dog overcome his anxiety when it comes to strangers. Remember that an anxious dog is one that is on full alert. This is a situation that has the potential to end badly, so you need to take care of this issue, for the mental and emotional health of your dog as well as for the safety of others.
Create a Safe Zone
The fastest way to reduce anxiety is to establish an area where your dog will have a complete feeling of safety. To do this, create a place that is just for your dog. It may be the dog’s crate, a specific chair, or some other area that is just for him. Make it a practice not to let anyone other than you or the dog enter his special safety zone. This will help your dog understand that this is a safe place where no one can disturb him.
Obsessive behaviors and fixations can be annoying, and may even be destructive for your dog as well as for you and your surroundings. The behavior is like an addiction that the dog has a difficult time controlling. If you have observed persistent behaviors in your dog that go beyond normal play and interactions, where they will not change their focus or listen to commands, you may be seeing obsessive behavior.
Signs of Fixation
Playtime should be lighthearted and easygoing. When the activity reaches a level where your dog is so fixated on something that they are not even responding to your verbal or physical cues and commands, they may be obsessing.
Dogs are like any other living animals. When their actions result in rewards, they will continue the actions. For example, if your dog gets praise, encouragement and head pats when he jumps on you or performs any other undesirable action, he will continue to do so. He thinks your positive reaction indicates that you approve of his bad behavior. On the other hand, when a dog gets rewarded for good behaviors, like sitting calmly when directed to do so, you can expect that behavior to continue as well. Teaching a dog about impulse control can take less time that you might imagine, when you use the proper tools and methods.
Assume a Position
Whether you want your dog to lie down on his mat during dinner time or you want him to sit calmly at the door before being let out, you need to first teach him how to be still. To do this, you’ll need some high quality treats like CANIDAE Grain Free PURE, a spot to work with your dog, a visual and vocal command, and a position to teach.
Take your dog to the area where you will be working. Tell your dog to sit, stay or whatever command you decide on. Use a hand motion picked just for this command, and use the hand motion and voice command at the same time. The moment your dog is in the position that you desire, reward him or her with a treat. Remember that consistency is vital.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.