Category Archives: dog training

Five Smells That Dogs Don’t Like

dog smells joaquinBy Laurie Darroch

When your dog is getting into everything, you can use particular smells she doesn’t like to help keep her out of trouble. If she is in a hyper pestering mood, ruining your personal belongings, digging in your yard or messing up any other area, there are smells you can use to deter her. It’s natural behavior for a dog to chew and dig, but with the help of their sensitive sense of smell you can train them to stay away from places or things you don’t want them getting into.


Chili peppers get their kick from capsaicin, the main ingredient that gives them their spicy flavor and smell.  The spicier the pepper is, the more likely your dog will not care for the smell.

My dog hates jalapeno peppers. When she is being a pest, all I have to do is hold one up in front of her to make her back away. It works like a charm and as an added bonus, there is no mess. If she wants attention when I can’t give it to her and tries to get on me or in the middle of something I’m working on, I simply hold up the pepper and she stays away until I’m done. It doesn’t hurt her. Watching her stick her hind quarters in the air and make faces at the dangling pepper always makes me laugh, but it works.
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5 Things City Dogs Need to Know to Stay Safe

city dog luluBy Linda Cole

I’ve always lived in a small town, and though I can see the appeal a big city has for many people, I’ve never wanted to live in one. Dogs really don’t care what your preference is when it comes to rural or urban living, but city dogs need to have some specific skills to stay safe.

My dogs are used to a laid back and quiet environment, and we rarely meet other people walking their dogs when we’re out for a stroll. The only distractions include an occasional rabbit, deer or squirrel. If we take the dogs with us to a city, they’re excited and act like a tourist trying to take in everything at once. But they are also unsure and a bit uncomfortable as well. Big cities are full of life and activities that can take a little time for dogs to get used to.

Staying Calm in a Sea of People

Crowds of people fill the city sidewalks, all heading to their own destinations. Some are wearing uniforms or dressed like clowns or other characters a dog may not recognize. It’s important to help your pet feel comfortable and calm in a more chaotic environment. There may be people who want to pet your dog, and it’s up to you to make sure he knows how to politely greet people and when you should tell someone no. The last thing you want do is force your dog to do something he’s not comfortable doing. Some dogs are wary of strangers by nature.

Being Attentive to His Owner

With a lot more traffic and other distractions in a big city, a dog needs to pay attention to his owner, and it’s a must to keep him under control at all times. Retractable and long leashes can put a dog at risk of being injured if he steps out into traffic or rushes out of an elevator when the door opens. City dogs need to know and obey basic commands Dog-Animated-no-offerregardless of any distractions around him, especially when meeting other dogs while out walking. The “watch me” or “look at me” commands get your dog to focus on you and can be crucial if you need to get your pet’s attention.

Leave It and Drop It Commands

A city dog is more likely to find litter and garbage lying on the street or sidewalk, and it only takes an instant for a canine to grab something up. The “leave it” and “drop it” commands can save a dog’s life and save you money at the vet when you can prevent your pet from eating something he shouldn’t have. Since dogs are closer to the ground than you are, it’s not difficult for them to find a wrapper with part of a sandwich inside, cigarette butts, bones, cups, plastic bags or plastic utensils with bits of food on them. You may not see him grab something off the ground before you can tell him to leave it, but you can at least get him to spit it out by telling him to drop it.

Acclimating to Distractions and Noise

Larger cities have a variety of scents, distractions and street noise – people on skateboards, skates or bikes, someone pulling a wagon, in a wheelchair, pushing a shopping cart, jackhammers and other loud construction equipment. If a dog hasn’t been exposed to these sights and sounds, it can cause him to be nervous or scared of the noise and movement. Cities also have a lot more car and truck traffic on the noisy streets. Dogs that aren’t used to hearing the sound of garbage trucks, blaring sirens or honking horns may be bothered or scared by sudden loud noises.

Walking on Different Surfaces

city dog stephenCity dogs will encounter different types of surfaces they need to feel comfortable walking on. If they live in an apartment it could be a slippery hallway, stairway or lobby floor. Elevators, automatic or revolving doors can also be confusing for a dog that isn’t used to being around them.

The American Kennel Club recently added a new title to their Canine Good Citizen certification program. The Urban Canine Good Citizen tests dogs in specific skills they need to know in a big city environment, skills that help you keep your pet safe and under control.

A well mannered dog that’s comfortable and relaxed makes life easier for his owner, whether it’s in a large city or a small town.

Top photo by Lulu Hoeller/Flickr
Bottom photo by Stephen/Flickr

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Tips for Dealing with Obsessive Dog Behaviors

obsessive michaelBy Laurie Darroch

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.

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5 Tips for Teaching a Dog Impulse Control

impulse marilynBy Langley Cornwell

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.

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Establishing the Pack Leader Role with Your Dog

pack leader kathleenBy Laurie Darroch

Dogs are pack animals and in any pack, someone has to be the leader to help your everyday interactions run smoothly. Like a well maintained clock, the relationship functions at its best when each member is doing his or her own job in the right way.  As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to let your dog know that you are in control and you’re the one they need to listen to and trust.

From the Beginning

Whether you get an adult dog or a small puppy, it’s essential to begin to establish the role of pack leader with them from the moment they become a member of your home. The role will take time to develop between you, but once your dog realizes you are the pack leader, it will make your life together much easier. Like children, dogs need to understand the rules and know who is in charge to know who to listen to and follow. Letting your dog know who the pack leader is helps you maintain a healthy balanced relationship and a keeps a good bond between you. As pack leader, you are the one who runs everything. If you let your dog know that from the beginning, everything will run more smoothly.

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How to Teach Your Dog Not to Rush Out the Door

By Linda Cole

For some dogs, an opened door is an invitation to rush through before it closes. But for us, it’s frightening to watch our beloved pet bolt across the yard and disappear out of sight, or head towards a road with a car bearing down on them. Cheyenne, my Siberian Husky, looked for any chance to escape through the front door, and I developed a technique to use when someone rang the doorbell. Cracking the door open so I could block it with my body, I stood on one leg and used the other one to keep her away. She just wanted to go for a run, but there are other reasons why dogs fly out an opened door. Fortunately, I found a better technique than the one-legged dance to teach my dog not to rush through the door.

Why dogs try to escape out the front door

Dogs are individuals, and some are more adventurous and independent than others. Working breeds, terriers, scenthounds and sighthounds were bred to do their jobs away from their human, and are likely to bolt out a door to run down an interesting scent or chase an animal they see. Some dogs may be focused on finding a mate. If that’s the case, spaying or neutering your pet may help reduce a desire to wander. A fearful dog may see an opened door as a way to escape what he fears. Homes with multiple dogs might charge the open door as a competition to see who can get outside first, and some dogs enjoy the “game” of their owner frantically chasing them down the street.

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