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- Obedience Training
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If you've noticed that your dog guards specific items, like a special toy (or all of his toys), treats, etc., or you've noticed that he guards any items he takes that are not his, then your dog is exhibiting "Posession-Guarding". This is sometimes also called "Resource-Guarding".
There are some exercises and commands you can work on with your dog, every day, to help prevent this potentially aggressive behavior.
Training with Exercises
By focusing on Systematic Desensitization and Conditioning, you can change the way your dog feels to prevent this behavior from continuing. Teach your dog that he will always have a good experience when you approach him, even when he has his special (guarded) item.
For this exercise, give your dog an item (bone, toy, etc.) and let him settle in with it (tether him if you feel you need to for safety). Then approach at a distance that does not trigger the aggression or guarding behavior. If you do not see any signs of aggression, toss your dog a high-value treat. Repeat these steps at the same distance until you see your dog learns to anticipate the treat when you come towards him. Once your dog learns to anticipate the treat, move your distance closer and repeat the exercise. Do this until you can walk right up to your dog and hand him a treat.
Training with New Commands
To teach your dog to give up anything he has in his possession, you will have to teach him the commands: “drop it” and “leave it”. First, practice these commands using low-value objects and work your way up to high-value objects, including those your dog guards. Do these exercises every day with as many objects as you can. You want your dog to learn that when he hears “drop it” or “leave it” he will be rewarded for complying, no matter what he has in his mouth.
Use the "Drop It" command to teach your dog to give up things that he has in his mouth. When your dog has an item in his mouth, approach him with a high-value treat. Show this high-value treat to your dog, and when he spits out the item to get the treat, say “drop it” in a cheerful voice and then give him the treat. Then pick up the item he dropped and give it back to him. Repeat this several times in a row and then leave him with the original item. Ultimately, your dog will will learn that dropping an item is rewarding and he will often get the item back in the end. Once you have associated the words “drop it” with the behavior of spitting something out of his mouth, you can start to use it as a command for the behavior.
Use the "Leave It" command when you want your dog to move away from something. To train the command, you want to tempt your dog with a low-value item (dry food, boring toy). You can set it on the floor, near your training area. When he shows interest in the item, move towards him, put a yummy treat right to his nose and lure him away, cheerfully telling him to “leave it” as he is moving towards you. Give him the treat when you have moved him several feet away. Repeat this several times so that your dog begins to associate the command with the act of moving away from something. Once you think he has learned this association, you can start using “leave it” as the command. When your dog shows interest in something, say “leave it” without showing the treat. If he has learned that those words mean move away from one thing and get something better – he will do it. If he doesn't, go back to the first part and keep repeating the process until he does it. Then, increase the value of the temptation item your dog must move away from (or "leave"). Any object that your dog currently guards should be forbidden until you have worked your way up to them in practice sessions.
Trade Game – Before “Drop It” becomes a reliable command for your dog, if dog gets a hold of something that he is not supposed to have or something you know he will guard, you can either ignore him (only if not valuable to you or dangerous to the dog) or play the trade game! To play, get a handful of very tasty treats (chicken, cheese, etc.) and toss them on the floor several feet away from your dog. Once he runs to get the pile of treats on the floor, pick up the item. The key is to get the item without eliciting aggression. You may have to keep tossing treats farther away from the item before it is safe for you to pick it up.
Why Dogs Jump
First and foremost, jumping is the canine way of saying "hello". It’s how your dog shows his joy at seeing you, a visitor at the house, or a friendly-looking stranger on the street. It’s not an attempt to dominate you, nor is it done out of spite. Your dog’s jumping behavior just means he has not yet learned another way to greet people!
Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump…
When you arrive home:
Alternatively, you can prevent the problem in the first place. Use a baby gate to keep your dog away from the entry door, perhaps by limiting him to certain rooms while you are away. Then you can wait until your dog sits to greet him.
Around the house:
By following this approach, you train your dog to sit for attention. Be sure to reinforce this behavior by giving your dog some attention (praise, a cuddle, etc.) when he chooses to sit nicely rather than overly excitedly demanding attention.
People on the street:
Adding a new dog to a home with a resident dog can be great fun and offers both your family and your dog extra companionship. Just keep in mind: dogs need time to build relationships. The more quarrel-free you can keep the early stages of the pup-sibling relationship, the stronger it will be. Yet quarrels can still easily happen! That’s why it’s crucial to proceed slowly, even if it appears that the dogs are getting along without any problems.
Preparation is half the battle. Before you bring your new dog home, be sure to:
Introducing the Dogs
Building the relationship
The length of this phase varies from one sibling pair to another. Carefully watch both dogs’ body language for clues before you increase their time together. Until then, follow these guidelines:
How to Recognize Fearful Behavior
The body language of a shy, anxious, or afraid dog is sometimes obevious – and other times it isn’t. Here are some examples of behavior that could be signs of fear:
If you see any of these behaviors, first consult your veterinarian to rule out medical issues.
Why Your Dog Exhibit Fearful Behavior
Fear is a common and perfectly normal, innate, and adaptive behavior in all animals. It's part of surival instinct and fearful behavior should be expected, to an extent. However, if fear isn’t addressed, or if fear is preventing your dog from everday activities, there may be serious beahvioral or health concerns. If your dog is showing fear or shyness, you should always deal with it proactively.
Although it’s possible that a fearful dog has suffered abuse or bad experiences, most of the time, fears result from a combination of a genetic predisposition and some lack of exposure to positive experiences, especially in the first months of life. For instance, a dog may have missed out on becoming socialized to certain kinds of people simply by not being around them enough when he was a puppy.
Different Kinds of Shyness
Helping a Shy Dog
Even the smartest, best-trained dog can have accidents, especially when getting used to a new home. It is important to give your dog the benefit of the doubt and treat your new dog like a puppy for the first weeks, at least where house-training is concerned. The key to success is to use a dog-proofed area and/or crate.
Take your dog out...
Four Golden Rules for House-Training
Keep in mind that your dog’s size affects how long he can hold it. The smaller the dog, the less time you can expect him to go without a bathroom break.
If Your Dog Has an Accident
If you catch your dog making a mistake. Interrupt him without being too harsh (“Ah! Ah! Let’s go outside!”), the hustle him outside to finish. If he finishes there, praise and reward him. The important thing is to interrupt, not to punish. Punishing your dog for accidents can make him afraid to go in front of you, so he hides his mistakes by going behind couches or beds or in closets. He would also become less likely to go in front of you outside, making it impossible to praise him and to make him understand what you want him to do.
If your dog makes a mistake while you are not there. Don’t scold or punish him. He won’t make the connection with his accident – smacking him or rbbing his face in his own mess will just make him afraid of you. Only if you catch him in the act should you respond, otherwise you are too late.
After two or three weeks with no accidents, give our dog access to one extra room of the house and supervise closely. If your dog is still accident-free, add another room every two or three weeks. If you are having trouble, call us at (772) 223-8822 or visit www.hstc1.org for our obedience class list and trainer information.
Why Dogs Bark and Lunge on Leash
Does your dog whine, bark, growl, or lunge when he sees another dog while he’s on his leash? This unpleasant but common behavioral problem in dogs can be caused by barrier frustration. From nature’s side, dogs are strongly motivated to greet one another, and on leash, they can’t always do that.
Barrier frustration is intense frustration on the dog’s part at the inability to express normal canine body language and/or interact with other dogs. The restrictive barrier is the leash in this case, but can also be something like a window, fence, or gate. In essence, the dog’s frustration has amplified to a point where he can’t help his reaction.
On-Leash Aggression vs. Off-Leash Aggression
Though leash aggression can look vicious, it disappears when the leash comes off and the dog meets other dogs off leash. If your dog shows aggression toward other dogs when meeting off leash, then that is serious aggression. See the article Dog-Dog Aggression: Off-Leash.
What You Can Do About It
If you can’t take a class and your own efforts are not successful, contact HSTC behavior specialist. Don’t live in the area? Search locally for a veterinary behavior specialist (Dip ACVB), a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT).
Why Dogs Are Aggressive toward Other Dogs
Some aggression may be a normal, adaptive behavior in virtually all animal species and domestic dogs are no exception. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to minimize both the frequency and intensity of dog-to-dog aggression.
Dog Park Fighting
Dogs can be bullies, protective about toys or food, or socially uncomfortable, and any of these issues can make for regular excitement at the dog park. Dogs do not automatically get along with every dog they meet, just like we don’t get along with every single person we come across.
Most importantly, keep in mind that dog parks don’t suit every dog. Many dogs thrive during social time with other dogs, but some need their personal space and that’s okay, too. If that’s your dog, bypass the dog park and instead use hiking trails, beaches, or other less-crowded spaces for your dog’s exercise.
What You Can Do
Be honest with yourself: is your dog truly a good dog park candidate? Is he socially versed and friendly with dogs of all sizes, breeds, and temperament, and loves to play and wrestle?
If you're not sure how to answer that question, look out for these cues:
If the behavior in any of these situations continues despite your careful supervision and active management, or your dog gets into serious fights or inflicts real damage, he’s obviously not a good dog park candidate.
Make a lot of posters and post them around your neighborhood. Keep it simple: "LOST DOG" or "CAT" should be at the top of your poster, in large, easy-to-read bold letters. Include a brief description or breed type, and the animal’s name. If you have a clear picture of your pet, include that too. Offer a reward, but do not state how much, and include your telephone number in large numbers at the bottom of the poster.
Place a "Lost" ad in your local newspaper the very first day your pet is missing. These ads are often free.
Get outside and call for your pet by name. The best time is at night and at dawn. If you are calling from your car, drive slowly, roll down all the windows, stop and turn your vehicle off frequently to listen.
Call all your neighbors personally. Your pet may be frightened and hiding. Ask people to check their barns and sheds, especially at night.
Call all of the veterinary clinics in the area, including emergency animal hospitals outside of your local area. Sometimes people pick up a stray and drive it to a distant clinic. You’ll also need to call all of the animal shelters, animal control offices, local police, the state troopers office, local kennels, the highway department, dog training clubs, and grooming shops. Get the word out as best you can.
Visit all of the local animal shelters, daily.
Don't give up! Be persistent in your search, secure as much help as you can from friends, family, and neighbors. Get the word out right away -- don't wait a few hours to see if your pet will come home.
The Humane Society maintains a lost and found register to help reunite pets with their owners. Anyone who loses their pet is encouraged to visit the shelter on a daily basis. Remember, only you know what your pet(s) looks like.
As faithful companions and treasured family members, pets bring such joy and comfort to our lives. When a beloved pet dies, it is natural to grieve. If you have recently lost a pet, you may be experiencing the following common signs and symptoms of grief:
The death of a pet is often a child’s first introduction to grief. Like adults, it is normal and natural for children to grieve the loss of a pet, and when they do, children need
comfort and stability. To help a child who is grieving, it is best to let his or her questions be your guide. Try to be honest about the circumstances of the death as well as your
own feelings. Avoid vague terms that a child may not understand. If you are not able to answer a question, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” It
is OK to cry and be sad in front of children as long as you maintain an atmosphere of safety. This teaches them that it is OK for them to cry, laugh and be themselves even when they are
When helping children, you cannot go wrong with honesty, stability and comfort. Keep normal routines as much as possible. Babies and toddlers need physical reassurance such as hugs. Provide brief and simple explanations to young children. Older children often benefit from clear and factual information about the loss. Avoid telling children how they should or should not feel. Instead, listen and accept their feelings unconditionally. Don’t be surprised if children are sad one minute and want to play the next. You may also want to contact teachers, school guidance counselors, or other school staff to inform them about the loss.
All living things have a uniqueness that is all their own. It lives in the heart of those who love them and remains after we leave this world. Your pet is no exception. While it is natural that memories of your pet bring grief and sadness, it may help to remember that these feelings are a tribute to your pet’s life and the impact he or she had in this world. What special attributes did he or she display? What did he or she like and dislikes? How did he or she love you? When you are ready, you may want to honor and remember these special traits by:
We partner with Treasure Coast Hospice in Stuart for assistance with pet loss. Please call 772-403-4530 to find out more about this program.
Palm City Animal Medical Center
3090 SW Mapp Rd
Pet Emergency of Martin County
2239 S Kanner Hwy
Roman Animal Clinic
3188 SW Martin Downs Blvd
Atlantic Animal Clinic
1315 NE Sunview Terrace
Savanna Animal Hospital
1800 NE Savannah Rd
Coastal Animal Hospital
4191 NW Federal Hwy
Animal Health Center
1861 SW Gatlin Blvd
Acacia Animal Clinic
4798 S US Highway 1
Animal Clinic of Fort Pierce
2508 Okeechobee Rd
Tri-County Animal Hospital
1811 Okeechobee Rd
Midway Veterinary Hospital
3404 W Midway Rd
Paws 2 Help (paws2help.org)
185 East Indiantown Rd
*Low Cost, Full Service Clinic
Indian Street Animal Clinic
1233 SE Indian St, Stuit 101
Stuart Sound Animal Hospital
6068 SE Federal Hwy
Stuart Animal Hospital
3003 SE Federal Hwy
All Creatures Animal Hospital
5885 S Kanner Hwy
Surfside Animal Hospital
812 SE Osceola St
Animal Medical Hospital
825 NW Dixie Hwy
Boulevard Animal Hospital
835 SE Ocean Blvd
Monterey Animal Clinic
2251 S Kanner Hwy
Port Salerno Animal Hospital
4515 SE Dixie Hwy
Central Thrift Store:
2585 SE Federal Hwy., Stuart, FL 34994
North Thrift Store:
1099 NW 21st St., Stuart, FL 34994