Showing posts from April, 2012

Dog Bites

I usually like to talk about Wolfie in my posts, but today's topic is something that, thankfully, Wolfie has never done.  Over 50% of all my clients who have said that their dog bit them or one of their guests has come about because of this circumstance.  The important thing is that it is completely preventable and does not necessarily mean you have a bad dog.

My dog bites!  My dog bites!  I hear this all the time, but when I dive down into the facts, it is rarely the case...

First of all, you have to understand the difference between a bite and a nip.  I bite is where the dog will grab on to you, pull, shake, and tear away at what he has.  I nip is there the dog will put his teeth on your skin and possibly create a puncture wound (holes in your skin).  Understanding the difference between these two acts, a bite & a nip, is very important in understanding what the dog was actually doing and thinking.

A nip is a heightened warning to cease and desist whatever you are doing.  Somet…

How to Properly Pet Wolfie

You know, it is kind of weird.  Sometimes Wolfie is just fine with people petting him and other times he gets a little persnickety.  What is causing that?

For some reason, we humans think that all dogs want to be petted any time day or night.  We think that we can just walk right up to them, even from behind, bend over them, and start petting.  This is not the case.  Sometimes we dog owners actually force our dogs over to people to be petted.  

When we come directly up to Wolfie or force him to a person, we are unknowingly putting Wolfie on the receiving end of a possibly aggressive act.  The issue that we have to address is Wolfie's perspective of aggression and his feeling of safety.  

The bottom line is that we always must allow Wolfie to approach the person who wants to pet him.  If Wolfie feels unsafe or unsure about that individual, he will hold back, letting us know that he doesn't feel safe in the situation.  If this is the case, that person will not be petting Wolfie tod…

Wolfie Likes to Rip Out My Plants...

It is so strange.  I love to plant my new flowers and plants at this time of year and Wolfie likes to go after them.  Normally, he could care less....

This is an interesting topic that I came across in the last few years, and the stories I have been told about this are somewhat funny.  Let me recant two stories that I have been told and then step back and try and explain what happened and the simple fix.

One of my clients had just been to Home Depot the prior weekend.  He purchased a flat of turf to extend the grassy area of his back yard.  He had all the turf delivered to his back patio right outside his sliding glass door and family room.  His dog loved to sit by the glass door and stare out into the back yard and golf course beyond.  Also, many nights he would let his dog stay outside because the dog loved to sleep on the patio furniture.

So Saturday comes and my client begins to lay out all the new turf in the new lawn area.  It took him most of the day.  During that time, his dog wa…

Wolfie Loves to Counter Surf

Whenever I am cooking in the kitchen and leave the room for a few minutes or if I leave a sandwich on the coffee table, Wolfie almost always steals and eats the food on the counter or my sandwich on the table.  Can I stop this?

The answer is "yes", but the answer is probably not what you think.  First of all, we have to understand why Wolfie is going after the food.  There is no such thing as "ownership" when it comes to food in Wolfie's eyes.  He probably won't try to grab it out of your hand or jump up on the counter to get it while you are working in the kitchen.  In his eyes, seeing you as the "leader of the pack", he understands that you are currently engaged and it is not his place to step in.

When you leave the room, you have given up the food.  It is now perfectly acceptable for Wolfie to retrieve the food if he wants.  Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't, but in his eyes, it is perfectly fine to take the food.

This behavior comes …

Problems Walking Multiple Dogs

I take my dogs out for a walk and I can never control them.  I try and tell Wolfie to be good and Whitie starts to act up.  Then, Fido goes nuts.  It seems I am always taking one step forward and falling two steps back.... Literally!

We must remember that walking is still based on a set of rules that you have and that Wolfie, Whitie, or Fido must obey.  You must also understand that they are always testing you to see if you are being consistent with your rules.  If you aren't being consistent, it is a sign to them that they can do whatever they want.  This is not good.

So, what can we do about this?

The answer is simple.  We must start walking each dog by themselves.  The reason is that we must give each dog our full attention and correct them instantly when they are not doing what we require.  This will allow us to send very clear and consistent signals to them.

Shorten your walks so that you still have enough time to walk each by themselves.  Continue this process until each is walk…