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Showing posts from July, 2013

Dogs and Sibling Rivalry

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My two dogs have been fine for years and all of a sudden they have become aggressive and possessive between each other.  I have heard this could be caused by sibling rivalry. I know I had this with my sister and brother, but can this happen with dogs?



The answer is "yes", dogs do have the ability to display sibling rivalry.  This might a simple snap and growl from time to time to a full out brawl almost every time they get close to each other.  The important thing is to try and correct this as soon as possible or you may have to rehouse one or both of your dogs.
Here are some tips that we have developed over the years: Keep your dogs separated until you are comfortable that they no longer act on aggressive tenancies or display dominance posturing.   Before you begin, you must clearly understand that the most important relationship that needs to be reestablished and strengthened is the relationship between you and each of your dogs.  Remember that sibling rivalry is often caused…

Wolfie is Protective of His Food and a Little Aggressive

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It is kind of strange.  Wolfie is normally a great dog, but sometimes he gets protective and aggressive with his food.  I don't want this to continue because I don't want anyone go get hurt by mistake.  What can I do to help Wolfie over this?



Aggression with any animal is not a great thing.  The good news that we can offer with canine food aggression is that we have a clear set of actions that can be taken to minimize or eliminate this issue.  We first have to think about the reasons Wolfie might be food aggressive and/or possessive.  

If Wolfie was a stray or a rescue, that could naturally cause possessive aggressive actions regarding food.  In this case, his food was a limited resource that was critical to his safety and health.  Naturally, he would act in such a manner to protect such an asset.  If Wolfie was starved intentionally or through neglect, that could also be a cause for his aggressive and/or possessive attitude towards food.  In this instance, the root cause could …

Teaching Wolfie the Wrong Stuff

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I like to teach Wolfie to do a lot of fun stuff, but sometimes he seems to take advantage of me and do them at the wrong time.  What can I do and what can I tell Wolfie?



We see this a lot as we are out working with out clients.  They teach Wolfie things like "give paw".  This is great when they ask him to do it, but they don't understand that they are conditioning him to do it when he approaches other people or might want attention. 

Just to peak your interest, a few other examples of teaching Wolfie the wrong thing are:

Jump on me when I come home.What do you hear?  What do you hear?  What do you hear?Get the squirrel!We think nothing of this because, as humans, we can understand when an action should take place and when it might be inappropriate to perform an action.  This is based on our ability to "logically think through a situation".
Wolfie learns through pure repetition and consistency.  If I teach him to "paw me", he might paw me even though I mig…

Picking up Little Wolfie

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Sometimes when I pick up Wolfie, he gives a little whimp or tries to give me a little nip.  What can I do to make sure that Wolfie is fine when I pick him up?


The most important aspect of picking up Wolfie is to make sure that you are not hurting or startling him.  He must feel comfortable during the entire process and be assured that you are always keeping him safe and secure.  Here are some qeneral tips:

Never let small children pick up Wolfie.  Wolfie might squirm and they might drop him.  They might also squeeze him and he might nip to tell them that he is being hurt.Don't pick up big dogs.  They can easily squirm and you will drop them.  If you need to get your big dog into a car or on a bed, build a ramp or get some "doggie stairs".  This will assure that Wolfie will kept safe and you won't hurt your back.Now, let's discuss how to pick him up, assuming that Wolfie is a medium to small dog and you have the ability to pick him up: Lightly stroke Wolfie to make s…