I have seen a very disturbing trend in the past 20 years of subdivisions utilizing covenants regarding fencing that are clearly "un-dog-friendly". The fences must not be over 36" high and require field fencing wire mesh that never blocks the view. The situation is intensified when the yard backs up to an open space walking path.Read More
Filtering by Tag: barking
Have you noticed that there are times when your dog can't respond to a cue that is normally easy? Have you considered that it may be you?
I've seen this phenomenon multiple times in my training classes. If the sound of the owner's voice is strident, as though the dog has already failed, the dog tries to appease the owner and that appeasement behavior isn't the sit, down, stay, etc... I recognize the dog’s body language, ears against the head, shoulders hunched, licking of the lips, squinting of the eyes, sidling up to the owner. But, sometimes, it doesn't look like this at all. Some dogs jump on you when they’re confused.
Some dogs will use a common “calming signal”, turning the head away and avoiding eye contact. It’s as if the dog is saying, "Hey, you’re making me nervous. You get a hold of yourself and I'll make eye contact when you're calm."
My Golden Retriever is, let's just say, not your typical Golden. When she feels that I am stressed or frustrated she doesn't respond to simple cues, like "sit" or "stay". Instead she slinks over to me, tucks her body close to mine or looks away. If I don’t recognize how I’m affecting her, we get stuck in that appeasement cycle with me slowly eroding her confidence. Then I take a deep breath, smile, relax and change the tone of my voice from "impatient" to "friendly" and she can cooperate normally.
We know that dogs are experts at reading body language, but, they are also masters at noticing when we are emotionally unstable. I love that she helps me recognize when I need to chill out. She reminds me that anxiety and disobedience or two completely different things.
Little Dogs and Fear Based Behavior
Last summer I was called to the home of an elderly woman who had a 5 year old Toy Breed dog, named Willie. Willie growled, and snapped at people who tried to touch him when he was in the owner's arms.
When I arrived, the owner was holding the dog who was barking and the owner was trying to hold his mouth shut. The dog was showing a long list of "distance increasing" body language signals: Freezing, lip curling, lip licking, hard eyes, wrinkled brow, turning away, glancing sideways, growling. It was sad to see how desperate Willy was to keep me at a distance.
"He's protecting me", the woman chuckled. “Perhaps”, I agreed, “but, he's also protecting himself.” To me his message was pretty clear:
"This is what I do to keep scary people away from me. Please don't come any closer".
The following is a list of Do's and Don'ts for any dog with Fear Based Aggressive Behavior.
When a dog is being held he has no escape route. He needs to be able to move away to a safe distance. Do not pick him up.
Visitors should ignore him, even if he's barking, leave the entry hall and go directly to the living room.
Visitors must not approach him. Allow him to approach when he feels there's no risk.
Visitors may toss treats to him away from their bodies.
Never force him to make contact with anyone.
Keep a soft harness on the dog. When you need to control his behavior, such as when you go to the door, put his leash on him.
Put a valuable busy chew toy in his bed so he has a rewarding reason to stay there.
The training goal is to change the way he feels about visitors and to work on interrupting his behavior, asking for a more controlled behavior like Sit and Come and then keeping him busy while the humans socialize.
Don't wait until your dog bites someone. Get professional help.
Dogs Dig, Bark, Whine, Scratch, Pull, Drag and Chew! And these people wouldn't have it any other way.
Buddy's owner lay unconscious on the ground in a blizzard. Buddy barked non-stop until someone listened…
When Eve and Norman Fertig rescued a sick, two-week-old half wolf, half German shepherd puppy from a breeder almost seven years ago, they'd never dreamed that the animal one day would save their lives.
The Fertigs were treating injured animals in the forest sanctuary on their property. One such animal is a near-18-year-old raven, while another is a crow who was shot, blind in one eye with two broken legs.
"While we're in there, the lights go out and I realized something's wrong," Eve Fertig said. "We go outside to see what's happening and down comes one massive tree ... the trees came down across us."
The massive storm that hit upstate New York that night felled trees, blocking the Fertig's path to the other sanctuary buildings - such as the school and storage building - and to their home, which was at least 200 feet away.
"We were in big trouble. ... I said to my husband, 'I think we could die out here,'" Eve said.
"I wasn't prepared for this ... I thought, 'we're trapped, we're absolutely trapped,'" Eve said. "That's when Shana began to dig beneath the fallen trees."
The 160-pound dog that habitually follows her owners around - Eve likens it to "Mary had a little lamb," when the lamb went everywhere Mary went - eventually found the Fertigs and began digging a path in the snow with her teeth and claws underneath the fallen trees, similar to a mineshaft, and barking as if to tell them to follow.
After Shana tunneled all the way to the house - a process that took until about 11:30 p.m. - she came back, grabbed the sleeve of Eve's jacket, and threw the 86-pound woman over her back and neck, which Eve described as "as wide as our kitchen shelf."
Norman grabbed Eve's legs, and the dog pulled them through the tunnel, under the trees and through an opening in a fence to the house, at which they arrived around 2 a.m.
"It was the most heroic thing I've ever seen in my life," Eve said. "We opened the door and we just fell in and she laid on top of us and just stayed there and kept us alive ... that's where we laid until the fireman found us."
Shelby Barked, Scratched and Whined Her Owners to Safety
Shelby became the 45th Skippy Dog Hero of the Year for saving two adults and two children from carbon monoxide poisoning. The dog (with her keen sense of smell) was the first to detect the rising C0 levels while the rest of the family was asleep, nudging each of them out of their sleep and refused to stop barking, scratching, and whining until the family was safely outside. Luckily, each family member was treated at a nearby hospital and made a full recovery.
"In my eyes, and in the eyes of my family, Shelby is more than a hero; she is a lifesaver, a guardian angel," said Joleen Walderbach.