Question— We have a 10 year old yellow lab. He has spent most of his life as an outside kennel dog with a nice warm house. In the winter he will be kept in the heated garage and on occasion come in the house. Then in the spring he will move back out. This past year he started crying by the front door and one night got very upset and started chewing on the front door wanting to come in. Now in the nice weather he no longer wants to be out in the kennel very long, ESP near evening. He will chew through the wire to get out. What is going on with him?
Anxiety is common among dogs for a wide variety of reasons, sometimes situational and sometimes based on personality. Anxiety comes about through different fears or phobias, and is expressed through various behaviors including constant barking, excessive licking or grooming, destroying everything from clothes to walls and door frames, eliminating indoors even when housebroken, or even reacting snappish or aggressively toward people or other animals.
Once you have determined to bring a new dog home, the real work begins! Especially if they have not been house broken the dog must be taught obedience. This can be a very frustrating and even thankless task. Initially, it seems like a lot of work for very little effort. The dog does not appreciate the training; it seems like you are constantly in a battle of wills and oftentimes your family will blame you for every failure or backwards step that the new animal takes!
For dogs, English is a second language Dogs aren’t born understanding English. They can learn the significance of specific words, like “sit” and “walk” and “treat,” but when humans bury those familiar words in complex sentences, dogs sometimes have difficulty understanding. They can also get confused when people use different words for the same thing. For example, some people will confuse their dogs by saying, “Fluffy, down!” one day and “Sit down, Fluffy!” another day. Then they wonder why Fluffy doesn’t respond the same way every time. When teaching your dog a cue or command, decide on just one word or phrase, and make sure you and your family use it clearly and consistently.
Dogs have very short attention spans. If you try to take them on a two-hour training sessions, chances are good that they won’t learn much. For most dogs, 15-minutes to half an hour is usually enough to learn a command. In general, you should be doing several short sessions instead of one large one. Spread out these short sessions throughout the day or week and try to avoid marathon sessions. This will ultimately allow them to absorb more information and remember more commands.

You should also consider bringing in a professional if your dog exhibits behavior that makes you nervous (like growling or biting), particularly if you have young children in your home. It’s safest to begin behavioral modification with a professional when a dog first starts exhibiting troublesome behaviors rather than waiting for them to take root. As the expression goes, dog rarely grow out of problem behaviors, they grow into them.
Use real rewards Be sure to reward your dog with things she truly finds rewarding. Some dogs will happily work for dry kibble when training in your living room but ignore it if you’re training in the park. Because the park’s a more distracting environment, paying attention there is a harder job for your dog. Pay her accordingly by using a reward worth working for, like small pieces of chicken or cheese, or a chance to run off-leash at the dog park with her buddies. Also keep in mind that what your dog considers rewarding at any given time may change. If she’s just eaten a big meal, a scratch behind the ears or a game of tug might be most rewarding. If she hasn’t eaten in a while, she’ll probably work enthusiastically for tasty treats.
One of the most frequent complaints of pet parents is that their dogs “just won’t listen.” But put yourself in your dog’s shoes for a moment. If someone was constantly chattering away in a foreign language that you’d never heard before, how long would you pay attention? Probably not for very long-because you simply wouldn’t be able to understand what the foreign speaker was trying to communicate.
Laying a solid training foundation will make life with your dog easier and more fun. If you’re not sure where to start, sign up for an in-person obedience class; there’s no better way to train your dog than to practice with an expert IRL. You can also follow any of the helpful links above, and check out our blog archives for additional tips and tricks.
Boot camp is a little more unconventional when it comes to teaching dog obedience. However, it is also a very effective method. Boot camp situations involve a trainer taking the dog to their home or training facility for a specified period of time and working with the dog one on one. Many people argue that this type of training is troublesome because it relies on someone else commanding the dog; however, in some instances, it can be very successful. Some boot camp settings involve owners paying daily visits to practice commands with their dog. These types of training situations are particularly successful for dogs that have significant obstacles to overcome such as aggressive tendencies or fear responses.
I allowed Sally the opportunity to go places as she pleased but only if I could trust her (which I always could). I gave her the opportunity to mess up so I could correct her and let her know where she could be. This is still something we do in the kitchen from time to time. If she is in the kitchen when I’m cooking I ask her to get back. This is for her safety because I don’t want to trip over her while I’m using a knife or opening the oven door. Additionally, I prefer to not have her in the kitchen begging.
To help my dog with his anxiety, I first try to identify the source of his anxiety. That is difficult to do without looking at the dog, his environment, routine, and other surrounding context. If I am not sure where the anxious behavior is coming from, I may visit with several good professional trainers. They can observe my dog, give me their opinion as to what is causing the anxiety, and why. Sometimes, I am too close to the problem, so it helps to get professional opinions from others.
Of course, neither extreme is really true. All animals have some level of genetic constraints (that's why you don't see bloodhounds herding sheep or cats that help the blind navigate the street). You can nudge your animal in one direction or the other, but you're likely to hit genetic limits eventually in their behavior. Animal behavior professionals will help you set realistic expectations regarding what can be changed. 
Motivational training has its roots in captive animal training, where compulsion and corrections are both difficult and dangerous, and ignoring bad behavior is not problematic as the animal lives under controlled conditions. As a dog training strategy, purely positive training is feasible, but difficult, as it requires time and patience to control the rewards the dog receives for behavior. Some activities such as jumping up or chasing squirrels are intrinsically rewarding, the activity is its own reward, and with some activities the environment may provide reinforcement such as when the response from dog next door encourages barking.[58]
At Fur and Feathers, our training methods are dog-friendly and include positive reinforcement.  Dog training is individualized based on breed, age and temperament. We believe that praise is the best reward for your pet and that your dog will achieve the most positive results in a fun and challenging environment. Our award-winning dog training system is designed to do three things:
First, teach the release word. Choose which word you will use, such as “OK” or “free.” Stand with your puppy in a sit or a stand, toss a treat on the floor, and say your word as he steps forward to get the treat. Repeat this a couple of times until you can say the word first and then toss the treat AFTER he begins to move. This teaches the dog that the release cue means to move your feet.
5. Learn your dog’s body language. Your dog constantly communicates how she’s feeling, and the better you understand what she’s saying, the easier it can be to avoid stressful situations. Something that was fine for her last week might be too much for her to cope with today due to a phenomenon called trigger stacking (an increase in anxiety-related behaviors caused by the dog experiencing repeated stressful events without enough time in between for the associated stress hormones to leave her system). Avoid this by keeping an eye out for signs that tell you how your dog is feeling.
Thank you for mentioning that one of the good ways to train the dog is by taking them away and telling them to stay until they get used to it. My pet never listens to me, and to be honest, I am not that eager to teach him either. He’s a nice pet, and that’s enough for me. But I guess not for my hubby. Anyway, since we do not have enough time to lecture him anyway, I think we need to hire a pet trainer.
Just as a child needs a caring parent; an athletic team needs a coach; your puppy needs a leader and a clear social hierarchy. If you do not take up the role of leader, your dog will; and you will end up with an unruly, disobedient dog. Many people try to win their new puppy's love by letting the puppy always have its way. Buckets of affection is a wonderful thing for most puppies, but it must be tempered with respect.

Many behavior problems can be prevented by providing “legal,” acceptable ways for your dog to express her natural impulses. There are some things that dogs just need to do. So rather than trying to get your dog to stop doing things like chewing, mouthing and roughhousing altogether, channel these urges in the right direction. Increased physical activity and mental enrichment are excellent complements to training. Please see our articles, Enriching Your Dog’s Life, Exercise for Dogs and How to Stuff a KONG® Toy, to learn more.
Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian scientist who is regarded as developing the foundations of ethological research,[14] further popularised animal behaviorism with his books, Man Meets Dog and King Solomon's Ring.[15] Lorenz stated that there were three essential commands to teach a dog: "lie down" (stay where you are), "basket" (go over there) and "heel" (come with me).[16]
The first and most important obedience lesson for many dog owners is housebreaking. Puppies should begin housebreaking at approximately 7 ½ to 8 ½ weeks old. Ideally, puppies should not be separated from their mothers until at least 8 weeks of age so you should not be faced with a puppy younger than this anyway. Sometimes older dogs need to be housetrained too when they are rescued from a shelter or rescue organization, housebreaking an older dog involves the same process as housebreaking a younger dog.

Dogs suffer from stress and anxiety as much as people do, though it can be harder to recognize their symptoms. Your pet might try to tell you that he’s stressed by pushing his ears back, tucking his tail, salivating, yawning, licking his muzzle, or lifting his front paw. Other, more obvious signs of dog anxiety include cowering or hiding, trembling, panting, or expressing his anal glands.
Puppies don't have very long attention spans, so keep all the puppy training sessions short. Practice one command for five minutes at a time, and again later when you have opportunities outside of training sessions. Your dog can only do one thing at a time, so focus on one skill and move on once he has mastered it. You should also always end the training on a positive note so your pet is excited for his next lesson.
What you have described are exactly same symptoms as my dog. Lady came to my mom’s house one day from the desert. It was clear that someone had abandoned her because she still had on a dusty pink collar with the tags removed. My mom adopted her immediately and kept her for about two years before her she lost her house and partner to a fire. While in transition, my husband and I took Lady in and became so attached to her that she ultimately became a wonderful part of our family. We took her to the vet and found out that she is a German Shepherd/Lab mix and that the closest they can guess her age is “over ten”. She has been “over ten” for four years now. Due to her situation, she has always had some degree of separation anxiety. She also would get nervous during thunderstorms. However, during the last two weeks, her anxiety increased significantly. She started pacing around frequently. My husband and I are both teachers and were on break so we were rarely, if ever, away from the house at the same time. There are rarely thunderstorms in the middle of the winter here. Her anxiety seemed to come from somewhere we couldn’t identify, and it was constant. She has had a very hard time sleeping for the last couple of weeks. She gets into small spaces (corners) and shakes. She positions herself almost on top of me and just trembles. I took her to the vet earlier this week and she tried to find a source of pain that could be triggering the behavior. She couldn’t find any kind of issue that could be the cause of the increased anxiety. Lady does have arthritis, but she has been on pain medication for over a year now. The vet prescribed some valium and instructed me to change her diet slightly. She also administered a drug test and found that one of the kidney levels had jumped from the low normal range to the abnormal range (16 points) in the last year.

Thank you for your reply. We took your advice and are keeping Bailey’s experiences with my husband very positive. Bailey always loved to share whatever my husband is eating, so he made a little Hansel and Gretel trail of sweet potato chips that led up to the sofa. This is working for now. We will continue to take things slowly and positive, letting Bailey set the pace within reason. Thanks again.
Clicker training, a common form of positive reinforcement, is a simple and effective dog training method. Although it is still fine to train your dog without clicker training, many people find it helpful. With clicker training, you can easily and effectively teach your dog all kinds of basic and advanced commands and tricks. It's fast and easy to learn how to clicker train your dog
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