We can show our puppies how to behave in our homes without ever scaring or hurting them. It’s actually much easier to focus on teaching your puppy what to do rather than what not to do. You don’t have to back up your requests with threats. In fact, your puppy will bond with you and listen better if he’s not scared of getting it wrong (and what you’ll do if he does).
Emily Vey is a content aficionado on the Dogs Naturally team. She’s constantly looking for the most up-to-date news and information to share with DNM readers and to help her own dogs live the healthiest lives possible. She lives in Ontario with her partner-in-crime Ryan, their husky Inuk and German shepherd Indi. Together they enjoy hiking, swimming and all things outdoors!
You will be training your puppy from the moment you bring it home and start to house train. Puppies start learning from birth and good breeders begin handling and socialization right away. Some training can begin as soon as the puppy can open its eyes and walk. Young puppies have short attention spans but you can expect them to begin to learn simple obedience commands such as “sit,” “down,” and “stay,” as young as 7 to 8 weeks of age.
Even if your pup gets the best start in life, he will still likely develop some “problem” behaviors as he grows up. We put the word “problem” in quotes because most of these behaviors are natural and normal dog behaviors, but they are not welcome in the human world. Behaviors like jumping on you as a gesture of affection, nipping at your hands as an invitation to play, and sniffing you in inappropriate places are all perfectly acceptable behaviors for dogs to do to other dogs.
Canine Lullabies even comes with a money-back guarantee if it doesn't calm your dog. If you want to see the magic in action, there's actually a video of this music calming down 50 shelter dogs in less than two minutes, so it might be worth a try. Overall, dealing with an anxious dog can be challenging, and it can cost you a lot of furniture. However, the sooner you identify the cause of Fido's anxiety, the sooner you can work up a treatment plan that will help you both feel better.
Second, it’s easiest to ignore unwanted behavior and reward an incompatible behavior. When Rover bites at your hands, he wants attention. He wasn’t born programmed to know that you want him to sit and ask nicely for attention, so you have to teach him. Instead of scolding him, ask him to sit. When he complies, reward him with a food treat, lavish praise and petting on him, or offer a game of fetch or tug.

I have a 5ish year old Boxer we rescued 3 years ago. He was horribly abused, was terrified of men (and still is a little bit, it took him 2 months to get used to my husband), malnourished and suffers extreme separation anxiety. We tried everything under the Sun to help calm him and keep him relaxed. In our trial and error period of a full year he destroyed our mud room 3 times and chewed through 4 heavy gauge wire kennels. We can not, EVER, leave him in our home without a family member being home. He is still anxious if I, his alpha, am not home, but he doesn’t cause harm to himself or others. Luckily I am home with him most days.
Non-associative learning is a change in a response to a stimulus that does not involve associating the presented stimulus with another stimulus or event such as reward or punishment.[46] Habituation is non-associative learning. An example is where a dog that reacts excitedly to a door bell is subjected to repeated ringing without accompanying visitors, and stops reacting to the meaningless stimuli. It becomes habituated to the noise.[47] On the other side of habituation is sensitization. Some dogs' reactions to the stimuli become stronger instead of them habituating to the repeated stimuli or event.[48] Desensitization is the process of pairing positive experiences with an object, person, or situation that causes fear or anxiety.[49] Consistent exposure to the feared object in conjunction with rewards allows the animal to become less stressed, thereby becoming desensitized in the process. This type of training can be effective for dogs who are fearful of fireworks.[50]
If your dog is nervous because of certain situations, such as fireworks or thunderstorms, or even is nervous about being in a crowd, then distraction can work wonders. Engaging your dog's brain in work will help him focus on you and things he knows, rather than on the unknown around him that's frightening him. While it isn't the time to begin new training, it is a great time to practice tricks your dog knows and can earn rewards for. Try rewarding your dog with treats for simple commands like sit, stand, lie down, shake, sit up, roll over and other tricks he enjoys. Another possibility, especially for dogs who are highly food motivated, is distracting your dog with puzzle toys like a treat ball or tug jug, or even a frozen Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. This can also help him associate frightening things like loud noises or strangers coming over with highly valued rewards, so that the event goes from being scary to being at least tolerable.
Hi! It’s been a while. Hope all your pups are doing wonderful! Looking adorable as always. My Shiba, Reptar, (now 4 years old) has recently developed a fear of thunder. He used to not be bothered by it and would sleep right through storms. Now he tries to bury himself in me, as if he cannot get close enough to me. Of course the excessive panting and shaking occurs simultaneously. I eventually put him in his crate and cover it with a blanket and he calms down and sleeps but will not go in there to be safe on his own in the middle of the night when this happens. Since this fear has developed, the thunderstorms in my area have only occurred in the dead of the night…2am, 3am, 4am….which makes desensitization and conditioning very difficult. If it were to happen in the afternoon or evening I could easily work with Reptar to teach him to be OK with it again. Nothing I do seems to calm him down though. Especially because I am also not thinking with a clear head at 3am. Does Sephy have a fear of thunder? How do you help her or do things like the thundershirt actually work? I feel like it would just cause more anxiety for a Shiba.
Once you’ve taken some classes and your dog has mastered the necessary skills, you might decide to compete. There are three main levels of progression in competition: Novice, Open and Utility; with other steps in between to help build on the required skills. Find an event near you and then submit an official AKC entry form to the trial secretary or superintendent in charge of accepting the entries for the trial.

4. Consider changing your vet if he/she isn’t tuned in to your dog’s needs. While some vets are great with nervous and aggressive dogs, others are still very old school; they don’t listen to owners and use invasive and rough handling. There are, however, new techniques out there for vets dealing with anxious dogs. Dr. Sophia Yin has developed a program for vets that focuses on low-stress handling, which can make a huge difference in your dog’s anxiety levels. And Dogs in Need of Space has a list of vets who go the extra mile for anxious dogs; if you do want to change your vet, it’s a good place to start.


Teach him to come when called. Come Jasper! Good boy! Teaching him to come is the command to be mastered first and foremost. And since he'll be coming to you, your alpha status will be reinforced. Get on his level and tell him to come using his name. When he does, make a big deal using positive reinforcement. Then try it when he's busy with something interesting. You'll really see the benefits of perfecting this command early as he gets older.
I have a 4 year old Yorkie that has been crate trained since she was a puppy. We only crate her when we are at work. If we leave for a few hours to go eat or to the store we let her run the house. We have done this since the beginning. My routine every morning was to take her outside for her potty break before I went to work. We would get back to the front porch and I would let her off the lease and she would run and get in her crate with no problem. However, our house was broke into a year ago and she was of course in her crate in the living room when this happened. After this happened she would shake and not want to go in her crate, she would run to the bedroom and sit on the bed and shake. I had to start picking her put and putting her in there when we got to the porch. I tried a new approach, as soon as I get up I started taking her for walks in the morning. After our walk I come back and get ready for work then take her outside one last time before I leave. This helped as she did stopped shaking however I still have to pick her up and put her in the crate. I thought to myself I could deal with that as long as she was not shaking. We went to my in-laws condo on vacation in July and we do not crate her at all while we are there. When we came back she had stress colitis. Now I am back to her shaking again since we came back from vacation. Sometimes she pees and sometimes she does not. I am not sure what to do or how to handle this issue. I hope that you might have some suggestions for me.
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.
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