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First and foremost, the best thing you can do is consult your veterinarian. Your dog may or may not need medical help, but the safest thing to do is take him/her to the vet and see. If there is a need for medicine, it can take a couple weeks for the medicine to take effect. Ultimately, it is up to you to modify behaviors to get them to relax and not react to environmental situations.
While dog anxiety medication is available (i.e. clomipramine, prozac or nutritional supplements such as the amino acid called L-theanine - brand name Anxitane or Composure), holistic veterinarians prefer to use homeopathic remedies that are based on your puppy's personality and constitution. Homeopathic dog anxiety remedies include Western herbs like chamomile, lavendar, or St. John's Wort, Chinese herbs such as Shen Calmer from the Chi Institute and Bach flower essences such as Rescue Remedy. In combination with behavior modification, these remedies are a more natural method to help correct the problem.
Dogs are pack animals and knowing this will provide you with a huge advantage when training your pet. Basically, you need to let your dog know that you are the Alpha Dog. Encourage them to lick the backs of your hands and continuously rub their bellies. Whenever a dog reveals their belly, it means that they are submitting to you. Being the pack leader will ultimately make dog training sessions much more effective and less of a hassle.

There is a normal, natural fear period that begins around 14 to 16 weeks. During this period, a puppy may become wary and suspicious of new people, species or experiences. This is a normal adaptive process. Watch your puppy closely for signs of fear (cowering, urinating, and refusal of food treats). Avoid pushing or overwhelming your puppy during this developmental stage.
Never yell come or call your dog to punish it, put it outside, or in the crate. The command come should always be used in a positive way. It should mean treats, playtime, or affection. If you need to stop your dog from eating something on the ground or to ignore another dog, use the words “Leave It”. You can yell these words, stomp your foot, and clap your hands for the startle factor. If you use the word Come, make sure you can follow through with the command (meaning the pup has a trailing leash that you can grab and make the pup come to you). Otherwise, the word loses its meaning for the dog.
Dogs competing in dog sports, such as flyball, agility or Schutzhund, must be trusted in an open field, off leash and surrounded by other people, dogs, hot dogs, and flying discs. This requires more focused attention on the owner and a better recall than that found in most household companion dogs, and more advanced training than that required for formal obedience.
If your dog is nervous because of situations like fireworks, thunderstorms, or even being in a crowd, then distraction may be your best option. By working your dog's brain you 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
If your dog is nervous because of situations like fireworks, thunderstorms, or even being in a crowd, then distraction may be your best option. By working your dog's brain you 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
Trying to fit training into your hectic schedule? Our custom dog training programs are the perfect way to meet your obedience goals! Your dog will enjoy multiple daily sessions with our experienced trainers.  While learning behaviors expected from well-behaved members of your family, your dog will have daily play times and the pampering Fur and Feathers wins awards for!
Your dog is not the only factor to take into consideration when you are training in basic obedience; you also play a huge part in your dog’s training process. If you are considerably impatient or easily frustrated, then you are going to want to approach teaching your dog obedience in short lessons that focus on one command at a time. You can also benefit from enrolling in a small obedience class that will allow you a reprieve if you are feeling overwhelmed.

Playing with your dog must have many rules. You as leader start and stop playtime. Always have a special toy that only comes out when you decide to play.  Use some phrase like “let’s play” and get your dog jazzed up for one minute. Stop play and have your dog sit then “settle down” for about 30 seconds. Say “let’s play” again and get your dog excited for one minute. The more times you hype up your dog, then teach it to settle down during play, the easier it will be for you to settle it down in other situations.

The cost of dog training varies by location, and also depends on whether training is one-on-one or group classes, and whether it is at a facility or in-home. Pet stores and non-specialized trainers cost between $70-150 for a multi-week beginner-training group class. Private training averages $60-70 per session. For dogs with aggression issues, private training costs may increase to $90-100 per session.


Regular exercise and stimulation are crucial for a dog’s development, physical, and mental well-being. A stimulated dog is less likely to pick up destructive behaviors, and good nutrition is equally important for your dog's health. Making sure you take care of your dog's physical and mental needs can help you prevent any behavior problems that don't stem from anxiety, letting you know the areas where your dog needs the most help.
Moderate or severe cases of separation anxiety require a more complex desensitization and counterconditioning program. In these cases, it’s crucial to gradually accustom a dog to being alone by starting with many short separations that do not produce anxiety and then gradually increasing the duration of the separations over many weeks of daily sessions.
The general principles of positive training are simple. Just like humans, dogs will repeat behaviors that they are rewarded for. Begin by choosing a behavior you want to encourage, such as sitting. Give the command, then watch carefully. When your dog does something close to what you asked for, quickly give her a reward. As she learns the command, you can shape her behavior by rewarding only a more accurate response. Your training coach can assist you and offer advice for tricky situations.
Dinner time is often one of the hardest times to teach obedience to your puppy. He sees you as the pack leader eating a delicious meal and looks up at you with those big puppy eyes and you can't help but give in. This is where you have to be strong and avoid feeding him table scraps. This will help keep off unwanted weight and teach him that begging doesn't get him anywhere. Make sure the whole family follows this rule. Bad training behavior by one family member can derail everything you're trying to teach your pup.
I have a 5 month old Siberian Husky, I am having issues with her while I am gone in the crate. She seems to poop in her crate and then smother it all on the bottom. I talked to the vet and she suggested I block half the crate off so she only has enough room to turn around. I did that and came home yesterday to her destroying her crate again. I was always told Huskies will not use the bathroom where they stay, but she seems to cover her crate in poop. She is good about listening to me and minding. Sometimes I think she thinks she is the alpha dog though, what kinds of things do I do to prevent that? And discipline. I’ve been told to spank her, grab her snout and pinch, rub her snout in her pee or poop if she has an accident, get aggressive with her and other things. Spanking on her butt but not too hard, seems to sometimes work. (I don’t do the things above I just listed) I would just like advice on training her the proper way. Huskies have a mind of their own and I want to train her the right way. Any advice is appreciated!
In the beginning, I only let him meet with calm people that I know will result in a successful greeting. I also coach people on how to meet him. Often, fearful dogs show aggression because they feel threatened and cornered, and think there are no other alternatives available to them. I make sure I do not put any of my dogs in this type of situation.
It typically takes 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained, but some puppies may take up to a year. Size can be a predictor. For instance, smaller breeds have smaller bladders and higher metabolisms and require more frequent trips outside. Your puppy's previous living conditions are another predictor. You may find that you need to help your puppy break old habits in order to establish more desirable ones.

8. Know your limits. If you’re really out of your depth, or your dog represents a serious danger to you or your children, it’s okay to consider rehoming. Training and medications are expensive, and anxious dogs often require a lifetime commitment. In some cases, it’s safer for you and better for the dog to find a new home where she can get what she needs if you don’t have the resources or the situation to provide it. You’re not a bad person or a failure—you’re making the wisest, kindest choice in the circumstances.
In addition to Benadryl and homeopathic treatments, your veterinarian may recommend a prescription drug for your dog’s anxiety. Most of these anti-anxiety drugs can be administered orally and are best suited for your pet prior to the anxiety-inducing situation. Because anxiety medication typically takes at least 30 minutes before they start working, it’s best to give it to your dog ahead of time rather than waiting until they present symptoms.

Your dog is already a valuable member of your family, but when you train him to protect your children, he becomes literally indispensable. He will work hard and do his best to protect the rest of his pack (aka your family, especially the kids, who he sees as cubs in the pack). Training your dog to guard your children can take a few weeks of hard work or longer. To a certain degree, it depends on the breed as some like German shepherds, Doberman pinschers, and Rottweilers are more suited to being guard dogs.


Are you thinking of adding a new dog to your life? Would you like your current dog to be better behaved? Would you like to train your dog to serve your needs instead being trained to serve its needs? Attending dog classes led by a professional trainer is the best approach, but not everyone can afford classes. These tips are a good start to training your canine companion. There are many philosophies and approaches to dog training, so do your research and learn what works for you and your dog.[1] Regardless on which approach to training your dog you take, building a good relationship with your dog is essential to being able to train effectively.
All private training and behavior modification services begin with a 60-minute in-home consultation and training session with an associated investment of $60.00 (plus trip fee if farther than 20-miles). During the initial consultation we will discuss the best options to achieve your training goals. After evaluating the situation, we will work hands on with you and your dog to implement a number of different training techniques and/or an appropriate behavior modification plan.
In most cases, dogs will naturally bark when someone they don't know is approaching. You can put this to good use by teaching him when to bark and when to stop. Each time your dog barks at a stranger, let him bark 2 or 3 times and then tug on his leash and give the command "Quiet". When he does, be sure to give him a treat and praise him. This lets him know no when he should bark and when he shouldn't.

Sally eventually got the hang of it all and she is attached to me 24/7. I have a 4 month old son and if I go to his room to feed him she instantly follows. If I get up from the couch to use the bathroom, she follows. If I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth, she follows. She is almost always within 5 feet of me, so I know she is behaving and looking to me for direction.
Moreover, the persistent and excessive fear of a specific stimulus is referred to as a phobia. is a persistent and excessive fear of a specific stimulus, such as a thunderstorm. It has been suggested that once a phobic event has been experienced, any event associated with it, or the memory of it, is sufficient enough to generate a response. The most common phobias are associated with noises (such as thunderstorms or fireworks).
Dogs competing in dog sports, such as flyball, agility or Schutzhund, must be trusted in an open field, off leash and surrounded by other people, dogs, hot dogs, and flying discs. This requires more focused attention on the owner and a better recall than that found in most household companion dogs, and more advanced training than that required for formal obedience.
Consider clicker training. Clicker training is a method of delivering immediate praise with the help of a clicker. You can click faster than you can give a treat or pet your dog's head. As such, clicker training reinforces good behavior fast enough for a dog's learning speed. It works by creating a positive association between the click sound and rewards. Eventually, your dog will consider the sound of the clicker itself reward enough for good behavior. You can apply the principle of clicker training to any dog command.
There is nothing inherently wrong with telling your dog “no,” except that it doesn’t give him enough information. Instead of telling your dog “no,” tell him what you want him to do. Dogs don’t generalize well, so if your dog jumps up on someone to say hello and you say no, he may jump higher or he may jump to the left side instead of the right. A better alternative would be to ask him to “sit.” Tell him what you want him to do in order to avoid confusion.
We really feel bad for her, because she isn’t a bad dog, her anxiety just takes over and we know this is not healthy for her. We don’t want to not take her out places either, because we also have another younger dog ( a pitbull mix) who acts very normal when out, and we would like to do things with them together. We would give endless amounts of desensitizing training as we are very eager to resolve this, but we are confused as to where to begin.

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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.

Lately, however, people are coming to realize that completely calm, bombproof dogs are closer to the exception than the rule. Many dogs have something they’re not good with, whether it’s alone time, storms, cats or children. This increased awareness has translated into more and easier tactics to help anxious dogs than walking them at 5 in the morning. Here are eight ways to make life with your anxious or reactive dog better for both of you.


Thank you for pointing out that my pet has limits and that there are things that a younger dog will not be able to pick up on as compared to an older dog. I do not know the age of which I can tell it is perfect for my pet to learn new things. I do not want to force him if he isn’t ready either. Because of this, it might be a better idea to let the professional train him. At least, that way, he is sure to receive the training appropriate for his age.
Condition your pup to be apart from you while you are home. This can save the dog from serious separation anxiety as he matures. Start with short separations of five minutes. Crate him or have an isolation area with nothing in it that he can harm. If he’s barking when you’re ready to let him out, wait until he stops before you open the door. Otherwise, he will associate barking as the way to be let out.
Great article, Kimberly. Thanks so much. I’ve been looking for info on no food training. I’ve had 5 dogs over the past 20 years, all rescues, all adults. The only one who has been food motivated is the one we got as a young puppy. I started training her right away w/ treats, which worked great for a couple months but I’ve noticed her responsiveness is decreasing as I decrease the use of treats w/ training (and we do a ton of training- adv obedience, tricks, agility and find it) so I’ve been looking for guidance on how to make the transition go more smoothly. Thanks again. Great info! Sally looks like a happy well loved dog.

Try again! Find a tasty treat he loves and make him earn it as a reward. Work on one command at a time ("Sit" is a good one to start with) in a room without distractions. Use the treat to lure him into a sit, and, once his butt hits the ground, say "Sit" and give the treat. Train every time you remember you have a dog. Keep a pouch of treats on you, and train him a little bit at a time, but frequently, all day, every day. As he gets the hang of things, take his training outdoors where there are distractions, and persevere in the same way.
Many people can’t imagine life without dogs. We admire and adore them for their loyalty, unconditional affection, playful exuberance and zest for life. Nevertheless, dogs and people are very different animals. Although officially “man’s best friend,” dogs have some innocent but irksome tendencies-like jumping up to greet, barking, digging and chewing-that can make it downright difficult to live with them! To make the most of your relationship with your dog, you need to teach her some important skills that will help her live harmoniously in a human household.
I agree with this. The best way to train your dog is by shaping or capturing a behaviour. To be honest this is such stressful training! A dog should never be jerked around to learn. The dog looked confused and stressed… With good training through positive reinforcement they figure out what you want and how to do it by thinking for themselves. Look at Karen Pryor, Sian Ryan, Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson etc… They demonstrate how to teach you to teach your dog and it is so much satisfying and enjoyable for both you and your dog!
Some cases of anxiety are so severe that your veterinarian may recommend medications or natural therapies. SSRIs and antidepressants are occasionally prescribed for dogs with anxiety, including fluoxetine and clomipramine. For predictable anxiety-producing events like thunderstorms, fireworks, or car rides, your vet might prescribe a medication such as benzodiazepine in conjunction with an antidepressant to help your dog cope with the stress.
One thing that I try with my dog is to walk him on-leash in a different but quiet area (e.g. around a quiet part of the neighborhood). Initially, I may just walk him in the front yard or close to the house, so that we can start to have successful walks again. I make sure to reward my dog well for staying calm, and I supervise him very well to make sure that the walk is a very positive experience.
Dr. Patricia McConnell recently spoke to Hannah Brannigan on her podcast about this subject. Dr. McConnell emphasized the importance of being a safe space for your puppy. Your puppy, she says, is actually likely to become braver more quickly if you offer backup. So go ahead, give your pup a cuddle during the next thunderstorm! It’ll help far more than it hurts.
However, this doesn't mean you can't teach many other breeds to protect your kids. The big thing you need to know is that there is a big difference between guard dogs and attack dogs. In this article, we are talking about guarding, not attacking. Just remember: training your dog to guard or protect your kids is going to take some time and patience. 
Rover.com has plenty of responsible, qualified, animal-loving dog walkers and pet sitters waiting to take your dog under their wing. And once you (and your pet) have built a relationship with a walker or sitter, you’ll have someone else your dog trusts who can provide drop-in visits, pet sitting, and more. After all, exercise and attention are an anxious dog’s best friend.
Thanks for pointing out that the classes are similar to children’s classrooms in that they have a single teacher with a group of owners and dogs. Recently, I got a puppy named Alfie, and he is so energetic and lively. I want him to learn some good habits, though, for when he’s older, so I think that it’d be a good idea for me to find an obedience training class like you describe.
Try again! Find a tasty treat he loves and make him earn it as a reward. Work on one command at a time ("Sit" is a good one to start with) in a room without distractions. Use the treat to lure him into a sit, and, once his butt hits the ground, say "Sit" and give the treat. Train every time you remember you have a dog. Keep a pouch of treats on you, and train him a little bit at a time, but frequently, all day, every day. As he gets the hang of things, take his training outdoors where there are distractions, and persevere in the same way.
Moderate or severe cases of separation anxiety require a more complex desensitization and counterconditioning program. In these cases, it’s crucial to gradually accustom a dog to being alone by starting with many short separations that do not produce anxiety and then gradually increasing the duration of the separations over many weeks of daily sessions.
Eating feces, or "coprophagia," is a common problem among dogs. Make sure the dog is fed nutritious food so that he has no dietary deficiencies. If his poop is abnormal, get him checked by a vet, because he may be trying to correct a digestive issue. If the problem is entirely behavioral, avoid swooping on the poop to pick it up before he gets to it, because this only makes it more highly prized. Instead, try and distract him with a favorite toy or game, and then praise him for ignoring the poop. Likewise, teach him a "Leave It" command, so he learns to get a truly tasty reward when he leaves the unsavory offering alone.
Another update on our senior German Shepherd: Our precious girl, Buca, has been on generic Prozac for anxiety and canine cognitive dysfunction for a little over 9 months now. It has really helped! She is now 11-1/2, and at some point the vet cut her prozac down to 20 mg. a day. We also give her a glucosamine for arthritis daily. She still suffers anxiety with bells and buzzers on the television – definitely prefers us to have the TV off! – and during storms her anxiety is heightened, but other than that she is more or less the same sweet girl she has always been, and we are so grateful that we pursued the medication, and did not look into putting her down. I know she is toward the end of her life span, but she still seems to be enjoying the quality of her life for the most part, and we continue to look at every day with her as a gift. Ironically, she had been terrified of the vacuum cleaner ever since she was a pup. That was, in fact, the only anxiety she ever displayed throughout most of her life. Now, I can vacuum all I want, and she just lays there calmly! I usually have to ask her to move!!!
Dogs that demonstrate the previously mentioned basic skills, as well as walking reasonably well on a leash and a few other minor tasks, can be tested for and earn the American Kennel Club's (AKC) Canine Good Citizen certification. While not a competitive obedience title, a CGC certification demonstrates that the dog is sociable, well behaved, and reliable in public settings.[1] Some insurance companies will waive breed restrictions on dogs with CGCs, and many states have passed resolutions supporting and encouraging CGC certification as a yardstick for canine manners and responsible dog ownership.
Imagine your puppy running out the front door. You call him, waving a treat. But he'd rather chase a squirrel into the road than come back to munch on a treat. In addition to the obvious danger of Puppy getting hit by a car, he learns that he doesn't have to listen to you. He learns that he's in charge of what he decides to do and what he decides not to do.
Dogs don’t wake up one morning having decided to be anxious or fearful. Most dogs who exhibit anxiety symptoms have had some event in their past that triggered the anxiety. Dogs develop phobias and fears between the ages of 12 and 36 months or when they reach social maturity. If, during this time, something triggers a strong fearful reaction, they may develop a consistent fear pattern.
The classes are designed to teach you positive-reinforcement training methods that reward good behavior, e.g. manners, come, sit, stay and most of all walking on a leash without pulling, and correct unwanted behavior, e.g. nipping, chewing, digging and jumping. The various levels of instruction include written and illustrated step-by-step lesson plans.
My Shiba is also very sensitive to the energy of the people around him. When he was young, I had a very difficult time with him, and it seemed that he would single me out for his bad behaviors. A big reason for this, was because of my own energy. I was frustrated with him, embarrassed by him, and also a bit afraid of him. He would pick up on these feelings, become stressed and fearful himself, and act even more crazy. This in turn made me feel even more frustrated and afraid, and it was not a good cycle.
Hi, I just got a 9 month old Puggle who I believe may have been mistreated before because she’s very easily alarmed by any sudden sounds even if she’s laying with me and the sound comes from me. It also takes a while before she willingly comes to anyone in the house. It also took a while for her to eat treats and she doesn’t play with toys very often. We got her a crate that she slept in for a week in my room without a problem. The crate has her bed on one side and a piece of fake grass on the other side and she never had any problems with the crate. However 2 days ago I overslept so she ended up being in the crate for 12 hours and peed on the side with the grass. I took her out when I woke up and she still pooped outside and acted normal that day. Since then when we put her in the crate to go to bed she barks and howls and moves around anxiously until someone’s in the room. I’ve tried comforting her and letting her out when she’s quiet and scolding her when she’s yelling but nothing seems to have changed. Help!
With the approval of your veterinarian, you can give your dog anxiety medication to help ease his anxiety. Benadryl is commonly prescribed to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety in dogs.  The antihistamine is known to serve as a mild sedative. When administered correctly prior to the environment or activity that may cause heightened anxiety in your pet, it can help him remain calm and relaxed.
Practice walking on-leash around the house. Make sure the pup walks at your side. Do lots of stops and have the pup Sit each time. Open the front door, walk out then back in again. This is a great time to teach the pup not to dash out the door. Leaders ALWAYS go through doorways or gates first! This is important body language to a dog. Over emphasize this move by having your dog “wait” as you walk out the door first. Use your body to block the doorway if he starts to push his way through. Body blocks are understandable to dogs, as they use this on each other.
You want your puppy to be able to respond to you in various situations and places, so be careful not to limit training to one room of your house or corner of the yard. Practice commands in your home, backyard, front yard, surrounding neighborhood, woods, park or in any other location you visit with your pet. There are different distracting smells and noises in new areas, and you want to be sure your dog can still perform what he knows in different environments.
The essential thing Sally learned in her training was the commands sit and down stay. The trainer had us work on sit-stays and down-stays for 30 minutes each day for a few days. Start your dog on-leash and have them sit-stay by tugging the leash towards their back to help put them in a sitting position and then telling them to stay. When you tell them to stay, hold your hand out in front of yourself towards them.

Last, basic obedience training isn’t just for dogs that compete in obedience, agility, or trick competitions. Obedience exercises are important for all dogs, especially high-energy breeds that need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Simple behaviors like sit, down, stay, come, and leave it are essential for a well-behaved pet. You can challenge your dog even more by teaching him more advanced behaviors like “go to place,” formal heeling, to roll over, etc. The old adage — a tired dog is a good dog — is not incorrect. However, a mentally and physically tired dog is even better.


BASIC OBEDIENCE: $625 – Do you want full control of your dog? Our Basic Obedience Package will give you everything you need to have complete control of your dog outside, off leash, around distractions! This program includes training equipment and 4 private lessons covering the following commands: “Come”, “Sit”, “Extended Sit”, “Place”, “Extended Place”, “Heel”, “Down”, “Extended Down”, “Break”, and “Off”. Basic Obedience is ideal for dogs that are generally obedient except when distracted, dogs that are not obedient at all, fearful/anxious dogs, aggressive dogs, destructive/bored dogs, dogs that pull on a leash, etc. ***Be prepared to practice daily for at least 30 minutes and schedule lessons 1 week apart.***
The Merck Veterinary Manual also states that natural therapies and products can help dogs with anxiety. Some products work best in conjunction with other medications, while others can be used alone, depending on your dog’s case. Natural products use pheromones and aromatherapy to reduce anxiety. Talk to your vet about the natural products best suited for your dog.
I have a Maltese Yorkie who has been diagnosed with anxiety, multiple vets want to medicate him, however this isn’t the way id like to deal with the problem. He doesn’t seem to have any real triggers he is just constantly anxious, in fact we have to keep the blinds shut because seeing outside causes him to bark nonstop and be unable to relax. Bentley licks compulsively and will not eat unless he chases a ball first, he will cry at the bowl until a ball is thrown. Recently he has also become unwilling to go outside unless a person goes with him (our other dog always goes and waits for him but he won’t leave the step without a human) on walks (which we go on twice a day) he is completely fine and happy. I’m not sure how to fix his anxious tendancies. I’m worried he is not as happy as he could be. Any advice out there would be great.
Unfortunately, a cause for anxiety can’t always be determined. It might be that the primary event that caused the onset of anxiety happened in the past and went unnoticed or occured before your pet became a member of your family. It’s also possible that your dog is just prone to anxiety and they get upset anytime there is a change to their routine or environment.
The essential thing Sally learned in her training was the commands sit and down stay. The trainer had us work on sit-stays and down-stays for 30 minutes each day for a few days. Start your dog on-leash and have them sit-stay by tugging the leash towards their back to help put them in a sitting position and then telling them to stay. When you tell them to stay, hold your hand out in front of yourself towards them.
No breed is impossible to obedience train, but novice owners might find training some breeds quite difficult. The capacity to learn basic obedience—and even complicated behavior—is inherent in all dogs. Some breeds may require more patience or creativity in training than others. Individual dogs that exhibit fearful or anxious behaviors should also be handled with greater care, and especially not trained using harsh corrective methods, as this training can be psychologically harmful to the dog and result in further behavioral issues.[2][3]
Clicker training is a nickname given to a positive reinforcement training system based on operant conditioning. Clicker training can also be referred to as marker training. The system uses conditioned reinforcers which are able to be delivered more quickly and more precisely than primary reinforcers such as food. The term 'clicker' comes from a small metal cricket adapted from a child's toy that the trainer uses to precisely mark the desired behavior; however, some trainers use a whistle, a word, or even a light as the conditioned reinforcer.[60] The trainer delivers a primary reinforcer, such as a toy or treat, after the noise or signal.
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.
While training and socialization can have a huge effect on your puppy's behavior, you are still working with the tools that genetics gave you. Everything from stress on your puppy's grandparents to hormones in utero can change your puppy's genetics and brain - permanently. Unfortunately, love isn't enough to turn an undersocialized puppy into a confident Lassie-type. Even with the best training out there, dogs have genetic limits (and those limits can change based on hormones and stressful experiences).
It is important to notice the signs of stress in their early stages; this gives you an opportunity to remove your dog from a situation before his reaction escalates and becomes potentially aggressive or dangerous. Other anxiety intervention tactics, like training, are also more successful if started as soon as possible, before your dog has a chance to become chronically stressed.
Dr. Patricia McConnell recently spoke to Hannah Brannigan on her podcast about this subject. Dr. McConnell emphasized the importance of being a safe space for your puppy. Your puppy, she says, is actually likely to become braver more quickly if you offer backup. So go ahead, give your pup a cuddle during the next thunderstorm! It’ll help far more than it hurts.
If he's an older dog, he's probably used to his name; however, changing it isn't out of the question. If he's from a shelter, they may neglect to tell you that he has a temporary name assigned to him by staff. If he's from a breeder, he'll come to you with a long name, which you may want to shorten, or change. And if he's coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may represent a fresh start. But we're lucky: dogs are extremely adaptable. And soon enough, if you use it consistently, he will respond to his new name.
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