2. Make her visible. This might sound like the last thing you want to do with an anxious dog—I’ve certainly spent my share of time hiding around corners and not opening my door until I’ve checked that the coast is clear—but drawing attention to your dog’s anxiety is a good way to tell other people not to approach. Put a yellow ribbon on your dog’s leash, or buy a bandanna or harness that says “nervous” or “no dogs” and you’re giving people a heads-up without having to yell at them.
When observing a class, take note of the dogs; do they look happy? Relaxed? Excited to work? Is the instructor encouraging dogs and owners? Does the class seem to be run in a safe and effective manner? If you don’t feel comfortable at a particular training school, your dog won’t either, and you’ll be setting Fido up to fail. Keep looking for a school where you feel comfortable; you and Fido will do your best work this way!
Individualised training is used with dogs that have an urgent or unique training problem such as fear, hyperactivity, aggression (and other related problems), separation anxiety, biting, excessive barking, insecurity, destructive behaviors, walking difficulties, and inappropriate elimination.[80][81] This type of training would normally be undertaken where the problem naturally occurs rather than a class situation. Class training can be effective in encouraging socialization and play with a peer group. Classes are often offered at a more affordable rate and can cover both problem behaviors and teach new skills. Classes can range from puppy and beginner training to more advanced training and skill training such as performing tricks or therapy work.
Whining on the other hand is something you should never reward. When your dog whines and you go to comfort him, you are just reinforcing the behavior and he will continue to whine so you will come and comfort him. In this case, you will need to ignore your puppy whines — yes, it will be very difficult, but you will appreciate it when the whining stops and you can finally get a full night's sleep.

Jeff Lustman is from Carbondale, Illinois and has been a Dog trainer for the past 5 years. He trained and interned under Behesha Doan, one of the most well-known trainers/dog behavior specialists in the country. He has been a part of and led multiple training academy’s and dog behavioral training lectures back in Illinois. He has also trained service dogs for veterans with PTSD and led 4 different Veteran classes. Jeff Specializes in aggression and anxious dog behaviors and can train any dog that enters our building. With his vast knowledge of dog behavior and training, you can be confident that your dog will get the training you want and need.


As you go about trying to train your new dog, you do want to keep several things in mind. First, the dog itself will have limits to what they can do and comprehend. You must respect these limits and not push them beyond. For example, a small puppy will certainly not be able to understand everything that an older dog will. Additionally, the puppy may not have certain skills that the older does. This may limit what they can initially do. On the other hand, an older dog may have trouble catching on to certain things, or may not be physically able to do some of the things a puppy can. Just try and get to know your dog and then respect whatever their specific limits are.

Step 1: Set up obstacles, such as orange cones (bought at Wal-mart), buckets, or even red plastic cups in a straight line. Start with three or four, and space them 24-30 inches apart. With your touch stick, guide your dog in and out of the obstacles, starting from the left side. When he goes in and out of one or two, click and treat. Continue to do this until he goes in and out of all of them.


If a dog doesn’t meet expectations at the end of a training course, it is as likely to be related to the training course or the pet owner as the dog. A recommended next step would be to carefully research more training methods and local trainers to find a program that is better suited to your dog. Another one is to consider whether lack of commitment, inconsistent at-home practice,  or an inconsistent discipline/reward system may have undermined the training program.
I am trying to find a solution for my 11yr old female Husky, Blitzen’s night-time anxiety. This has been going on now for a few months. It’s as if she’s become nocturnal. Around 1a-3a every night she is wide awake and pacing, pawing at the bed, whining, almost hyper ventilating. We have a doggie door and she will go outside and whine the most pathetic sounding sad cry. I try to bring her into my room, but she paces and pants and can’t settle. I am becoming sleep deprived since I cannot sleep a whole night with this behavior. My vet suggested Sam E and Benedryl, both of which had the opposite effect and made her wired instead of calm. I am desperate for a solution for both of our sakes.
If my dog is able to focus and stay in-control, I reward him with a very high priority treat. For desensitization purposes, I usually bust out the really good stuff. I try to pick a highly aromatic or smelly treat that my dog loves, but does not usually get to eat. The smell will help to engage his nose, and further distract him from the source of his anxiety.
At this point, you can start to incorporate very short absences into your training. Start with absences that last only last one to two seconds, and then slowly increase the time you’re out of your dog’s sight. When you’ve trained up to separations of five to ten seconds long, build in counterconditioning by giving your dog a stuffed food toy just before you step out the door. The food-stuffed toy also works as a safety cue that tells the dog that this is a “safe” separation.
Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. If your dog spends most of his days lounging in your condo, don’t feed him food with a protein level that is ideal for dogs who herd sheep all day. The money that you will spend on feeding an appropriate quality food will often be money that you save in vet bills later on. I recommend you always check with your veterinarian for the right diet for your dog.
I have a 3 year old German Shepherd rescue that was abused/neglected. She was tied outside prior to her rescue. She spent time in a wonderful foster home before I adopted her. She is a fantastic companion – loving, intelligent, and very good with people and all other animals. Unfortunately, she has terrible anxiety – loud noises (thunder, fireworks, etc.) will send all 80 lbs. crawling under a bed shaking. She gets constant bouts of diarrhea = the most recent one lasted for six days (concidentally the length of a set of storms and the Fourth of July holiday). I took her to the vet and she was given antibiotics and meds to calm her stomach. I also got the herb – Composure. She’s finished her meds a week ago. I took her to my son’s last night to play with his puppy – she had been there the night before with just us – however, last night there were several other people there. This morning she started with the diarrhea again. She eats Blue (which is supposed to be a good food), doesn’t get table food, and only get’s Dentasticks as treats. She only goes outside with me (she’s afraid to go out alone) so she doesn’t get in to garbage. Can anyone give me any ideas as to what I might be dealing with?
The dog’s snout should never be smacked to discourage biting, aside from the fact that negative reinforcement is not an effective training mechanism; smacking the dog’s snout can even encourage a firmer grip. Puppies chew to ease their teething discomfort and replacing the item being bitten with an item that is acceptable is the best way to discourage a negative biting behavior. One other method that is recommended by some trainers is to take your thumb and place it over your dog’s tongue gently holding the bottom jaw with your other four fingers. While holding the tongue, tell your dog “no” firmly and then let go. Repeat this process if biting continues.
Understand the value of the “stand” command. The value of the "sit" and "wait" seem obvious, but you may not understand at first why the "stand" is an important skill to teach your dog. You won't use the "stand" every day, but you'll need it throughout the dog's life. For example, a dog who can stay calmly in a "stand" is the ideal patient at a vet clinic or client at a groomer's.
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.
Desensitization and counterconditioning are complex and can be tricky to carry out. Fear must be avoided or the procedure will backfire and the dog will get more frightened. Because treatment must progress and change according to the pet’s reactions, and because these reactions can be difficult to read and interpret, desensitization and counterconditioning require the guidance of a trained and experienced professional. For help designing and carrying out a desensitization and counterconditioning plan, consult a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB). If you can’t find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), but be sure that the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience in treating fear with desensitization and counterconditioning, since this kind of expertise isn’t required for CPDT certification. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these experts in your area.
Anxiety in dogs is often caused from sudden, unexpected activities or moments. If you have a routine for when it’s time to go to the veterinary office, board a plane, or anything else that may cause anxiety, it will help your dog prepare for what’s ahead and feel more secure. Extra hugs, playtime, and treats can help confirm that even if there is a situation they do not like, the time is only temporary.
Anxiety in dogs is often caused from sudden, unexpected activities or moments. If you have a routine for when it’s time to go to the veterinary office, board a plane, or anything else that may cause anxiety, it will help your dog prepare for what’s ahead and feel more secure. Extra hugs, playtime, and treats can help confirm that even if there is a situation they do not like, the time is only temporary.
Some people believe that the only way to transform a disobedient dog into a well-behaved one is to dominate her and show her who’s boss. However, the “alpha dog” concept in dog training is based more on myth than on animal science. More importantly, it leads misguided pet parents to use training techniques that aren’t safe, like the “alpha roll.” Dogs who are forcibly rolled onto their backs and held down can become frightened and confused, and they’re sometimes driven to bite in self defense.
We are certified Therapy Pets Unlimited evaluators! Is your goal to make your dog a certified therapy dog? We would recommend our Therapy Dog Development Course. This is our 8 private lesson course which includes the 4 basic obedience lessons (5 commands outside/off leash) followed by 4 lessons specifically tailored to you and your dog passing the Therapy Dog Certification. At the conclusion of this course, we can test you and your dog for certification. Upon passing the Therapy Pets Unlimited test, you and your dog will be awarded the Therapy Pets Unlimited certification and ID.
Changing behavior takes time. You need to have realistic expectations about changing your dog’s behavior as well as how long it will take to change behaviors that you don’t like. Often behaviors which are “normal” doggie behaviors will take the most time such as barking, digging and jumping. You also need to consider how long your dog has rehearsed the behavior. For example, if you didn’t mind that your dog jumped up on people to say hi for the last seven years and now you decide that you don’t want him to do that anymore, that behavior will take a much longer time to undo than if you had addressed it when he was a pup. Remember it’s never too late to change the behavior some will just take longer than others.
Positive reinforcement is the key to success. A common mistake is to punish your dog during training or become angry. This will only cause confusion. You can try to hold your dog's attention with treats and enthusiasm, but know that it is time to end a session when your dog becomes bored or tired. Try to end sessions on a positive note. Eventually, successful training will be achieved with patience and consistency.
7. Find a shared interest. It’s okay to be disappointed that your dog doesn’t want to go to the dog park, agility trials or pavement cafés. Try focusing on what you guys can do together instead. Set up indoor obstacle courses, go on quiet wilderness hikes, take nose-work classes or just chill at home. Don’t try to force the dog you have to be the dog you wanted. In the end, you’re likely to make her problems worse, not to mention strain your relationship.
Just as exercise is a great stress reliever for humans, it is wonderful for dogs. Exercise helps with a couple of issues when managing a dog dealing with anxiety. First, it stimulates the production of serotonin, a chemical that we humans also experience that makes you feel good when your body is being exercised. Second, it gets rid of pent-up aggression and energy that can build up anxiety.
The clicker is a small hand-held device that makes a distinct, short sound to mark a desired behavior. (See clicker training for a more detailed discussion of this methodology.) It has gained popularity in recent years as being a means of training that does not involve physically correcting the dog, though it may be used in conjunction with these methods.
Regular exercise for your dog will prevent him from being destructive in your home. Dogs get bored. When they get bored, they find ways to "entertain" themselves. That may include chewing your favorite shoes, destroying furniture, or barking nonstop. Avoid this problem by taking them for regular walks (twice a day is best). And it's good for you too! “A tired dog is a good dog.” Exercise to the point of being tired is different for each individual.
“Today’s dogs suffer from a lack of mental stimulation and quality time spent with “their” people. The resulting boredom and anxiety can lead to no end of physical and behavioral problems. Brain Training for Dogs is the solution! In a clear and concise manner, Adrienne Farricelli walks owners through a series of puzzles and exercises that will challenge and entertain dogs of all abilities.”

Anxious dogs may also feel extra anxious when around other dogs or other people. It can take time for your pet to become acclimated to all the changes of being in your home. This can be especially true if you already have other pets living at home. Together they must “figure each other out” and find familiarity in their space. Until that happens, there can be extra moments of stress or anxiety for your pet.


Finally, whether you train your pet at home on your own or if you bring him to a class or an instructor, understand that patience is the most important skill you need during this process. Your puppy will inevitably make some mistakes or have an occasional accident. He needs your support during those times. Clearly and kindly correct the behavior or action and reinforce the training command you taught your pet. Your dog is counting on you and excited to learn.
The Thundershirt is a popular solution for dog anxiety. It is a tightly fitting garment that wraps around your dog. The idea is that the feeling of continuous pressure can help calm a dog's nerves for things like travel anxiety and, as the name implies, noise anxiety among other issues. However, there isn't much definitive science-based evidence to show that these actually work. Some dog owners swear by it; others have found it hasn't helped. The effectiveness of the Thundershirt may also depend on when and how it is used, and the particular personality and needs of the dog it is used on. So, something like this could be helpful if used alongside other natural solutions with each helping to enhance the benefits of the other.
At a basic level, owners want dogs with which they can pleasantly share a house, a car, or a walk in the park. Some dogs need only a minimum amount of training to learn to eliminate outside (be housebroken), to sit, to lie down, or to come on command (obey a recall). Many other dogs prove more challenging. New dog owners might find training difficult and fail to make progress, because they expect dogs to think and act like humans, and are surprised and baffled when the dogs don't.
Step 1: Have your dog lay down. Wait for him to stand up. When he stands up, click and treat. Repeat this action several times until he learns that he has to stand up in order to get his treat. Standing is so natural that it is likely that the dog won't immediately understand why he is being rewarded, so it may take more repetition than usual. (Initially, it's okay to click even if.............................................
There are several common methods of dog training, including classical conditioning, operant-conditioning training (encompassing positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement training), dominance-based training, clicker training, and electronic training. Classical conditioning dates back to Pavlov – it means learning through association. If one thing consistently leads to another, a dog will associate the first with the second. The long-term result is to create habitual behaviors. Operant conditioning can be split into two sub-categories: positive reinforcement, where a dog is rewarded for good behavior, and negative, where a dog experiences consequences for bad behavior. The long-term result creates a dynamic where a dog will try new environments or behaviors due to owner prompts. Clicker training is a very popular sub-category of operant conditioning, where a dog is first trained with treats and corresponding “click” noise, and then gradually weaned to do the same processes for fewer treats but the same amount of clicks. Dominance-based training is a controversial method that is modeled around the “Alpha dog” hierarchy model, where one creature leads a pack. However, though dominance training has many naysayers, it is the precursor of the iconic “Dog Whisperer” method popularized by Cesar Millan.
As I understand it, dogs repeat behaviors that get them good results. Therefore, if we reward certain behaviors such as staring, licking, or following around, with affection or other rewards, then that may encourage a dog to keep repeating those behaviors. I usually ask my dog for a positive pre-trained behavior (e.g. Sit, Down, Look) before giving him a reward. In this way, I redirect the undesirable behavior and reinforce the desirable one.
The dog’s snout should never be smacked to discourage biting, aside from the fact that negative reinforcement is not an effective training mechanism; smacking the dog’s snout can even encourage a firmer grip. Puppies chew to ease their teething discomfort and replacing the item being bitten with an item that is acceptable is the best way to discourage a negative biting behavior. One other method that is recommended by some trainers is to take your thumb and place it over your dog’s tongue gently holding the bottom jaw with your other four fingers. While holding the tongue, tell your dog “no” firmly and then let go. Repeat this process if biting continues.
Electronic training involves the use of an electric shock as an aversive. Common forms are collars which can be triggered remotely, or that are triggered by barking, fencing that delivers a shock when a dog wearing a special collar crosses a buried wire, and mats that can be placed on furniture to deliver a shock. Some aids deliver an aversive such as a spray of citronella when triggered.[61] The use of electric shock aversives for training dogs is the subject of considerable controversy. Supporters claim that the use of electronic devices allows training at a distance and the potential to eliminate self-rewarding behaviour, and point out that properly used, they have less risk of stress and injury than mechanical devices, such as choke chains. Opponents cite the risks of physical and psychological trauma associated with incorrect or abusive use.[62]

Anxiety, is the anticipation of future dangers from unknown or imagined origins that result in normal body reactions (known as physiologic reactions) associated with fear; most common visible behaviors are elimination, destruction, and excessive vocalization (i.e., barking, crying). Separation anxiety is the most common specific anxiety in companion dogs. When alone, the animal exhibits anxiety or excessive distress behaviors.
The concepts of "pack" and "dominance" in relation to dog training originated in the 1940s and were popularized by the Monks of New Skete in the 1970s. The model is based on a theory that "dogs are wolves" and since wolves live in hierarchical packs where an alpha male rules over everyone else, then humans must dominate dogs in order to modify their behavior.[68] However, recent studies have shown that wolves in the wild actually live in nuclear families where the father and mother are considered the pack leaders, and their offspring's status depends on their birth order which does not involve fighting to attain a higher rank, because the young wolves naturally follow their parents' lead.[69]

AKC Tracking is a canine sport that demonstrates a dog’s natural ability to recognize and follow the scent of a person's scent. In tracking, the dog is in charge, because only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow the track. The handler plays a supporting role, including knowing how to help the dog that has overshot the corner, helping the dog over obstacles and keeping the line from tangling. For many, the greatest pleasure of tracking are the hours spent outside, training and interacting with their dogs.
Let your new dog gradually earn freedom throughout your home. A common error that many pet parents make is giving their new dog too much freedom too soon. This can easily lead to accidents relating to housetraining and destructive chewing. So, close off doors to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house, if necessary. One of the best ways to minimize incidents is to keep your dog tethered to you in the house and by using a crate or doggie safe area when you can’t actively supervise him.
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