The Dog Obedience Club of Lee County is located near the Fort Myers area. Founded in 1983, we are an AKC sanctioned, not-for-profit organization dedicated to making dogs better citizens through training. Whether you wish to compete in obedience or just want a well-behaved companion and best friend, we can help you train your dog. Our instructors have all raised and trained dogs from a variety of breeds and have achieved AKC Obedience titles on their dogs. They actively compete in AKC obedience, rally, agility, tracking and more.

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.


My Shiba Inu was like this after he got neutered. The only way I was able to keep him from licking the incision site, was to supervise him and cone him when I could not supervise, until there was no longer any skin irritation. I used the cone until I was 100% sure that everything was healed, so that he does not set things back with his licking. Licking (like scratching on a scab) may give him some temporary, very short term relief, but it quickly creates more irritation, which leads to more licking, and so on.
Treats should be soft and bite-sized so your pooch will immediately be ready for more. Couple all rewards with verbal praise and your dog will soon form a positive association with the sound of your praise. Once a behavior is well established, you can slowly reduce the frequency of other rewards. In time, your dog will respond to your command simply for your praise (and the possibility of the occasional treat).
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.
The author of this article correctly points out that you are one of the largest factors in this obedience training. You must have a patient and calm approach in order for this to be effective. If you are not generally a patient person, you may have a difficult time with this training. That being said, there are ways around this handicap. You may decide to simply take things one step at a time. Focus on teaching in very short spurts. Take one command at a time. Going slowly like this will take more time, but it is a good way to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Depending on your dog’s personality it may also be the best way for them.
Success is usually attained in small steps. Training sessions with your dog should last ten to fifteen minutes, two to three times per day. This is especially true for puppies because of their very short attention spans. Longer sessions can cause an adult dog to become bored. Start by teaching basic commands. Try to stick with one action per training session so your dog does not get confused.
The idea of using treats to train is often equated with bribery. Truthfully, dogs do what works. If using treats gets them to do what you want, then why not? You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement. Every interaction you have with your dog is a learning opportunity, so when you think about it, you probably don’t use food very often except during active training sessions. So why does your dog continue to hang out? Because you reinforce him with praise, touch, games and walks. Just remember, the behavior should produce the treat; the treat should not produce the behavior.
Once you have your puppy you must determine what you will need the dog to do for you in order to guide its training. Once this is established you can begin bonding with your puppy. This helps create a baseline for your dog to recognize when you are in a relaxed state and when you are beginning to experience anxiety – dogs are very intuitive so the right dog will pick up on this naturally.
Although fear, anxiety and phobias aren’t all the same thing, they are all related to a dog’s need for safety. Fear is a response to a perceived threat. A dog’s autonomic nervous system responds to the perceived threat by triggering a physical response throughout the body. Anxiety, on the other hand, is the anticipation of a fearful event based on past experiences. A phobia is an irrational fear that leads to anxiety and fearful symptoms.
In the last 6 months I would say she has “calmed down”, but we feel it’s due to her getting more used to us and her new home (she was a stray and had a couple foster homes before we got her). She still has lots of energy when we go for walks and to the park. She likes to be in the backyard (even in the evenings) and goes for a walk just fine (in the mornings only). It seems to be she only likes going for walks in the morning, and we used to go 3 times a day (morning, afternoon and evening). The only thing I can think of that would have frightened her on a walk is a few times storms have rolled in (usually a thunderstorm). When there is a thunderstorm she gets anxious, paces, pants and usually hides in the bathroom where she seems to calm down after a while. She loves the dog park and plays well with all the dogs she comes into contact with, and LOVES people. We’re really good about keeping her schedule the same, eats at the same times everyday, walks at the same time ect. We live in a new neighbourhood so there are trucks (all kinds) driving around all day. That would be the only noises I could think of.
We offer classes from Canine Good Citizen through obedience competition as well as rally obedience and puppy training and socialization. The club is involved in many activities throughout the year. We attend festivals and fairs doing demonstrations and promoting responsible dog ownership. In January we hold the club’s Obedience and Rally Trial and throughout the year we offer Canine Good Citizen testing and hold Show N Go’s.
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.
Dogs are sensitive creatures and your anxiety can increase their anxiety. Try relaxation techniques to decompress and find your own inner calm. Anxiety is a complicated issue, of course, and often requires longer-term interventions to address the root causes. Life is stressful, after all! Even so, taking a few deep breaths before you greet your dog is one simple way to help them feel calmer, too.

Now once we arrive and she leaves the car is when it all goes downhill….She constantly whimpers and pants to the point of vomiting. She also gets an uncontrollable oral fixation issue that causes her to pick up anything she can fit in her mouth. Now this wouldn’t be that bad of an issue, however even if we give her a tennis ball, she will still try to pick up sticks that are 5 times her size, which causes her mouth to bleed. She has even tried to pick up fallen trees and has dragged them while crying because it hurts her mouth so bad. We try to intervene by focusing her attention on a more acceptable object, like a frisbee ,tennis ball or smaller stick but she becomes obsessive and will not leave the object of her desire, even if it is causing her pain until we leave the place we are at. During this time, her energy levels are through the roof and it affects the other dogs around her, and it causes her and them to become aggressive.
In the 1980s veterinarian and animal behaviourist Ian Dunbar discovered that despite evidence on the peak learning periods in animals, few dog trainers worked with puppies before they were six months old.[25] Dunbar founded Sirius Dog Training, the first off-leash training program specifically for puppies, which emphasizes the importance of teaching bite inhibition, sociality, and other basic household manners, to dogs under six months of age.[31] Dunbar has written numerous books, and is known for his international seminar presentations and award-winning videos on puppy and dog behavior and training.[32]
Hi we have a black labrador called Bonnie she is 8 years old having problem with noise anxiety she was fine till 2 years ago bonfire night and fireworks she shakes drips from the mouth walks from room to room with tail between her legs but after firework night she gets back to her normal self recently we’ve notice if your out with her and a bus lets off its gases or aloud car goes past she starts walking really low tail between the legs and now there are 2 bangs next to where we live off in the distance may be building work and she’s a absolute mess won’t go out for walks won’t have wee s when we are out just pulls to get back home it’s awful to see her like this we’ve tried ignoring it putting music on keeping the house calm nothing work think I’m going to have to take her to the vets for medication which I didn’t want to do but it mustn’t be good for her not going to the toilet cause she’s too scared to go outside this is a dog who would normally knock you on ya back for a walk any ideas much appreciated
If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off. Before you know it you’ll have a dog that barks and barks every time he wants something. The solution? Ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like “sit”) before you throw his toy.

Stage three: Hold one treat in your palm in front of the dog and one behind you in the other hand. Instruct your dog to “leave it.” If the dog gets too close to the treat, make a fist to hide the treat and say “no” or “uh-oh” to show the dog that he won’t be rewarded or noncompliance. When he obeys the “leave it” command, give him the treat that’s behind your back.
The Monks of New Skete, who were breeders and trainers of German Shepherds in Cambridge, New York, published How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend: A Training Manual for Dog Owners in 1978 and it became an immediate best seller. Despite advocating a philosophy that "understanding is the key to communication and compassion with your dog,"[29] they endorsed confrontational punishments which were later shown to elicit dangerously aggressive responses in many dogs.[30]

Once the source has been identified, your vet will then be able to devise a proper treatment plan. Now, this may vary greatly depending on the source. If it is just a phobia or fear, they may provide you with specific guidelines and recommendations on how to avoid the trigger from upsetting your dog. If it is something more serious, your vet will create a more tailored treatment plan depending on your dog’s individual needs and requirements.


One suggestion for people who are learning how to calm an anxious dog down is to see if crate training helps their condition. This will vary from each dog, so make sure you know in which state your dog feels the most comfortable. Most cases, when a dog is crated while their owner leaves for an extended period, they feel that this is their “safe zone” and are in a calmer stage than before.  
Large changes in behavior like that could sometimes be due to physical discomfort. Dogs usually try to hide their pain or vulnerabilities (some more than others), so sometimes it can be difficult to tell. Is she eating and drinking normally? Is her poop and pee normal? Does her mouth smell ok? Does she seem a lot less energetic? When was her last vet check-up?
Puppy biting is normal and necessary. Puppies need to learn how to control the pressure of their bite. Allow the pup to bite your hands. When you feel pressure more than a light touch, squeal “Ouch!”, get up and walk into another room. This is how littermates play with each other. If one playmate bites too hard, the other yelps and walks away to lick its wounds. The biter learns to soften its mouth or risk losing its playmate. Loss of a playmate is more understandable to the pup than punishment.
Dogs are sensitive creatures and your anxiety can increase their anxiety. Try relaxation techniques to decompress and find your own inner calm. Anxiety is a complicated issue, of course, and often requires longer-term interventions to address the root causes. Life is stressful, after all! Even so, taking a few deep breaths before you greet your dog is one simple way to help them feel calmer, too.

However, it is important to note that dog behavior is very context dependent. Each dog and each situation is different, which is why visiting with a professional trainer/behaviorist can be very helpful. When I was having difficulties with my Shiba, we visited with several trainers so that they could observe Sephy, help us identify the source of his negative behaviors, guide us in reading his body language, and more.
My unique method of balanced dog training brings peace and harmony into the lives of committed clients and their families, who understand that real change is possible when the right approach to their dog's behavior is consistently applied and practiced.  My programs serve to bridge the gap between human and dog communication, by helping you and your dog improve your relationship and bring peace into your life!  I can relate to many of my clients, because I too used to struggle with my dogs and tried many different training methods that were not effective for us.  I am so fortunate that I am able to help my clients - especially those who have tried other training already - find a successful program that gives them consistency, peace of mind, predictability, and a lifestyle that they can enjoy with their dog and family.

In considering the natural behaviours of specific breeds of dogs, it is possible to train them to perform specialised, highly useful, tasks. For example, Labrador retrievers are the favoured breed for the detection of explosives. This is because of a combination of factors including their food drive which enables them to keep focused on a task despite noise and other distractions. Most working breeds of dogs are able to be trained to find people with their sense of smell (as opposed to their sense of sight). Cocker Spaniels are able to be trained as part of a termite detection team. Their relatively small size enables them to fit into small spaces, and their light weight allows them to walk on areas of ceiling which would be dangerous to anything heavier. In fact, although unusual, termite detection dogs are much more reliable at detecting termites than humans who rely on a basic system of tapping and listening. Because of their ability to learn signals by sight and for their energetic and athletic natures, German Shepherds are able to be trained for work alongside search and rescue teams and human apprehension teams.[79]


Take baby steps Dogs, just like people, learn best when new tasks are broken down into small steps. For example, you can’t go out and line dance unless you learn all of the individual steps first! When teaching your dog a new skill, begin with an easy first step and increase difficulty gradually. If you’re training your dog to stay, start by asking her to stay for just 3 seconds. After some practice, try increasing the duration of her stay to 8 seconds. When your dog has mastered an 8-second stay, make things a little harder by increasing the time to 15 seconds. Over the next week or two, continue to gradually increase the duration of the stay from 15 seconds to 30 seconds to a minute to a few minutes, etc. By training systematically and increasing difficulty slowly, you’ll help your dog learn faster in the long run.
I had our 5 year old black lab out for a walk. We were approximately 1/2 hour away from the house when it started to thunder. He was quite scared but there was nothing I could do to get home any faster than walking. I spoke to him in a calm voice and during the walk back to the house there were probably 3 or 4 more rumbles. When we got in the house he wasn’t shivering like he’d normally be with load noises but kept next to me. A couple of nights later we started out for our walk again. I didn’t think about the thunder on our previous walk and we weren’t half way when he stopped and wouldn’t go any further. We were following the same path as the evening of the thunder. I tried to coach him to continue but he wouldn’t budge. When I turned and started back the way we came, he started to jump up and down, tail wagging and visibly happy.
Alprazolam, Amitriptyline, Clomicalm, and Buspirone are all potential medications that may be prescribed for your pet. The choice will be made by the veterinarian based on your dog’s current health, allergies, medical history, and several other factors. Never use another pet’s medication for your dog even if they’re in the same household. The way pets digest medication and their reaction to it will vary. What has been successful in one pet may not be the case for another.
When a dog perceives a threat, the hypothalamus, a section of brain tissues, signals the production of certain chemicals to prepare the dog for fight or flight. This is good when there is an actual threat, but in dogs with chronic anxiety, it causes problems such as depression. The chemicals begin to weaken the immune system and can lead to heart disease.
In the twentieth century, formalized dog training originated in military and police applications, and the methods used largely reflected the military approach to training humans. In the middle and late part of the century, however, more research into operant conditioning and positive reinforcement occurred as wild animal shows became more popular. Aquatic mammal trainers used clickers (a small box that makes a loud click when pushed on) to "mark" desired behavior, giving food as a reward. The change in training methods spread gradually into the world of dog training. Today many dog trainers rely heavily on positive reinforcement to teach new behaviors.
I have a Brussels Griffon and he has the same symptoms as I read in your post. I have no idea how to help him,when I leave he goes crazy barking and trying to get out and then when I come home is is sweating so bad…..we hate to invite friends over because you would think he’s going to rip their leg off but he wouldn’t bit anyone. So I was hoping for some advise from you that might help my Brady
Come back and wait until he is quiet, and then ask him to wait in the crate while you open the door. He should not come bursting out. If you feel one action, such as putting on a certain pair of shoes, picking up your car keys, going to a certain door, brings about the beginning of stress, then do that action and do not leave. Get him so familiar with the action that he accepts it.
Hi Caitlin, Kimberly recently had a baby and thus, is not currently responding to comments, but I wanted to thank you. We read through your thoughts and agree with many of them. So, we made some minor updates to our content based on your feedback and agree that this makes for a much stronger and more encouraging article. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts so we could make our content even better for our readers.
During your sessions, be sure to wait a few minutes between absences. After each short separation, it’s important to make sure that your dog is completely relaxed before you leave again. If you leave again right away, while your dog is still excited about your return from the previous separation, he’ll already feel aroused when he experiences the next absence. This arousal might make him less able to tolerate the next separation, which could make the problem worse rather than better.

When his anxiety begins occurring we keep him to a very regular schedule and walk him around a cemetery nearby where he is almost always comfortable. When he does become nervous we employ the abrupt stop and change direction since it distracts him from his anxiety and forces him to pay more attention to us. We’ve tried having him give cued behaviors & rewarding that to distract him but he will refuse treats when anxious. We also try to do the majority of his exercise (dog park trips & 3-5 mile runs with me) in the morning so that his evening walk can be shorter. HIs anxiety only occurs in “neighborhoods” where there area people & houses. We frequently take him camping & hiking & he has NEVER had an episode at these places. That is the one thing that has me stumped-he does not like being in the direct line of campfire smoke but exhibits no anxiety and will even sleep 10 feet away from it. The only thing I can come up with is that he sees the source of the smoke smell. The few times I have walked him past the neighbors barbecuing he seems to calm down. Do you have any thoughts? Have you come across a dog with a smell anxiety before? I should mention we got (rescued) him from a family that kept him confined to the kitchen 24/7 and he had never walked on a leash until 7 months old. Thank you for any input on this.
Separation anxiety occurs when a sensitive dog becomes deeply attached to its pack — and in this case that’s you and your family. Some people inadvertently create situations favorable to the development of canine separation anxiety by making a fuss over their dog when they leave for the day or return at night. The dog begins to sense that something important is going to happen and displays anxiety symptoms in anticipation of its pack leaving for the day.
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.
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 instinctually process their environments looking for danger. In an anxious dog, this behavior can manifest as excessive neediness — like wanting to be attached to you at all times — and destructive behavior when you're away from home. While dogs generally begin to develop anxiety between 12 and 36 months, it can happen at any age. Symptoms include trembling, hiding, reduced activity, and escape behaviors.
Often, the sit command will be one of the easiest for your dog to learn first. Next, you can train your dog to lie down. At the same time, work on teaching your dog to stay. In addition, your dog should be trained to come when called as soon as possible. This is one of the most important fundamental commands. Once your dog has mastered these dog obedience basics, you can move on to fun tricks and advanced commands.
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.
- The 10% discount applies to your online purchase subtotal of the pickup in-store products only. You must choose the "Free Pickup Today" option, choose your store and add to your Shopping Cart. Subtotal refers to amount of order before taxes and shipping. One Time Delivery and Repeat Delivery orders do not qualify as part of the subtotal for this discount.
Come back and wait until he is quiet, and then ask him to wait in the crate while you open the door. He should not come bursting out. If you feel one action, such as putting on a certain pair of shoes, picking up your car keys, going to a certain door, brings about the beginning of stress, then do that action and do not leave. Get him so familiar with the action that he accepts it.
Also, I have not been able to find any truly convincing studies on the Thundershirt. The only ones I could find were sponsored by the Thundershirt company. This one looks somewhat interesting and talks about a hide-box and measuring cortisol levels and heart rate, but I was not able to find the actual Journal publication that they alluded to in the article.

Puppy biting is normal and necessary. Puppies need to learn how to control the pressure of their bite. Allow the pup to bite your hands. When you feel pressure more than a light touch, squeal “Ouch!”, get up and walk into another room. This is how littermates play with each other. If one playmate bites too hard, the other yelps and walks away to lick its wounds. The biter learns to soften its mouth or risk losing its playmate. Loss of a playmate is more understandable to the pup than punishment.
You know your dog better than anyone else. You know when they are relaxed, you know when they are happy, and you even know when they are agitated after seeing another dog across the street. The point is, you should be able to spot any behaviors that are not common for your pup. Once these changes in behaviors arise, pay close attention to what may be triggering this to see if this is what’s causing them stress.
Once I figure out the most likely trigger, I do desensitization exercises to help my dog build confidence and to teach her new ways to cope with her stress. At the same time, I also try to manage her environment, so that she does not go through more panic attacks. For example, with the garbage truck, I just changed our schedule so that we do not accidentally encounter a garbage truck when we are outside and far from home. Then, when my dog is ready (after the taped sound desensitization exercises), I expose her to the truck slowly and in a controlled way – first when we are inside the house, by the door, in the front-yard and so on.
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.
Humans aren't the only species that can be calmed by soothing music. Many owners leave a television or radio on when they leave the house to help a dog feel comforted. But there is also specialized music that one can play to help particularly anxious dogs. Through a Dog's Ear is a selection of music specifically aimed at calming nervous dogs. The website states, "The over-arching psychoacoustic theory informing Through a Dog’s Ear is summed up in just two words — simple sound. This term refers to the process of minimizing intricate auditory information found in most music. The music of Dog’s Ear is intentionally selected, arranged and recorded to provide easeful auditory assimilation." The music can help for a range of situations like separation anxiety and travel anxiety. There are even compilations designed to help desensitize a dog with noise phobias.
“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.”

Small pieces of food or a favored toy can be used to motivate your puppy to perform most tasks. Provided the reward is sufficiently appealing, the puppy can be prompted to give the desired response by showing the puppy the reward, giving a command, and moving the reward to get the desired response. For example, food held up over the puppy's nose and moved slowly backwards should get a 'sit' response; food drawn down to the floor should get a 'down' response; food brought back up should get a 'stand' response; food held out at a distance should get a 'come' response; and food held at your thigh as you walk should get the puppy to 'heel or 'follow'. By pairing a command phrase or word with each action, and giving the reward for each appropriate response, the puppy should soon learn the meaning of each command.


Some training methods use punishment, like leash corrections and scolding, to discourage dogs from doing everything except what you want them to do. Other methods cut right to the chase and focus on teaching dogs what you do want them to do. While both tactics can work, the latter is usually the more effective approach, and it’s also much more enjoyable for you and your dog. For example, you can easily use treats, games and praise to teach your dog to sit when people approach during walks in the neighborhood. If your dog is sitting, she won’t be dragging you toward the people, jumping up when they get close enough, mouthing on their arms and legs, and so on. That’s pretty efficient training-no pain or intimidation needed. Alternatively, you could grab your dog’s leash and jerk her to the ground every time she jumps up to greet people, and you’d most likely get the same effect in the end-no more jumping up. But consider the possible fallout:
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.
If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off. Before you know it you’ll have a dog that barks and barks every time he wants something. The solution? Ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like “sit”) before you throw his toy.
×