New puppy owners often make the mistake of endlessly worrying about finding the right accessories, puppy treats, or bed. They spend little or no time thinking about how or what they will teach their new puppy. Yes, a puppy needs nutritious food and a safe, warm place to live, but another equally powerful and important biological necessity is the need for a strong pack leader.

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.

Begin doorway “wait”-training early. Teaching a dog to respect the threshold is important. You do not want a dog that runs out the door every time it opens — that could be dangerous for him. Doorway training doesn't need to happen every single time you go through a doorway. But you should make the most of your training opportunities early in your puppy's life.
Just as exercise is a great stress reliever for humans, so it is for dogs. Exercise accomplishes a couple of things when helping a dog deal with anxiety. First, it stimulates the production of serotonin, that feel-good chemical that we humans also get when we work out or go for a hike. Second, it gets rid of pent-up energy and tension that can exacerbate anxiety. Burning off all that extra doggy energy every day through a long game of fetch, a hike, running alongside you while you bike or other favorite activities can go a long way toward reducing problems with issues like separation anxiety or nervous tension. As the saying goes, a good dog is a tired dog.
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.

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]
Strictly following the model set out in the Koehler Method of Dog Training, some 50 years later, the Koehler method continues to be taught in both class and private training formats. The method is based in the philosophy that a dog acts on its right to choose its actions. Koehler explained that a dog's learned behavior is an act of choice based on its own learning experience. When those choices are influenced by the expectation of reward, the behavior will most likely be repeated, and when those choices are influenced by the anticipation of punishment, they will most likely cease. Once the dog has learned that its choices result in comfort or discomfort it can be taught to make the correct decisions. Action→Memory→Desire encapsulates the learning pattern used by the method; the dog acts, remembers the consequences, and forms the desire to repeat or avoid those consequences. Adherents believe that once the behavior has been correctly taught, it should be performed, thus making any correction, fair, reasonable, and expected.[57] While the model has been used consistently since 1962, some of the punishment procedures described in the book are now not considered necessary, humane, or appropriate by many trainers.[23]
No-pull harness The no-pull harness is worn on the body of the animal. The no-pull harness differs significantly from the standard harness since it makes it harder for the dog to pull because it distributes energy over the dog's back and shoulders. Like the head collar, the no-pull harness does not teach the dog not to pull, it only makes it harder for the dog to pull.
Hi, we’ve got a Jack Russell who was the best natured, most loving little dog then our now 7 month old daughter came home and our dog hasn’t truly adjusted and shows signs of being stressed and anxious and in last few months has started to loose hair on her nose and top of head which vet cannot explain or help with but I’m convinced it’s due to our daughter. If you have any advice on how to help our dog it would be greatly appreciated

 I started Take the Lead with the goal of creating harmonious relationships between humans and dogs.  Dogs have a language all of their own and my goal is to help owners bridge the gap in communication.  The first step to strengthening our relationship with our dogs is understanding what they are telling us, but most importantly what we REALLY have been saying to them.   Dogs can be such a joy in our lives, but they can also be an equal nightmare!  I know it's not a lack of trying when it comes to families trying to improve their dog's behavior, in the end it's just missed communication of expectations between human and dog! The good news is, with the right training it doesn't have to be like that forever!


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Will the sound desensitization exercises help with getting her out for evening walks? What other desensitization exercises could I use? I know she is anxious with thunder storms but I’m not really sure what triggers her to be afraid of going for a walk, even if no storm is around or coming. Or why she won’t come in the den in the evenings or come on the couch or sleep with us. All I know is there’s something about the evenings for her.
Remember that dogs are a lot like humans- they make mistakes. Knowing this, you cannot expect them to perfect a technique or command the first time around. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t expect them to catch on in the first few tries. Instead of getting frustrated that your dog isn’t catching on, simply correct them while the mistake is happening. With dogs, fixing a mistake later is considered too late.
A dog also used to become anxious when we leave the house. This is also called separation anxiety. I helped my dog with that by doing desensitization and counter-conditioning exercises. The important thing with desensitization however, is that I had to make sure to prevent panic attacks from recurring. Each panic attack will undermine my dog’s confidence, make him even more anxious, and his behavior will worsen.
I am a graduate of Florida Southern College, class of 2005. Back then my passion was for the arts and I studied graphic design. I found I had a natural knack for reading dogs, so I went out of my way to expand on it. I started with an ABC-DT certification. Once I gained enough experience I joined APDT and got my CGC Evaluator certification. In November, I will be taking the exam for my CPDT-KA. My next goal after that is to try to get my CNWI (canine nose work instructor) certification.
You can also lure a down from a sit or stand by holding a treat in your hand to the dog’s nose and slowly bringing it to the floor. Give the treat when the dog’s elbows touch the floor to start. After a few practices, begin bringing your empty hand to the floor and giving the treat AFTER he lies down. When he can reliably follow your hand signal, begin saying “down” as you move your hand.
Rewards can be simple, like a doggie treat or a good belly rub. Or they can be special, like playtime with doggie pals or a game of fetch. To teach him not to do something, ignore him or take away things he likes. For example, if he jumps up on you when he wants to play, show him it's not OK by turning away. When he sits down, shower him with attention.

Ideally you should give the command phrase once and then use your food to move the puppy into positions. Once the puppy has performed the task, add in verbal praise and an affectionate pat, which are known as secondary reinforcers (see below). If the puppy does not immediately obey on the first command, then you are likely proceeding a little too quickly. If you keep repeating the command, the puppy will learn that several repetitions are acceptable before it needs to obey. Keeping a leash attached can help to gain an immediate response if the puppy does not obey.

The way I learned how to train without treats was to use a collar and leash and depending on the way I tugged on the leash would help Sally know what to do. More specifically, I used a pinch collar on Sally, but I urge you to read the articles I’ve linked to and to conduct any other research before using this on your dog. It’s vital that you use a training collar you feel comfortable with and using it correctly.
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?
Information at this site is provided solely for the user’s information and, while we strive to be accurate, all information is provided strictly “as is” and without warranty of any kind. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for legal counsel from a qualified attorney. ServiceDogCertifications.org, its agents, affiliates, employees or contractors will not be liable to you for any damages, direct or indirect, or lost profits arising out of your use of information provided at this site, or information provided at any other site that can be accessed from this site.
Your hub is so informative. We had a dog for 17 years, 13 of which were filled with major separation & noise anxiety. It’s a tough situation to deal with because she would do anything she could to get out of the house/yard if we left her including digging, jumping fences, etc… Everything we tried, including bringing her with us, didn’t work because she would be so stressed. The only thing we found to help her was an herbal remedy called Aconitum Napellus. We bought it at Whole Foods and it made a significant difference. She’s in heaven now after a long life but the thunder jacket you wrote about looks like something we would have tried.
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.
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.
Providing lots of physical and mental stimulation is a vital part of treating many behavior problems, especially those involving anxiety. Exercising your dog’s mind and body can greatly enrich his life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal dog behaviors. Additionally, a physically and mentally tired dog doesn’t have much excess energy to expend when he’s left alone. To keep your dog busy and happy, try the following suggestions:
Many behavior problems can be prevented by providing “legal,” acceptable ways for your dog to express her natural impulses. There are some things that dogs just need to do. So rather than trying to get your dog to stop doing things like chewing, mouthing and roughhousing altogether, channel these urges in the right direction. Increased physical activity and mental enrichment are excellent complements to training. Please see our articles, Enriching Your Dog’s Life, Exercise for Dogs and How to Stuff a KONG® Toy, to learn more.
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.
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.
Do not allow your dog to bite you, even playfully. This sets a bad precedent and it will be difficult for you to break them of this habit. Dangerous, aggressive dogs will need special training from an experienced dog trainer. In some cases, a veterinary behaviorist will need to become involved. At no time should you take on an aggressive dog without the proper training. It is too dangerous.
If you’d like to learn how to train your dog or if your dog has a behavior problem you’d like to resolve, don’t hesitate get help from a qualified professional trainer or behaviorist. To learn more about locating the right expert for you and your dog, please see our article, Finding Professional Help. Many Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CPDTs) and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs or ACAABs) offer telephone consultations, in-home private consultations and training sessions, and group classes.

Interesting that she mentions “coats. The Thundershirt resembles more of a coat than a wrap, whereas the Anxiety Wrap is more just that, a wrap which applies more maintained pressure and works on acupressure points. Did you know that Animals Plus (makers of the Anxiety Wrap) also makes a device called the Face Wrap that consists of an elastic strap that provides gentle pressure over the muzzle and behind the neck? I have found this product to work similarly to a head halter in calming dogs as well. I have applied this device to dogs with anxiety-related barking and seen remarkable results that were pretty much immediate. The dogs calmed down and focused right away. Simple but awesome product!


Boot camp is a little more unconventional when it comes to teaching dog obedience. However, it is also a very effective method. Boot camp situations involve a trainer taking the dog to their home or training facility for a specified period of time and working with the dog one on one. Many people argue that this type of training is troublesome because it relies on someone else commanding the dog; however, in some instances, it can be very successful. Some boot camp settings involve owners paying daily visits to practice commands with their dog. These types of training situations are particularly successful for dogs that have significant obstacles to overcome such as aggressive tendencies or fear responses.
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.
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.
For a puppy, they should not be removed from their mother any earlier than about 8 weeks old. This is also just about the perfect time to start training. The best way to teach this skill is by taking the puppy (or dog) outside any time you think they may need to relieve themselves. This should generally be when they first wake up in the morning, after playing, after eating, after drinking and the last thing at night before going to sleep.

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.


I’ve walked our dog just about every night since we got him about 2 years ago and dearly miss it. I know he does as well because he’s still quite active and loved it when I said let’s go for a walk. He’s been through thunder storms before but he was always inside, he’s been in a camp hunting for 3-4 nights with gun shots sounding off causing him to shake and shiver but he always seemed to get over it.
Be consistent. Your dog won’t understand what you want from him if his environment lacks consistency. Everyone who lives with your dog should understand and be on board with his training goals. For example, if you are training your dog not to jump on people, don’t let the kids allow the dog jump all over them. This will undermine all the training you’ve done.
If you leave your dog home alone, and return to find that Fido has redecorated, your dog is likely anxious about your being away. "This is separation anxiety — the excessive chewing to relieve the stress it feels; continual barking; pacing; whining," Victoria Stilwell, author and dog trainer, told Sandy Eckstein for WebMD. "Sometimes, if it’s really excessive, a dog will chew through walls. I’ve had dogs jump through windows, through glass, to get outside. Most of the destruction is centered on points of exit."
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.
Use real rewards Be sure to reward your dog with things she truly finds rewarding. Some dogs will happily work for dry kibble when training in your living room but ignore it if you’re training in the park. Because the park’s a more distracting environment, paying attention there is a harder job for your dog. Pay her accordingly by using a reward worth working for, like small pieces of chicken or cheese, or a chance to run off-leash at the dog park with her buddies. Also keep in mind that what your dog considers rewarding at any given time may change. If she’s just eaten a big meal, a scratch behind the ears or a game of tug might be most rewarding. If she hasn’t eaten in a while, she’ll probably work enthusiastically for tasty treats.

Information at this site is provided solely for the user’s information and, while we strive to be accurate, all information is provided strictly “as is” and without warranty of any kind. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for legal counsel from a qualified attorney. ServiceDogCertifications.org, its agents, affiliates, employees or contractors will not be liable to you for any damages, direct or indirect, or lost profits arising out of your use of information provided at this site, or information provided at any other site that can be accessed from this site.
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!
To start training your dog to “settle,” leash her up and take a seat. Step on the leash so your dog has only enough room to sit, stand, and turn around, but not stray from your side. Then, wait. Your dog may be excited at first, and try to jump up on your lap or run around the room. Let her figure out that she can’t go anywhere. Once she settles down on her own, say “yes!” and give her a treat.
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