Dog Training’s No.1 Cure All: A Good Nap

Parents of young children know, the one thing that can ruin a day is a late night or missed nap: tantrums, crying fits, lack of cooperation, even ADHD are all symptoms that a child’s not getting enough R & R.

So why are puppy owners still in the dark? Sleep-deprived mischief is the number one cause of my client’s angst, and I venture to say of dog parents everywhere. Dogs everywhere are sleep deprived and we’re all suffering the consequences!

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Should You and Your Dog Get Stoned?

I know dog parents can’t be happy all the time, but some things make this dog mom really sad. Take the focus on marijuana, which is okay in and of itself, but in its wake, the sudden upsurge of trending YouTube videos of dogs doped up. Just the other day I watched a few clips on prime time. I mean, really—shouldn’t this be illegal?

Before you dismiss me as too prim, I experienced the joys of pot plenty in my day, and it was fun. I couldn’t walk without laughing and couldn’t laugh without falling flat on the floor. I ate lots and lots of cheeseburgers, chatted non-stop and gave my dog, Eloise, unending affection and ball tosses.

Did I ever mindfully or even mistakenly get my sweet little Eloise stoned? No. That never happened on my watch. Eloise was my first baby—she counted on me for everything; for “rational decision making.” Partying aside, I had a responsibility to care for her.

In my mindscape dogs are like kids: And you wouldn’t get a toddler stoned or blow smoke in your infant’s face, would you?

Still, these dog-stoning clips are making the rounds and I just don’t know what to make of them.

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The Holiday Gift Puppy

Combine over-the-top cuteness with the unstoppable persuasive powers of children, and it's no wonder that puppies top many holiday gift lists. Experts caution against it, but the irresistible allure of a bow-collared puppy romping with over-stimulated, pajama-clad children is just too much! People give puppies for the holidays.

But the joy can be short lived. Unlike toys, puppies require long-term attention, care and love. But ask any dog shelter staffer — the best time to find a pure bred dog is March or April, when the December puppy starts to loose the “cute” factor, and starts acting like an adolescent dog. Often, these dogs begin challenging authority and wreaking havoc in the household because training was overlooked.

Here are my top five tips if a holiday puppy is joining your household this season. These tips apply to puppy adoption at any time of year, but holiday puppies are most vulnerable to unintentional training neglect.

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11 Indisputable Ways Your Dog Is Exactly Like A Child

Are you one of the millions of people who call your dog “baby?”

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Have you felt excited to see and spend time with, not your partner, friends or kids, but your dog?

If so, type “I” into the comment section below.

Loving your dog like a child, racing home after work to let her out, leaving a party, planning trips, arranging play dates or trips to the park, scheduling daycare drop-offs, birthday parties, Gotcha days, etc.: dog lovers just get it. I get it. Dogs aren’t just pets. They are a part of the family.

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Dog Training And Problem Solving: What Is Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement And (Most Importantly) What Works?!

Occasionally I still confuse the terminology surrounding my profession. This is not a good admission: I’m not proud.

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The truth? I know my facts. In my most recent book, Modern Dog Parenting, St. Martins Press, I have a long and detailed terminology chart with examples to highlight their meaning. Still, I make mistakes.

The good news is that no one needs to memorize these terms to be a loving dog mommy or dad. You can confuse terms, and your dog won’t care. As the motto goes: It’s not what you say it’s what you do that matters.

 

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It’s Your Dog’s Birthday! How Will You Celebrate It?

I love celebrations, especially when it involves one of my kids, so this month when my four-legged baby turns one-year-old, I’m throwing him a bash.

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While some friends and family roll their eyes, and my neighbor’s think I’m corny, I don’t care. The joy of seeing Tally Ho dive into his cake will overshadow all scoffing.

As far as the party, my children (the furless ones) love any excuse to send out invitations and break out the bakeware. Whether or not Tally understands the celebrations on him, I know he’ll enjoy every second and crumb.

Do you long to throw your dog a party? I have three words for you: Go for it!

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From Leash Reactivity To Leash Aggression: 5 Steps To Influence Your Dog or Puppy

If only I had a golden dog biscuit for the times I’ve heard the phrase “My dog is a bully” while out walking my dogs. Often hollered from the backend of a leash, people assume that the one who pulls the hardest, barks the loudest, and inflicts the most pain must be a real bully.

Or should I say, that people wrongly assume...

I’m here to set the record straight. When talking about dogs, or kids for that matter, aggression (aka bullying) is rarely a sign of strength or savvy. Real bullies are poorly socialized, insufficiently nurtured individuals who lack boundary control and the ability to process bad feelings.

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What Do Modern Dog Parents Do On National Joke Day?

Tell dog jokes of course!

Here is a list of my Top 21! Add yours to the comment section below and let the laughter begin!

 

A Collie walked into the bar. The bartender said,

“Why the Long Face?”

We’ve begun to long for the pitter-patter of little feet, so we bought a dog. It’s cheaper, and you get more feet.
-Rita Rudner

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Will Sleeping with Your Dog Make Him Aggressive?

Have you ever worried that sleeping with your dog or sharing some cuddle time with your puppy is against all the training rules?

Are you one of the multitudes taught to believe that inviting your otherwise adoring, sweet, innocent dog or puppy onto your lap will turn him into Kujo?

Do you have a family member, convinced by some celebrity trainer, who fills you with guilt each time you pat the bed sheets or lift your baby up for a snuggle?

Do. This. Now! Call your dog or puppy over, lift him gently onto your lap (offering him a bone if he’s nippy) and take three deep breaths. Now repeat after me: It’s ok to be loving, it’s ok to be loving, it’s ok to be loving.

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Separation Anxiety And The Modern Dog Parent’s Dilemma

Recently I posted a piece titled “Separation Anxiety and Leash Aggression...”

You may wonder, what the two have common?

The answer is loads, at least from your dog’s paws.

Leash aggression, while appearing defensive: “My dog is a bully,” is most often a reaction to fear. A dog who may seem ferocious is just as likely to be lashing out because he’s being dragged into another dog’s personal space, unable to retreat.

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Separation Anxiety And Leash Aggression: The Top 2 Dog Problems In America

Does your dog pace when you reach for the car keys, rip a few cushions while you’re out, or jump all over you upon re-entry?

How about your walks? Is it really your dog who takes you for a walk? Does he drag you along or launch into aggressive dramas when something passes by or approaches you?

If you’re embarrassed by your dog’s unsettled and wild behavior, remember, you’re not alone. Separation anxiety and leash aggression are the #1 and #2 problems of the 21st century (according to me). While housebreaking and jumping topped the list for a decade, they’ve taken a backseat. Why?

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Your Dog’s Playdate With His New Farm Friends — 6 Steps to Condition Your Dog To Big Animals!

(Photo credit: Roman Adrianowycz)

(Photo credit: Roman Adrianowycz)

July 12th was National Cow day: How did you celebrate it?

I may be a dog expert but the cow truly calls to me. Whether I’m taking a dog to visit a local herd or passing a farm along the highway I aways reflect upon the cow’s peaceful nature. I envision them during my deep breathing exercises. To me, they are calm, patient, yet mindfully unyielding.

But dogs aren’t always on the same page. Calm is not a word I’d use to describe most dogs facing up to a large, hooved animals.

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Does Your Dog Dig? Exactly What You Should Do About It

Dogs love to dig a lot like toddlers love to throw things.  It's a great release.  It's an accomplishment. And, for dogs anyway, it creates a wondrously cool resting spot.  

But as you probably know, there are few drawbacks to digging, too. The torn-up yard and muddy footprints might come to mind.

If digging's got you down, remember: all is not lost. While you can't eliminate the thrill of digging altogether, there are many things you can do about it.

First, meet George - the Got Mud dog.  He's my client's dog, and he wants for nothing.   His family dotes on him morning and night.  He gets the best food, a storage bin of toys, and his own pool.  

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21 Ways You Know You've Done Your Dog Wrong

Whoa. Wait a minute. What’s with all the negativity out there in the dog-training world? Since when did we humans decide that in order to make dogs behave well, we need to scare them?

All too often I’m called in to repair the damage done by outdated training techniques that advocate shocking or bullying a dog in order to train them. I see dogs and puppies who are growling, fighting or paralyzed with fear and anxiety.

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11 Ways To Do Your Dog Right

In my last post, I explained why any “training technique” that scares your dog isn’t good. Fear is a terrifying teacher. Poking, hitting, shocking — these are things bullies do. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: love your dog, don’t bully him.

There is a much better way.

 

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7 Reasons to Love Your Dog Like a Baby

You want a well-mannered dog. Really you do. But you worry that dog training will hurt the loving bond you share. Even the act of securing a leash and forcing your dog to walk in step feels cruel and restrictive. Dog training is okay for dogs but not for your baby. 

Now, however, your precious baby has a few bad habits - like shredding the couch when you leave, barking every time someone walks by, or jumping on visitors. What started as amusing has become annoying.

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Reclassifying Animals as Sentient Animals: It's Time, America, It's Time

Last week, Quebec welcomed pets into the circle of “sentient” beings by granting them many of the same rights as children in the eyes of the law. The legislation, hailed as the “Animals are Not Things Manifesto“ lifts the legal status of specific animals from mere property, i.e. inanimate objects like toaster ovens and iPhones that can be manipulated any which way, to sensitive, emotional beings that require nurturing and respect.

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Does Your Dog Have a 6th Sense, an Internal Compass?

If you’ve ever been lost on a trail while in the company of a directionally-savvy dog, then you’ll have no trouble believing what science is calling a breakthrough discovery: dogs and other mammals may possess a “compass” in their eyes.

Earlier this year, researchers gathered at the Max Planck Institute in Germany to study the eyes of 90 mammals in the hope of finding a light-sensitive molecule called cryptochrome 1a. 

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Who are America's Sentient Animals

Last week, I posted a piece about reclassifying dogs in America as sentient beings rather than mere property. Many comments blasted my suggestion: treat dogs like children? That’s ridiculous.

Or is it?

I openly call my dogs my babies. I think of them as family. Each one of my pets - from the dogs and cats to the birds, rodents and ever-beloved lizard, Vegas - is cared for and treated like an individual in my home.

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Why I Adopted a Pitbull for My Kids

Recently, my family and I went to Puttin’ on the Dog, an adoption event held by the Adopt-a-Dog foundation in Greenwich, Connecticut. The sun was shining, my kids weren’t arguing, and I swore to my husband that we wouldn’t leave with any more paws than we arrived with.

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