Part II - 3 Commands You Can Teach Your Dog to Understand


Getting your dog to leave what he's doing and come to you is a tall order. Dogs aren't robots; they're kids with fur. Think of how hard it is for a child to leave the playground! Imagine your partner or a friend calling you away from an activity you love. 

Think of come like a sports-team huddle. You're calling your dog in for a quick re-connection or a new game plan. Say it loud, confidently, and toss your voice in the direction you'd like him to follow. Here are a few easy steps to get you started.


Part I - How to Train Your Dog to Understand Words

Kids learn words one at a time. Parents hold up an object—“to-ma-to”— assign words to routines like "bedtime" and "let's go for a ride," and teach their children the meaning of various instructions like ‘come to dinner,’ ‘say please,’ and ‘time for bed.’ When repeated over and over, words start to sink in and routines become habits.

While dogs lack the ability to understand deep meaning, they can identify the meanings of more than 200 words. Dramatic new research shows that dogs not only understand the tone of voice used, they also recognize actual words. And dogs are one of the few animals that care what we're saying.

Hundreds of words, you might be thinking? I have trouble getting my dog to focus on his name!

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A Fail-Proof Method to Ease Your Dog's Separation Anxiety

If my dogs had to pick a least favorite month, it'd be September. After the hullabaloo of Summer, when foot traffic is high and laughter surrounds them, back to school spells one thing: BOREDOM.

Frantic activity in the days leading up to school can ratchet up the overall household anxiety level. Dogs may start to act out, hoping for attention. It's a good time to remember this favorite phrase—anytime your dog acts out, or your kids for that matter: My dog's on the rollercoaster; I'm on the park bench. The angrier you get, the more reactive your dog will be.


Should You Use an E-Collar to Train Your Dog?

The e-collar has been marketed as a quick fix for canine behavioral problems. All you have to do is strap a collar on your dog–yes, it has prongs that dig into your dog's neck that issue a shock–err, a "correction"–when she misbehaves–but think of the time it saves you! No tedious, repetitive praising, rewarding, or encouraging–just a push of the button and, zap! Fast, fear-based control.

One might be tempted to order one for their partner or kids. Think how effective it would be in eliminating snacks before mealtime, towels from the bathroom floor, and bikes from the driveway. No one acknowledging you? Zap! Take that! Instant gratification can be very alluring.


Signs of Dog Aggression

Dog mouths are the equivalent of human hands. Happy people use their hands to pat a head or tickle a chin. Similarly, contented canines nuzzle and lick to convey affection or curiosity. In both species, however, some use these instruments to communicate in harmful ways, ranging from annoyingly bossy to dangerously aggressive ones.

Dogs act aggressively when they are uncomfortable with a situation, and may growl to indicate their fear and frustration.

If your dog is growling at you, see if you can understand why. Is he growling when you interrupt his feeding, napping, or during a chewing frenzy? Here, his growls are saying, "I want to be left alone." The next time the situation arises, offer him a treat as you approach to show him that you come in peace. Alternatively, is your dog growling while playing? As with kids, when dogs play, they express a lot of emotion, and your dog may simply be yapping playfully.

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5 Fresh and Fun Ways to Teach Your Dog or Puppy to Come

Come seems to be the universal benchmark for a well-trained dog. When I ask my clients what they want to get out of working with me, they rarely stray from the script: “I want my dog to come the second I call her.”

It’s a worthy goal, and an important one too—especially if the dog is anywhere near traffic, wildlife, or other people and animals.

But—and this is a very big but—dogs are not like toaster ovens or television sets: you can't program them.  Read more>>


How to Entertain Your Dog When It’s Too Humid to Go Outside

First, let's get a few juicy tidbits out of the way:

We All Suffer!

Dogs don’t like the heat any more than you do.

Activity Peaks

Dogs are most active in the early morning, before the sun crests the horizon, and in the evening: in science speak, they are crepuscular.  

Read more here.

Get Your Dog to Sit Automatically with These 6 Steps

Parents everywhere teach their kids good manners. Kids learn to say please when they want something and to wait patiently for help. Kids who learn these things get recognition; they're more fun to hang out with or take on outings.

Dogs can learn good manners too. Good dogs sit to say please, and can be conditioned to wait for what they want. Sound impossible?  It’s easier than you think. Whether you’re conditioning a new dog or puppy or rehabilitating a delinquent dog, let me tell you how it’s done.


Should You Still Hug Your Dog?

We as people are well-practiced in the art of hugging. From the moment we exit the womb, parents and loved ones hold us tight for a variety of reasons. Ask any kid and they’ll tell you—hugs are love. So how better to show affection than to hug everyone, pets included?

Hug guru Paul Zak, claims the minimum number of hugs we need per day is eight, but the truth is that the more we hug, the happier we are. Why? The groovy little love hormone Oxytocin, which we—and, as it turns out, all other mammals—produce when expressing affection.

You may have missed the latest canine controversy on dog hugging. It began with an article by my friend and colleague Stanley Coren, PhD, titled “The Data Says Don’t Hug the Dog.” In his well-intentioned piece, falling on the eve of Dog Bite Prevention month, he points out that dogs don’t process hugs the way people do. Canine moms lick their pups and puppies snuggle instead of hug. We do mimic these interactions when we pet and sit with our dogs.  In his piece, however, Stanley illustrates a few Google images to show a dog’s signs of stress, which included:

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