Monthly Archives: June 2018

ON-LEASH REACTIVITY

Does your dog turn into Cujo as soon as he sees (1) another dog; (2) a white man or a black man; (3) a woman walking with a stroller;  someone riding a bike; or a jogger? Unfortunately, this is not a unique issue. We’ve discussed the importance of early socialization recently to prevent such behaviors, but what should a pet parent do when their dog is behaving this way? Should we yell at the dog? Should we do a leash correction or use a shock collar so the dog knows he’s being bad? Or, should we just tell the dog to “SIT!” until the stimulus that’s causing the reactivity goes away? NOOOooooo!

Keep in mind that reactivity is based in FEAR. When a dog is scared, he can make one of two choices: FIGHT or FLIGHT. That decision is based on the dog’s temperament. Without getting boringly technical, let’s just say the dog is having an adrenaline rush. If the dog looks like the one in the photo above, he probably can’t even hear you when you’re speaking to her. There are very good behavior modification protocols available to us to help make the dog feel better when faced with scary stimuli. But I want all of you to know that your default behavior should be to CREATE DISTANCE!

Purchase a well-fitted Freedom harness or a Gentle Leader head halter. Each of these can help you gain good control of your dog so you can make an “Emergency U-Turn” in order to get the heck outta Dodge. Check these items out at Amazon. Never ask your dog to sit when faced with fear. Help your dog and let him know you are the one who can protect him! Your dog needs to have that confidence in your ability to keep her safe and out of harm’s way.

Good luck!

 

 

 

Littermate Syndrome

So… you want a new puppy. You look for breeders, you research online and you see pictures of the most adorable puppies being offered, you see a picture of a pup and you’re all excited to go see it. The breeder brings out your puppy of choice, along with a litter-mate. These pups are the last to be sold. Breeder tells you how attached the two puppies are, and it would be really sad to separate them. Your heart melts and you return home with two dogs.

You place both pups into one crate. When feeding the puppies, you put their food into a single bowl for both of them to eat. You allow them to be together all day and love to see the strong attachment they have toward each other.

Around the age of 4 1/2 to 5 months, you begin to notice the puppies are squabbling with each other. One puppy is always trying to steal the other one’s chew toys. That same puppy gets very upset when his sibling is getting attention from the humans in the house. When eating their meals, that same puppy will not allow his sibling to approach the bowl until he’s finished eating. One day your two loving dogs are having more serious fights, even when they’re in the crate! Suddenly you realize you need help from a professional.

One of the puppies has become a bully, and his sibling has no self-confidence at all. “Littermate Syndrome” is very common! If you think your own dogs are suffering from this you should read this article:

Littermate Syndrome: The risky downside to raising sibling puppies