Illustrated Articles

Dogs + Behavior

  • Guarding food items can be a normal behavior in dogs, but when it escalates, the safety of both people and animals is compromised. Exercises to prevent and reverse guarding behavior can be beneficial to any dog. Professional guidance is needed for any dog who has repeatedly come into conflict with people or pets because of guarding behavior.

  • If you have your heart set on adding another dog to your family, take time to survey your existing “pack,” seek out another dog that will fit into your pack, and be diligent in making the pack one big happy family. Following a few simple steps can help welcome the new dog to your family a bit easier. 

  • When you bring a new puppy into your home there will inevitably be a period of adjustment. Your goals are to help your puppy to quickly bond to its new family, and to minimize the stress associated with leaving its mother, litter mates, and former home.

  • Head down. Eyes averted. Shoulders hunched. Tail thumping the floor. Body retreating. Your pet looks guilty, maybe even apologetic, right? WRONG! Your pet’s body posture and attitude do not indicate guilt or remorse but represent a response to your body posture and attitude.

  • Head halters can provide better control and safety for some dogs. A proper fit with gentle leash handling and positive reinforcement training is required to make a head halter successful. Some dogs may find the head halters aversive, which means it is not the right tool for them.

  • Although drugs may be useful in some cases, they should only be given under veterinary supervision. To be effective, they must be absorbed and active in the body BEFORE any noise starts or panic sets in. This is usually at least an hour prior to the event.

  • Losing a pet is difficult for all members of the family including surviving pets. Dogs and cats view family members, animal and human, as part of a pack. The stability of the pack is important to the pet’s sense of well being. Disruption of the pack dynamic that occurs when one pet dies can impact the other pets in the family. Pets form relationships with each other and with humans and they respond to the loss of a family member with physical and behavioral changes that manifest as grief. Recognizing and dealing with pet grief can help re-establish a healthy family unit.

  • By using positive reinforcement, consistency, and good supervision it is simple to housetrain most dogs. Start housetraining right away, or even before you bring home a new puppy or dog. Most puppies will pause activity, sniff, and sometimes circle before squatting or posturing to eliminate. Other puppies may act generally restless and agitated when they have a full bladder or bowel. Watch closely for these signs, so you can help your puppy be successful. The goals of housetraining are to have your dog eliminate in the right areas, eliminate immediately when asked, communicate the need to eliminate, eliminate on or off leash, and when you are near a person, and hold bladder and bowels when inside/not in the elimination area. This handout describes easy to follow instructions to help housetrain your puppy. If your previously well housetrained dog begins making mistakes, always consult your veterinarian for guidance.

  • Pain can be difficult to detect in older dogs. It is important for dog owners to recognize subtle signs of pain in their dog, such as slowing down on walks, unwillingness to play, reluctance to sit or stand, limping or weight shifting, and sensitivity to touch on being picked up. If any of these behaviors are observed, your dog should be evaluated by your veterinarian and a pain management plan devised.

  • Training a dog to understand human communications is easier when we consider how our tone and volume influence our message. Verbal commands will be interpreted differently by your dog depending on how they hear it. Just remember, it’s not just what you say….it’s how you say it.