My dog is a rescue that I adopted when he was 4 months old. He turned 1 year on Christmas day. He is a wonderful dog, and listens really well, usually. I even took him to puppy class at Petsmart, and he did well. The problem is when he meets new people or dogs. He LOVES everyone. But he gets so excited, he totally spazzes out. Whining and jumping on person or dog. Almost like he can’t get close enough. He stays close by my side when I am home with him. I have 4 other dogs, 3 Yorkies, and an Australian Shepard. And 3 cats. He gets along fine with all of them. Although he is a rough house player with the Aussie, and she is 4, so sometimes she doesn’t want to play as much as he does. How can I get him to settle down so I don’t have to put him in his crate when someone comes to visit? ~Sabrina
Hello; I believe I can help shed some light!
It would help to know what breed/s went into your pup, as some breeds are higher energy than others. At least you have the social side down pat! It seems as if your little one is a bit too social.
You might try a few things. The first question most trainers will ask is- how much exercise does your little one get at home? Not enough physical stimulation might lead to outbursts like this. The reactions you describe are also often natural responses from a happy, well socialized dog, especially a highly energetic puppy, eager to play.
By acting out like that, dogs are looking for a response from others. You might also try asking company to completely ignore the dog; he should settle down once he learns his outbursts don’t get him anywhere. From the amount of pets you describe, it certainly seems like attention seeking behavior.
Without physically observing/meeting the dog, I would recommend increasing his daily exercise. Take him for walks. Play games with him. ‘Hide & Seek’, whereby you hide a toy or treat somewhere in the house and let him search for it, is a fantastically stimulating game (though you’ll need to train/teach the game first).
Puppies are high energy anyway; he (sadly) won’t always be that way! Aussies are also high energy breeds, so it is good your little one has a playful companion.
I have a medical alert dog who has always been very pleasant and quite submissive around other dogs. 2 months ago, I was attacked by a street dog in Mexico. Now I am finding that when we encounter dogs who stand and stare at us, rather than approach and sniff, my service dog’s reaction is to softly growl and become rigid. This is unacceptable as a service dog. How can I calm her fear that I will be attacked again, or that she must be defensive? I want her to feel safe and secure again, knowing that we will be fine. She was not harmed during the attack on me.~Greta
Hello Greta! I believe I can help shed some light on your situation.
This is a very natural, protective reaction. Regardless whether the dog attacked you or your pet, the attack in itself could have had a traumatic impact on your dog. She is only acting in a protective manner. Unfortunately, she has learned that other dogs might pose a potential threat to her owner, and is now regarding these ‘encounters’ with suspicion.
Normally, I would tell you to begin focusing heavily on positive socialization and promoting friendly encounters by rewarding your pet for positive interactions, but your case is special. Service dogs are highly trained animals, subject to a unique set of social guidelines.
I would suggest reaching out to the organization who has initially trained and supplied your service dog; they will likely be able to offer a more complete answer, as well as better help, than anyone else. Don’t settle for just any dog trainer, as very few dog trainers have any actual experience with service animals or animal behavior.
You can also reach out to an accredited animal behaviorist in your area. In any case, it is important you contact a credible trainer with experience handling service dogs.
Take a look at this article. Specifically, the paragraph below, focusing on early socialization:
‘The most important rule of socializing Service Dogs in Training is to never, ever, ever, for any reason, force an SDiT to approach, interact with, touch or be on/near/with something that appears to frighten them. Forcing a puppy in training to engage when afraid ensures he’ll never form positive associations with the object, person, place, surface, equipment or situation. Instead of forcing your SDiT, always keep high-value treats with you and use them to encourage a suspicious puppy to explore a situation of his own accord. If you lay a solid foundation of socialization that rewards a puppy in new situations, you’ll create a confident learner who thoroughly enjoys circumstances he’s never encountered ’(anything Pawsable).
I understand your dog is no longer in training, and almost certainly no longer a puppy, but this still holds true. Your dog will need to learn not to expect possible threats everywhere, because that isn’t her purpose. Like the snippet suggests, I also wouldn’t force any interactions.
Before you do anything that may impact the original training, consult with either an accredited service dog trainer, a behaviorist, or the original supplier that connected you with your dog.
From my experience, the only way to calm your pet and give her confidence other animals pose no threat is to focus on socialization with strange dogs you may pass (only after consulting with the owner) and counter-conditioning, to answer your original question. Unfortunately, you can’t always be sure how other strange dogs will react, despite anything their owners may claim, so use caution.
You Must Appear Confident
Dogs read our body language very closely, and often react to it, so it is important you always try to promote an air of calm security and confidence. Try not to appear afraid or insecure, or lose your temper in any way, around other animals.
I have a 6-month old cavalier that we have had for 2 months. She has adapted well to our home life and is doing well in her obedience and trick classes. We are enjoying her so much that we would like to adopt her sister. I know that littermate syndrome is a problem. We would take both dogs to obedience training (each with their own person). Do you think the problems that are often seen with littermates might be less since they have lived apart for 2 months? ~Wendy
I think I can help you there! Socialization questions are actually some of my favorite.
I’m guessing this is the breed you are talking about? Tell you the truth, breed is beside the point for your question; social development is much the same in every dog breed. So, let’s tackle your concerns!
Puppies do first begin to develop important social skills among litter-mates, vital to lifelong growth. Since you’ve been immersing your pup in a social environment with several other handlers and puppies (the classes you’ve spoke of), she has continued to strengthen these skills. In my opinion, the social contact your dog is getting in these classes is far more important to her lifelong development than the actual training you are paying for.
Remember those ‘priceless’ commercials on television? You might say ‘Obedience training can be bought, but social skills are priceless!’ That being said, keep it up! The socialization puppies get in these classes is fantastic; every owner should do this!
I don’t think you have to worry about Littermate Syndrome, especially since your puppy has already been building upon her social skills by meeting and interacting with so many other humans/pets.
Her sister might be a separate issue, but as long as you continue to focus on socialization training for both of them, introducing them to other animals/people and ensuring each experience is a positive one, they should be fine.
Dogs are more prone to developing ‘Littermate Syndrome’, or fear around other humans/dogs in general, if they either receive no social contact outside their siblings, negative social contract, or are very poorly socialized. As long as you keep doing what you are doing, both will grow to be happy and social dogs!
I always like to point out- it is far easier to socialize a puppy. Trying to build social skills in a poorly trained adult can be much harder to near impossible.
Hello, we have a chihuahua puppy (4months) that we just got from the breeder. We put a collar on the dog and he is really reacting very negatively to the collar. We had the dog for about 2 weeks before we got the collar. Our mistake for sure. But during that 2 weeks the dog was very happy, playful, engaging, just a good dog. But we have to get a collar on him in order to train him and be able to keep him from running off as he is getting more and more adventurous. So now the dog is really acting like he is being tortured. He will not walk around now he just lays in his bed or under a chair. He is whining and acting like the collar is hurting him. We have checked and it is not too tight and there should be no reason why it would be hurting him. Its only been about 24 hours but this reaction seems extreme so I wanted to reach out. We are thinking to just leave it on him and he will eventually get over it but again since his reaction is so extreme we wanted to make sure we are doing the right thing. Thank you.~Gary
Hi Gary, I wouldn’t use a collar with a Chihuahua, or any other breed that size, due to their delicate body and potential for injury. My first bit of advice- consider investing in a harness for the wee one (pay close attention that it doesn’t apply pressure to the trachea). A good, effective harness for a dog that size shouldn’t run you much more than a standard collar would anyway, so cost really shouldn’t be a problem. He may not want to wear it at first regardless, so be prepared for at least a little bit of drama.
If your dog has gone this far without wearing a collar/harness, there is a good chance he simply won’t like the way it feels.
Now that that is out of the way, my next stop (if this unusually avoidant and skittish behavior continues) would be a basic veterinary check up, just to make sure there is no injury anywhere. In fact, I would highly advise you take him to see a veterinarian if you haven’t already, just to make sure he is in good medical condition. That should be one of the very first stops for any adoption.
Did you also get vaccination and registry paperwork from the breeder? Were you able to check on the medical history of his parents, or did the breeder not tell you? This is always important information to have, especially if you buy a dog you haven’t actually seen in person. Ignore this advice if you’ve already done all that!
On the training side, try looking into counterconditioning. Pair the collar (preferably harness) with praise, a cheerful attitude on your part, and treats every time you put it on him. Always present a confident and happy persona, avoiding any overly worried or anxious feelings (or at least don’t let him know you feel that way). Dogs often judge situations based on our reactions; you don’t want him to think you are insecure.
If this is your first dog, or/and you have little experience raising a puppy, don’t be afraid to read up on the breed, socialization training, and anything else you might have questions about. Chihuahuas are notorious for developing poor social skills, so be sure to get right out in front of that while he is still a puppy. Again, if you’ve already done this, go ahead and ignore that bit.
I’m not a trainer and have raised (successfully) many well adjusted rescues, some with serious baggage. My latest is guarding his kennel, inside and out. He’s 4 months (hound mix). He’s not aggressive, but his body language shows he could become so about it. I know the normal answers, keep the other dogs away from it, positive rewards w/ other dogs present, etc. I have one male (3yr old Cur) who constantly is pushing the puppy by going up to the kennel (smells the residual treats of course). I’ve always kept my pups in a kennel in my room where the older dogs tend to like to stay too. Keep the pup with the “pack”. I’m now thinking in this particular situation (with two younger dogs, in the past it’s been much older dogs with a pup) I should put the crate in another room behind closed doors during the day while at work?? I just don’t like segregating him. but I have a feeling they’re harassing each other during the day. They get along fine as these things go 90% of the time. I’ve only had the pup for three weeks (the other two dogs are still adjusting of course) and he has some fear based mannerisms we’re conquering, but he’ll be good, nothing major. The two in question are both hounds and by nature can be possessive. Segregate or not? What’s the worse thing can happen if that pup spend 6 hours a day 5 days a week in a room all by himself? ~Reggan
Hello! I think I can help you with your hound mix!
He’s still young and developing at 4 months, which is great! An older dog may be harder to work with, but this shouldn’t give you too many problems at all, as long as you’re patient. Let me break this down a bit:
-He’s showing possibly aggressive (defensive?) body language.
-You’re not sure what activity takes place during the day while you are gone.
-Do you know how their lives were prior to your adoption?
< div>I know you’ve heard this answer before, but I would use rewards and praise when other animals (or people) are around the crate, to reduce the guarding behavior. You want to teach your pup that it’s ok when other animals/people are around, they don’t mean to harm him and he’s safe. Be consistent with this, and eventually he will want you to be around. Incorporate praise as well as treats. Reward them both for being around each other. Turn it into a fun ‘game’ if you can.
I am going to go ahead and assume you have a pretty good amount of experience with socializing dogs, and the importance of socializing at a young age, since you’ve taken care of many. I’m also guessing by ‘kennel’ you mean a large crate and not a kennel type enclosure?
Though some may disagree with me, isolating your puppy for six hours a day is absolutely fine as long as you work on socialization activities and offer play/exercise when you are home. You’ll want to work up to this point to avoid any anxiety behaviors from developing (separation anxiety probably being the ‘worst’ case scenario). If you have very little time for training due to work, try to begin on a Friday and work throughout the weekend.
Keep in mind, ideally it would take more than 3 days to get your pup feeling comfortable with extended durations of isolation. At four months, he likely won’t be able to hold his bladder all day; try not to exceed six hours (should be your maximum at this point). The American Kennel Club offers several articles on crate training, only a click away- if you need extra sources.
If you aren’t sure how the larger dogs treat the smaller one while you are away, body language will usually help. Does the smaller one show any signs of submission or anxiety when the larger ones are around? Ears back? Tail tucked? Crouching? Shivering? Or is he completely happy and playful?
Once you have this guarding behavior taken care of, you shouldn’t need to isolate them. You can also consider setting up a small camera for observation purposes, if cost isn’t an obstacle.
Hi! We adopted a Beagle mix puppy when she was 5 weeks old. She is almost 6 months old now. We are really struggling with her going to the bathroom in the house. We did not crate her during the day when she was little because we live 30+ minutes from our offices and we did not think she could hold it several hours and certainly not all day. I kept her confined to our bathroom (which is big) with puppy pads, toys, water, etc. When she was big enough to stay outside with our older dog, she started doing that. Now the two of them stay out all day until we get home from work. She is only crated at night while we sleep. My question is, is it too late to house train her at this point if she’s still going in the house? It’s causing quite a bit of consternation. We try to keep rooms closed off but if they’re open at all during home time, she finds a way to pee or poop on our bedroom carpets.
If crate training is the recommendation, how long should she be left in it at the time? And how long will we have to do this? I feel so badly for dogs that are in crates all day and all night! Hopefully it won’t take too long, but I’ve got to get her trained even if it means my husband and I alternating coming home for lunch every day indefinitely.
We also have a big biting problem, which worries me for my small children, but I’m going to try obedience training for that. We do have chew toys, bones, and all the recommended things. Hoping its a phase she grows out of … ~Aubrey
I think I can help you with your beagle! It seems like you have two separate problems, so let me address both.
First, I want to touch on this biting issue, because that can potentially become a much bigger problem. This seems like much more of a behavioral concern, one that simple obedience training (by definition is meant to teach a dog to obey commands, such as sit, stay, recall, etc.) probably won’t actually help you with. Not all dog trainers have much actual behavioral experience, and even fewer yet are college accredited behaviorists (which is who I would suggest reaching out to).
Depending on the severity of this ‘biting problem’, I urge you to contact an accredited animal behaviorist and not rely on simple obedience training- both for the safety of your Beagle, and others who live with you, especially small children who may not understand boundaries. Remember, dogs aren’t people, and shouldn’t be expected to act like people.
If you would like to offer more details surrounding the issue, I would be glad to offer what help I can!
No, you don’t need to crate train your dog, although it is helpful and recommended. It is certainly not too late to potty train!
I like to recommend reward based positive reinforcement methods.
Create a regular potty schedule, and stick to it.
Accompany your Beagle outside when it is potty time, and reward with enthusiastic praise + a possible treat reward EVERY TIME she potties outside. Don’t miss one, or she may confuse the idea and your training will take longer. You are trying to get her to form the association ‘Potty outside makes mother/father happy, and that is good for me.’ In her little Beagle mind. (:
Punishment isn’t necessary, even discouraged; you want your girl to enjoy the training process and not fear it.
Don’t reward mistakes indoors, or acknowledge with an apologetic tone. Eventually she will learn ‘I get nothing if I go indoors, but rewarded if I go outside’.
It is helpful if she is leashed by someone’s side at all times when she isn’t created (which is one reason crate training is useful). If she is leashed by your side, you’ll be able to catch every single mistake, correct it by running her outside to the desired spot, and speed up her training.
Dogs will prefer not to eliminate in confined spaces (a bathroom is too much space), or where they sleep, which is one reason crate training is recommended for potty training. I’m going to skip the actual training process because it is an ordeal in itself, but will leave links to specific training articles if you need. The majority of potty training articles, or trainers, will recommend crate training initially.
At six months, most dogs can hold their bladders around 4-6 hours, which is the standard recommended time frame here. Thankfully, she has grown and won’t need to go every two hours!
A standard eight hour work day is probably too much to ask. For proper crate training to work smoothly, and to avoid any complications like separation anxiety, you’ll have to gradually work up to an extended time period anyway (as you’ll see if you read the article below). I understand this isn’t always possible, so consider starting training on a Friday and continuing throughout the weekend.
We have a labradoodle puppy who is 4 months old, we have had him for a month. He has been sweet, house trained well and has learned the basics of sit, get down and shake. In the last week however, he has become unbearable almost 🙁 He has began to show signs of aggression in that he barks at me in frustration and has begun to bite at me and the leash as I try to take him out to potty, even biting me with those razor sharp puppy teeth several times as he jumps to get the leash out of my hand. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I don’t want these behaviors to continue” -Melissa
Hi there Melissa.
The first thing to do if you haven’t already, is to get into a puppy class. It sounds like you have some training already and that will put you ahead of the game.
Next, The puppy needs to learn that the leash means good things. Positive Association. So to do that, use a “high value” treat when you put him on the leash. Every time. You should only use the high value treat when the leash gets put on. To use it at any other time lowers the “value” of the treat. Its not so special if they get it all the time.
Here’s the idea. We’ll use bacon as the high value treat, but it can be anything as long as the dog will go nutty for it,.
I love bacon + the leash = I get bacon when the leash is near = I love the leash.
That’s the principle.
Also, leave the leash on for a while after he comes inside for a while, and before he goes out. This way he gets used to relaxing when he is on the leash. This way he wont build any anxiety towards it.
Make an effort to make the entire experience as positive as possible. Lots of praise.
I would suggest putting the leash on him, using the high-value treat, and then just walking away (while inside, go do something else for a few minutes and then take him outside). Give him a few minutes to de-stress.
Do this several times for the first week.
Please let me know if this works, or if you have any other issues.
My dog is a Husky x English Mastiff and she listens to me sometimes but sometimes doesn’t. I know she doesn’t take me seriously when I try to use a big voice. If I take her out to the park she plays keep away with me. Like she won’t come to me no matter how much I call or coax her until she’s ready. How do I stop this and make her listen to me without hesitation? ~Morgen
Hello Morgen! What a fantastic mix you have there! I bet she is certainly a handful. I think I can help you. (: There are actually a few things you want to remember, and a couple different solutions.
Many dogs enjoy the ‘game’ of keep-away. The chase simulates their hunting instincts stretching back thousands of years (although many dogs don’t consciously relate the two). I’m willing to bet your pup finds enjoyment in the ‘chase’. The park also likely resembles an area she feels safe with playtime activities.
Huskies are a very energetic breed, actually bred as a working dog to help pull loads far distances. In fact, these guys are the prime choice for professional dog mushers, commonly seen in endurance races like the world renown 1000 mile cross Alaskan Iditarod.
In the early 1900’s, before Huskies became the breed of choice, mushers preferred breeds like the larger and more powerful Malamutes. While they are stronger and able to endure heavier loads, Alaskan Malamutes aren’t nearly able to match the outstanding endurance of the Siberian Husky!
Your Two Options
This first option uses a reward based training method, and is by far my preferred method. Think of a command word you want to use (I prefer to use ‘Here’). Every time you use the command, give your dog a tasty treat reward. Eventually, she will begin to relate the reward with the word you use, and return to you every time- as long as the reward you’re offering is more preferable to whatever is currently occupying her attention.
Since she will be playing in the park, she might prefer to continue playing over your reward. You want to try and become the most entertaining thing around, using plenty of enthusiastic praise and joyous body language.
This option uses a punishment based enforcement method. Where as you might cringe, punishment based training has its place. If you are trying to train your girl to avoid dangerous areas, like busy roads, or dangerous animals like poisonous snakes (depending on the part of the world you live in), this is certainly something you want to consider. I much prefer a little discomfort to a potential fatal situation.
This is where things like the electric collar come in handy. If you do decide to purchase an e-collar, be sure not to overuse it and make sure the setting is appropriate for your girl’s size. Inappropriate use of these tools can lead to fear or even aggression.
I hope this helps you. If you have any further questions please let me know!
I have two four year old cats, and my boyfriend and I just adopted a new puppy. We are slowly introducing the puppy and cats – we have a pet gate with a cat door splitting the house into two halves. The cats have a towel with the puppy’s scent and vice versa. They eat meals on opposite sides of a door (which one of my cats still doesn’t like so we haven’t moved on). They look at each other through the gate mostly without hissing or incident.
One of my cats, Tesla, was getting more comfortable with the puppy and coming into the puppy’s area of the house on her own until the other day she came out without me noticing and the puppy chased her. Not in an aggressive way, but ran up to play bow to her. It freaked her out and now she won’t come back through the gate anymore, and it seems like now the cats are no longer making progress.
My question is this – how do I train my puppy not to chase the cats when the cats refuse to come out so I can interrupt the behavior? Everything I’ve read about training a puppy not to chase a cat requires the cat to be present, and I’m afraid it would be counter-productive to force my cats into a room with her while they are scared. Is there any OTHER way to train her to ignore the cats when they’re around so they will be more comfortable? ~Lisa
Training a puppy not to chase your cats is definitely a must for many reasons. Not just for the safety of your own cats, but other small animals your dog will likely come across in the future. Your puppy is likely chasing the cats based on 2 things – one is curiosity which all puppies are full of and the other is a natural instinct called prey drive.
Prey drive came from your puppy’s ancestors as a survival instinct to hunt and eat smaller animals as prey. In dogs, this usually does not get to the point of killing another animal, however it can and does happen. Stopping this behavior and redirecting your puppy’s prey drive will be of great use to your family.
You can redirect this prey drive using a ball, other toy or even an item called a flirt pole. These objects allow the puppy to chase something small and put the object in their mouth to carry. It fulfills the need to chase and grab without causing damage to another animal.
Meanwhile, without the cats in the room you can try teaching your puppy to pay attention to you using a positive interrupter noise. This is a sound, usually a kissy sound or special word, that will grab your dog’s attention no matter what he’s doing. So, when you reintroduce the kitties you can use this noise to grab your puppy’s attention and put him in a down stay or allow him to go into his crate with a special chew to observe the kitties in a safe manner.
To teach the positive interrupter noise, start with a handful of high value treats such as real meat or cheese and have your noise picked out. Make the noise and wait for your puppy to give you eye contact. He does not get rewarded until he provides even half a second of eye contact. Once he does, reward him and make a big fuss over it. Do this for a few minutes at a time in multiple training sessions. Always end on a good note, such as play time or a cuddle.
As you and your puppy get better with the eye contact, ask for longer periods of eye contact. Ask for 3 seconds, 10 seconds, and so on. However, don’t move too far beyond your puppy’s capabilities. He’s still a baby, after all!
When you do bring your kitties back into view of your dog, make sure the puppy cannot get into physical contact. This means keeping your puppy in a crate or playpen for periods of time to observe the cats. The puppy may get excited and rowdy, ignore this behavior. However, once he calms down and is quiet, you can reward him with a treat through the crate bars. As this behavior gets better, you can move to using a leash and allowing minimal contact. Don’t be afraid to correct your puppy’s behavior if it is unacceptable with your cats! This means asking your puppy to go into a down stay instead of pulling at the leash to sniff a kitty.
I hope this helps you. If you have any further questions please let me know!
We have a 6 month old lab mix and a 3 month old terrier mix (both rescue puppies). They both really want to play, but but the older lab pup gets way too rough and hurts the little one (I’m quite sure he’s not teeing to hurt her, he just plays rougher than she can take). How do we get him to play a little less aggressively workout discouraging play between them all together? ~Barbara
You do not need to separate your puppies permanently to keep them safe. It is important for puppies to be able to interact and learn from each other as a part of their socialization. This is how they learn to “speak dog” and respect each other, making them safe to be around other dogs in the future.
The older, larger dog can be worked with on his energy levels before allowing play between the two of them. For example, you can take him on a walk on his own or play ball with him before allowing the two to play together. Helping him use up some of his energy will help him interact with the smaller puppy in a less excitable way.
Another option is to take part in puppy socialization classes at your local kennel club or dog obedience school. Dogs of the appropriate sizes are allowed to play and romp and they will naturally learn what is and is not okay while playing together. This can help the larger puppy to learn his strength and self control while playing with another dog.
Meanwhile, I am including a training exercise to teach your dogs a positive interrupter noise. The purpose of this noise is to help your dogs immediately stop whatever they are doing, no matter how much fun they are having, and give their full attention to you. It will help to redirect their attention if play gets too rough and you need to get them to stop without anything negative attached to it.
Positive Interrupter Noise
When you make this noise, once it has been trained with your dogs, they will be able to stop whatever they’re doing and pay attention to you. This could be anything from an unwanted behavior to rough play that you need to interrupt, and you can do it simply by using a noise that will peak their interest.
You can use a kissy noise, a whistle, or even a certain word. Just remember that whatever you do use, it should not be used for any other purpose than as an interrupter noise.
Teach each dog one on one instead of working them together. Start with a high value reward, like real meat or cheese and sit at their level. Make your sound, and when they give you eye contact, give them the treat. Don’t give the treat immediately, wait for the eye contact! You can do this for about 5 minutes or so and take a break. You can do multiple training sessions in a day, but keep each session short and fun!
After your first few sessions, begin adding this interrupter noise into your daily lives. Your puppy could be just relaxing in his bed or sniffing around outside. Use the noise and when he comes to you and gives you eye contact, give him a treat!
As your sessions progress, ask for longer eye contact. Go from 1 second to 5, then to 10 and all the way up to 30 seconds. However, if your puppy gets bored and frustrated, you have moved too far too soon, and it’s time to dial the time back a bit.
I hope this helps you and your pups learn to play safely together! If you have any questions, feel free to message me!