Having housetraining regressions with a dog that was previously housetrained?
Dog Training Blog
Occasionally a client will mention that their dog pays attention to one family member more than another. The comments usually pertain to the fact that their dog gives one person more affection, follows the person around the house or listens better to training cues.
Recently one of my client's dogs passed away, leaving his remaining 11-month-old puppy lonely and distraught. He stopped eating, he was "mopy" and he wasn't himself. Since 8 weeks old, Charlie was used to having another dog in the house and now his world was upside down.
This topic comes up quite frequently with my private clients. Dogs of all ages and sizes can be finicky eaters. While I normally don't like to contribute to "breedism" I have found in my experience that small breeds can be more finicky than large breeds.
I frequently get questions about dog play, whether it is between two siblings in the same home or about a dog that frequents the dog park and plays with other dogs. The questions might pertain to my client's dog and if their play style is too rough or worries about the behavior of other dogs at the park.
If your dog barks at the doorbell, the vacuum cleaner, noises in the hallway or other events in his environment, then you should work on desensitizing him to those noises. There are many reasons why it is important to work on barking problems including neighbor complaints, repeated anxiety for your dog, and the fact that barking is often a beginning indicator of territorial aggression. You can also read my post on barking out of the window or behind a door or fence, which can lead to barrier frustration.
I received two calls this week that that reminded me about the importance of making sure a dog is physically healthy before I recommend training strategies. One call was in regards to a 3-year old dog that recently started whining uncontrollably whenever his person was out of the room or out of the home. He also had a few housetraining regressions and his guardian found a few accidents when he got home.
I frequently work with fearful or aggressive dogs. They are grouped into the same category because aggression always has a fear component unless an animal is hunting for food. Fear aggression manifests itself in warnings to tell the other dog or person to stay away. A bite is a more intense warning if the other warnings, such as growling, go unheeded.
Want a fun training activity that you can practice inside and outside? Teach "Go Find Someone". The long-term goal is to ask your dog to find a family member by name and then your dog runs off and finds that person! If you are really savvy, you can combine it with a "Hold" and have your dog be the family messenger. Write a quick note to your son, 'Dinner in 5 minutes', give it to your dog and then say, "Go find Josh". Your dog will bring the note to Josh! How cool!
This is always a concern with dog guardians. Over-treating can lead to an overweight dog or intestinal difficulties if your dog is especially sensitive. Here are some tips to get your worries under control and avoid over-treating your pooch.
Did you know it is better to practice short training sessions and stop when your dog still wants more? This strategy will keep training interesting and you will avoid over training. I have always known this, but this was reinforced even more when I did sheep herding with my dogs three summers ago. I am always trying to add more skills to my training repetoire, and thought my two Collies and Shetland Sheepdog would enjoy the experience. My wife and I got up at 5am to avoid the traffic and drove 90 minutes to our weekly training sessions at the sheep herding farm.
Barrier Frustration can occur if a dog is behind a window, fence, or on leash and is not allowed to interact with the environment. After a while, she may get frustrated and aggressive. One indicator of Barrier Frustration having a part in aggression is if a dog barks behind barriers and is calm around dogs when off-leash, but is very aggressive behind a barrier or on-leash. Dogs, of course, can also show aggression no matter how much they are being contained as well.
One of the more frequent issues with shy dogs is to be afraid of getting petted by strangers. When dogs are getting petted the person is close to them, they are looking at them, they are looming over them and then they touch them. These are all potential triggers for anxiety or aggression. If your dog is shy, you should help her get comfortable with people to avoid escalation of anxiety, which could potentially lead to aggression.