A dog who has good manners and will respond to basic cues such as "sit," "stay" and "come" is much easier to live with and will be much more comfortable in our hectic world. You can help your dog develop good social skills and master simple cues with just a fundamental understanding of dog behavior and a little practice.
These resources in the Best Friends online pet care library can help you with specific behavior and training issues:
Chewing in Dogs
Crate Training: The Benefits for You and Your Dog
Dealing with Excessive Barking
Digging in Dogs
Housetraining Your Dog
Dog Jumping Up
Scared Dog: How to Approach a Fearful Dog
Dog Food Aggression: Prevention
Dog Bites Child: How to Prevent This Scenario
Preventing Your Dog from Escaping
Dog Pulling on Leash
Submissive Urination and Excited Peeing in Dogs
Dog Marking: How to Stop It
There are many more resources in the online pet care library, so check it out. Also, Best Friends' staff trainers have written a manual called Dog Tips From DogTown with more information about relationship-based training to help dogs overcome undesirable behaviors.
When you need a professional
Training a dog can be very challenging, and you may decide that you need some help. The resource How to Find a Good Trainer can point you in the right direction. For help with basic manners and other minor issues, you can find a certified dog trainer through the website for the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. You can also find a trainer through the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. If there are no trainers in your area, contact one of the trainers listed and ask him/her to recommend someone.
If your dog has more challenging behavior issues, or if you are told by a trainer that he or she is not qualified for your case, ask for a referral to a certified behavior consultant, a certified applied animal behaviorist or a veterinary behaviorist. A behavior consultant or certified behaviorist can assess a dog's history, temperament, environment and reaction to various situations to help everyone involved understand what it will take to manage or correct the behavior. Here are several options for finding a behaviorist:
- You can find a certified behavior consultant through the International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).
You could consult a veterinarian who has undergone extensive training and education in animal behavior. The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) lists their members here.
"Before You Get Your Puppy" by Dr. Ian Dunbar
Dunbar, a veterinarian and animal behaviorist, covers what he calls the three "developmental deadlines" to meet before you get your puppy: completing your education about puppies, knowing how to assess your prospective puppy's progress and instituting errorless house-training.
"After You Get Your Puppy" by Dr. Ian Dunbar
In this book, Dunbar covers the three "developmental deadlines" to meet after you get your puppy: socializing your puppy to people, teaching bite inhibition and continuing socialization in the world at large.
"Pet Behavior Protocols" by Suzanne Hetts
This book is for veterinary professionals, shelter staff, breeders, trainers, and animal control agents who want to help people find sensible solutions to their pet behavior problems.
"Don't Shoot the Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training" by Karen Pryor
Pryor clearly explains the underlying principles of behavioral training and uses numerous examples to show how to achieve your training objectives through positive reinforcement. She also has a website on clicker training: www.clickertraining.com.
"Dogs Are from Neptune" by Jean Donaldson
Donaldson draws from real cases to provide clear, step-by-step advice for troubleshooting dog behavior problems - ranging from obedience stumpers like pulling on lead to serious issues like biting and fighting.
"The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson
Donaldson presents a revolutionary new way of understanding the relationship between humans and dogs.
"Outwitting Dogs: Revolutionary Techniques for Dog Training That Work" by Terry Ryan
Ryan draws on her 25 years of hands-on experience to help people understand dogs, train dogs, and solve dog behavior problems using kinder, gentler methods.
"Dog-Friendly Dog Training" by Andrea Arden
This is a great book for beginners.
"Love Has No Age Limit: Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home" by Patricia McConnell and Karen London
This book helps ease the transition from shelter to home.
The Whole Dog Journal
This is a monthly guide to natural dog care and training. You can subscribe (and get a free 14-day trial subscription) at www.whole-dog-journal.com or call 800-829-9165.
This is a monthly 24-page newsletter for dog enthusiasts published by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. You can subscribe by calling 800-829-5116. For more information, go to vet.tufts.edu/publications/your_dog.html.
"Unleash Your Dog's Potential: Getting in TTouch with Your Canine Friend"
The TTouch method helps you achieve a relationship with your pet based on appreciation and friendship, rather than on dominance and submission. There are several videos for dog people. Call 800-797-PETS or visit www.animalambassadors.com (click on "Store").
"Puppy Love: Raise Your Dog the Clicker Way" with Karen Pryor
This video shows you how to use a clicker to train your dog. (See also Don't Shoot the Dog! by Karen Pryor in the book section.) Available at www.amazon.com.
"Clicker Fun Series" with Deborah Jones
This series of three videos shows you how to use clicker-based methods to change your dog's behavior. Each video comes with a clicker. Available on the Canine Training Systems website: www.caninetrainingsystems.com/products.
Products for controlling your dog
The Halti head halter is an effective alternative to the choke collar, enforcing the simple principle that a dog's body will follow where his head leads him. Available at pet supply stores.
The Gentle Leader Headcollar is another product that helps you to control your dog humanely. For more information, visit www.petsafe.net/gentleleader.
A front-clip harness is another option. Check out the various harnesses available: the Halti from the Company of Animals (www.companyofanimals.us), Premier's Easy Walk harness (www.premier.com) and the SENSE-ation harness from Softtouch Concepts (www.softouchconcepts.com).
DirectStop citronella spray is a humane way to prevent or stop dog fights. Available at pet supply stores or at www.premier.com.
Products for soothing your dog
Dog-appeasing pheromone is a spray/plug-in that provides an effective way to control and manage unwanted canine behavior associated with fear and/or stress. Available at Doctors Foster and Smith: www.drsfostersmith.com.
BlackWing Farms provides an array of aromatherapies to help your dog find a healthier emotional state. For more information, visit blackwingfarms.com.
Bach Flower Essences can soothe your dog during times of stress. For more information, visit www.bachflower.com.
All of the following are available at pet supply stores.
Kongs are durable rubber enrichment toys that can provide you and your dog with hours of fun. For more information, visit their website: www.kongcompany.com.
Nylabone makes a variety of chew toys and interactive toys for dogs. Check out their products at www.nylabone.com.
Dispensing toys are great for mental stimulation. You hide treats in the toy and the dog has to figure out how to get the treats out. Try a TreatStik, Busy Dog Ball or Buster Cube. Nina Ottosson also has a wide variety of food puzzles (nina-ottosson.com).
Nature's Miracle and Simple Solution are two products containing natural enzymes that tackle tough stains and odors and remove them permanently. Available at pet supply stores.
OdoBan is an odor eliminator that cleans, disinfects, sanitizes and deodorizes. For more information, go to www.odoban.com.