What are Dog Breed Stereotypes

omg is that a new collar

Dog Breed Stereotypes: Inaccurate and Damaging
One of mine has a “bestie.” Her name is Ava and she belonged to a friend. Karla was a Doberman. Ava was a pit bull
Ava wore a pink collar, For Ava, given her breed and the breed stereotypes that she may encounter, it means a bit more. My friends hope was that a pink collar, is feminine attire will present Ava as the sweetheart that she was.

Although Karla did not care about Ava’s genetic heritage (or that she wears pink), many people do. Breed stereotypes are pervasive and impact local and province breed-specific legislation (BSL), homeowner’s insurance rates, rental property regulations, and shelter decisions regarding adoption and euthanasia. BSL in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom specifically target pit bulls and other bully-type breeds, and either ban ownership of the breeds outright or impose strict restrictions upon ownership. These laws are based upon two assumptions:

1. Targeted breeds are inherently dangerous.
2. Individuals of the breeds can be reliably identified.
There is much controversy (and no consensus) regarding the first assumption, which is a topic for another time.

In this article, we look at the second assumption regarding reliable breed identification. Is there supporting evidence?

It turns out that there is quite a bit of science on this topic – and the results are quite illuminating.

english dogs

A Dog Breed Guessing Game
Prior to the development of DNA testing, the only method available for identifying the breed of a dog whose heritage was unknown was visual assessment. A shelter worker, veterinarian, or animal control officer examines the dog and assigns a breed designation based upon physical appearance and conformation. Even with widespread availability of DNA tests, most shelters and rescue groups continue to rely upon visual identification to assign breed labels to the dogs in their care. Given the life or death import of these decisions for some dogs, it is odd that the question of the reliability of these evaluations has not been questioned.

Until recently.

Even the Experts Can’t Agree on Pit Bulls
In 2013, Victoria Voith and her co-researchers asked more than 900 pet professionals to assign a breed (or mix of breeds) to 20 dogs that they viewed on one-minute video clips. A DNA test was conducted for each of the dogs prior to the study, which allowed the researchers to test both the accuracy of visual breed-identification and the degree of agreement among the dog experts.

Results: Poor agreement was found between visual breed assignments and DNA results in 14 of the 20 dogs (70 percent). Moreover, there was low inter-rater reliability, meaning that the dog experts did not show a high level of agreement regarding breed assignments to the 20 dogs. More than half of the evaluators agreed on the predominant breed in only seven of the 20 dogs (35 percent). These results provide evidence that physical appearance is not a reliable method for breed identification.

You Say Pit Bull, I Say Boxer
The following year, researchers in the U.S. and the U.K. collaborated and examined the consistency with which shelter workers assigned breed labels to the dogs in their care (reference 2). A group of 416 shelter workers in the U.S. and 54 in the U.K. were asked to assign a breed or mix of breeds to photographs of 20 dogs. They also completed a questionnaire that asked them to list the specific features that they used in their determination. Of the 20 dogs that were used in this study, more than three-quarters had a bully-breed appearance.

Note: An important difference between the U.K. and the U.S. is that all U.K. shelters are subject to the country’s Dangerous Dog Act, a law that bans the ownership of pit bulls. While such bans exist in the U.S., there is no universal law. Rather, select municipalities or states have various forms of BSL.

Results: Perhaps not surprisingly, U.K. shelter workers were much less likely to identify a dog with a “bully appearance” as a pit bull than were U.S. shelter workers. Instead, the U.K. shelter workers tended to label these dogs as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, a breed that is allowed in the U.K., rather than as a pit bull, a “breed” that is universally banned.

Despite this difference, results corroborated Voith’s study in that the researchers found a great deal of variation among shelter workers in their assignments of breed, and there was a lack of consensus regarding which of the 20 dogs were identifiable as pit bulls.

DNA VS. Shelter Staff
A 2015 study surveyed experienced shelter staff members at several Florida animal shelters. At each of four sites, four staff members were asked to assign breed designations to 30 adoptable dogs who were housed at their shelter. Collectively, 120 dogs were evaluated by 16 staff members. DNA testing was conducted on all of the dogs. A primary objective of this study was to examine the reliability of shelter staff’s ability to identify dogs with pit bull heritage and to compare their assessments with DNA results.

Note: The DNA signatures that are used to identify “pit bull terriers” are those of the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, two breeds that are considered to be genetically identical. The companies that offer DNA tests for mixed-breed identification do not include American Pit Bull Terriers among the breeds they may identify.

Results: About one-third of the dogs who were identified as a pit-bull type breed by one or more shelter staff lacked any DNA evidence of bully breeds in his/her heritage. When inter-rater reliability among the participants was examined, agreement among shelter staff was moderate, but still included a relatively large number of disagreements.

What this means in practical terms is that a substantial number of dogs in this study were labeled as pit bulls or pit bull types and yet had no such genetic background. Even if the shelter staff agreed on a particular dog’s identification, this would be rather a moot point (for the dog) if they both happened to be wrong.

Breed DNA Doesn’t Always Show
How is it possible that a dog who appears to have the characteristic “pittie-type” head shape, muscular body, and other distinctive features, tests negative for pit-bull heritage? The conclusion that many people make from these discrepancies is that DNA testing must be unreliable, inaccurate, or just plain wrong.

However, the fact is that it is not uncommon for the results of DNA tests of dogs who have mixed heritage to identify a set of primary ancestor breeds that look nothing like the dog in question. This occurs because purebred crosses, particularly after the first generation, can result in unique combinations of genes that produce a wide range of features. When several different breeds are involved, some of these features may not be apparent in any of the ancestral breeds.

This occurs for two reasons. First, many of the breeds that we know today were originally created by crossing two or more existing breeds and then selecting for a small set of physically unique traits in subsequent generations. However, the dogs of these breeds still carry genes for a much wider variety of traits, even though the genes are not being “expressed” in the dog’s appearance. When these dogs are then bred to dogs of other breeds the hidden traits may become evident in their puppies.

A second reason is that less than one percent of the canine genome encodes for breed-specific traits such ear shape, coat type and color, and head shape. So, a dog could be a large part (genetically) of a certain breed, while not showing all of the breed’s physical traits, which may have been rapidly lost during cross-breeding with other breeds.

These three studies provide valuable evidence that the use of visual assessments to assign breed or breed-mixes to dogs is inaccurate and unreliable.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this information is of more than just casual interest for dogs like Colbie because pit bulls and other “bully breeds” are most frequently stigmatized by breed stereotypes and impacted by BSL and shelter policies that require automatic euthanasia. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that identifying an individual dog as a pit bull may be a matter of life or death for that dog.

Labels Matter in the Pet Adoption World
A recent paper published by researchers in Clive Wynne’s dog lab at the University of Arizona describes an ambitious series of experiments in which they examined the impact of breed labels on the perceptions of potential adopters and on the eventual outcome for the dog (reference 4). The studies were carried out online and at animal shelters in Florida and Arizona. Participants were asked to rate photographs, videotapes, or live dogs in their kennels. In some conditions the dogs were provided with a breed label and in others they were not.

Results: Two major findings came out of these studies. The first showed that stereotypes about pit bulls are alive and well, and the second showed how this stigmatization ultimately affects dogs:

1. People rated an image of a “pit-bull type” dog as less approachable, friendly, and intelligent, and more aggressive when compared to an image of either a Labrador Retriever or a Border Collie. In another experiment, labeling a dog as a pit bull negatively influenced the perceptions that people had about the dog. When visitors rated a dog who was labeled as a pit bull, the dogs were found to be less attractive in terms of perceived approachability, friendliness, intelligence, aggressiveness, and adoptability compared with when the same dog was not so labeled.
2. Dogs who had been labeled as pit bulls had length of stays in the Florida shelter prior to adoption that were more than three times as long as the stays of dogs who were matched in appearance, but had been labeled as another breed or breed-mix.
When breed labels were removed from the profile cards of dogs offered for adoption, adoption rates for pit bulls increased significantly, length of stays prior to adoption in the shelter decreased, as did euthanasia rates.

Interestingly, not only pit bull-type dogs benefited from removing breed labels from the kennel cards. Dogs from working breeds who were available for adoption, in particular Boxers, Dobermans, and Mastiffs also showed an increase in adoption rate.

Take Away Points
There is a lot to ponder here. We have learned that breed identification using a dog’s physical appearance, even when conducted by experienced dog experts, is flawed in two distinctive ways. First, experts cannot agree consistently about how to label an individual dog. One person’s Boxer-mix is another’s pit bull and is yet another’s Bulldog/Lab mix.

Second, DNA tests do not consistently confirm breed assignments that were based upon physical appearance. Labeling breeds for purposes of shelter retention, adoption, and euthanasia is a highly dubious process, and one that is most critical for pit bulls, American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and every other so-called “bully” breed and breed-mix.

We have also learned that potential adopters react to a pit bull label in ways that may adversely affect the outcome for the dog. Labeling a dog as a pit bull may increase her length of stay in the shelter, reduce her chances of adoption and increase her risk of being killed, simply because she was assigned a (possibly incorrect) label that changed the perceptions of potential adopters.

And last, we have evidence that removing breed labels from the cage cards of adoptable pit-bull-type dogs (and many other dogs) increases their chance of adoption, reduces the length of their stay in the shelter, and increases their chance of simply staying alive.

Ava was pretty in pink, for sure. But it’s time that wearing pink becomes a simple fashion statement for Ava just as it is for her pal Karla.

What’s a “Pit Bull” Anyway?
Would it surprise you to learn that there is no such breed as the pit bull? This is why it’s not capitalized in WDJ; we do capitalize breed names. There are lots of dogs that are called “pit bulls,” however. Some of them might actually be one of these: The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes a breed called the American Staffordshire Terrier, and another called the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The United Kennel Club (UKC), established in 1898, recognized its first breed, the American Pit Bull Terrier, in 1898. The UKC also recognizes the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Pedigrees be damned, an individual of any one of these dogs would likely be labeled as a “pit bull” if he or she were found in an animal shelter.

As the studies discussed here show, the above-mentioned purebreds, as well as other breeds developed over the years (including the American Bulldog) – and the countless mixed-breed dogs that result from matings with them – are largely indistinguishable to most humans, and even to many dog training or veterinary professionals. If the dog has a blocky head, a muscular body (whether it’s short and squatty, or taller and chiselled), a short coat, and a whippy tail, he will likely be called a pit bull at some point – almost certainly if he ends up in a shelter. If he’s lucky enough to make it onto the adoption row and gets adopted, his savior finds she has also adopted a quandary: Most breed specific legislation, housing regulations, and insurance companies discriminate against any dog with a “pit bull” label – possibly the reason why those mixed-breed DNA testing companies don’t designate any of the dogs they test as American Pit Bull Terriers.


How Do I Support a Grieving Friend?

What do you say to comfort a friend facing the loss of a beloved pet? How can you be there to talk to and support a friend dealing with grief? Use these guidelines to learn how to be more sensitive and helpful during the heartbreak of pet loss.

it never just a dog


Provide the opportunity to talk about feelings and concerns before, during and after a loss. Let them tell “their story” as many times as they need to.
Share and reminisce about fond memories of the pet. Share stories about what you remember about their pet.
Use the pet’s name…even after death.
Provide a hug, a squeeze of the hand, or touch on the shoulder-whatever you feel comfortable doing.
Listen more than talk. Listen in a non-judgmental manner. Allow periods of silence.
Know that depression and anger are normal emotions and expressions of grief. Be accepting and patient. Do not take a grieving person’s negative attitudes or unusual behaviors personally. Give them a lot of room for reacting badly and not doing things “better.” Tell them that there is no right or wrong behavior for grieving. Everyone is different.
Reflect on the feelings they are expressing and help them explore them and the reality of the death. Know that they may have emotional set backs. Know that they will always grieve the loss but will learn to live with it.
Say, “There’s nothing I can say right now to make you feel better. I wish I could. I want you to know that I am here for you.” Mean what you say. Let them know you are there for them. Be there for them in the days as well as weeks, months, and years following the death. Ask them how they are doing.
Cry with them if it feels natural to you.
Help them celebrate the life of the one they have lost. Offer suggestions to help them through their grief: give them ideas for ways to memorialize their pet. Help those who are in the process of grieving to develop the rituals they need to get through those early difficult times: light a candle each day, display photos, clay paw print, fur clipping, write a love note to the pet, plant a flower garden, make a garden stone mosaic, keep the pet’s tags on their keychain, keep a journal, make a photo album.
Send a condolence note with personal comments about the pet and how he or she will be missed.
Send flowers and/or call: “I’ve been thinking of you and I was wondering how you are doing?”. Ask them how they are doing, offer to help, repeat your offer to help at a later time: days, months, years.
Send a donation in the deceased pet’s name to an organization that benefits animals.
Give information about a local pet loss support group to attend (list of pet loss support groups: Pet-Loss.net) and Pet Loss Support Hotline to call (National Pet Loss Support Hotlines: ASPCA (877) 474-3310 Calls are returned immediately 24 hours a day. IAMS (888) 332-7738 Monday through Saturday from 8am-8pm.) While it is kind to share your own compassion and support, additional support services are beneficial in ways you are not qualified for.
If the person who is in grief is suicidal, it is your moral and ethical responsibility to refer them to a mental health professional. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. List of pet loss counselors: Pet-Loss.net
DON’T say:

Do NOT tell them you know exactly how they feel—no one can ever experience pain, grief, and loss in exactly the same way.
Do NOT tell them that time heals all wounds.
Don’t say, “He/she is in a better place” or “Think of only the good times” or “It’s probably for the best” or “Think of all your precious memories”
Don’t say, “You think you’ve got it bad…” or “When my pet died…” Do NOT compare one griever’s loss or experience to another’s. Comparisons are attempts to minimize the loss or to force the griever to behave the right way.
Don’t say, “It’s been two months (or however long); you shouldn’t still be so sad.” Do NOT impose a timeline for feeling better—there is no timeline for grief.
Don’t say, “If I were you, I would have done it (or would do it) this way.” or “Why did you do that?” It helps to give them a lot of room for reacting badly and not doing things “better.”
It’s not helpful to say, “Faith teaches us to be strong.”
Do NOT try to ‘fix’ the grieving person or make it all better—no one can ever do that. Do NOT scold, give advice, lecture or pep talks to them when they are feeling down—let the grief process take its course. Do NOT encourage them to make major changes in their life. Do NOT suggest they medicate their pain with alcohol or tranquilizing drugs. Avoiding the immediate symptoms of grief can ultimately lead to complicated and unresolved grief.
Don’t say, “All Seal Point Siamese look the same. Just get another one.” Do NOT tell them they can ‘get another dog/cat etc’. Do NOT get a new pet for your friend! Don’t ever say, “You know, you can always get another pet. As a matter of fact, I know of one who needs a home right now.” This comment does not acknowledge the unique relationship the person has lost. People need to grieve and be validated for the feelings they are having about this specific loss. It is impossible to recreate lost relationships with another being who is, in itself, unique (even if the same breed). The length of time, and way a person needs to mourn varies with each individual. Telling a person that she/he can simply replace a relationship by getting a new dog/ cat/iguana/ parakeet/horse, etc., is similar to telling a parent who has lost a child that she/he can always have another one.
Do NOT use euphemisms that tend to deny the extent of the loss. Don’t say, “Everything happens for a reason” or “Time will heal” or “He/ she isn’t suffering any more” or “Life goes on” or “Only the good die young” or “All clouds have a silver lining” or “It’s a blessing” or “You were lucky to have him/her this long”. Most of us have said some of these “don’t say” comments at one point or another. In fact, some of these comments have a lot of truth to them. Life does go on. Time often does heal, or at least lessen enormous heartache. The ending of suffering is good. The thing to keep in mind is that when a person is experiencing an acute sense of loss, logic is not comforting. With acute grief, simply acknowledging the sadness and overwhelming sense of loss is appropriate and is more helpful.
Adapted from information obtained by Bonnie Mader, founder of Pet Loss Support Hotline, University of California

The Dog Nanny Website

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When “Fine” Isn’t

Copied from another Blogger a good article to read.

spider gone

Socialization can go wrong when people don’t recognize a puppy’s signs of fear. Here’s what to look for and how to avoid problems.

“We don’t understand where this aggression came from,” the woman said, tears in her eyes. “We took her everywhere as a puppy like you’re supposed to do. She went with us to stores, to our kids’ practices, to friends’ houses. She was fine! But now she growls at people and other dogs, even ones she’s met before.”

The Shepherd mix, Chloe, was now 1 year old, and barking at me from across the room. She would approach, then retreat, growl, and flinch every time I moved.

“Tell me about those early socialization visits,” I said.

“We started right when we got her at 9 weeks,” she replied. “She was fine! She was so quiet. Everyone would compliment her on being so well behaved.”

I asked, “When you introduced her to new people, did she run right up to them, all wiggly? Trying to kiss them? When she met other dogs, was she the same? All curvy and bouncy?”

“Oh no,” she said, “She was a quiet puppy. We would just put her in laps and she’d fall asleep half the time. She wasn’t interested in other dogs. They’d approach her, and she’d just look away like they weren’t even there. But she never growled at them until recently.”

Bingo. With further questions, I learned that Chloe rarely initiated contact with people or other dogs as a puppy. This puppy hadn’t been fine. She had been shutting down. She wasn’t well-behaved. She was too frightened to move. Now that Chloe was an adolescent, she was more willing to protect herself by barking and trying to scare away the people and dogs who frightened her.

Socialization Is More Than Exposure
My client was not a bad dog owner. She knew that socialization was important. She just didn’t realize that done improperly, socialization can backfire. Proper socialization is ensuring that a puppy has a variety of experiences, all wonderful ones. The puppy gets to decide if the experience is wonderful or not. In Chloe’s case, she wasn’t given the chance to go up to people of her own accord, at her own pace. She was placed in people’s laps – in essence, put in the laps of monsters. They were probably all very nice people, but Chloe didn’t think so. Her association with people became worse. When other dogs approached her, she signaled she didn’t want any interaction by turning away. Chloe’s mom didn’t understand that Chloe was uncomfortable, so she didn’t intervene. Now Chloe thought dogs were scary, too.

I’ve seen enough of these cases over the years that I’ve started to call them “Sleepy Puppy Syndrome.”

There are degrees of sociability in dogs, but a normal, healthy, confident puppy will want to explore. She’ll be curvy and wiggly. She may jump up to try and reach faces, trying to kiss chins. She’ll sniff and explore her surroundings.

Signs Of Fear And Stress
A puppy can whine, cower, and try to hide when she is afraid, but sometimes she will act sleepy.

Yawning is a sign of stress. Avoidance is, too. When a puppy is faced with something obvious, like another dog in her face or a looming stranger, and she starts sniffing the ground nearby, scratching behind an ear and ignoring the situation completely, this is a puppy practicing denial.

Understanding these signals can help prevent fear from blossoming into aggression as the puppy gets older. Always bring treats with you when you take your puppy anywhere. Pair each new experience with yummy cookies. If your puppy will not take the treats, it can also be a sign that she is too afraid.

It took three lessons before Chloe would let me pet her. I waited patiently for Chloe to approach at her own pace, rewarding each brave step with a liver treat. With a behavior modification plan and a dedicated pet parent who now understood how to work with Chloe’s fear, Chloe gradually learned the world was not full of monsters. In time, she learned to be truly fine after all.

This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin

The Dog Nanny Website

What are the Myth’s about Dog Training

The 10 most common Myths about Dog Training & Behaviour
Hang with dog folks long enough and you’re sure to hear some pretty interesting theories about dog behavior. Some are, of course, useful and accurate, but the dog training world is littered with myths, many of which are at least several generations old. Some of them are just silly; some have the potential for causing serious damage to the dog-human relationship; and still others are downright dangerous. It’s time to get past the myths.


Below I will explain why these 10 popular myths should not be used as the justification for a training or behavior modification technique. I am always exhorting my interns, apprentices, and clients to be critical thinkers. When someone offers you an alleged nugget of canine wisdom, regardless of who the someone is, you’re wise to run it through your own rigorous filters before accepting it as real wisdom or adopting it as the basis for a training technique.

These should include:
• A scientific filter. Does it make sense scientifically? If someone assures you that shock collar training is actually positive reinforcement training because the shock is no different than someone tapping you on the shoulder to get you to stop a behavior, does that concur with your understanding of positive reinforcement? (That a dog’s behavior makes a good thing happen, so the behavior increases.) Don’t be fooled by the euphemisms “e-collar” and “tingle,” “tap,” or “stim” for the word “shock.”
• A philosophical filter. Is it congruent with your own philosophies about dog training and relationships? Positive punishment (dog’s behavior makes a bad thing happen; behavior decreases) makes sense from a scientific standpoint. That doesn’t mean you want to – or have to – use it with your dog, and risk the damage it can do to your relationship. Trainers with a positive training philosophy generally try to avoid the use of positive punishment, or any methods that work through the use of fear, pain, aversives, and avoidance.
• An “acid test” filter. It may seem sound scientifically, and it may feel okay philosophically, but does it work? If you’re comfortable trying it out and you don’t like the results, feel free to continue on and explore why it’s not working or simply toss it out. Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it has to work for you.
Now, keeping these filters in mind, let’s see how some of the most common and harmful myths about canine behavior create a flawed foundation for training.
Myth #1: “Puppies should not go to puppy classes/the mall/friends’ houses until they have had all their vaccinations at 16 weeks/6 months of age.” (Fails all three tests.)

puppy jeopardy treats
This one lands squarely at the top of the “dangerous myth” category. It’s generally perceived as credible by new puppy owners because it’s often offered by the pup’s veterinarian.
While it appears scientifically sound on its face (an unvaccinated puppy is at risk for contracting deadly diseases!), puppies who aren’t properly socialized are at a much greater risk for developing behavior problems, including aggression, that are likely to shorten their lives.
The vet is right on one hand; the best way to ensure that your pup isn’t exposed to dog germs is to avoid other dogs. It’s certainly true that you want to prevent your pup’s exposure to unknown and/or possibly unhealthy dogs (and their waste). But it’s also critically important that your pup get lots of exposure to the rest of the world, including healthy puppies in a controlled environment, before the critical socialization period ends at 12 to 16 weeks. If he doesn’t, he’ll be at risk of developing serious, sometimes deadly, behavior problems.
In addition, during the period leading up to the age of four to six months, your pup has protection from his mother’s immunities, and should receive “puppy shots” to cover that period of time when his mother’s protection starts to decrease. Not only is it “okay” to take your pup places while exercising reasonable caution, you have an obligation to provide him with extensive socialization in order to maximize his chances of leading a long and happy life.
Myth #2: “Dogs pull on leash, jump up on people, (add your own) because they are dominant.” (Fails scientific and philosophical tests.)

Like the first myth discussed, this one can be dangerous, because those who believe this myth are likely to believe that they need to use forceful methods to assert their status over their “dominant” dogs.
No one disputes that dogs living in a group understand and respond to the concepts and dictates of a social hierarchy. The fact that canine social structures share elements with human social structures is probably one of the reasons that dogs make such wonderful companions for us. However, most experts in animal behavior today believe that canine social hierarchies are much more based on deference than dominance, and that most canine behavior that many misguided humans attribute to dominance . . . isn’t!
A dog’s goal in life is to make good stuff happen. Behaviors often labeled “dominant” because they are perceived as pushy and assertive – like pulling on leash and jumping up – simply persist because the dog has learned that the behaviors are reinforced; they make good stuff happen. Pulling on leash gets her where she wants to go. Jumping up gets attention. Behaviors that are reinforced continue, and even increase – but they have nothing to do with social status.
If you remove all reinforcement for the unwelcome behaviors (pulling makes us stop; jumping up makes attention go away) and reinforce more appropriate behaviors in their place, the dog will change her behavior.
Myth #3: “If you let your dog sleep on the bed /go through doors first/win at tug-o-war, he will become the alpha.” (Fails all three tests.)

it's call furniture
This one is mostly just silly.
See Myth #2 for the myth busting response to this one. If you don’t want your dog on the furniture, that’s your lifestyle choice, but you don’t need to defend it with the dominent alpha-garbage argument. I teach my dogs to sit and wait for permission to go through the door (“say please!”) because it’s a polite, safe behavior and reinforces deference, but not because I’m terrified that they’ll take over the house. And I like to win tug-o-war a lot because it reinforces polite behavior. You can quit worrying about your dog becoming alpha just because you don’t rule with an iron bar.
If you are concerned that your dog is too pushy you can implement a “Say Please” program, where your dog asks politely for all good things by sitting – a nice, polite, deference behavior (see “Be a Benevolent Leader, Whole Dog Journal August, 2003). If you think your dog is potentially aggressive, it’s even more important to avoid conflict; your attempts to physically dominate him are likely to escalate his aggression rather than resolve it.
Myth #4: “Dogs can’t learn from positive reinforcement. You have to punish them so they know when they are wrong.” (Fails scientific and philosophical tests; fails acid test unless punisher is very skilled.)

not a bad dog
This myth has good potential for causing serious harm to the canine-human relationship. Research confirms what positive trainers hold dear: that positive reinforcement training is more effective and has far fewer risks than positive reinforcement training combined with positive punishment.
One study, conducted by scientists at the University of Southampton in the UK and the University of Life Sciences in Norway, evaluated whether punishment was a contributor to behavior problems, and examined the effects of reward, punishment, and rule structure (permissiveness/strictness and consistency) on training and behavior problems. Information was collected via questionnaires from 217 dog guardians. Those who used strong and/or frequent punishment had a significantly higher level of training problems and lower obedience in their dogs. A similar study, conducted at Britain’s University of Bristol, also found that dogs trained only with positive reinforcement exhibited fewer problem behaviors.
For most humans, this makes sense. Do you learn better if someone acknowledges (and rewards) you when you do it right, or slaps you upside the head when you do it wrong? Even if you get rewarded for doing it right, if you also get slapped for doing it wrong, your fear of getting slapped will likely impede your learning and make you more reluctant to try things.
Of course, a good positive training program makes use of management to avoid giving the dog opportunities to be reinforced for unwanted behaviors, and will also make judicious use of negative punishment (dog’s behavior makes a good thing go away) to let him know he made an unrewarding behavior choice.
Myth #5: “If you use treats to train, you will always need them.” (Fails all three tests.)
This just isn’t true. A good positive training program will quickly “fade” the use of food as a constant reinforcer while moving to a schedule of intermittent reinforcement and expanding the repertoire of reinforcers to include things like toys, play, petting, praise, and the opportunity to perform some other highly reinforcing behavior.
Treats can be a very high-value reinforcer and quite useful in training a wide variety of behaviors, so it’s plain silly to turn your back on them. Just be sure to fade food lures quickly in a training program, move to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement when your dog will perform a behavior on cue 8 out of 10 times, and incorporate a variety of reinforcers so you’re never dependent on any one particular reward choice. (For more information about how some people might fail when applying positive training techniques the wrong way.
Myth #6: “A dog who urinates inside/destroys the house/barks when he is left alone does so because he is spiteful.” (Fails the scientific and philosophical tests.)

toy destroy
This myth definitely causes harm to the dog-human relationship. Dogs don’t do things out of spite, and to think so gives owners a negative perspective on their relationship with their canine family member. Dogs do things because they feel good, they work to make good stuff happen (or to make bad stuff go away), or because they are reacting to events that occur in their environment. While our dogs share much the same range of emotions as we humans, they don’t seem to indulge in all the same motives. Spite requires a certain amount of premeditation and cognitive thinking that science doesn’t support as being evident in the canine behavior repertoire.
There are two rational explanations for the behaviors described in this myth. The first is that the dog isn’t fully housetrained and hasn’t yet learned house manners. In the absence of direct supervision, the dog urinates when he has a full bladder (an empty bladder feels good) and becomes destructive because playing with/chewing sofa cushions, shoes, ripping down curtains, tipping over the garbage, and barking are fun and rewarding activities.
The other explanation is that the dog suffers from some degree of isolation distress. These behaviors are often a manifestation of stress and the dog’s attempt to relieve his anxiety over being left alone. If your dog regularly urinates (or worse) in the house or destroys things when he is left alone, he may be suffering from a moderate degree of isolation distress, or more severe separation anxiety. This condition can worsen without appropriate management. For more information.
Myth #7: “If you feed a dog human food, he will learn to beg at the table.” (Fails all three tests.)
This is silly! One dog owner’s “begging” is another’s “attention” behavior, eagerly sought-after and highly valued. Behaviors that are reinforced continue and/or increase. If you fed your dog his own dog food from the table, he would learn to beg at the table. It has nothing to do with what type of food he’s being fed! If you don’t want your dog to beg at the table, don’t feed your dog from the table.
Whole Dog Journal readers know full well that human-grade food is better for dogs than much of the junk that’s in many brands of dog food. Whether it’s fed in a form that we recognize as something we might consume, or it’s been transformed into something that more resembles our mental concept of “dog food,” it all still comes from the same basic food ingredients.
Myth #8: “He knows he was bad/did wrong because he looks guilty.” (Fails all three tests.)
This myth is damaging to the relationship, as it leads owners to hold dogs to a moral standard that they aren’t capable of possessing. When a dog looks “guilty,” he is most likely responding to a human’s tense or angry body language with appeasement behaviors. He’s probably thinking something like, “I don’t know why, but my human looks upset. I’d better offer some appeasement behaviors so her anger isn’t directed at me!” Even when the “guilty” expression is a direct and immediate result of your dog’s behavior because your punishment was timely – “Hey! Get out of the garbage!” –your dog’s turned head, lowered body posture, averted eyes – are simply an acknowledgement of your anger and his attempt to reconcile with you.

no matter why dogs celebrate with you
A trainer friend of mine once did an experiment to convince a client that her dearly held “guilty look” belief was a myth. He had the client hold her dog in the living room while he went into the kitchen and dumped the garbage can on the floor, strewing its contents nicely around the room. Then he had the client bring the dog into the kitchen. Sure enough, the dog “acted guilty” even though he had nothing to do with the garbage on the floor. He just knew from past experience that “garbage on floor” turned his owner into an angry human, and he was already offering appeasement behavior in anticipation of her anger, and to divert her ire from his dog-self.
Finally, most owners who have punished a dog for something that was done in their absence can attest to the fact that the punishment generally does not prevent the dog from repeating the behavior another time. What does work is simple management. Put the garbage somewhere that the dog can’t get to it; under a sink with a safety latch on it, for example. Keep counters clear of anything edible. Leave the dog in a part of the house that is comfortable but not easily destroyed. Hire a dog walker to come by in the middle of your dog’s longest days home alone to let him out, give him some stress-relieving exercise, and leave him with a food-filled chew toy. These actions will result in an intact home – and a dog who is not afraid to greet you when you return.
Myth #9: The prong collar works by mimicking a mother dog’s teeth and her corrections. (Fails the scientific and philosophical tests.)

It’s a little discouraging to think that people actually believe this myth. It would be silly if it weren’t so potentially damaging to the relationship and potentially dangerous as well.
Prong collars work because the prongs pressing into the dog’s neck are uncomfortable at best, painful at worst. Because dogs will work to avoid pain and discomfort, the prong collar does work to stop a dog from pulling on the leash, and can shut down other undesirable behaviors as well, at least temporarily. However, like all training tools and techniques that are based on pain and intimidation, there is a significant risk of unintended consequences.
In the case of the prong collar, the primary risk is that the dog will associate the pain with something in his environment at the time he feels it, and this can lead to aggression toward the mistakenly identified cause. A dog’s unmannerly, “I want to greet you” lunge toward another dog or person can turn into, “I want to eat you,” if he decides that the object of his attention is hurting him.
If you have used or are considering the use of a prong collar to control your dog, please consult with a qualified positive behavior consultant to learn about more effective and less potentially harmful methods.
Myth #10: “Aggressive/hand-shy/fearful dogs must have been abused at some point in their lives.” (Fails the scientific test.)ddb halloween ball
This is a very widespread myth; I hear it so often it makes my brain hurt. Fortunately, while the behaviors described in this myth are problematic, the myth itself may be the most benign of our top 10.
There are many reasons a dog may be aggressive, hand-shy, or fearful. Lack of proper socialization tops the list, especially for fearfulness. If a pup doesn’t get a wide variety of positive social exposures and experiences during the first 12 to 14 weeks of his life, he’s likely to be neophobic – afraid of new things – for the rest of his life (see Myth #1). This neophobia manifests as fear, and for some dogs, as fear-related aggression.
Widely accepted categories of aggression include:
• Defensive (fear-related) aggression
• Possession aggression (resource-guarding)
• Maternal aggression
• Territorial aggression
• Status-related aggression
• Pain-related aggression
• Protection aggression
• Predatory aggression
• Play aggression
• Idiopathic (we don’t know what causes it) aggression
Note that there’s no category for “abuse-related” aggression. Abuse can be one of several causes of fear-related/defensive aggression, but is much less common than the fear-related aggression that results from under socialization.
Regardless of the cause of a dog’s fearful or aggressive behavior, a myth-corollary to our Myth #10 is that love alone will be enough to “fix” the problem. While love is a vital ingredient for the most successful dog-human relationships, it takes far more than that to help a fearful dog become confident, or an aggressive one become friendly. For more about rehabilitating a chronically fearful dog.

The Dog Nanny Website

Do Some Dogs Need a Heavier Hand?

thought i was the master
It never fails—someone always says it. In a recent online discussion about a trainer known for using less-than-gentle methods, someone made a comment that sounded a lot like this: “Positive training is fine for smaller dogs and puppies, and maybe even some adults, but there are some dogs that need a heavier hand.”
Really? Because that sounds an awful lot like justification for, yanking, hitting, shocking, and other things done to dogs in the name of training.
I’ve heard the excuse for heavy-handedness put like this: “They’re RED zone dogs”. The term is meant to indicate dogs that are severely aggressive, and often the trainer has been brought in as last-ditch effort before the dog is euthanized.
In my years of working in canine training and behaviour, I’ve worked with many of what would be termed “red zone” dogs. Lest you think I don’t fully comprehend the extreme aggression the term is meant to denote, one example from my own clientele is the 140-pound Mastiff who had put a hole through his owner’s hand. His owner, a 6-foot-240 pound man, had adopted the dog as an adult. The first week, the man went to grab a toy on the carpet at the same time as the dog did, which resulted in the hole in the palm through which daylight was clearly visible. The dog was also very aggressive toward strangers, and had severe barrier frustration aggression. I’m happy to report that with a course of kind, gentle training and behaviour modification, and some beautiful follow-through on the part of the clients, all lived carefully but happily ever after. I could go on about successful outcomes with dogs, who have delivered multiple puncture-wounds to multiple people, and how gentle methods were successful…but you get the idea. And plenty of other trainers could share similar stories.
Whenever I hear the argument for certain dogs needing a heavier hand, I think about the wolves I’ve worked with over the years. Wolves are incredibly intelligent, and they learn very quickly. They do not, however, respond to things in the same way dogs do. An attempt to physically overpower them would not go well for the human—so how could anyone possibly work with them? Gently and with respect. It’s the method use with all Canids and other large animals.

pack equals family to dog
It’s true that some dogs are naturally softer than others as far as temperament, and they’re more tractable when it comes to training and behaviour modification. There are also some very pushy, obnoxious dogs out there (have you met my dog Saphira?), and yes, even aggressive and severely aggressive dogs. But when we put those dogs in a box and slap a label on it (Red Zone! Beware!), we do them a disservice. That label implies, at least to some, that desperate situations call for desperate measures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Attempting to establish dominance over the dog is the first thing many trainers attempt when working with these high-risk types. I suppose the theory is that the dog will then be biddable; after all, how can you work with a dog that might go after you? But this theory misses the point. It’s not about force to begin with—it’s about gaining the dog’s trust.

Think about it: Why is the dog behaving aggressively? In the vast majority of cases, it’s because he or she does not feel comfortable, and is taking the offence to keep the big, scary thing at bay. Sure, there are also dogs who are flat-out territorial or otherwise aggressive without it being fear-based, but even then, gaining trust in a non-confrontational way goes so much further than simply establishing dominance. And let’s say the trainer can “dominate” the dog. Where does that leave the family members who have to live with the dog every day?

I’ve seen way too many clients who were advised to use harsh, punitive methods on aggressive dogs, and it backfired. One of my clients had been advised by a previous trainer to put her American Bulldog on his back and sit on him whenever he became aggressive. The woman had been bitten in the face, and as a result, was seeking a better way.
I don’t care if a dog is 150 pounds or 10 pounds, and whether the issue is leash manners or biting visitors. There are no dogs that need a heavier hand—there are only trainers who need more knowledge and a lighter touch.

not a bad dog

The Dog Nanny website

How to Load a Marker

The Use of a Marker
Everywhere you read about Dog Training you’ll see

that TIMING & CONSISTANCY are mentioned.

TIMING is referring to the timing of your MARKER.look into my eyes you will give cookies
A MARKER is a sound that let’s your dog know they just did the right thing and a reward is coming.
CONSISTANCY means you use the same word/sound/command/hand signal and that your Rules are always the same.

Animal trainers for years have used a MARKER, be it a whistle or a word for Dolphins, Whales, Bears, Elephants or Lions.
I am sure most of you have heard of Clicker Training which is becoming more and more popular with dog owners and trainers, the Clicker still falls into the MARKER Category.
It is still a sound that let’s your dog know they just did the right thing and a reward is coming.
However, after 25+ years of teaching people how to train their dogs, I know that having that CLICKER to hand at all times, just does not happen. You said Sit, your dog did and now you are patting your pockets trying to find the Clicker, the moment for Marking has past and thus the opportunity to confirm your dog just did the right thing.
What you always have to hand is your VOICE, as a marker is a sound, you could just as easily use your voice over a Clicker or Whistle.
So what sound do you make……………………..
As it’s natural to say YES, when something is right, YES would be the obvious choice for us humans, but we want that sound to be just for our dogs, so they know each time they hear it, it was solely directed at them.
So I suggest we say “YESSSSSSS”, unless of course you go around saying YESSSSSS, to others, which in this day and age is unlikely, with all our slang of Yep’s, and OK’s.
YESSSS also falls into how dogs understand sounds, the Y is a little high squeaky in tone, therefore Praise/Play sound, the nice long SSSSSSS, makes it very different from YES.
Try it say “YES” now say “YESSSSSS”.
Timing of this MARKER is very important, you need to issue it the very second you get the correct behaviour.
The better you are at MARKING the faster your dog learns behaviours.
I must add here I do love clicker training, BUT, only for those handler’s/owner’s whom are proficient and confident and know to have that Clicker handy and are great at timing it’s use. A skill that comes with time and practise.

The Dog Nanny Website


Bloating in Dogs

Bloating in Dogs Treatable with Gastropexy

While large and giant breeds are at greatest risk for bloat, cases in small breeds have been reported, though they are relatively rare. Mixed breeds, particularly those with chests that are deep and narrow, are also at higher risk of bloat. The following breeds have higher incidences of the condition.


-Great Dane
– Akita
– Bloodhound
– Weimaraner
– Standard Poodle
– Irish Setter
– Irish Wolfhound
– St. Bernard
– German Shepherd Dog
– Boxer
– Rottweiler

Dog Bloat: Causes, Signs, and Symptoms
If you have a bloat-prone breed, consider a gastropexy, a surgical procedure that can prevent stomach torsion.
There’s good reason why veterinarians call bloat “the mother of all emergencies.” It can come on suddenly and, if left untreated for only a handful of hours, can spell a death sentence for a dog.

Symptoms of bloat, which is incredibly painful for the dog, include pacing and restlessness; a distended abdomen; turning to look at or bite at the flank area; rapid, shallow breathing; retching without actually vomiting up any food, and excessive drooling.
Bloat is a two-part disorder, telegraphed by its formal name: gastric dilatation and volvulus. The first part, gastric dilatation, refers to an expansion of the stomach due to the presence of gas and/or food. The second part, volvulus, is the fatal blow: The distended stomach begins to twist, cutting off the blood supply and causing its tissue to die off. As if that wasn’t trouble enough, the enlarged stomach may press on the blood vessels that transport blood back to the heart, slowing circulation, creating cardiac arrhythmia, and sending the dog into shock.
Once the stomach has torsioned, emergency surgery is required to restore it to its normal position, and to evaluate whether so much tissue has died off that the dog has any hope of surviving.

Dog Bloat Risk Factors
Owners who are determined to prevent bloat nonetheless want to understand its causes before submitting their dogs to an elective surgery like gastropexy. The problem is, veterinary science is still unclear about precisely what triggers an episode, and instead can only offer a long and varied list of risk factors.
The mother of all bloat studies was done two decades ago by Dr. Lawrence T. Glickman and his colleagues at the Purdue University Research Group, and is still being discussed and quoted today. The 1996 study and its follow-up research found that many food-management practices that were initially believed to help reduce the risk of bloat – like feeding from a raised food bowl, moistening dry food before serving, and restricting water access before and after meals – actually increased the odds of a dog bloating.
Other risk factors include eating only one meal a day; having a close family member with a history of bloat; having a nervous or aggressive temperament; eating quickly; being thin or underweight; eating a dry-food diet with animal fat listed in the first four ingredients, and/or eating a moistened dog food, particularly with citric acid as a preservative.
Not surprisingly, certain breeds were found to be at high risk for bloat, particularly large or giant breeds. Topping the list were Great Danes, followed by St. Bernards and Weimaraners. The study found that breeds with deep and narrow chests – like the Greyhound that started this story – are also at higher risk for bloating, as are males and older dogs.
Also according to the Purdue study, the risk of bloat was more than twice as high in dogs seven to 10 years old compared to dogs two to four years old, and more than three times as high in dogs age 10 and older.

Reducing the Risk of Bloat
While not a guarantee that your dog will avoid experiencing an episode of bloat, these steps can help lower the risk.

1. Feed several smaller meals per day.
Feeding a large, once-a-day meal can extend the stomach and stretch the hepatogastric ligament, which keeps the stomach positioned in the abdominal cavity. Dogs that have bloated have been found to have longer ligaments, perhaps due to overstretching.
2. Slow down fast eaters.
Some theories suggest that air gulping can trigger bloat. To keep your dog from gobbling down his meals, invest in a slow-feeder bowl, which has compartments or grooves to require dogs to pace themselves; there are several brands available. For a low-tech version, try placing a large rock in the middle of your dog’s food bowl, which will force him to eat around it. (Of course, make sure the rock is large enough so it can’t be swallowed.)
3. If you feed kibble, add some variety.
Dogs that are fed canned food or table scraps have a lower incidence of bloat. If you feed kibble, try to avoid food with smaller-sized pieces, and opt for brands that have larger-sized pieces. While some raw feeders maintain that feeding a raw diet prevents bloat, there are no studies to support this, and raw-fed dogs are not immune to bloating.

4. Don’t go for lean and mean.
Studies show that thinner dogs are at greater risk for bloat; in fatter dogs, the extra fat takes up space in the abdomen and doesn’t give the stomach much room to move. While no one is advocating that you make your dog obese, keeping a bloat-prone dog on the slightly chunkier side might have some merit.
5. Reduce your dog’s stress.
Easier said than done, of course. But if at all possible, opt for a house sitter instead of taking your dog to a kennel. If you have multiple dogs, feed your bloat-prone dog separately, to avoid the stress (and resultant gulping) from worrying that his meal might be snagged by a housemate.
6. Don’t eat and run.
Veterinary experts recommend that you avoid giving your dog hard exercise one hour before and two hours after he eats. Many give the green light to walking, however, as it does not jostle the full stomach and in fact can help stimulate digestion.

If your dog bloats and her stomach has torsioned, surgery is the only recourse if you want her to survive. And if you get to the vet in time, the odds are with you: In a retrospective study of 166 cases between 1992 and 2003, researchers found that short-term mortality resulting from bloat surgery was a relatively low 16.2 percent.

Risk factors for a fatal outcome included having clinical signs more than six hours before surgery (i.e., the longer you wait, the worse your dog’s prognosis), hypotension during any time of the hospitalization, peritonitis, sepsis, and administration of blood or plasma transfusions. Dogs whose tissue damage was so advanced that they required part of their stomach or their spleen removed (partial gastrectomy or spleenectomy, respectively) also had worse prognoses.

But the decisions regarding a gastropexy – essentially, “tacking” the stomach so it cannot torsion – are not as clear-cut. If your dog has never bloated, you’ll need to weigh the risk factors: Is your dog’s breed prone to bloat? (Great Danes, for example, have a whopping 42.4 percent chance of bloating in their lifetime.) Do you know of any siblings, parents, or other close relatives who have bloated? Is your dog nervous, aggressive, or a super-fast eater?

And, most important, has your dog bloated before? Studies indicate that such dogs have a recurrence rate of more than 70 percent, and mortality rates of 80 percent.

Types of Tacks
There are several kinds of gastropexy surgery. Securing the bottom of the stomach to the right side of the body so it cannot rotate during an episode of bloat is the common goal of each type of surgery, but slightly different methods are used to accomplish this. There are no studies that compare the efficacy of the various types of gastropexy, but the general consensus is that there is not a huge difference between them. Most veterinarians will choose one over the others based on their own preference and amount of experience.

Incisional gastropexy is a straightforward procedure in which the bottom of the stomach (the antrum) is sutured to the body wall. It relies on only a few sutures until an adhesion forms.

Belt-loop gastropexy involves weaving a stomach flap through the abdominal wall. Though a relatively quick procedure, it requires more skill than an incisional gastropexy.

In a circumcostal gastropexy, a flap from the stomach is wrapped around the last rib on the right side and then secured to the stomach wall. Proponents of this approach note that the rib is a stronger and more secure anchor for the stomach. This type of gastropexy requires more time and skill to perform; risks include potential rib fracture and pneumothorax, in which air leaks into the space between the lung and chest wall.

Gastropexy is now being performed with minimally invasive approaches such as laparoscopy and endoscopy, which shorten surgery and anesthesia times, as well as the time needed for recovery. Though both use remote cameras to visualize the surgery area, the laparoscopic-assisted approach requires an extra incision through the navel, which allows the surgeon to directly visualize the position of the stomach and make any modifications necessary.

A 1996 study of eight male dogs compared those that had laparoscopic gastropexy with those that had belt-loop gastropexy, and concluded that the laparoscopic approach should be considered as a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open-surgery gastropexy.

Complications from gastropexy are relatively minor, especially for young, healthy dogs who are undergoing the surgery electively, before any incidence of bloat. As always, be sure that your dog has a complete pre-surgical work-up to ensure there are no chronic or underlying conditions that might compromise her ability to successful recover from surgery. And again, while gastropexy isn’t foolproof, Dr. Glickman has been quoted as saying that the risk of bloat and torsion after the procedure is less than five percent – not bad odds at all.

If you do elect to have a gastropexy performed on your dog, many veterinarians do the procedure at the same time as spaying or neutering. That way, the dog doesn’t have to go under anesthesia again, or, in the case of conventional surgery, be “opened up” another time.

In the end, the question of whether or not to have a gastropexy done is arguably tougher for those whose dogs who are not at very high risk: The owner of a Great Dane has a greater incentive for getting a gastropexy than, say, the owner of a Shih Tzu, whose bloat rates are not as comparably high.

A 2003 study that looked at the benefits of prophylactic gastropexy for at-risk dogs used a financial metric to assess the benefits of surgery: Working under the assumption that elective gastropexy surgeries cost about $400 and emergency bloat surgeries cost at least $1,500 – or as much as four times that – the study concluded that the procedure was cost effective when the lifetime risk of bloat with torsion was greater than or equal to 34 percent.

As with any complex decision, assess your dog’s risk factors, as well as your individual circumstances, and then make the choice that seems right for the both of you.

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Essential Oils for Dogs


insect repellents

Using essential oils with dogs can be an amazing natural way to help your pet, but it is important to go about it safely. Read on to see what oils I like to use for my pup…

Why? And How?

Itchy skin, upset tummy, bites, and other ailments your four-legged family member may encounter can be a soothed with essential oils. As with humans, these oils offer a great alternative to prescription medications and over-the-counter products that may contain harmful chemicals.

People-pleasing Lavender is a fetch for dogs, too. Its relaxing fragrance is known to reduce emotional stress and anxiety with humans and can offer the same benefits. It can provide calmness and reduce hyperactivity. Lavender can help relieve flea bites, as well as repel fleas. Use it to help heal wounds, bruises and burns, and as an antiseptic.

Dilute a few drops of lavender, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary with large amounts of water in a spray bottle for a flea repellent.

Do loud noises like fireworks or thunder cause your pup anxiety? Try Lavender or Stress Away. Rub a drop on the palm of your hand and pat your dog’s ears or head.

Dogs like to play, and sometimes that comes with scrapes or cuts. Helichrysum, like lavender, can have some of the same benefits for dogs as it does humans. It helps heal bruises and wounds—physical and emotional, can be used as an antiseptic, is a great skin tonic, helps clear mucus from the lungs, heals broken capillaries, aids digestion, and supports the immune system.

Frankincense is another good essential oil to calm your dog and help ease any anxiety.

Use one of our pre-diluted roll-ons. Choose between:  Peaceful Pup, for a beautiful mix of calming oils,  Doggy Digest, to promote regular bowel movements, and then there is Fur Envy, to safely give your dog’s coat the proper protection, shine, and more! (or choose all three!)



Essential oils can be applied topically to your dog. Dilute the essential oils—approximately three to six drops of oil in an ounce of carrier oil, or about 20 drops in eight ounces of shampoo, or 0.1%-1% oil to water ratio. Use less for small dogs than for big ones. You can also use a spray bottle with a few drops of oil mixed with water to apply topically.

Apply/massage your diluted oil to the area where it’s needed. The oils are quickly absorbed. You can also apply by “petting”—rub the diluted oil in your hands, then pet your pooch with both hands.

Use a diffuser for aromatherapy or put a drop of oil on your dog’s collar or bed.

Keep away from your pet’s eyes, nose, inside of his ears, and private area.

Only use essential oils that are safe for dogs. There are some oils to avoid. A few of these include thyme, oregano, and pennyroyal. Give Fido oils once or twice a day. If he doesn’t want them, no need to push the issue. Simply use a diffuser and if you don’t have one, a bowl of hot water with a few drops of essential oils will do the same trick.

The Dog Nanny’s website


Understanding Bad Dog Behavior

toy destroy

It can be frustrating when you experience dog behavior problems. Dogs are very different than people. A dog’s actions sometimes don’t make sense to us. It’s hard to understand why a dog does what he does. So, what is it that’s behind common dog behavior problems and what can you do to correct these problems?

If you have a dog that is behaving badly, you need to correct the problem; but to do that, you need to understand your dog’s behavior.

First and foremost remember that a dog is a pack animal. Your dog sees himself as part of your pack. That’s why it’s so important that you lead him and make him understand that you are the leader of the pack. If you allow your dog to continue with certain dog behavior problems, he will think that he is the alpha dog, and your dog behavior problems will continue.

If you’re curious about why your dog does what he does, you’re not alone. Common dog behavior problems can be easily resolved, as long as you follow the right training methods.

How many times have you uttered the words, “No – bad dog!”, only to find it has no effect on your dog’s behavior? That’s because punishment doesn’t work. Most of the time, dogs don’t understand what they’re being punished for, and the behavior continues.

Changing dog behavior problems isn’t quick and easy – it can take weeks or months to achieve. The most important thing to remember is that any attention rewards your dog – good or bad. If you are trying to change your dog’s behavior, remember that punishment doesn’t work. To stop bad dog behavior problems, you must respond to the behavior in the right way. If you yell at your dog when he does something bad, you are still giving him the attention he seeks and telling him that his bad behavior paid off.

The key to changing bad dog behavior is not to allow him to be rewarded for it. Instead of yelling, give your dog the chance to succeed and reward him when he does. For instance, if your dog is jumping up, tell him to lie down – and when he does, give him a treat. This is the type of positive reinforcement that will eventually stop bad dog behavior. Your dog wants to understand what you want him to do, but it will take patience and time to make your dog learn what you expect of him.

When you are interacting with your dog, you are communicating with an animal that speaks a different language than you do. That’s why training is so important to help improve your dog behavior problems. Try to teach your dog a new command every week, and remember to keep practicing old commands. When your dog understands what you want him to do, you will have a much better relationship.

Also remember the old adage, “a Brain tired dog is a good dog.” It’s true. A Brain tired dog is less likely to exhibit behavioral problems. So make sure that your dog gets plenty of opportunities to work, run and play. Exercise is important for all dogs. It helps them use up all that pent up energy, so they’re less likely to direct that energy toward unwanted behaviors. If you work outside of the home and your dog is home alone all day, make sure to give him the opportunity to run around outdoors when you come home.

From aggression and barking to destructive chewing, nipping and separation anxiety, dog behavior problems can have a real impact on your life.