What To Do If Your Dog Won’t Use His Dog House

Justin writes: “My dog won’t stay in his dog house for more than 5 seconds. What can I do? I have his favorite blanket in there. Any suggestions? Thanks”

Adam replies: For some reason, I find that most dogs do not like traditional dog houses. They do, however, prefer the Tupperware-type “Igloos.” In any case, here’s what you can start doing:

Feed the dog his dinner in the dog house. What you’re doing when you feed him his dinner in the dog house is that you’re associating something positive (eating) with being in the dog house. Simple!

You can also try playing fetch games with the dog, by throwing the toy to be retrieved into the dog house.


Y2K Compliant Dog Ownership

Be Aware: The big ONE is just about upon us. That means GUN SHOTS and FIREWORKS and LOUD PARTY POPPERS and all kinds of other things that can cause your dog to go absolutely bonkers.

Here’s my advice: Keep your dog confined inside the house. And preferably inside his crate, if he’s crate trained. This will give him a sense of confidence and well-being.

In the same room as his crate, leave your stereo on– fairly loud! Put some soft music on the CD player… like Yanni, or John Tesh, or.. G-d-Forbid… ABBA!

The music should drown out any sounds outside the house that may cause your dog to panic. And your neighbors shouldn’t mind the music, since it’s New Year’s Eve… unless they hate John Tesh as much as I do!


Regarding Fireworks, Dogs And The Fourth Of July

I’ve received many requests from subscribers who have asked me to teach them how to make their dogs calm in the presense of fire crackers and gun shots.

It’s really just a process of desensitization to those specific sounds. And along that note, within the next three weeks or so I should be releasing an audio tape product that will allow you to begin desensitizing your dog if you’ve found that your pooch ‘freaks out’ at the sound of a piccolo pete, a bottle rocket, or the ‘pop’ ‘bang’ ‘boom’ of a brick of fire crackers.


Tips For Taking Your Dog With You To Work

Apparently, last Friday was “Take Your Dog To Work Day!” It’s easy to miss this kind of holiday when you’re a professional dog trainer, simply because EVERY day is “Take Your Dog To Work Day!”

But for those of you who work in an office and would like to take your dog to work on occasion, I’ve put together a list of things you should do before bringing Fido into your board meetings:

1.) Teach your dog an elimination command. I use the command “Get Busy.” This tells the dog when and where it’s okay for him to urinate or defecate. It’s especially handy if you notice that the dog is indicating that he may need to eliminate, and you want to run him outside and designate a specific area.

2.) Teach your dog a strong down-stay command. Perhaps your dog already knows how to stay down. Just remember that when a dog learns, it’s often situational. So, if he’s never been worked around the type of office distractions you’ll be subjecting him to, then it’s a good idea to practice with him first. How? You have basically two options:

a.) On your day off, bring him into the office at the end of the day. This way, you won’t need to worry about answering the phone or being distracted if he gets up.

b.) Go into the office on a Sunday and running him through some exercises. You want your dog to learn that just because he’s in an office setting does not mean that he can get away with bad behavior. He must learn that your rules are the same, regardless of where you go.

3.) Limit your dog’s range of motion by using a 2 foot tie-down that you attach to the leg of your desk. Now, if your dog already has a strong down-stay command, the tie-down is a bit redundant. However, it will give piece of mind to some of the other employees working in the office, and will allow you to walk out of the room and away from your desk without worrying.

4.) STOP THE SHEDDING! Treat Your Dog From The Inside Out with Mrs. Allen’s Shed-Stop: -Stops unwanted shedding -Promotes healthy skin & beautiful coats -Mixes in easily with your pet’s food -For puppies or dogs -Veterinarian recommended -100% Guaranteed when used as directed http://www.lucy-the-dog.com/Merchant/supple.htm There’s nothing like getting clumps of hair on your business suit. While some shedding is unavoidable, you should try to limit shedding to a minimum.

5.) Chew toys While it may seem obvious, stay away from chew toys that:

a.) Squeak. Squeaky toys are the fastest way to get your dog banned from the office, when Fido’s squeaking interrupts your office mate’s raise negotiations.

b.) Smell. If you give your dog one of those basted beef bones, your office will smell like beef jerky for years to come. The aroma such products give off tends to linger… and linger… and …. However, since your dog may be spending a few hours at a time lounging next to your desk, he’ll probably want something to do.

And since chewing is VERY SERIOUS WORK…. you need to give him something to chew on.

I recommend:

a.) The Rubber “Kong” Toys

b.) Rope Toys

c.) Rawhide Chews. (There are some points of contention about rawhide causing problems. One local veterinarian has told me that he’s never seen a case of rawhide getting lodged in the digestive tract in 30 years of practicing medicine. On the other hand, a vet technician across town told me that they get two or three cases a year. )

6.) Two collars

a.) A flat buckle collar you should attach to your tie-down.

b.) A training collar, which has a tab (1 foot leash) on it, so that if your dog breaks a down-stay, you have something to correct him with. The dog should wear both collars.

7.) A 6 foot leash, so you can take your dog outside for walks, during your breaks.

8.) Poop bags.

9.) A water bowl.

10.) Food treats that your dog is familiar with, and that won’t upset his stomach. If fellow employees are apprehensive about your dog, let them feed Fido treats. This is a good way to make friends.


Tips For Taking A Road Trip With Your Dog

Vehicles: With the possible exception of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a side car, I’ve seen practically every type of vehicle used for taking the family pooch on a road trip.

Below I review three of the best:

1.) Tom Rose of High Ridge, Missouri, had a Ford van he converted into a dog-friendly transport vehicle. By enclosing the back area, installing custom upholstery and a special air conditioning vent, he created an area in the back of the van where his dogs could ride in their crates and still stay cool.

The best thing about this set up was that on hot summer days, he could leave the diesel engine running (and the air conditioning too) and leave the dogs in the van for an hour or two, without the threat of overheating.

2.) If you’re travelling in an area with less extreme weather (like Los Angeles)… a pick up truck with a shell on the back is extremely convenient. I’ve installed sliding windows on mine, and put in hardware mesh so that the dogs cannot jump out, and nobody can get in. A light colored, fiberglass shell with cross-ventilating windows will keep the temperature in the back of the truck about equal to the outside ambient temperature in the shade.

If you don’t like to keep your dog in a crate, you can purchase a rubber bed liner that will make it comfortable for your dog to lay on. These usually run about $50, and can be purchased at the same places that install camper shells.

3.) A convertible Jeep. For obvious reasons, the Jeep Wrangler (designed originally for military use) is easy to clean after long trips, and the convertible nature of this vehicle allows you to leave your dog in the back while refueling or running into a gas station rest room, without worrying about your dog over-heating.

Products you can use to help keep dog mess in your vehicle to a minimum I came across this web site by a company called, Black Armor. Their web site is: http://www.black-armor.com/

You’ll find a number of products designed to protect the interior of your Car, Truck, or Sport Utility Vehicle from spills, stains, as well as premature wear.

Many of these products: – install and remove easily – are unaffected by gasoline or oil – clean and wipe easily – are made of a tough, durable material that is non-skid to minimize the possibility of your dog getting tossed around. – are guaranteed for a lifetime – are made in the U.S.A.

You’ll also find that most are custom fit to the exact dimensions of your vehicle. A gear bag to keep water, training equipment, and other dog related stuff is essential.

The pack is described as: – Perfect for on-the-go dogs and their owners, the ROLLOVER® Travel Pack & Bed for dogs has a snap-on shoulder strap and built-in handle for easy carrying.

The reinforced nylon pack-cloth construction will hold up over the long haul. – Unbuckle the compact unit, and it unrolls to rugged storage pockets for everything your traveling dog will need– including dog food, water bottle, dog bowl and other necessities.

Dogs can easily get dehydrated when traveling. Now the dogs water and bowl can always be in easy reach. And the insulating cushions inside the product keep your dogs cold water bottle cold longer, even on hot, sunny days.

– Fully opened, the ROLLOVER Travel Pack & Bed for dogs becomes a cushioned, fleece-topped travel dog bed with a water-resistant base for indoor & outdoor use. The thick polyester cushions also provide superior insulating qualities to keep dogs comfy, no matter what your destination.

– Now you’ve got a convenient way to help your dog feel “at home” with familiar things they can call their own. – And at the end of the journey, the ROLLOVER Travel Pack & Bed for dogs is completely machine washable and dryable for easy care. Unlike other dog beds, the entire bed gets cleaned, not just the cover. – Available in Small, Medium, Large and X-Large– comfortably sized to fit most dog breeds.”

Don’t forget to include a first aid kit for your dog, too!

Additional Resources: Travel Dog.com, at: http://www.traveldog.com

They have a bunch of good resources you should read before embarking on your trip, including articles on choosing a kennel, travelling by car, and staying at a hotel with your pet. The site also has a number of resources for finding dog friendly beaches, camp grounds, events, kennels, parks, pet sitters, and pet transportation.

If you’re looking to purchase a wire cage for travelling with your pet, Foster’s and Smith have a variety for sale, and their return policy (if you don’t like it) is excellent!


My Dog Was Accused Of Biting – A Dog Training Letter From One Of Our Readers

“Adam, I read your article about losing one’s insurance policy and have to agree with you about discrimination. I lost my home owners [insurance] and my dog because of this.

My German Shepherd mix was accused of biting a 5 year old boy. Because he was ‘accused,’ we lost our insurance and had 10 days to get new coverage. No one would cover us as long as we had the dog. The local SPCA would not take the dog because it had a “bite record.” Sadly, the dog had to be put down.

After a year-long battle, we finally settled out of court for $50,000. (The people had been suing us for $500,000!) The sad part is that my dog was not even out on the day the child was bit, and we had a witness that was bitten the same day that said it was not our dog.

I don’t have to tell you that I am sure– to a five year old– every German Shepherd looks alike (the child only was bitten 3 miles from our house).

I wish insurance would look at the whole case. They ended up settling because it was cheaper than going to court. But if I had been allowed to keep my dog until the case was over, and had been allowed to have justice by going to court to prove my dog’s innocence, I would still have him today!

The insurance companies are only out to get our money. They don’t care about what is right!!!! Thanks for the great web sight. [name omitted] ” Something to think about.


Owning A Large-Breed Dog And Losing Your Home-Owner’s Insurance Policy

All I can clearly remember is that I kept screaming, “It’s Dog Racism! It’s Dog Racism!”

The talk radio interviewer who was hosting a morning-drive radio show from Sacramento, questioned, “Then why are the big insurance companies dropping home owner’s insurance for people who keep large breed dogs???” “Dog Racism!” was my reply, again.

“It doesn’t matter that Springer Spaniels bite more kids every year than any other large “protection” breed in existence. If you’re going to discriminate against certain types of dogs… AT LEAST discriminate against dogs that are poorly bred, poorly socialized and poorly trained!!!”

It doesn’t matter that the recorded number of accidental bites by large-breed dogs that are properly trained and titled in Schutzhund (a civilian police dog sport where dogs are trained to bite… as well as follow a track and handle advanced obedience exercises) is so infinitesimally small, that it’s hard to document. So obviously, it’s not an issue of dogs that are PROPERLY trained to bite, going off like a stick of dynamite! The real issue is:

1.) A lack of dog owner responsibility. (Dogs with poor breeding, poor temperament and no training being allowed to wander out through a gate irresponsibly left open!)

2.) Poor breeding (usually the case with the Springer Spaniel in that there are simply too many poorly bred Springer Spaniels being kept as pets).

3.) Improper socialization

4.) Low quality diet.

5.) The ever-present media stereo-type. The truth of the matter is that– as I’ve said here before many times– when a Rottweiler or a Pit Bull bites somebody… it’s BIG NEWS! But when a Springer Spaniel bites someone… NOBODY CARES!!!


Helping You Build A Better Companion Dog

A frequent contributor to our discussion forum asked my opinion
about another dog trainer. This other dog trainer is a specialist
when it comes to training dogs for a narrow-niche dog sport
called, “Mondio Ring.”

There are probably only 150 people in the United States who
train for this dog sport. But it’s big in Europe, I’m told.

He’s a specialist: He focuses on working dog trial training.

But it got me thinking about our mission, here at DogProblems.com:
What we do– to coin a phrase by musician Perry Ferrell– is:
We Make Great Pets. Or, more specifically… we help dog owners
to build a better companion dog.

It’s a completely different focus.

What sport dog trainers do is: They adopt the best puppy they
can find that is bred for a specific type of sport/activity.
And then they train around the limitations of that sport to
score maximum points.

That’s a whole different ball game than building the perfect
companion dog, which is what we aim to do here.

If you spend 20 minutes on Youtube, you can find all types of
videos of dog trainers getting their dogs to do some absolutely
amazing behaviors. It’s very impressive!

So,where does that leave a site like DogProblems.com?

Fortunately for us, there is still a dearth of dog trainers,
dog training videos and other dog training web sites who have
not clearly defined their mission: To teach dog owners how to
build a better companion dog. There’s simply nobody out there
who can explain the concepts of basic dog obedience and behavior
modification like we do.

If you’re looking for somebody who can both train and teach by
breaking down difficult concepts into easy-to-understand building
blocks … then you’ll want to spend some time at our web site.
There’s a reason more professional dog trainers read our material
than any other. (Even dog trainers who already know how to
expertly train a dog, read our material because they want to
learn how to explain our concepts in a manner that anybody can

And while we may not be experts in teaching dogs to jump over
cars and bite the padded sleeve… I think that what we do fills
an important role in the marketplace.

Enjoy your dog,
– Adam Katz
“Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer”

And The Smartest Dogs Are

While we would all like to think we have the smartest dog in the world there are some breeds that are generally more intelligent than others. In this newsletter we will look at the dogs ranking from 6th most intelligent to tenth.

And then in the next newsletter we will look at the most intelligent dogs in the world. Don’t be too concerned if your dog doesn’t appear in either of these lists, as sometimes it is not always an advantage to have an intelligent dog.

As expected, the more intelligent dogs generally need more stimulation or they will get bored and this can cause problems, particularly if they are left at home during the day when you’re at work. So lets start with the tenth most intelligent dog…

Tenth on the list is the Australian Cattle Dog. The Australian Cattle Dog was originally bred for herding cattle, just as their name suggests. Obviously to be tenth on the list they are very intelligent, but they need to be stimulated, as one would expect from an intelligent dog. They are happy when they are working, as they need regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Ninth on the list is the Rottweiler. Contrary to popular belief, the Rottweiler is actually a great family dog, and is not quite as fearsome as many people believe. There are a highly intelligent dogs and respond well to training.

The eighth dog on the list of intelligence is the Papillon. Like the Australian cattle dog the Papillon is very protective of its owner and makes a lovable and intelligent pet. And as with most intelligent dogs they are relatively easy to train.

Number seven on the list is the Labrador Retriever. These are one of the most popular family dogs because of their good nature, which allows them to socialize well with other dogs and more importantly, children. Like the previous dogs on the list, Labradors need exercise, and particularly in their case, without exercise they tend to gain excessive weight.

Number six on our list of intelligent dogs is the Shetland sheepdog. Like the Australian Cattle Dog the Shetland sheepdog was bred for herding cattle and sheep. Obviously to do this well they need some intelligence and that is why they have ended at number six on our list. They’re not quite as good at socializing with other people or children but are excellent pets in their own family.

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Dog Training and Building Relationships

Dog training is all about building relationships. Good dog training is all about building positive relationships where the dog has respect for it’s owner and also where the dog realizes that the owner is the master and leader of the pack.

If the owner assumes the position of the leader of the pack and the dog knows and respects that position then it will feel more secure and be a happier pet. Under no circumstances should the dog be fearful of it’s master and that is why most current methods of dog training focus on the positive aspects of the dogs actions and reward it for the good actions that it takes rather than punishing it for anything that it does wrong.

A well trained dog that respects it’s master will always want to please, and that leads to a better-behaved dog both at home and when socializing with other dogs and people. These positive training techniques are also great at retraining dogs that have consistently done something wrong, as they will quickly learn that the rewards for good actions are far greater than the attention they are seeking from their negative actions.

Even older dogs can be trained quite well by using these methods so a dog is certainly never too old to learn new tricks.   

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.