Seven Holiday Rules for Your Dog and You

Keep your dog safe and happy this holiday season by following these seven simple rules: Rule

#1: Chocolate is for you, not for your dog. Rule

#2: Dog food is for dogs and people food is for people. If you give your dog cookies, candy, turkey or other holiday foods, it can cause stomach upset, allergies or in some cases– death. A quality dog food will meet all of your dog’s dietary needs. Rule

#3: Keep a training collar and leash on your dog, whenever your dog is around friends and family. Using the holidays as a training opportunity is a good way to teach your dog that he must behave, regardless of distractions. Rule

#4: Your dog doesn’t need expensive gifts to have a happy holiday. Let’s face it–we’re talking about an animal that derives pleasure from eating cat poop and rolling in dead fish. You don’t need to spend $80 on a doggie sweater, when a rawhide bone covered with peanut butter will bring your dog hours of delight. Rule

#5: Confine your dog to a crate or a kennel when you can’t supervise him. Dogs are “den animals.” They derive a sense of security and well being when they’re confined to a small, enclosed area. Think of a kennel in the same way you’d think of a baby’s play pen or crib: If your dog isn’t old enough (or responsible enough) to be left unsupervised– then put him in the crate. Rule

#6: Keep all trash containers safely closed or behind a cabinet door that your dog cannot get into. Rule

#7: Dogs are social pack animals. Include your dog in family holiday activities and your dog will be a cherished part of your family.

How to Use the Holidays to Improve Your Dog’s Training

Are you stressed about people coming over to your house for the holidays and your dog not behaving? Take advantage of this opportunity and use it to improve your dog’s performance. Many visitors means that your dog will be confronted with many distractions.

With my approach to dog training, new and different distractions are a welcome occurence. It means that you’ll get to proof your dog around all kinds of things that aren’t part of his normal routine. (Or part of your regular training regimen). Remember: Always let your dog make the decision: If he makes the right decision, then he gets all the praise in the world. IF he makes the wrong decision, he gets a correction (not punishment) … and then the change to make the decision again.

For example: “Lay down and stay,” … When Uncle Bernie comes in the house, it’s not the dog’s decision to stay down (as you commanded) or get up and be rude. Well, if your dog makes the right decision– then he gets nothing BUT PRAISE!!!! If he makes the wrong decision, he immediately gets corrected and put back into the down decision, and then is allowed to make his decision again.

Training the Family

I have your book and the audio cassettes of your lectures… I thought ahead and got them when I got my puppy I also bought an electronic fence/remote collar combo. My dog is learning well…he’s now 5 months old. The fence only had to correct him once and the tone is all it takes now.

For obedience, he’s already off leash and he’s been housebroken since 8 weeks-old. He’s not the problem. It’s my family! How do I train my husband not to leave his shoes lying around if he doesn’t want them to disappear (we’re teething). And how do I teach my nephews and nieces not to do stupid things like antagonize the dog? Do you have a book on that? Thanks, Michele Dear Michele, I suppose that you mean your dog is teething? Always keep one eye on him and one eye on whatever else you’re doing.

If you can’t do this, then put the dog in a crate or kennel run so that he doesn’t learn bad behavior. As for training your family& beats the heck out of me! My father still takes the Rottweiler I bought him to the park with a pocket full of cookies. Waving the cookies at the dog and yelling, “Cookie& cookie!” I think the dumb dog now thinks his name is “Cookie” and not Bud. So& yes& I agree. Training the humans is the hard part. The dogs are easy. Might I recommend an electronic collar for your husband?

New Dogs Together In The House

This is probably a simple question for you, but here goes …

We just got another Shiba-Inu (fixed 3yr old male) on 2/18. Our first we got in Aug. 99 (fixed 2yr female). They are both very sweet. The introduction went well in the garage and then I walked them around the block (leash of course) and that went well. The mistake was to let them go in the house. Well…the fighting started…not long but intense. No blood, but it looked like she was protecting her territory and he was showing his dominance. To make a long story short, after about five minutes of those incidents we separated them in the house and would only let them loose together in the backyard.

During the last fight in the house, the male pinned the female until she quit growling and then let her up. Guess she figured out that he was the dominant one, because now when they’re outside they’ve become “buddies.”

They play great together. The problem is that the other day the male walked by the female on his way out and you could see that there was a bit of tension…like a fight could begin…I said “aaakkkkk” and it quit.

Now…after all that, here is my question:

I want to let them loose together in the house so we don’t have to keep them separated any longer but I want to do it correctly and not have a skirmish ruin what has been accomplished in the backyard. How would you suggest the best way to make this happen so that they will have a good relationship in the house, too. I plan on hiding all the toys and chewies when I do this. I appreciate any suggestions you might have.


Dear Brian,

Thanks for the question. It’s a good one.

This is pretty much an identical situation to the relationship my dog has with my parent’s dog. I “dog-sit” for them probably two or three times a year and the relationship is 100% analogous to the one you’ve got.

Here’s the deal:

1.) It sounds like the dogs have pretty much worked out who is the pack leader.

2.) There still may be some dominance skirmishes. This is normal, but I would not allow these to happen in the house. The fact that your verbal correction was enough to make them stop shows that the dogs respect you. If you leave the training collars and tabs on the dogs, you can correct the perpetrator if you feel that it was inappropriate (even though it’s natural for the alpha dog to throw his weight around)… YOU (being even more dominant) can decide that this is inappropriate behavior in the house.

In sum, you will not “hurt” the progress in their relationship by letting them be together in the house. Just don’t leave them unsupervised together for the first three months.

Appreciating The Experience Of Training Your Dog

Most people think of basic obedience training for dogs as a series of commands that the dog, reluctantly, learns to execute. On one level, this is accurate.

However, before we begin the mechanics of teaching specific commands, let’s look for a moment beyond training as being just the dog learning a series of orders.

Underneath it all, the very important lesson your dog is learning is that he must do what you tell him to, where you tell him to do it, when you tell him to do it, and as long as you say he should do it.

Many dogs are trained in the sense that they will respond mechanically to certain words but they have not gotten this all-important message. Without the message, training can resemble a series of tricks that the dog performs.

With the message, the dog works. He knows more than just what position to assume with his physical form when he hears a command. He understands your position as alpha dog. He enjoys his role as educated dog. His appearance is intelligent and alert.

We train our dogs to that deeper level where they work with grace, where one command can flow into the next with ease and understanding. If you think education is expensive, you’re right. It will cost you time. But the results will be worth it because you will have much more than an obedient dog.

Dog Ears: Learn Why Rubbing Your Dog’s Ears Is A Natural Sedative

Dog Ears: Learn Why Rubbing Your Dog’s Ears Is A Natural Sedative

Nearly all dogs loving having their ears rubbed. You wouldn’t think this would be such a common phenomenon. After all, there are hundreds of breeds, and all of their ears are different. Papillons’ look like wings, German shepherds’ are sharp peaks, and basset hounds have big, hanging floppies. But they all love a little ear work just the same. It’s pretty much universal. Dogs crave affection and touch from their owners, so a rub on the ears meets a basic need for communication.

It’s All About The Nerves

Ears are one of a handful of nerve centers on a dog’s body that are extra-sensitive to touch. The only other places that are nearly as sensitive are their bellies and the nooks between their toes.

When you rub a dog’s ears, the pleasure she feels is intense. And the good feelings don’t stop on the surface. Their ears contain nerve branches that extend to the internal organs, says. When you rub them, your dog doesn’t just feel good on the top of her head. The pleasure comes from inside her body too.

Because the ears are such a hotbed of nerves, they’re the primary target of people who practice acupuncture and acupressure. Putting pressure on the ears sends nerve impulses right through the body. There’s essentially an entire map of the body on the ear. In fact, many acupuncturists only work on ears, because they can treat the whole body that way.

Bliss From Natural Chemicals

It’s not uncommon for dogs to get so relaxed and blissful when they’re getting their ears rubbed that they slip into happy sleep. It’s not only because they’re feeling comfortable. Rubbing the ears sends nerve impulses to the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. These glands secrete endorphins, pain-killing, feel-good hormones that make dogs feel relaxed, even euphoric. When you rub your dog’s ears, she’s essentially getting high on her own hormones.

So is the person doing the petting. Researchers have found that people get a lot of the same benefits that their dogs do. Rubbing dogs’ ears triggers a flood of human endorphins. This in turn helps people relax and even lowers blood pressure.

Does Your Dog Slobber Water?

Whether or not your dog slobbers water really depends on the shape and structure of the your dog’s mouth, lips and jaw. One of our discussion forum members brings up this interesting topic when she asks:

“I have a Alaskan Malamute, 1 year-old, and when he drinks water from his dish he sticks his whole nose in the water and then slobbers all over while he’s walking away and gets the floor soaked. Is there a solution to this problem?”

Adam replied, “Unfortunately… not really. It’s one of the joys of owning a large dog breed. You might try variations in bucket/dish size, placing it on a raised platform, and using a tarp/placemat under the bowl. Or putting the water dish outside. My understanding is that this has a lot to do with the structure and design of the head. It’s not really a behavior issue.” Cherie added, “Putting a towel under the water dish can help a little as long aas the dog doesn’t decide to pushe the towel ends into the dish.

Think of this as one of the fun things about having dogs. Believe it or not, you will actually miss the water all over the floor one day. You can also be thankful that Malamutes are dry-mouthed and that they don’t tend to try and swim in the water dish. Enjoy many years with your pup.” Smirnoff countered, “My Mastiff is a Dogue De Bordeaux…so I think I win hands down on the slobbery dog stakes! He actually leave his slobber slime in the water after he has had a drink, but I reckon he holds at least one pint of water in his flobbery chops, so even after drying his mouth with a towel he trails slobbery water every where! My solution was a carpet square under the water bowl and installing a wooden floor and having a mop ready.

My Rottie likes to blow bubbles in the water bowl as well, so I’ve pretty much accepted that a dog in the house doesn’t stay a clean house for long! Sassy Lassie adds, “My young collie makes such a noise when drinking her water, like smacking her lips together- nothing ladylike at all! And she loves to blow bubbles too, putting her entire snout into the water before looking up and then planting a big wet kiss on you!”

< body>