Harness or Collar – What’s Best?

Used imprpperly collars can do damage to your dog’s neck (including the trachea, esophagus, and more) over the years. An easy way to prevent the damage is to attach your dog’s leash to a harness instead of a collar.

If your dog pulls a lot on his leash, you can buy a training tool such as an Easy Walk Harness or a Gentle Leadeer Head Collar and use that tool on walks while you teach your dog to walk more nicely. (Be sure to follow the instructions when using training tools like these.) Once your dog understands how to walk politely on leash, you can remove the training tool and simply walk your dog in a regular body harness.

You Must Do This When Dog Training

Is there a secret to dog training? No, not really. But there is one foundation skill that can make everything else come much easier: getting eye contact from your dog in a variety of settings. Practice getting sustained (at least a few seconds) eye contact from your dog in different places, either in response to her name or to a cue like “Watch me!”

Aversives in Dog Training

In dog training, an aversive is something used to discourage specific unwanted behaviors in dogs. It is something the dog finds unpleasant, usually involving a dog’s senses. Some examples include shock collars, bitter apple spray and penny cans. The use of aversives with dogs is controversial topic. A lot of dog lovers consider some or all aversives inhumane (or unkind at the very least). Many others feel that the use of aversives can be highly affective in dog training.

There are many different things that can be used as aversives. They are usually related to a dog’s senses.

Taste: these aversives are usually used to prevent a dog from chewing. They include things such as Bitter Apple, pepper, vinegar, or anything else you can apply to an object to make it distasteful to your dog.

Touch: aversives in this category are unpleasant for your dog to feel. This includes the shock from a mat or shock collar, spray from a spray bottle, sticky surfaces, and slippery surfaces.

Sound: these aversives create noises that dogs find disturbing. Things such as a shaker can, air horn, vacuum cleaner, and a whistle fall into this category.

Why Use Aversives

Aversives are used to deter dogs from doing things you don’t like. They shouldn’t be used in place of other training. Using aversives is most effective when paired with obedience training.

The following are some situations in which people might use aversives:

Some people put tin foil, double-sided tape, or a shock mat on the sofa to teach their dogs not to climb on the furniture.

A squirt from a bottle of water or the sound of pennies shaking in a tin can stop your dog from jumping on the counters, chewing something you don’t want him to chew, or barking.

Shock collars can also be used as a deterrent to chewing or chasing objects, or to teach a dog to stay on his property.

Problems with Using Aversives

You should consider your options with great care before using aversives as part of any training program. While aversives may be effective in some situations, there are a number of problems associated with their use.

Effectiveness differs between dogs. When it comes to aversives, the effectiveness depends on the dog. One dog may stop in his tracks at the sound of a shaker can full of pennies while another may not even blink. While some dogs may stop chewing the table leg at the first taste of Bitter Apple, some dogs have been known to enjoy the taste, thus making them more likely to chew the item. When using aversives, pay attention to your dog’s reaction to make sure they’re actually serving the purpose for which you intended them.

Loss of effectiveness over time. Sometimes aversives become less effective the more you use them. For instance, if you spray your dog with water from a spray bottle for jumping on the counter, it may startle him and cause him to jump off. After a few sprays, however, he may be used to it, and the spray will no longer have any effect.

Can make a fearful dog more fearful. Fearful dogs usually don’t react well to aversives. A loud noise that might simply startle one dog off the kitchen counter, can make a fearful dog fearful of ever entering the kitchen again. In this case, an aversive is actually too effective, and it can break down your dog’s trust in you.

Dog may associate the aversive with you. Another problem with aversives is that you are often in control of them, so they only happen when you’re around. For instance, your dog may stop counter surfing when you spray him with the spray bottle, but he’ll soon learn that he only gets sprayed when you are in the room. Here you are not training him not to counter surf, you are only teaching him not to counter surf when you’re around.

May cause aggression. One recent study done at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed what many dog trainers already believed – dogs who are punished are more likely to react with aggression. This is the case with some aversives. If you give your dog a leash correction or hit him, for instance, he may growl, snap, or bite in response.

German Shepherd Training

Dog training presents many challenges along the way and none more so than when training a German Shepherd. There are specific techniques needed, but the good news is that they are easily learned and the whole process can be incredibly rewarding.

Although we tend to associate this breed with policing and watch dogs, this is an extremely loyal and intelligent breed. Those who have been trained make superb pets and are great with kids.

The Alpha dog will always be instinctively sought out by the German Shepherd. This instinct came in very useful in their original roles when they were used to herd their owners’ sheep.

Being a strong figure of authority to a little puppy may seem hard, but for the training to succeed you need to take on the alpha role. You puppy needs to know who’s boss.

At the same time, only remonstrate them through tone of voice, never hit your puppy. These dogs are extremely sensitive creatures and physical abuse can leave them mentally scarred for life.

Be firm and strong and don’t lose your temper when your puppy is naughty. They will soon learn who is boss if you are firm but fair, a change in your tone of voice will soon be all that your dog needs to know he has gone too far.

All dogs love to be praised, and your German Shepherd will soon know the tones of voice for doing well and doing wrong. Praise is an essential part of training; they will be even keener to please you if they know they will be rewarded in this way. This builds a great rapport between you and your dog.

Why Is My Dog Scratching?

All dogs scratch at sometime, and here are a few reasons why your dog may have an itch.

First of all you need to examine your dog’s fur to see if there is any sign of fleas. They will be visible if your animal is infested, alternatively, one random flea could have bitten him and caused an allergic reaction.

After a good search you find no fleas in his coat, you should try flea control for approximately four weeks to see if it had been an allergy to a fleabite.

If there is an odor coming from your pet, or his skin is damp and reddened, it could well be a skin problem. Try him first with a therapeutic dog shampoo to see if it remedies the problem, if it doesn’t you will need a medication from the vet.

Mange is a skin problem that is very uncomfortably and causes your pet to lose fur when they scratch.

As soon as you think there is a possibility of Mange, take your pet to the vet as he will need to take some skin scrapings. Tests at a lab will reveal whether there are mites present and appropriate medication prescribed.

If you have ruled out all of these possible causes yet your pet is still scratching, it may well be an allergy. Plants, mod, pollen and dust are all allergens that are found around the house.

If there is a pattern to his scratching and it worsens during the warm weather it many be an allergy to pollen or grass.

It can take a long time to pin down the cause of your pets itching, but is well worth it as you will have a healthy and much happier dog who is free of that irritating itch.