Dog Behavior and Training

Teaching "Stay" and "Down"

“Stay” is a lifesaving cue to teach all dogs. When can “stay” save your dog’s life? Whenever giving the cue would prevent your dog from making a mad dash out the front door, the car, or the backyard gate. Stay is a cue that many people forget to practice – and without practice, your dog may not have this skill when it truly matters.

Can my dog get heat stroke?

The quick answer is “Yes!” Even in late Summer/early Fall. We're in Georgia!! IT IS HOT!!!!!! But the real questions are what is heat stroke and how does my dog get it. The true definition for heat stroke is a form of non-fever hyperthermia (high temperature) that will occur when the body’s heat-dissipating mechanisms cannot function correctly to reduce the excessive external heat.

Teaching the "Sit" Command

This one is a must and a behavior any dog can learn. A staple of all good dog manners, sitting when asked can help with polite greetings and as a first step to learning many other behaviors. For many dogs, sitting becomes their way of saying “please” when they would like you to throw a ball or open a door.

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Should I be concerned if my dog eats grass?

Spring has sprung and the trees and flowers are blooming and the grass is turning green and growing!!  My favorite time of year is spring.  It is a time of year that is motivating to everyone to get outside and get fresh air and we all want to take our dogs with us.  Dogs just love all the new growth of grass and plants.  They love to run thru the grass, roll in the grass and even eat the grass.  I often get the question from my clients should I be worried if my dog eats grass.

Teaching the "Quiet" Command

Dogs bark for a number of reasons: people walking by, other dogs, boredom, frustration, and loneliness, for example. Some types of barking can be redirected and controlled with the quiet command. Other types require behavior modification through a customized training program.

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Barking

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons:
  1. Watchdog Barking serves the dual purpose of alerting pack members that there is an intruder and warning the intruder that they have been noticed.
  2. Request Barking is the dog’s way of communicating to the owner that he would like something NOW. Typical requests are “open the door NOW,” “pay attention to me NOW,” “let me out of here NOW,” “I wanna see that dog NOW” etc.
  3. Spooky Barking occurs when the dog is uncomfortable about something in the environment and barks to say “I’m dangerous! Don’t come any closer!”

Teaching "Leave It"

Like “stay,” “leave it” is a cue that may prevent your dog from being injured and may even save his life. “Leave it” should be taught to all dogs and practiced frequently. Hazards that you want your dog to leave alone include antifreeze in a puddle; sharp bones, broken glass or any other dangerous trash on the ground; and even a dog squabble at the dog park. Your dog responding to the cue “leave it” can be the difference between you giving quick praise or heading to an emergency vet clinic. 

Jumping

Jumping up to greet us is a natural behavior for dogs. What we humans do is reinforce the jumping by giving the dog attention for it by either petting or praising, or by getting upset or excited when the dog jumps. Either way, the dog is learning that jumping gets him attention, and attention is just what your dog wants!

Why Mixed Breeds Make Great Companion Animals

Each breed is descended from a limited number of dogs. Because breeders have sought to create animals that have certain fixed attributes, many purebred dogs today are inbred. Genetically this means that, while not all purebreds have significant health problems, they are predisposed to a range of hereditary and congenital diseases, including skin and eye conditions, allergies, various cancers, cardiac problems, and abnormalities in the kidneys and other organs.

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Information provided in these articles is intended to provide some guidance for you and your pet. Not all animals behave (or respond) in the same manner. Should you have questions or concerns about anything you see here, please consult your veterinarian. While we work with vets on a regular basis, we are not veterinarians. We feel the articles here provide useful but general guidelines and suggestions for working with your pet. Please note, some articles may be disturbing to young children. Please preview articles to make sure they are appropriate for your child.