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Dog Behaviour

How Are Your Dogwatching Skills?

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“Many dogs can understand almost every word humans’ say, while humans seldom learn to recognize more than half a dozen barks, if that. And barks are only a small part of the dog language. A wagging tail can mean so many things. Humans know that it means a dog is pleased, but not what a dog is saying about his pleasedness”
—Dodie Smith, 101 Dalmatians

 

Do you really know what your dog needs on a daily basis, not just the walk and food but the option to chew the grass, the choice to greet some d…

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Why Is My Dog So Excitable?

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This is something we hear and see a lot of isn’t it. A dog bouncing around at the end of a lead or jumping up at the person who is holding on to them looking fed up. This excitement is usually directly linked to the dog’s state of arousal.  Arousal though is a sign that something is amiss with the dog – something is not quite right and rather than stop the behaviour without asking any questions, our first job is to understand the dog.

Arousal itself is a perfectly normal response to something t…

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The Beauty Of A Dog Who Reacts

My “reactive” dog is central to everything I do. I remember when I met him – almost 10 years ago, spied on a website looking hunched. Back then I expected an entire male terrier to be a handful because he was bold, back then I didn’t know enough. I still don’t know enough about dogs. None of us really do. 

Anyway along he came at 18 months. A swollen face, kennel cough and a tendency to pee. He peed on the curtains, the doorways, the other dogs and even once on the coffee table up a drink. All …

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5 Ways To Make Your Dog Happy (And Easier To Manage)

Happy dogs mean that their needs are met, they are not desperate for one thing or another and that they naturally become more relaxed. We humans are in many cases so far removed from knowing and appreciating the simple needs of domestic dogs that we can make them frustrated without even trying. Frustration is directly related to less helpful behaviour. So, make some tiny tweaks today and help your dog to be happier and easier to manage.

Consider Their Needs

A dog pulled around a park, not be…

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Why Does My Dog?

It's way too easy to assume that a dog does something for no reason, when really all behaviour tells us much more about the dog's inner state than we could possibly imagine. Dogs do dog things, just as people do human things but none of us do those things for no reason. There’s always are reason.

For example, many of us eat carbs when we are sad. I learned recently that when we have a bellyful of carbs, our body is so busy that it has to temporarily switch off the emotional resp…

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The Sweetness Of Older Dogs

“I can't think of anything that brings me closer to tears than when my old dog - completely exhausted after a hard day in the field - limps away from her nice spot in front of the fire and comes over to where I'm sitting and puts her head in my lap, a paw over my knee, and closes her eyes, and goes back to sleep. I don't know what I've done to deserve that kind of friend”
—Gene Hill

When does a dog go from being your adult friend to your elderly companion? Well, that depends on the dog…

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Why Scared Dogs Make Reactive Choices

My terrier Chips, is socially awkward and somewhat fearful of other dogs. He actually really likes other dogs and with proper introduction he will be friendly and enjoy a brief hello. He’s much more comfortable with the smaller dogs and those that don’t have obscured faces, such as long haired or black dogs which are more difficult for others to read.

Canine Fear Behaviour - Leads To A Choice

When he sees a dog that he’s not comfortable with, Chips will put on an aggressive display – a…

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Easy Dog Behaviour With Simple Scentwork

It’s part of our culture to walk the dog and provide him one or two meals a day. That’s food and exercise – it’s how we meet a dog’s needs. Dogs need much more though, like us they need the right kind of physical exercise, proper mental stimulation, play, the chance to use their natural skills and the opportunity to practice natural behaviour. This is why when the busy natured dog has had a walk and meal, he’s often still looking for something to do.

Food will always motivate a dog. Eating keep…

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Punishment and Suppression of Choices

One (of the many) issues with punishment is that it can cause suppression through fear. 

For example, if I were to punish a dog every time she pulled on a lead, by checking her. I wouldn’t be showing her what I would like her to do instead, I would just be hurting and scaring her. Eventually the dog may stop pulling but more because she is depressed, than because she has learned that’s what I would prefer she does. 

Suppression is not only unfair but it can be dangerous…

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What Is Canine Reactive Behaviour?

When our dogs overreact our first and most important tool is knowledge!

Reactive behaviour is a sign that the internal state of the dog has changed and that the dog is dog suffering with an emotion such as stress, fear, frustration or anxiety. It is strictly speaking, an overreaction and can include lunging, barking, threatening or trying to get away. The exact behaviour type and reason for it will depend on the dog, their personality and capacity to cope. 

Whilst overt…

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