Why Is My Dog Eating Rocks

Why Do Dogs Eat Rocks? Dogs can eat rocks for many reasons - habit, boredom, play, curiosity, anxiety... Sometimes it starts out as curiosity then turns into a habit. The habit often gets worse when the people give the dog a lot of attention when they have the rock in their mouth. What Re the Risks of a Dog Eating Rocks? No matter what their reason is, it can be dangerous. They can break their teeth, choke and/ or create an obstruction in their digestive tract. Dogs can require surgery to remove rocks from their stomach or to remove teeth that break from chewing on the rock. How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Rocks? There are many ways to STOP dogs from eating rocks: Prevent access to the rocks - remove them or block access in your yard or keep them on leash when they are around rocks. Teach your dog "leave it" and "drop it." Be sure to use high value treats when you reward them for doing “leave it” or “drop it.” Provide other safe toys for them to chew on like stuffed Kongs, no hide chews, bully sticks, food dispensing toys/ kibble nibble ball, Kong [...]

By |2021-10-18T21:54:35+00:00October 18th, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

How Your Personality Can Affect Your Dog

How Your Personality Can Affect Your Dog Carefully choose a dog whose personality and energy level are a match for yours and/or your family's. When we adopt a puppy or an adult dog, we rarely consider if their personality is a match with our own.  We fall in love with how cute they are, or their picture on the rescue site, or we just like the breed. When we are adopting a dog, we are often trying to adopt our new “best friend.” Just like people, dogs can be energetic, impulsive, silly, shy, fearful…..the list of personality traits are endless.  And, just like in people, some personalities do not “mesh” as well as others do. Playing the Match Game - Yours & Your Dog's Personalities When we match with the right dog, the relationship can be magical.  If you are a couch potato and you find a dog who loves laying by your feet, you can both be at ease in your relationship. If you are a marathon runner and you find a dog that never seems to tire, your relationship can be blissful. If you adopt a dog who gets distracted easily or is impulsive, you [...]

By |2021-09-14T22:39:48+00:00September 14th, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Building a Relationship With Your Dog

Excerpted from "The Evolution of Dog Training" by Shannon Coyner Use positive training techniques to create an unbreakable bond with your dog. When you are training your dog, it is important to remember that both of you are learning. Even if you have trained dogs before, each time you train a new dog, you are both learning. As a professional, I treat every dog and human as an individual, and just because one technique works for one, it may not work for another. It is important that you show patience to yourself and your dog. If you are in a bad or stressful mood, you may decide not to train your dog at that time. Be sure that if you are aware that you are experiencing anxiety or fears, your dog may notice and become warier. Use Force-Free, Positive Techniques When you begin to work with your dog on a regular basis, they will learn your mood and will become a true partner. Training using force-free, positive techniques can create a beautiful, unbreakable bond. Remember: There are no bad dogs or bad humans – just inappropriate behavior. Get help when needed. Look for the “yes” when training. [...]

By |2021-09-14T22:40:12+00:00August 18th, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Dog Training – You Get What You Give

Dog Training - You Get What You Give Every day I teach people how to teach their dogs. I work with people privately and in classes. My clients come from all walks of life. Some have trained many dogs, others are training their first. No matter how much experience a person has training dogs, there is one factor that determines if a dog’s behavior will be changed by the training. That factor is - how much time is being dedicated to the training. Change Requires Doing Something Different We have all heard Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.” When dogs practice undesired behaviors, the behavior continues to get worse. The only way to change an unwanted behavior is to do something different. For example, if your dog jumps on you every time he sees you and you then pet him, the jumping will continue unless something changes. If you start to ask your dog to sit before he jumps or if you ignore him when he jumps, you have the opportunity to change the behavior. However, it is important to also realize that a behavior will not change overnight and it will take consistent repetitions (which means TRAINING TIME) to get the new [...]

By |2021-08-13T18:26:34+00:00July 23rd, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Benefits of Dog Agility Training

Benefits of Dog Agility Training I have been teaching dog agility for about 20 years. When I first started teaching it, I just focused on making sure the dogs had fun and that my clients were prepared if they chose to compete. Over the years I have seen that agility has so many benefits for both the dogs and their handlers. Team-Building Aside from the physical benefits, the next obvious benefit I have noticed is how agility improves the bond between the humans and the dogs (when agility is taught with empathy and compassion). Dog agility is a team sport, therefore the dog-human team must work together. As with any team sport, there must be trust and understanding between the teammate (in this case the dog and the human). In most situations, the dog and human are both learning a new skill and they will both make a lot of mistakes. As humans, we often like to blame others for our mistake. My heart always sings when I hear my client say “Ugh, that was my mistake” when they are practicing agility with their dog. I have found that agility can create a tremendous human-dog bond as both players [...]

By |2021-06-27T23:35:16+00:00June 11th, 2021|Blog of the Month|1 Comment

Ticks and Your Pets

We are officially in “tick season” and from what I hear, it is worse than ever!  Whether you are walking in your neighborhood or on a hike, your pet is at risk of getting bitten by a tick.  The longer a tick stays embedded in your pet’s body, the higher chance that the tick will spread a disease.  Make sure that you do a thorough “tick check” every time you come home from a hike or walk.  Ticks can carry very serious diseases such as Lyme, Babesia, Erlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and more! Prevent Tick Bites Prevention is a great way to protect your pet from getting a tick bite in the first place.  Because ticks can be very difficult to kill and repel, many experts recommend that you use double prevention during tick season.  A great way to protect your dog is to use a tick collar that repels the ticks in addition to using a topical that repels and kills the tick (if they get through the repellent.)  The double protection really helps prevent the ticks from attaching to your dog. For other pets, like cats, you must make sure that the tick prevention is safe.  [...]

By |2021-06-27T23:37:55+00:00May 18th, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Is The Problem Medical or Behavioral?

Is The Problem Medical or Behavioral? Unfortunately, our dogs cannot talk to us, so when a problem arises, we must investigate to find out what is wrong.  As humans, we often overlook that a problem behavior can be medical. Many times we jump straight to assuming that the dog is doing a “bad” behavior.  As a Registered Veterinary Technician, I am always considering if the reason for an unwanted behavior is medical. Sometimes differentiating if a problem is medical or behavioral can be tricky.  Here are a few things I initially consider: Is the behavior a new behavior? For example, if a dog has been reliably housebroken then begins to have accidents in the house, I will wonder if the dog has developed a bladder infection. Or if a dog that used to love to be petted everywhere begins to growl when someone touches his back, I will ask if the dog has had any recent injuries to their back. How old is the dog? If the dog is over 8 years old and is displaying “strange” behaviors, the dog may be developing cognitive disorders. Has the dog experienced any traumas or frightening events? Dogs can develop Post Traumatic [...]

By |2021-06-27T23:35:32+00:00April 17th, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

My Life With Sadie (My Reactive Dog)

Sadie, my reactive dog In May 1996, I went to the local animal shelter in Napa, CA just to look at dogs. I was getting married later that year and my fiancé and I wanted to get a dog together. I was looking for an “easy” lab or golden retriever. Of course, there were no labs or goldens but they did have a Flat Coated Retriever there and the staff told me that if she was not adopted that day, she would be euthanized the next day. So, of course, I don’t have to explain that we adopted her that day. Sadie had some mild anxiety when we brought her home but overall, she was a loving, sweet girl. She never met a human she did not like, and she seemed to be ok with the few dogs she interacted with. We lived in fairly good harmony with Sadie for about a year. In July of 1997, we adopted a Jack Russell Terrier we named Buster. Sadie and Buster seemed to get along quite well, until, well…. they did not. Approximately 6 months after adopting Buster, I got a call from my roommate while I was at [...]

By |2021-03-05T19:04:51+00:00March 17th, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Trying to Help Your Dog Communicate by Teaching Your Dog ESL

Excerpt From The Evolution of Dog Training by Shannon Riley-Coyner One of the best ways to start helping your dog deal with fearful or stressful situations is to begin communicating by teaching them English as a second language (ESL). ESL was originally used in education as a method to help people from foreign countries to learn English. Because dogs communicate primarily through body language and humans primarily use verbal language, we must essentially teach dogs a new way to listen. When we teach our dogs to understand verbal cues, we can begin to tell them how we want them to act in different situations. This eliminates the need to force them to behave. I have also found that when humans think about teaching their dog ESL, it forces us to spend more time focusing on how the dogs are learning and interpreting our actions. As a result, we automatically become more empathetic and more understanding. How Do We Teach ESL to Dogs to Help With Stress? Learn to Listen to Your Dog’s Body Language The first step to teaching your dog ESL, to start opening lines of communication with your dog, is by reading dog body language; learning basic [...]

By |2021-02-17T21:32:12+00:00February 17th, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Focusing on the relationship

2020 was without a doubt the most difficult year that any of us have ever experienced. Now that we are in 2021, we continue to struggle but we can decide how we move forward. This is not only true with other humans but it is true with our dogs as well. We have all been isolated and stressed during the COVID pandemic and it has taken a toll on many of our relationships but if we change our perspective, it does not have to. The pandemic has made me “dig deep” and work on being more patient, empathetic and compassionate, even when I am frustrated and mad, with both other humans and my dogs. During times of stress, focus on your relationship, not obedience or goals. Being locked in with 3 teenagers and 2 dogs can be overwhelming, and it was at the beginning. However, after almost a year, I see so much love and understanding that has grown over the last 10 months. Fewer behavior issues (with the dogs and the teenagers), less arguing and much more patience. What changed? I started to enjoy the little things - the loving looks from my dogs, the jokes [...]

By |2021-01-26T22:44:45+00:00January 19th, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments


Ask The Trainer Facebook LIVE

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• Thurs, August 12th at 10:30 am (PST)
• Thurs, September 9th at 10:30 am (PST)
• Thurs, October 14th at 10:30 am (PST)
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Pet Professional Guild Geek Week
November 13-17, 2021

Shannon Riley-Coyner will be presenting:
It Is Not Just about Training

Sunday, November 14th 2021 @ 11:30 am (PST)
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