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 [...]

By |2021-04-23T20:02:12+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

Empathy for Our Dogs (Book Excerpt)

It is important that you try to see things through your dog’s perspective and to have compassion and empathy for them. Being in a new home or new environment can be scary and confusing. It is very important to be patient and don’t force them into a fearful situation. I hope that you enjoy this excerpt from the book and find this information helpful – To continue reading, check out “The Evolution of Dog Training” by Shannon Coyner on Amazon! […]

By |2020-12-09T20:21:47+00:00December 9th, 2020|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Teaching Their Dog (Book Excerpt)

I wanted to share an excerpt from my book, The Evolution of Dog Training, to give you some insight into the information you’ll learn.  The following is from Chapter 7, Positive Reinforcement in Action.  I hope you find it helpful… The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Teaching Their Dog 1. What they are teaching is not clear. This mistake can happen in any part of the teaching process; however, the most common place it happens is with the consequence.  If you reinforce a behavior too early or too late, the wrong behavior is reinforced and the desired behavior gets ignored. This mistake can also happen when the cue used closely resembles another cue. Either the words or hand signals are so similar that the dog cannot tell the difference and they will often do one behavior for both cues. This commonly happens when people use a hand signal for “sit” and “down.” If the two cues are too similar, the dog will default to the behavior he prefers. […]

By |2020-11-18T20:33:24+00:00November 18th, 2020|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Meeting Your Dog Where They Are

Have you every had a day that you were overly tired or your brain was just not functioning as well as it normally does?  Have you had a day that you just couldn’t do what was asked of you?  We all have good days and bad days- and so do our dogs!  When training your dog, it is important that you recognize if they are having an “off” day and change your plan accordingly. […]

By |2021-01-26T22:42:50+00:00October 14th, 2020|Blog of the Month|2 Comments

Simple Steps to Get Through Puppyhood and Dog Adoption – Part 3

Part 3 Welcome back to our Blog Series about Puppyhood and Dog Adoption!  In Part 3, we’ll go over what happens when you welcome your new family member into your home.  I’ve divided this information into short, easily understandable sections and have shared them over the past few months.  I hope you’ll find this information helpful and, please feel free to check out our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/trulyforcefree/) for more information and to ask questions.  I hope to see you there! Home at Last! […]

By |2021-01-29T01:56:00+00:00September 16th, 2020|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Simple Steps to Get Through Puppyhood and Dog Adoption – Part 2

PART 2 Welcome back to our Blog Series about Puppyhood and Dog Adoption!  In Part 2, we’ll go over preparing for to welcome your new family member home.  I’ve divided this information into short, easily understandable sections and will continue to share them over the next two months.  I hope you’ll find this information helpful and, please feel free to check out our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/trulyforcefree/) for more information and to ask questions.  I hope to see you there! Preparing Puppy’s welcome home: […]

By |2021-01-29T01:59:37+00:00August 19th, 2020|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Simple Steps to Get Through Puppyhood and Dog Adoption – Part 1

Before you get the puppy I’m excited to share our first Blog Series!  In light of so many people adopting or considering getting a new four-legged addition to the family, I wanted to share some thoughts for before, during and after you’ve made your decision.  I’ve divided this information into short, easily understandable sections and will share them over the next three months.  I hope you’ll find this information helpful and, please feel free to check out our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/trulyforcefree/) for more information and to ask questions.  I hope to see you there! PART 1 Choosing your pet: […]

By |2020-10-25T00:41:11+00:00July 23rd, 2020|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

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