1. Have dogs meet for the first time outside of the home, on neutral territory, so as to avoid any territoriality or spatial “comfort bubble” issues. If you can’t meet in a truly neutral space, like a park, going for a walk up and down your street together can still do the trick.
Begin with some distance and let the dogs see and smell each other without getting right up in each other’s space. This may look a bit messy at first, as they may be pulling to try to get to one another, but if you just keep walking they will soon settle in. Praise your dog highly if he moves forward or checks in with you rather than trying to pull to or lunge at the other dog. And as they continue to walk and do well, you can gradually decrease distance. See my article Introducing Fido to Rufus: Dog-to-Dog Greetings, Pressure Free! for more tips on executing this.
Multiple dog caveat: it’s more difficult and intimidating for a single dog to integrate into a multiple dog situation, since dogs that typically live together can develop a “pack” and are already comfortable with one another and the hierarchy they have set. Bringing a new dog into this situation can stir things up. So when introducing one dog to a multiple of dogs, it is best to do the introductions each individually at first (starting with the most laid-back dog in the multiple-dog group and working your way up to the most “intense” dog of the group). This will give each dog the chance to get to know one another a bit without the “strength in numbers” tactics. If each of the individual greetings goes OK, you can start adding one more dog at a time to the situation as all dogs are comfortable.** (see body language signals to watch for below)
I have had the privilege of meeting Randy Pierce, who speaks in the below article about the legitimacy of service dogs, and hundreds of other people with disabilities who need their service dog partners to help them navigate through life 😊. Please, if you are an animal-lover like me, and you have respect for those who have disabilities (and want to see them succeed), please do not pretend your dog is a service dog if he is not (or condone others who take advantage of the flaws in the system). We're only going to become a more dog-friendly society if we make the RIGHT choices to show we are responsible pet parents - not by faking a service dog.
Read STOP FAKING SERVICE DOGS - Loving your pet too much is putting people with real disabilities at risk
Moving is rarely easy – whether you’re just moving across town or across the country. I would know; I’ve moved a lot in my adult life, the biggest of which was just this year (939 miles to be exact!). And as of late, I’ve had several clients preparing to be in the same boat.
BEFORE THE MOVE:
Make packing a fun event. When your living space starts turning to shambles with boxes everywhere, your dog is going to know something is going on. Instead of allowing this to cause your dog some turmoil, you can make packing fun by playing packing games! As you roll your glasses in bubble wrap, practice your dog’s “sit” or “down” or “go place”, and then praise and reinforce him for maintaining his position as you wrap the glass and place it in the box. Throw in some tasty treats with that reinforcement and he’ll love this game! Instead of pacing in the corner or wearily watching what you’re doing and wondering if there’s a cause for concern, he’ll think it’s great that you’re packing and asking him to be a part of it! You can even accomplish two things at once by using your dog’s dinner kibble as his treats for playing this game – dinner and packing can happen at the same time!
The vocalization and panting, uncontrollable drooling, destruction of property – all common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs, and none of them pleasant. Not to mention that nobody likes to see their little furry love getting so worked up over something that is a natural part of life. We humans have places to go and things to do that can’t always involve our fur-kids!
I’ve done some recent presentations and have been working with several people lately whose dogs exhibit pretty severe separation anxiety. Working through separation anxiety is a process – there usually isn’t a “quick fix” – but sometimes there are small tweaks we can make to adjust the lifestyle approach to being left alone that makes all the difference for our dogs. Perhaps you’ve already seen my article NO, Don’t Leave Me! Dealing With Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety. Here are a few more things to consider and try to build your dog’s feelings of independence and decrease his separation anxiety…
I see this concern often actually - it's much more common in today's age than you might think, especially with our fast-paced lifestyles and societal pressures. Dogs can be even more sensitive to these pressures than some people - and plenty of us struggle with it as well! Luckily, with Angelica's dedication (and a little guidance from me), Langston was able to become much more comfortable out in public (though they were still working through some reactive moments with other dogs in certain situations).
Fast forward almost a year to July 2017. I was so excited to receive an update from Angelica about Langston's progress. Though they had some changes in their lives recently, Angelica and Langston were happier than ever in their relationship. She had introduced him to the sport of dock-diving and it turns out they both LOVED it, and Langston thrived - he was more confident and much less reactive with the other dogs! Here's what Angelica had to share...
I’ve consulted with my veterinarian friend, Dr. Alisha Selzner of Companion Pet Hospital in Fishkill, NY, for her insight on some of these deadly substances…
You can walk into nearly any pet store and get bombarded with a plethora of dog toys. While some are merely for money-making and marketing purposes (does your dog really need a stuffed Easter Bunny that he is going to destroy in 3.2 seconds flat or a squeaky ball with your favorite sports team on it?), the good toy-making companies understand the logical need for a dog to have opportunities for the right kind of enrichment, mental stimulation, and outlet for his energy. This means having a durable item that engages your dog’s mind, that he can chew without destruction or that encourages him to interact with other social beings in the proper way, and which he can enjoy time and time again.
You may find that you already have some toys for your dog and he doesn’t seem interested in them. This could be because they are the wrong kind to fill his particular needs, he doesn’t know how to engage with a particular toy, or he just doesn’t have a preference towards the ones that he has. Every dog is different and what some dogs love, others could care less for. Have you ever met a child that has 20 toys sitting in her toy chest yet she swears she has nothing to play with and wants what her friend has? I often advise my clients that while having a number of great toys to choose from can give you a better chance at success, the number of toys doesn’t mean as much as the quality of the toys and what the dog gets out of playing with them. So to save money, I recommend steering clear of the cute ones that are easily destroyed (and then you have to replace them) or that don’t really serve a purpose for your dog, and instead spend the money to get the good stuff that will more likely engage your dog in the appropriate ways.
This is a list of some of my favorite dog toys and chews, collected over the years through use with a variety of different dogs. These items tend to hold up well, even to strong chewers (though if your dog has a strong propensity for chewing, you will want to monitor him with some of the puzzle toys at first to ensure he doesn’t abuse what the toy should be used for). You should be able to find many of these items either in a local pet store (some of the smaller boutique stores tend to carry this caliber over some of the larger chain stores), as well as online on such sites as Amazon and Chewy.
It’s a fact of life – dogs bark. It’s what they do, as nature intended. Unfortunately for many of us humans, barking is not something we love to hear in our quiet communities or when the baby’s trying to sleep.
Maria Huntoon, CBCC-KA