First Day Home With Your Puppy

First Day Home With Your Puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting and memorable experience, but it also comes with its challenges, especially during the first day. To ensure a smooth transition for both you and your puppy, it’s key to be prepared and equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to make your puppy’s first day home a success.

Table of content :

  • Puppy First Impression.
  • Two Basic Different Types Of Puppy Temperament
  • Let Your Puppy Explore a Little
  • Do Structured Play to Make Them Tired
  • Provide Guidance From The Beginning
  • Crate Training / Confinement
  • Introduce Your Puppy to Their Kennel/Crate
  • Provide Guidance From The Beginning
  • Basic puppy supplies for puppy’s first night home
  • Puppy Potty Training – Frequent Potty Breaks
  • FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Puppy First Impression.

The initial experience when your puppy enters your home can truly set the stage for a long-term harmonious relationship and experience. It can also save you A LOT of time and headaches.

Setting up a safe, confined area in your house where they can explore is a good way to welcome your puppy. Depending on your puppy, that first impression should be guided in different ways.

Two Basic Different Types Of Puppy Temperament.

 There are two basic types of temperament your puppy is broadly going to fall into. This can change as they grow and it can also change depending on what your puppy is doing at the time or the environment:

1.The high-energy, unruly, overexcited puppy,

2. The shy, unsure, fearful puppy.

Of course, this is a spectrum, and your puppy can be in between or switch from one state to the other.

1. The high-energy, unruly, overexcited puppy.

 If your puppy falls towards the high-energy, unruly, overexcited little devil, you will need to engage with structured play and boundaries to start calming him/her down right away. This will not only tire your puppy out, but it will also provide a lot of clarity on where structure and boundaries come from. Once they have a clear understanding of this, they tend to settle and calm down almost immediately. Understand that the lack of boundaries and structure brings a lot of stress and restlessness to puppies. Any social animal, including humans, that walks into an environment where there are no boundaries or rules immediately goes into fight/flight mode and restless behavior.

2. The shy, unsure, fearful puppy.

If your puppy falls towards the shy, unsure, fearful puppy, you will need to engage more with excitement and building self-confidence. Getting your puppy out of the shell will be the first priority. You’ll be able to put structure and boundaries in place later. If your puppy switches from one temperament to another, no big deal, you switch accordingly. This is very common.

Let Your Puppy Explore a Little

Allowing your puppy to explore their new surroundings is important for their development and adjustment. Supervise your puppy closely as they roam around the house, and remove any potential hazards or dangerous items. Encourage positive behaviors and gently redirect them if they start to get into mischief.

Do Structured Play to Make Them Tired

With energetic puppies, structured play is a must in order to help them burn off excess energy and prevent destructive behaviors. Engage in activities where you make your puppy play and stop, such as tug-of-war, or interactive games that promote mental control and some physical exercise. Be mindful of your puppy’s energy levels and take breaks as needed to prevent overexcitement or overstimulation. Know that when playing, it’s the stopping that makes them tired, not the constant play. Constant play will make them crazy. If you want to see videos and examples of how to do this, you are welcome to join our online membership: Pawmos – The Art Of Raising a Dog.

Provide Guidance From The Beginning

From the moment you bring your puppy home, it’s essential to establish yourself as a calm and confident parent. Remember that you are removing the puppy from their mother, who is the source of structure and boundaries. You need to fill in that gap, so set clear boundaries and rules for your puppy to follow, and be consistent with them. Use behavior training techniques and start learning how your body language affects your puppy. Do not rely on treats or external stimuli to learn how to communicate with your puppy. Learn more about the difference between Behavior Training and Obedience Training here: What is The Difference Between Obedience Training and Behavior Training? 

Use treats to teach them cues/commands and to reinforce behaviors that you want them to repeat, such as “come”, their name, or going to the bathroom where you want them to go.

Crate Training / Confinement

Crate training is an essential aspect of puppy training, providing your puppy with a safe and comfortable space to rest and relax. After you’ve tired your puppy out with structured play, you can introduce your puppy to their crate. Place soft bedding and a few toys inside. Use treats and encourage your puppy to enter the crate voluntarily and calmly. Do NOT throw a party if your puppy goes in the crate, since the crate should be associated with calmness, not with play. Learn more about crate training here: 6 Essential Tips For Crate Training

Introduce Your Puppy to Their Kennel/Crate

Introducing your puppy to their kennel or crate should be done gradually and calmly. Start by leaving the crate door open and allowing your puppy to explore it at their own pace.

Place some oily/smelly treat crumbs at the end of the crate and rub it against their bed before your puppy is in the room, and close the crate door.

Provide structure, play, and boundaries to make your puppy tired. Once they’re tired and calm, open the crate door, and they’ll probably go in on their own. If not, just toss a small treat in the crate to make it happen and let the magic of the smelly treat crumbs do the rest.

While they are calmly engaging with the treat crumbs inside the crate, close the door. Then wait until your puppy settles a little bit and slowly leave the room. At this point, your puppy would be tired enough to go for a nap.

As your puppy becomes more comfortable, gradually increase the amount of time they spend inside the crate with the door closed. For a free video example of how to introduce the crate to your puppy the first day click here.: Free Video: Puppy crate introduction

Basic Puppy Supplies for Puppy’s First Night Home

Before bringing your puppy home, make sure you have all the necessary supplies to ensure their comfort and well-being. Some essential items include a crate or kennel, bedding, food and water bowls, puppy food, collar and leash, toys, grooming supplies, and a pet first aid kit. Having these items on hand will help make your puppy’s first night home a smooth and enjoyable experience for both of you.

Puppy Potty Training – Frequent Potty Breaks

One of the first things you’ll need to tackle when bringing home a new puppy is potty training. Puppies have small bladders and may need to go potty frequently, especially during their first day in a new environment. Be prepared to take your puppy outside for potty breaks every hour or so, and be patient as they learn to associate the outdoors with bathroom time. For more tips in how to Pottu train your puppy check this article: Potty Training Mastery: No More Accidents!

In conclusion, welcoming a new puppy into your home is a joyful and rewarding experience, but it also requires patience, dedication, and preparation. By following the tips outlined in this guide and providing your puppy with love, guidance, and structure from the beginning, you can set the stage for a happy and healthy life together.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • How often should I take my puppy outside for potty breaks on the first day home?
    It’s importnat to take your puppy outside for potty breaks frequently, ideally every hour or so, to prevent accidents indoors and reinforce good bathroom habits.

  • Should I leave my puppy alone in their crate during the first day home?
    While crate training is important, it’s best to avoid leaving your puppy alone in their crate for extended periods during the first day. Gradually introduce them to the crate and supervise their interactions with it to ensure they feel comfortable and secure. Having said that if your puppy is sleeping in the crate, do not wake them up! Let them sleep as needed.

  • What should I do if my puppy cries or whines in their crate?
    If your puppy cries or whines in their crate, try to determine the cause of their distress. They may need to go potty, be hungry, or simply need reassurance. To prevent or to address separation anxiety read more about it here:
    Why dogs have Separation Anxiety? Can I fix it? 

  • How can I prevent my puppy from chewing on furniture and other household items?
    Providing your puppy with appropriate chew toys and supervising their playtime can help redirect their chewing behavior. Additionally, puppy-proofing your home by removing any potentially harmful or valuable items can minimize the risk of destructive chewing. For more on this issue check this blog:
    Why Is My Puppy Chewing Furniture? Here is How to Prevent It.

  • What should I do if my puppy seems overwhelmed or anxious on their first day home?
    It’s normal for puppies to feel anxious in a new environment. Provide your puppy with calmness, reassurance, and love to help them feel safe and secure. Avoid getting anxious yourself. Do not overwhelm them with too many new experiences or interactions and allow them to adjust at their own pace. Keep it simple!

         © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2024

First Night With Your Puppy

First Night With Your Puppy

Bringing home an 8-week-old puppy is an exciting milestone in any dog owner’s life. However, it’s important to prepare for the first night home to make a smooth transition for both you and your new puppy. From where your puppy should sleep to handling nighttime crying, here’s everything you need to know to make your puppy’s first night home a success.

Table of content:

  • 8-week-old puppy’s first night home
  • Where should my puppy sleep?
  • Should you let your puppy sleep in your bed the first night?
  • Start puppy crate training the first night home
  • Does an 8-week-old pup require a midnight potty break?
  •  Why do puppies cry at night?
  • How much do puppies sleep?
  • How much should I feed my puppy?
  • How Long Will A Puppy Cry At Night?
  • How To Avoid Your New Puppy is Crying at Night in Their Crate
  • FAQ’S

8-week-old puppy’s first night home

The first night home can be overwhelming for a puppy who has just been separated from their littermates and familiar surroundings. It’s crucial to create a calm and comfortable environment to help them feel secure in their new home.

Where should my puppy sleep?

Deciding where your puppy should sleep on their first night home is a common dilemma for new dog parents. While some may opt to have their puppy sleep in a crate, others prefer to have them sleep in a different room, in their own room or even in their own bed.

Should you let your puppy sleep in your bed the first night?

While it may be tempting to let your new puppy sleep in your bed on their first night home, it’s generally not recommended. Establishing boundaries early on is essential for preventing behavioral issues down the line like separation anxiety, waking you up in middle of the night or even resource guarding issues in some cases.

It’s recommended to set up a confined small area with a bed or a crate where your puppy will sleep for the next several weeks.

Start puppy crate training the first night home

Introducing your puppy to their crate on the first night home can help establish a safe and comfortable space for them to sleep. Make the crate inviting by placing soft bedding and familiar toys inside. I like to make crumbs out of smelly treats and place them at the end of the crate so they spend time in the crate sniffing and finding the crumbs.

If your puppy is already comfortable with the crate, great! Use it through the night and keep using it for several weeks.

If not here’s a guide of how to crate train your puppy starting from the first day. While you work on that, here’s what I’d do the first night if your puppy is not used to the crate. Put the crate right next to your bed and a little high up so your puppy can still see you. You can also put your hand close to the crate if that comforts your puppy. There might be a little bit of whining at the beginning, but most often than not it will be mild and it will resume fast since your puppy is tired. Soon your puppy will fall asleep. Eventually and gradually you can start moving the crate away from your bed or even to different room if that’s what you want.

 

Does an 8-week-old pup require a midnight potty break?

Yes, puppies have small bladders and may need to relieve themselves during the night, especially at 8 weeks old. It’s very likely that you’ll need to take your puppy outside for a potty break before bedtime and be prepared to let them out during the night if needed. When that happens make everything very low key and don’t engage or give attention to your puppy. Have the leash ready, pick your puppy up and take him or her to the “toilet area”. Once they are done I, pick your puppy up and bring them calmly to the crate. This is the only time I would not reinforce with a treat for going to the bathroom. For more information about potty training read this article: Potty Training Mastery: No More Accidents!

Why do puppies cry at night?

Puppies may cry at night for various reasons, including feeling anxious in a new environment, needing to go potty, or seeking comfort and attention. Understanding why your puppy is crying can help you address their needs effectively. Knowing the difference is usually more of an intuitive guess, but by trial and error you’ll be able to know.

How Long Will A Puppy Cry At Night?

The duration of nighttime crying can vary from puppy to puppy. With patience and consistency, most puppies will eventually adjust to their new routine and stop crying at night pretty fast.

I’m not a big fun of letting them “cry it out” for hours until they settle, that’s why I start with the crate near the bed and slowly work the way out from there.

The method of “letting them cry it out” doesn’t consistently succeed. Certain puppies that get really out of control and distressed will not calm down, even if you do it for weeks. Puppies that pass what I called the Red Zone threshold can bark 7 hours straight, 7 days a week. This is because they don’t have self regulation skills yet. A smoother approach where they learn how to self sooth themselves is generally a faster and easier approach in my opinion.

How To Avoid Your New Puppy Crying at Night in Their Crate.

To avoid your new puppy from crying at night in their crate, consider implementing these tips: gradually introduce them to the crate, make it a positive and calm experience, provide comfort and reassurance, and address any underlying issues that may be causing distress. I will also highly encpurage you to read this post: How Can I Discourage and Stop My Puppy From Barking Excessively

How much do puppies sleep?

Puppies sleep a lot, typically around 18 to 20 hours a day. However, their sleep patterns may be disrupted during their first night home as they adjust to their new surroundings.

How was your puppy’s first night?

Every puppy’s first night home is unique, and some may adjust more easily than others. Pay attention to your puppy’s behavior and provide comfort and reassurance as needed.

In summary the first night home with a new puppy can be challenging but also rewarding. By preparing ahead of time and understanding your puppy’s needs, you can help ensure a smooth transition and set the foundation for a strong bond between you and your new puppy.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • How do I know if my puppy is ready to sleep through the night?
    It’s essential to monitor your puppy’s behavior and gradually increase their sleeping duration. Consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your puppy’s sleep patterns.

  • Should I ignore my puppy’s cries at night?
    While it’s essential to address your puppy’s needs, it’s also essential to teach them to self-soothe and become independent. Providing comfort and reassurance without reinforcing unwanted behavior is key.

  • Can I use a nightlight for my puppy?
    Yes, a nightlight can provide comfort and security for your puppy, especially during their first few nights home.

  • How can I help my puppy adjust to their crate?
    Gradually introduce your puppy to their crate using calm and positive reinforcement. Make the crate a comfortable and inviting space for them to sleep and relax. For more on this issue read this article:
    6 Essential Tips For Crate Training.

  • When should I consult a professional trainer for help with my puppy’s nighttime behavior?
    If your puppy’s nighttime crying persists despite your efforts to address their needs, or if you’re concerned about their well-being, it’s essential to seek guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2024

How to stop your dog’s barking in the backyard

How to stop your dog’s barking in the backyard

Are you tired of incessant barking echoing through your backyard, disrupting your peace and annoying your neighbors? It’s a common challenge dog owners face, but fear not! With the right approach, you can effectively address and minimize your dog’s barking in your backyard. In this article, we’ll explore practical strategies to identify the triggers behind your dog’s barking and implement training techniques to curb this behavior.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Why is your dog barking in your backyard? Recognize the “Triggers”
  • What’s the Root Cause of your dog’s Barking Behavior?
  •  Initial Stage – Door thresholds
  • Practice your leash communication skills:
  • Be ahead of the behavior.
  • Mistakes to avoid.
  • Teach Your Dog How to Stop Barking on Cue
  •  But My Dog Only Barks When I’m Not in the Backyard’
  • Takeaways
  • FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Recognize the “Triggers”

Understanding what prompts your dog to bark in your backyard is the initial step towards addressing this behavior. Dogs can bark for various reasons, including boredom, territorial instincts, fear, or excitement. By identifying the triggers, you can tailor your approach to effectively manage and reduce barking episodes.

What’s the Root Cause of your dog’s barking Behavior?

Take note of the specific situations or stimuli that provoke your dog’s barking. Is it the presence of other animals, unfamiliar noises, or people passing by? Understanding the root cause and the triggers will enable you to devise targeted solutions to address the problem effectively.

Initial Stage – Door thresholds

Before you take your dog out through your backyard door put your dog a leash and calm him/her down. This is one of the most important steps that most people miss. Don’t wait until your dog starts barking in your backyard. Instaed do this: At the door before going outside use a body block to teach your dog that door open means to wait calmly instead of rushing out the door or pulling the leash. You can use the door to block access, but I like to use my body language with a body block to communicate calmness. I strongly believe in non verbal communication through body language to keep yourself honest and provide clarity to your dog. Communicating boundaries and calmness without external use of treats or corrections is key to establish a solid bond and connection with your dog. Also learning to communicate directly in a way your dog understands without the need of manipulating the environment is a much better way to deepen your relationship with your dog.

Practice your leash communication skills:

Use the leash to give guidance and direction to make your dog to calm down progressively. Make sure you’ve learnt and practice proper leash communication skills. This means to condition your dog that the leash means to calm down. The leash should only have to functions: to guide  your dog into calmness or to guide your dog into movement. This are the basics of leash training. If you’re intertersted in learning this skill you can join my online program here: Pawmos The Art of Dog Training.

Dogs can only do one thing at a time + you already taught him that the leash means to calm down. This is why the leash communication exercises are so important. Leash communication is the foundation if you want to use the leash as a tool to change your dog’s state of mind and curb some behaviors like excessive barking, lunging or jumping at the fence.

To learn more about leash communication skills click here: What is Leash Communication? Why is it SO important?

Be ahead of the behavior.

Teach your dog to look to reactive triggers on leash without a reaction. The goal is for your dog to be able to look at a trigger on leash without having any reaction even if it’s for one second. 

When looking at a trigger use the leash to guide her into calmness. As soon as she looks at the other dog say :”let’s go” use a gentle tug to the side to break the eye contact with the trigger and move away. Reinforce the behavior with a treat in calm manner. Do not throw a party to reward your dog, since that will get your pup excited the barking will start again. Remember your are teaching your dog to regulate excitement.

Success is not how much you can push it  until you get a reaction, but how much you can push it where there’s no reaction at all. 

Remember two things:

1. Use the leash to guide not to correct 

2. Timing is very important. Use the leash before your dog reacts not after. You don’t want to correct a behavior. You want the behavior not to happen in the first place. That’s how you fade out any behavior effectively and fast.

For further information on reactivity read this article: What is Dog Reactivity? 6 Deadly Mistakes When Training Your Reactive Dog.

Mistakes to avoid:

Do not use the leash for corrections, do not yank and do not yell at your dog to shut up. Barking is usually the result of overstimulation caused by fear, territory, dominance or alert. Your goal is to calm your dog down, not to correct or punish for barking. You want to teach your dog to look at the triggers in a calm state of mind so they can still do whatever they were doing but without barking

Don’t reinforce your dogs barking without knowing. It’s essential to avoid inadvertently reinforcing your dog’s barking behavior. While it may seem natural to soothe or comfort a barking dog, this can unintentionally reinforce the behavior, making it more challenging to eliminate in the long run. Instead, focus on implementing techniques to calm your dog down.

Teach Your Dog How to Stop Barking on Cue.

If your dog is already barking training your dog to respond to a specific command to stop barking can be an effective strategy. Start by teaching a command such as “quiet” or “enough” paired with a reward when your dog complies.After practicing leash communication  exercises were you already taught him that the leash means to calm down and not to pull, you can use the leash to teach your dog not to bark. 

Make sure to have the leash on your pup first. When he starts barking say “ quite” or “Thank you” in a calm manner. Make sure he hears it. Sometimes you might need some volume when you say “quite”. 

Then use the leash to move him away from the source of barking. If he is barking at a person or at something he staring at, make sure you break the eye contact from the source of what’s triggering the barking. 

Once he calms down and stops barking, you can come back to were you where. If he barks again you repeat the process and you follow through until the barking resumes. 

If you repeat it several times the word “quiet” would mean to stop barking and to calm down. “Quite” is not only going to be a command that means to stop barking, but most importantly it will also mean a change of state of mind where your dog calms down. 

Important notes: 

Use the leash to give guidance and direction to make your dog to calm down progressively. When you give direction to your dog to do something else while he’s barking he will stop barking.Consistency and patience are key to reinforcing this behavior effectively.

But My Dog Only Barks When I’m Not in the Yard.

If your dog’s barking primarily occurs when you’re not present then you need to start being present and start building from there. You will first have to teach your dog to be calm in your backyard and not to bark at the specific triggers. You’ll need to be present at the beguining. Once your dog’s has learnt to control the emotional responses to those trigers, you can start slowly leaving your dog alone in your backyard. Supervision at a distance will still be necessary until the behavior is mastered.  In such cases it can help to provide engaging toys, interactive puzzles, or other low energy activities to keep your dog calm while being in your backyard alone. 

Takeaways.

Excessive barking can be a nuisance, but with patience, consistency, and the right approach, you can effectively address this behavior and restore peace to your backyard. By identifying triggers, implementing training techniques, and addressing underlying causes, you can teach your dog to bark less and enjoy a quieter, more harmonious environment.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How long does it take to stop a dog’s barking habit?

The time it takes to curb a dog’s barking habit varies depending on factors such as the dog’s temperament, the consistency of training, and the underlying reasons for barking. With dedicated effort, significant improvements can often be seen within a few weeks.

Is it okay to use bark collars to stop my dog from barking?

Bark collars can be controversial and are not recommended because they don’t address the route of the problem. It can take care of the human problem (the noise), but it does not address the dog problem. These devices may cause distress or discomfort to the dog and can lead to unintended negative consequences. It’s best to use effective training techinques and behavior modification training approaches. 

What if my dog’s barking is due to anxiety or fear?

If your dog’s barking is linked to anxiety or fear, it’s essential to address these underlying issues with the help of a professional trainer or behaviorist. They can provide guidance on desensitization techniques and behavior modification strategies to help your dog feel more secure and confident. You can also check this article to learn more about it: Fearful Dogs “Fear and Trauma in Dogs: Causes, Signs, and Treatment”

Should I seek professional help to address my dog’s barking?

If you’re struggling to manage your dog’s barking despite your best efforts, seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist can be beneficial. They can assess the situation, provide personalized advice, and develop a tailored training plan to address your dog’s specific needs.

Can all dogs be trained to stop barking?

While most dogs can be trained to bark less in response to specific cues, the degree of success may vary depending on individual temperament and breed tendencies. However, with patience, consistency, and a goof behavior aproach, significant improvements can often be achieved in managing excessive barking. For more about breed specific questions check out this link: How Much Breed Affects Your Dog? What Do You Need To know?

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2024

Hush, Pup! Effective Techniques for Curbing Your Dog’s Excessive Barking

Hush, Pup! Effective Techniques for Curbing Your Dog’s Excessive Barking

Effective Techniques for Curbing Your Dog’s Excessive Barking

Dogs bark—it’s their way of communicating with us and the world around them. However, excessive barking can be a nuisance and may indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed. In this blog , we’ll explore the root causes, different types of barking and effective techniques for curbing your dog’s excessive barking to promote harmony and peace in your home.

Table of Content:

  • Introduction
  • Identifying the Root Cause of Excessive Barking
  • Different Types of Dog Barking
  • Identifying Each Type
  • Why Dogs Bark
  • Training Techniques for Excessive Dog Barking
  • Establishing a Consistent Routine
  • Seeking Professional Help
  • Conclusion

Identifying the Root Cause of Excessive Barking

Understanding why your dog barks excessively is the first step towards addressing the behavior. Several factors can contribute to this behavior, including environmental triggers, behavioral issues, and health concerns.

Environmental factors such as loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, or the presence of strangers can stimulate a dog to bark excessively. Behavioral issues like separation anxiety, reactivity, or attention-seeking behavior can also lead to incessant barking. Additionally, health problems such as pain, discomfort, or cognitive decline may manifest through increased vocalization.

Different Types of Dog Barking

Territorial Barking

Territorial barking occurs when a dog perceives a threat to its territory. It’s a warning signal to intruders and serves as a means of establishing boundaries.

Alarm Barking

Alarm barking is triggered by perceived threats or unusual noises. Dogs engage in this type of barking to alert their owners or other members of the pack about potential dangers.

Attention-Seeking Barking

Attention-seeking barking is a behavior dogs use to gain their owner’s attention. Whether they’re seeking playtime, food, or affection, dogs may bark persistently until their needs are met.

Greeting Barking

Greeting barking is a friendly and welcoming form of communication. Dogs use this type of barking to express excitement and happiness when meeting people or other animals.

Frustration Barking

Frustration barking occurs when a dog is unable to access something it desires, such as food, toys, or companionship. It’s a form of protest against obstacles or restrictions.

Playful Barking

Playful barking is characterized by high-pitched and repetitive vocalizations. Dogs engage in this type of barking during playtime to communicate enjoyment and enthusiasm.

Separation Anxiety Barking

Separation anxiety barking is a distress response to being left alone. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety may bark excessively, exhibiting signs of stress and discomfort.

Compulsive Barking

Compulsive barking is a repetitive and involuntary behavior that serves no apparent purpose. It may be a symptom of underlying anxiety or compulsive disorders.

Social Barking

Social barking occurs during interactions between dogs. It serves as a form of socialization and can convey various emotions, including excitement, submission, or playfulness.

Fear Barking

Fear barking is triggered by perceived threats or intimidating stimuli. Dogs engage in this type of barking as a defensive mechanism to ward off potential dangers. For more on ferful dogs read this article: Fearful Dogs “Fear and Trauma in Dogs: Causes, Signs, and Treatment”

Pain Barking

Pain barking is a response to physical discomfort or injury. Dogs vocalize to communicate pain and seek assistance or relief from their owners.

Boredom Barking

Boredom barking is a result of understimulation or lack of mental and physical exercise. Dogs may bark out of boredom to alleviate monotony or seek attention.

Identifying Each Type

Recognizing the different types of barking requires careful observation of the dog’s behavior and context. Factors such as pitch, duration, frequency, and accompanying body language can provide clues to the underlying cause of barking.

Why Dogs Bark

Evolutionary Reasons

Barking is deeply rooted in canine evolution and serves various evolutionary purposes, including communication, warning, and social cohesion.

Environmental Triggers

External stimuli such as strangers, other animals, loud noises, or changes in the environment can trigger reactivity and barking behavior in dogs. For more on reactivity click here: What is Dog Reactivity? 6 Deadly Mistakes When Training Your Reactive Dog

Training Techniques for Excessive Dog Barking

Once you’ve identified the root cause of your dog’s excessive barking, you can implement various training techniques to modify their behavior in a gentle but effective manner.

Behavior Training .Understanding how to change a behavior is key. Behavior Training is based on your dog’s abilty to control their state of mind and your dog’s ability to control their emotional responses to environments or triggers. Dogs that have excess energy and no self regulation may bark excessively as a way to release their pent-up energy.

Desensitization involves gradually exposing your dog to the stimuli that trigger their barking in a controlled manner. This helps reduce their sensitivity over time, leading to decreased barking responses.

Redirection. Distraction methods such as providing interactive toys or engaging in physical activities can redirect your dog’s focus and energy away from barking towards more appropriate behaviors. This option is more of a short term solution, but can be very helpful while you’re working on Behavior Training and Desensitization

Establishing a Consistent Routine

Creating a structured routine for your dog can help reduce excessive barking by addressing their physical and mental needs.

Regular structured exercise is essential for maintaining your dog’s overall well-being and preventing boredom. Incorporate daily walks, playtime, and enrichment activities to keep them mentally sound and physically tired. Providing structure play and teaching self control exercises will keep your dog calm and content, reducing the likelihood of excessive barking. Take your puppy for exposure walks, play structured games where they slowly learn boundaries, and socialize them with well behaved older dogs that will teach them how to calm down.

Proper socialization from an early age exposes your dog to various stimuli, reducing their likelihood of reacting with fear or anxiety-induced barking in new situations.

Creating a calm and peaceful environment at home can also help minimize triggers for excessive barking. Provide a comfortable resting area, manage noise levels, and maintain a predictable daily schedule to promote relaxation.

Seeking Professional Help

If your dog’s excessive barking persists despite your efforts, seeking professional help may be necessary.

Consulting a veterinarian can rule out any underlying medical conditions contributing to the behavior and provide guidance on potential treatment options.

Hiring a dog trainer or behaviorist can offer personalized training plans and behavior modification techniques tailored to your dog’s specific needs. Professional intervention can help address complex issues and provide ongoing support for you and your furry companion. If you live in NYC or CT you can ask for our help here: Pawmos Dog Training.

Conclusion

Excessive barking can disrupt the peace and harmony of your household, but with patience, consistency, and the right techniques, it’s a behavior that can be managed effectively. By understanding the root cause of your dog’s barking and implementing the right training methods, you can help your dog become a quieter and happier member of the family.

FAQs

  • How long does it take to see results from training my dog to stop excessive barking? Results vary depending on the individual dog and the underlying causes of their barking. Consistency and patience are crucial, and you may start noticing improvements within a few days of consistent training.

  • Is it normal for dogs to bark occasionally, or should I aim for complete silence? Barking is a natural behavior for dogs, and occasional barking is normal. The goal is to reduce excessive or inappropriate barking that disrupts your daily life or indicates underlying issues.

  • Can bark collars help curb excessive barking? While bark collars may provide temporary relief, they do not address the underlying cause of the barking. It suppresses the behavior “solving” the human problem, but not the dog problem. It’s best to focus on addressing the root cause of the behavior.

  • Are there certain breeds more prone to excessive barking? Some breeds are more vocal than others, but excessive barking is not limited to specific breeds. Factors such as upbringing, socialization, and individual temperament play significant roles in a dog’s barking behavior.

  • Should I punish my dog for barking excessively? Punishment can be counterproductive and may exacerbate fear or anxiety-related barking. Instead, focus on behavior training where your dog learns to control their emotions without reacting to the triggers or environment.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2024

Dog Digging Solutions. How To Stop Your Dog From Digging

Dog Digging Solutions. How To Stop Your Dog From Digging

   How to Get Dogs to Stop Digging

Digging is a common behavior in dogs that can be both frustrating and destructive for dog parents. Whether it’s ruining your garden, creating holes in the yard, or causing other damage, addressing this behavior is essential for a harmonious relationship with your pup. In this blog, we’ll explore dog digging solutions to help you get your dog to stop digging.

Table of Content 

    • Introduction
    • Understanding the behavior of digging in dogs
    • Reasons why dogs dig
    • Instinctual behavior
    • Boredom or lack of mental stimulation
    • Seeking comfort or coolness
    • Negative consequences of digging
    • Destruction of property
    • Escaping or getting lost
    • Dog digging solutions
    • Provide sufficient physical and mental exercise
    • Designate a digging area
    • Use deterrents
    • Supervise and redirect
    • Seek professional help if neede
    • Conclusion

Understanding the Behavior of Digging in Dogs

Before diving into dog digging solutions, it’s important to understand why dogs dig in the first place. Digging is a natural behavior for dogs, inherited from their ancestral instincts. Wild dogs dig to create dens for shelter or to bury food for later consumption. While domesticated dogs may not have the same survival instincts, the behavior persists due to various reasons.

Reasons Why Dogs Dig

Instinctual Behavior

Many dogs dig instinctively, driven by their genetic predisposition. Breeds such as terriers, dachshunds, and huskies are more prone to digging due to their hunting or working backgrounds.

Boredom or Lack of Mental Stimulation

Dogs left alone for extended periods without adequate mental or physical structure activities may resort to digging as a way to alleviate boredom or release pent-up energy.

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

Some dogs show obsessive behaviors through digging. Sometimes is the outcome of certain breeds and sometimes it could be the out come of anxiety and stress.  

Seeking Comfort or Coolness

In hot weather, dogs may dig to find cooler ground to lie on. Similarly, they may dig to create a comfortable resting spot or escape from extreme temperatures.

Negative Consequences of Digging

While dog digging may seem harmless at first, it can lead to several undesirable consequences for both you and your dog.

Destruction of Property

Digging can cause extensive damage to your yard, garden, or outdoor furniture, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

Escaping or Getting Lost

Holes dug under fences or gates can provide an escape route for dogs, putting them at risk of getting lost, injured, or involved in accidents.

Dog Digging Solutions

Fortunately, there are several effective ways you can implement to discourage digging behavior in your dog.

Provide Sufficient Physical and Mental Exercise

Ensuring your dog receives adequate exercise and mental structured activities can help reduce boredom and excess energy, decreasing the likelihood of digging. Regular walks, interactive play sessions, and training activities can keep your dog mentally and physically engaged.

Designate a Digging Area

Creating a designated digging area in your yard allows your dog to satisfy their natural urge to dig without causing damage elsewhere. Fill the area with loose soil or sand and encourage your dog to dig there by burying toys, treats or bones.

Use Deterrents

Applying deterrents to areas where your dog frequently digs can help discourage the behavior. Options include bitter-tasting sprays, their own poop ( I know kind of disgusting)

Supervise 

Supervising your dog while they’re outside is the most effective dog digging solution. Get their attention whenever they start to dig, calm them down and expose again. Train your dog to be calm in your backyard. This is most effective because you can break the habit and create a new pattern 

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If your dog’s digging behavior persists despite your efforts, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can assess the underlying reasons for the behavior and provide tailored solutions to address it effectively.

I personally supervise all my dogs when they are in the backyard so I can block right away any behavior that I don’t want them to rehearse. Before I do any other activity in my backyard with my dogs, I teach them to relax and calm down by default. Then I initiate play, training sessions or I just let them do free range with supervision. 

While digging is a natural behavior for dogs, it can pose challenges for dog onwers if left unchecked. By understanding the reasons behind your dog’s digging and implementing appropriate strategies, you can effectively manage and reduce this behavior, leading to a happier and healthier relationship with your dog.

FAQs

  • Why does my dog only dig in certain areas of the yard?
    Dogs may prefer to dig in areas with soft soil, shade, or where they detect interesting scents. Identifying and addressing the factors that attract your dog to specific spots can help discourage digging in those areas.

  • Should Is punish my dog for digging?
    Punishment is not recommended as it can lead to fear, anxiety, or aggression in dogs. Instead, focus on behavior training and redirection to encourage desired behaviors.

  • Can digging be a sign of underlying health issues in dogs?
    In some cases, excessive digging may indicate underlying health issues such as allergies, parasites, or anxiety. Seek advice from your pet’s healthcare provider to eliminate any potential medical reasons behind your dog’s actions.

  • Is it possible to train an older dog to stop digging?
    Yes, it’s possible to modify a dog’s behavior at any age through consistent training and reinforcement. However, it may require more time and patience with older dogs compared to puppies.

  • Are there specific breeds more prone to digging?
    While all dogs are capable of digging, certain breeds with high prey drive or working instincts, such as terriers and hounds, are more predisposed to this behavior.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2024

Fearful Dogs “Fear and Trauma in Dogs: Causes, Signs, and Treatment”

Fearful Dogs “Fear and Trauma in Dogs: Causes, Signs, and Treatment”

When your beloved dog is scared or acting fearful, it tugs at your heartstrings. Whether it’s suddenly cowering when you pull out the leash or bolting/running away in a panic state for safety, fear and anxiety prevents fearful dogs from fully enjoying life. While some apprehension is normal, excessive or irrational fearfulness points to trauma. The good news is that with patience and the right approach, you can help your frightened pup leave the past behind.

Lets explore the causes, the importance of reading and understanding the signs early on and the the different ways we can help fearful dog overcome it!

What Are Traumatic Experiences For Fearful Dogs?

Trauma happens when dogs experience frightening or dangerous events causing intense mental stress. Even a single distressing incident can have lasting effects, especially if it happens during crucial developmental stages. Like humans, dogs can suffer from trauma. Without proper treatment, the fear, the anxiety, memories, and bad associations can persist for months or even years. 

It’s crucial to understand there are two different kinds of trauma: Soft trauma and Hard trauma.

What’s the difference between Soft Trauma and Hard Trauma in Fearful Dogs?

In simple terms soft trauma can be overcome much faster than hard trauma. I’ll give you a case study examples later. But let’s dive in.

The difference between soft trauma and hard trauma is based on three different factors: 

1.The intensity of the immediate emotional response exhibited by your dog. This factor is crucial, as each dog may react differently to traumatic events. How your dog perceives and responds to the traumatic incident will determine the intensity of the emotional reaction, rather than the event itself. For instance, if a baby gate falls and produces a loud noise, two different dogs may react in vastly different ways. Dog A, named Zoey, might startle for a moment and then quickly recover, whereas Dog B, Smokey, might flee and seek refuge in a state of panic. Although the event itself may not pose an existential threat to either dog, the emotional responses of each pup vary significantly.

2. The immediate aftermath of the trauma. Following a traumatic event, two outcomes are possible: Fear reinforcement or fear addressing. Fear reinforcement can occur in two ways: 1 through punishment or 2 excessive sympathy. Punishing fear can exacerbate the dog’s distress, while showering it with pity may inadvertently reinforce the fear. Addressing fear involves confronting the same event in a safe environment, akin to encouraging a fallen rider to get back on a horse.

3, The repetition of the traumatic event. If a traumatic event recurs frequently, what initially may have been classified as a soft trauma can escalate into hard trauma over time.

Soft Trauma.

Soft Trauma incidents typically occur infrequently, provoke low-intensity emotional responses, and result in avoidance behaviors.

Soft trauma can be misleading, as it often manifests with dramatic and intense emotional responses in dogs. However, an expert observer can discern the subtleties.

Here are some examples of Soft Trauma: 

– Accidents such as your dog falling down the stairs one or two times. 

– Getting stuck in a crate while attempting to enter or exit.

– Fear of “ghost thresholds”. Such as doorways, apartment building lobbies, specific sections of a sidewalk. The term “ghost” is used because often there’s no discernible reason for the fear.

Hard Trauma.

Hard Trauma on the other hand, involves a more intense emotional response that can become deeply ingrained in the dog’s psyche, requiring more time to overcome.

Common sources of trauma in dogs include:

  • Physical abuse like being kicked, punched, yelled at, struck with objects, etc. This type occurs in animals from puppy mills or abusive homes.

  • Accidents such as getting hit by cars, falls, work/hunting injuries, bites from wildlife or unfamiliar dogs. city dwellers face more vehicle trauma while rural pups encounter wildlife.
  • Medical trauma from painful examinations/procedures, injuries needing emergency vet care, blood draws, hospitalization. These can leave mental wounds even after physical recovery.
  • Natural disasters like fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes. Getting left behind or displaced from owners during catastrophic events is extremely disturbing.

The younger the dog when the trauma happens, the deeper and longer-lasting the impact will be since their brains are still developing resiliency. However, frightened behaviors can emerge at any age after scary incidents.

What Signs Will Your Fearful Dog Exhibit?

While occasional, minor fears are perfectly normal, deeply traumatized dogs exhibit more severe, chronic signs of anxiety including:

  • Cowering, trembling, hiding. This demonstrates general feelings of fear about surroundings even without obvious triggers.
  • Escaping or destructive behaviors when left alone. They panic without their person nearby for safety and comfort.
  • Nightmares like crying, running, or biting in their sleep. This suggests terrifying flashbacks.
  • Excessive barking or whining. Traumatic overexcitement of their nervous system puts them on high alert.
  • Compulsive behaviors like tail chasing, shadow staring, floor licking. These repetitive actions self-soothe their anxiety.

The severity ranges from situational fearfulness up to completely shutting down and refusing walks, play, or human interaction. The longer bad associations go unchecked, the more ingrained they become. But no matter how long it’s been, healing is always possible!

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Afraid? Causes of Environmental Fears

Dogs normally react to loud noises, novel sights and sounds, or unfamiliar experiences with mild caution that abates once they see there’s no real danger. But when those initial startle reactions turn into longer-term phobias and seemingly irrational avoidance behaviors, trauma may be at play.

Common environmental triggers for sustained fear responses are:

Noises. Dogs have sensitive hearing, so very loud noises like fireworks, thunderstorms, construction sounds, or even applause can be physically painful and create associations between those auditory cues and danger signals sent to their amygdala about potential threats in the environment even if there are none.

Places.If something bad happened to your dog at the vet clinic, a kennel/shelter, or the grooming salon even just once, they may come to view entering those sites the same way a human would view returning to the scene of an attack – with heart-racing anxiety.

Objects. Things that shift suddenly, make unpredictable noises or block their vision like umbrellas, balloons, plastic bags rustling in the wind, bicycles, or skateboards. Even home decor like large displays or statues can be disturbing if noticed unexpectedly.

Surface Changes. Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell for feeling safe. So new carpeting, floors, furniture with different textures or appearances can stress them out until it becomes familiar.

Riding In Cars. The motions and sounds of vehicle travel can cause nausea, disorientation, even vertigo-like sensations leading to associating the car with those uncomfortable feelings.

New People. Dogs sometimes can distrust unfamiliar people. Evolutionary pressure from their wolf ancestors can trigger protective, self defense and self-preservation adaptation creating anxiety and fear against new people. Without proper socialization, those instincts can kick into overdrive around strangers, folks wearing hats, the elderly, men with deep voices, crying babies – leading to defensive aggressive reactions.

Other Animals. Even cats and smaller pets create conflict for some dogs. Territorialness, jealousy over resources, or predatory drive can amplify fearful reactivity to other animals.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Afraid Of Me Or My Family?

While people represent safety and comfort to most pups when raised with proper bonding, some still develop debilitating fears of humans for a variety of reasons:

Poor Socialization. Like mistrust of strangers, lacking positive exposures to people during puppyhood can manifest later around kids, seniors, bearded or physically impaired humans.

Previous Abuse. Dogs abused by former owners or shelter/rescue staff may transfer expectations of cruelty onto even beloved family members later – flinching from normal reaching or hovering behaviors misconstrued as violence.

Traumatic Handling. Well-meaning restraint like nail trims, giving medication or vet examinations can instill human-directed bites and other defensive actions in the future. Force should always be an absolute last resort for any animal handling.

Dog PTSD. As with noises or objects, any upsetting event that transpires while humans are present shapes assocations between those people and panic responses so that seeing individuals who merely resemble the original person can induce cowering, hiding, freezing or furious self-protection.

Genetics & Early Life. Highly sensitive dogs bred for watchdog jobs tend towards more inherent suspicion and hyperreactivity due to artificial breed manipulation selected for those traits. And as mentioned early, disturbing exposures during the first 16 weeks when their cognition and coping mechanisms are forming can have permanent impacts.

How To Heal Your Dog’s Trauma Response

The key to overcoming trauma is rebuilding confifdence and resiliency through Behavior Modification. Rushing the process or flooding dogs past tolerable levels often backfires. The key is break it down into smalls steps where you rehearse susscesfull exposures while your dog keeps making progress. 

Two Tailoring Solutions for two Different Responses

There are two different approaches to help with fear depending if your dog shuts down and freezes or if your dog goes into flight mode and runs for safety. 

1-Freezing and Shutting down 

When your dog shuts down and freezes you need to get her excited and encourage her to keep moving to overcome her anxiety and fear. Movement and excitement will buildi momentum and will change the state of mind of your fearful dog. This will allowed your dog to experience the previous traumatic event in a different emotional state and will change the association. 

2- Panicking and Running away. 

Dogs panic and run away because they want to bolt back home for safety . They go into flight mode. Here we need to calm them down and remove the excitement/anxiety. The goal is to slow the brain down so they learns to walk back home calmly and without stressin. Home is a place to relax not a place to hide.

Both approaches lead to the same goal: putting your dog in a calm and controlled state of mind where they are neither shutting down or running away. 

Long-term success requires:

Patience Over Punishment. Needless to say that corrections, yelling or tools like prong collars or e collars are not going to help. Instead remain calm, gently guide them to safer distances without coddling and keep trying in incremental steps successfully.

Resiliency Training. Building up resiliency by doing exercises where you expose triggers at low intensity where your dog can easily overcome fear. For example if your dog is afraid of the stairs, start with just one step and build up from there.

Confidence Building Through excitement. If your dog is shutting down, boost courage through excitement and stimulating the brain to engage in activity before presenting the trigger and before your dog shuts down. As inner resilience grows, external areas will seem less intimidating.

Confidence Building Through Calmness. If your dog goes into  “flight”, meaning running for safety, you need to slow your dog’s brain down into calmness.

Counterconditioning Triggers. Using food like peanut butter, spray cheese, hot dogs or other enticing treats to shift associations from scary to happy will help with certain mild cases of dogs and only after resiliency training and confidence building. Treats are good reinforces but they will not build resiliency or confidence on your dog.

Example of a Fearful Dog Case Study:

In the following example Lassie (I´ve changed the dog´s name for privacy) developed fear of stairs because he fell. This is an example of a Soft Trauma event that if it was left untreated would’ve easily morphed into Hard Trauma. 

In this case we were dealing with a dog freezing and shutting down. Prior to this incident we already worked on Resiliency Training and Confidence Building which are an integrated part the Pawmos Dog Training Method 

Question: (Lassie´s Mom)

¨We recently put up child gates at our stairs. This past Wednesday, after the gates had been up for about a week, Lassie ran right into the gate and then partially fell down the stairs. I wasn’t home, but my husband was and he said that Lassie then tried again to run through the gate and he feel down the stairs again. He did not have any physical injuries, but now he is terrified of the stairs. He will run downstairs, but he will not come up unless I literally carry him. He’ll be shaking as he reaches the top. I feel so awful! Things that usually trigger him to dash upstairs aren’t working (treats, his dinner. the doorbell ringing).

Do you have any advice for what we can do??¨

Answer:

¨There is a couple of things you can do. The first thing to do is to know if he is afraid of the stairs or of the gate. This is very important. 

If it´s the gate: Remove the gate and walk Lassie upstairs on the leash. Do it a couple of times. If you are in the middle of the stairs and he is still a little bit unsure go down and try it again. Kind of like baby steps. Once he is comfortable doing that, do the same but with the gate. Once he can do it with the gate several times try to do it without the leash.

If it´s the stairs, make sure you put a rug or something that ´s not slippery on the stairs. Put him at  the end two steps of the stairs (carry him) and block the way down with a gate. So the only way is up. Do baby steps until he is comfortable doing it alone the whole stairs.

Use the leash communication we went over when I first saw you. Do not drag him, but don´t let him fly away. Be very calm and confident yourself. Think this way while you are helping him: you know he can do it, because this is something new. You just need to remove the fear. 

Let me know how it goes. I´m confident you can figure it out! – Have a great day!¨

Lassie´s Mom – :

“IT WORKED! The minute we did the stairs with the leash, he was then able to do them on his own. Thank you so much!”

The reason why it worked so fast is because Lassie´s Mom already knew the VML method, know how to communicate with the leash and with her body language and energy. What’s funny is that she first tried with external tools like treats, dinner or even the door bell and didn’t think about what she already learnt with us.

This is just one example of the importance of mastering the VML Method ,leash communication and the walk. Your body language and energy is much more powerful than what you think when you know what you are doing.

Overcoming a dog’s fears and anxieties requires knowledge, persistence, and a tailored action plan. Understanding whether your dog is experiencing soft or hard trauma will guide the best techniques. Building resilience through gradual, strategic exposures and maintaining a calm demeanor are key.

With a thorough grasp of the root causes, early recognition of warning signs, and implementation of the right solutions, you can transform your dog’s life. Proper behavior modification training will help overcome even deep-seated trauma. A happier, more relaxed dog awaits when trauma is addressed through an empathetic, knowledgeable approach that enriches their quality of life.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Feb 2024