Posts tagged dog behavior

Help Your Pet RELAX this 4th of July!

The 4th of July is almost here! 

Agnus the chihuahua sitting in an american flagWhile we’re sure our pets are just as patriotic as we are, they may not share our excitement for the local fireworks displays.

Pets can find fireworks terrifying. Fortunately we have a number of remedies that actually work well!

 

Starting out, it’s important to introduce our natural pet stress-relieving techniques a few days or even a week before they’re needed, to give your pet ample time to become comfortable with them. If your pet is afraid of the very thing meant to relax them, you won’t see good results. Plus, it seems like every neighborhood has that “one guy” who doesn’t wait until the actual 4th of July to celebrate with fireworks! So start your chosen treatment method before the fireworks actually begin. Once your dog or cat is stressed out, it can be difficult to calm them down. It’s important to remember that your pet is not only fearful for its’ own safety, but for yours as well! If you begin to worry about whether your pet will be stressed or anxious, it will only validate the fear and add to the anxiety.  It’s important to be calm during such times, as this will help your pet to relax and reduce the fear.

Flower Essences are a very effective tool for combating stress and anxiety because they function on an emotional level.

They’re remarkably simple, combining the energetic essence and effects of flowers in unique formulas.  We’ve found our pets are very “tuned in” to emotional energy, and they seem receptive to these formulas.  While they’re effective, they’re also very mild on the body and completely safe.  Flower Essences can be applied in a number of ways: dropped directly into your pet’s mouth, rubbed on their fur, added to their drinking water or even all of those methods at once!

Some of our most popular Flower Essences listed below are now 15% OFF:

Homeopathic Remedies can be effective, very mild and completely safe for your pets.

Homeopathic Remedies work by combining a number of ingredients in extremely small quantities that might seem like they would add to the stress; however these formulations in turn cause the body to react against the ingredients – which can produce a calming effect.  The typical daily dosage can be increased during times of stress (like during fireworks, or that wild party you have planned!).

Our most popular stress remedy, Only Natural Pet Stress & Anxiety Homeopathic Remedy requires 5-10 drops 3 times per day to treat general anxiety. During times of stress that dose can be increased to 5-10 drops every 15 min for the first hour, every 30 min for the second hour and then once again for the third hour (If your Fireworks show lasts that long, we’d appreciate an invite!).  Homeopathic Remedies should ideally be dropped directly into the mouth. However, if that is difficult they can be mixed with treats, food or water as well.

We offer several other homeopathic remedies for anxiety. One may be right for your pet!

Herbal Formulas are another great option, that tends to work over a longer period of time than homeopathic remedies or flower essences.

These formulas can keep your pet relaxed for an extended time with little to no interruption of the benefits!  Since the effects last a bit longer, herbal remedies are one way to reduce any sudden “spikes” of stress and create a sustained, relaxed feeling.  Herbal Remedies can be mixed with food, treats, water or given directly.

Other herbal remedies you’ll find on our website (Also now 15% OFF):

We have a few other solutions for relieving stress that don’t fit into one of the above categories as well.  Our Only Natural Pet Phero-Soothe is a simulated Pheromone spray that creates a feeling of safety and well-being in any environment.  Our pets have a powerful sense of smell, which helps make this product effective. The Thundershirt is a unique and creative product. It gently “hugs” your pet, which creates a sense of safety and security by making them feel less vulnerable. Both of these products can be combined with just about anything as well, so they’re a versatile choice that will complement any solution!

Treating anxiety, especially a rational anxiety like a fear of loud explosions, can take some trial and error.  We’ve found that combining two or more products is generally the most effective. So explore your options, find the right solution for your pet, and get ready to enjoy those 4th of July fireworks without stress for you or your pet!

All Stress and Anxiety Solutions at 15% Off

June 14 – June 26, 2013

Coupon Code: RELAX

Shop Now >

Leave a comment »

How to Solve Canine “Dis”-Obedience

The ways in which a dog can get into trouble seem limitless. These unwanted behaviors cause enormous frustration to the human members of the family. The only thing there seems to be more of is advice—from neighbors, the pet store clerk, books, and of course, online. Yet simply understanding the way learning and behavior occur will go a long way toward solving just about any behavior problem that comes up.

The most basic principle is why a behavior occurs, and there are really only two possibilities: negative and positive reinforcement. Every organism, from single-celled amoebas on up, will move away from an unpleasant stimulus and toward a pleasurable stimulus. No matter how complex the behavior is, fundamentally the motivation is one of these two desires: avoid pain, or increase pleasure.

Much of the popular wisdom about dog training emphasizes the first principle, negative reinforcement, using its most extreme tool: punishment. But for punishment to be effective, it must meet three criteria. It must be:

  • Immediate (within 2 seconds of the behavior)
  • Consistent (every single time the animal performs the behavior, whether you’re watching or not)
  • Effective (stop the behavior without causing additional problems)

The problem is that these criteria are nearly impossible to achieve. For instance, a popular dog behavior site give this advice: “If you decide that some action requires correction, *always* give a correction when you see that action. For example, if you decide that your dog is not allowed on the sofa, then *always* correct it when you see it on the sofa.” But what if you’re in another room, or sleeping, or at work? If you’re not there, the dog can get on the sofa with no consequences. So what do you think the dog will learn if you correct him every time you see him on the sofa? He will learn not to get on the sofa when you are in the room.

Other techniques follow the “alpha dog” theory: you must be dominant. To demonstrate your position, recommendations include staring the dog down, grabbing her by the scruff or neck and shaking her, tapping under the chin, and most famously the “alpha roll,” in which you force the dog down onto her back with her feet in the air, exposing her belly. The problem with these techniques, which are supposedly based on natural behavior in wolf packs, is that they bear no resemblance to wolf behavior in the wild. You will never see an alpha wolf roll a subordinate; rather, this position is naturally and voluntarily assumed by the subordinate wolf as a sign of submission. That’s a very big difference! These techniques will terrify a submissive dog, but worse, they will make a naturally assertive dog more aggressive. Staring an aggressive dog in the eyes will be interpreted by that dog as a direct challenge. These physical techniques, often demonstrated by “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan, have the potential to result in injury to the amateur trainner: you.

“Positive” dog training, which is gaining in popularity, operates from a completely different point of view. This technique recognizes that the reason the dog is doing a behavior is because it gets some kind of reward for it. For example, a dog that gets into the garbage gets a powerful and immediate reward in the form of food. The dog who sleeps on the sofa does so because it’s comfortable. The dog who jumps up on every visitor is getting attention—lots of attention—for doing so.

The best way to correct a behavior is to remove the original reward and replace it with something else that is equally or more desirable to the dog, but also acceptable to the guardian. This philosophy respects and works with, not against, the dog’s needs and nature. Distraction, using a toy or treat, will often successfully interrupt the behavior. Cable TV behaviorist Victoria Stillwell exemplifies this philosophy.

Attention-seeking behavior such as jumping up, barking, play-biting, and incessant nuzzling, generally accomplish their goals. That is, the dog gets attention for it: you’re looking at him, vocalizing (talking or yelling), and perhaps even handling him (pushing, tapping, nudging). As unpleasant as we might think they are, these are actually all strong rewards. To change the behavior, we have to change the reward system. There are two basic steps:

Negative Reinforcer: Withdrawal of Attention. Don’t look at your dog, talk to him, or give him the slightest indication you know he exists. If the dog is jumping up on you (or a visitor), turn away. Most dogs will follow your movement and keep jumping. Keep turning away. Fold your arms, close your eyes, and don’t speak. Do not give him any attention whatsoever. It may take a minute or two, but when the dog fails to get the attention-reward he’s seeking, he’ll lose interest and stop jumping, perhaps to pace or even sit. That’s your cue for the next step…

Positive Reinforcer: Proper Reward. Timing is everything. As soon as the dog stops the unwanted behavior, and is quiet, reward him. Enthusiastic, yet low-key, verbal praise should accompany any reward, such as treats, petting, or a favorite toy, but may suffice on its own. This tells the the dog that the best way to get your attention is to sit or stand quietly.

Judicious use of training treats can do wonders, even for entrenched behaviors. All-meat treats are the healthiest for your dog, but any treat your dog loves will work. If it’s a large treat (jerky slice, for instance), break or tear it in to small pieces for the purpose. Treats contain calories, and may put on the pounds if used excessively. At first, give a treat for every successful behavior. After the dog is behaving reliably, give a treat every other time, and gradually extend and vary the interval. Variable reinforcement is the principle behind slot machines; and can create serious addiction. But in this case, you want your dog to be addicted to good behavior!

Recently, a noted behaviorist commented that “good dogs” are, in a way, losers. They are quiet and obedient, and for that, they are largely ignored. So let’s not forget to tell our dogs how wonderful they are when they are just being dogs…sitting, snoozing, walking on a leash without pulling…these are the times when we need to give them little rewards, so those nice behaviors are rewarded.

Of course, it is important to respect the dog’s other needs: exercise, social engagement, healthy diet. A dog that sits alone in the house all day may justifiably be rambunctious in the few hours the family is home and awake. Fetching games (use a Chuck-It if you don’t have a hall-of-fame throwing arm!), appropriate walks, doggie day care, or a trip to the dog park, will help work off that accumulated energy, and help keep the dog on a more even keel.

Got questions? Post them in our Community disussion boards!

Comments (1) »

Sarah’s Book Review – “The Other End of the Leash”


Book Review

Book

The Other End of the Leash

Category

Canine Behavior

Brief Summary

This is great book on canine behavior that  begins by interpreting  human behavior through the eyes of our dogs.  From body language to the concept of leadership, Patricia McConnell gives us a new perspective on both human and canine behavior and our relationships with each other.

Highlights

Patricia obviously has a deep understanding and connection with all of her dogs.  As someone who has studied both primate and canine behavior, she discusses and describes the similarities and differences between humans and canines in regard to our expectations about canine behaviors.  With clear descriptions of how we can communicate more effectively with our dogs by paying attention to these differences, Patricia illustrates how we can expect more cooperation and deepen our canine/human
relationships.

Constructive
Criticism

Much of her work with dogs and people is in regard to aggression, which is, admittedly, a difficult area to address. Her impatience with people comes through quite clearly in a few areas, where she strongly implies that people just can’t change.  I think it would be more productive to emphasize the success stories as opposed to where people sometimes fail.

Excerpts

In regard to the “Come” command:
“Use a sound that inherently encourages your dog rather than discourages him, and training will be more effective and, as important, more fun.”
In regard to the acute sense of smell our canines have:

“Dogs can detect some odors that humans can’t notice until the scent is fifty times more concentrated.  Other odors can be perceived by dogs at concentrations that need to be hundreds of times more intense for humans to perceive.”

Concerning rough play between human and canine:

“…If you want the odds in your favor or your dog is already in trouble with his mouth, then think carefully about how you play with him.”

On who makes decisions:

“Dogs who live independently from humans have no trouble learning to cope with not getting what they want: the difficulties of life take care of it for them.  But for some of us, our love or our dogs results in their being so coddled that they never learn to tolerate frustration.  …most dogs need to learn how to cope with frustration.”

Rating (out of 5
paws like the site?)

FIVE PAWS

Comments (1) »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers