Category Archives: Training

What You Should Know About Protecting Your Dog During Play

When you look at your dog during play, you might think of the play as a fight. That’s the reason researchers refer to dog play as ‘play fighting’. Dogs exhibit behaviors that are seen during actual fights. For example, when two dogs are playing, they might chase and tackle one another. Some dogs are seen biting on the neck of another dog just to pin him to the ground even when they are playing not fighting.

Get a fence

We advocate some kind of fence if you’ll be playing outside with your dog.  A fence is especially important if your dog has a tendency to get overexcited during play which causes him to chase cars, harass people, or attack other animals.  One of the best fence companies in NJ, NJ Fence Pro, points out that there are many types of fence, including wireless fencing, that will contain your dog.

Do you need to intervene?

Despite the overlap in play and fight behaviors, you can always differentiate play fighting from a real fight. For example, some dogs will offer a competitive advantage to the weaker dog during play fighting by rolling on their backs or doing something else to handicap them for a while. This never happens during a real dog fight.

In most cases, play fighting is different from an actual fight and it is easy to tell that they are just playing despite showing behaviors similar to actual fight. However, there might be situations when you’ll need to intervene. For example, if the dogs start growling and their behavior intensifies, their play is about to turn into a real fight.

Despite the fact that majority of people think they are intervening the fight and playing it safe, but this might not be the case. When dogs are play fighting, they are actually negotiating new relationships and there might be a chance to develop a long lasting relationship. When you interrupt, you confuse your dog who is trying to communicate with another dog.

However, sometimes you may actually need to intervene since sometime play fighting can become ‘inappropriate’ play.

How to tell if your dog is ‘play fighting’?

When your dog is play fighting, you could tell from its postures and facial expressions. When it starts getting into a real fight, these two things will change. The dog will move differently and it will be tense.

On the other hand, when your dog is play fighting, it will be relaxed and its movement will be rather bouncy. The mouth will remain open as if it is smiling. This is sure sign that your dog is playing and communicating with the other dog rather than initiating a fight.

What to do if you’re not sure?

Sometimes you might be unsure whether your dog is play fighting or starting a real fight. This is where you have to make an intervention but you’ve to be really careful.

When you intervene, make sure that you keep it light. Don’t pull your dog away with force. Just hold it back gently and see how it reacts. If it cuddles you and hides its face from the other dog, it means your interruption was a relief for your dog. You judged it right. They were not playing but preparing to fight.

On the other hand, if your dog is trying to go back by pulling against your grip, it’s a sign that the dog was communicating and playing. You should release your dog and let him continue playing.

How To Set House Rules For A New Dog

When it comes to training your dog with the house rules, there’s a lot more than commands like sit, stay, jump etc. No doubt, such commands are important to teach so you can control your dog when needed. But you also need to set some house rules for your dog so he should behave when not on command.

There’s nothing like right or wrong about house rules for dogs. Depending on you, these house rules could be whatever behaviour you want to allow to your dog. But make sure once you set a rule, you remain consistent and strict with it to avoid confusion for your dog.

Here are some common rules you may want your dog to learn.

  • Furniture Rules

You have a wide range of options regarding furniture rules. You may want to keep your dog completely off the furniture or your dog is completely free to access all your furniture.

There could be an intermediate option, letting your dog access some of the furniture items and staying away from some. You may allow your dog to consume the furniture when people are not using it. It could be that you allow your dog to access the furniture only when he’s asked to.

It is hard to decide on what to allow and what not to. A practical approach will be to consider the size of your dog and whether he’s a drooler or a heavy shedder. The rest depends completely on how you want to have fun with your dog.

Training the dog to completely stay off the furniture or have free access to any piece are the easiest. With dedication and consistency, you can train your dog within a few days. The rest demands you to dedicate a lot of time to your dog’s training.

  • A dog-free zone maybe?

Whether you allow your dog to wander around the whole house or you want him to stay away from certain areas like your kitchen, the baby room, the formal dining area etc. The decision is again completely up to you.

It is easier to train your dog with new boundaries rather training him to stay off from the areas he used to wander around. Therefore, these decisions should be made before you bring your doggy friend home.

  • Can he jump on people?

While some people enjoy it, mostly don’t. You should make a wise decision whether or not to allow your dog to jump on people.  Most pet owners with small dogs don’t bother about it, but whether big or small, your dog can scare off people specially children. Train your dog to alternate behaviours when he needs attention or when he wants to greet people such as sitting. Some pet owners having big dogs enjoy hugging them, we suggest you to train your dog otherwise or restrict the behaviour to you only.

  • Crossing the doors and gates

You need to teach your dog not to cross through the open doors and gates. It is crucial for your dog’s safety and a mandatory house rule that every dog owner must follow. Train your dog that he can’t cross the doors or gates unless given a command like ‘free’ or ‘okay’. The rule applies every time a door is opened.

These were some really important house rules that every dog owner needs to set. Make sure you discuss all these rules with your family members so the training can be consistent and dedicated.