Yolanda's Pet Sitting & Errand Service, LLC  :  Pet Sitting, Dog Walking & House Sitting Yolanda's Pet Sitting & Errand Service, LLC  :  Pet Sitting, Dog Walking & House Sitting

Rhode Island and Massachusetts Dog Training Services
They’re All Our Family!

Discover the "Whole Dog Care Difference"
Train for Life Philosophy

The foundation for sound temperament and behavior, above and beyond breeding and genetic predisposition, in dogs begins the first day he is born. Socialization, which is a part of dog training, is fundamental to creating the perfect family member. I will address socialization, exercise and strong leadership repeatedly; because they are vital to the healthy development of your puppy. Most behavioral issues can be completely prevented with proper socialization, exercise and sound leadership practices - what I call the SEL of dog development and hence the "train for life philosophy." We do not offer a basic dog obedience class and send you on your way. We teach you how to make you and your puppy successful from the first bark through all life stages. As a dog trainer, I believe this is essential to achieve the best results for you and your dog.

With that in mind, the first step in your train for life program is the new puppy "101" package.

The New Puppy "101" Package is for dogs 8-12 weeks of age.

Only 1 in 10 puppies makes it to adulthood. Why is that? Dogs are relinquished to shelters in astounding numbers because of aggression and unwanted behaviors. We teach you how to raise your puppy, right from the start, using sound practices. It will make the transition to puppy owner much easier for you and your family and will get your pup off to the right start and improve his chances of success as a member of your family. We will work with you on the following:

  1. Crate Training as a training aid.
  2. *House Training the old fashioned way using my proven methods.
  3. Bite Inhibition Training.
  4. Establishing Strong Leadership.
  5. Establishing Routines.
  6. Helpful Hint Sheets for you and your family to utilize.

Concurrently, your puppy should be enrolled in our seven-week basic obedience private dog training class, which includes the following:

  1. Heel
  2. Sit/stay
  3. Down/stay
  4. Waiting at thresholds, and for food, attention, toys
  5. Recall on and off leash
  6. Loose leash walking

Yolanda's Pet Sitting & Dog Training, LLC can help you with all your behavioral needs. Dog behavior can be puzzling to both new and experienced dog owners. Dogs do not operate with the same motivations as people, so their actions don't always make sense to us. Here are 10 of the most common dog behavior issues:

Chewing: Puppies love to chew, especially while they are teething. It feels good on raw gums, and very young puppies use their mouths to explore their world, tasting as they go. I will teach you how to successfully redirect chewing.

Growling over food: Many people think that dogs are entitled to be protective of their food and that growling is a natural response. However, a dog growling at a person over food can escalate into much larger issues, especially if growling is just one of many other behavioral problems. I will teach you strong leadership skills to overcome this problem. Strong leadership can greatly reduce if not eliminate aggressive behavior if "nothing in life is for free."

Barking: Do you need help with nuisance barking? We will teach effective methods to teach your dog to bark and be quiet on command.

Digging: Dogs like to make dens--either out of boredom, or to make a nice spot to lie down to cool or to hunt. Digging is a natural tendency for dogs. Learn how to stop this behavior dead in its tracks.

Getting in the garbage?: Let us help you overcome this annoying and disgusting behavior.

Jumping: Jumping is a dog's expression of happiness but it can be annoying as well as hazardous to other people, particularly the very young and the very old. Learn how to help your dog control himself in the presence of others.

Soiling in the house: Whether you have a new puppy, an adult dog soiling or a dog with separation anxiety, we have the program for you.

Pulling on the leash: The dog that does not walk properly on a leash requires a bit of training. Learn the art of loose leash walking.

Whining or Crying: This usually results from an owner giving in when a dog whines or cries.

Separation Anxiety: This is can be a complex, as well as perplexing problem which carries with it many possible remedies. Learn how to help your dog feel comfortable when you can't be near.

Effective Dog Discipline

Remember that a dog is a pack animal, and he sees himself as part of your pack. Once you cater to the dog's whim and let him lead, you become part of his pack and he becomes the leader.

These common dog behaviors can be trained out of a dog, so don't be alarmed if they're present in your puppy. Training your dog is a process, but the happiness you'll gain from proper dog behavior makes the effort worthwhile.

I think it's important to have a broad discussion about aggression because so many dogs are euthanized or rehomed as a result of untreated aggression. Our improper care and interactions with our dogs can cause aggression. Conversely, dogs that are raised with proper leadership, training, exercise and socialization have a positive impact on aggression. And, then, of course, there is aggression that results from medical related problems or may just be hard wired genetically or imprinted very early on.

Factors contributing to the likelihood of the development of dog aggression include:

  1. Anxiety, fear or phobia which can be greatly reduced with socialization.
  2. Lack of structure.
  3. Lack of proper exposure to other dogs during the critical socialization period.
  4. Early imprinting by an aggressive or nervous dam.
  5. A traumatic experience.
  6. Territorial behavior.
  7. Thyroid malfunction or other medical conditions.
  8. Abuse from previous owners.
  9. Medical or physical ailments.
  10. Breeding and genetic predisposition.

Dog aggression manifests at the age of adolescence to social maturity (6 months to 4 years). Warning signs such as fear and/or nervousness around other dogs, displays of aggression only under certain circumstances (while on leash, in the presence of food, in the presence of the owner, etc.) are all early warning signs. Play behavior is very normal in all canines, but over the top play behavior can be an indication of strong prey drive or aggressive tendencies.

There are seven types of aggression:

  1. Fear (Inter-species): A fearful dog can be genetically predisposed or a lack of early socialization can also have an effect on this type of behavior. If the young pup, especially between the age of seven and sixteen weeks, is not carefully socialized with both adult and pups alike, then they do not learn to "meet and greet." The complex body language dogs learn at this age is crucial to their later behavior when approaching unknown dogs. If they are unable to either perform or understand the greeting rituals, then they are immediately viewed with suspicion by the approaching dog, and conflict may arise.

    Fear (Inter-human): Can be caused by a lack of early socialization, bad breeding and sometimes a lack of handling at an early age, starting as young as two weeks old. Pups that are not handled gently and often by the breeder, do not get the strong olfactory and tactile bond with humans. This is often the case with puppy farmed dogs and dogs born to large breeders. This handling at such an early age causes a mild stress response in the tiny pup, which benefits its ability to cope with many situations including people and dogs in later life.

  2. Dominance: The initial approach to other dogs is often cautionary and contains many status signals, like tail carriage held high and quickly moving from side to side, standing on tip toe etc. If the other dog submits, then all is usually fine, if not the fighting can be quite severe. These dogs can also display aggressive tendencies towards members of the family which could lead to an attack if not controlled in their early stages. By working on a strong leadership program where nothing in life is free and giving the dog a purpose and a position in life, in essence a job; the behavior may be greatly diminished.
  3. Resource Guarding: Many dogs will guard their resources aggressively. This may include a favorite resting spot, toys, food and even water. Whatever they perceive to be theirs. Again, the nothing in life is free policy may greatly diminish this behavior.
  4. Predatory: This can be directed at many things including dogs, cats, or anything that stimulates a chase response. Squirrels are a favorite, as their quick jerky movements seem to stimulate even the most placid of dogs. One of the key factors that distinguish predatory aggression from other forms of aggression is that movement often is the triggers and also the sound. The sound of a young baby crying or an injured animal may also trigger a predatory response. This is why it's so important to attend the "INFANT SAFETY" course which we also offer. Learn how to introduce your dog to your infant safely even before you bring him home.
  5. Territorial: This may be towards other dogs, people or both. By definition, territorial aggression should be directed toward members of the same species. Domestic dogs, however, seem to regard humans as conspecific and consequently may direct territorial aggression toward us When dogs display aggression to strangers only on the home property garden, house, or yard, yet do not respond aggressively to strangers on neutral territory, then territorial aggression is the likely diagnosis. There are two primary motivations for territorial behavior, control complex behavior i.e. dominance or fear/anxiety. It may be worse in a small space such as a car or cage than in an open area and most definitely on his turf.
  6. Frustration or Redirected Aggression: Research has shown that dogs who are not allowed to interact "normally" with people and dogs who were prone to displays of bad temper and behavior that is overtly aggressive are dogs that are generally physically restrained or restricted from normal interactions (interactions with people, other dogs, and the outside world). The more the dog develops an intense desire to gain access to all of those things he desires, the more the aggression escalates. This desire can escalate into escape and roaming behavior, agitation, biting and unprovoked attacks. It is often observed in dogs that are left tied up, or near a window where they can see the things they want to interact with, but cannot get to them display unprovoked aggression.
  7. Misdirected Aggression: When a dog is harmed by another dog, or other incident, he can become aggressive and attack whatever is closest to him at the onset of the event that triggered pain. It may be another dog or a human. This can also take place breaking up a dog fight. Even though the dog may not be human aggressive, the incident of pain and discomfort can trigger aggression toward the human breaking up the fight. Another example: you are walking several dogs at once, a dog's leg gets trapped in a leash and the other dog runs tearing the skin off the injured dog. The injured dog attacks the person walking him. The dog did not intend to attack the human, the pain incident triggered the aggressive response.

So you say, my dog is aggressive. What do I do?

The form that treatment for dog aggression takes depends on the underlying cause of the aggression, and an accurate assessment is therefore essential. My first recommendation for you is to have your vet screen for medical changes that may cause aggression before attempting any form of behavioral assessment or modification.

Dogs that are aggressive from fear can be that way either from genetic predisposition, a lack of socialization or exposure, or from a traumatic experience. With these dogs, a program of gradual desensitization (DS) and counter-conditioning (CC) is often used to reduce the dog's reactivity to the stimulus that triggers the aggression. This can be accomplished through management (minimizing the dog's exposure to situations where he can practice the behavior while working on the training program) food rewards, toy/play rewards and praise as a reward. For dominant aggressive dogs, sound leadership and nothing in life is free programs are essential.

Punishing aggressive behaviors through the use of leash "corrections" or leash "pops" and/or the use of training collars such as choke, prong or shock, is not recommended in cases of fear-based aggression, as these measures run a high risk of increasing the dog's anxiety in those situations. Further, it is difficult to control what the dog associates the punishment to, as it is often what the dog is looking at the moment it is corrected, so sloppy application of punishment can create a more negative association to the stimulus than before. The final risk with punishment in treating aggression is that it runs the risk of punishing the aggressive display, such as growling, barking, baring teeth, etc., which are all warnings. Punishment decreases behavior, but does not modify it, so the dog may stop exhibiting aggressive displays (designed to increase distance between the dog and the stimulus) and skip straight to aggressive actions, such as biting. It is imperative to use the right program to manage or eliminate aggressive behavior.

"Dominance" based approaches are highly controversial and more formal study is needed to validate these methods. Further, these approaches carry a greater risk of behavioral fallout, such as the escalation of the aggressive behavior and/or redirected aggression on the owner or other family members.

Once medical reasons have been ruled out, it is important to properly evaluate the type of aggression you are dealing with, to then develop an effective treatment and/or management plan.

My dog training services are primarily available to dog owners in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you to help you train your dog to be a happy and well behaved companion.

Discover the Whole Dog Care Difference!

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Train For the Life of Your Dog!

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Yolanda's Pet Sitting & Errand Service, LLC  :  Pet Sitting, Dog Walking & House Sitting Yolanda's Pet Sitting & Errand Service, LLC  :  Pet Sitting, Dog Walking & House Sitting
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