Puppy Class week 4 homework and hand-outs

Leaders Lead – Subordinates React.

Remember if you – look at, talk to or touch your dog you have reacted. Make a list of the things you are reacting to. If your puppy jumps up on you and you reach down to move him, you have reacted. If the puppy cry’s and you respond you have reacted.

Dogs will repeat what works for them. Remember they are a different species. Aliens. They are figuring out ways to make you do what they want you to do. If the puppy cries for 5 minutes and then you go to him; he figures out that he has to cry for 5 minutes. The next time if you are able to endure the crying for 20 minutes and then you respond; the puppy figures out that he has to cry for 20 minutes.

When you stop reacting to behaviors the dog or puppy will go through what is call extinction bursts. Remember the soda machine. Humans will continually repeat behaviors that do not work for them. Dogs will not. If a behavior is no longer working they will stop the behavior.

Note your pups body language and be sure to watch for fear periods. Remember it is crucial that your pup does NOT HAVE A TRAUMA… WHAT IS TRAUMATIC TO HIM NOT WHAT YOU THINK SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT BE TRAUMATIC TO HIM; during a fear period. He could develop a lifelong fear or aggression issue.

Practice loose leash.

If your pup has not had a leash on yet attach a very light leash or drag line (I have drag lines in the store) to the leash and let him walk around with it attached. Watch him carefully. Be sure the leash does not tangle around the pup or any objects. Offer play and training while he is dragging the leash. Use a treat to get him to follow you. Start with a few steps and then give the treat. Gradually increase to walking across the yard or through the house.
WHEN A COLLAR IS PULLED AGAINST YOUR DOGS THROAT IT IS PUTTING PRESSURE ON SENSITIVE ORGANS SUCH AS THE TRACHIA AND THYROID. A SUDDEN HAD PULL CAN COLAPSE THE TRACHEA RESULTING IN A LIFE THREATING INJURY THAT WILL BE LIFE THREATING FOR THE REST OF THE DOGS LIFE. WITH A COLAPSED TRACHEA IF THE DOG GETS HOT THE TRACHEA CAN BEGIN TO CLOSE AND RESULT IN OVER HEATING AND DEATH. DO NOT GRAP THE COLLAR AND PULL DO NOT PULL ON A LEASH THAT IS ATTACHED TO A COLLAR. When your puppy goes out to potty try to keep up with him letting him sniff and pick a spot without pressure on the collar. Pressure on the dogs throat that he associates with you or the leash; is in his mind a treat to kill. Jerking on a collar is to a dog the same a me pointing a gun at you.


  1. Your dog is a dog – not a human child. We are setting up the same relationship of that of a wolf nanny to a wolf pup.
  2. Your dog has the same emotions that humans have – he just reacts to them very differently. With the exception of guilt. Your dog does not have morality or religion.
  3. Unless you teach your dog what behaviors YOU want him to use, he will not know that ANY of his behaviors are wrong.
  4. Dogs do ONLY those behaviors that work for them! If peeing on your carpet provides an absorbent surface, he will pee on your carpet UNTIL you motivate him to pee outside. If you put newspaper or wee-wee pads on the floor, you will teach your dog to pee on the floor! If he barks and you join in by yelling, he will bark more because he is getting what he wants… a behavior or reaction from you.
  5. If you show aggressive behavior toward your dog, he will probably show aggression toward you (or he may act out with others). He will want to defend himself!
  6. Dogs do not feel guilty about ANYTHING they do. If your dog seems like he looks guilty, he is only trying to calm you down. He will cower and put his tail between his legs in an effort to look smaller – so you won’t notice him. You will NEVER be able to train your dog not to do the behaviors he is genetically programmed to do for his breed. You can, however, train him to do alternative behaviors.
  7. Barking is a self-reinforcing behavior. If your dog is allowed to bark for long periods of time, it will be difficult to stop him.
  8. If you notice that an inappropriate behavior is increasing, try to establish what is “feeding” (reinforcing) that behavior.
  9. When a behavior is rewarded (either by you or by the environment), that behavior will increase. When the reward is removed from an attention-seeking behavior, the behavior will extinguish. But it might get worse before it gets better (known as an EXTINCTION BURST). You can desensitize and countercondition the dog to help him change his emotional state. When extinguishing an attention seeking behavior (i.e., jumping, barking, stealing), ignore the dog.
  10. If someone comes along and shows your dog attention, for a behavior you are ignoring to get rid of the behavior, the behavior will come back (called SPONTANEOUS RECOVERY).
  11. If you want to make a behavior stronger, eventually put the dog on a random reinforcement schedule instead of a continuous reinforcement schedule.
  12. If you see a particular behavior increasing, it is probably because the dog is getting reinforced for it “sometimes” and sometimes he is not!
  13. Most aggression is fear-based.
  14. Most fears are due to lack of socialization, experiences during fear periods and the way humans have handled training or not training. (not training for confidence)
  15. An aggressive dog can be rehabilitated and managed to raise the dog’s stress and bite threshold. More dogs die of behavior problems vs. diseases and disorders.
  16. Lack of exercise is responsible for the occurrence of many behavior problems. Over exercising can create an athlete. If you are encouraging your dog to an athlete remember to do warm ups and cool downs with your dog.
  17. During adolescence (6 months – 18 months in most breeds), a dog will try out all sorts of behaviors to see which ones work.
  18. Train your dog so that he learns appropriate behaviors work for him vs. doggy behaviors.
  19. Spoiled dogs are not happy dogs. They are generally very stressed out because they can’t establish and protect, find food and water, court and mate, raise young… you are the puppy they can’t provide for or get to obey with doggie logic.
  20. Dogs look for leadership. If they don’t see YOU as being a good leader, it behooves the dog to take on that responsibility himself. This makes the dog stressed and anxious, causing behavioral problems to occur.
  21. Teach your dog that you are in charge of all of his valuable resources in his life. Teach him he must do SOMETHING (i.e., sit, lie down, do a trick, etc.) before he gets anything that he wants. If a dog doesn’t recognize YOU as having good leadership skills, it is instinctive for your dog to become the leader in your home. Many little dogs, for example, are permitted to “rule the roost” because we tend to spoil them so much.
  22. Dogs who are “given” this responsibility become stressed and anxious. Sometimes, having all this responsibility creates aggressive dogs.
  23. There are 4 ingredients in the making of an aggressive dog. They are: stress, anxiety, anger and frustration. Any one of these ingredients can cause a dog to show aggression.


Daina Beckman
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training

Poison plant list: http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/

When in doubt call your veterinarian. Do not ask pet store employees, groomers etc. if you have a question about your dogs’ health. These people have most likely not had any type of training or education in the field of small animal medicine.
All dogs should have a yearly check up and vaccines.
Diarrhea & vomiting
Diarrhea should not last more than 1 day. Call your vet if your dog has diarrhea.
Call your vet right away if your dog has diarrhea and vomiting. Vomiting and diarrhea together are signs of a serious illness.
Vomiting once may be a sign of stomach upset from eating something or stress, but if your dog vomits several times, call your vet.
HEAT STOKE: heavy breathing, rapid panting. Wet feet prints on the floor. Dogs don’t know when to quit. It is up to you to notice when the heat is too much for your dog. If your dog becomes over heated, move to a shady cool spot preferably indoors and turn on a fan or air conditioner. Bring the dog cold water to drink. You can also bathe his feet in cool water. Call your vet for further instruction. Most dogs will not stop playing in the heat. They want to please you and have fun. You must watch your dog and stop the play, or bring him to a cooler place if he is playing by himself before he over heats. Think about how hot you would be doing the same amount of activity. If it would be too much for you then stop the activity and move the dog to a cool place.

Skin: Your dog should not have any skin problems. Skin is the largest organ of the body. When skin becomes infected, it can become very serious. Itchy, moist, red, dry, scaly, flaky patches are all signs of skin problems. Call your vet if you notice any of these signs. It is a myth that a dogs mouth is clean (they put everything in their mouth) and when they lick their skin, they can compound a skin problem by causing a lick granuloma, and possibly spreading the problem.

Nails Your dogs nails should be kept trimmed, If they become too long they can cause problems, like getting caught on things. They can curl around and puncture the skin, usually this happens when dewclaws get too long. If you don’t know how to trim your dogs nails, I can teach you, I offer nail trimming service or you could have your vet tech or veterinarian do it for you.

Teeth: You should train your dog to have his teeth brushed at least 3 times a week. Once a day is best. DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE. If you need help training your dog to have his teeth brushed I can help you with that.

Ears: Take a look in your dogs ears regularly. I can show you how to clean your dogs ears. I also offer ear cleaning service. If you notice a bad smell or see brown waxy debris, your dog should see his veterinarian. If your dog is scratching his ears or one ear more than the other, he probably has an ear infection. Your veterinary technician, veterinarian or I can show you how to check your dogs ears and clean them. Use only products that are labeled for cleaning dogs ears. The best products will be available at your veterinary clinic. It is best to use products that contain a drying agent. Most over the counter ear cleaning solutions do not.

Eliminating: if you dogs urinating or defecating habits change you should call your veterinarian. If you dog stops urinating as much, urinates a lot more often, or urinated in places where he shouldn’t; such as in the house after he his house trained, call your veterinarian. If your dog stops defecating, call your veterinarian as this is a sign of a blockage. A blocked bowel can lead to death.

Grooming: Almost all animals species groom each other. It is important for you to groom your dog at least once a week. Bathing should only be done about 1 every month or two. NEVER USE HUMAN PRODUCTS ON YOU DOG. Buy a good dog shampoo. If you use prescription flea prevention such as frontline, advantage, sentenel or over the counter flea products, do not bathe your dog with flea shampoo with out first consulting your veterinarian. Mixing flea products can poison your dog.

MEDICATIONS USE ONLY MEDICATION RECOMMENDED BY YOUR VETERINARIAN. I have seen many poisoned dogs and cats caused by well meaning owners. Dogs and cats have very different medication tolerances than people. Do no give you dog or cat any medication without first checking with your veterinarian. Some human medications even over the counter medication and children’s medications can kill your dog or cat.

Not acting right : this was a common description that people used to describe their dog when I was working for the veterinary clinic. If your dog is not acting right, try to think about it in specific terms. This will enable you to give a more accurate description to the veterinary staff. Is your dog sleeping a lot? Is he walking with an unusual gate? Has he stopped greeting people when they come home, is he hiding under furniture or other places. Does he suddenly not want you to pet him? Where is he uncomfortable being touched? It will be much easier for your veterinarian to come up with the correct diagnosis and treatment if you are able to give accurate and complete information about what symptoms you see in your pet. Clear communication could save problems down the road.

If you go on vacation and you are taking your dog with you, be sure to bring a copy of your dogs medical history and his vaccine records. Before you go, find out where the veterinarians are and their phone numbers in the area you are visiting; this will lower stress and ensure faster care for your pet if an emergency arises.

If you go on vacation and leave your dog at a kennel or with a sitter, make sure you leave your veterinarian information with them. Call your vet ahead of time and make arrangements for any bill that may arise while you are gone. Make sure you communicate clearly to the person watching your dog and your veterinarian how far you would want to go to save your pet. If you have financial limits be sure to make that amount clear to every one. Be sure to leave a phone number with your veterinarian where you can be reached.

Daina Beckman
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training