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This is an interesting question and one that comes up more and more frequently in these days of dog attacks and canine horror stories.  The demonisation of breeds actually started once newspapers became more popular.  In the USA, this was after the Civil War.  A large part of the following information is taken from Keith L Kendrick’s essay “A Brief History of “Demon” Dogs” 2012.  To read the full article and visit Keith’s site go to www.dogbreedprejudice.info Although these days, the Pit Bull is likely to be the first dog that springs to mind when we think of a breed with a bad reputation, itRead More →

reproduced by kind permission of Camilla Gray-Nelson Weekly we meet with dog owners full of angst.  As trainers and dog behaviour consultants, we have disillusioned dog owners come to us with regularity, their dreams of raising a perfect puppy or giving a better life to a rescue dog going awry.  Usually it’s something simple (pulling on the leash, jumping on visitors, digging in the yard, barking, housetraining issues, etc.)  Those things are easily fixed through training and we relish the opportunity to help in that regard. Sometimes, however, the problems are more serious:  the adolescent puppy starts growling at the children, or the rescue dogRead More →

Kevin Behan says that dog’s don’t think, they are rather, a “feeling” an “emotion” – and in simple terms they work like an electrical current, conducting everything they take in from those around them, aligning themselves accordingly and working totally as forces of energy. Cesar Millan, although in different ways to Behan, also says that to dogs, we are “only energy” and that they reflect everything about us. In the words of Behan, this super conductivity and being of emotion means that the dog “becomes us” and blends with us into one “group body”. They are no longer a separate entity and thus – whatRead More →

The answer for me seems simple, but there is more to it than first meets the eye.  My answer may seem rather radical, controversial or “out there” – but it comes from many years of experience in both training horses and their humans and from studying equine behaviour.  Because the common factor when working with either horses or dogs is the human, this is the element that I feel is often missing in the knowledge of some behaviourists and certainly most trainers.  In reading Kevin Behan’s book, “Your Dog is Your Mirror” there were so many things that rang true because I have experienced muchRead More →

The main result of not exposing a dog to certain stimulus is fearfulness and thus the potential for aggression (fight) because they have not been afforded the opportunity to develop coping skills. However, fearfulness can be debilitating in other ways, like dogs that are nervous and hide all the time and cower in a corner (flight and avoidance). Fearful dogs can also develop eating disorders and other nervous issues like self-mutilation and excessive barking. These fears may also develop into phobias – but the over-riding problem is one of fearfulness and this of course will result in behavioural problems for the owner which may requireRead More →

There are a number of reasons why it might be a good idea not to leave food out for a dog. Dogs, being scavengers and opportunists will eat whatever they can, whenever they can. They do not monitor their diets and can easily over eat. Eating problems that would never occur in the wild, occur in our pet dogs, because in the real world there is competition for food and more exercise. We might think that our pet dogs have a lovely and luxurious life, but often it is one of stress – because of a lack of exercise and stimulation. Just as humans do,Read More →

Poor socialisation will mean that the dog is missing information that will help it to live in a society with human beings and other animals. Aggression most often occurs through fears and anxieties so with poor socialisation, this fear is from a lack of understanding about what things are and how to be. For example, a lack of socialisation with other dogs and/or humans will mean that a puppy behaves more like a wild animal. Various experiments have been done keeping puppies isolated from humans, dogs, other animals and external influences. A wild animal has a heightened fight or flight response and as dogs areRead More →

Dogs are much better at reading body language than most humans so if we interfere at any point we may create a situation that was never going to happen purely because we bring in our own uncertainty or tension. It is more common for greetings “on leash” to result in conflict than when dogs meet “off leash” and this is because the dog is allowed to be dog and go about his business for himself and trust his own judgements. A lot can be felt down the leash – so tension, anxiety and stress from the handler can be felt by the dog going downRead More →

In order to understand “humping” or “mounting” one ideally needs to study the dog in situ as the reasons may vary and the only way to get a good idea of why a dog is behaving in this way is to observe it. Certainly the latest studies state that it is “not” always dominance that causes the “hump” but that it is much more to do with “arousal”. Often a mounting behaviour might be mistaken as humping but the true hump includes the pelvic thrusting action. Female dogs can exhibit this behaviour also so it is not just seen in males. According to Spiegel heRead More →

Labrador retrievers are the all round great family pet, because of their low aggression, high trainability and ow reactivity. The breed traces its roots back to Newfoundland where at the time there were two breeds know as the Greater and Lesser Newfoundlands. The larger dog could haul loads and possessed a long thick coat. The Lesser had smooth coat and was unrivaled for hardiness and stamina. Both breeds were constant companions of the fisherman of the Labrador Sea over days that could often last twenty hours. After such a day the dogs could be found still playing with the children of the fishing villages. The LesserRead More →