How to Train Your Dog to Love Baths

 

From: P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle And You, Inc

posted by: Randi Case, DC

I  read this article and thought it was very interesting.  Often when a dog is afraid of baths, the owners just give up and don’t bathe them or send them to a groomer.  Maybe these tips will help to calm your pup so you can enjoy bathtime instead of dreading it.

Certain words inspire strong reactions in animals. If I tell my beagle Mary that we’re going for a W-A-L-K, she knows exactly what’s happening. If I don’t move quickly enough, she’ll bark until I open the door. Walks are important, but what happens when there’s an activity that causes dread in your furry friend?

How to Train Your Dog to Like Baths

Bath-day anxiety stresses out the entire household. No one likes to see a four-legged family member scared. So how do you train a dog that’s afraid of the tub to step into the water?

Find the Source

If possible, try to sort out what part of the bathing process your dog is afraid of. Does he start shaking at the sound of water or does he wait until he’s wet? Is he afraid of the bathroom completely? Maybe the bath itself is just fine, but he relates it to those dreaded nail clippers. Identifying the first trigger will help you ease him into accepting baths are safe.

Have Fun

Play in or around the bathtub – especially if you notice that Rover avoids the entire room and not just the tub. He’s associating the room with bad days.

Don’t wait for bath day to use the tub or bathing area as a fun place. Show your dog that the room is used for fun things, too. Make games of tug and belly rubs frequent occurrences.

Tasty Rewards

Whether you were able to pinpoint a specific trigger at bath time not, bribing with toys and treats is a good way to help your dog enjoy bath time. Once you’re in the bathroom, give him a treat. Once he’s in the tub, give him a treat. If you have a second pair of hands, there’s no harm in treats occurring throughout the bath, too.

Take a Drive

Some dogs live for car rides and some don’t. If you’re lucky enough to have a dog that goes gaga for a car ride, try using the ride as the first phase of the reward system. If you head to the park for a long run, Rover might actually be willing to step into a bath to cool down afterwards.

You can actually even cut out the tub altogether by using a public pet washing station. Some states, like Illinois, are practically riddled with pet washings stations in convenient locations like outside of grocery stores and auto repair shops. How could a dog hate bath day when it starts and ends with a car ride and involves a long play date in the park?

Teach Them Young

If your dog is still a puppy, you’re in luck. You won’t have to help unlearn a decade of fear. Odd are good that the event itself is so far from their daily routine that they don’t know how to respond. Following the above reward and play-date steps will swiftly calm a puppy’s fears.

Quick Tips

A few final pointers to round out the actual bathing process:

1. Don’t yell. No matter how frustrated you may be, don’t use anything other than a friendly, soothing tone with your pup. He’s already terrified. Thinking that you’re upset with them is just going to make things worse.
2. Use a mat. Use a cheap rubber mat on the bottom of the tub so the dog’s trembles don’t make him skid. That slippage will only increase the panic.
3. Don’t rush. Rushing will only increase overall stress to you and your dog.
4. Check the temp. We both know you want the drama over with, but accidently throwing ice cold or too hot water on the dog will also make a bad situation worse.

Even the most skittish dog will eventually respond to the above training. You might never have a completely willing participant but, with patience, you can help sooth everyone’s nerves. Stay patient, remind your furry friend that they’re loved and always begin – and end – with a treat.

That Digging Dog…

Dealing With a Dog that Digs
Written on 06/27/2014 by Brandy Arnold in Behavior Mod.

Posted by: Randi Case, DC, CCSP

Some dogs seem to just enjoy getting down and dirty by non-stop digging. Meanwhile, their owners are helpless as they watch their yard turn into a minefield. The solution for this unwarranted dog behavior depends on the reason behind why your dog scoops up soil in the first

Causative Factors

A lot of dogs dig relentlessly because of numerous factors. First is due to their strong urge to find comfort during hot days. By digging up into the moist soil and lying there, they get to provide themselves summer relief. Some dig because they are preying on small animals or following the odor of buried food. Other breeds dig just for the fun of it, to escape, or due to boredom or frustration.

How to Discourage Digging

1. If your dog digs because he is looking for a cool spot to nest, give him a sand pit or a small children’s pool somewhere in a shady area. Alternatively, you can provide a shelter under a deck or in an insulated doghouse for use during hot days. Do not forget that all outdoor dogs have to gain access to shade as well as water all the time. Of course, most of us prefer to keep our dogs indoors, with us, where there’s no risk of overheating and lots of snuggle-time.

2. If your dog digs because she wants to escape from the yard, find out why she is so eager to leave. If she is leaving to look for a mate, spaying or neutering may be considered. If she is leaving to raid the garbage can next door, give your neighbor a garbage receptacle that is dog-proof. If your well-meaning neighbor feeds your dog, ask him to stop.

3. Pay attention to improving your containment structure. Adding a fence that extends far beneath the ground level could be the only way you can contain your skillful escape artist.

4. If your dog digs just to have fun, try to show him some other ways to play. Give your dog plenty of exercise to keep him busy at the same time mentally stimulated. Play “fetch” with him, or chase each other around the yard! Playing with your dog will not only give him an outlet for his pent-up energy, but the pair of you will bond as well.

5. Now, if there is one specific spot that your dog loves to dig, temporarily cover the area with wood or plastic. You may also change the soil texture such as by pouring water, putting large stones, or planting grasses in it as these could put off the undesirable behavior. Some folks swear by burying the dog’s own poop in that spot they like to dig, to prevent them from returning. (While this might work great, consider first that your dog might venture off for a new spot to dig once he’s no longer interested in this one… maybe having him dig only in one little area isn’t so bad after all!)

6. Finally, you may consider providing a special area in the yard where your dog can dig freely. Teach him that one particular spot is acceptable to dig, but definitely not in the rest of the yard. Well-placed or buried treats would greatly help in directing your pet to dig only in a suitable area. If digging up your landscaping is a problem, consider adding a doggy sandbox, just for Fido.

Helping a Dog that Suffers from Separation Anxiety

Helping a Dog that Suffers from Separation Anxiety
Written on 02/12/2014 by Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA in Ask the Trainer, Front Page News
Posted by: Randi Case, DC

I get questions on how to fix separation anxiety very often. I wish there was a quick easy answer. However that is not the case. SA for a lot of dogs is so severe that they are losing all control. This leads to urination/defecation in the house, torn up walls/doors, puddles of drool etc.

Firstly, lets get some myths out of the way. When this is happening this is not your dog seeking revenge on you. Your dog is not doing this because he is mad at you and trying to get back at you. This is also not happening because your dog thinks he is in charge and did not give you approval to leave. (The last one sounds silly but I’ve heard that one mentioned on TV before.) It is important that we understand that is a pretty serious condition in dogs that depending on the severity can take from 6 months a year to fix.

Secondly, it is important that we make sure this actually is SA and not just a bored dog. A dog that has copious amounts of energy will find a way to get rid of it. If the human doesn’t give him a proper outlet he will find one himself. Which typically means the dog destroying something of the humans.

When dealing with moderate to severe cases one of the first things I recommend to do along with the training protocol is to get the dog on a medication to help with the anxiety. It is important to have a training protocol because medication alone is not going to fix this. I know that not everyone is a fan of the medication part of it. My response to that is the amount of stress that the dog is going through on a daily basis is not healthy at all. If we can give him something that will help remove that horrible stress and it is only there for a short period of time it is worth it. I have tried using some all natural herbal anxiety remedies and have had mixed results. From my experience they do not always work as well and are rather pricey. When I was going through anxiety issues with my dog I started off with an all-natural herbal product that was $30.00 per bottle and that didn’t even last a month. I switched to a fluoxetine and was spending $10.00 a month. It is a good idea to hire a trainer to help you with this. It is also a good idea for the vet, trainer, and owner to work together as a team in solving this.

A couple things you can try along with the fluoxetine that are natural that could be helpful are DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone), a Thundershirt, and different relaxing music.

Lets talk about how to get the anxiety to cease. The ultimate goal is going to be the human leaving the house and the dog not caring. One of the first things you can start to do is incorporate a cue that lets your dog know you will be back. I usually say, “Be right back.” This is the last thing the dog hears you say before you leave. That means the next thing that follows it in regards to you is that you are coming back. With repetition he will start to associate you saying, “be right back” with you coming back. You can do lots of repetition of this. Say your phrase, step outside for 1 second, come back in and reward him. He will start to associate you leaving and coming back with good things. Each time you do this increase the amount of time you are outside. In the beginning your dog will be very concerned with you leaving. After some repetition he will know exactly what is going on and will start to relax when you do it.

The next exercise is going to consist of some auto-shaping. For this you will need something that has a hole in it like a Kong and something awesome to put inside of it like Peanut Butter. The idea with this is to keep the dog busy and focused on something besides the human. I like to use a crate for this because we can create a place of comfort. Every case will be different though so use your best judgment. The idea is that we are going to give the dog something it really enjoys for a short period of time and we are going to stay right next to the dog. The first time you do this do it for like 5 minutes. After 5 minutes tell the dog “okay” and safely remove the Kong and PB. If you cannot safely remove it do not attempt. The next time you do this increase the amount of time that he is in the crate with the Kong, and also take a baby step away creating more distance. Remember to stay stationary during this exercise. If you move around there is a good chance the dog will notice which could result with him focusing on you and potentially getting anxious. Continue this pattern. If done correctly you will get to the point where you will be able to be out of sight and your dog will be comfortable with that. A quick tip in regards to the Kong and Peanut Butter: You can put the Kong and PB in the freezer prior to this exercise to make it last longer.

These are just a couple ideas on how to help your dog be more comfortable when you are out of sight. Remember to take baby steps to ensure your dog stays comfortable. If you try to rush this you will just end up with an anxious dog. Once again hiring a trainer could be very helpful with this process.

Remember that to fix this issue it is going to take dedication. It is going to be very important to practice protocols multiple times a day. Also remember to stay very patient.

Thanks for reading!

Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA

Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org) and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear. For more training tips and tricks, and to meet his amazing dog, V, follow him on Facebook