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Dog Behavior | PetsWeekly

8 Secrets To Eliminate Pulling On A Leash

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Ah, summer. Green grass and warm weather. Time to get outside with your dog and enjoy a stroll in the park, a vacation together, maybe watching a sunset along a beach you rarely get a chance to observe. Unless your dog tries to pull your arm out of its socket every time you clip the leash to his collar. I understand. After training classes, hours walking on a leash, and countless shoulder aches, my dog was still a puller. I finally cracked the code and have a dog who walks calmly on a leash. Here are 8 secrets that made a difference for me and will help you. 1)    Tug, don’t pull

Have you ever walked into a room and noticed a low sound, like the hum of a fan, then after a while forgotten it was there? Pulling back on the leash to restrain your dog works the same way. It might get your dog’s attention at first, but eventually your dog tunes it out. A quick tug-and-release on the leash will get your dog’s attention each time you do it.

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Vibrissae: A Dog's Secret Surveillance

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german-shepherd-streetDogs are so furry that even the most observant of owners can miss details about their appearance. Take dog whiskers, for example. They’re usually visible above the eyes and on the muzzle, but did you know that your dog likely has a tiny beard of whiskers below its jaws? If you examine this area on your pet, you should notice some dark skin sprouting a hair or two. That colored skin resembles what we call a beauty mark in humans. On your dog, it’s actually a collection of nerves, and the thick hairs that sprout from it are not just fur. These whiskers are called “vibrissae,” and like top-secret FBI tools, they allow your dog to investigate everything from you to your home. The hidden power behind your dog’s vibrissae is their sensitivity. They are extremely receptive to touch. Unlike fur, they have functions other than just keeping your dog warm or cold. They’re designed to transmit detailed information about movement to aid your dog’s guidance and balance.

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Dog Park Etiquette

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Just like the gym or the workplace, a dog park is a social place with its own set of proper etiquette guidelines. But what that means in a dog park isn’t always obvious. With the help of Charlotte Reed (author of The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette) and Cheryl Smith (a certified dog behavior consultant and author of Visiting the Dog Park: Having Fun, Staying Safe), we set the record straight on some important aspects of dog park decorum. Q: I’m very protective of my small dog. I want her to have fun at the park, but I don’t want her to get hurt. Can I keep her on the leash so that I’m always close and can pull her out of rough situations? A: Sorry, but no. A dog park is specifically for off-leash play. “A leash can create different reactions in the leashed dog, who feels constrained and unable to react as he or she may wish,” says Smith. “Leashes can create barrier frustration,” she says. This is a common dog behavior issue, where dogs may lash out because they don’t feel in control. If you’re still concerned about your pet, you might consider trying to establish an event for small dogs only at your local dog park.

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A Dog Howling Primer

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A few years ago, veterinarian Sophia Yin took her Australian cattle dog, Zoe, to a horse ranch and let the dog sleep in the stables overnight. In the middle of the night, Dr. Yin was startled by a strange, loud howling sound. "It sounded like the loneliest dog in the world," recalls Dr. Yin, DVM, a certified applied animal behaviorist who works at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists. She then realized it was her own pet, Zoe. “She thought she had been left and abandoned,” Dr. Yin recalls. Your dog may howl when you least expect it -- as you’re warbling a tune at the piano, when a fire engine siren sounds or if your dog is left alone in a strange place. Howling may not be music to your ears, but to your pooch, it is a throwback to its wolf instincts. The purposes, meanings and triggers of howling may surprise you.

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