Dog Training Tips: What Not to Do


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You may think that you’re doing things right with your dog’s training, but your dog’s reactions and performance say otherwise. It’s likely that there is a gap between what you’re trying to achieve and the signals that your canine is reading. Here are some don’ts that you want to avoid while training.

Too many treats

Treats are no doubt an important part of the training drill, but give your pet too many treats and you will be shifting the focus off the desired action or behavior and onto the treats instead. The result is that the dog develops a fixation toward the treat rather than picking up the behavior. Use treats sparingly, and preferably in the initial days when you are training your pet. You can also use it from time to time when you are reinforcing or sharpening the behavior. Otherwise, you want to gradually swap treats with a positive response and praise, as your pet masters the behavior or skill. Your dog will automatically try harder while training when you respond positively to the progress.

Be authoritative and calm

Dogs can easily smell fear and lack of confidence, and it takes small absent-minded cues for them to decide who’s the boss. It could even be something as simple as your dog barking at you while you’re eating at the table. If you respond to the bark by handing some food, then you’ve automatically handed the reigns of authority to your dog, as you’re taking commands from your dog now. They do not bark at their pack leaders while they’re eating, and if they’re barking at you, then you need to calmly turn this habit around. Notice how we said calmly; yes, being calm is extremely important during these training and disciplining sessions. Too many energetic screams and squeals, anger or force, and your dog will get intimidated. They won’t be able to channel their energy to focus. A calm indifferent attitude with an authoritative tone will calm your pet, and they will be ready to listen to you.
Inconsistent responses and techniques

Dogs look for consistency in their trainers. If you respond differently each time, then he/she will not be able to predict your reactions, due to which they may continue a stubborn habit that you are trying to break. So if you are setting down rules for your dog, make sure you are consistent when you are implementing them or telling your dog to not do otherwise. For instance, if you are correcting your dog when it chews on shoes or other objects, then you want to do it consistently. You do not want to let them go easy on some days, just because, as this will break their trust in the trainer. Same goes with training techniques, consistency is key. You cannot show a certain level of patience one day, and a different level the next, then it will leave your dog confused.


A Dog That Can Read?! Watch This Video and See

Every day, dogs are breaking down barriers and proving themselves more intelligent than previously thought. We have all seen the videos of dogs that perform a series of incredibly complex commands.

No? Well, check it out here. It’s pretty amazing.

Jumpy – The World’s Most Intelligent Dog

Acrobatics aside, the fact that Jumpy is able to understand all those disparate commands, let alone perform them, is positively unbelievable. It is this level of training that has made it possible to entrust dogs with crucial responsibilities like being rescue dogs, service dogs, military dogs, or seeing eye dogs.

All that considered, are you ready to see the next level of canine intelligence?

Recently, trainers were able to get Jordan the black lab to recognize and respond to two different words – “sit” and “down.”

Jordan Can Read

Yes, it’s only two words – “sit” and “down,” so it isn’t like Jordan is going to be signing up for a library card anytime soon, but it is a fairly tremendous stride for finding ways to communicate with dogs.

Follow me here – if a dog is capable of recognizing simple words, and the difference in meaning between them, it stands to reason that a well trained dog may soon be able to convey their wants and needs in a way we can actually understand.

Point being, once more dogs are taught to read simple words, and once a device is created that dogs can use, it won’t be long before we are getting texts or emails from our dogs saying things like “food” or “walk.”

Boy, won’t that get old fast?





3 Ways to Get Your Cat to Stop Scratching Your Furniture

Cat scratching a scratch post

I spent several hours wistfully browsing around the internet for a new couch recently, but given the elaborate landscape of claw marks on the arms of my current couch, I feel hesitant about making a purchase. But as it turns out, there are lots of smart ways to stop cats from scratching your furniture. It may be too late for my couch, but if you prevent your cat from scratching furniture before it becomes a habit, it doesn’t have to be too late for yours.

RELATED STORY: Products That Will Stop the Scratching

1. Provide a Scratch-Friendly Alternative

If you don’t want your cat scratching up your furniture, your best bet is to provide another option. Keep in mind that scratching serves a purpose for cats: As well as being exercise, it’s a way to clean and sharpen claws, and to mark their turf. So while it can feel like a frustrating habit to pet parents, scratching is a biological necessity for cats. Avoid your furniture’s destruction by providing your cat with a scratching post — catnip is a great way to encourage them to scratch the assigned area, rather than your furniture, as is placing the scratching post strategically close to the furniture your cat usually relishes destroying.

RELATED STORY: How to Clean Your Cat’s Scratching Post

2. Clip Your Cat’s Nails

Part of the reason cats scratch is to keep their nails filed down. Help them out by making it a point to trim their nails every few weeks. Some cats are more amenable to this process than others, but with a bit of practice — and maybe a treat at the end of the spa treatment? — most cats will allow owners to trim their nails. Trimming their nails might not stop them from scratching all around your living room, but it could potentially lessen the damage.

RELATED STORY: Shop Cat Trees and Condos

3. Discourage Them From Scratching Furniture

There are all sorts of options available when it comes to discouraging your cat from scratching places you’d rather be kept pristine: One simple hack is to place double-sided tape (the ultimate tool in cat frustration!) on areas you don’t want them to scratch. If you see cats scratching, you can say an angry “no,” make a loud noise, or give them a spritz of water from a spray bottle.

RELATED STORY: 5 Misconceptions About Cats

How do you stop your cat from furniture destruction? Tell us in the comments! And if you’re in need of a scratch post, cat nail clippers, or any scratch-deterrents, consider joining PetPlus, a new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more. 


Got a Dog That Won’t Quit? 4 Handy Tips to Get Them to Stop Jumping

Get your dog to stop jumping

Does your dog leap up for a hello when you walk through the front door? Do guests sometimes get knocked over when they stop by for a visit? Are the neighbors used to being greeted with two paws on their shoulders? If so, it’s probably time to teach your dog to stop jumping.

A jumping dog isn’t only annoying, they also aren’t showing you much respect, which means that they probably don’t see you as the pack leader. And you should be the pack leader if you want a well-balanced and obedient dog.

So how can you teach your dog to stop jumping? Here are 4 easy steps.

1. Assert Yourself as the Pack Leader

Whether you’re trying to teach your dog to stop jumping, to stop pulling ahead on walks, or to simply follow commands, you need to be the pack leader. The pack leader is calm, focused, and confident, they stand straight up and walk with their eyes forward, and they give cues — they don’t take them. Establishing yourself as the pack leader will make teaching your dog to stop jumping a lot easier.

RELATED STORY: How to Handle 6 Common Dog Behavior Problems

2. Don’t Encourage Jumping

If you greet your dog with a loud, animated voice and lots of affection when you arrive home, you’re encouraging excited behavior, which often includes jumping. The same is true for guests who come over or people who greet your dog when you’re out on a walk. When you arrive home, keep calm, and ask your guests and those greeting your dog to do the same.

3. Make Your Dog “Sit” Before They Can Say Hello

Your dog knows that if they jump on you or someone else, they’re going to get attention, whether it’s positive or negative (in the moment, it doesn’t make much difference to the dog). But you can teach your dog that there is another way to get attention: by sitting nicely. Teach your dog the “sit” command, and when you come home or have guests over, make your dog sit before anyone is allowed to pet them or give them attention. When your dog sits make sure you reward them with a treat and plenty of praise.

RELATED STORY: How to Calm Down a Dog

4. The Right Kind of Punishment

Jumping isn’t always about excitement or asserting dominance; sometimes it’s a way to release anxious energy. And yelling at your dog or shoving them off can actually make the problem worse. If you want to get your dog to stop jumping while it’s happening, simply turn your back, look away from the dog, or leave the room without any fanfair. Ask your guests to do the same. Your dog should eventually learn that jumping only means they’ll be ignored, and that’s the last thing they want.

Does your dog jump? Or have you gotten your dog to stop jumping? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at


Back To School! Dog Classes to Take This Fall

Within the next few weeks, sleepy-eyed children will begin lining up at bus stops with shiny new backpacks and freshly sharpened pencils, ready for the start of a new school year. It’s an exciting time, but if you have kids and a dog, it can also be a confusing time for your four-legged friend.

Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety when their favorite playmates are suddenly missing every day, and you might notice some moping behavior. One way to get your dog back in good spirits? Sign them up for school, too! Dog classes not only offer mental and physical stimulation, they also teach important skills and provide an opportunity for socialization.

Here are three dog classes to consider for your pup this fall.

Basic Obedience Dog Classes

When it comes to dog classes, basic obedience is a must-do. In most classes, dogs learn important everyday commands like “sit,”“stay,”“down,” and “come” as well as loose-leash walking (“heel”) and impulse control. Many basic obedience classes also introduce ways to problem solve common issues, like chewing or jumping. Whatever basic obedience class you choose, just make sure that the trainers are certified and use a positive approach (versus one based on punishment). You may want to ask friends or family for recommendations, or check out your local AKC dog club.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps to Dog Obedience Training

Canine Good Citizen Dog Classes

Have you ever thought that your dog might make a good therapy dog? Or perhaps you just want your dog to have good manners in your home, out in public, around other people, and other dogs? Then consider signing up for a Canine Good Citizen training class that will prepare you for the Canine Good Citizen test. The Canine Good Citizen test is a certification program through the AKC that evaluates dogs to determine if they are reliable family and community members. Each dog must pass a series of tests, including greeting a stranger, moving politely through a crowd, sitting politely for petting, being left with a stranger, and more. Once your dog passes, they will receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. To find training classes in your area, visit the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Training/Testing page.

RELATED STORY: The Top 10 Dog Training Tips

Agility Training Dog Classes

You might be looking at your wrinkly Bulldog thinking, “agility training? Perhaps not…” But the truth is that any dog can take part in agility training, so long as they are healthy and the course and obstacles are appropriate for your dog’s size. Agility training is an active sport in which your dog follows your cues to move through an obstacle course of tunnels, poles, jumps, and more. It’s loads of fun, and great exercise too. To get started, find a local agility training group. To learn more, visit the AKC’s Agility Homepage.

Will you be signing up for any dog classes this fall? Leave a comment and let us know! And to have more money in your pocket to spend on classes, sign up for PetPlusPetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at


3 Tips for Biking With Your Dog

There’s nothing quite like a leisurely cruise on a bike. And if you own a dog, you might like to take them along for the ride. It’s not as easy, however, as simply tying your dog’s leash to your handlebars and peddling off (in fact, don’t do that!) Biking with your dog requires preparation and an awareness of potential safety hazards.

So how can you get your dog ready to ride? Here are 3 tips for biking with your dog.

1. Know Your Dog Before Biking With Your Dog

Not all dogs are cut out for running alongside a bike. Older dogs, dogs with health conditions, dogs with short legs, and brachycephalic breeds might not be as capable as young, healthy dogs who have speed and stamina. Take your dog out for a cruise around the block and see how they do, and keep an eye on them the following day. If your dog can’t keep up or seems particularly wiped out, they might not be built for biking. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian.

RELATED STORY: The Benefits of an Active Dog

2. Gear Up for Biking With Your Dog

If your dog takes to biking, it’s time to gear up. What will you need?

  • A body harness instead of a collar

Attaching a leash to a neck collar can be extremely dangerous for a dog running alongside a bike, and you should especially avoid using tightening collars like prongs or martingales. Instead, use a padded body harness that will evenly distribute pressure around their body.

  • A Springer leash attachment

Many people use their dog’s regular leash and simply tie it to their seat post (note: you should never tie the lead to your handlebars as it can throw off your balance). However, you may also want to consider purchasing a Springer attachment. The Springer is a steel device that connects your dog’s leash to your bike and has a special coil spring that absorbs tugs and lunges.

RELATED STORY: Get Your Cheap Pet Supplies

  • Dog booties

Running can be hard on your pal’s paw pads, so consider protecting them with dog booties. Dog booties not only offer your dog support as they run, they also protect your dog’s feet from cuts, scratches, and foreign objects stuck between the toes. Some dogs take to dog booties well while others are less easily convinced. Before heading out for a ride, have your dog wear the booties around the house, on short walks, etc., to build up their comfort level. And don’t skimp on the treats.

  • Water

Take frequent breaks to offer your dog fresh water, especially when it’s warm out. You shouldn’t let your dog drink from rivers, lakes, ponds, or other natural sources of water as they could contain harmful parasites.

3. Build Up to Biking With Your Dog

A dog running steadily alongside you on a bike won’t happen overnight, especially if the dog isn’t used to running at all. Before biking with your dog, get them in good shape with regular walks and runs (if your vet says it’s OK). Then, you can slowly introduce your dog to the bike. Start with short trips around the neighborhood then build up to longer outings. Use treats at first to keep your dog motivated and away from distractions. Eventually, you should be able to phase out treats and look down to see your dog trotting safely by your side.

Do you bike with your dog? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


Dog Digging Up The Yard? Here’s How to Stop It

If your dog likes to dig, you may have long given up on having a presentable yard. Dirt holes, shredded grass, destroyed plants — it’s not a pretty sight, and it’s definitely frustrating. But if your dog is digging, it’s not because they want to make you mad or lay waste to your hard-earned garden. The truth is that digging is a common and natural behavior in dogs, and the dog’s wild ancestors, wolves, still dig dens to find shelter, hide valuables, and raise their young.

However just because it’s a natural instinct, that doesn’t mean you should let your dog wreak havoc. If you’re ready to reclaim your yard, here’s what you can do today.

Identify Why Your Dog is Digging

Before you can stop your dog from digging, you first need to figure out why they’re doing it.


Many dogs dig because they are bored or have excess energy. Try walking your dog for an extra 15 minutes, throw a ball in the yard, or sign up for a training class. If it’s stimulation your dog seeks, their digging may subside once you provide it.

Stress or Anxiety

Does your dog’s digging start when the neighborhood dog starts to bark, when you’re getting ready to leave the house, or when guests come over? If so, they could be digging to release anxious energy. Take steps to reduce your dog’s anxiety with exercise and behavior modification. And if you need help, contact a trainer, animal behaviorist, or your veterinarian.


If the weather is particularly hot or cold, a dog may dig a hole to escape it. If you find your dog lying in their hole, this may be the situation. Rather than leaving your dog in the yard without shelter, offer them a cool or warm place to rest, like a doghouse. And when you’re home, bring them inside for relief.

RELATED STORY: Is My Dog Weird? 5 Strange Dog Behaviors Explained

Thrill of the Hunt

Some dogs dig because they’ve sniffed out prey, and they’re trying to reach it. If your dog seems to be focusing on a single spot in the yard — especially near roots or along a path — check for signs of burrowing animals or other wildlife. If you suspect that a creature may be posting up in your yard, contact your local animal control to safely remove it, then take steps to make your yard less desirable.


Is your dog digging a hole under a fence? If so, they may be trying to escape. A dog who is happy and well cared for shouldn’t want to leave their home, so take time to evaluate their environment and living situation. Are they getting enough to eat? Are they being treated well? Are they getting regular attention and exercise?

To keep your dog from escaping, block off vulnerable areas with buried chicken wire, buried chain link, or partially buried large rocks.

What Not To Do

If you catch your dog in the act of digging, you can give them a firm “No!” and then bring them inside. However, if you find a hole after the fact, don’t yell at or otherwise punish your dog; they won’t understand, and if their digging is a result of anxiety, it could actually make the problem worse.

RELATED STORY: 8 Things You Didn’t Know About How to Talk to Your Dog

Give Your Dog a Digging Zone

If all else fails — or if you wish to let your dog dig to their heart’s content — consider creating a digging zone. A digging zone is a special area in the yard where your dog will have carte blanche to play excavator.

To encourage your dog to dig in their special zone, create a physical border around it (for example with rocks or bricks) and bury treats or toys just below the surface. Praise your dog when they dig them up, and replenish the goodies over to time to keep your dog going back. If your dog tries to dig elsewhere, get their attention and lead them over to their zone. Eventually, they should learn to focus only on their sweet spot.

Does your dog dig? Leave a comment and tell us how you deal with it, and consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at


4 Tips For Taking a Dog to a Party

If you’re a dog owner, one of the decisions you’ll have to make when heading off to a BBQ, birthday party, or dinner is whether or not you should bring your four-legged friend along. While in some cases it may not be appropriate to make Fido your plus-one, there are times your pal might be a welcome guest. Taking your dog to social occasions can aid in socialization, zap their energy, and stimulate their active minds.

So how can you decide if you should take your dog to a party, and if you do, how can you ensure that they’ll be invited to the next event?


If you’re thinking about taking your dog to a party, first make sure they will be gladly received. Ask the host if they would be willing to have a dog at their event, and if they say yes, follow up with questions to determine if it makes sense to take your dog along. Are there any venue rules? Do any attendees have serious allergies? Will there be small children? Other dogs? Any potential safety hazards? Doing your homework before you go can save you from trouble (or even having to leave) once you get there.

2. Teach Your Dog Manners

Even if a gathering sounds dog-friendly, you need to decide if your dog is party-ready. A dog who runs around like a bull in a china shop, steals food off tables, plays rough with children, or otherwise misbehaves will be a nuisance to guests and to you, and could cause serious damage or even injuries. Before taking your dog to a party, make sure they know some basic commands like “sit” “stay” and “come”. If your dog is prone to being fearful, aggressive, destructive, rough with children, or hyperactive in new situations, deal with those issues before subjecting a party to their furry presence. If you need help, contact a trainer or animal behaviorist.

RELATED STORY: Try an Indoor Training Class With Your Dog

3. Bring a Dog Party Kit

If you decide to take your dog to a get-together, bring a dog party kit along. The kit should include items that will make your dog feel comfortable, keep them from becoming bored, keep them safe, and distract them if necessary. For example, bring your dog’s bed or a blanket and set it up in the corner of a quiet room. You could also bring their favorite toy, a new and engaging toy, or toys that guests can use to play with the dog (such as a tennis ball or frisbee if there is a backyard). If you want to distract your dog while the group eats dinner, bring a chew toy or Kong stuffed with peanut butter. And don’t forget a water dish, poop bags, and a dog first-aid kit.

RELATED STORY: Pet First Aid: How to Treat Dog Wounds

4. Supervise Your Dog

Your dog is your responsibility no matter where you go. When you arrive at a party, don’t let your dog off their leash and then forget about them for the rest of the evening. Remember that people who don’t own dogs may not be as tuned into their needs as you are, and may not know to let your dog out to use the bathroom, keep the garbage bin secured, or stop your dog from consuming poisonous foods left out on a table. Keep an eye on your dog, check on them regularly if they are hanging out with other guests, and when necessary, attach a loose leash to keep your pal by your side.

Do you take your dog to gatherings? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


7 Ways to Keep Your Dog From Urine Marking


Urine marking is a very common dog behavior. When a dog urine marks, they urinate only a small amount onto a surface, often with their leg raised. This can happen on walks, at the park, and even in the comfort of your own home or another person’s home — eek! Before we can talk about how to stop your dog from urine marking, let’s talk about why they do it.

5 Reasons Why Dogs Mark

Urine marking is a way for a dog to assert dominance and say, “Mine!” Here are 5 circumstances that increase a dog’s desire to claim objects and territory:

1. Intact Marking

Dogs that are not spayed or neutered are much more assertive and more prone to urine marking than dogs who have been fixed. Spaying or neutering your dog can greatly reduce their desire to urine mark, but it may not completely stop it.

2. In Response to the Unfamiliar

Many dogs urine mark after smelling a new dog (or a new dog’s urine) in their environment, be that your yard, your home, or a street you walk down regularly. Additionally, if a new pet or person enters your home, your dog may feel the need to mark their belongings (a purse, another pet’s bed, etc.) as a way to say, “I’m in charge here!” This goes for new objects, too. If you get a new couch, a dog prone to marking might lift a leg upon its arrival.

3. In Response to Anxiety

The unfamiliar can cause anxiety, as can situations that are classically stressful, such as visits to the vet, a move, or thunderstorms. Dogs who are marking as a result of anxiety often leave more urine behind than dogs who are marking for other reasons.

4. Social Marking

A dog may mark as a result of social triggers, such as excitement, over-stimulation, or arousal caused by a dog of the opposite sex. A dog may also mark in response to social conflicts with other animals in your home, whether they are permanent housemates or visitors. Marking allows your dog to assert their dominance in unstable group situations.

5. Medical Issues

If you dog is marking or urinating indoors, make sure that it isn’t because of a medical issue such as a urinary tract infection or incontinence.

RELATED STORY: 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Dog Psychology

7 Ways to Stop Urine Marking

So how can you prevent or stop urine marking? First, take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out any medical issues. If your vet says that everything is okay, use the following tips.

1. Spay or Neuter Your Dog

As mentioned above, spaying or neutering your dog can greatly reduce their desire to mark. If you spay or neuter your dog before they learn the marking behavior, you may never have to worry about it. However if you spay or neuter your dog after they’ve already started marking, it may be more difficult to break the habit. Ask your veterinarian to recommend the best time to fix your dog.

RELATED STORY: 5 Ways Dog Neutering Makes Your Pet Healthier

2. Clean Soiled Areas or Make Them Undesirable For Marking

If a dog has already marked an area of your home or yard, they’ll probably do it again. Use a cleaner specifically designed to eliminate the smell of urine. If you can’t remove the smell, remove your dog’s access to the area or change your dog’s association with the area by feeding or playing with them there.

3. Keep Items Your Dog Wants to Mark Out of Reach

If you know that your dog is prone to marking your visitors’ shoes or purses, put those items out of reach in a closet or cabinet.

4. Resolve Conflicts

If your dog is urine marking, it’s because they feel like they need to claim territory and assert their dominance; the feeling of needing to assert dominance is often the result of conflict. Make sure that all animals are getting along and that your dog is getting getting along with all human housemates, too. If disputes seem impossible to solve, then contact a trainer for help.

5. Catch Your Dog in The Act

If you catch your dog urine marking inside the house, move or carry them outside. When they urinate outside instead, reward them with a treat or toy. Don’t punish your dog if you find the marking after the fact; your dog won’t understand and may become afraid.

6. Treat Your Dog’s Anxiety

If your dog’s urine marking seems to be related to stress or anxiety, solve that issue first, and the urine marking may subside. Common treatments for anxiety include behavior modification and medication. Read more about treating anxiety.

7. Contact a Trainer or Animal Behaviorist

In some cases, you may not be able to tackle your dog’s marking issue on your own. A trainer or animal behaviorist can help you find the source of the problem and come up with a plan for correcting the behavior.

Does your dog urine mark? Leave a comment and let us know about your dog’s behavior. And sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


Why Is My Dog Afraid of Animals All The Time?


Why Is Your Dog Afraid Of Animals?

A dog’s fear of other animals can have a big impact on their life, and your life too. Some dogs are afraid of all animals. Other dogs are only afraid of unfamiliar animals. And still others are afraid of certain species: many dogs are afraid of cats!

The way your dog shows fear will depend on your particular dog. Some dogs exhibit classic fear behaviors: tail tucking, trembling, panting, lip licking, trying to escape, whining, and hiding. Other dogs respond to fear by becoming aggressive. Rather than waiting for an attack to happen, they go on the defense and growl, bark, lunge, or bite.

RELATED STORY: Reading Dog Body Language

Clearly, a dog’s fear of other animals can be dangerous. A dog who is afraid and exhibiting fear behaviors could become a target for other animals. A dog who becomes aggressive when afraid may hurt other animals or people.

So what causes a dog to become afraid of other animals, and what can you do to help!

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a dog becoming afraid of other animals:

  • Lack of regular exposure to other animals: Even if you socialize your dog early, they may still become fearful if they do not have regular continued exposure to other animals.
  • Genetic predisposition: Some dogs are just born more anxious or timid. In many cases, these are traits passed on by the parents. So even if your dog is well-socialized, they may still tend to be fearful of other animals.
  • Traumatic event involving another animal: If a young dog gets into a fight with another dog at a young age and is badly injured, they may live to fear all dogs. In some cases, a dog may even become fearful if an animal was near them when something frightening happened, even if the animal was not directly involved.
  • Unknown cause: In some cases, you may not be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your dog’s fear.

RELATED STORY: How We Misunderstand Dog Aggression

What to Do if Your Dog Is Afraid of Other Animals

The first thing to do is correctly identify your dog’s fear of animals. Some pet parents mistake their dog’s fear for aggression and will punish or yell at their dog when it growls or barks at other animals, thus making the dog more afraid and their future reactions to animals worse.

So first things first: study your dog’s behavior and try to find the source of the problem.

Once your correctly identify your dog’s fear, you can go from there:

  • Manage your dog’s behavior: especially if your dog becomes aggressive when afraid. Keep your dog on a leash, stay a good distance from other people and animals, and stay calm. If you grip the leash tighter or tense up when another animal turns the corner, your dog will notice and tense up, too.
  • Do not punish your dog for being afraid: again, it can only make the problem worse. On that same note, you should not constantly reassure your dog when they are afraid. Your dog will not understand and may only become more anxious.
  • Do not force your dog to be around other animals if they are afraid. Many pet parents think that they can fix their dog’s problem by forcing exposure to other animals, and if the dog has never acted aggressive before, what’s the harm? The problem is that forcing a dog into an uncomfortable situation can actually increase their fear, and even if you’ve never seen it before, there is a good chance the dog could respond with aggression.
  • You may need the help of a trainer or animal behaviorist to correct your dog’s fear. Desensitization and counter-conditioning training — in which you to teach your dog that good things rather than bad things happen around other animals — can be very successful, but challenging to carry out.

Is your dog afraid of other animals? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.