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Last updated 2/2016



Training and Behavior

Following are various articles and information sheets regarding training and behavioral issues many owners have to deal with.  None of these are intended to replace professional assistance and are only to better help the dog owner understand what makes a dog and dog and not a little human in a fur coat. .  These are for private use only.  Contact me for permission to reprint for public use. The articles are in PDF format and will require Acrobat Reader to view.  If you do not have reader, it can be downloaded here:

All articles with an * are older pieces that I have revised as I grow as a trainer.  

 Growling is Good We are taught dogs growling need to be punished.  Time to destroy that myth. Growling is a vital method of communication between your dog and you.  How you handle growling will help determine if your dog gets better or stops giving warning or even escalates to a bite.

 Thinking Outside the Cookie Jar Your dog will not motivate for food or a toy, now what do you do? Finding a dog's motivation and reward system in a fun way is vital to teaching what we need. Not all dogs motivate the same, some have motivations we would never dream of!

* They Are Not Out To Take Over the World: dispelling general myths of the dominant dog Is he trying to take control or is he trying to alleviate confusion?

* Introducing Two Dogs How we choose to introduce our dogs can make the difference between our dogs viewing others positively or negatively.  But is a proper introduction eough or are there other factors to remember?

* Rasing Two Puppies at Once Puppies are adorable and what could be cuter than one puppy?  TWO!!! However, is acquiring two puppies at the same time such a great idea?

* For Rare Breed owers! Finding a dog trainer when you own a rare breed. Not all dogs are Labs, Goldens, Shepherds and Shelties. When you own a less than common breed of dog, your choice of a trainer is even more crucial. Not all trainers have worked with or will work with rare breeds.

* Biting Not having hands means dogs have to use something to grab and hold. Teaching appropriate mouth manners to puppies is vital to safer living with a dog.

Will Training Work? There is no easy answer to this.  However, most failures in dog training trace back to the owner. If the trainer is competant, the dog is not "hardwired" for excessive issues, then you have to look at what the owner is or is not doing or expecting.

Avoiding Small Dog Sydrome Small dogs have a nasty image of being yapping, ankle-biting brats. However, this need not be the truth. More often, humans are the ones who create these issues.  Learn how to prevent SDS.

NILIF - gaining control humanely (also, see the "sister" article below on using NILIF for attention getting behaviors)

Confusion Flow Chart Diagram about how we can confuse dogs and worsen undesired behaviors.

A Tired Dog is a Behaved Dog…  or is he? Is keeping your dog tired the key to a behaved dog or could it result in other issues?

Managing a Higher Energy Dog Many undesired behaviors are affected or caused by the amount of exercise a dog is or is not receiving. Are you meeting or able to meet your dog's needs?

Evaluating Temperament Testing When asked to temperament test a dog, am I really determining temperament or just the behavior at that point in time? 

Managing Excessive Barking * Is your dog barking all the time and driving you or your neighbors crazy?

Introducing Cats and Dogs Who says they cannot live together? Proper introductions are vital to a peaceful coexistence.

Chewing Your house becoming one big toy?  Your dog goes for your Manolo Blahnik shoes instead of his toys? He is not being vindictive, he is just being a dog.

Tips on Building Confidence in the Lower Confidence Dog Dog just not comfortable in various situations, here are a few ideas to help.

Crate Training Tips Though dogs are den animal, crates are a purely human invention.  Proper introduction and use of a crate can help reduce many undesired behaviors and increase safety.

Enrichment Boredom is a leading cause of undesired behaviors in dogs.  Managing it is a vital step in resolving many issues.

Finding an Obedience Program Next to you and your vet, a good trainer or behavioral consultant will be a great asset in the life of a dog. However, a lesser trainer may cause more harm than good in the long run.

Housetraining Housetraining is not rocket science.  A little understanding about how dogs learn and applying it to proper elimination can ease a lot of stress for dog and owner!

Sample Housetraining Schedule Not quite sure how to schedule a housetraining program? Here is an example that should allow for both adequate time to potty and learning how to communicate with your dog.

Hyperactivity in Dogs Is your dog really ADD or is he just reacting to his environment or a lack of something?  Understanding why dogs act up and get crazy.

Nature and Nurture: a look at temperament in dogs Is it all genes, how we manage our dogs are a combination of both? Published in Sheltie International, 2003.

Nothing in Life is Free (NILIF): Attention getting - gaining and maintaining control humanely Dog jumping because it gets him attention? Dog ruling mealtimes and getting out of control? Making him work for things puts us back in the driver's seat (note, the focus of this use of NILIF is more towards unwanted attention getting behaviors).

The Sport for Killers? Overview of Schutzhund and Person Protection work for the average person.  What dog is best, are you dedicated enough to make a safe protection dog, will these activities really create a deadly killer?


Memberships and Associations:

 Pet Professionals Guild * Association of Pet Dog Trainers * International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants * United Shetland Sheepdog Association * Blue Ridge Shetland Sheepdog Club * Granite State Shetland Sheepdog Club * Will O'Wisp Shetland Sheepdogs

West Wind Dog Training is registered and licensed in Prince William County, VA and insured.