From dogs to cats, our animal-loving pet experts answer all of your burning questions. Whether you want to learn about methods to train your new puppy, or to explore healthier dog food recommendations, our top veterinarians and pet trainers are here to help. Browse informed answers from a curated list of board certified experts and specialists on AnyQuestion.
Dogs may bark at people when they are on the leash because they are feeling frustrated, fearful, or stressed. The barking is a symptom of these feelings, so it is important to look for the root cause of why the dog is feeling this way in order to find a solution. Transcript: "Why does my dog only bark at people when she's on the leash? It's a really specific problem that's actually really, really common for dogs when they're being walked by people. And one of the biggest reasons is that dogs have figured out once that leash goes on, they're no longer able to move around quite as freely as they would be able to do if the leash wasn't there. That typically means that that particular dog is having some big feelings about whatever is happening around them. In this case, if we're talking about a dog that's barking toward people, that dog may be experiencing a bit of frustration because they would rather be able to rush up and greet the person. Or in other cases, they may be feeling a bit of fear or stress because there's something about that experience that's just not allowing them to feel more comfortable. And in that case, they might actually be too close. And so they're using barking as a way of trying to control the circumstance that they're in or control the distance from that perceived threat or the thing that's kind of freaking them out just a bit. And so that's absolutely something that we can address. But I tend to think about barking in either of those situations as a bit more of a symptom rather than the big problem. And so if we just focus on the barking or just focus on the leash, we might be missing the solution just a bit."
It is not necessarily easier to train one animal over the other, but rather it is important to understand what you are asking them to learn, the environment they are in, and what type of reinforcement is motivating for that particular individual. Transcript: "Is it easier to train a dog or a cat? I would argue that it's not necessarily easier to train one versus the other but rather just knowing what's going to be the same and what's going to be different meaning that essentially all animals learn the same way through consequences. Reinforcement based on the environment they're in at the time in which they're behaving and so on, but then there's some other differences, right? So we may be able to use food reinforcements A bit more easily or perhaps give more reinforcements in a shorter time period when we're working with a dog and maybe a cat's gonna take food a little bit more slowly, or we need to allow a little bit more time, between training repetitions, but both of them learn very much the same. So often times when we were trying to figure out which is the easier one to train, it's really more about figuring out. What are we asking them to learn in which Oceans, are we trying to change their behavior or teach them something? And are we leveraging appropriate reinforcement for that species? Number one, but also for that particular individual using something that is well motivating for them as we're trying to shape or change their behavior."
While it is great that your dog enjoys carrying and playing with sticks, there is a risk of injury. It is important to monitor them to ensure the activity is safe for your pet. Transcript: "My dog carries freakishly large sticks, or should I say logs? Should I be concerned of any injury? This could cause actually, yes on one hand, I'm really glad that your dog has found something that they enjoy, and that probably makes them happy and makes them wag their tail and all sorts of good things. That's amazing. And also, we can actually see foreign bodies or penetrating injuries either. Just from chewing on organic material like Logs and specific to this question if the animal is carrying something that is excessively large or even a regular size, stick for that matter if they're moving a little bit too quickly or they run into a tree or catch that stick on something, we can absolutely see an impact injury that might need to be addressed by a veterinarian, so it's worth paying attention. And asking the question is this the safest way for my dog to enjoy their outing in the woods or out in the park? Sometimes. Yes, sometimes no."
It is ultimately up to you and your vet to decide when it is time to put your dog down. Consider the quality of life for your animal, including pain and discomfort, anxiety, and emotional distress, and speak with your vet about humane euthanasia options. Transcript: "How do you know when it's time to put your dog down? If you're listening to this question and this is relevant for you. I'm sorry. It's a really difficult part of of life in pet ownership and I understand how difficult this particular question is to find the well, the right answer for Truthfully, the right answer is going to be a little bit different for every situation. What I'm typically looking for when I'm helping my clients or my, my friends even answer this question is to get a better sense of who that dog is and what makes them? Well, light up, what makes them comfortable, what makes them who they are. And if I'm able to still see that dog enjoying life and their health is in good shape and there's not any obvious concerns. And that would negatively impact their overall welfare of quality of life, then it may not be time. With that being said, if we are seeing Progressive health concerns that we don't have a way to address, or we're seeing significant pain or discomfort, or anxiety, or emotional distress, or other issues that are negatively impacting the quality of life for that animal. And especially if we're seeing those have a negative impact on that animals ability to enjoy their own life, then it may be time to consider. Saying goodbye through Humane euthanasia, the actual process for that is something that you should talk with your Veterinary team about and they can walk you through the resources that are available, either through their Primary Clinic or through other community resources. And again, I'm sorry that you need to consider this and I applaud your looking for this particular information, all my best."
Putting socks in a dog's mouth can happen for a variety of reasons, such as teething or exploring their environment. It can also be an attention-seeking behavior that has been unintentionally reinforced, and should be addressed using positive reinforcement based training. Transcript: "Why does my dog always put socks in its mouth? This can happen for a couple of different reasons in some cases. It might be a young dog who's exploring their environment, perhaps they're even still teething and chewing on things, makes them feel good. In some cases this may happen more often in a hunting breed dog where we may see more more significant oral behaviors as part of their breed specific traits and in some cases this may have actually started out for a variety variety of reasons but because the behavior of putting socks in their mouth, got a reaction when the dog performed that behavior. Well, it's taken on a life of its own. And we're now considering it more of an attention-seeking or accidentally reinforced behavior that we may need to address differently in order to get ahead of it. Keep in mind that whenever we're seeing these patterns, it's not necessary to jump to Corrections or reprimands or anything that may cause pain or discomfort in order to address it. This is absolutely something that we can address through positive reinforcement Based training interventions."
Before attempting to train a 15 year old small dog to stop peeing on the rugs, it is important to first ensure that the animal has been evaluated by a veterinarian. This includes a physical exam, running blood work, and potentially additional imaging tests to make sure there are no underlying medical conditions causing the behavior. Transcript: "Is it possible to get a 15 year old small dog? Who used to be potty? Trained to stop peeing on the rugs in our house. Well that depends on why it's happening. First things first I would absolutely want to make sure that that dog has been evaluated by a veterinarian. Not only with a physical exam but also likely running some blood work looking at a urine sample. Maybe even some additional Imaging like radiographs or x-rays or maybe even an ultrasound in some cases to try to figure out. Out, are we dealing with a physical issue? First and foremost, and that is actually one of the more common reasons why we see this happening in a 15 year-old dog. Of course, we're looking for things like diabetes, or kidney disease, or other reasons. Why we may have urine, that's more dilute or less concentrated than it should be. We're also looking for other signs of urgency where the animal just can't hold their urine as much as they used to, so, they may need to go more frequently than what we're providing them access. To outside. We're also looking for things like arthritis or other other sources of physical. Discomfort, that may be impacting, that dogs, a pattern, of of urination or elimination outside. So lots of things that we want to check for first before we go down the behavior and training pathway. So, if you haven't checked for those conditions, with a veterinarian's help yet, start there and then Circle back around. And we can look at some of the behavioral issues that can make cause similar signs as well. Things like cognitive dysfunction or an overall break down in-house training, which can also happen in an older dog. But again, lets rule out the medical stuff first and go from there."