As a kid growing up, I had my favorite holidays. In my opinion, Christmas always had the top spot and Halloween came in a close second! As we approach Halloween, I am noticing a growing number of pet dog owners are not looking at this time of year with the same sentimental nostalgia that I have. Actually, some owners refer to Halloween as “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.
Here’s the good news: More and more people are asking for advice to help them understand why their dog exhibits unusual behaviors on Halloween and what they can do to make this evening a safe and less stressful time for everyone. Let’s begin by taking a look at Halloween from a canines perspective:
Several years ago, Robert Fulghum wrote a book entitled. “All I Ever Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. In his book, he speaks about how people can live a meaningful life by learning from experiences that occur while attending kindergarten. Share everything. Play fair. Don't take things that aren't yours. Don't hit people. If I was going to write a similar book (from a dog’s perspective), it might be titled: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in my Whelping Box. Some of my thoughts would be similar to Robert Fulgham’s, however “Don't hit people” would most likely be changed to “Don’t bite people”.
Why can’t people and dogs just get along? Here are the top five conflict causing behaviors, offered as New Year Resolutions, with some tips on how you can mediate to achieve success all year long.
Dear Inquisitive Canine -January 2013 - This New Year’s, Resolve to Solve: Keep Dogs Out of Shelters
The new year is officially here. For many, this means creating lists of resolutions with intentions of modifying one’s behavior. In honor of this tradition, my sidekick, Poncho, and I have decided to join in, talking about resolutions to help dogs stay in their homes and out of animal shelters. We encourage you to team up with us and add the dogs of your community — whether your own or someone else’s — to your list of personal achievements.
Dear Joan and Poncho-
If I arrive at a friend’s home dressed well, and they haven’t trained their dog to keep from jumping, what should I say to keep the peace, while keeping my clothes in one piece as well?
Allow me and Poncho to commend you on taking such a proactive approach to helping your friend’s dog develop good canine manners, including helping them train their dog to not jump on guests!
In human psychology, Albert Bandura, a self-described social-cognitive psychologist developed Social Learning Theory in the 1970’s (Bandura,1977). Bandura’s Social Learning Theory was rooted in Learning Theory but added the social element. Social Learning Theory added that learning and new behaviors can occur through modeling, or, watching other people. Can, or does, the same happen with animals? Do animals learn new behaviors by simply watching other animals?
Many years ago I had to choose a name for my dog training business. I picked “I Said Sit!” with no intention of yelling at a dog, but to represent the frustration of owners who couldn’t get their dog to listen. Almost 25 years later this still holds true and the first thing our clients want out of training is for the dog to listen to them.
What they really mean is for the dog to follow commands and not ignore them. It is common for owners to ask their dog over and over to do something without ever setting the dog up for success. What usually happens is that the dog and the owner fail and both of them get upset. In reality, the more you talk to your dog the less it listens.
Dear Inquisitive Canine,
Our dog Tyler loves going to the dog park. But since he learned to fetch, all he wants to do is play with a ball. He doesn’t play chase and run with the other dogs, and in fact rarely even sniffs hello.
We’ve tried not taking our ball flinger, but the park is covered with abandoned balls and somehow Tyler always
convinces someone to throw the ball for him. How can we get him back to playing with other dogs at the dog park?
I’m a female 10–month-old puppy with a curious heritage that may be a Lab/Chow mix, although I look like an Australian Shepherd. I have TONS of energy, and my favorite games are digging holes, destroying plant life, eating the laundry off the line, chewing up the arms of the sofa and other fun tricks that drive my humans crazy.
My dog is a 16-pound cocker spaniel and the anti-alpha dog. My neighbor has a tiny Pomeranian that’s an absolute nightmare. Every time we walk by, the owner wants me to let my dog off leash to have a “play date” with her psycho dog. The pom “nips” at my dog non-stop, while mine just lies down or cowers and takes the abuse. Very alpha for such a tiny little devil.