5 Safety Rules to Protect Your Pup This Holiday Season

A lot changes in your household during the holiday season…

  • Visitors come and go
  • New decor is placed around your home
  • Different food dishes are often prepared

…and while all these things might be normal to you, they can be really confusing (and stressful!) to your pup!

As we are just days away from celebrating the holidays, it’s more important than ever to set safety rules in your home regarding you dog!

What rules do you need to put in place to keep your pup safe? Keep reading to find out…

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Rule #1 – Set Boundaries on How People Interact With Your Dog

Some dogs want nothing more than to be surrounded by people who will pet and play with them. For other dogs, the thought of being in a room full of strange people is overwhelming and unnerving.

You know your dog best, so it’s your job as a pet parent to set boundaries around how your dog is interacted with.

If you have a dog who becomes nervous, cranky, or scared around people, it’s vital that you take precautions to protect your pet. Sadly, unnecessary fear and stress can cause your pup to lash out, and possibly even hurt someone as your dog is simply trying to protect himself.

Here are a few ways you can do this…

  1. Tell houseguests to ignore your pup. This works well if you have a dog who isn’t very reactive but who still needs to be left alone. Adults are better at following this rule, so if you have a houseful of kids coming to stay with you setting this rule might not be an option.
  2. Provide a safe, quiet place for your dog. I believe it’s best to never risk an accident occurring with a nervous dog, so this option is my favorite. If you’re having people over, set your pet up in a safe place (like a bedroom) where no one will bother him.

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Rule #2 – Set Guidelines on What Your Pet is Allowed to Eat

Most people have the best intentions when they go to throw your pup a treat from the dinner table. But there are many reasons why you should clearly communicate what your dog can/can’t eat to everyone who gathers around your table.

First and foremost, there are a lot of dangerous foods that can make dogs really sick. For example, chocolate can kill dogs—something that someone who is not a dog owner might not know! Or if someone throws your dog a chicken leg with the bone in it, your pup can end up with a punctured stomach or intestinal blockage.

If you’re going to allow people to give your dog treats, make a list of the foods your dog is allowed to have, such as sweet potatoes, green beans, or turkey off the bone.

Second, you may not want your dog eating people food at all—and that’s totally ok. It’s possible that your dog is overweight or has a food sensitivity. In these types of scenarios it’s important to make sure everyone knows it’s NOT ok to feed your dog and that he is on a strict diet.

Finally, you might be in the midst of training your dog and allow him to eat scraps from people at the table could be disruptive to learning proper meal time manners. After all, bad habits (such as putting a nose on the table or begging for food) can be hard to break.

Once again, in this type of situation, it’s ok to make an announcement to ensure everyone knows NOT to feed your dog.

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Rule #3 – Say No to Guests Bringing Pets if Your Dog Doesn’t Like Other Animals

Most hosts try to be as accommodating as possible when friends and family travel for the holidays. Sometimes this means saying yes to a family bringing their cat/dog with them as they travel.

If your dog is friendly with animals, then by all means it’s ok to bring new animals into your home—as long as you introduce your pets safely and keep a watchful eye on how they interact.

However, if your dog doesn’t do well with other animals, it’s important to just say no to four legged house visitors.

The reason is simple: Your pets safety and wellness needs to be your first priority. Noone wants to deal with an injury (or even death) of a pet that could have been prevented.

Not to mention…it’s very stressful having to constantly separate animals and keep a watchful eye on them. It’s just not worth the risk and hassle.

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Rule #4 – Set Up Safety Precautions Around Home Decor

Twinkling lights and traditional poinsettia plants are beautiful household decorations. However, these decor items (and many others in your home) can put your pet at risk.

It’s important to set rules in your home about what types of decor you believe are safe according to your pups personality.

For example…

If you have a dog that chews things, poisonous plants and strings of Christmas lights would not be safe options. Instead, consider decorating areas of your home that are not accessible to your pet, such as your counter spaces of mantle place.

(Be aware: amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the most poisonous holiday house plants!)

If you do set out decor, always remember to unplug your lights, secure your Christmas tree, and remove breakable objects from where you pup can reach them in order to avoid an accident.

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Rule #5 – It’s Better to Be Safe Than Sorry

Yes…this may sound like a very vague rule. But I truly believe that when it comes to traveling, friends/family, food, decor, and everything else, it’s ALWAYS better to be safe than to be sorry.

In fact, I applaud all dog owners who go above and beyond to ensure their pets stay happy and healthy during the holidays—and all year long!

So what do I mean by this rule?

I simply mean that you should go with your gut instincts and do whatever it is that you need to do to ensure your pup is protected—whether it be limiting your decor or setting strict boundaries with friends and family members.

Much like a new parent of a baby would set rules for their child, you have every right to set rules for your furbaby—so don’t feel guilty about it! Even if you feel like you’re being a little over protective.

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Going the Extra Mile for Your Pet this Season

There’s a lot you can do to set your pup up for success during the holiday season. By far, the best thing you can do is to put a solid training foundation in place for your dog.

Doing so can help your pup safe in a variety of ways…such as mastering self-control so your dog doesn’t jump on the counter to eat your cookies or ensuring your dog stays relaxed and calm when new people enter your home.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your pooch this season, I want to recommend my program, The Dog Calming Code.

This program has helped me train over 37,000 dogs, and I guarantee it will help teach your pup how to calm down, relax, and listen when it matters most.

Check it out here!

Or, if you currently have a puppy, I suggest my Puppy Coach training program that is geared towards younger dogs.

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Here’s to a safe and happy season,

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~Doggy Dan 🙂

How to Find a Quality Dog Sitter/Walker Your Pup Will Love

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, life gets busy!

Suddenly you may find yourself booking plane tickets to visit relatives for the weekend on a whim, or skipping your normal lunch break to get some holiday shopping done.

While this is a fun time for most people, it can take a toll on our canine companions who suddenly find themselves cooped up in the house more frequently or placed in a boarding facility while you’re on vacation.

The solution for keeping your pet happy, healthy, and stress-free this season: Find a quality dog sitter or dog walker.

Of course this solution seems simple. But, how exactly do you find a dog sitter/walker that you can trust with your pup?

Here are a few strategies and tips for finding a quality pet care provider in your community…

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Use a Professional Dog Care Service Finder

Over the last decade, the need for professional dog care services has exploded. This explosion has led to the rise of professional dog care service companies that hire dog lovers to help take care of people’s pets.

It’s likely that you’ve heard of some of the big companies, such as Rover, Care and Wag!

These services are a great place to start if you’re in need of a helping hand as these companies carefully screen their employees to ensure the best care possible is provided to your dog.

If you decide to use one of these services, you can scan through dog walker/sitter profiles and pick a person who you feel is the best match for your dog. Better yet, you can look at testimonials and referrals to truly ensure your pet will receive great care.

These sites offer a variety of services, from pet boarding, in home care, and daily walking.

Currently I’ve been in touch with Rover, a great company that covers the USA and the UK. For everyone else globally keep reading…

Now the awesome folks at Rover (who do sleepovers AND walks) have extended a unique offer to me and my readers…

If you join now by clicking the special link below, you’ll receive a $10 off coupon to use on any of their services.

Save $10 on your first booking at Rover.com

So if you’re in need of a break and are struggling to find a solution regarding where to put your dog… help is at hand 🙂

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Ask Your Friends or Family for Help

If you don’t feel comfortable with letting a stranger care for your dog, you can always ask around to see if any of your friends or family would be up to the task.

In fact, there are many benefits to having someone you know care for your pet.

For example, if your dog is familiar with your friend/family member, it can be much less stressful for your dog during the time you go away.

Friends and family members tend to also be a little more flexible and are often willing to go the extra mile for your pet.

And, of course, hiring someone you know personally to care for your pet in your home can give you better piece of mind that that something like mistreatment of your pet or thievery in your home won’t take place.

So, go ahead and ask around to see who is available during lunch breaks or over the holidays when you’re going to be gone. I bet there’s someone in your network who would be happy to make a little extra money watching your pup this season!

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Interview Your Potential Dog Walker/Sitter

Regardless of whether you use a professional service or enlist a friend/family member to watch your pet, hosting an interview is always a good idea.

During the interview, you can ask your potential dog sitter really important questions, such as…

  • How much experience do you have with dogs?
  • Will you be able to stick to a consistent schedule while watching my dog?
  • Is there anything about dogs that makes your nervous?
  • How do you expect to be compensated for your time?
  • What would you do in an emergency situation pertaining to my dog?
  • Do you have any references I can contact?

Having this conversation gives you the ability to discuss any questions and concerns you have, ultimately setting your dog watcher and your dog up for success.

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Ask Your Veterinarian for Suggestions

Veterinarians are very tied into the canine community. So, if you’re struggling to find help with your dog, it’s likely that your vet will be able to point you in the right direction.

On top of being able to provide suggestions, many vet offices provide dog boarding services.

While these services might be more expensive than hiring someone to dog sit in your home, there are many advantages to using your vet to board your dog.

The biggest advantage is health care.

If you have a dog that has health issues, is old, or struggles with anxiety while you’re away, the vet’s office is the best place for your pet to be. In the event that your dog needs care, your vet will right there, able to assist.

I highly recommend this option to people with elderly pets/sick pets.

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Pay Attention to All the Details

The details are important when selecting someone to watch your pet.
What do I my by “details?” A few things…

First of all, I want you to take note of your potential dog walker/sitter’s personality. Do they come across as personalizable, compassionate, and kind?

When they talk do they truly seem to have a good understanding of animal care and dogs?

What kind of methods do they seem familiar with when it comes to handling your dog? Knowing their training/care philosophy can help ensure you don’t accidentally pick a person with limited experience or someone who uses unkind methods to handle your pup.

Details can also mean contractual obligations.

Personally, I think it’s important that you have a formal agreement between you and the pet care provider that outlines everything that is expected. Paying attention to the details such as what time your dog needs care, how long your dog’s walk should be, etc. ensures that you’ll receive the care you’re paying for.

The key to hiring quality care for your dog all comes down to the fine details…so be sure to be on high alert when hiring a care provider!

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A Note on Dog Anxiety

As I mentioned earlier, this time of year can be difficult on dogs—especially if you’re not around as much or your schedule is constantly changing.

Traveling, being away, bringing new people into your home, and messing with your dogs schedule can really stir up a lot of anxiety within your dog.

How do you prevent this from happening, or ease the anxiety your pup is currently feeling?

The first step is putting a solid training foundation in place, like my program The Dog Calming Code, that will help keep your dog calm regardless of the many changes that might be going on.

Training is essential as it is the only thing that will permanently help your dog relax and focus when it matters most.

Second, it’s important that you find a high-quality set of helping hands to care for your dog when you can’t. Be sure to use the tips we provided above to find someone!

Finally, keeping your pet on a normal schedule is key. Ensure that he’s getting walked, fed, let out to go potty, etc. according to his normal routine. Consistency will help take the edge off your pets anxiety.

I wish you and your pet a happy, healthy, and stress-free holiday season!

Enjoy your time off!

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~Doggy Dan 🙂

Doggy Dan’s Ultimate Summer Holiday Safety Guide

By far one of the best things about summer is the parties!

From 4th of July firework shows to backyard BBQ and pool parties, there is no shortage of opportunities to get together with friends and family and celebrate everything this season has to offer.

For us humans, this time of year is a lot of fun. But, for our canine companions, it can be stressful and even dangerous.

Between having strange guests over, laying out large spreads of picnic foods, and shooting off loud fireworks there are many opportunities for your pup to end up scared or overwhelmed, or get himself into trouble while consuming foods he shouldn’t!

For that reason, I wanted to share some of my most popular blogs that share valuable information on how to keep your pup safe, calm, and happy during the summer season.

Check them out below…

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How to Help Your Dog Overcome the Fear of Fireworks

Dogs who are scared of fireworks–as well as thunder, gunshots, or other loud noises–is a topic that I am passionate about. There’s nothing I hate more than seeing animals in fear, especially dogs.

For those of you who own dogs with a true fear of loud noises, you may feel overwhelmed when challenging dog behaviours–such as peeing in the house, shaking, running away, or hiding under furniture–occur.

These sense of frustration, overwhelm, and the feeling of helplessness arises for two reasons…

You do not understand why your dog is behaving in such a way.
You can’t figure out what you need to do to help your dog.
Here’s the good news…

All the undesirable behaviors that come with a fear of loud noises are simply signs of a dog that is stressed. And these unwanted behaviors can be stopped without force, fear or aggression when you have the right tools to help your dog.

To ensure your dog is calm and relaxed this 4th July when the fireworks are going off, check out this article here that helps you tap into the psychology of why dogs get so scared so that you know where your dog is coming from.

Helping dogs with Fireworks…

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Safe Summer Dog Treats: The TOP 3 Dog Popsicle Recipes of ALL TIME!

Everyone loves indulging in a cold treat on a hot day—even your dog!

That being said, a lot of human treats, like…

Dairy-based ice cream
Sugar-laden popsicles
Artificially flavored slushies

…are not a healthy or safe option for your pup.

Not to mention, if your dog is obese, those fat and sugar-filled treats could contribute to major health issues for your pup.

So what kind of cool treat can you spoil your dog with this summer?

I personally recommend homemade dog popsicles.

Not only are they easy to make and cheap, but they are also safe and packed with nutritious ingredients that are actually good for your dog—in moderation of course!

(There is nothing like knowing EXACTLY what your dog is eating!)

Here are the top 3 dog popsicle recipes that I recommend…

Keep reading…

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Keep Your Party Guests Safe: Excited And Aggressive Dog Greetings

“So is my dog being aggressive or are they just excited?” This is the big question that many people are asking themselves, (and often me) as their dogs race up bounding and barking at dogs that they meet.

The answer is not simply one or the other, and in most cases, I would suggest it is a bit of both.

As I explain in this very popular podcast, the more excited your dog is the more chance that their behaviour may be interpreted as aggressive or threatening. And, so the calmer your dog is the better your chances of a calm encounter.

To understand this better and what to do about it Listen to the podcast here!

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15 Great Ideas To Keep Your Dog Cool In Hot Weather

Dogs are unable to speak English so they’re never actually going to shout out “Hey, can you turn the AC up!”

BUT… That doesn’t mean they don’t overheat, just like we humans do!

So if your dog is lethargic, panting and generally looking down – and it’s a stinking hot day – then it’s very possible that they are suffering in the heat.

Here are some super simple tips and ideas that you can put into play straight away to keep them cooler.

Keep reading…

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My #1 Secret to Successfully Training Over 37,000 Dogs

Finally, the best way to keep your dog safe and happy this summer is to ensure he has a solid training foundation?


Because when your dog is able to remain calm and listen to you, life becomes a lot less stressful on him–even in the midst of chaos!

The idea is that you want your dog to trust you and to look to you for guidance when he is struggling. When he does this, you can avoid many dangerous and unwanted behaviors, such as your dog…

  • Running off
  • Jumping
  • Biting
  • Barking
  • Chewing
  • Etc.

Want to know the secret to how I’ve trained over 37,000 dogs?

Check out how the Dog Calming Code works here!

(If you have a puppy, you might want to check out my Puppy Coach training program here instead!)

I wish you and your pup a happy, fun, and safe summer!

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~Doggy Dan 🙂

Dog Chewing: How to Keep Your Dog from Destroying Your Stuff

If you’ve ever had a dog…

  • Chew up your brand-new shoes
  • Gnaw on your furniture
  • Tear up your carpet

…you’re not alone.

One of the most common behavioral issues dog owners come across is chewing.

(See how I’ve helped train over 37,000 dogs- many of which had a bad chewing habit here! Or, if you have a puppy, make sure chewing doesn’t become a problem with my Puppy Coach training program!)

This makes sense as dogs have a natural instinct to gnaw on things.

In fact, dogs should be given opportunities to chew as the behavior helps keep their teeth clean and provides them with constructive entertainment.

But, why is it that your dog always seems to pick the wrong thing to chew, i.e., your brand-new bedroom slippers.

Or more importantly, how do you correct the behavior so your dog knows the difference between what he is allowed to tear apart and what should be left untouched?

Keep reading to find out…

Why Dogs Chew Stuff

First and foremost, it’s important to point out the reasons behind why your dog might be chewing up your things.

Until we know the root cause of the problem, we won’t be able to put training in place to fix it.

As we mentioned above, dogs have a natural instinct to chew.

That being said, there’s often a bigger underlying issue as to why your dog feels the need to eat your coffee table.

It’s likely that your pup fits into one of the following 3 categories…

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REASON ONE: Your Dog Is a Puppy Who Needs to Chew

If you have a young puppy, he’s going to want to chew things.

The biggest reason: teething.

Puppies start getting teeth around the age of 16 weeks. And, it’s possible that they will continue to teeth until they are 7 to 8 months old.

Knowing this, it’s vital to prepare for this uncomfortable phase in your pup’s life. Even more so, it’s important to be compassionate towards your dog during this painful time.

In order to prevent your puppy from chewing on inappropriate items and learning bad behavior, here’s what I recommend…

#1 – Provide your pup with adequate chewing toys.

The best thing you can do for a puppy is to ensure he has enough “puppy appropriate” things to chew.

I personally recommend a variety of materials so your dog can select which he prefers. For example…

  • Hard rubber toys such as a Kong.
  • Rope toys, just a length of rope with a few good knots in it.
  • Wooden toys. (I often I will select sticks or pine cones that are cheap and safe.)
  • Softer material like a dish towel, damp and a knot tied in it.
  • Large natural Cannon Bones. (Ensure they are solid and safe. Always avoid things like chicken bones that splinter and break.)
  • Bully sticks or similar chew “treats.”

#2 – Learn the skill of redirection.

Redirection is a training technique in which you redirect your dog’s bad behavior (chewing on your table leg) to an appropriate behavior (chewing on a bone).

Remember, your dog is a puppy. It’s likely that he really doesn’t know better when it comes to chewing up your stuff.

Help teach him what’s acceptable to chew by calmly removing him from the inappropriate item he is chewing and transferring him to a toy or a treat he can chew instead.

#3 – Keep your stuff off the floor.

Last but not least, I recommend the most common-sense habit—keeping your stuff off the floor.

A young puppy isn’t going to be keen on what’s his to chew and what’s not.

Therefore, it’s your responsibility as a puppy parent to ensure your dog isn’t able to get into things that he shouldn’t.

It’s much like having a new baby in your home.

You wouldn’t leave dangerous items on your floor for a baby to reach. You also shouldn’t trust that your pup knows the difference between what is safe and not safe to chew/play with.

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REASON TWO: Your Dog Hasn’t Been Trained Properly

The second reason your dog might chew things is simply because he wasn’t trained properly.

The good news…it’s never too late to teach your dog a new trick.

Here’s what I recommend trying if you’ve never taught your dog the difference between what’s ok and not ok to chew.

#1 – Timeouts

Timeouts are a very kind way to help your dog understand when he’s doing something naughty.

Here’s how it works…

  1. You catch your dog chewing on your slipper.
  2. Calmly walk up to your dog, remove the slipper from his mouth, and tell him no.
  3. Put the slipper back on the floor.
  4. If your dog goes back to chewing on the slipper, repeat the process, and then calmly walk him to his crate.
  5. Leave your dog in his crate for 3 to 5 minutes,and then let him free.
  6. Every time he goes back to chew the slipper, place him back in his crate for a few minutes.

Dogs are brilliant animals, and eventually your pup is going to realize that chewing on the slipper (or whatever object it might be) will warrant him a few minutes in puppy jail.

#2 – Reward good behavior.

This one is very simple and straightforward.

If you walk into a room and your dog is chewing his bone instead of your carpet, take a minute to reward him.

You could simply give him a nice pat or a cookie.

When you’re just starting out, it’s ok to go a little overboard with praise.

However, as your dog gets the hang of what he should be chewing, back off on giving praise/treats.

#3 – Keep your dog in eyesight.

Dogs are so smart that they’ve been known to try and hide their naughty behaviors from their owners.

For example, your dog might know that he’s not allowed to eat your stilettos. But, if the urge to chew one up hits, he may sneak upstairs into your bedroom when you’re not looking.

Unfortunately, that will leave you to walk into the aftermath of your dog’s chewing. And, because you didn’t actually catch your pup in the act of chewing, it’s not really fair or possible to scold or punish him.

The best way to stay on top of your dog’s naughty chewing behavior is to keep him contained to the rooms you are in.

You can do this by shutting bedroom doors, installing baby gates, or keeping your pup on a short leash.

Doing this will allow you to keep tabs on your dog so that, if you catch him in the act of chewing something, you can redirect him or put him in a timeout as necessary.

Before I move on to the next group, I want to note that the things we discussed regarding puppies apply to dogs who haven’t been properly trained as well.

If you’re interested in checking it out firsthand, here’s a great video of me using all three of these techniques with a little dog named Chester who loves to chew slippers.

Check it out…

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REASON THREE: Your Dog Suffers from Anxiety or Another Behavioral Issue

If you’ve tried everything from providing your dog with chew toys to putting him in timeouts for naughty behavior, and he’s still chewing your stuff, it’s very likely he has an underlying behavioral issue at play.

For example, your pup might…

  • Be bored.
  • Have anxiety.
  • Have too much energy.

All of these things can cause dogs to chew—regardless of whether your dog knows it’s acceptable or not acceptable.

Let’s start with stressed or anxious dogs.

As humans, we might resort to obsessive compulsive behaviors or exhibit habits like nail-biting when we are stressed or suffering from anxiety.

Your dog might do the same, except instead of biting his nails, he might decide to eat your priceless, antique knickknack.

One of the best ways to relieve your dog’s stress or anxiety is exercise.

Of course, your dog should be exercised every single day. However, if you see your dog uncharacteristically chewing on things, add an extra walk or a game of fetch into your daily routine to see if that helps.

By far the biggest cause of anxiety-driven chewing I see on a daily basis is from separation anxiety.

Curbing separation anxiety is somewhat of a complex issue, and I can’t do the process justice in this blog post.

If your dog is chewing due to separation anxiety, I encourage you to go check out one of my podcasts that talks directly about how to deal with separation anxiety.

Listen now!

Next, I want to talk about dogs who cannot switch off.

What I mean by this is that there are dogs who feel as if they have a job (protect the family, guard food, keep track of you/your kids) and they can’t turn off and relax because they are constantly “working.”

This often happens due to a dog feeling as if he is the one in charge in your home.

Eventually the stresses of “running” your household may lead your dog to chew in order to calm down and relax.

The solution: Make it clear to your dog that you are the provider in your home.

Once again, this is a bit of a complex issue, so I want to direct you to an article I wrote that talks about how I’ve helped over 37,000 relax and calm down so they can kick their bad habits.

Read it here!

Last but not least, your dog might be bored.

If this is the case, I recommend that you…

  1. Get off the couch and play with your pup more often.
  2. Add an extra walk into your dog’s routine.
  3. Ensure your dog has enough toys to chew and play with.

Even with proper training, getting your dog to stop chewing your stuff might not happen overnight. For that reason, it’s important to learn how to properly safety proof your home so that both your dog and your stuff stays safe.

I’ve put together a FREE guide for safety proofing your home, and I encourage you to give it a read.

↓Download my FREE guide here↓

Best of luck as you work to curb your pups bad chewing habit.

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan

Why Does My Dog Do This?…10 Odd Dog Behaviors Defined

It’s no secret that dogs and humans often exhibit very different behavioral habits.

After all, if you walked around sniffing others people’s butts in an attempt to get to know them, you might be sent in for a mental evaluation.

Yet, some of these odd behaviors—like sniffing butts or rolling around in stinky things—are very important behaviors for dogs.

Not long ago, I wrote a post about things our dogs don’t understand about humans.

(If you missed it, I encourage you to go check it out here!)

And today, I thought it would be fun to turn the tables and take a deep dive into 10 things—odd behaviors—that we humans don’t understand about dogs.

Want to know why your dog feels the need to eat poop or smell everything in sight? Keep reading to find out…

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Odd Behavior #1: Why does my dog feel the need to smell everything?

Your dog’s primary sense is his sense of smell.

In fact, according to Purina.com…

“The area of the canine brain that is devoted to analyzing scent is 40 times greater than that of the human and dogs can identify smells at least 1,000 times better than we can! The dog’s superior sense of smell comes from 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose. Compared to the human’s paltry 5 million, it’s no wonder smell is considered to be the dog’s primary sense.

When a dog sniffs, air is taken in and passes through the olfactory epithelium (nasal skin cells). These calls are also found in a special organ that dogs (and cats) possess, called the Jacobsen’s or vomeronasal organ. This organ is thought to be important in the detection of pheromones (body scents), perhaps giving the dog its tremendous ability to identify and recognize animals and people.”

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Odd Behavior #2: Why does my dog like some people and not others?

Much like humans, dogs have preferences on whom they like to hang around.

This preference can be dependent on a large variety of factors.

First and foremost, our dogs have the ability to sense whether someone has good energy generally and if they are a good person or not. It’s the reason some dogs will lie on the floor happily when friends are over, yet, in an instant, turn into an attack dog when someone breaks into the home.

We don’t really understand how dogs are able to “feel people out,” but it’s clear that they have the ability to judge whether someone has good intentions or not.

Another way dogs pick whom they want to hang around is by observing human behavior.

If you have a very social dog who loves to be fussed over and petted, he might choose to hang around the people who are willing to give him unlimited attention.

On the flip side, there are dogs that are less social or get overwhelmed by people who want to be all up in their business.

This type of dog might choose to hide from people that seem too overbearing or children/adults who are too loud, obnoxious, and don’t respect the dog’s space.

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Odd Behavior #3: Why do dogs love being around people so much?

As I just mentioned above, most dogs are very social creatures.

By nature, dogs are pack animals and often desire to feel as though they are part of a pack or family.

If your dog has had positive experiences around humans, it’s likely that he’s going to want to be a part of everything you and your friends do.

Not to mention, if you regularly play with your dog, shower him with love and affection, and provide him with treats, he’ll never want to miss out on an opportunity to be spoiled by you.

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Odd Behavior #4: Why doesn’t my dog like toys?

Dogs are a lot like kids in the sense that they all have very different play preferences and personalities.

The environment in which your dog grows up contributes to these play preferences.

To set the foundation, I want to be very clear on the fact that while toys are a lot of fun for most dogs, not all dogs need toys to be happy!

For this reason, some people opt to never give their dog toys, or the dog only has one or two favorite toys—especially if their dog is known to chew up toys and swallow dangerous materials.

When a dog grows up in this environment, he will learn to enjoy playing in other ways, such as a trip to the park, a walk around the block, or some quality time wrestling on the floor.

Another reason your dog might not like toys could be because he grew up without them. For instance, you may have adopted a dog from a shelter who never had access to toys.

Because of this, your adopted dog may simply have no idea how to even play with toys.

Finally, as I said above, all dogs have different play preferences that come naturally programmed.

Some dogs love hard toys, some dogs love soft toys, some dogs love to play fetch, and some dogs don’t care about toys at all.

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Odd Behavior #5: Why does my dog eat poop?

Eating dog poop is by far probably one of the most disgusting dog habits that we humans simply don’t understand—and for good reason.

It’s gross, unappetizing, and downright nauseating.

But, there are many reasons our pups do it.

First and foremost, eating poop could be a sign that your dog has a deficiency of something in their diet.

The most likely culprits are…

  • Enzyme deficiencies.
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
  • Mineral deficiencies.

It’s a dog’s natural instinct to curb these deficiencies by eating poop as other foods often contain the nutrients your dog might be missing.

If your dog regularly eats poop, talk to your vet about your dog’s food and what you could be doing differently to give him the nutrients he needs in an attempt to curb the behavior.

Believe it or not, another instinct that causes dogs to eat poop is cleanliness. This is especially true if you have a dog that has had puppies before.

Mama dogs are programmed to keep their pups’ environment safe and clean—and in the wild, that often means eating poop out of their pups’ living space.

While this instinct is mostly present in dogs with new puppies, the instinct can carry over into later years of a dog’s life.

Lastly, some dogs simply just think it tastes great.

This is especially true when it comes to cat poop—what a delicacy!

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to curb this behavior aside from keeping your dog away from other animal droppings. Although one very popular tip is to feed your dog a little bit of pineapple! Yep, that’s right. A bit of pineapple may do the trick in stopping them from eating their own faeces.

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Odd Behavior #6: Why does my dog feel the need to always be on top of me?

Dogs love having contact with us much in the same way small children desire to hold our hands/cuddle or adults feel the desire to hug/be close to those they love.

It’s usually a sign of affection.

However, it can also be a sign of dominance. For example, imagine invading your boss’s space by leaning on him when you are trying to discuss a pay raise. Not a good idea!

As a dog owner and trainer, I understand that it can be obnoxious when your dog feels the need to constantly be on top of you.

And, I also believe that boundaries and training should be put in place in order to ensure your dog doesn’t need to be constantly sitting on top of your head. That’s right. I actually worked with more than one couple whose dog lies on their heads when they are sitting in their arm chairs or sleeping at night! (The dogs are not German Shepherds!)

That being said, a dog who loves you will always feel happy in your presence and have the desire to feel your warmth, which bring him comfort.

One suggestion is to make all the interactions on your terms so YOU initiate the interaction with your dog.

If you’re struggling to set space boundaries with your dog, I highly suggest you check out how I’ve successfully trained over 37,000 dogs here!

Or, if you have a puppy, you can start setting a solid foundation with my Puppy Coach training program here!

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Odd Behavior #7: Why does my dog eat grass?

There are two big reasons dogs eat grass.

The first reason is very similar to the reason dogs eat poop.

Your dog might be missing vitamins/nutrients in his diet, and eating grass is his way of trying to rebalance his diet and make up for what is missing.

If you notice your dog chowing down on grass, talk to your vet about what supplements your dog might need to rebalance his diet.

The second reason dogs eat grass is to induce vomiting.

If your dog has an upset stomach, eating grass is a natural, instinctual way to throw up whatever may be causing his discomfort, so I always let my dogs do it.

Pay attention to your dog and take note if he’s acting odd, lethargic, is biting at his abdomen, or refusing to eat his normal food.

Eating grass could be a sign that a bigger health issue is at play however its not always a reason for alarm. It could be your dog simply knows they need to be sick and then they will be fine.

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Odd Behavior #8: Why does my dog chase his tail?

Ah, the age-old question…Why does my dog chase his tail?

The answer: why not?

I mean, have you ever tried it? Can you imagine how much fun it would be! The best analogy is probably chasing a sibling or a friend when you were a child and they were just out of reach!

The other thought is that maybe our dogs aren’t that smart! Personally, I doubt this theory, but maybe it’s true!

It has been suggested that, while dogs are incredibly intelligent animals, they simply don’t have the ability to understand their own anatomy.

For that reason, a flash of a tail-chasing behind them quickly turns into a game of “I must chase and catch what is following me.”

I shall leave you to decide what you believe 🙂

Most dogs eventually grow out of chasing their own tails as they become used to having a tail and get bored with it. If your dog is doing it too much then consider stepping in and doing a ‘calm freeze’ to put a stop to it.

The bottom line: Tail chasing is either a lot of fun, and why not, or it’s just a silly game dogs play because they don’t know any better.

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Odd Dog Behavior #9: Why does my dog gets anxious when I leave the house?

First and foremost, dogs are pack animals.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re part of your dog’s pack.

Here’s where the anxiety comes into play…

Leaders in a dog pack are responsible for ensuring their pack members are safe and taken care of.

If your dog thinks he’s the pack leader, it’s likely that he’s going to freak out when you go missing.

That being said, in the world of dogs, pack leaders are allowed to leave the group to do things like hunt.

If your dog recognizes you as the leader of the household, he will come to realize that it’s ok if you leave to “take care of business” and his anxiety will diminish.

Being the “leader” of your pack isn’t about being mean, in control, and overpowering your dog. It’s about establishing a relationship in which your dog trusts you to care for him and provide.

If you believe your dog’s anxiety or other bad behaviors are caused by you not being seen as the household leader, I invite you to check out my program The Dog Calming Code.

➜ Check out The Dog Calming Code here.

This program is designed to help dog owners establish leadership roles in a kind, compassionate way that helps dogs relax, calm down, and let go so they can enjoy the life they deserve.

The best news is that this issue is one of the simplest in the world to fix.

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Odd Dog Behavior #10: Why does my dog spin in circles before lying down?

We’ve all seen it happen…

Whether it be on the floor, a bed, or a couch, we’ve all witnessed our pups spinning in circles before lying down to sleep.

Why does your dog feel the need to spin around 7 times before finally lying down?


It’s a safety instinct that is ingrained in our dogs from long before they were domesticated.

According to Livescience.com…

“Wild dogs had to pat down tall grass and underbrush to make a comfortable bed for themselves and their pups. The easiest way to prepare that night’s sleeping area was by walking around in a circle.

The rounding ritual may also have served as a safety precaution. ‘In the wild, the circling would flatten grasses or snow and would drive out any snakes or large insects,’ said Irvine, a sociologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who specializes in the role of animals in society.

‘I have also heard that circling the area and thus flattening it leaves a visible sign to other dogs that this territory has been claimed,’ Irvine said. ‘Even though our dogs now sleep on cushions, the behavior endures.”

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There you have it—10 odd dog behaviors explained!

Before I end this post, I want to make one thing really clear. Dogs have many funny behaviors, and while most are silly things out of instinct, there are things dogs do to communicate that they are stressed out.

So to avoid a stressed out dog, I’ve created a FREE pdf that gives tips on how to keep your dog entertained and tips on how to keep your dog relaxed.

↓ Download the FREE guide here ↓[blank_space height=’1em’]

I encourage you to check it out and see if any of my recommendations will help relax your pup and keep him occupied.

It’s my hope that you’ll be able to use this guide to ensure your dog stays happy and stress-free.

If you’re still struggling or want additional help, please go ahead and check out my Dog Calming Code here.

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan

How to Determine If Your Dog’s Bad Behavior Is Caused by Boredom or Stress

As a dog trainer, I am often approached with questions about different dog behavioral problems.

Some people believe the issues that arise due to boredom are caused by lack of exercise or a lack of attention given to a dog.

And these things certainly can make the behavior worse. However, many of these behaviors are actually a direct result of an underlying leadership issue.

That’s right.

For example, separation anxiety can cause a dog a lot of stress, which results in unwanted behavior from the dog.

So, is your dog bored due to a lack of stimulation? Or, is there a bigger issue like stress at play?

Today, I’m going to talk about why dogs get bored so you can uncover the reasoning behind why your pup feels the need to…

  • Eat furniture
  • Be destructive
  • Run away
  • Dig
  • Bark nonstop
  • Express other behavioral issues

…and how you can get these bad behaviors under control.

So, is your dog bored? Or just stressed out?

Let’s find out now…

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Why Dogs Get Bored

Dogs are extremely intelligent, social animals.

For this reason, dogs can certainly get bored.

You might be thinking, “Well, all my dog wants to do is sleep on the couch.” And, that could be true.

Some breeds are more relaxed than others.

For instance, Greyhounds, Great Danes, Basset Hounds, Pugs, and Bulldogs are often low energy and like to spend a large part of their day napping.

However, breeds such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Poodles are among the breeds who are most likely to get in trouble when bored.

The phrase “a tired dog is a happy dog” is absolutely true.

Not only does mental stimulation relieve boredom, but it can also help relieve any stress your dog is feeling and help your dog’s personality shine through.

What type of physical and mental stimulation am I referring to?

Well, there are all different types of stimuli. But, I recommend exposing your dog to new things and new places. And, providing them with as many learning experiences as possible.

Training, for example, is an excellent way to burn off some steam if you have run out of ideas for the day and your dog is still bored and ready to rock and roll.

Even if your dog knows sit, come, and stay, reinforcing those commands doesn’t hurt, and it makes your dog feel like he’s doing a good job.

A walk in the park or learning a new trick can also be a great way to channel a dog’s nervous energy. Naturally, as a dog’s energy is released, his anxiety should also start to decrease.

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Two Indicators That Help Identify If Your Dog’s Poor Behavior Is Due to Boredom or Stress

Determining whether your dog is bored or stressed (and if there is an underlying cause) is not an easy problem to solve.

There are two indicators that I look for…

The first indicator is to see if the unwanted behavior stops when you are in your home.

For example, if you return home from work and your dog lies down in the sun and relaxes (instead of chewing furniture like he did when you weren’t there), then it certainly seems like your dog’s stress has more to do with YOU not being there!

This is what we call separation anxiety and is not too tricky to stop.

The second suggestion to test whether your dog is bored and or simply stressed is to take him for a walk.

If your dog charges around and runs at a million miles an hour, then chances are he has a lot of pent-up energy that needs to be let out! Learn how to help keep him calm here!

If your dog walks calmly, it’s more likely that the underlying cause of your dog’s bad behaviors is a lack of mental or physical stimulation!

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Signs of Stress in Dogs

There are also many other very clear warning signs that will tell you if your dog is stressed.

For instance, does your dog still pace up and down the hallway, even after you’ve taken a walk in the park?

Does your dog continually bark and whine when something in his environment changes?

Or, is his behavior dependent on where he’s at or whom he’s with?

The key to identifying stress in dogs is to take note of patterns.

For instance, if your dog only digs holes in your carpet when you aren’t there, it’s a clear indication that your absence causes him stress.

If it was boredom, he’d likely dig holes regardless of whether you are there or not.

Keep track of the behavioral issues that occur when your dog’s environment changes.

If a lap around the park or a Kong stuffed with peanut butter doesn’t deter bad behaviors, it’s likely that stress is at play.

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Ways to Prevent Boredom and Unnecessary Stress

The good news is that there are many ways to prevent boredom as well as alleviate stress. Here’s what I recommend…


First, let’s talk about doggy daycare.

If you’re going to be gone for hours and hours, having someone come to your home or dropping your dog off at a doggy daycare could be extremely helpful in deflecting destructive behaviors due to boredom.

Doggy daycare will also help if your pup gets stressed when left home alone.

At doggy daycare, your dog will have something to do all day. And, when he comes home, he will likely be ready to cuddle on the sofa and watch a movie.

Look around for local doggy daycares or professional pet sitters. Then, ask for a meet-and-greet to see if your dog is comfortable being with them.

If you’re home most of the day, or your dog comes with you on outings, don’t forget to give her plenty of exercise during the day.


The general recommendation is a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise, but this varies based on breed and age.

Take your dog for a long walk each day, even if it’s just at your home.

If you don’t have time for a walk, I recommend hiring a dog walker to help you out. You can usually find a trustworthy dog walker for about 10 US Dollars a day.

A daily walk will alleviate boredom as we as help your dog get rid of some nervous energy.


Structure is also extremely helpful in managing your dog’s behavioral issues and preventing boredom and unnecessary stress.

It’s important to establish a routine.

Your dog will begin to understand when it’s time to go potty, when it’s time to play, and when it’s time to go to sleep for the evening.

You’ll notice a much happier, healthier dog with a routine in place.


Another way to stimulate your dog is to turn mealtime into a fun game.

Place your dog’s kibble throughout the house and have your dog sniff to find it. You can also take a look at slow feeder bowls to increase mental stimulation.


And last but not least, I recommend playdates!

This might sound silly, but most dogs absolutely love playdates with their dog buddies.

During playdates, your dog will be able to run, jump, play tug-of-war, etc. and release a ton of energy.

This also provides your dog with another opportunity to be social and interact with both dogs and people.

As you know, dogs are pack animals. So, encouraging play with other dogs can be helpful.

Don’t panic if your dog isn’t a fan of other dogs, though. Some dogs are just that way.

Just like us, some people love being in crowds of people. Others would prefer to stay home and relax by themselves or with several select people.

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The Bottom Line on Doggy Boredom and Stress

In order to keep your dog from exhibiting destructive behaviors due to boredom, make sure he gets plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

Let him play.

Let him run.

And, make sure you’re spending plenty of time with him to give him that social interaction piece of the puzzle.

However, if those solutions don’t work, stress may be the bigger problem at play.

If your dog is showing signs of anxiety or is being destructive even after being exercised, it’s possible that your dog has an underlying behavioral issue that is causing him to feel stressed (as I mentioned at the very beginning of the blog).

This comes out in the form of unsettled behavior where a dog continually wanders around, can’t relax, jumps up at noises, or follows you everywhere…

When you are not there, things get even worse for your dog.

This is the underlying issue too much of what is seen as boredom:

If your dog is experiencing behavior problems that exercise and stimulation don’t fix, be sure to…

  1. Check that the behavior is not being caused by stress and an underlying behavioral issue. Discover whether stress or another issue is at play while checking out my Dog Calming Code here. Or, if you have a puppy, put my Puppy Coach training program into place to help prevent boredom issues from occurring in the future.
  2. Give the information in The Dog Calming Code a try and see if it helps. (After working with over 3000 dogs, I am sure it will!)
  3. Remember that a dog that sleeps and lies for hours relaxing in the sun after a nice walk is not depressed but relaxed!

Still not sure if your dog’s behavioral issues are due to boredom or stress?

No problem…there are several things dogs do to communicate that they are stressed out…

I don’t want you to have any doubt about what your dog’s behavior means. For that reason, I created a FREE guide that highlights 5 warning signs your dog is stressed out.

Download the FREE guide here.

↓ DOWNLOAD my FREE 5 Warning Signs of Stress in Dogs PDF here! ↓ [blank_space height=’1em’]

I encourage you to check it out and see if any of my recommendations will help relax your pup and keep him occupied.

If you’re still struggling or want additional help, please go ahead and check out my Dog Calming Code here.

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan

10 Things Humans Do That Dogs Struggle to Understand

Do you ever wonder…

  • Why your dog stares at you blankly while you play games on your phone?
  • Why your pup feels the need to bark and growl at the vacuum cleaner?
  • Why your pooch chooses to hang out in the other room while you’re watching a sporting event?

Everyday rituals like playing on our smartphones, swiffering the floor, or watching your rambunctious kids run and scream through the house might seem normal to you.

However, in a dog’s world, some of these things are just downright confusing.

The worst part…your dog’s confusion can lead him to feeling nervous or irritated.

The simple truth is that there are many human activities that just don’t make sense in a dog’s world.

Curious if anything you’re doing might be upsetting your furry companion? I’ve come up with a list of items you can look over—with the help of my amazing Dog Trainer Academy students—that might be helpful to you.

Check it out now!

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#1 – Playing Video Games

Video games are addicting—and for good reason. They are tons of fun!

However, when you spend hours upon hours playing games instead of walking your dog or playing tug, your pup may begin to wonder where your loyalty lies.

On top of not spending time with your dog, video games can be loud and scary. Shooting noises, background music, and other sound effects may make your dog uncomfortable or even frightened.

This is especially true if you suddenly start screaming and shouting at the screen because some zombie is chasing you down the street!

My Advice: There’s nothing wrong with loving video games. However, if you play for hours on end, I recommend that you set timers throughout the day to put down the controller and spend time with your pup.

On top of spending time with your dog, make sure your video game volume is under control. Set your TV volume to a normal level, or better yet, invest in headphones so your dog doesn’t get upset by loud noises.

The flip side of all of this is that many dogs will actually relax when you are playing because it’s the one time YOU actually relax!

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#2 – Constant Use of Tablets/Smartphones

Tablets and smartphones fall under the same category as video games.

Here are a few reasons it’s important to be mindful of your cell phone usage…

First of all, if you spend all your time on your phone, your pup may begin to wonder why your rectangular-shaped electronic dog gets more love and affection.

That’s no good!

Second, if you’re using your phone while out walking your dog, it can put you both in danger. Heaven forbid, you’re not paying attention, and you and your pup gets hit by a car or walk yourself right into a dangerous scenario.

Third, talking on the phone can be confusing to your dog.

I bet you that if you pay attention, you’ll notice that your dog is fascinated about why you chatter away with nobody around–especially if you start getting animated, upset, or begin to shout!

Your dog will be looking at you thinking…What are you doing?!

And finally, your dog knows that when you’re talking on the phone, your mind is not focused on him or the walk but is elsewhere! So, be careful. You need to pay attention…(You can’t fool a dog!)

My Advice: Once again I recommend that you limit your time with your electronics if your dog is not getting enough attention and use your hands to play fetch or massage your dog instead.

And, of course, if you’re doing any type of activity like hanging out at the dog park or walking your dog, put your phone away and pay attention. An accident can happen in an instant. As a dog parent, it’s your responsibility to be engaged and aware.

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#3 – Fireworks and Party Crackers

As humans, we understand that fireworks and party crackers are fun and festive and that they won’t hurt us.

However, dogs aren’t capable of understanding what fireworks are and why we set them off.

I mean, imagine trying to explain why we set them off to a dog!

Here’s why this is a problem…

Dogs have a deeply rooted instinct to run away from and escape anything that feels threatening to them. Loud booms and bangs certainly fall into that category.

For this reason, the crack of a firework can easily set your dog into panic mode, causing him to want to run and hide.

As I said, there’s no way to rationally explain to your dog that he is safe and ok, regardless of the scary noises. And, because dogs are often fearful of this type of fanfare, many dogs end up suffering from panic attacks or run away from their homes due to the startling noises.

My Advice: In some areas, the use of fireworks or party crackers is unavoidable. For this reason, I recommend setting up a safe space for your dog inside your home–preferably in an interior room–where he can hide and feel safe until the festivities are over.

I also recommend NOT bringing party poppers into your home or setting off fireworks near your house. It’s not worth the stress and anxiety you may cause your pup.

For a more in-depth read on how to handle fireworks, check out this post.

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#4 – Screaming Children

If you have kids, you know firsthand that they can be crazy and loud.

As a father myself, I understand that you can’t forbid your kids to have fun while running around, playing games, and simply being kids.

That being said, loud screaming can be upsetting to dogs, and some people!

First of all, the loud noise is likely irritating to your dog’s sensitive ears.

Second, screaming and running may cause your dog to worry about whether your kids are ok. For instance, if you have a dog with protective instincts, a fun game of tag may make your dog believe that your child who is being chased is in danger.

This may promote anxious or aggressive behavior from your dog.

My Advice: Your dog may not be able to differentiate play from a real emergency. For this reason, I recommend that you talk with your kids about proper etiquette around dogs. If they want to run and scream, have your kids take their play outside. If they want to be inside with your pup, make sure your kids know to use quiet, indoor voices.

If that’s not possible and it’s a birthday party for example (we had 23 young kids in the house the other day at my daughter’s 7th birthday!), then put the dog somewhere safe like another room or a neighbor’s house.

Better yet, I encourage you to check out my Dog Calming Code program that will teach you how to keep your dog calm and focused in even the most stressful situations. Or, if you have a puppy, my Puppy Coach training program might suit your needs better!

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#5 – Vacuum Cleaners/Roombas/Lawn Mowers

I can’t say for certain, but I imagine house cleaning and yard maintenance tools like vacuums, lawn mowers, and Roombas look like loud, scary, alien robots to our canine companions.

Could you imagine if you walked into your home to see an unidentified life-form taking out your trash? (Ok, maybe you’d be thrilled! But, that’s beside the point.)

Machinery can be very scary to dogs. That’s why it’s no surprise as that your dog may bark and growl when these types of devices are on and running.

My Advice: Dogs don’t understand the concept of cleaning. So, they will never understand why we use things like vacuums and lawnmowers.

My best advice is to keep your dog away from these types of devices if they make your dog nervous or anxious. If you’re vacuuming your living room, put your dog upstairs in your bedroom. If you’re mowing your lawn, keep your dog indoors. Easy as that!

If you are looking for training tips, then check this out.

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#6 – Seeing Other Dogs on TV

One minute your dog is lying on the floor in his territory enjoying a nice nap. The next second, there’s a dog on TV barking, and suddenly, your dog may think his home is being invaded.

The reality is that dogs don’t always realize what’s real and what’s fake. If your dog sees a dog on TV, he may actually believe that the dog is real, standing right in front of your TV.

My Advice: In my honest opinion, I can be quite fun to let your dog watch other dogs on TV and see what his reaction is. Usually it’s silly and harmless–and if your dog is very social, he might even enjoy it!

If your dog gets nervous or angry by other dogs on TV, my only suggestion is to try the calm freeze technique combined with the 7-step formula while you are watching the TV channels like Animal Planet that regularly feature shows on dogs, as well as other

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#7 – Remote-Control Cars/Drones

Most dogs have a natural instinct to chase things. After all, stalking and chasing are a big part of how dogs in the wild catch their food!

For this reason, things like remote-control cars and drones can be very confusing.

On one hand, your dog may get wound up with the urge to catch the remote-control toys you are playing with. On the other hand, fast moving objects that make loud noises might scare your pup.

My Advice: I always believe in the rule that safety comes first. If your dog enjoys chasing and you are ok with him getting some exercise while running after a remote-control car, go for it. But, make sure it doesn’t become obsessive. This means you should always be able to call him back to you instantly.

If your dog gets weirded out by remote-control toys/drones or his obsession with chasing a toy becomes dangerous, I would keep your pup away or keep him on a leash.

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# 8 – Where Food Comes From

In the wild, dogs know that they have to track, hunt, and kill their food.

They understand that what they eat comes from the animals they track down. It’s actually quite remarkable that wild dogs have the ability to find the foods they like and turn them into dinner.

However, our domesticated pups have it a bit different. Their general understanding is that food comes from the pantry, a hall closet, or a refrigerator–where you keep their kibble or fresh foods.

Because we feed our dogs and don’t make them hunt for their own food, we become the provider. Your dog will always look to you when he’s wanting his next meal.

Domesticated dogs certainly don’t understand that you go to the grocery store or pet store and buy their food. But knowing that their meals will be provided by you is a very important thing.

As the food provider, your dog will understand that you are the caretaker and the one in control. Once this role is established, your dog will be more willing to listen and take command from you.

My Advice: It’s important that your dog understands that you are the food provider. In order to make this clear, I always tell people to eat their food before they feed their dog. This helps establish a hierarchy in your home.

For some ideas on how to treat your dog to a delicious dinner, check out my post on 7 foods that canines crave!

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# 9 – Why You Let Strange People Come to Your Door

Between visiting friends and family, neighbors who need a favor, your Amazon Prime deliveries, and solicitors, there’s a lot of opportunity for people to visit your home and ring your doorbell.

As humans, we understand that we live in a community where people are going to come knocking at our door to share a visit with us, try to sell us something, etc.

But, our dogs don’t know this. In fact, some dogs probably think a home break-in is about to occur every time someone steps on your front doorstep.

Dogs can be very territorial by nature, so it’s no surprise that your pup might bark, jump, or growl when someone comes over. In some ways it’s instinctual–especially if your dog thinks HE’S the one in charge.

My Advice: You can train your dog to be calm and relaxed when visitors come to your door. I recommend repeatedly exercising a situation where someone knocks on your door until your dog gets bored and relaxes. Eventually, he will learn that it’s no big deal when someone comes over for a visit.

The most important thing is to make sure your dog knows you are the one in charge and that you’ll decide who is allowed in and who is not.

To find out more about this, check out this link to the Dog Calming Code here.

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#10 – Large Crowds/House Parties

As humans, we understand when we intentionally put ourselves into chaotic situations–such as having a house party or deciding to take a stroll downtown.

But, dogs don’t typically have a say in the situation.

They go from peacefully napping on the couch to being submersed among strangers and loud noises.

Sadly, this can cause a pup to become anxious, nervous, and scared. Worst of all, these feelings can trigger your dog to lash out, bark, or even bite.

My Advice: As a dog owner, you should know your dog well enough to understand if he will be comfortable in chaotic situations–such as having a house party. Even if he is relaxed, I’d recommend creating a safe space for him to rest and relax if the noise and people get too overwhelming.

The same rule goes for taking your dog out in public. If you know large crowds won’t bother him, go for it. If you know your dog gets anxious or nervous, leave him at home.

If you have a dog that gets anxious around any of the things I just talked about, you’re in luck.

I’ve created a FREE guide that’s designed to help you desensitize your dog to the things that may cause him stress and anxiety.

↓ Download my FREE How to Desensitize Your Dog to New or Scary Situations ↓[blank_space height=’1em’]

Use the training techniques provided in the guide above, and I have no doubt that you’ll be able to help your pup overcome his fear of things he doesn’t understand.

Oh, and before I go, I wanted to say thanks to my Dog Trainer Academy students for helping me come up with all the ideas.

This special group has worked really hard over the last year to become certified dog trainers–and, boy, are they all amazing!

If you have any interest in learning what my Dog Trainer Academy is all about, you can find out more here.

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~Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan’s Dog Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season has officially arrived!

And while it’s often a joyous and fun season for us humans, it can also be a stressful and dangerous time of year for our canine companions.

This year, I wanted to ensure that both you and your dog are able to enjoy the holidays. So, I’ve decided to put together a post for you that covers a variety of different struggles or dangers your dog might encounter this season, along with the solutions of how to keep your dog safe.

Without further ado, let’s get right into the meat and potatoes of how to keep your dog safe during the holiday season…

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #1 – Manage Dog Anxiety

A lot of craziness happens during the holidays. Families travel, people have house-guests over for parties, and normal routines are often changed.

Unfortunately, all this change, excitement, and exposure to new people can really stress your dog out, making him unusually anxious.

And when dogs are anxious, they may exhibit signs of…

  • Illness (vomiting, excessive scratching, stomach pain)
  • Aggression
  • Fearful behavior

To help keep your dog calm amongst the chaos, I recommend using my Calm Freeze technique as soon as your dog starts showing signs of anxiety.

Here’s a video that explains how to use the technique…

Dogs scared of fireworks

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKjhzffab1A&feature=youtu.be[/responsive_video]

Of course, there are also going to be times when you’re in the middle of holiday festivities and can’t stop to perform the Calm Freeze.

For instance, if you’re hosting a holiday party and entertaining guests, you may not be able to stop what you are doing to help your dog settle down. During times like these, I recommend…

  1. Setting your dog up in a safe space—Sometimes the best way to help your dog relax is by taking him out of the situation that’s causing him stress and putting him in a safe, comfortable space. For some dogs, this might mean being locked in a crate with a soft blanket and a toy. For other dogs, shutting them in a quiet room with a cozy place to sleep is also a good option. That’s right−there is nothing wrong with letting them sit the whole thing out!
  2. Exercising your dog more frequently—Occasionally anxiety pops up due to a dog having too much energy. If you know you’ll be traveling or having people over at your house, be sure to get your dog out on a long walk or a take him to run at the park. This will help lower his anxiety levels.
  3. Monitoring your own energy—Dogs are fantastic at picking up on our energy. If you’re stressed out and anxious, it’s likely that your dog will also become stressed out and anxious. Relax, do some deep breathing exercises, and see how that helps settle your anxious dog down.

If your dog gets really wound up, I invite you to check out my program called The Dog Calming Code. This program will provide you with all the training tools you need to get your dog to relax and listen when it matters most!

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #2 – Protect Your Dog from Dangerous Holiday Food

One of the best parts of the holidays is the food. And I bet your dog would agree!

That being said, there are so many things that we eat during the holidays that are incredibly dangerous for dogs. Not only could many holiday foods make your dog very sick, but certain foods are lethal.

Here’s a list of some very dangerous foods that people traditionally cook or bake with that you need to watch out for this year…

  1. Chocolate
  2. Grapes
  3. Raisins
  4. Turkey/Chicken Bones (these are a choking hazard)
  5. Onions
  6. Alcoholic Beverages
  7. Nutmeg
  8. Peanut Butter Made with Xylitol
  9. Walnuts
  10. Garlic

Avoid these ingredients, and feed your dog this instead!

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #3 – Protect Your Dog from Dangerous Holiday Plants

There’s nothing more beautiful than a display of poinsettias or boughs of holly over the mantelpiece. However, for a dog, these decorations can be deadly.

If you have a dog in your home, I strongly advise against setting up any decorations this year that include the following plants…

  1. Poinsettias—The chemicals in a poinsettia plant cause mouth and throat irritation, along with upset stomach and vomiting. When consumed in large quantities, these plants are lethal to dogs.
  2. Holly Plants—Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
  3. Mistletoe—Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. There are also varieties of mistletoe that can cause kidney failure if ingested.
  4. Christmas Trees (Pine Trees)—Christmas trees themselves are perfectly safe for pets. However, if you water your tree, this is where they get dangerous. Tree water often collects bacteria and can cause your dog to have an upset stomach and diarrhoea. If you have a tree, just make sure your dog can’t reach the water the tree sits in.

Note: If you must have one—or all—of these plants in your home this time of year, make sure they are high and out of reach from your pets. Or better yet, go for fake plants that are safe and can be used every year!

Don’t Forget: If you have a dog that is a chewer, the easiest approach to get him to stop that unwanted behavior is to redirect him onto something he is allowed to chew rather than trying to stop the chewing completely!

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #4 – Choose Your Holiday Decor Wisely

Twinkling lights, cinnamon-scented candles, and sparkly tinsel are all lovely and festive decor options for the holiday season. That being said, I want to urge you to use caution when putting out your decor.

Here’s why…

If you have high-energy dogs that love to run around and occasionally knock things over, I’d forgo setting out burning candles. One accident and your pup could accidently set your house in flames.

For those of you that love candles and don’t want to go without them, be sure to place them on high places, like a kitchen table or mantelpiece where they can’t get knocked over.

You can also purchase flameless candles at the store which are a safe option.

As for tinsel, if you have a dog who likes to taste test your decor, I suggest you stay far away from this shiny decoration. Tinsel comes in long, plasticky strands. And when ingested, it can easily get caught going through your dog’s digestive tract. This can cause internal blockages, organ damage, and death.

Strands of Lights:
Most dogs won’t bother a strand of lights—especially if they are wound around a Christmas tree or are used to decorate the exterior of your home.

That being said, some dogs—especially puppies—have been known to chew on strands of lights that plug into the wall. If you have a new puppy, or a dog that loves to chew cords, make sure your light strands are off the ground where they can’t be reached.

(Struggling with naughty puppy behavior? Check out my Puppy Coach training program here!

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #5 – Be Cautious of What People Gift Your Dog

Many dogs receive gifts during the holidays. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!

However, it is important that you monitor what people are giving your dog.

It’s the same as having a small child. You wouldn’t want Uncle Bob to give Little Timmy a blow torch for fun, much like you wouldn’t want Aunt Jane to give your dog a cookie filled with dangerous ingredients.

A lot of times, people—especially people who don’t own dogs—think they are doing something nice by bringing your pet a gift. But, unfortunately, the gifts dogs receive aren’t always healthy or safe.

What is a good, safe gift to give your dog this year? I’m so glad you asked!

I’ve put together a sheet I like to call “Doggy Dan’s Ultimate Gift-Giving Guide for Dog’s.”

In this guide, I share my recommendations for gifts I know your dog will love. Best of all, the guide is completely FREE! All you have to do is download it below.

[blank_space height=’0em’][thrive_link color=’red’ link=” target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=”]Download Doggy Dan’s Ultimate Gift Giving Guide for Dogs here![/thrive_link]

I wish both you and your dog a wonderful holiday season.

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~Doggy Dan

Best Behaved Dog Breeds: Does Breed Determine a Dog’s Personality?

I often get asked the question, “What are the best behaved dog breeds?”

And here’s my answer…

The idea that a breed can determine a dog’s personality is one of the biggest dog myths in the world. There’s simply not such thing as a “best behaved dog breed.”

For example, people assume that if you own a Pit Bull, he’s definitely going to be tough and aggressive, and if you own a Chihuahua, she’s going to be a yappy princess.

But, the truth is, I’ve met many Pit Bulls who want nothing more than to cuddle with you on the couch, while I’ve also encountered several Chihuahuas who bark, growl and bite every time you go near them.

The bottom line is that a dog’s breed is NOT the most important thing in determining the personality traits or how that dog will behave in the big wide world.

So what factors influence your dog’s behaviour the most?

Today, I’m going to give you my best answer as to what I believe are the 8 most common dog personality traits, along with information on how to determine if that trait is a good match for you as a dog owner or not.

Please keep in mind that I’m picking these traits based on gut instinct and from what I know based on years of working with thousands of different types of dogs.

I also want to point out that none of these character traits are necessarily good or bad.

Yes, sometimes there is a trait, which will make it slightly easier to train a dog, such as having a dog who’s very food motivated versus having a dog who’s not interested in food or treats at all.

However, it’s also easy for a dog to have what may seem like a positive trait–being food motivated–that turns into a not so desirable trait if it goes too far. For example, a dog who will not stop hunting for food or who nips your fingers when you’re trying to give him a treat.

Typically, it’s best to have a dog whose traits fall within the middle ground.

However, there are always exceptions.

A dog with a high prey drive is generally not what people want. You’re probably not looking for a German Shepherd who’s trying to dart out the front door and chase cats down the road. However, sometimes prey drive is desirable. If you’re someone who lives on a farm who’s got a barn and it’s full of rats and mice, a high prey drive is desirable. If you get a Jack Russell who’s got a huge high prey drive and catches the rats like a pro, that’s perfect.

So, as you can see, there are good things and bad things about every trait a dog may have. I think you’ve got the point, so, without further ado, let’s jump into the different types of personality traits.

1. Tough Vs. Soft Dog Personality Traits

The first personality and character trait is what I call “Tough or Soft.” It’s a very simple trait.

How do you know which one your dog is? Easy…

If you shout at your dog or tell your dog off and he immediately cowers back and never does what he got yelled at before again, he’s probably soft.

And, if you shout at your dog or tap him on the nose and he isn’t bothered by it, or even likes it, he’s probably tough.

Note: I don’t ever advise that you yell at your dog, I prefer taking a kinder approach.

Think about it in terms of children.

Some children are very easy to push back into line. You just have to raise your voice a bit, and they don’t want to do anything wrong. Other kids are stubborn and are far more strong-minded. They’ll put up more of a physical fight with you.

This is a very important way to look at it.

If you have a very soft dog, he can be very easy for you to bully.

Again, I certainly don’t like the approach of using force to bully a dog into submission. I’m far more about trying to understand why the dog is doing what he’s doing and how we can help him.

On the other hand, you can’t really bully tough dogs because they push back so hard. So you really have to work a little bit harder and understand them better, how to motivate them, which I think is a great thing.

Being soft or tough also often determines the types of things a dog will enjoy doing.

A soft dog might be a little prince or princess who enjoys sitting on the velvet cushion in the sunshine, watching the world go by. A tougher dog who likes things a bit more rough and tumble may be happier running around a farm.

2. High Vs. Low Energy Dog Personality Traits

Another very important character or trait is how much energy your dog has.

Having the same energy level of your dog is very important.

If you have a dog who needs two hours of exercise per day and you really only like to go maybe twice a week for a little walk, it’s going to be a struggle.

One of the biggest issues I had when I got my little dog Inka was that she was energized and alert 24/7, 365 days a year, and was always in your face.

She would stand there looking at me just waiting, wanting something… usually pets, cuddles and affection.

I’d take her for a walk; she wouldn’t switch off. She’d wander around the house, stand there and look at me.

Now, there are ways to work with these sorts of dogs, which I share in my program, The Dog Calming Code. If you have a 24/7 dog, I urge you to go check it out!

For little Inka, I had to find a way of draining her energy. One thing that helps for her is throwing the chucker ball for half an hour.

It’s the same with kids.

Some kids love to play all day, and they’re still not exhausted while other kids get tired very quickly and need daily naps.

As I mentioned earlier, with all these issues, it’s not so much that it’s good or bad. You just need to find ways to taper your dog’s energy one way or the other.

3. Food Vs Not Food Motivated Dog Personality Traits

The next trait is food motivated dogs vs those dogs that are not interested in treats.

There’s no doubt that dogs that are food motivated are easier to train.

Just think about it… you just use a recall and reward the dog with food when he comes to you. You can use that food so easily to train him.

Again, you can relate this back to kids. For some kids, you can use bribery, a little bit of chocolate to get them to do exactly what you want, like doing their homework.

For kids that don’t care about special treats, you have to be a bit smarter.

In terms of dogs, this might mean rewarding your dog with a special toy, head scratches, or a real special treat, like steak or cheese.

4. Prey Vs Non-Prey Drive Dog Personality Traits

Personality trait number 4 is prey drive.

Some dogs have a huge prey drive. It’s just built-in.

Generally speaking, most people don’t want a high prey drive in their dogs, whether they’re trying to chase cows or cats or anything that moves.

Although some people, like those who live on a farm, might want a dog with high prey drive instincts for specific purposes, such as getting rid of small rodents in a barn.

If you don’t want to worry about your dog pulling you on a leash or running out the door to chase anything that moves, seek out a dog that has a naturally low prey drive.

5. Confident Vs Fearful Dog Personality Traits

Okay, this personality trait is all about confidence.

If you have a dog who is confident and fearless, he’ll be happy to approach new situations. For example, the other day I was in the garage chopping firewood, and my dog Jack comes right up to me as I’m smashing pieces of wood. He doesn’t care.

Then I’m on the ride-on mower, and he’s outside. He’s lying there and the ride-on mower is passing him within about 2 meters, and he doesn’t move.

He lies there and he’s very happy with any strange thing that happens. He’s just curious whether it’s a person turning up who he’s never met before. He’s not scared. He doesn’t have a fearful bone in his body and that does make it easier in many ways.

He’s not going to be a jumpy dog who’s jumping and barking and scared and nervous of things. He’s far less likely to become a fear biter.

On the flip side, you have to manage dogs who are fearful more carefully.

You really have to become what I call the guiding force in their life, the decision maker, or as some people call it the ‘pack leader’.

It’s all about letting a fearful dog know, ‘Hey, I’m in charge. I’m the one that makes the decisions around here.’ That’s how you can really help those fearful dogs.

6. Dominant Vs Submissive Dog Personality Traits

Number 6 is dominant vs submissive.

My dog Jack is by nature the most dominant dog I’ve ever met.

He’s just a born leader. When I watched him as a puppy, I said, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a puppy so confident with big dogs in all my life.’

He was walking up to my dogs and jumping around like he knew the rules. He knew what the game was, and he said, ‘I can do this.’

The dominant dogs, in some ways, are easier. However, you need to be able to kind of cap them and make sure they don’t start thinking they run the whole house, because then it can go the other way as they start saying, ‘I’ll make the decisions’ or ‘I’m the protector of the home.’

You have to understand how to keep dominant dogs from becoming too dominant, thinking they’re the absolute king of the castle.

You want them to be your wingman or your wing lady– somebody who still listens to you and looks up to you. Jack is exactly that. He absolutely loves me, which is wonderful.

Submissive dogs, on the other hand, can be very easy.

If you know what you’re doing, they’re not so challenging. They’re happy to be submissive to you and to other dogs. They’re happy to clock into the pack, and they’re not always trying to lead.

The thing is, a lot of this is about survival. Sometimes, submissive dogs just find it easier. It’s easier for them to survive, to get through in life.

I often watch that program Survivor, where you can see the person who’s beating their chest and sticking their head out to speak out the whole time, making themselves a target saying, ‘I’m in charge, I’m running the show.’

They’re far more likely to get picked off and get challenged and get taken down. Whereas, people who hang back and don’t shout so much or make so much noise often come through at the end.

The other movie I watched on Netflix is called Vikings. Back in the day, it seems like as soon as you became king or queen, you were a marked man or woman. Everyone was trying to gun for you and take you down, and that’s what happens. The person who’s at the top gets taken down.

Survival is often about not sticking your head up too high, and that’s how it is in the dog world as well. Dogs instinctively know this and that’s why they are happy just being down at the bottom of the hierarchy–it’s easier for them!

7. Desire to Please Vs No Desire to Please Dog Personality Traits

Trait number 7 is desire to please–a trait that actually has more to do with humans.

Here’s why…

I personally think it’s easier if you have a dog who’s easy to please or happy to please, because then you can use your pats and cuddles and affection as a valuable reward.

My little dog called Inker is a very nervous dog, very fearful.

She also has very high energy, which often made it hard to work with her because she always wants to go, go, go, and do more. She is jumpy.

However, what worked well was she was so keen to please. She’d do anything to make me happy, and it is adorable. Pats and cuddles are all she wants, lots of love.

But, if you have a dog who’s aloof and isn’t easy to please, he probably doesn’t really care for your pats and cuddles. This means you really have to establish yourself as somebody that he truly respects and will listen to.

8. Social Vs Nonsocial Dog Personality Traits

Number 8 is all about sociability with other dogs.

We’ve talked about whether dogs are aloof with humans, but this has to do with other dogs.

Think about this…

Does your dog love to play with other dogs? Is he relaxed and confident around other dogs?

Some dogs just love to play and are socialites, and this is great! It makes it much easier to take your dog out to the park because he is happy to interact with other dogs.

The down side…there is such a thing as a dog who likes to socialize or play too much. A dog who is too social might see another dog on the other side of the street and begin barking and pulling on the leash. The dog may also feed the need to sniff every dog and jump in their face, which can easily get them into trouble.

Sometimes it’s just as easy to have a dog who really isn’t that bothered with other dogs, and you can just go for a lovely, relaxing walk. It’s always good that they tolerate dogs, but too keen can be too much.

Which Dog Personality Traits Are Best?

To finish off, I want to remind you that it’s important to celebrate diversity.

Just like people, dogs are all different. There’s not one right or best way to be, It’s diversity and differences, that make both humans and dogs fascinating and interesting.

A lot of these traits also have to do with genetics, breeding, bloodlines and DNA. These things happen at birth.

Little Inker-Tinker was a nervous, fearful, high energy dog. It wasn’t something that we trained into her. It was more to do with nature than nurture. However, the nurture is the bit that we can affect, and now she’s a totally different dog–very confident, relaxed and absolutely adorable.

Once again you can see the similarity with children. Some children are sociable, some children try to please and some children are more confident, which for me just goes to show how similar we really are as animals. We have all these feelings and emotions and personality traits. Dog’s are not that different from humans when you really understand them.

A final note to finish on…

Notice that the breed of the dog doesn’t really have a big effect on personality traits. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a pedigree or a mutt. The personality and character varies within every breed and plays a very small part in how a dog behaves.

There are Collie dogs that don’t have high energy. Some do. In fact, a lot of them do…but some of them don’t. And yes, there are some aggressive Pit Bulls, but the majority are really lovely dogs who simply like to cuddle. It varies.

My other point I want to make is about how to determine character traits.

Traits become more apparent as dogs age, so it’s far easier to spot these character traits later on in life.

So, if you’re thinking of getting a puppy, it’s much harder to spot what the personality and character of your dog is going to be at 8 weeks of age. It’s far easier, for a two-year-old dog.

So, that is the advantage of maybe having a look at a dog who’s older.

But like I said, with a little training, any character trait can be molded and formed. If you have a dog that you’re struggling with, I suggest you check my program, The Dog Calming Code, for some help!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. It’s been a lot of fun for me just thinking about dog behaviour traits. Have a great day and as always, love your dog.


P.S. Let me know your dog’s breed and any key personality traits below and let’s see what we find out about them 🙂

Also, if you’re curious to know where your dog is in the most popular breeds list, you can download the full ranking list below (190 breeds):

[thrive_link color=’red’ link=” target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=”]Download The Most Popular Dog Breed List – CLICK HERE[/thrive_link]

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~Doggy Dan

Correcting Bad Dog Behavior: Why Your Dog Is like a Mirror

A lot of people ask me, how do I train my dog? Or even more important, how do I go about correcting bad dog behavior that already exists? And the answer is always this.

When it comes to training a dog it’s important that we first start with a solid foundation. That’s where you get the dog to listen to you, get them to calm down, focus on you and where you “win the dog’s mind.”

After this you can apply the training side of things where you explain to the dog what you are wanting. And then you ensure that there is consistency in the household with how people are interacting with the dog.

However the subtle part, the part that many people dismiss or fail to realise the power it holds is the energetic side of our relationship.

By energetic I mean, “The Way” that we do everything, how we interact with our dogs and how we are feeling.

It’s so easy to say to ourselves, “Oh my dog doesn’t really understand how I’m feeling” or “My ongoing frustrations at work doesn’t really effect my dog” however over the years I’ve come to realise that our dogs really do pick up on our energy and are greatly affected by our moods.

You see, our dogs are like a mirror to our souls.

They are a reflection of us, and can act like a mirror which means that very often… we are the problem and we are the solution to our dog problems!

If we are angry, short-tempered, or have anxiety, a dog is likely to reflect the same type of behavior. On the other hand, if we are cool, calm and relaxed, we’re more likely to have a dog that mirrors that behavior and that is calm.

So, in this blog post I want to share with you what I believe are the key parts to developing an amazing bond with your dog, and then look a little deeper into this subtle area of how our dogs reflect our energy.


Before we move into the area of energy, we need a solid foundation. And in order to build the foundation, there are some very practical steps that we need to take in order to gain the respect and trust of our dogs. This includes how we feed our dogs, who controls the food, how we greet dogs, interact with dogs and walk dogs.

These are the most important practical aspects of our relationship with our canine counterparts. We have to understand how to calm our dog’s mind down, get him to focus on us, and know that we’re making the decisions. That’s the key, and to be honest, that’s a large part of what I share with people inside my program, The Dog Calming Code.

Like I mentioned earlier though, building a foundation isn’t the only important part.


Another key aspect is consistency, which is quite boring to most people! It means everybody’s got to stick with the plan. It’s not like we’re training a new behavior because your dog has a disease, and once the disease is gone, we can go back to doing the wrong training.

You, and everyone else that plays a large part in your dog’s life, have to stick with the right training if you want to achieve the best results.


The part that many people start with is the training, and this, in my opinion, is a big mistake. Without a solid foundation in place, the training will not work long-term or when you or your dog is under pressure. So, before we get to this step, we do have to have a solid foundation in place first.

So, what exactly is ‘training’? Well, for example, if we don’t want our dog to come in the kitchen, we need to do a little bit of work showing them exactly where the kitchen starts and finishes. For example, this could include putting some builders sticky tape on the floor for a period of time. Then we can do the training, showing them, ‘Good dog’ for staying out, and ‘Nope, this is what happens to you if you come in the kitchen.’

That’s the training.

Every step I just mentioned is important, but today I want to focus on the subtlest side of building an amazing relationship with your dog, which is how our emotions and feelings can affect our dogs. It’s a step that a lot of people miss, and it’s a fundamental, very powerful part. The energy side of things takes into account how you act, how you do things around your dog, how you are feeling and what you are thinking…it all impacts your pup.

The bottom line is that how you behave around your dog has a massive impact on how your dog behaves. Your dog is your mirror…he reflects you.

The best way I can put it is your dog is like a sponge. To see what I mean by that, take a quick look at a video I created just for you on the topic…

Your dog is your mirror

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oJayJ5nKbs[/responsive_video]

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Pretty interesting, isn’t it? I know that I personally am constantly in awe of how smart and sensitive our canine companions are.

Doggy Dan's book on Parenting and dog trainingIn fact, it’s so interesting to me that in my book, What the Dogs Taught Me About Being a Parent I wrote an entire chapter about how dogs (and kids) soak up our energy and the implications that different types of energies have on your dog.

If your dog is hanging around in a place where there’s always screaming and shouting or lots of noise, your dog is unlikely to be a dog that spends most of his time lying in the corner totally chilled out and half asleep.

However, if you live on your own in a very quiet part of the country and you’re very soft-spoken and mild-mannered, you’re far more likely to have a dog who is more chilled out, relaxed and less reactive!

The concept seems fairly simple, but there is one thing I want to make clear…

The biggest mistake I hear is that people assume that if they have a dog who’s biting and aggressive, it means they are an aggressive person who goes around fighting and biting people.

The correlation is NOT that direct!

If you have an aggressive dog, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are an aggressive person. Instead, it’s quite possible that you have a lot of frustration or resentment regarding your work or home life, or maybe you are wanting to lash out about something in your life. Your dog can pick up on that frustration and pent-up anger, and then it has to go somewhere.

The bottom line is that it’s very hard to hide how we really feel from our dogs!

How dogs are able to pick on this energy, I don’t fully know, but they certainly do. And boy, are they good at it!

Another thing to think about is how much energy your dog is capable of soaking up.

Some dogs are little sponges, while others are big sponges that can tolerate soaking up more energy. (And it has nothing to do with the dog’s physical size!)

Regardless of how much energy your dog can soak up, eventually he’s going to say, ‘I’ve had enough,’ and the energy will start to overflow.

So, it might be that you’re frustrated with work and your dog soaks in that energy. When you take him down to the park after he’s soaked in that energy, he may become frustrated and irritable, which causes him to snap at you or another dog.

This might leave you wondering, ‘Why did my dog react that way’?

It’s simply because your dog is picking up all that energy you’re pouring out and he just can’t take it anymore and has to let it out.

As you’ve seen in the video above, my lovely dog, little Inky-tinky couldn’t soak up much before she was showing signs that things weren’t good.

On the other hand, my dear dog Peanut could soak up an awful lot.

At the end of the day, my dogs are not perfect. I’m not perfect. My wife’s not perfect. And our kids aren’t perfect.

But, my family is all very aware of how our energies influence our dogs… And being aware of it is the first stage of learning.

It’s vital that each day we take an internal look at ourselves and think about how we change both on a practical level and a spiritual or mental level to help our dogs control their behavior.

As the saying goes… ‘It’s not what you do but the way that you do it.’

It’s the way you do things that truly matter. You can be quite rude in asking somebody to help, or you can be very polite in asking somebody to do the same thing, and you get a totally different response.

This is so important to understand. In fact, it’s so important to me that I want to give you the audio chapter about how dogs mirror our behavior from my book, completely free!

[thrive_link color=’blue’ link=” target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=”]Download Your FREE Audio Chapter Of My Book[/thrive_link]

I know will find this information very helpful as you seek out the solution to correcting bad dog behavior and helping your dog relax, calm down and listen to you more consistently.

Enjoy, and as always, love your dog!

Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan 🙂

DD 006: Barking when left alone at home

Listen to the Doggy Dan Podcast Show No.6 by using the player above, or subscribing to iTunes and listening on your mobile device. This post will give you an overview of what’s included in this episode: Barking When Left Alone. If you have a dog that’s barking and barking every time you leave the house, then this is for you…

Listen to the Doggy Dan Podcast Show No.6 by using the player above, or subscribing to iTunes and listening on your mobile device.

How to stop dog barking when left at home alone

This post will give you an overview of what’s included in this episode: Barking When Left Alone. If you have a dog that’s barking and barking every time you leave the house, then this is for you…

But if your pooch is calm when you’re out, then please, in the comment section below, tell me what issues you’d like me to cover in future episodes.

Alternatively, if you have a dog and want help with other problems or you need some dog training, then I encourage you to check out my online dog training program called The Dog Calming Code! (Have a puppy instead? Check out my Puppy Coach training program here!)

Helping dogs who bark when they are left at home alone.

So what’s in this podcast? Well let me explain:

Understanding the cause

The first thing that I help explain is the reason behind why most dogs are barking when they are left. Very often we assume or think that it is our dogs way of showing us that they are bored, or just being naughty however this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact a good way to test out the bored theory is to ask yourself if your dog is bored when you are at home… If they are calm and relaxed most of the day then the chances are that your dog is not simply bored! (And dogs are not naughty for the fun of it – so that rules that out).

The two main causes

In fact the two main scenarios that cause your dog to bark are trigger barking and separation anxiety. They are very different scenarios. Trigger barking is where something sets your dog off and your dog simply does not stop. They are stressed and just keep on going. Whereas separation anxiety doesn’t need a trigger to get your dog barking, they simply become stressed when you leave and bark continuously.

Inside the podcast I help explain fully what is going on in these two situations and explain what the solution is.

Other techniques

There are so many approaches to solving barking but most of them do not go to the root cause of the problem. In some situations they can certainly help and are worth trying however I would recommend only in conjunction with the basic solution that I have put together. On their own they are very unlikely to work.

We cover all the home alone barking issues

Here is a short list of some of the other things that we also discuss which impact your dog’s barking when they’re alone…

  1. Exercise – does it help, is it the solution?
  2. The Environment – the impact that making your dog comfortable can have
  3. Herbal remedies vs drugs – would I recommend them?
  4. Music, TV – whether it can help your dog
  5. Inside vs outside – where is best for your dog
  6. Large area or small – what will work best
  7. Why harsh methods that just try to “stop the barking” are missing the point

As you can see it is an action packed podcast. At the end of it you will see barking dogs in a fresh new light and you will see that stopping barking dogs even when you are not at home is not complicated – you just need to know how 🙂 and hopefully your neighbours will love you even more!

Dogs are beautiful and amazing creatures. They deserve to be treated and understood for what they are. This podcast is all committed to us understanding them and helping them better.

Getting it right

So if you are wondering how to stop your dogs barking when they are left at home alone then you have found the right place. First listen to my free podcast and if you enjoy it and it all makes sense then I’d suggest you get straight onto solving the cause of the problem by checking out my programs, The Dog Calming Code OR the Puppy Coach Training Program, while I’ll teach you how to get your dog to relax and calm down so he doesn’t feel like he needs to  Bark When Left Alone. 

Talk soon,

Doggy Dan Signature .

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks again for listening to the Show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and I read each and every one of them. The higher the ranking, the more people will discover this calm and gentle method of dog training.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes or Stitcher to get it automatic updates.

Fireworks and dog anxiety

Dogs scared of fireworks

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Helping dogs with fireworks

Dogs who are scared of fireworks (almost identical for the fear of thunder and many other noises) is a topic that I am passionate about, as I hate to see any animals in fear, especially dogs. True fear, which is what many dogs are experiencing becomes very hard to handle when firstly, you do not understand why your dog is behaving in such a way, and secondly when you do not know what to do to help.

A dog that is scared may pee in the house, run away or hide under a bed, drool, shake uncontrollably, run around barking, whine, escape the property or become destructive. All these behaviors are simply signs of a dog that is stressed. And this can be stopped without force, fear or aggression when you know what to do.

What to do


  1. Take your dog out for a walk early on so that they are relaxed and tired before the fireworks start up.
  2. Close all the curtains as the visual stimulation of the fireworks is just one of the things that can make it worse for your dog.
  3. Turn up the TV, music or radio. This simply deadens the sound so your dog will hear less of the noise
  4. Close the doors to the rest of the house so your dog is unable to charge around and become more stressed.
  5. Be ready for an evening in, maybe pour a glass of wine, have a good book or movie ready – If you have a very stressed dog then you will most likely feel you need to be with them.
  6. If you are leaving your dog alone then be aware that it can be very stressful for them and leaving them outside can be scary.
  7. Prepare your dog a nice safe place that your dog can go to rest if they chose to relax. Do not try to force them; you can’t force dogs to relax. Dogs with no clear bed will often pace around much more than ones with an obvious bed to go to. Many dogs will love a simple den shaped cardboard box with a soft blanket inside, it does not have to be flash.
  8. You will need a collar on your dog and may need a leash (it is not essential and do not use one if the leash makes your dog really excited!)

The calm freeze – using actions rather than words

The calm freeze is a very simple but very powerful technique that I use in many situations for calming dogs down. It can be used at the park if they are getting over excited, if they are barking at something and you wish them to stop or in this case when you want to show them another way to behave.

The secret is to show them with your actions rather than your words. Here is the simply summary of the steps to managing fireworks and dog anxiety with a calm freeze. Alternatively you can watch the video.

  1. Take your dog under the collar using an underhand grips, so your palm should be facing upwards to the sky.
  2. Hold them as gently as possible. You may only need one finger. It is best if you can find a seat that you are comfy on as it may take a while.
  3. Stay very calm yourself. Focus on anything other than your dog or the fireworks. Think about the movie, your magazine, friends or your next holiday.
  4. Ignore your dear lovely dog. No speaking to them, touching them or looking at them. This part is crucial.
  5. Eventually your dog will sit, but keep hold of them gently under the collar.
  6. It’s now time for you to transfer your calm energy by BEING CALM. No words are necessary at this point.
  7. Eventually your dog will lie down, keep hold of them for a while until they are settled and relaxed.
  8. When they are really relaxed you can let go of them.
  9. If they seem calm and want to go to their beds let them go.

For more in-depth dog calming techniques, check out my program The Dog Calming Code!

Monitor your own energy

  • Make sure that you are relaxed and focussing on something else other than your dog or the fireworks.
  • Check that your hold on your dog is as loose as possible.
  • If you can try to encourage others in the house to act as calm as possible with as little screaming, shouting and running as possible!

The two biggest mistakes people make is that when the first few fireworks go off people look at their dogs to see their reaction and the dog looks at them to see if there is a problem and the spiral begins…

The other mistake is that people will try to comfort their nervous or fearful dog who comes up to them wanting a cuddle. Patting them and stroking them and talking to them in your nervous “its okay, baby” sort of voice will make it worse. If they are only a little unsure just move them off you gently and ignore them (make sure they know where their nice safe bed is). If they are becoming really scared then perform the calm freeze.

Become the Pack Leader

Dogs are pack animals and the more your dog respects you and trusts your decisions as the leader of their pack then the more they will watch your behavior and follow suit. So if you remain calm they will simply look at you and be calm. If you really feel like this is part of the problem then you can learn how to do this at www.theonlinedogtrainer.com (read more about it on the blog here). This will undoubtedly have an impact in every area of your life.

Treating the cause of the problem

Other tools such as herbal drops, drugs from the vets and body wraps may also assist your dog to calm down however they do not address the real cause of the problem – instead they treat only the symptoms. For a long term, drug free solution to the fear of fireworks, thunder and much more, then take a look at the above method and become the pack leader.

Love your dog and all the best, oh and please feel free to print this off and read it when you are sitting calmly in your chair..

  • Find out more here: The Dog Calming Code (for all the training info you’ll ever need to get your dog to listen and respond (and keep calm!) when it matters most!).
  • Or, if you have a puppy, get started with my Puppy Coach training program!

If you have enjoyed it please comment below and share so everyone who needs to can find it!


Doggy Dan Signature .
Fireworks and dog anxiety .