Monday, October 31, 2005



Taking your pet to the veterinarians’ office can be an adventure all on its own. There are so many sights, sounds, smells and other sensations that your pet can easily become quite excited or agitated to the point that control is difficult. Multiply this by the ever rotating average of 10 or more pets in a busy waiting room and mass pandemonium could be the result. Without proper training and control, a veterinarian’s waiting room might quickly become a bedlam of scales, feather and fur as the animals all compete for space and attention. So what can you do to make the trip less stressful for your pet, yourself, your vet and the staff? There are five basic points that will make any visit, less of an odyssey.

First, be certain to leash or halter train your dog if you do not plan on using a pet carrier for transport. A pet carrier is ideal for small animals as this provides them a measure of security, as they have their own personal space, and it also gives them protection from larger or aggressive animals that might be in the waiting room, but for larger animals a pet carrier may not be an option. A shorter leash or halter is best in this situation as it provides more control for the dog owner and prevents tangling with other animals or furniture. Leashes also provide a handhold for cases where aggressive behaviors amongst animals might otherwise get out of control.

Secondly, consider muzzle training for your pet. Many veterinarian hospitals now request you to muzzle your pet. This is for the safety of other patients as well as the staff. A muzzle will simply fit around a dog’s mouth area and prevent biting but to a dog that is unfamiliar with the device this can be a very frightening experience. Giving your pet the opportunity to learn about this device in a non-threatening environment can make the office visit much less traumatic.

A third tip is not to forget the rewards. Unless your veterinarian has requested your dog have no food for specific purposes, such as testing, or if they do not allow food in the waiting room, feel free to bring along a treat for your pet. This will help them to feel more at ease with the new surroundings and help to keep their focus on you rather than on getting a closer look at the iguana on a leash in the corner. It also gives you the chance to continue the training lessons while waiting for your pet to be called back to the exam rooms. Plus, your dog will think you are really cool and, if you are lucky, so will that cute receptionist you’ve had your eye on.

Fourth, keep track of your pet’s medical records. Is your pet allergic to anything? Is she up to date on her vaccination shots? How old is he? Has your pet had any surgeries, major illnesses or parasites? These things are all important to know and could be potentially life threatening if you didn’t keep them current. Regular visit to the vet and being current on shots is always a good idea. Why risk losing your precious friend to some disease that is virtually non-existent over a measly few dollars? Plus, visiting the vet regularly will help your pet to become more relaxed with the office settings and they will respond better.

For our fifth tip, let’s party. Socializing your pet to other people and animals prior to vet visits is a great idea provided they are current on their vaccinations. This allows them to learn acceptable behaviors around other animals and what the boundaries of interaction are. Hosting a puppy party is a great way to do this. Invite several other dog owners over to visit and serve a modest picnic or potluck type meal. Encourage the dogs to play and interact together and with the other owners. This will help them to learn what you will and will not accept and helps you to determine potential problem areas.

Following these simple tips can make vet visits less traumatic on all involved and much easier to cope with. You will thank yourself later. Your pet will thank you and so will the staff at the vet’s office.

© 2005-2006. Mario Giordani. About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website:



You got your new pet almost a week ago. In that time, the little beast has eaten three pairs of shoes, four of your favorite Stephen King novels ( He left Cujo alone… Maybe he is a fan too? ), gnawed the trim around the bathroom doorway, chewed thru the power cord of your laptop and, just this morning, you found him gleefully chewing up your wallet with a side order of your credit cards. This is getting expensive really fast and starting to get dangerous for the pup also. Maybe it’s time we intervened?

So how do we handle this situation? Once again, we want to be sure our young charge is healthy to begin, so off to the vets office if you haven’t been recently. There is a medical condition that can cause chewing in pups aside from the normal tendencies they have of chewing to explore their world. This illness is called Pica and causes your pet to eat non-food items in an attempt to deal with nausea. So please visit your veterinarian and make sure your animal has a clean bill of health.

The next step involves understanding that, while chewing is a normal and healthy part of any pup’s development, it has acceptable and unacceptable outlets. Puppies learn about their world thru chewing much the same as human children. They use their senses to explore the new world, which lies before them and their tactile sense, and sense of taste is brought into play as they chew on various objects. Much like human children, pups also need our protection from the dangers that lurk in their explorations. Electrical cords, needles, poisonous houseplants and household chemicals, even chocolate, all pose very real threats to your pet. It is your duty to protect the animal from these dangers.

Consistent training with the “NO” command can do this. No is a word your dog should learn early and respond to instantly. This one word has saved many dogs from many horrible fates. The pup is trained by repeatedly using the “NO” command every time a situation occurs. If you pet is caught chewing on your shoes, say “NO” in an affirmative tone and take the item from the animal. Do not let it become a game of tug-o-war. Rather, remove the item quickly or back up your “NO” with a spray from a water bottle, a loud clapping of the hands or a light but convincing tap on the nose. This little diversion is usually enough to make a dog lose interest in whatever they may have been chewing on. Also, do not give chase to an animal chewing on an undesirable selection of chew toy. The will interpret this action to be a game and they will be most happy to play for hours on end. Instead, calmly work your way towards the animal and then remove the object. For items that are habitually mistreated, a chemical additive such as Bitter Apple may be in order to impart a foul taste to the item and make it unpalatable for the animal to chew on. Crate Training is also effective to stop chewing behavior and we shall discuss this course at length in later articles.

You do not want to completely destroy your dogs urge to chew however as this habit is healthy for them when exercised correctly. Instead, offer them suitable objects for their chewing pleasure. Perhaps a dog toy ( For quieter households, remove any squeakers from the toy. ) Rope toys and crunchy dog biscuits provide good outlets for a dog’s destructive behavior and also help to keep up the oral hygiene of your pet.

Also be aware that all animals are different. Your dog may react differently than another dog in a given situation. Some dogs develop aggressive stances upon attempts to remove an object from their possession. If your dog becomes aggressive and territorial, then professional assistance is highly recommended to avoid further problems or biting.

With these simple suggestions, you can insure your pups’ good health and the well being of your book collection. You might even find the time to spend some quality time reading Cujo again with your new best friend.

© 2005-2006. Mario Giordani. About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website:

Dogs for Defense: Military Dog Training during World War II

Dogs for Defense: Military Dog Training during World War II

During World War II, over 10,000 U.S. dogs were recruited and trained for military service as part of a program known as “Dogs for Defense.” The military believed it would be able to put a few hundred well-trained dogs to use. Their estimates proved very low as thousands would eventually be trained and served.

A patriotic public donated dogs to be trained for military functions. In all, the military received nearly 20,000 dogs but made use of only approximately half of those available. The others were found, for a variety of reasons, to be unsuitable for their purposes and were returned to their owners.

The Quartermaster Remount Branch of the army administered the program and supplied service dogs to all branches of the military over the course of the war. Even the Navy and Coast Guard eventually made use of service dogs supplied by Dogs for Defense.

Dogs were subjected to their own version of army boot camp, a training program that lasted eight to twelve weeks. The program involved general obedience training and military-specific training. Dogs learned specific tasks that would help them in their army careers and even were trained to function while wearing gas masks. Training duties were handled by Quartermaster staff who followed a training regimen established by the army and codified in an army technical manual. Service dogs were trained at a variety of military installations across the U.S.

Dogs were trained for a variety of tasks. Sentry dogs were the most commonly needed of the Dogs for Defense. In fact, over nine thousand of the dogs trained by the military were used for this function. Sentry dogs worked as guard dogs at military installations and military-protected sensitive civilian locations. They were to provide warning to soldiers of intruders. Scout dogs filled a similar need, but were trained to operate silently to help “sniff out” snipers and other dangers. Messenger dogs were taught to courier materials between soldiers in both combat and non-combat situations. The army even commanded specific teams of sled dogs for possible use during the war.

One of the most interesting functions performed by the Dogs for Defense was to serve as mine dogs. The dogs were specifically trained to search out mines and booby traps. There were two units of mine dogs. Both were deployed in the North African campaign. However, the experiment did not work out as planned. The dogs failed to successfully perform the functions for which they were trained and the mine dog project was discontinued.

The unsuccessful experiment of using dogs to find mines was one of the only aspects of the Dogs for Defense program that fell short of expectations. Overall, the program was a tremendous success and the well-trained dogs served their country admirably.

Of particular note was a war dog named Chips. Chips had been trained for sentry duty but was observed breaking away from his trainer during a combat situation in Sicily. According to those who observed the happenings, Chips attacked an enemy machine gun nest and seized one of the soldiers. His heroics were legendary and Chips’ story was eventually made into a feature film. Although Chips is certainly the most famous of the so-called war dogs, many other trained dogs made important contributions to the allied war effort.

Following the war, the Dogs for Defense were returned to their original owners. This required another training session to re-acclimate the war veteran dogs to civilian life. By all accounts the dogs reacted well to returning to their pre-war lifestyles. The return of the first war dogs, however, did not mark an end to using dogs in the military.

Subsequent to World War II dogs served the U.S. military in multiple theaters. Many dogs saw combat duty in the Viet Nam (in fact there were twenty eight dog casualties during the war) and in the Persian Gulf War. To this day the U.S. army continues to train dogs for service. These dogs demonstrate not only the potential for good training techniques to teach complicated skills but also the capacity for dogs to help their owners and country in a variety of ways.

© 2005-2006. Mario Giordani. About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website:

Dog Training: Attitude is Important

Dog Training: Attitude is Important

There is nothing more critical to the success of dog training than the owner’s attitude. The mindset of the trainer is more important than the equipment purchased, the exact system used, or the breed of dog involved. Nothing can destroy the likelihood of effective training more quickly than an owner with the wrong outlook on the training process.

Dogs naturally crave and enjoy human companionship. When their human companions approach them in the right way, they are particularly receptive to learning and develop a strong desire to act in a manner that will please their master. This is why a proper attitude is exceedingly important with respect to training dogs. When the owner is pleasant, the dog will be pleasant. When the owner is excited about teaching, the dog will most likely be excited about learning. Dogs can often reflect the attitudes and dispositions of their owners, a fact that must be kept in mind while undertaking dog training.

Additionally, the proper outlook on dog training can make the experience infinitely more enjoyable for the owner. A pleasant training experience will naturally produce better instruction on the part of the trainer. Again, proper attitude will pay training dividends.

So, what is the right attitude to bring to dog training? Owners should strive to maintain a positive perspective at all times and should strive for a mood that makes the process fun for both the dog and the trainer. Failure to approach training with such an attitude risks disaster. The proper attitude and perspective truly is the prerequisite to training success.

The owner should be positive. A positive perspective, of course, works in conjunction with any quality training method. Effective training requires positive reinforcement, and that kind of praise and affection is best administered by someone who generally presents a positive attitude. Training will be filled with compliments, encouragement and praise. Those rewards, which are the key component to training, are more likely to be appropriately and effectively administered by a trainer with a positive disposition.

Trainers should recognize that they can manage to be both firm and friendly at the same time. It is not necessary to affect an angry or severe tone during the training process. These caricatures of displeasure do not offer any more training value than utilization of a simple serious tone. A lower tone with a serious “bite” is more than enough. When praising and instructing, the owner must remember to use a very friendly and happy voice. The dog will thrive knowing his owner enjoys their interaction so much and will be very motivated to learn as a result.

Most importantly the trainer must always remember that dog training is supposed to be fun. It should be fun for the trainer and just as fun for the pet. The idea is to make the training process exciting and enjoyable for the pet as is possible. By making the process a treat, the dog is especially motivated to perform.

Too often training becomes nothing more than a mandatory task. The owner does not relish the opportunity to spend time with his or her dog. The dog understands this and does not get excited at the prospect, either. In worse cases, training becomes an undesirable chore. The negative disposition and attitude of the owner is sensed clearly by the dog and mirrored. Training progress stalls, frustration sets in, and the whole process becomes further crippled.

The cliché that “attitude is everything” really does describe dog training. A negative or harsh attitude will crush hopes of success. A positive perspective coupled with friendliness and a sense of fun will make training a treat.

A fun disposition also makes training more enjoyable for the dog owner. The trainer’s positive attitude creates a more positive disposition for the pet, which in turn improves the trainer’s outlook even more. By starting the training process with a solid positive attitude, the owner gets the ball rolling, so to speak. The end result can be a training experience that is enjoyed by both pet and owner, which is sure to create amazing results. By approaching training with a positive disposition, a dog owner can produce surprising and positive outcomes.

© 2005-2006. Mario Giordani. About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website:

Different Training Techniques for Companion Animals

Different Training Techniques for Companion Animals

In the last article, discussed some of the major points in how the training of hunting dogs has evolved differently than that of companion animals or pets. We will continue that discussion in this article by discussing some of the specialized areas that companion dogs are trained in.

Companion animals are generally kept indoors except for walks and traveling. Thus their training usually includes some form of housebreaking and a set of manners. These manners generally include such things as staying off the furniture, not barking indoors, not begging for food at the dinner table and not drinking from the toilet. Many companion animals are taught two different sets of rules for different situations, such as the “kiss-no kiss” commands which tell the animal whether it is appropriate to lick or not.(Particularly useful if your dog has a habit of drinking from the toilet.) Companion animals range in all shapes, sizes and breeds but again consider your choices wisely according to your lifestyle.

What do we mean? For instance, a hyper or energetic household might choose a pet that likes a lot of activity and socialization, perhaps a Dalmatian or similar breed. An older person who just wants quiet companionship and something to care for might choose a small dog, such as a Dachshund or Pomeranian. A young gentleman who likes to jog in the evenings might choose a large protective dog like a Mastiff or Doberman Pinscher. A young lady might choose a German Shepherd or a Husky for their protective qualities and beautiful appearance. A family with young children might lean towards the more nurturing breeds like Saint Bernard’s or Sheep dogs. All of these breeds have their own niches in the dog-human relationship. Choosing the right breed for your lifestyle should be a careful decision with a lot of thought and research and you can be guaranteed happiness with your choice for years to come.

As we mentioned in the previous articles, dogs trained for hunting should retain some of the more aggressive behaviors but in companion animals this is not necessary, except in the case of dogs kept for protection. A less aggressive animal is much to be desired as a companion and will provide years of stolid companionship, rather than fighting and suffering, sometimes fatal, injuries. Some owners have their animals neutered as a way to curb aggressive tendencies, as well as controlling the stray pet population and decreasing roaming behaviors. This is a suggestion to seriously ponder as many thousands of unwanted animals are euthanized every year but, by the same token, if something ever happens to your pet it might be comforting to have a pup from the same bloodline. While neutering has its benefits, first be sure that you do not wish to ever breed the dog.

Another difference in the training of companion animals is what most people refer to as pet tricks. We have all seen the dog that will hold a treat on the end of its nose until given the okay and then flip the morsel in the air and snap it up or the dog that plays Frisbee on the beach. These are learned behaviors that take much patience and consistent training. Thus, they are usually reserved for companion animals that are in our contact more often than not. In my years of being a pet owner and visiting with other pet owners and trainers, I have seen all manner of pet tricks, some ranging from just plain dumb to pretty awesome. On the dumb side, I have seen dogs that will drink beer and then howl in tune to old blues records for hours on end. On the awesome side, I have seen dogs that will climb to the top of a high dive and jump right off with no fear whatsoever. (It scared me though…it looked like one heck of a belly buster.) These tricks are all the brainchild of some pet owner who said I wonder if Fido can learn this. So if you are acquiring a companion animal, start thinking. Find some new pet trick to amaze your friends and neighbors. Maybe you will have the first Chihuahua on the block that can fetch you a cold beer and the remote control on Super Bowl Sunday.

© 2005-2006. Mario Giordani. About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website:

Different Training for Different Breeds

Different Training for Different Breeds

I am certain we all remember a popular song a few years ago with the line “different strokes for different folks.” Well, the same applies to the canine world. Pure breeds have been refined over the years for specialized purposes and if these purposes are considered in the training, you are assured of a much better animal that is well suited to its training. Just as you would not ask the ninety-pound clerical assistant to operate a jackhammer, you shouldn’t ask a pure breed dog to do something their breeding would make them incapable of. All that could possibly result from this error would be a frustrated owner, a frustrated dog and a damaged relationship between the two.

So what kind of specific jobs are the animals to be trained for? We shall discuss a few breed types over the next few paragraphs and perhaps give you a better idea of what skills to look for in your pet and what would be unfair to ask of them. These suggestions will hopefully point you in the correct direction in your training endeavors so that you and your pet can attain the best possible situation for both of you. Let’s start the discussion by looking at the hunting dog and its subcategories.

Hunting dogs have been bred for a purpose and it has remained relatively the same throughout history. Their main function is to flush game from its hiding places and then to retrieve the game after we have dispatched it. However, there are different skill sets even amongst the hunting breeds and whilst some interchangeability is possible, it is not always in the best interest of the dog. Hunting dogs fall mainly in the categories of water dogs, bird dogs and tracking dogs. Water dogs include such breed as the Labrador Retriever and are bred primarily for the purpose of waterfowl hunting and retrieval in wet land environments. Bird Dogs are more of a land-hunting animal, even though it is possible to interchange these two breed types a bit. Bird Dogs include Irish Setters and the Pointer breeds. The third classification of hunting dog is the Tracking breeds, which include hounds of all varieties. These dogs are prized for the determination and keen sense of smell. These dogs are well suited for leashed hunts or long distance, night hunts for nocturnal animals, such as raccoons or opossums, which may travel great distances in escape attempts.

For the next group of animals, we shall consider the lap dog or house pet breeds. These are generally smaller animals and have sociable personalities. These dogs are well suited for common pet tricks such as sitting up or being trained to “speak” (bark on command) as well as fetching small objects. These are also the type of pet that is commonly trained to be dressed up in pint size outfits for special occasions and holidays and, for the most part, they seem quite tolerant of the behavior. A listing of such breeds would include animals such as Toy Poodles, Chihuahuas, Pekingese, Pomeranians and Lhasa Apsos, along with similar breeds.

Another breed group to consider is the Working dogs classification. These dogs have both the desire to perform and the size and muscle to back it up. They can be seen on police and military forces around the world, on farm lots working livestock and even on the snowy tundra. These dogs are well trained for personal security and protection, livestock control and even assisting in transportation via dog sleds. These are the dogs who are trained for drug and explosive detection and also leading the visually impaired. These dogs do their job and demand the respect that goes with it. Breeds listed in this category would include German Shepherds, Malamutes, Australian Cattle Dogs and various other breeds of similar size and nature.

It is also to be considered that some pets have left their original purpose when they have switched locations. For example, few Americans actually use Dachshunds for the purpose of badger hunting as they were originally bred. Rather, they tend to keep these animals as house pets. When considering how to train your animal, consider not only the breed, but common practice and whether a particular skill is of use in the area where you live.

Hopefully these simple guidelines will help you to decide the best direction to take your pets training and the two of you can enjoy many wonderful adventures to come.

© 2005-2006. Mario Giordani. About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website:

Choosing a Trainer: Two Key Considerations

Choosing a Trainer: Two Key Considerations

Although many dog owners successfully train their pets without outside assistance, some benefit greatly by using a professional dog trainer. A quality dog trainer can help instruct the dog while also providing the owner with invaluable guidance and assistance. Very problematic dogs—those who seem inordinately aggressive or unruly, for instance—often pose training problems that outstrip the ability of even a relatively well-informed dog owner and a finding a great dog trainer becomes essential.

Dog trainers do not require specific licensing. Any person with a desire to do so can simply proclaim himself or herself a dog trainer, hang up a shingle, and begin soliciting customers. The bar for entry into the dog training profession is set so low that it is no surprise that there are many inadequate trainers trying to do business.

When choosing a dog trainer, how is a dog owner to decide who they should trust with their pet’s care and education? Choosing a dog trainer can be a very difficult proposition but separating the untalented and amateurish from the truly gifted is essential to your dog’s well being. Making a mistake in hiring a dog trainer will not only fail to help your dog, it could worsen his behavior and make it harder to correct later.

There is no magic formula for choosing the right trainer. There are any number of factors you may want to consider to find someone with whom you can successfully work and upon whom you can truly rely. However, there are at least two considerations that should guide most any selection of a dog trainer: Experience and reputation.


One should try to search out a trainer with significant experience. Experienced trainers are more likely to be able to successfully deal with the unique circumstances of your pet based on their track record with other animals.

Additionally, experience inherently communicates at least a reasonable likelihood of talent. One is not likely to have stayed in business as a dog trainer for any significant period of time if they lacked talent and failed to produce desired results. Experience, in essence, is also a proof of at least some ability.

What about new trainers? After all, even the most veteran and experienced trainer began as a rookie. Does this mean one should pass over every trainer who lacks a long track record?

You may be able to find a truly great trainer among the ranks of the less experienced. There is, however, the increased risk that the trainer will be unable to satisfactorily train your dog. If you are considering a novice trainer, grill them about their past experiences prior to entering the profession. Find out what kind of dogs they have dealt with, if they have a more experienced mentor, and how they feel they have qualified themselves to work with your dog. Picking a rookie trainer could work out perfectly, but it does increase the chances of dealing with someone who is woefully unprepared to handle the job responsibilities of training.


Experience is an indicator of talent, but it is not a foolproof way of assessing a trainer’s talents. It is possible for a crafty marketer to stay in business a long time, after all, regardless of the quality of their work. As such, it is appropriate to inquire about the reputation of the dog trainers you are considering. Solicit opinions and references from a variety of sources in order to find the right trainer for you.

Great sources for information regarding wonderful trainers and those you should avoid might include veterinarians, breeders, pet storeowners and close acquaintances who have used a dog trainer. By asking around, you can find out which trainers are most highly regarded.

Ask the trainer himself or herself, too. See if they will provide some references you may contact, preferably past clients. Any trainer who is unwilling to do this should be eyed with some degree of suspicion. Most qualified and talented traders will be happy to give you references to contact. Be sure to follow through. Talk to the references and find out all you can about the trainer and the quality of training the former customers and their dogs experienced.

There are a variety of factors that one may want to consider when seeking out a trainer for their dog. The importance of a trainer to a dog’s life is significant and great care should be taken during the selection process. Two things that must be kept in mind when seeking a trainer are the trainer’s experience and reputation.

© 2005-2006. Mario Giordani. About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website:

Differences in Training for Hunting Dogs

Differences in Training for Hunting Dogs

As the old song said there is a time for every purpose and the same is true for training your dog. Just as different jobs require different skills and different tools, dogs used in specialized areas require specialized training. For this discussion, we will look at the hunting dog and what specialized training is required for them to be useful members of the team.

Since prehistoric time, man has kept pets and dogs are no exception. What is interesting is that this animal has maintained so much of its history over the years and, yet, has also diversified into other areas of our lives. There is no doubt that the original dogs were kept for hunting purposes rather than companionship but over the years that relationship has evolved to include not only hunting, but also protection from enemies, companionship, guide services and tracking. Also interesting is the fact that while our hunting techniques and tools have evolved our uses for the hunting dog have retained much of their historical ambience. Dogs are still used for the purposes of flushing game from hiding spots and tracking wounded prey, much as they were used thousands of years ago. One major change has been made though… we rarely expect our pets to actually kill the quarry anymore. The dog now occupies more of a retrieval status and it is quite possible to hunt a whole lifetime and never avail you of the services of a hunting dog. But what fun would that be? In a world that has changed so quickly and moves so fast, it is important to retain part of our history and thus we keep the dog as our ever-faithful hunting companion. Even in hunting, however, dogs still require specific training.

The first step in training a hunting dog is made before the animal is ever acquired. You must decide what kind of dog, your sport requires. Many breeds have been refined for certain hunting activities and this must be taken into consideration. Just as you would not take a dachshund on a lion hunt, you shouldn’t expect your wolfhound to crawl down a badger den. Decide upon a hunting style and then pick the animal best suited to it. Are you a rabbit or squirrel-hunting fan? Then perhaps the beagle or basset hound would be to your liking. Do you prefer the challenge of hunting quail, dove or pheasant? Maybe you should consider one of the breeds of pointers. Do you like the peaceful calm of long hours spent in a duck blind on a cool morning? A retriever is probably the perfect choice for you. Take the time and do the research. There is a dog bred for nearly every type of hunting and even a few breeds that cross boundaries into different platforms.

The second difference in a hunting dogs training is the training goal itself. While it is desirable to almost completely remove aggressive behavior in a companion animal, it is advisable to leave some of this instinct intact for hunting animals. The reason behind this is simple. These animals spend long hours and sometimes days in the field and may encounter danger from wildlife or even wounded prey. Also the first time your untrained dog hands you a squirrel that is stunned and not completely dead, you will understand the reason for leaving the aggressive instinct in the animal. (Authors note: Promptly seek medical attention to have the finger the squirrel bit off reattached… Duct Tape won’t fix everything no matter what the label tells you. ) All humor aside, a mildly aggressive hunting animal is more of a benefit than a detriment as long as the animal still gives up the prey without a fight.

Another aspect of training a hunting animal is to teach them to behave independently. Many types of hunting require that the hunting dogs will usually lead ahead of the hunter by great distances. They must be able to act upon their own without fear of them running away or getting into trouble. Another point that might seem a trifle silly; A hunting dog must not be gun shy. Owning a $1500 bird dog that just ran yelping over the hill, never to be seen again, when you fired a shot is not good training or a good investment.

So remember when picking your hunting companion… Choose the breed appropriately, train them correctly, and know your dog. With these basics, hunting with dogs can be a great hobby.

© 2005-2006. Mario Giordani. About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website:

Being Your Dog’s Leader is Key to Training

Being Your Dog’s Leader is Key to Training

Dogs, in their natural state, are pack animals. We tend to think of them simply as autonomous pups and don’t often consider their immutable core nature as pack animals, however. This failure to take into account the true nature of dogs can make training more difficult. Likewise, understanding what it means to be a pack animal can unlock one of training’s greatest secrets.

Dogs, in packs, have leaders. The leadership role in dog packs is one of great influence. Other dogs in the pack naturally subordinate themselves to leadership and will look to their leader for guidance and instruction.

Of course, domesticated dogs don’t travel in packs. Instead, they build a pack based on those with whom they regularly interact. In essence, the owner and the owner’s family members or close friends become the dog’s pack.

This creates a wonderful opportunity for dog trainers. By casting yourself as the leader of your dog’s pack, the dog will naturally tend to follow your lead, will naturally feel inclined to respect you and will demonstrate an instinctive need to learn from you. Since a dog’s real social structure will always be seen through the innate canine perspective of packs and leaders, it only makes sense for trainers to take advantage of this by assigning roles for both pet and master that will make dog training especially effective.

There are several things a trainer can do to emulate being a pack leader. These techniques will allow your dog to find what he will rightfully feel is his place in your family’s social order and will make him substantially more amenable to your training. Some may say it is as easy as “making sure the dog knows who is the boss,” but that is an oversimplification. Being bossy is not the same as being a leader. Simply trying to enforce your will on a dog does not necessarily communicate to him that you are truly the pack leader. The talented trainer will understand this and will take specific actions to emulate a pack leader.

Some expert-recommended techniques include:


Good leaders are consistent enforcers of rules and regulations. Leaders who too often “look the other way” are not taken seriously. A dog will notice whether your rules and expectations are consistently maintained and may even test your mettle upon occasion, pushing the boundaries of established behavioral norms to determine who is really in charge. By being a wholly consistent leader, you are likely to establish yourself as being the head of your pack and your dog will then be much more apt to follow your lead.


Leaders are respected not just as an arbitrary outgrowth of their assigned position but because of how they behave in that role. A firm, but fair leader is far more likely to be admired and followed. One must be firm with their dog when training, but cannot hold unreasonable expectations or enforce their rules with violence or punishment. A good pack leader can still use the positive-reinforcement techniques that have been proven the core of successful training. Being a respectful leader will create a respectful follower in your dog. Their submission to you should be premised in respect and appreciation—not in fear or humiliation.


The successful pack leader will interact with his dog in ways that reinforce the notion of the social hierarchy. Dogs, for instance, look for cues from leadership in the eyes. By maintaining eye contact with your pet during training, he will better understand your role as leader. Likewise, it is desirable to occasionally demand your dog’s attention while walking, playing or during more intense training sessions. By commanding your dog to heel and to look at you, for instance, you will further reinforce your position as pack leader.

Unlocking the power of being a pack leader can make training much more effective. With roles clearly established, one can avoid much of the struggle others may experience while training their pets. Additionally, by assigning yourself the role of pack leader you create an environment in which your dog will naturally look to you for its guidance. Pack leadership is an essential component to any fully optimized training program.

© 2005-2006. Mario Giordani. About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website:

An Overview of the Debarking Debate

An Overview of the Debarking Debate

Copyright By Mario Giordani. All Rights Reserved.

One of the most controversial subjects in the field of dog training is the question of debarking surgery. Debarking surgery is a procedure designed to minimize the volume of a dog’s bark. It is generally used by those with dogs who have both a loud bark and a tendency to bark incessantly. The procedure is most commonly used on very loud larger dog breeds. Shetlands and collies, for instance, make up a large percentage of those dogs subjected to the surgery.The procedure generally requires the use of a general anesthesia and involves punching, cutting or otherwise manipulating the tissue around a dog’s vocal chords to soften or significantly reduce his ability to bark. Access the areas targeted during the surgery can come either through the dog’s mouth or via an incision on the dog’s neck.

Debarking does not, usually, complete eliminate dog’s bark. The volume of the bark is decreased substantially by the surgery, but most dogs will still have some bit of “bark” left subsequent to surgery. It is sometimes referred to a bark softening for this reason.

Not surprisingly, debarking is a very contentious issue, with experts having lined up on each side of the argument. Some advocate debarking as a helpful last-resort for incessant barkers while others maintain the process is cruel and unnecessary.

The Debarking Advocates

Those who support the continued use of debarking procedures argue that it is generally pursued only in egregious circumstances. Only dogs who have been resistant to alternative methods of reducing their excessive barking tend to be subject to the procedure. The surgery is reserved, the say, for problematic pets when no workable alternative exists and when the nature of the dog’s bark makes them a legitimate nuisance—not merely an inconvenience.

They argue that the debarking surgery, if conducted by a properly trained veterinarian creates a more pleasant life for the dog. No longer subject to constant criticism and correction for his barking, the dog’s quality of life is enhanced.

Some have even maintained that the debarking process saves dogs’ lives. They state that dogs with constant barking issues are often abandoned by owners or given to shelters and eventually euthanised as result of a barking problem that can be surgically corrected. Proponents of debarking see the surgery as a form of behavior modification can be a great benefit to frustrated humans as well as the dogs themselves.

The Debarking Detractors

Those who oppose debarking operations often do so on the grounds of inhumanity. They object to the surgery on principle, noting the dog has no ability to consent to the action and that since it is not a health-related matter, the elimination of a dog’s bark via surgery is simply moral wrong. There is no justification to expose the dog to the risk of surgery for the mere sake of convenience, they will argue.

Additionally, they note that the surgery does nothing to eliminate the underlying reasons for the dog’s constant barking. The dog is likely to continue to “bark” albeit silently or at a lower volume because root causes of the unappreciated behavior are not addressed. This cuts against the potential benefits of the surgery as the real nature of the dog’s life is not changed—they still suffer from the same issues as before. Post-surgery, however, they suffer in relative silence, which decreases the owner’s impetus to explore what problems led to the errant behavior in the first place.

Those who reject the procedure also note the medical risk inherent in any major surgery and any procedure requiring use of a general anesthetic. This line of thought purports that the risks associated with the procedure outweigh the minor benefits that may it may possibly produce.

The question of whether or not a dog should be considered a prospect for a debarking procedure remains a highly personal one. There are many who would argue that, under the right circumstances, a dog and owner can both benefit from the procedure. There are just as many who reject the procedure out of hand as a wasteful act of inhumanity.

Debarking surgery remains a controversial and divisive issue within the dog community and it is not likely that a consensus will soon emerge either for or against the procedure. There are reasons to support the practice often seemingly solvent act debarking, yet many reasons to be distrustful of the procedure, its true efficacy and moral justifications.

About the author: Mario Giordani writes about different topics of interest. You may not use this article unless you retain both copyright and link information intact and the links are clickable. Website: