What are the most common Dog behavioral Problems?
Dogs that misbehave may be getting mixed Message, or the wrong message, from their owners. Here are the top 10 ways in which dog lovers inadvertently encourage their dogs to misbehave- with advice from the experts at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine on achieving the behavior you want.
Mistake # 1 Rewarding an overexcited barker
The Problem: When the dog is excited and barking, he gets fed, walked or exercised. When the dog rubs paws of leans against its humans while they're reading or watching TV, he gets petted.
The Solution: "In these cases the dog controls the situation. Dogs should sit and be calm before they get food, walks and so on," says Karen Overall, MD VMD, PhD a certified animal behaviorist, a research associate in psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania and the former director of the Behavior Clinic in the School of Veterinary Medicine. "Under no circumstances should the clients touch, love or otherwise interact with the dog unless the dog defers and awaits attention. The dog must sit and be quiet to earn anything and everything it wants for the rest of its life." Otherwise dog lovers reinforce the dog to bark, whine, paw and push, demanding attention.
Mistake # 2 Giving negative attention
The Problem: When a dog barks too much, the
dog lover screeches at the dog; when the dog jumps on someone, the dog lover might knee him in the chest or step on his back toes. "If dogs don't know how to get attention by being calm, they'll find other ways," noted Overall, who believes that clients should never physically reprimand their dogs.
The Solution: Instead, the dog should be taught to do something positive, like sit near the door when people enter. This behavior should be rewarded with praise and treat. Using a loose head collar helps when company is expected, if the dog jumps or barks, guide him gently pulling the collar, then have him sit and reward her for doing so.
Mistake # 3 Thinking the crate is like a prison, and therefore not crating the dog.
The Problem: Improper use of crating, which can be a valuable training tool when correctly used. "Crates are overused and have created an epidemic of under-exercised, incarcerated dogs", says Overall, who stresses that crated should never substitute for meeting a dog's needs for play and exercise.
Dogs that panic in crates should never be crated.
The Solution: Dogs that are introduced to their crate appropriately usually learn to love their crates as a safe sanctuary where the animal doesn't have to worry about being teased by children or tripped over. Crates can be easy and painless way to aid in house training a new dog, as well as to keep puppies out of trouble when no one is home.
Mistake #4 Giving puppy the run of the house
The Problem: If left unattended, puppies may soil the house or chew inappropriate items unnoticed.
The Solution: You can only correct a puppy when he is caught in the act, Then you can swoop him up to go outside or direct his attention to appropriate items to chew, Puppies that can't be watched should be crated or put in a puppy proofed space.
Mistake #5 Inappropriate response to misdeeds
The Problem: The dog lover discovers a mess made by the dog; He pushed the dog's nose into the mess, smacks and yells at the dog, and then puts the dog into a crate to punish him.
The Solution: Starling a dog to get him to stop a behavior is only effective within one second of the misdeed, Overall says. Otherwise, bad behaviors must be ignored. Any harsh, physical punishment can foster fear, distrust, anxiety, and submissive urination, if you catch the dog in the act, startle him by swooping him up to take outside or limit the dog's access until you can directly supervise and redirect the dog. Never use crates for punishment.
Mistake # 6 Chasing your dog and playing tug of war
The Problem: Chasing a dog teaches him to run away from you. Tug of war games can hurt the dog and teach him to be rough.
The Solution: If the dog can sit quietly before tugging, can play gently, and will stop on cue, tugging can be fun. "Be sure to drop the toy and game the second that teeth touch skin" and ask the dog to sit and wait to end the game, Overall advises.
Mistake #7 Wrestling with the dog and allowing him to mouth your hands and arms
The Problem: "People often believe they can teach their dogs to be protective by wrestling with them. This is dangerous and can teach the dog to treat the family roughly, "says Overall
The Solution: Use toys instead of body parts to play. If a pup uses its mouth, say "no" immediately, freeze, remove your hand or arm, and immediately
offer the dog something else to mouth.
Mistake # 8 Pushing the dog into shitting or down position when he doesn't obey a command
The problem: "People who have to use physical contact are already in an adversarial situation," says overall. "Many dogs don't know what you
want because it's all background noise."
The Solution: One easy way to teach a dog "down" command is to wait until the dog begins to lie down. Then verbalized the command, "down" and
immediately reward him with a favorite treat.
Mistake # 9 Rewarding a begging dog with table scraps
The Problem: Family members feed the dog good scraps when it leans, paws, or whines, when you're at the dinner table. By giving food to the dog at its request, you are encouraging the dog to be demanding and beg.
The Solution: "if you want to feed a dog from the table, do it only when the dog is lying down and quiet." That way you are rewarding relaxed behaviors in a context-specific manner, " Overall says.
Mistake # 10 Struggling with a dog who pulls at the leash
The Problem: When a dog pulls on the leash, the walkers pulls back, yells at the dog and keeps walking. Dogs push against pressure and when a person yells but keeps walking the dog, will continue pulling as he is getting his walk and getting attention.
The Solution: Instead, use a head collar, "Head collars transfer the pressure to the back of the neck as a stop signal. If everyone just used a head collar from the beginning, most pets would never learn to walk inappropriately on a regular leash.
Training Tips from Pros
- Try to "catch" your dog being good, always
reward him for being quiet and calm.
- Never punish a dog, you should ignore bad behavior,
distract with a loud noise, or turn his attention to doing something appropriate.
- Keep commands simple and consistent among all family members.
- Never scold a dog for coming to you, even if he's being naughty before coming. Always praise because now he's doing the right thing, and you don't want to discourage him from him coming to you in the future.
How can i resolve a dog barking problem?
Is your dog barking too much?
It's normal and natural for dogs to bark. But when barking happens a lot, or goes on for a long time, it can be annoying and upsetting for your neighbors. If you're out a lot or you're just used to the noise, you might not realize just how bad it is.
This leaflet is designed to help you work with your neighbors to sort out any problems caused by your dog barking without having to involve the authorities. It will also help understand why your dog barks, and tell you about some practical steps you can take to stop or cut down the barking.
As the dog owners you need to the reason why your dog is barking, if you can't do this the Police Department may have to get involved and you could face a citations with penalties.
Talking it over
If the noise your dog is making is upsetting your neighbors, the first step is to talk things over with them. Stay calm, and try to see it from their point of view; perhaps they're working shifts, or have a baby and/or small children. Bear in mind that they might be worried about whether the dog is okay and remember, you might not know how serious the problem is if your dog is barking more when you're not home.
Understanding the problem
Ask your neighbor to tell you exactly when your dog is barking, and for how long. If you're out a lot, ask them to note down the times when the dog is barking. If you're in, make a note yourself. Think about using a web cam or video camera to find out what your dog is doing when you're not there, or try a setup, pretend that you're going out for the day, then wait outside the door to see what your dog does, If he starts barking and howling, go back in and tell him firmly to be quite. Punishing your dog will only make things worse.
There are some simple steps you can take to cut down the amount of noise your dog is making. This will help you calm the situation between you and your neighbors, and give you time to work out why your dog is barking.
- If your dog barks at things outside don't let him outside on his own. Keep him away from windows, so he can't see people or other animals.
- If your dog bards at the same time every day, like when people are in the house getting ready for work or school, try and keep him busy during that time.
- Try to keep your dog calm, if he gets excited. Don't play with your dog late at night.
- If your dog's barking and you're in an apartment, try and keep him away from any walls you share with your neighbors.
- Don't leave your dog outside barking when he wants in.
- See if you can get a friend or relative to look after your dog when you're not home, or see if you can take him with you.
- Make sure your dog gets exercise before you go out. A tired dog barks less.
Long Term Solutions
Some general rules
Be consistent, every time your dog is quite when he would normally have barked, praise him or give him a treat. When he barks, tell him firmly to no or be quiet, use the same command every time. You also need to remember that your dog is part of the family. If he only barks when you leave, bring him inside. Leave some toys, chews or leave a radio on quietly. If your dog is distressed, keep him inside with you whenever your home, dogs are pack animals they need company.
Tackling specific problems
- Problem; your dog is clingy and howls or whines when left alone.
- Solution; a vet, animal behaviorist or animal control officer may be able to tell you how to help your dog get used to being on its own.
- Problem: Your dog is frightened, he might look scared (ears back, tail low) have trouble settling or trying to hide.
- Solution: if your dog likes hiding, make a den for him. If he's scared of noise, mask it by putting the radio on quietly. If he's frightened of other people or animals, shut the curtains or doors. Think about talking to a vet or an animal behaviorist.
- Problem: Your dog guards his territory by barking at people, animals, or cars.
- Solution: Keep your dog away from the front of the house or apartment. Screen your windows, if he starts barking outside, call him in right away. You could ask a vet or animal behaviorist about behavior therapy.
- Problem; your dog is barking to get attention.
- Solution; Look at your dog, then look away to show you're respond. Don't give him any attention, or anything else, while she is barking. Try deliberately ignoring him for 20-30 minutes two or three times a day, and get everyone in the house to do the same thing. Doing this for 15 minutes before you go out can help stop your dog barking when you leave. A vet or animal behaviorist may be able to give you more advice.
- Problem: You went out without taking your dog for a walk and he's barking thought frustration.
- Solution: Wear different clothes for walking your dog; Leave your dog's lead where he can see it. So if you're leaving without taking the lead, the dog will know that he's not going with you.
Keep your neighbors informed about what you're doing to stop the barking.
What not to do
- Don't punish your dog. He might mistake it for attention and it could also make him more anxious.
- Don't use mechanical devices, like anti bark collars; it could make the dog even more anxious.
- Don't get a second dog unless you're sure it's going to make your dog feel more secure, not less.
If the problem doesn't get resolved
If you don't take steps to solve the problem, and your local authority receives complaints about the noise your dog is making, the authority will investigate the complaint. The local authorities may seek to resolve the problem by mediating between you and the complainants or when such mediation is unsuccessful and the authority is satisfied that the noise amounts to a statutory nuisance, they can serve you with a citation.
What should I expect when i have children and Dogs?
Children lack knowledge and expertise to interact safely with dogs, adults must ensure children and dogs interact well with each other. This is a two-step process
Teaching your child
Training the dog
- Never leave young children with any dog unattended
- Warn children about approaching unknown dogs
- Teach children to approach dogs slowly
- Teach children not to disturb dogs that are sleeping, eating, or playing with toys.
- Caution children from tormenting or teasing dogs.
- Don't force children to make friends with any dog they are afraid of.
- Ensure basic obedience
- Ensure the dog is well socialized
- Always use a leash
- If the dog is not well trained or socialized, keep him confined when new visitors are at your home.
- Vaccinate, spay/neuter- keeping your dog healthy can keep your dog happier.
What should i know about dog bites?
Preventing Dog Bites and Attacks
More than 4 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. When a dog bites, everyone pays. Dog bite victims suffer painful and disfiguring injuries. Dog owners suffer legal and liability consequence. Insurance companies pay millions in medical costs. And the dog often loses his home, his family and even his life.
A significant percentage of dog bite victims are young children. The elderly and home service people such as mail carriers and meter readers are also frequent victims of dog bites.
Fortunately, there are steps we can take to address this problem.
What's a dog owner to do?
Carefully consider your pet's selection. Your veterinarian is a good source for information about behavior and suitability.
Spay or neuter your pet. Its fact, dogs who have been spayed or neutered are happier, healthier and three times less likely to bite.
If you adopt a dog, make sure that you socialize it properly so that they feel comfortable around other people and animals. Ease your dog into a variety of situations a little at a time. Don't push them into a position where they feel threatened or teased.
Dogs are social animals; spend time with your pet. A dog that is left alone or tied up for long periods of times have a greater chance of developing behavior problems.
Train your dog, the basic commands: sit, stay, down, no, and come can be incorporated into fun activities which build a bond of obedience and trust between pets and people.
Don't play aggressive attack games like wrestling or tug-of-war with your dog. He won't always understand the difference between play and real life situations.
Keep your dog healthy. Have him vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Good health is important to how your dog feels and behaves.
If you're having a social gathering, please put your pet in his crate.
During Halloween if you pass out candy, keep your dog inside in his crate. Dogs don't understand the scary costumes at the door.
Obey leash laws. It's the law.
License your dog. It's the law.
How Can I avoid dog bites?
Be cautious around strange dogs and treat your own pet with respect.
Because children are frequently the victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should teach children at a young age to be careful around pets.
Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
Children should be taught to ask permission from the owner before petting a dog.
Don't run past a dog that's caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
Be cautious around a confined or chained dog. An un-neutered dog that is confined most of the time is the most likely type of dog to bite.
If a dog approaches to sniff you, stay still.
If you're threatened by a dog, remain calm, don't scream. Don't turn and run.
If you fall to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck, protecting your face.
What should I do if my dog bites?
Restrain the dog immediately- separate him from the scene of the attack and confined him.
Call 911 if paramedic attention is required.
If immediate police response is needed call 911, otherwise call your SCACC to report the bite.
Wash wound with soap and water.
Consult your veterinarian for advice about dog behavior that will help prevent similar problems from occurring.
Dogs are wonderful companions; by acting responsibly owners not only reduce the numbers of dog bites, but also enhance the relationships they have with their dogs.
How can I house train my puppy?
Proper house training of a puppy or adult dog is essential if he is to be a welcome member of the family. Fortunately dogs have instincts that make it easy to teach them proper habits if we are consistent and patient with them. Because dogs are den animals they prefer not to relieve themselves in their sleeping area. This is the basis of house training.
Major Points to Follow for Successful House Training:
- Keep your puppy or dog confined when not directly supervised. You must keep your dog confined when you can't directly supervise his actions. Crating is an excellent way to confine your pet. A crate should be large enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably but not so large to give him the impression that it can be used for a toilet. Young puppies should not be left in a crate for more than two hours at a time. As the dog gets older, you may need to crate him longer while you are at work, but make sure he is out with you as much as possible and gets plenty of exercise. To teach your dog to stay in the crate, line it with a soft towel, mat, or blanket. Put in a few toys and maybe a snack for him. You may also want to feed him in the crate so that he learns that the crate is a good place, a safe place. Initially leave the door open and let your dog go in and out as he pleases. Next, close the door for a few minutes at a time. If you put him in the crate after playing with him, he will most likely go to sleep right away. If used correctly, dogs learn rapidly that the crate is a good place to be. Do not leave a collar on your dog when in the crate. You don't want your dog to have his collar get caught on anything and choke to death. If you don't have a crate, keep your dog where you can keep an eye on him. Confine him in a small, safe area when you cannot watch him. Baby gates are ideal for both keeping your dog near you and creating an area for him to stay while you are gone. Block off the kitchen or laundry room, put papers down on the floor, and put his bed and toys in there with him. Unlike a solid door which isolates and upsets him, a baby gate allows your dog to see, hear and smell his family.
- Take your dog out frequently. This is the most important part of house training. You must take your dog out frequently. This means after waking up, after eating, and playing. Take your dog out to the same spot in your yard each time and when the puppy goes to the bathroom, praise him. Use the same commands each time, example before going outside to go potty: "Do you need to go potty?". Learn to recognize his pre-potty pattern, such as walking around, circling and sniffing the floor.
- Don't punish your dog for accidents in the house. It's going to happen. If you don't catch him doing it, then don't punish him for it. If you catch your dog in the act while in the house, tell him no. Pick him up and take him outside to his spot in the yard and tell him potty. Praise him when he goes in the right spot. Never hit your dog: a stern no, is enough to stop him when needed. If you find a place in the house where he had an accident, don't bring him there and rub his nose in it or punish him. It's too late by the time you found it to correct the problem. The dog will not understand why he is being punished and you will only succeed in making him afraid of you. Just clean up the mess, use a commercial pet deodorizer to remove the smell and vow to watch him more closely.
- Be consistent and patient. It's easiest to house train if you feed your dog set meals rather than leaving out available all day. Take your dog outside after he eats. Take food and water away from your pet at least two hours before going to bed. This will decrease the likelihood that he will wake you up during the night to go potty. Most dogs learn quickly and will be fairly dependable by the time they are 4 months old. However they still may have accidents until they are 8-12 months old. Make sure the whole family follows the rules and same commands, if everyone is saying the same thing your dog will understand. If everyone is using different commands your dog will get confused.
How can i report a Lost or Found Animal?
To report a lost or found animal please email us the following information
- Your name
- email address and phone number and any other contact information
- Type of animal
- Description of the animal (color, size, breed, sex, name include the tag number if it is a dog),
- Last know location of the animal or where animal found
- Date and time lost or found
- Enter either "Lost Animal" or "Found Animal" on the subject Line
- Attach a recent photo and we can post it on our website.
If the dog is wearing a current Saginaw County tag, call (989) 797-4500 follow the prompts to retrieve the owner's phone number. If the animal is wearing any type of ID, attempt to contact the owner using the information on the ID. The animal can be scanned for a microchip by a local veterinarian or shelter. Calling the place you desire to take them ensures they have scanning capability. Post flyers in the neighborhood that you found the animal. Post fliers on our found pet's page. You can contact SCACC for a dog pick up. We don't pick up cats unless they are injured. You can bring the animal down to our shelter.
If you want to Privately locate a lost pet:
- Post flyers in the neighborhood as soon as your animal went missing. Ask elementary schools in the area if you can post flyers, kids often notice animals.
- On the flyers, have a picture of your animal, name, full detail of color or markings, if they're nice or scared, if they need medication, your phone number, where they went missing and the date they went missing.
- Talk to neighbors, letter carries, and paper deliverers to see if anyone has spotted your pet.
- Place ad in the local paper and offer a reward. Also check the found ads.
- Most important keep looking for at least 10 days. Many pets are found by members of the public who may not bring the animal in to the shelter for several days.
- Come look at our shelter- Saginaw County Animal Control Center 1312 Gratiot Rd, Saginaw.
What do i need to know about licensing my dog?
It's required by law for all dogs in Saginaw County to license their dogs. You have until March 1st of each year to renew your dog's license. Failure to do so could result in a citation. Dog owners can purchase dog license at Saginaw Animal Center, Saginaw County Treasures Office, and/or you're veterinary.
Why is it important to get my dog license?
Michigan state statute requires that all dogs over four months of age must have a current rabies vaccination and license tag-It's the law. Pets licensed are considered permits mandating specified responsibility and privileges of ownerships. Licenses provide identification for your pet's protection and safety and can help assure that you can be reunited with your lost pet.
Dogs licensed also provide funding for the counties rescue, shelter and care of the lost, injured, abandoned and mistreated animals. They also provide important information on the dog population in cities and can affect how government resources are allocated to fund dog related programs.
When does my dog's license expire?
Your dog's license expires December 31st of each year. If your pet has a 3 years rabies vaccination, you must renew your dog's county license every year.
What happens if I lose my license tag?
You need to go to the Saginaw County Treasures Office.
What can I do about wild animals?
Tips for Co-existing with wildlife
Wild animals contribute to our enjoyment of nature and outdoor recreation, but they can also damage property, agriculture, natural resources, threaten human health and safely.
Equipped with the right information and tools, most homeowners can solve their own problems and learn to live with wildlife. For example, trimming trees and shrubbery are ways of changing a habitat to make it less attractive to unwanted flocks of birds or even snakes.
The following information may assist in keeping those curious raccoons out of the garbage can. That persistent rabbit or deer out of the garden. That goose or duck out of the backyard pool. The woodpecker off the siding and the swooping bat out of the attic. Caution should always be taken to avoid overly aggressive animals.
Some wildlife is protected by Federal or State laws and regulations. For more information about protected and endangered species and trapping and relocation regulations, contact your state wildlife agency Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Do not interfere
Try not to interfere with the animal. In many cases the animal may be passing through the area and if left alone, will move on its own time, usually after sundown.
Keep accesses closed
If a makes its nest in a house or garage the best thing to do is to locate the opening(s) through which the animal entered and wait until it leaves to gather food. This will usually happen in the late afternoon or early evening. Before the animal returns, close off the entrance opening(s) using heavy gauge sheet metal or a similar strong material. If it cannot access the nest, the animal will usually look for another place. Make sure that the young have not been accidentally trapped in the nest.
Help Animals to Freedom
Animals that have fallen into a chimney, basement, or window can usually be removed by lowering a rough board or a knotted rope of sufficient length into the opening. When left undisturbed, the animal will usually climb out on its own, using the board or rope as a ladder.
Do not Feed
Wild animals are often attracted to your home by the availability of food. Do not leave pet food outside, especially at night.
Do not keep for pets
Wild animals do not make good pets because their nature and inherent instinct for survival. Most of them are protected by law and it's illegal to capture or confine them except when they damage property or threaten human welfare. Thought they may be cute and relatively small, wild animals should be handled with caution and respect. They can dangerous and formidable opponents, particularly in the defense of their young. Wild animals can also transmit serious diseases to humans. When an animal becomes frightened or confused they are likely to bite.
Remember nothing can replace common sense. Maintain a distance from all strange animals, especially wildlife. Wild animals are often attracted to your home by the availability of food, and shelter. Removing or elimination the availably of food and shelter may discourage animals from invading your home causing problems.
Reduce Food and Shelter
- Remove pet food and water dishes from outside especially at night.
- Keep tight fitting lids on garbage cans.
- Do not feed squirrels, raccoons or other wildlife that might cause a problem.
- If you have a fruit yard, harvest or dispose of fruit when it's ripe.
- Do not place food scraps in gardens or compost bins
- Do not allow bird food to accumulate on the ground. Install baffles to keep squirrels and raccoons off your feeders or try models with weight activated perch bar that closes when unwanted animals get on it. Avoid using sunflower, corn and millet close to your home, use thistle feeders instead.
- Stack firewood on a frame that keeps logs at least 2 feet above the ground.
- Trim branches that extend over your roof. You can prevent access to trees near your home by installing a 3 foot wide band of sheet metal around the trunks at least 5 feet above the ground. This is effective only for isolated trees.
- Remove brush piles and other debris from your yard.
Animal Proofing your Home
- Attic exhaust fan opening- cover bottom of fan from inside the attic with 1/2" x 1/2" hardware cloth. Staple hardware cloth to rafters. For added security, nail or screw 1"x 2" lumber to rafters so that it overlaps the edges of the hardware cloth by 1".
- Attic vents-cover inside with hardware cloth
- Soffit vents- cover inside or outside with hardware cloth.
- Soil stack or bathroom vents from exhaust fans-cover inside or outside with hardware cloth.
- Window wells- cover top with commercial grate.
- Decks that are 2 feet above the ground are not a problem. For decks built lower to the ground, dig a trench around the perimeter. Fasten hardware cloth or welded wire from the top to the bottom and bend it outward to form L. Fill in the trench and cover the wire with wood or plastic lattice for aesthetic.
- Stoops, cement slabs and sheds, dig a trench at least 8 " wide and 10" deep around the base. Place L shape hardware cloth or welded wire in trench so that the tip of the L extends at least 1" above the bottom of the stoop slab or shed, Fill in the trench.
- Roof, soffit and fascia- inspect annually for signs of water damage. Pay close attention to areas where gables or dormers meet the roof line. Repair promptly.
- Fireplace or furnace chimney- install a commercial chimney cap. Hardware cloth provides an economical alternative but must be secured tightly. Leave a peak or dome over the flue to keep leaves and sticks from accumulating.
Don't use window screening materials because they are too weak and will clog with soot, causing a fire hazard.
Important!! Take precautions to avoid sealing animals inside the building when you take measures to exclude wildlife. Sprinkle flour or talcum powder outside potential enter points or stiff 1-2 sheets of newspaper in your soffit, fascia or roof and check for disturbance.
How can i apply to be a Volunteer?
The generous support of the volunteer force has made this possible. Volunteers provide care for our homeless animals from walking dogs, playing, giving extra love, to matching a family. It's easy to become a volunteer:
- Complete and submit this Online Volunteer Application
- Attend a new volunteer orientation
- Receive volunteer basic training
Visit our calendar of events for upcoming orientation dates.
For more information please call us 989-797-4500