CA Dog Fence News Archives

Announcement: What is Socialization and Why Does My Dog Need It?

SocializationYou hear trainers and dog people talking all the time about “socialization” and how it is important for the well-being of your dog. But what exactly is socialization, how does it work, and why is it so necessary for your puppy or older dog?

“Socialization” is the term used for the process of training your dog to be properly behaved around other people and animals, toward strange objects, and in different places other than your home or yard without fear or aggression. It is the fundamental learning process by which all puppies and older dogs learn the rules and regulations of the family and community in which they live.

Typically, a new puppy comes into your family between 8 to 12 weeks of age. At this point in his development, your puppy is going through what animal behaviorists call the “fear” imprinting stage. This means that any puppy is especially vulnerable at this time to finding certain stimuli particularly alarming, and will ingrain that fear into his personality unless you – as his pet parent – do something to alleviate the problem.
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Announcement: Separation Anxiety

How to Help Your Pet Cope

Pet parents often complain that their dogs become anxious or stressed when they’re left alone, resulting in unacceptable behaviors. Although these problems might show that a dog needs to be taught polite house manners, they can also be symptoms of distress. When your dog’s problems are accompanied by other anxiety and distress indicators, such as drooling and showing anxiety when you are preparing to leave the house, these signs are clear indications that your dog has separation anxiety. 


Dogs with separation anxiety can act in a variety of destructive, disruptive ways and have a number of behaviors that work separately or together to provide a clear picture of an emotionally disturbed animal. 

When left alone, some dogs will begin to persistently bark and howl, may start digging or chewing their “escape route” out of a room or crate, and will not stop these behaviors until the owner comes home and pays them attention. Other animals, even though completely house broken when the owner is at home, will urinate or defecate in the house. Some of these dogs will eat all or part of their excrement in an emotionally driven behavior called “coprophagia.” Some animals with this type of anxiety disorder have been known to leap high fences, eat through doors, or jump through glass doors to escape and get to their owners. The less-destructive types are “pacers” – they will wear a path in your carpet or yard pacing back and forth, back and forth until you come home.  


Animal behaviorists and veterinarians draw no real conclusions as to the causes of separation anxiety in some animals. If the dog has been particularly close to an owner or a family and is then abandoned or surrendered to a shelter, this can activate the development of this disorder. A move to a new residence, a change in the owner’s schedule, the sudden absence of a family member due to death or divorce, even something as simple as a change in the owner’s work schedule has been known to trigger episodes of separation anxiety. It seems many anxiety-ridden dogs come from multiple homes or have been transferred from shelter to shelter. 

Some veterinary behaviorists believe that many dogs with this particular disorder may have been weaned too early from their mothers, or the mothers became unavailable due to illness or death. In other situations, the mother dog may have neglected or rejected the anxious puppy, or provided little physical stimulation. 

If you’ve had your veterinarian rule out any medical problems causing this particular behavior, re-training your dog to accept your goings and comings may be your only option. 


For cases of mild separation anxiety, where complete destruction of property is not shown, but you notice signs of agitation or fearfulness, helping your dog associate being alone in the home with something good or something the dog loves may be the answer. 

For example, if your pet loves to play with a particular toy or eat a certain treat food, you can offer her a rubber Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese to puzzle through when you leave the house. That should keep her occupied for 20 to 30 minutes and allow her to relax when you are gone. Make sure to pick up the toy when you return and don’t give it to her unless you are leaving the house. She needs to be able to associate you being absent with her getting her toy and her favorite food in order to become less anxiety prone. 

For more moderate to severe cases of separation anxiety, you will need to desensitize your pet to whatever action initiates the agitation and recondition her to accept that being alone can bring good things instead of fear and apprehension. To do this, you must start by determining what cues are causing the behavior. 

For example, if your dog becomes anxious when you put on your coat or pick up your keys, do those things and then don’t leave the house. Put on your coat and watch television. Hold on to your keys while you have a cup of coffee. Showing your companion that you are not necessarily leaving whenever you do those things can lessen her fears. Do this consistently every day over a period of a few weeks to a month until she becomes less anxious. 

Once you have established that your “leaving” cues are no longer bothering your pooch, you can move on to working on her “out-of-sight” stay exercises while you’re still in the house. Place your pet inside a bathroom and ask her to “stay.” Quietly move to the other side of the door where she can’t see you until you hear her becoming agitated, and reveal yourself to her. Do this several times a day gradually increasing the time you are out of sight until she no longer reacts. 

Your next step is to put on your coat and pick up your keys (those anxiety producing cues seen earlier) and move behind the bathroom door. 

Finally, as she learns not to react, move to an exit door, make her stay, and then walk out for a very short time. As in the bathroom stay, gradually increase your time away from her until she is no longer reactive. 

During your sessions, be sure to wait a few minutes between absences. After each short separation, it’s important to make sure that your dog is completely relaxed before you leave again. If you leave again right away, while your dog is still excited about your return from the previous separation, she’ll already feel aroused when she experiences the next absence. This arousal might make her less able to tolerate the next separation, which could make the problem worse rather than better. 

Remember to remain quiet and calm every time you leave and come back in, because your dog will pick up on your emotional cues. If she starts to overreact as you increase your time away, back up and shorten the away period until she no longer shows signs of stress. Then start again at that level and progress more slowly. 

Never be afraid to start over on a training session. Pushing your anxious dog too fast can result in making things worse for her. 


According to the ASPCA, some dogs with severe symptoms benefit from taking anti-anxiety medications prescribed by your veterinarian. These medicines can alleviate some of the emotional and psychological symptoms, but you’ll need to continue working on treating the problem with desensitization while she’s taking meds. 

What Not To Do

Don’t punish or scold your dog whenever she has episodes. Separation anxiety is an emotional response to distress. If you punish her, she can become even more anxious and fearful and the problem could worsen. 

Alone for 2 Hours 

Watch this YouTube video showing the impact of separation anxiety for this dog.

Announcement: Teaching Fido Good Table Manners

Once your dog has learned the basic steps of good canine manners – to sit, lie down, stay, and come on command – teaching her not to grab for treats, not to snatch at food, and to accept her meals in calm way will help her become a welcome part of your home during family meal time.

The first step is to make her “Sit” before you give her a treat. When she sits, hold the treat in front of her nose for a few seconds, then say “Take it,” in a firm, yet loving voice.

Allow her to “take” the treat when she reaches for it.

If your dog grabs for the treat before you make the command, or she rushes at it where you can feel her teeth, hold the treat in your hand behind your back and DO NOT give it to her.

Have her return to the sitting position, and try again, repeating “Take it” as you hold the treat in front of her. Only give her the treat when she takes it gently in her mouth at your request. Like all training, you may need to work at this several time a day for a while until she understands what you want.

Repeat these steps EVERY TIME you allow her to pick up a treat or a bite of food from your hands.

When its time for her meal, training her not to rush the bowl and grab for her food is just good “table manners.”

When you are preparing the meal, make sure she “sits” and watches. Don’t allow her to crowd around, jostle you, or jump on you. Stop preparing the food until she sits calmly on command.

As you move the bowl to its normal spot, command your dog to “Sit” and go “Down.” Do not set the bowl of food where she can get it until she is in the “down” position.

Once her bowl is in its place, tell her to “Take it,” and allow her to eat. If she rushes the bowl before you give the command, pick it up, and ask for “Sit” and “Down” again. Only give her the meal, when she completes the task on your request. Repeat these steps EVERY mealtime.

Training your dog not to snatch and grab at her own treats and food also teaches her not to try to steal yours. Being able to comfortably eat a meal or a snack without having your dog misbehave, keeps your entire family – including your pet – happy and stress-free. 

Announcement: Teaching Your Dog to Walk On a Leash

Basic Training, Part 6

Teaching Your Dog to Walk On a Leash

Dogs are not born knowing how to walk on a leash without pulling or straining. That is something you’re going to have to teach your new puppy or older, un-trained dog. For this exercise, most professional dog trainers don’t recommend using a retractable leash. Purchase a regular leash and collar or halter that gives you more control over your dog while you are training him.

Your first step is to get your dog acclimated to his collar or halter. Place them on his body and adjust each so that you can slip at least two fingers between his neck and the collar, and between his body and each strap of a halter. Make sure both are tight enough so that they don’t slip off the body or over the head, but loose enough to be comfortable.

Leave the collar or halter on him without removing it until he adjusts to it and feels calm sleeping and moving around in it. This may take a few hours to a couple of days, so patience is needed here.

Once he is relaxed, slip your leash onto his collar/halter and take him outside. Place your hand through the leash’s loop and wrap it around your wrist. This keeps your dog from possibly pulling it off your hand and getting loose.

Begin walking forward at a slow pace. If your dog refuses to follow you, hold a treat in front of his nose as you step off without allowing him to take it. Once he takes 2 or 3 steps, give him the treat and praise him. You may need to give a slight tug on the leash the first several times to get him to move, but a gentle tug is important. DO NOT pull. 

Continue with this until he is moving forward freely and looking for his treats.

This part of his training may take several days of consistent work for him to move freely on his own. Slowly take the treat away as he learns, but continue to praise him when he walks without that initial tug on the leash.

If your dog insists on walking quickly in front of you and pulling on the leash, immediately stop moving and make him sit. Give him a treat if he sits promptly. Once he learns that he won’t be allowed to take off on his own, and that he has to stay with you – and that there is a reward in that behavior – he will start walking at your pace.

Remember, consistency is the key here. You MUST train him the same way every time or you’ll have a dog that pulls and tugs when you walk him. That type of uncontrollable pet is a danger to himself and to other people and dogs on the street. 

Announcement: Summer Temperatures l Heat Stroke Prevention


Summer means vacation! Whether you’re really planning a trip, or it’s just a vacation of the mind, you’ll want to consider a couple things before all of the fun begins! If you have a pet or pets (which, we’ll assume that you do because you’re reading this) you’ll need to remember a couple things to make their summer an enjoyable time too.

§  Let’s go for a ride!

This phrase has a euphoric affect on my cat. Our cat loves to lay across the dashboard and peer at where we were going while enjoying the view, the sun, and the air conditioner! What wonder…all of her favorite things!

Take into account however, that when you take your pet on a road-trip. That cars can increase in heat very quickly. Make a rule never to leave you pet in a parked car. If you make a standard rule, you’ll be far likely to break it. And if you never break that rule, you’ll never have to live with the regret that you caused your own pet harm. On a cool day, the sun can raise the temperature of the interior of your car 120o in just a matter of minutes. Even with the winds rolled down, if there is no air ventilation it will still get too hot for them!

§  The 80o Rule.

Whether inside or outside, realize that this key number will save your pet a lot of grief! Keep this number in your head always, and when you realize that the temperature is getting a little warm, do something about it. If you’re outside, find your pet shade and something to drink. Be considerate of them, they deserve it!       

If you’re planning on leaving your house for more than a couple days, you might consider changing the thermostat setting before you leave. Consider, though, your cats needs before you change it. Cats do not have very efficient cooling mechanisms. In the wild, when a cat doesn’t like something or a temperature, they will move. If you cat is shut up in your house, they will not have the ability to change their environment. Remember that anything over 80o  will be uncomfortable for your cat.           

§  Keep ‘em Moving!

Also, remember to leave access to different parts of your house for their comfort. On a normal day, your cat will change position to find a sunny at a window, or sit on the tile in the bathroom to cool off. Give your cat access to your house. This will allow everyone concerned to truly enjoy the time off.

§  Protection!

As much as you consider protecting your own skin from overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays, consider that your pet may need protection as well. If your pet has short or light colored hair, their skin can be damaged by the sun much in the same way that you can be. They can suffer from sunburns, peeling and ultimately cancer.

§  Water, Water, Everywhere!

One of the few ways that we have to cool our bodies is through water. We drink it to cool ourselves and to properly hydrate ourselves, so that we can release water in ways to cool our bodies. Keep water available. If you’re going go away, have plenty of water sources available! Keep a little water in your sinks, extra water bowls around.

§  Be aware of heatstroke!

If for some reason, you realize that you might have missed a couple things, or maybe you had an emergency and had to leave quickly look for these symptoms when determining if your pet needs attention for heat stroke.

  • Body temperature of 104-110F
  • Sticky or dry tongue and gums
  • Dark or bright red tongue and gums
  • Staggering
  • Seizures
  • Bloody diarrhea or vomiting


Announcement: How Do I Keep My Dog From Begging

Many times when addressing issues with your dog, you need to learn to look at the situation as they do. Confront negative behavior with your pets as if you are confronting a toddler. We do not expect a toddler to act like an adult, and we can easily understand some behavior because it has been encouraged by the parent. The same is true with your dog. Your dog is smart and quick, your dog has learned many behaviors simply in response to things that you have done or enforced. The area of begging is one of those areas.

Your dog is begging, and you want him to stop. The first thing that you need to realize and admit is that the only reason that they are begging is because it has brought them success in the past. This dog has learned this habit and learned to use it to their benefit. If you have inherited this dog with this habit, then you’re off the hook, but everyone else… this is a habit that you helped to develop.

It is truly admirable and commendable that your dog is a big part of your life. It is understandable that you enjoy his company and distractions when you are eating. But you and your dog need to realize that this is not the time to feed your dog snacks. By allowing your dog to beg during mealtime, and by rewarding this behavior, you are encouraging a habit that you will soon realize is not something that you want them to do all of the time.

A good way to address the issue with your dog is not to loudly and brashly protest his begging, but rather, save your dogs feeding time for your mealtime. They have already learned to equate your mealtime with snack time or food time for them. Take this time, then to reschedule their mealtime with your mealtime. Save their food on the counter or a table nearby until you sit at the table. When they come to beg, you can place their food on the floor in the same place where you always place it. As you stop rewarding the begging behavior and give them their own food, they will soon learn not to beg. Decide on habits that are easy to maintain. To properly communicate to your dog that begging is not successful, you have to predetermine not to allow it to be successful – ever.

If this seems too much to ask, and you still have a problem, then determine not to eat in front of your dog. If the temptation to offer a little snack is too great, then decide to put the dog outside, or in another room while you are eating, then the begging is not allowed to happen.

The key to treating this type of behavior is consistency. Realizing how much your dog will benefit from learning to restrain himself, will make them a more well-adjusted and calmer dog.

Announcement: How to Keep Your Dog from Barking


You are just beginning to train you dog, or if you have a dog with already developed habits; it is never too early (or too late) to begin training your dog. As much as it is best to begin training a younger dog, the saying is not true, because you can teach an old dog new tricks!

In the case of addressing your dog and their barking habit, realize first that God created them to bark. Barking is their only way to orally communicate. Dogs are designed to identify their territory by barking, and to communicate with other dogs by barking. They warn of danger by barking, and show exuberance and excitement. Barking is just something that they naturally do, and as much as you may want control when they bark and what they bark at. Try first, however, to put yourself into your dog’s shoes and see why or what is making your dog bark.

There have been two techniques that I would recommend that have immediate and positive effects. There are products on the market that are designed to address the issue of your dog barking, that need to be considered when other methods are not an option.

One thing that I have found to be successful is to remind the dog of the annoyance that their barking causes. Dogs have not always lived inside, and are not designed to understand using their “inside voices” like a child might. A quick reminder to them, and on their level that their barking is loud, and uncalled for, can quickly teach them not to bark inside.

We already know and understand that dogs have excellent hearing. Using this premise, save out a soda can and put 3-5 pennies inside of it and then tape the top shut. Keep this can near you, and when the dog begins to bark, if you’ll just loudly shake the can, the sound will be uncomfortable to your dog. They will soon learn to correlate this uncomfortable sound with their barking. With consistent use, this technique is quite successful and has a satisfactory effect in the home.

There is another technique that I stumbled upon quite by accident. Our dog absolutely hates getting wet! We keep a water gun in the house, and when he barks, we quickly squirt him with the water. He doesn’t seem to be able to understand where this water comes from, but he already equates the water with his barking. Now, when he thinks he needs to bark at something, he’ll look at me instead. I’ll quickly reassure him that everything’s o.k. and then he’ll be fine! Sometimes I’ll think he needs to see for himself, so I’ll take him outside. Sometimes a dog barks out of boredom. Just like a child will sometimes cry for no apparent reason. Give your dog some distraction and something interesting to do, often they merely want interaction.

Both of these techniques I have personally seen work before. I would not recommend them otherwise. But please, try to remember, that barking is natural for your dog, and there are times that you will welcome their barking. So keep up consistently training your dog. You’ll be so happy in a very short time, and you’ll have a well-adjusted dog that will be a companion for years to come!

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