take your dog to the beach!
I love taking my dog to the beach—and he loves it in theory—but in reality, he CANNOT relax when he's there! At first, he's pulling me towards the water because he wants to go swimming (which isn't always allowed!) If it's not that, he's digging in the sand, panting heavily and just generally looking and acting frantic. What can I do so we can both enjoy our time at the beach?
Some dogs just may not be meant for the beach—and that’s okay! It’s important to trust your instincts about whether you both will have fun. If you’re unsure, it might be better if he stays at home snoozing in the AC. But there are a number of steps you can take to set your pup up for success at the ocean...
help my dog is afraid of the stairs!!
My four-year old lab has been afraid of stairs for as long as I can remember. I don't think he ever had a "traumatic" experience with stairs, though we have moved a lot and our first few apartments when we had him were on the ground floor. It's particularly problematic when the staircase has slats and is outside, he will not go up or down them! Why is he so afraid, and what can I do to help him get over his fear?
Carry your dog! Just kidding. Generally as trainers we ask ourselves, “Is there a way to avoid the fear altogether?" We all lead busy lives and if the problem isn't something you run into often it might not be worth putting a huge amount of time and effort into. Of course, if you have a 50 pound dog, carrying your pup up or down the stairs on a regular basis is unrealistic. This means it's time to start training your pup.
Working with a "challenging" Dog
As a dog trainer, I sometimes receive inquiries from new foster or adoptive dog parents whose dogs are having issues of impulse control and mouthing at hands and the leash. It can be a challenge to have a dog in your home who gets excited at the slightest change in the environment: “Oh wow you’re sitting on the couch; let me sit on top of you and munch your hand!” or “You took the leash out; that must mean we’re going for a walk; I think I’ll help out by carrying and tugging on the leash!” or “You want to kick a ball for me? But your foot looks far more fun to play with!”
These are the type of dogs who often get sent back to the shelter over and over again… But it doesn’t have to be that way. With time, patience, boundaries, and training, these dogs can learn to succeed in a home environment.