Best dog trimmers for thick hair – Things to be concerned!

 thick hair dog trimmerIf you are a pet parent of a dog that has a furry hair and you find it challenging whenever grooming, a trimmer which is full of function and convenience will enable you and your dog to have a better process.

To help you find the best dog trimmer for thick hair after this are recommendations that are worthy of being considered.

5 Cordless dog Trimmers

Wahl Motion Lithium-Ion

With the technology of adjustable 5 in 1 blade mode, lithium-ion battery which allows you to have impressive grooming combined between the long term of use and cordless device in the lightweight.

The charging time is 60 minutes while it lasts for up to 90 minutes brings groomers a cool running, quite a process, and smooth vibration.

Constant speed control is a plus for this trimmer designing to provide more power in a tight area of fur.

Pros:

  • Automatically motor
  • Battery life (Lithium-Ion)
  • Variety of color
  • Constant speed

Cons:

  • Single-speed

Wahl Motion Lithium-Ion

Its flexibility shows in 5-in-1 adjustable blade technology to sizes #9, #10, #15, #30, and #40.

Wahl Motion Lithium provides professional power with 5,500 strokes per minute

LED Battery Level Capacity Display helps you know the battery remaining and the charging status

Pros:

  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Constant speed control
  • Lightweight
  • 90 minutes runtime
  • Quiet and low vibration

Cons:

  • Single-speed
  • Cord Trimmers

Andis Excel 5-Speed Clippers

Professional high 5-speed clipper delivers 4,500 strokes per minute.

Easy to adjust the mode by one-touch with a variety of status, allowing you to choose the most suitable vibration for your dog.

Replacing and cleaning will be a simple step with detachable blades.

The Andis Excel 5-Speed is available with all UltraEdge, CeramicEdge, and ShowEdge blades, such a multi-selection for professional groomers.

Pros:

  • Powerful clipper
  • 5-speed control
  • Excellent for the most robust coats
  • Lightest heavy-use trimmer

Cons:

  • Awkward location of buttons
  • Blade gets hot after continuous use

Andis UltraEdge Super 2-Speed

Andis UltraEdge Super 2-Speed brings the pet owner the use of a quiet and precise and powerful motor. It is available for all coats and breeds, not only the thick hair.

Variety detachable blades allow for versatility. Additionally, it will help you install and clean easily. The clipper delivers 3,400-4,400 strokes per minute. Overall, it operates coolly and remains a long term of continuous use.

This device is recommended by a lot of pros that the Andis UltraEdge range is the best heavy-duty dog clipper with functions available. It should be an intelligent choice if you want to use it for years to save both time and money.

Pros:

  • Smooth vibration
  • Available for all coats and breeds
  • Heavy-duty
  • Super two-speed rotary motor
  • Shatter-proof

Cons:

  • Limited in speed

Wahl U-Clip Pro Home Pet Grooming Kit

The most remarkable point is its low price compared to the capacity that brings. The 16-piece kit includes all of the needs for grooming jobs.

Super powerful motor that offers 7,200 strokes per minute, so it generally runs cool with all coats and suitable for the starters helping to clip, trim and groom easily; however, making noise and causing the device gets hot.

Pros:

  • Reasonable price
  • Heavy-duty
  • Kit included
  • Easy-use

Cons:

  • Poor adjustable steel blades
  • Noisy and heavy

 

NOTICEABLE POINTS TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT WHEN SELECTING TRIMMER FOR THICK HAIR

 

Type of speeds

Single-Speed Trimmers

It would be a good option for those who are getting started to grooming for dogs and not be very familiar with multiple uses. Single-speed devices are not heating up fast compared to the variable-speed trimmer.

Variable-Speed Trimmers

The pros and specialists tend to use the variable-speed clippers thanks to its versatility, and it enables you to have your dog’s a good appearance.

Longevity

If you are usually grooming your dog or the number of dogs you have, you should choose a trimmer that has long-life durability. You also consider the blades having a mode of self-sharpening to remain the term of use. To customize the styles of hair, adjustable blades are a must.

Durability

Shatter-proof is an ideal choice to save time and money, and it remains your clipper to extend the longevity; it also brings the comfort when using, you do not have to be irritated to have an unstable trimmer. Many options of the model designed with a hard case for storage and protection on the market.

Noise, vibration, and heat

The more powerful the motor is, the more noise it makes. The motor rotates to help to move the blades stay smooth if the device has durable power that may cause a loud noise, a heating blade, and dramatic vibration. It is not a comfortable experience for your dog that is sensitive to noise.

Thickness of dog hair

The dog will have areas with thick hair, and some will have thinner hair that requires a flexible device with speeds adjusted to increase in lush areas and decrease to thinner ones. However, if you can handle to power to cut and skills, a single-speed trimmer is not a difficult problem.

Versatility

A trimmer with variety and adjustable blades options will help to customize hairstyles and cut according to your plan easily. You should also choose modes with guide combs included being more flexible.

 

 

Steps to being prepared to groom a dog with thick hair

Preparations for enough tools

Before starting to trim your dog, all of the grooming tools must be already. Your dog is not expected to be quite to wait for you. It will waste your time looking for a single thing or have to look for your dog.

Of course, the clipper is a first one, pay attention to full charge if you use the cordless trimmer. If you use a corded clipper, be careful to choose a comfortable space to make sure that there is no struggle with the cord.

Additionally, you need to prepare scissors if your dog has long hair, shampoo, clean towels, and a hairdryer is also required items for a perfect job.

Clear and remove mats and tangles

To help your dog start with grooming, propitiating your dog by brushing them to find matted and tangled areas; by doing this before shampooing, it will smooth the process without hurting your dog.

Pre-bath trimming

After clearing and removing mats and tangles, you could start to trim and clip, especially around the chest, hocks, belly, and pads of the feet than other dogs towards thick and long fur. You can also use a hairpin to keep long hair for natural grooming. Because of the sensitivity of the dog’s skin, be careful to the sharpness of the blade and make sure that you do not startle your pet. You are expected to treat and implement grooming jobs handy and slowly to help your dog feel comfortable and cooperate with you.

Brushing/ combing

Before a bath, you need to give your dog a brush to keep the hair smooth and no tangle. For thick and long hair, of course, we will have to make this step more often and longer than other breeds.

Bathing

Don’t use the faucet instead of a shower. Choose the suitable shampoo for your dog and ensure that it fixes with the dog’s age, and your dog is not allergy with any ingredients of the shampoo. After that, apply the shampoo on your dog, slowly move from the head to the leg and message. Try not to contact to the eyes as much as possible.

Thoroughly rinse with water and make sure that no soap remains.

Drying

Use towels for the first dry and then use a hairdryer, you should keep an eye on the heat setting.

 

Frequently Questions and Answers

Q: How can I maintain my dog trimmer?

A: To maintain and help your trimmer stay stable, do not forget to sharpen, clean usually, and oil the blades.

Q: Should I choose a corded trimmer or a cordless one?

A: If a dog with matted, long and thick hair, the corded clipper will bring you the saving of time and power to have smoothness. However, you can consider if your spaces are limited, you can also choose a cordless clipper to be convenient.

Q: Is it possible if I only trim a severely matted coat instead of brushing?

A: It is not a good idea if you just trim and clip without brushing the dog, if you have not experienced with cutting a severely matted coat, we recommend you should look for a professional because you can hurt your dog.

You can use a comb or brush to clean and remove matted before clipping.

 

Final words:

All in all, you should consider your dog’s breed and how the thickness of hair your dog is to find the most suitable choice. The key factors are dependable, efficient, and safe. You are better to pay for a device with quite vibration and flexibility in blades that make you and your dog as comfortable as possible. You should also notice the steps to brush, trim, and clip for your dog.

Best Pet Grooming Thinning Shears – Reviews 2020

Making your pet look beautiful all the time requires grooming. Taking your pet to vet shop and saloon might not be the best option always.

But, you can consider buying grooming thinning shears, scissors, comb, and more products. It can help you remove extra hair and make your pet look good. Having a routine of removing extra hairs and using a thinning shearer can help.

There are plenty of brands which re offering pet grooming and thinning shearer for such an affordable price. You can buy kits and make your dog or cat keep looking great. Not taking care of your pet’s fur can cause several problems.

Not removing extra hairs can be troublesome as it can cause fungal related issues, dermatitis and more. To get rid of such problems, you can use a high-quality grooming thinking shearer. Grabbing the best product is important to avoid getting into any issue.

It might be hard to finalize the best product that’s why we made a list of top 4 best pet grooming thinning shears. All of them are highly reliable, easy to use and offer a wide range of advantages.

Top 4 Best Pet Grooming Thinning Shears

To conclude a great product or to bring this arrangement, we went through several factors. The primary factor is material used in the manufacturing, design, easy to hold the handle, lightweight design, effective grooming advantages and a couple of additional factors. Let’s get started by exploring the list.

1. Gimars Titanium Coated 3CR Stainless Steel Dog Grooming Kit

Gimars Titanium Coated 3CR Stainless Steel Dog Grooming offers the perfect blend of quality and affordability in one place. It is a high-quality 3CR stainless steel dog grooming kit, and it is coated with Titanium coated so that you get a nice finish.

There is one shearer, two different sized scissors and one comb included so that you can use the same for the dog as well as the cat. It has the most Ergonomic design so that you don’t have to worry about any problem related to the usability.

The size of the scissor and shearer is adequate enough to get a better grip and keep on removing hairs of your pet without any problem. You can cut and clean without pulling hair which ensures safer use.

Things We Liked:

  • Offers value for money deal.
  • Platinum layer on stainless-steel.
  • It included four different units and a kit.
  • Ergonomic design for effective usability.

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • The blade is not perfect

2. Chibuy Professional Pet Grooming Scissor with Round Tip

With a huge number of positive reviews, you can find that the purchase of Chibuy Professional Pet Grooming Scissor with Round Tip is a perfect choice. There are plenty of versions available in the same.

It has a sharp and durable edge so that you can shear extra hairs and help with thinning, which can help in several manners. The material used in manufacturing is stainless-steel which can provide comfortable use.

To avoid rusting, it is coated, and there is also less friction when shearing so that your pet doesn’t have to panic about it. On the other hand, the arc prevents any kind of damage to your pet; that’s why it is a reliable unit.

Things We Liked:

  • Easy to hold and provide great comfort.
  • It has sharp and durable blades during the use.
  • Positive reviews from the buyers.
  • Round tip to prevent any kind of damage to your pet.

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • Slightly expensive deal.

3. Elfirly Dog Grooming Scissors Set with Safety Round Tip

For a comfortable hair shearing experience, the purchase of Elfirly Dog Grooming Scissors Set is a better choice. Safety round tip at the arc part so that you don’t end up hurting your pet by mistake. It also ensures a safer use when a close call.

It has the safest design as well as a highly durable design also. The credit goes to its stainless steel body. Eventually, you can find that it is also coming with a scissor and a comb. So, you can expect value for money deal here.

You can easily adjust and mute the shearer by using the screw, loose or tight the screw for perfect use. You won’t have to worry about causing any damage to your pet’s hair; that’s why you can rely on this deal.

Things We Liked:

  • It has a sharp and durable blade for effective shearing.
  • Easy to use and cut hairs of your pet.
  • It comes with a scissor and a comb included in the pack.
  • Design is highly reliable and safe to use.
  • Round trip at the corner for safer use.

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • Slightly fussy when shearing long hairs.

4. TIJERAS 7Inch Dog Grooming Scissor Curved Chunker Shears

In case you want the most premium design then you can consider going with the purchase of TIJERAS 7Inch Dog Grooming Scissor Curved Chunker Shears. It is available for a premium price point, but it includes all the basic features.

Four unique packs are offered in the same deal, and it has the most ergonomic design which can make you expect premium usability. You can adjust the screw to lose or tight the shearer as per the length of the hairs.

One key thing is, it has an excellent design, and it can be used for multiple purposes which ensure the best usability from the same unit. It is also coming with a lifetime warranty which can ensure the highest durability. The design is also good enough to opt for.

Things We Liked:

  • Excellently engineered design for effective usability.
  • Provides the perfect finish while shearing hairs.
  • Slightly round arc to prevent hurting your pet by mistake.
  • Ergonomic design so that you can use it comfortably.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty to ensure the perfect durability.

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • Buying a single shearer for such an expensive price point might be a hard choice for many.

People Also Ask [FAQs]

1. Should You Buy a Shearer or Combo grooming kit?

It would be better to get a combo to get the affordable grooming shear for the best price and you get other necessary grooming related tools.

2. Which Grooming Shearer is best for an affordable price point?

If you want a combo, then you can look after Chibuy Professional Pet Grooming Scissor with Round Tip but if you want a single unit then Gimars Titanium Coated 3CR Stainless Steel Dog Grooming Kit is a reliable option/

3. Do Titanium coating on stainless steel help enhancing the durability of shearer?

With titanium coating, you can expect less friction and better durability. It will reduce the chances of corrosion and help you expect better usability from the same product that’s why you should consider the same.

Conclusion

Here we compiled the top 4 best grooming shearer for your pet that are highly reliable and preferred by a huge number of people. Make sure that you stay selective to grab the best product for your specific needs.

Going through the design, material, and safety factors will help you avoid the purchase of the wrong product. We hope that this guide will come in handy to get you the right grooming shear for your pet and taking care of them.

Best Shark Vacuum for Pet Hair

Best Shark Vacuum for Pet Hair

No matter how much you love and care for your pets, they still can shed their fur. According to researchers, animal fur is a cause of respiratory problems. In order to avoid this, you need to get the right tools to get rid of pet hair as well as maintain hygiene in the household.

That’s why a good vacuum for pet hair plays an important role for every pet owner. In this article, we will review the top five best Shark Vacuum for pet hair on the market today.

Top Five Best Shark Vacuums for Pet Hair

  1. SharkNinja Canister Upright Vacuum

Many pet owners choose the SharkNinja Canister Upright Vacuum because of its ability to detach to clean deeply. This is a lightweight and corded vacuum. It is designed to be able to clean while standing. You can easily maneuver it around the house when cleaning.

It is equipped with the large-capacity dust cup that doesn’t require you to empty the device. Also, it has a never-lose-suction technology. Moreover, it comes with brush roll shut off functionality.

It also uses HEPA filtration technology and a washable filter. It’s easy to switch it to a hand-held vacuum just by a touch on a button for the change. This machine can clean well above the floor including walls, ceiling, and any other surface due to a long hose and extra wand.

It comes with LED lights. However, they are so bright. Therefore, some users get discomfort when using.

  1. Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum

If you are looking for a stylish vacuum cleaner for pet hair, the Shark Navigator Upright ZU561 is just for you. This model just weighs 13lbs. So, you can carry it. It is equipped with a Zero-M head that helps to guard the vacuum against hair wrap.

This machine ensures to eliminate long and short dog hair from clogging inside the brush roll. It also comes with an anti-allergen complete seal to trap the dust from the house. Plus, it’s fitted with the HEPA filter.

Additionally, it comes with a detachable canister, so it’s simple to switch it to ones that can clean other areas such as walls, stairs, and furniture. Because of its Advanced Swivel Steering technology, you can maneuver the device with ease.

  1. Shark Rotator Professional NV501 Vacuum Cleaner

The Shark Rotator Professional NV501 is also a good solution for pet hair. It has an anti-allergen seal. It is fitted with a powerful premium brush, so it can remove any type of pet hair such as labrador hair and other debris in the house.

Thanks to anti-allergen complete seal, this device can trap over 99.9% of all allergens, dust, and pet hair inside the vacuum.

You just need to press on a button if you want to convert it into a hand-held vacuum for pets. It comes with LED lights, so it can work greatly all around the room even for the room filled with furniture.

The machine is equipped with an extra-large dust cup, so you can clean the entire house without stopping along the way to empty the cup.

  1. Shark Navigator NV352 Upright Vacuum

If you are going for an affordable Shark vacuum for pet hair, consider the Shark Navigator NV352 Upright Vacuum. This model is one of the lightest units for pet hair. This vacuum is powerful, portable, and lightweight. It’s designed with all sorts of versatility.

It is equipped with powerful swivel steering for exclusive control, so you can use it even in congested rooms. It doesn’t come with a powder brush. It has brushrool shutoff feature that allows the device to shut off every time it hits the time set.

It also has advanced Anti-allergen complete seal. Additionally, it is known for lift-away capability, so it can clean effectively areas above the floor. You can use it on rugs, carpets, as well as other surfaces above the floor.

  1. Shark Rocket TruePet HV322 Ultra-Light Corded Vacuum

It’s not easy for all homeowners to choose the right vacuum for pet hair. The Shark Rocket TruePet HV322 may be something you need. This model is ultra-light. Indeed, it only weighs 9 lbs.

This vacuum cleaner may be used on your rugs, bare floor, all forms of upholstery, carpets, as well as other areas above the floor areas. There are convenient attachments so you can use this vacuum to clean certain hard-to-reach areas such as shelves, ceilings, as well as sharp corners of the room.

This vacuum is equipped with a whopping 10 LED lights, 2 washable foam filters, and a microfiber towel that allows you to clean your bare floor. Thanks to its advanced swivel steering, you can maneuver it easily and quickly around the house.

Why Should You Choose Shark Vacuums?

Keep in mind that the SharkNinja has been popular in the industry for many years just like other vacuum cleaner manufacturers. This is because of a number of reasons. Here are some main reasons:

Pricing

The Shark vacuum is known for the most affordable choice. Almost vacuums are affordable when compared to their competitors. All the best vacuums we listed above are below $100.

Dual-Floor Capability

If you have used different types of vacuums. Sure, you can realize all brands come with dual-floor capability. It means that not all vacuum cleaners out there are designed to clean all types of floors, rugs, carpets, furniture, upholstery, walls, stairs, and ceilings as well.

However, the Shark has this ability. They are able to deal with every corner of your house.

Maneuverability

If there is furniture in your house, two or more pet animals, you will want an easy-to-maneuver vacuum cleaner. If you choose ones with rigid steering and small tires, it will be hard to clean a congested room.

The Shark vacuum cleaners come with Advanced Swivel Steering Technology. Also, they have a number of other features. Therefore, these vacuums are easy to clean the house.

Upright Stature

The fact is that all the Shark vacuum cleaners are upright models. With an upright vacuum, you won’t need big storage space in your house. The thing you need to do is just to lean your vacuums against the wall or something that is hard to fall.

Furthermore, upright vacuums are perfect for those who have back and joint problems. They are good solutions for senior citizens.

Lightweight

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a vacuum is weight. In fact, the most Shark vacuum cleaner is packed with power cords, they are still lightweight compared to other brands. With a lightweight device, you can use it easily without feeling the fatigue from the weight.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you have seen that a Shark vacuum can ensure your house is free from pet hair. In addition, you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a good model of Shark for pet hair. If you are looking for ones that help you and your family to stay without stress, you should choose one Shark vacuum for animal hair.

Making the most out of your dog training appointment

“How does this work?” It’s a common question I hear when speaking with new training clients, and refers to the entire training process and the unknowns that come with it:

– Does my dog need to be well-trained?
– Will you reject me and my dog?
– How will I know what to do?
– Can I ask you questions?
– What if I don’t understand?
– What if my dog doesn’t get it right?
– What do I do when a trainer comes to my home?

While some have experience with group classes, many people do not experience private training until they face a problem: house training woes, pulling on leash, barking, aggression. Mix the stress of a misbehaving dog with the uncertainty of how private training works and you have quite the anxiety-producing scenario. And that’s before picking up the phone and giving a trainer a call.

In the next few paragraphs I will address some ways you can make the most out of your dog training appointments, and how you can feel more at ease with the trainer you hire.

1) It’s ok if you’re not perfect

Remember why you hired a trainer: You need help with your dog’s behavior. A good trainer will realize you’re not reaching out because you have a perfect dog. In fact, a good trainer will be interested in your dog’s particular behaviors and will be excited to start working with you.

When speaking with your trainer about your dog’s behavior history, refrain from sugarcoating or omitting important events. Your trainer wants and needs this information to conduct a thorough assessment of your dog’s behavior history and to set appropriate training goals. If you omit an incident where your dog bit another dog or growled at a child, you may save yourself some initial discomfort but risk shortchanging your dog’s chances of success during training.

Good trainers never judge you for your dog’s behavior. If your trainer does this, look elsewhere.

2) Compliance and consistency

Trainers cannot be with your dog at all times. Even if you hire someone to do board-and-train or day training, you’re eventually going to take over the training reins. Because of this, you are crucial when it comes to meeting your dog’s training goals. It’s important to heed your trainer’s instructions regarding homework, managing your dog’s environment, and providing exercise and structure. Behavior modification is not easy. It’s impossible if the parameters are not put in place to facilitate success.

Consistency is also paramount. Just as cramming for an exam yields less than stellar results, training your dog sporadically will produce unreliable, flaky behavior change. If you put in the work a little bit each day and make time in your schedule, the payoffs will be immensely rewarding. You’ll also be much more likely to get your money’s worth out of the training because the your dog’s behavior will improve and stay that way long after the trainer is gone.

3) Ask questions

Find a trainer who welcomes questions. Dog behavior and animal learning are tricky subjects. Good trainers ask their colleagues and teachers questions about these topics all the time, so don’t feel intimidated if you are confused by or don’t understand something. You’ve hired your trainer to teach you how to work and communicate with your dog, not just to fix a behavior problem. A question can make a difference between a successful training session or an unsuccessful one, so be an active learner each step of the way.

4) Record video

One of my colleagues taught me the benefits of using recorded video with training clients. While description can be effective in troubleshooting a particular training plan or assessing a dog’s overall behavior, video can make the assessment much more nuanced. If your dog is behaving a certain way and you want your trainer’s input, take a quick video with your smartphone or camera. Videotape training sessions you have with your dog and share them at your next appointment. Your trainer will be able to provide helpful feedback on your technique and how to address specific behavior scenarios.

5) If you’re uncomfortable, say so

The dog training world is sadly unregulated. Anybody can call himself a dog trainer, despite having no formal training or credentials. Thankfully, there are incredible dog training schools throughout the world and just as many ethical, brilliant trainers. That being said, protect your dog from harmful and ineffective training techniques by researching and interviewing a trainer before hiring her. If you’re in a training session and feel uncomfortable about a technique or protocol that your trainer is asking you to do, say something. Ask what your trainer is doing, and assess whether your dog could be in any pain or fear. Training should be painless and should not elicit fear in a dog.

6) Have fun

Training is a beautiful thing. It creates a stronger bond between you and your dog. If done correctly, your dog enjoys the training sessions and receives great mental enrichment. If you find yourself feeling stressed during a session with your dog, take a breather. If you are so worried about making mistakes that you avoid training altogether, remember: your trainer is there to mentor you. The world doesn’t end if you make little mistakes here and there, so be kind to yourself and your dog.

The power of simplicity when training fearful dogs

“Why worry about basic obedience when my dog is so scared?” It’s a common and understandable question I get from new clients. When faced with a dog who is scared of people, new stimuli, and unable to settle in and out of doors, it’s natural to think of training goals in terms of big chunks. Clients may say, “I want my dog to enjoy her walks,” or “I want to be able to invite my relatives over to my house without them getting snarled at,” or, “I want my dog to stop being afraid of city noises.” When faced with these serious and overwhelming problems, basic behaviors like hand targeting, sit, “leave it,” and down might seem trivial. After all, the goal is to fix the fear, not teach the dog to do tricks, right?

Not quite. While the overarching goal in every fearful dogs’ training plan is to ease fear, there are, in my opinion, three critical “micro-goals” that must be conquered first.

1) The dog learns her behavior can make good things – really good things – happen in her environment.

Dogs are always gauging whether an environment or stimulus is safe or dangerous. They learn through consequences and associations. Since fear is so easy to install and so difficult to erode, they remember the events and antecedents that precede scary things happening to them. Fearful dogs think many things in their world are dangerous. They don’t necessarily trust that a person walking down the street is safe or that the noise of wind blowing through the trees won’t lead to danger. Because their brains are so occupied by this constant “safe or dangerous” calculation, we need to think in terms of patience and simplicity. Starting a training program with basic obedience behaviors teaches dogs that hand prompts, verbal cues and ultimately, their behavior, leads to safe and rewarding consequences.

In the following video, I teach fearful dog Omie to do a “down” during our first session. Because she had little prior experience with obedience, and was also nervous in her environment and with my presence, I needed to start with a behavior that would be simple enough for her to do. I needed to break that behavior down into small enough increments so she received rewards at a high rate. So, I adjusted my criteria so she was first rewarded simply for moving her head downward, and, though repetition, eventually a full down. In between repetitions, I also added in some easy behaviors that she already knew, like “find it” and hand targeting, to set her up for success and build her confidence.

With fearful dogs, it’s not about how fast you can get them to do a behavior. It’s about setting criteria easy enough so they build confidence and feel safer in a scary world.

2) The dog learns coping skills to help her deal with a potentially stressful or fear-inducing situation.

Often, fearful dogs are slow to recover from startling situations. They lack the coping skills that could help them when stress comes their way. What do I mean by coping skills? Anything that lowers a dog’s anxiety and keeps her under threshold. For some dogs, a coping skill could be making eye contact with their owner. For other dogs, it could be a hand target.

The key to teaching coping skills is to give the dogs a history of doing these behaviors in non-stressful environments and giving them impactful, high-value rewards for doing them. When gradually brought into a stressful context, this history of behavior and reinforcement lowers anxiety. Bit by bit, we can turn down the level of a dog’s fear. Fearful dogs don’t do these behaviors on their own to lower their anxiety. Either they haven’t learned them, or they are too upset to concentrate on anything besides their fear. If a dog learns a solid “watch” or a “touch” in a safe space, and realizes that this behavior has a strong reinforcement history, the behavior produces a positive emotional response in the dog. (Think Pavlov.)

By starting with the simplest of behaviors, we can gradually ask dogs to do them in more stressful environments, so that eventually, they are able to focus on a behavior, and receive the positive emotional side-effects, increasing their ability to cope with their world.

3) The dog sets the pace.

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of trust in a fearful dogs’ training plan. One of the most efficient ways to build trust with a fearful dogs is to teach them simple training games and behaviors, and to let them set the pace. Each time a dog gets the behavior right she gets praise and a reward. And because we’re keeping the behaviors simple, she will receive praise and rewards at a very high rate. From a dogs’ point of view, she is learning that you are the purveyor of good things. She also learns that your presence results in safe, positive consequences, not dangerous ones. She learns you will not push her past her comfort zone.

In the same session with Omie, I taught her to target her harness with her nose. She does not yet trust me enough to touch her or place her harness over her head. If I were to push her too fast, I would break our trust. I would not be as safe to her. By keeping things simple she set the pace and let me know when she was ready for a new challenge.

If you have a fearful dog, start small and simple. Don’t discredit the power of basic behaviors and games. Even though a hand target may seem simple to you, it’s a monumental accomplishment for a dog who finds her world a dangerous, unpredictable place.

A dog trainer’s guide to navigating the training wars

sun flare emerges within the dog training community. It’s bright, it attracts attention, causes some explosive interactions and, eventually, burns out. Flares are not necessarily bad. After all, had no flare-ups occurred in the past couple of decades, a majority of trainers might be continuing to use outdated methods. But flare-ups can also be rife with logical traps. The dangers are two-fold:

  • They interfere with our critical thinking skills
  • They have the potential to confuse and mislead dog guardians

While it’s good to question the status quo, many discussions easily dissolve into logical fallacies and poor science. Whether you’re a behavior change professional, a behavior geek, or someone who wants to provide the best life possible for your dog, here are a few pointers on how to solve (and resolve) flares when you see them occur within the dog training community:

Where’s the evidence? 

We owe our dogs real science. Real science is peer-reviewed and backed by evidence. Real science is not based on conjecture, opinion, or personal stories. Nullius in verba. Demand evidence.

Beware logical fallacies

We’re all susceptible to logical fallacies, whether making one of our own or believing someone else’s. If you’re aware of potential missteps ahead of time, you’ll be more likely to catch them in your own patterns of thinking or in someone else’s.

Begging the question: This is an argument that requires the reader to accept the conclusion without providing real evidence. In these cases, the argument’s premise states the same thing as the conclusion, or the argument fails to address critical gaps.

Example: Socializing puppies is the humane, ethical thing to do. Therefore, it’s humane and ethical to socialize puppies.

False dichotomy: An argument that incorrectly paints a situation as having only two choices. The argument then eliminates one of the choices, seemingly leaving the reader with only one remaining option.

Example: Puppy parents have the option to socialize their puppies or avoid socialization altogether. Since puppy socialization can be done incorrectly, puppy parents must avoid socializing their puppies altogether.

Appeal to ignorance: Claiming that due to inconclusive evidence, readers should accept an argument’s conclusion on an issue.

Example: Because the research on puppy socialization is inconclusive and divided, people should accept my conclusion.

Slippery slope: The arguer claims that a chain reaction will take place, often leading to a bad ending, despite a lack of evidence supporting this claim.

Example: If we allow all puppies to continue being socialized, dog owners will continue to socialize their puppies improperly. We will end up with generation upon generation of dogs with behavior problems. To prevent this from happening, we must avoid all puppy socialization.

Beware cherry-picking and single-case studies

Articles that cite studies that support the author’s argument can be misleading. After all, the author’s statements are backed up by citations, so those statements must be correct, right? Wrong. It’s important to consider several factors when reading articles that cite other sources in support of an argument:

  • Are the citations valid?
  • Does the author take a comprehensive look at the literature available, or does the author only focus on citations that support his or her argument?
  • Is the author accurately interpreting the research?

It’s also important to look at single-case studies with a critical eye. While they can be helpful in understanding the context of behavior, beware articles that base arguments solely on personal experience, or one or two ad hoc experiences with dogs.

Remember: While important, personal experience is vastly different from research that has been vetted via the scientific process.

Avoid sweeping generalizations

It’s important to stay informed of the latest research on dog behavior, but it’s equally important to avoid training “trends.” Trends are typically based on popular opinion at the time, and aren’t based on true, hard science. Training trends gain popularity because they “sound good,” are a quick fix, or appeal to a person’s own biases. Trends also put the dog behavior community at risk of making sweeping generalizations about a particular topic.

Whenever you notice a trend emerging in the training community, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where’s the evidence?
  • Is the evidence valid?
  • How are my own biases affecting my interpretation of this trend?

Final note: As trainers, it’s important to realize that how we communicate the latest trends within the behavior community has a vast impact on dogs and their guardians, particularly if others see us as experts in the field. This doesn’t mean we can’t have biases – that’s not reasonable. But it does mean we need to be particularly careful when communicating information about behavior and training. And it also means empowering our own clients with critical thinking skills.

Negative Punishment: Make sure you’re using it effectively

In the world of force-free training, we have two options when installing new behaviors or modifying existing ones: We can reward desired behaviors and we can punish undesired ones. Punishment involves removing the “good stuff” when the dog does a behavior we want to decrease (known as negative punishment in operant conditioning terminology). The dog learns through repetition each time he does a certain behavior, the good stuff goes away, therefore reducing the dog’s motivation to maintain that particular behavior. (Good stuff refers to anything the dog desires when doing the unwanted behavior: social proximity; access to food, toys, or other resources; attention; environmental rewards like walks and playtime with other dogs.) During training consults, I often compare negative punishment to giving a dog a “time out” from the good stuff.

Negative punishment is a valuable tool in a dog owners’ repertoire, provided it is executed correctly. Unfortunately, poor execution often leads to inconsistent behavior and poor follow through on the part of the owners. The following is a guide to improve your technique.

Timing

Dogs live in the moment. Attempting to punish or reward a behavior minutes, even seconds, after it has occurred lessens the chances your dog will understand why a particular consequence occurred. A classic example of poor timing is an owner who punishes a dog for a housetraining accident hours after it occurred. The dog will not understand he is being punished for urinating on the carpet. Instead, the dog will associate the punishment with whatever behavior immediately preceded it.

Being an effective dog trainer means having impeccable timing. It also means you need to be prepared to execute a time out the instant an undesired behavior occurs. Impeccable timing is difficult in real life. Time outs take time to execute, and many things can happen between the behavior in question occurring and the time out actually taking place. To improve accuracy, I instruct clients to use a word to mark the instant the undesired behavior occurs (I say “too bad!”). This “no-reward marker” bridges the gap between the dog’s behavior and the time out, making it clear to your dog which behavior lead to the punishment.

With repetition, the dog learns the following contingency:

Behavior A –> “Too Bad!” –> Time Out
If Behavior A always results in removal of the good stuff, dogs will realize Behavior A is not profitable (and dogs are always seeking to do what’s most profitable).

Is it a time out?

Sometimes, owners think they are executing a time out, when in actuality the dog is not receiving negative punishment. To repeat: Time outs equal the removal of the good stuff. If your dog is not experiencing removal of the good stuff, he is not receiving negative punishment.

Consider a gregarious puppy who consistently jumps on his owners. The owners, in an effort to decrease the behavior, always push the dog away and say “No! No! Off!” The puppy’s behavior continues because he is still receiving the good stuff: Social proximity and attention. To many puppies, verbal feedback, even the words “No” and “Bad dog,” and eye contact are reward enough to continue performing the behavior.

A better strategy for these owners would be to mark each time the dog jumps up with a “too bad,” and proceed to turn their backs or leave the room for 30 seconds, avoiding all further eye contact and verbal feedback. This protocol gives the dog clear feedback on what behavior results in the punishment, and also prevents the dog from receiving the social proximity and attention he desires when doing the behavior.

Remember: If your dog is still receiving the good stuff during a time out, it’s not effective. Make sure your time outs are boring, void of whatever your dog desires when he does the unwanted behavior. This means no eye contact, no verbal feedback, no attention, no access to desired resources, and no playtime.

Follow Through

Often, owners claim negative punishment is not effective, when in actuality they give up too soon. Dogs learn through repetition. Erasing bad habits is hard work, and even harder if the dog receives mixed feedback by sometimes being allowed to do a certain behavior and sometimes receiving punishment.

Follow through with a time out each instance the behavior occurs. Occasionally timing out a behavior, and occasionally letting the dog get away with it, will only serve to make the behavior stronger – the dog learns the behavior is profitable often enough to make it worthwhile. If you aren’t able to execute a time out, make sure you manage the dog’s environment to prevent rehearsal of the unwanted behavior. This will preserve your training and ensure more efficient results. (For example, if your dog consistently jumps up on guests, keep him on leash or behind a barrier during dinner parties to preserve your training.) Most importantly: Don’t give up!

Don’t Time Out Fear

Use protocols based on whether your dog is upset or not upset. If your dog is doing a behavior because he is afraid, a time out will not solve the problem. Learn to recognize when your dog is behaving out of fear.

Optimizing Success

Negative punishment is most effective when paired with positive reinforcement. When punishing a particular behavior, make sure to teach the dog an alternate, more desired behavior to do in its place. If your dog jumps on guests, teach him to sit for greetings. If your dog gets mouthy when playing with you, teach him to play without using his teeth on your skin. If your dog barks for his dinner, teach him to sit quietly to wait for his food.

Leash reactivity: It’s trainable (but not how you might think)

You look at the clock. It’s time to walk your dog. As you grab the leash, the poop bags and your keys, you feel a familiar anxiety that occurs each time you step outside. You may fear that your neighbors will say, “Uh oh, there she comes with that crazy dog.” You may feel like your neighborhood has become one massive, unpredictable trigger for your dog.  Once put on leash, your typically calm and sociable dog begins barking, lunging, growling and whining at typical neighborhood noises and distractions.

Does this sound familiar? If so, take a deep breath and keep reading. Leash reactivity is a common and normal behavior for dogs. While cases vary in severity, and it is always advisable to consult a professional, force-free dog trainer if you have a leash reactive dog, rest assured that there are techniques you can use on your daily walks to manage and improve your dog’s leash manners (and your peace of mind).

What’s going to be surprising about the next few paragraphs is what the training entails. Why? Because it appears counterintuitive. As a society, we tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to “aggressive” behaviors in dogs. Many people wrongly think we need to punish their dogs for growling, lunging and baring their teeth. It’s not difficult to understand how this myth came to be, but in reality, you need to do the exact opposite.

When your dog is doing all those embarrassing, blustery behaviors on leash, it’s because she is upset. She is uncomfortable being constrained by a leash and encountering dogs, men, bicycles, etc. The blustery behaviors are the symptoms of the overarching problem. To solve leash reactivity, we need to change your dog’s emotion. Read on to learn how.

Goals:

–  Keep your dog calm and focused on you throughout the walk

–  Create positive associations with your dog’s typical triggers (instead of “uh oh, here it comes,” we want “yippee! here it comes!”)

–  As much as possible, avoid situations that are likely to put your dog over his comfort threshold

Step 1: Identify your dog’s triggers

– What makes your dog lunge, bark, growl or whine on leash? Common triggers include: other dogs (sometimes specific dogs, other times all dogs), people, people wearing heavy coats/hats/hoodies, men, skateboards, bicycles, and children.

Step 2: Motivation

–  To keep your dog’s attention, you’ll need some highly tasty, highly valuable treats. Test out various options to find which ones your dog loves the most. Reserve the most valuable treats to use only on walks – this will make them more salient. Also try mixing up the types of treats you use during the walk to keep things interesting.

–  Some dogs love tug toys just as much or more than treats. If you have a dog that is toy motivated, you can also use this in addition to food.

Step 3: Equipment

–  Make sure your dog is fitted with a no-pull harness (and has been trained to wear one).

–  If your dog has a history of aggression toward dogs and strangers, be sure to train your dog to wear a basket muzzle for safety purposes.

– Don’t forget a treat pouch! You’ll need a way to easily access and deliver treats on the walk.

– Use a regular nylon or cotton leash (no flexi-leads). As much as possible, try to keep the leash loose, as a tight leash can cause an increase in reactivity in dogs.

The Plan

– While walking your dog, keep a keen eye on the environment. Scan the sidewalk and surrounding area for potential triggers. Avoid areas where your dog could get “cornered” with an oncoming trigger.

– Once your dog notices a trigger (a dog in a yard, a stranger across the street, etc.), immediately start “happy talking” to your dog and delivering treats. Make sure the treats come after your dog notices the trigger. We want the trigger to predict the treats, so that your dog learns that the things he fears actually lead to good things.

– If your dog is too upset to take treats (i.e., if the trigger is too strong or too close), commence the happy talking and turn to create some distance between you and the trigger. Once your dog has some distance, proceed with the treats.

– If you notice a situation nearby that your dog will not handle well, turn and go the other way. The goal of the walk is to keep your dog as calm as possible. One of the best tools you have in addition to supplying treats is increasing distance between your dog and the things that upset him.

– Reinforce calm behavior! If you see your dog do typical walking behaviors (sniffing, loose and relaxed body language, “shaking it off” after stressful situations, or making eye contact with you), immediately reward him. To maintain calm, periodically ask your dog to do a simple behavior like “sit” or “touch,” and follow up with a treat. This helps your dog stay focused on you, and the reward for the behavior builds positive associations with the walk and surrounding environment.

– Do not punish the reactive behavior (barking, lunging, growling, etc). Your dog is doing these behaviors because he is uncomfortable and upset. If you punish these behaviors, we’re only working on the symptoms of leash reactivity. The root of the problem is the emotion. By supplying happy talk and treats when your dog encounters things that are scary to him, you are gradually changing the emotion. You will not increase the barking, growling and lunging by doing this. Why? Because once your dog no longer fears his triggers, he will no longer do the reactive behaviors. Remember: You cannot reward fear.

Making force-free training the norm

Lately, when in conversation with friends and colleagues about dog training, I find myself trying to answer the same question: Why do we face such an uphill battle to make every dog a force-free dog? Whether it’s banning breed-specific legislation (BSL), encouraging the ban on shock, choke and prong collars, or convincing people that popular dog training television programs are promoting abusive, inhumane and unscientific training techniques, it often feels like an endless hike through an unscientific, myth-infested muck.

But … why? Why must it be so difficult to encourage people not to abuse their dogs? Why does someone with no scientific background in animal behavior create a dog training television empire based on faulty methods? Surely, common sense should prevail. And yet it doesn’t. Although the force-free community is making great strides, every day dogs suffer from the fallout and shrapnel of improper training and misguided laws.

There are, of course, many reasons as to why we don’t live in a force-free world. In fact, it could provide the curriculum to an entire college course. However, thanks to an article in The New Yorker, I came across one answer that could have much impact on how we train dogs in the future.

In the article, titled “Slow Ideas,” author Atul Gawande explores the reasons why important, even life-saving ideas that could provide massive benefits to society take a long time gaining momentum. The answer, according to Gawande, lies in how we communicate these ideas to society, as well as the extra work these ideas impose on the individual.

Expensive Ideas

“This has been the pattern of many important but stalled ideas,” Gawande writes. “They attack problems that are big but, to most people, invisible; and making them work can be tedious, if not outright painful.”

Although Gawande was discussing health care in his article, the dog training community faces a similar conundrum. In this scenario, the stalled ideas are not about germ-reducing procedures in hospitals or eliminating pain during surgery, but about the use of scientific and pain-free methods to train dogs.

To a dog trainer, the concept that training force-free  produces more effective, long-lasting behavior change and also eliminates the risk of more behavior problems down the road seems simple. But to another person dealing with a leash reactive dog, this might not be the case. Say this person meets with a force-free trainer and learns that, among other things, she has to carry treats and a clicker on her person, stick to a training plan, practice and rehearse the training procedures with the dog, and maintain these behaviors for a lifetime. Sure, the phrase “It’s science!” is nice, but this is very expensive (read: time- and energy-consuming) behavior.

Say this same person decides to place a prong collar on the dog. Each time the dog growls and lunges on leash, she pops the collar. As an immediate reaction, the dog may stop growling. And, the owner thinks that as long as the collar is on the dog, she can use it at any time to stop unwanted behaviors. Of course, as a force-free trainer this situation would make me cringe, but I recognize its allure. To some, it certainly seems so much easier to put a prong collar on a dog because of its immediate benefits and the relief of not having to do all the expensive behavior mentioned earlier. Not to mention the fact that many compulsion trainers unethically promise guarantees and immediate results – again, very alluring to the harried dog owner.

Of course, what this person may not predict is that by using the prong collar as a quick-fix solution, the dog will not overcome the leash reactive behavior, and is likely to develop even more aggressive behaviors down the road. In fact, this dog may end up biting another dog or person because the behavior was never actually addressed. But this may happen years later – long after the owners had met with the force-free trainer -similar to the “big, but to most people, invisible” problems Gawande discussed in his article.

Communicating Expensive Ideas

So, if making the argument that force-free training is a “slow” idea, does that mean the situation is hopeless? Far from it. In fact, Gawande argues that honest, compassionate communication does wonders. He presents three different types of communicating great (but slow) ideas to an unconvinced public:

  1. Public service campaigns or, as he terms it, “Please do X.”
  2. Punishment or, as he terms it, “You must do X.”
  3. Offering incentives to soften the punishment of “You must do X.”

The problem with these options? According to Gawande,“neither penalties nor incentives achieve what we’re really after: a system and a culture where X is what people do, day and and day out, even when no one is watching. ‘You must‘ rewards mere compliance. Getting to ‘X is what we do‘ means establishing X as the norm.”

And, as far as the force-free community goes, we want to get to “force-free is what we do,” too.

I agree with Gawande’s argument that forcing compliance or pleading for compliance aren’t viable long-term solutions. After all, force-free dog trainers realize that pure punishment does not create effective behavior change, nor does pleading with a dog. What does work? Motivating the dog and showing the dog what behaviors lead to desired outcomes. We need to do the same with dog owners: Motivate them to train force-free, motivate them to change their training behavior patterns, and show them how using science-based training methods provides better, long-lasting results for their dogs.

Unlike forcing compliance and pleading, motivation gets to the root of behavior change. Instead of finding mistakes, which will only put dog owners on the defensive, we need to give them good, solid reasons for adopting non-traditional training techniques. These reasons need to be more enticing and more powerful than the potential drawbacks (time, money, carrying treats around, changing routines for the dog, letting go of previous habits and beliefs).

We also need to communicate at an individual level because each person’s source of motivation will be different. “To create new norms, you have to understand people’s existing norms,” writes Gawande. “You have to understand what’s getting in their way.”

Here are two examples of how trainers can create new norms for dog training clients:

  • A client uses a prong collar for her rambunctious pit bull. She is also dealing with pressure from friends and family to train with traditional methods and “get control” of her dog, and is hesitant to be criticized or ostracized. This person needs encouragement to communicate why she is training force-free, and also needs the confidence that these force-free methods will produce the behavior change her family and friends are looking for.
  • A client has an aggressive dog and he is afraid that without a shock collar, his dog may run away and get hurt or killed. If this person realizes that he can build a much more solid recall through force-free training, he will be much more motivated to drop the shock collar.

We have a long ways to go before we realize the goal of a force-free training society. But as the history of slow ideas has shown us, with the right communication and motivation, it’s possible. And that’s quite motivating.

Thresholds: When dogs reach their emotional edge

Until recently, I never thought I’d utter the phrase “Dog training is just like yoga.” However, in researching fear in dogs and the best practices for treating it, I’ve found a distinct parallel.

After countless yoga sessions of stretching and twisting, I’ve encountered the term “edge” quite frequently. In yoga, you are encouraged to work toward your physical edge in a pose – the moment when your muscles and joints tell you, “That’s it, this is as far as I’m going to go.” If you move into your edge too quickly, you’ll definitely experience discomfort. You might even experience injury in the form of a strained or pulled muscle, which will impede your overall progress. But if you acknowledge your edge, concentrate on it, and move into it gradually with proper breathing and alignment, you end up going deeper into a pose and opening tightened muscles.

Edges in yoga are similar to a concept in dog training known as the “threshold,” and you’ll encounter it often in training publications and this blog. When dealing with fearful and anxious dogs, the threshold is similar to the physical edge in yoga. Once a dog goes over his threshold, learning shuts down, the emotion takes over, and harm occurs. However, by knowing a dog’s threshold, working through it gradually, and ensuring a dog never crosses it, dogs overcome their fears and anxieties, much like conquering a difficult yoga posture.

To understand the concept of a threshold, it’s important to understand the science behind fear. Fear is a reflexive response, an automatic reaction to a stimulus. When a dog encounters a stimulus that signals danger, whether through a learned association or an innate one, two different systems in the dog’s brain enter the playing field. The autonomic nervous system sends information to that prompt physiological changes like increased heart rate and increased breathing rate, enabling the “fight or flight” capabilities in the dog’s body. In the second system, a fearful stimulus triggers the activation of the HPA axis (hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands), releasing cortisol and adrenaline that further assist the body during “fight or flight” situations. (Jordan, 2012).

Emotionally charged situations inhibit a dog’s normal learning processes because they cause the brain to focus solely on the arousing event. A fear-inducing stimulus overrides the brain’s GABA, a nerve-calming neurotransmitter, thus leading to emotional reactivity. (Bond, 2008). It also activates the HPA axis quite rapidly, nullifying any chance of in-the-moment counterconditioning. (Jordan, 2012). While frustrating in the moment, this makes sense from a biological standpoint; dangerous situations require immediate attention for survival.

With all of this activity, we can hardly expect a dog to focus on an obedience command or to “get over it.” It’s simply not in his biology. What’s more, stress hormones stay in the system long after the fearful stimulus is gone, resulting in long-term effects on training and learning.

When a dog crosses his threshold, the above biological processes in the body kick in. Each dog has a different threshold, and his threshold can vary depending on the stimulus. For example, one dog’s threshold for encountering strangers could be 10 yards, whereas another dog’s could be 3. These distances could be reversed if the dogs were presented with a different stimulus, such as an oncoming dog.

The effects of fear are cumulative. If a dog is presented with a fearful stimulus over time that is never addressed through proper training, or worse, has encountered aversive training methods in combination with the fearful stimulus, the dog may go from relatively little intensity to a full-on growl, lunge or bite. Why? Because aversive techniques that suppress the behaviors signifying fear do nothing to change a dog’s behavior and instead serve to reinforce a dog’s fear of the stimulus. By suppressing behaviors such as growling, snarling or barking, and without removal of the fearful stimulus, the dog is left with only the most intense and damaging option: biting.

As James O’Heare writes in Aggressive Behavior in Dogs, fear thresholds can be raised or lowered, but not done away with altogether. “Aggression, which is present in all individuals, is never cured. Rather, the important issue is what evokes aggressive behavior and whether active attempts are made to change the dog’s aggression thresholds” (98).

The best way to recognize your dog’s thresholds is through understanding his body language. Dogs who are under stress may show any combination of the following behaviors:

  • low appetite
  • shallow, rapid panting
  • low focus ability
  • sweaty  paws
  • yawning
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • shaking
  • excessive thirst, grooming, or sleeping
  • compulsive behaviors
  • confusion
  • increased urination or defecation
  • whale eye (where you can see the whites of the eyes)
  • stiffness
  • reactivity
  • dilated pupils
  • self-mutilation

These behaviors are a signal to create distance between your dog and the fear-causing stimulus. View them as a message from your dog saying, “Hey, I’m really uncomfortable, help get me out of here!”

At some point, every dog is going to cross his threshold. It happens and isn’t a catastrophe if handled the right way. In the moment, take control of the situation by getting your dog away from the stimulus, luring with treats and praise. Once you’ve gotten your dog to a calm location, give him a chance to calm down. Remember, the biological processes mentioned above are still at work, and your dog’s body needs time to normalize. Try to remember exactly what happened so you can identify what caused your dog to go over his threshold, and work on a plan should you encounter that situation again.

Remember, fear generalizes and can bleed into other behavior areas. If you notice your dog going over threshold, it’s important to get in touch with a dog trainer to set your dog up for success and to prevent the fear from worsening.