Fearful Dogs

If Only That Hadn't Happened, This Dog Would Be Fine

Why are some dogs shy? fearful? nervous? aggressive? irritable? unfriendly? difficult to train? clingy? unable to be left alone? 

People have many explanations for why dogs act as they do. Sometimes the dog's history becomes baggage that the human carts along for the dog's entire life. Recently, I asked someone about their dog's pulling on leash and she began her answer with, "He was found near a dumpster when he was six weeks old." The dog was 3 years old now. How does being found near a dumpster have much to do with pulling, which is an interaction between a dog and handler?

Understanding Thresholds: It's More than Under- or Over-

It is often heard and cheerfully given advice: "Keep him under threshold!" Yep. Can do. I think. Maybe. Um, how do I know? 

While most of us recognize the dog who has been pushed past a threshold and into reaction, it is harder to know exactly where the sweet spot is, the place where learning and thinking occur, where choices are possible, and where behavior changes (good ones!) can happen.