Category Archives: Dog Behavior

Getting A New Rescue Dog

Temperament Testing Rescue Dogs
By Andrew Ledford    –

The first dog in the series was very active and animal oriented in a friendly way. In the photo it is looking at another dog and ignoring me. This dog also did well when presented with a novel visual stimulus.
The first dog in the series was very active and animal oriented in a friendly way. In the photo it is looking at another dog and ignoring me. This dog also did well when presented with a novel visual stimulus.

Impromptu rescue dog evaluation at the Long Beach Pet Expo
The Long Beach Pet Expo was a lot of fun. I had the chance to meet a lot of dog friendly folks and saw many of Long Beach’s finest canines.

While at the expo I met up with a friend from a social media group I belong to. She was with her sister who was looking for a new dog. When getting a dog it’s good to keep in mind that it is better to get a good dog and do just a little training than get a dog that doesn’t match your lifestyle and do a lot of training.

Getting A New Dog
When looking for a dog, you need to consider what the dog’s environment will be like and your lifestyle. You also need to think about how other household members will interact with the new dog? In this pet expo scenario we had to consider the dog would need to live with two resident cats. One cat is bold and the other a bit more sensitive.

The second dog I looked at was younger and was also a bit fearful. It took some time to get this puppy to come to me.
The second dog I looked at was younger and was also a bit fearful. It took some time to get this puppy to come to me.

The next consideration is the individual dog’s personality. It’s important to remember that a puppy’s personality may change as it goes through different developmental stages. This means that a puppy’s personality is not as stable as that of an adult dog.

However, there are some traits that tend to be part of the puppy or dog’s core personality. One of these is sensitivity. I seldom see a very fearful or sensitive puppy develop into a fearless dog. It’s good to keep in mind that even a sensitive dog can be taught to act more confident through training. Although confidence gained through training is a little different than natural confidence.

Puppy and adult dog temperament assessments
The outstanding pet dog has a remarkable combination of traits. These traits are quite unusual in the world of animals. Some, but probably not all of these traits can be more or less evaluated before we get a new dog.

When testing a puppy be careful not to use too much pressure. I tend to use less stressful assessment techniques with young puppies than with an adult dog. While evaluating the dog it must be stressed enough to get a realistic appraisal without pushing the dog past its individual limits. No matter what the dog’s age, do not to push it past a certain threshold. Whether you’re evaluating a puppy or adult dog, you must be able to read the dog and know when enough is enough.

On the first try this puppy approached me with some caution.<br />This pup would have done quite well if we were evaluating it with dominance subordination criteria. I did several of the standard puppy temperament tests with this dog and it did well with them. I did not do any of my usual stress tests because I thought this pup was too sensitive for them. I would expect this dog’s behavior to change when it gets settled into a new home.
On the first try this puppy approached me with some caution.
This pup would have done quite well if we were evaluating it with dominance subordination criteria. I did several of the standard puppy temperament tests and the puppy did well with them. I did not do any of my usual stress tests because I thought the pup was too sensitive. I expect this pup’s behavior will change as it gets settled into a new home. Take a look at New Dog Syndrome
Here I am evaluating the puppy with gentle touch instead of more forceful play
Here I am evaluating the puppy with gentle touch instead of more forceful play

Five temperament traits to test

  1. Fear
  2. Recovery
  3. Activity level
  4. Overt aggression
  5. Guarding

When temperament testing a dog or puppy there are several personality traits to evaluate. The first is to see how the dog reacts to social and environmental stress. The second is to see if the dog habituates to stimulation and/or recovers from the stress. Third, try to determine the dog’s activity level. Next would be testing the dog’s tendency to be overtly aggressive. It’s also good if you can test for guarding behavior.

Here I am looking for recovery after some very light stress.
I want to see if the puppy can recover from being stressed. It did show good recovery, but I used very little pressure in the evaluation

Some people may also have additional behavioral or trait criteria if the dog is needed for a certain kind of work or for a dog sport. If you really need the dog to have a certain trait, learn what that trait looks like in an adult and a young puppy. Keep in mind that you may not be able to accurately predict how the pup will develop. When I was working with police dogs it was customary to only get adult dogs that could be fully tested.

Many of the old puppy temperament tests talk about dominance and submissiveness. I don’t usually use these term with puppy tests. Instead I think in the terms of sensitivity, fear, and recovery. A dog can look quiet and submissive but really be overly frightened. It may take some time for this type of dog to feel comfortable in its new home and show its real personality. When looking for a dog, be aware that an overly confident, independent, or insensitive dog may also prove to be troublesome for many people. Dogs on both ends of the scale should be considered carefully by most people looking for a pet, especially first time pet parents.

While this dog was quite hardy it did not respond well to many of the social cues I test for. Not responding to human offered social cues may have many causes.
While this dog was quite hardy it did not respond well to many of the social cues I test for. Not responding to human offered social cues may have many causes.

When I have a large pool of dogs to select from I try to pick a dog that’s fairly confident, but responsive to social cues from humans and with a low level of overt aggression. I also like to see a dog that gets along with other dogs and preferably other animals like cats.

We can think of the dog’s sensitivity level on a hierarchy. What I call the sensitivity hierarchy. I usually think of it as a linear graph going from 1 to 100, but we can also think of it as a half circle with the majority of dogs towards the sensitive side. Another way to think about the distribution of core traits is a bell curve. Why are more dogs fearful as opposed to fearless?

Fear has survival value.
For thousands of years fear kept dogs alive. I have spent time watching wild and feral dogs and the ones that have some fear are better at avoiding being harmed by humans. I have also seen a similar trend in two populations of feral cats I watched for several years.

In most of the world, animals are not treated very nicely by humans. Fortunately dogs have developed a rather remarkable acceptance and trust of humans. So even if they are a little fearful of people they still show what to us looks like unconditional love.

One reason this dog was less responsive to me could be due to the dog having been in a crate combined with its active nature. I think it may also have something to do with its past experiences with people. Often young dogs will act this way because people have inadvertently rewarded this type of behavior. This dog was too active for one of the cats or else I would have spent more time evaluating its response to human cues.
One explanation why this dog was less responsive to human social cues could be due to the dog having been in a crate for sometime, combined with its active nature. I think it may also have something to do with its past experiences with people. Often young dogs will act this way because people have inadvertently rewarded active unfocused behavior. This dog was too active for one of the cats or else I would have spent more time evaluating its response to human cues.

Activity Level
A dog’s level of activity can also influence its behavior and how it fits into your lifestyle. Very active dogs display more units of behavior in a given amount of time. By behaving more they are more likely to perform some behavior the owner thinks are problems. All things being equal, I would say that an active dog is also more likely to exhibit undesirable behavior than a calm dog. This does not mean all active extreme dogs misbehave. But they do have a higher tendency to misbehave. Fortunately training can often channel this active energy. Training can redirect the dogs drive toward more desirable behavior. When looking for a new dog be cautious of a super calm dog. It’s not uncommon for a very calm dog to either be very afraid or sick.

A big plus for this dog is that it responded very well to forceful play with little signs of stress.
A big plus for this dog is that it responded very well to forceful play with little signs of stress.

Overt Aggression
Aggression is an interesting subject that would take a lifetime to explore. While we may never fully understand it, as citizens of the world we should learn as much as we can about it. Aggression can take many forms from highly ritualized aggression seen in play to overt aggression where the dog is trying to kill. I like to select dogs that are not high in aggression. Even when I am selecting a dog that will be used for protection training I try to stay away from very aggressive dogs. Again there is a hierarchy of aggression. I think of this hierarchy or scale going from 1 to 100. The best pet dogs are not higher than 35 on the scale. If a dog is very emotionally stable then I think a dog up to about 50 will have very little chance of biting someone it shouldn’t. The higher the dog’s level of aggression the more the dog and owner need training. However, if the aggression is associated with other behaviors such as guarding it can be more of a problem.

In this picture you can see this dog was quite possessive of its toy. There was no growling or overt aggression, but there was a “you can’t have it” attitude. I think this dog has potential to be a great dog in the right home. However, it would need some training to harness all that energy and teach it to be more responsive to people.
In this picture you can see the dog was quite possessive of its toy. There was no growling or overt aggression, but there was a “you can’t have it” attitude. I think this dog has potential to be great in the right home. However, it will need some training to harness all that energy and teach it to be more responsive to people.

Guarding
I consider guarding as a special part of the aggression equation. Playful guarding like play growling is nothing to be concerned about. However, more serious guarding is something every dog owner should be on the lookout for.

Guarding and possessiveness are related but not exactly the same thing. Are you interested in protection dog sports? If you are, then you may want a dog that shows some possessiveness,, but still without overt aggression. Often aggressive guarding of food, toys, the bed, and people can be managed through proper training.

The selection criteria you use to get a dog should match the reasons you’re getting a dog. We each have different needs. For each important trait you need to determine what you consider an ideal level or intensity as well as the level you can live with. You will probably find a dog that falls somewhere in-between the two.

If you’re considering adding a new dog or pup to your home give me a call at

It is better to have some idea of the behavior to look for before you bring that bundle of love into your home than after problems begin.

I am wishing you the very best in dogs and in life,
Andrew Ledford

How Do I Get My Dog To Like My Cat?

It’s not uncommon to introduce a new dog into a household that already has a pet. It is most common for people that have dogs to add another one. I did a short article about having two dogs in a families a while back. While two or three dog households are quite common, I also get calls from people who have one or more cats and are adding a dog. Adding a dog to a cat household has some special challenges.

Some things to consider when adding a dog to a cat house

  • How old is the cat?
  • How old is the dog?
  • How does the cat take to the dog?
  • How does the dog take to the cat?
A Dog Can Like a Cat
A Dog Can Like a Cat

Aggressive and fearful animals are more difficult to harmonious integrate into a balance and stable multi species living arrangement. If both the dog and cat are aggressive and/or fearful it will be more complicated. You may never be able to have the two together. However, with careful management they may be able to live in the same house without getting to each other.

If only one of your pets is a problem there is a better chance of multiple species integration.

If you have an adult cat that is fearful and a young puppy your chances of integration is fairly good. In this case it will be a matter of socializing in such a way as not to stress the cat too much, yet expose the pup enough that it bonds with the cat.

Training the cat to like the dog will require a bit of creativity. I have worked with quite a few cats ranging from very social to very fearful. In the 80s I helped care for up to 70 feral cats. At that time I also offered cat training as a separate service. Now I only do cat training as part of a dog training program.

The sociable cat

With a people friendly cat we can sometimes use the person as a calming agent and as reinforcement. For people friendly cats this works more than 50 percent of the time. However, when using this method one must take precautions to avoid accidental harm to the human and sometimes the cat.

Fearful cats

For very fearful cats and cats that are not overly people friendly we may be able to manipulate the environment to help accustom the cat to the dog.

Sometimes a dog will not be hostile toward the cat but too energetic in its play. We especially see this in puppies and young dogs. These dogs need to learn impulse control. I would also recommend teaching the playfully active puppy to respond to standard obedience commands. Having command control will give you the ability to manage the pup’s behavior when it gets too forceful.

I also work with quite a few adult dogs who are being adopted into a house that already has a resident cat. This can pose some additional challenges. First we need to determine how much of a threat the dog is to the cat. This is not always possible, but I can get a good idea by observing the dog. Some older dogs will never be good with cats. Then there are other dogs who will only be good with the cat in the presents of a human with authority.

Dog Playing With Cat
Dog Playing With Cat

I have heard people say that you should just let the cat give the dog a couple good swats. The idea is after getting smacked by the cat the dog will learn to leave the cat alone. This works sometimes. It would probably work best in a scenario with young dogs. However, there are times when it is not practical or the right thing to do. I have had several German Shepherd Dogs who would not be at all deterred by any domestic cat. My last dog was one of these. He would let a cat play with his tail and show indifference if I was around. However, if I was absent he would go after and get cats rather quickly. If a small person (someone under 130 lbs) was holding the leash he had no qualms about pulling them along behind as he continued his forward drive for the cat prize. The dog I had in high school was much worse. That dog would chase anything. I had a rather dog aggressive and crafty cat at the same time. Needless to say the cat and the dog did not get along. The cat would lure the dog under the bed then scratch him. The dog acted as though he didn’t care. He wanted the cat no matter what. Fortunately we learned how to manage both the dog and the cat so that neither one would harm the other.

No matter how good your new dog and cat combination seem to be getting along, I would not leave them alone together for at least 6 months. During this time you will have a chance to observe any behavior that may indicate there could be a problem. By going through a dog training program I would hope that you learn the subtle tell tale signs of possible problems. If you are in one of my training programs you can always call me for a follow-up phone consultation.

Wishing you the best in dogs and in life,

Southern California Dog training

How To Keep Two Aggressive Dogs In The Same House

By Andrew Ledford 714-827-4058

Keeping dogs that are aggressive toward each other is not a problem most people have. However, it is a problem I encounter enough that I wanted to write about it. Actually what motivated me to write this was working with a couple of dogs who do not get along. You may not own two incompatible dogs but there is a good chance at some point you will have a dog visit that doesn’t get along with yours, or you may go on vacation with dogs who don’t like each other.

I have never trained Long beach police dogs, this photo was taken at one of their events. However I done some work with Long Beach Police.
I have never trained Long beach police dogs, this photo was taken at one of their events. However I have done some work with Long Beach Police.
When I had a Long Beach Cable TV program Officer Stuart and Kon the German Shepherd Dog were frequent guests. At that time I also got to attend and video several of their officer survival courses.
When I had a Long Beach Cable TV program Officer Stuart and Kon the German Shepherd Dog were frequent guests. At that time I also got to attend and video several of the Long Beach Police K9 officer survival courses.

When I was younger I mainly worked with aggressive dogs doing police and security work. Often we had several dogs in the house or kennel that really enjoyed having a go at each other. It seemed quite natural to just keep them apart. I know many of the people I work with think it’s unnatural to keep their pet dogs separated. I just want to point out that this is one option. Even if you only use separation as a temporary option.

I have managed a kennel with over 60 security dogs. These dogs would all be let out at the same time and they were housed two dogs to a run. They had to learn not to fight when let out and when being fed. It took a few weeks but they did learn real fighting, fence fighting, and excessive barking was not allowed.

I remember one day while picking up pans one dog got out and cornered me. I thought I was going to do battle with that dog. Fortunately the owner of the security business/kennel came out gave the dog a stern command and it went right back into its run. This incident emphasized how important one of my rules is. That rule is always secure the latch on kennel runs. This applies to gates too. You will read a bit more about this rule later.

I am going to go over environmental management more than training. While training is important, it may take some time before both dogs are trained. However, you can start managing the dog’s environment right now.

The first and the obvious solution to preventing dog fights is don’t let the dogs get together. This is often easier said than done. It takes cooperation from all the people who have access to the dogs. While teaching everyone to keep the dogs separated is part of a management strategy, we cannot rely on people doing it. At least we can’t rely on everyone in the house successfully managing this behavior without some planning and good environmental design.

Usually one or both dogs are motivated to engage the other. Often they are looking for that window of opportunity. The unlatched door, careless guest, or obliging child. Dogs can move mighty fast and it is never pleasant to break up a dog fight.

We can keep the dogs separated by confinement and restraint. I prefer confinement, but a combination of confinement and restraint may sometimes be useful.

Confinement involves having one or more barriers between the two dogs. Restraint could be keeping one or both dogs on a leash.

As a general rule I use at least two barriers to keep the dogs away from each other. If you are using two dog runs/kennels make sure the dogs cannot do any fence fighting. To discourage fence fighting have the runs away from each other. I used to have a small kennel in the desert and I always had at least one dog run away from the others. The separate kennel was for that problem dog that just didn’t get along with others. Eventually the problem dog would be integrated into the general dog population, but it would start off away from the others.

The snap keeping the latch closed is located behind the plant.
The snap keeping the latch closed is located behind the plant.

You will also want to make sure no one accidentally lets the dogs out. A motivated dog can breach a barrier in several ways. One way they can get past the barrier is learning how to open a gate or door. This is how the security dog that cornered me got out. You need to make sure the dogs can’t let themselves out or in. I usually secure the gate latch with a snap, gate hook, or lock.

Having two gates satisfies one of my rules for dog safety – keep at least two barriers between the dog(s) and the problem.

I once had a very aggressive and somewhat unstable German Shepherd Dog and my rule for him was to have at least three barriers between him and the public. I also took the extra precaution that his dog run/kennel was to always be locked.

The three barrier rule is also good for some households with dogs that are very aggressive toward each other. It gives an extra measure of security when more than one person makes a mistake at the same time. It may seem unlikely that two people would be opening each gate or door at the same time, but the scenario is more common than you would think.

A dog run inside a gated side yard will add the extra barrier to a two dog run setup.

You can also crate one dog and put the other in a dog run or secured side yard. If people keep all the house doors closed you now have three barriers between the two dogs. There can be some negative consequences to this method, so I recommend consulting a dog trainer before you choose using a crate. Especially if you use it more than occasionally.

One of the biggest rules that must be followed is to always close Doors or Gates.

Dog Safety Rule Number One
Close the Door! Close the gate!
The door cannot be left open – not even for a second.

Another option although less reliable, is to use a baby/puppy gate
An Ex Pen is good but another option, although less reliable, is to use a baby/puppy gate

There are some extra safety measures that can be taken for dogs that bolt doors. As a temporary solution I will sometimes put an exercise pen (ex pen) up as a barrier to the door. If the ex pen is not secured a determined dog will crash right through it. Even if it is secured it may only give you a few extra seconds to react. But those few seconds can be a life saver.

Some people will find that a quick closing mechanism on the door is a good investment. This is particularly true if there are a lot of children in the house and it can also assist forgetful gardener/lawn care workers.

It has been my experience that having just a house door separating two or more aggressive dogs is not enough. It is too easy for someone going through the door to let a dog to slip past. What I find happens more frequently is that many people will not completely close the door. This is what happened with the dogs that prompted this post. In breaking up the dogs fighting I injured my hand. It has been over three months and my hand still hurts. For a couple of months it was my whole arm that ached. My use of that arm was limited for at least the first month. If you only have house doors separating the dogs you should invest in at least a couple of ex pens to put up around the inside of the house and the outside as well.

I also suggest installing self closing security doors leading to the yard and have security doors for sliding glass doors as well. These are improvements that will provide additional benefits other than keeping the dogs away from each other.

An alarm system that lets you know when a door is left open would be another good add-on that could be very helpful. It will also assist in teaching the humans to close doors.

This Chow Chow with wearing a Muzzle had a few issues
This Chow Chow wearing a Muzzle had a few issues

Another option and one that I usually classify more with training is getting the dogs used to wearing a muzzle. Teaching a dog to wear a muzzle should be part of regular pet training. There are several scenarios where having a muzzle on the dog may be necessary. If I remember right all sheriff dogs needed to wear a muzzle when being transported in a helicopter. Being comfortable with a muzzle will be useful when transporting and housing dogs in emergencies such as earthquakes and fires. Both of which we have a lot of in California.

Wishing you the best in dogs and in life,

Southern California Dog training
714-827-4058

Habits and Catching a Door Bolting Dog

Last night I was training a dog that knew every route away from and back to its house. The interesting thing is that if I did something out of the ordinary, such as go down an ally or through a strip shopping center the dog acted like we should not be going that way. It did not act this way only once, but whenever I took it someplace new. I have to add that this dog is very sensitive.

Labrador Retriever Running
Labrador Retriever Running

We can use this tendency to use the same route with dogs that bolt doors and escape. There are escape artist dogs that I want walked the same way every time they are taken out. Usually away from traffic. Then when the dog does get out it is often possible to jump in the car and drive the opposite direction meeting the dog as it is running away from the house. This way the dog ends up running toward the owner. Many dogs are happy to jump in the car if they have a chance to. This simplifies the act of catching door bolting wayward dogs.

Wishing you the best in dogs and the best in life,
Andrew Ledford
So Cal Dog training
714-827-4058

Getting a New Dog

Are you getting a new dog this year? If so you may want to know more about new dog syndrome. Understanding New dog syndrome can help us and our dogs deal more effectively with the stress of bringing a new dog into the household.

I work with many people who tell me how good their dog was when they first got it. By the time people call me in for dog behavior help the dog is proving to be quite disruptive. I hear how the cute little fur baby was perfect. It was quiet and docile when first entering the home. Then a week or so later it was a little monster. Although a cute little monster.

There are some dog behavior problems associated with new dog syndrome I hear about more than others.

One of these problems is that the dog who was just an angle is now getting into everything. It seems that it went from never chewing to chewing anything it can get its mouth on.

Another common problem is the dog that was supposed to be house trained when is first came into the new home. However, now it only potties where it should not go and when no one is looking. I have seen two scenarios with this problem. The first is the dog that developed house training problems when coming into the new home straight away. The second is the dog that seemed to be doing fine with potty training in the beginning and then for some mysterious reason starts having potty problems.

Barking is another common problem for dogs that suffered from new dog syndrome. The dog was quiet when it first came into the home and now it barks at everything. This is quite common since many dogs with new dog syndrome are sensitive and sensitive dogs tend to bark more

A problem that can go along with all the above is extremely active behavior. Overall hyperactive behavior should not be confused with the temporary overactive behavior puppies display in the early evening and sometime in the mornings too. You may also see this temporary overactive behavior in puppies when they’re tired and when under a little stress. The stress can be as simple as frustration when learning a new behavior during food reinforcement training.

With over active behavior we often see the same pattern where the dog was very calm when it first came into the home only to become unruly once it settles in. It seems any stimulation at all makes this kind of dog hyperactive. The extra active behavior leads to all kinds of problems including jumping, chewing, potty problems, digging, and barking among others.

To prevent and overcome these problems requires the proper behavior management.  Early intervention is best, but not always possible. You can help your new dog through the transition period by being consistent and emotionally supportive. Dog training can be very helpful at all stages of the dog’s life. If you can start a training program soon after the dog arrives at its new home you may prevent many of the unwanted effects of new dog syndrome.

Some dogs have a tough time making the connections between the controlling signal and the desired response when under stress. In these situations we just need to be patient and use good behavior management. Sometimes being patient is part of providing an emotionally supportive environment.

Even if your dog has a hard time making the connection between the controlling signal and the behavior you can still use food to counter condition avoidance. When there is a strong avoidance response you will need to be more aware of the environment. I classify awareness as a component of one’s personal rules which make up a strategy for dog training. You can read more about dog training strategies in my book Best Friends Learning Together.

If you need help with your dog you can call me at 714-827-4058

Managing dog behavior and people’s too


Encourage good dog behavior with the appropriate discriminative stimuli

Is managing discriminative stimuli part of philosophy, business management, or dog training? This is what Wikipedia has to say about “Stimulus control and discriminative stimuli: Stimulus control is the phenomenon of a stimulus increasing the probability of a behavior (operant response) because of a history of that behavior being differentially reinforced in the presence of the stimulus. In other words, stimulus control is basically learning to pay attention to things that we identify in the environment (discriminative stimuli) that give us information about the effectiveness of our behavior.” Discriminative stimuli help us determine what rules apply to achieve reinforcement.

At a social media group I belong to I was talking with a philosopher about how we have certain rules that help us do the right thing. More importantly we have rules that keep us from doing what society considered immoral. This part of the conversation revolved around how a man of good moral character would not go to an attractive married woman’s room where they are alone and drink alcohol while at a conference.

Why is it that alcohol is a major factor or variable to this scenario? It could be that alcohol reduces the inhibition we associate with moral behavior. By reducing inhibitions our more animal like nature shines through. The nature of animals is probably driven more by lower level needs than the higher level needs we like to associate with being human. At this point my post diverged into two different lines of thought. I will post my more whimsical thoughts about the possibilities of animals experiencing altered states of consciousness on my new dog website.

Getting back to dog training and behavior management. If we can’t expect other humans, not to mention ourselves, to behave properly under certain conditions, how can we expect our dogs to do any better?  For the most part dogs don’t have the ability to manage discriminative stimuli that control behavior.

The inability of dogs to control this aspect of their environment places the responsibility of discriminative stimuli management squarely on the shoulders of us humans.

We need to live by rules that help arrange the environment in ways where dogs have an easy time being good. Dogs can’t decide I’m going to spend more time inside so I won’t be so tempted to go visit my neighbor when she smells sooo good because it would lead to a show dog with less than desirable children. But people can arrange the environment so our dogs are not hated by society.

Some interesting strategies for self control were used by children in an experiment that required waiting 15 minutes to have 2 sweets verses having 1 sweet right away. It was found that children with good self control employed a strategy of not thinking about the sweet. This was often done by thinking about something else. They were managing the internal discriminative stimuli. These children were managing the signals that controlled their behavior. I like calling internal discriminative stimuli the controlling signal(s). It may not be scientific but it makes sense for normal conversations.

Managing discriminative stimuli or the controlling signal(s) is often one of my first objectives when doing an in home dog training program. Discriminative stimuli management is especially critical where the owner is so frustrated with the dog’s behavior they are thinking about getting rid of the dog.  Usually we can at least make the dog’s behavior good enough so the owner can keep the dog. This give us time to do the needed training to change the offending behavior. Now even if the behavior can’t be completely changed, it usually can be managed. Efficient management of the dog’s behavior can make cohabitation with humans possible.

There are established social rules for managing the attractive woman + Alcohol + opportunity syndrome.  There are also individuals who have personal rules for managing these scenarios. With dogs you need to be your dog’s social authority. It’s important to know that you can direct and manage your dog’s behavior without being overbearing. Sometimes this involves teaching a new response. At other times you may need to make some physical changes to the environment. It is up to you, the dog’s owner, to manage the signals that control your dog’s behavior.

I can be reached at 714-827-4058

Dog Behavior, Stray Dogs in Russia and Taiwan

Dog Behavior and Stray Dogs in Russia and Taiwan

Moscow’s stray dogs article on FM.com is what motivated me to write this post.

Popsci.com also has an article going over much of the same info as FM.com. In the Popsci.com article from January, 21, 2010 talks about Andrei Poyarkov, who is a researcher at the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution. Poyarkov is the same person that the FM.com article is about. Both articles mention that Poyarkov indicates the stray dogs of Moscow are losing the friendly gene that contributes to spotted coloring in domestic dogs. Poyarkov classifies dogs into four groups guard dogs, scavengers, wild dogs, and beggars.

I have observes all of these groups in Taiwan stray dogs. However, I have not noticed the four groups of behavior in the same degree as Poyarkov mentions. And, I have never seen street dogs in Taiwan get on a bus or the mass transit rail system. I have seen dogs share guard duty with security guards, but I have more often seen strays treated harshly by security guards who have their own dogs.

The scavenger dog is quite common in Taiwan. The scavenger is what I think of as one of the most common types of street dog. There is another classification of street dog I have noticed in Taiwan, the neighborhood dog. These dogs are part scavenger, part beggar and part of the neighborhood. Some of these dogs live at one house and some live in a home range that encompasses several houses or a city block. The neighborhood dog doesn’t have a name but if you ask, some people will say the dog lives at their house. The people who semi-claim these dogs also feed them and give them rudimentary care.

I agree with Poyarkov that the beggar dogs have developed some rather charming behavior. They make their living by cute friendliness. Beggar dogs are also a good indicator of the economic condition of people. I noticed when the economy is good the beggar dogs refuse handouts that are not up to their high standards. But when times are tough, almost any food will do. Beggar dogs are the most entertaining of the street dogs.

As I have mentioned in my dog training book, I think wild dogs are the most interesting to watch. The really wild dogs are very wary of people and must be watched at a distance. Even at a great distance, they are aware of your presents.

Wild Dog Puppies in den Taiwan

Wild Dog Puppies in den Taiwan

In my book I have a photo on page 8 of a small pack of dogs hunting rats. These dogs showed the hunting behavior of wild dogs, combined with friendliness towards visiting pets. This pack of dogs also got the occasional handout.

Stray dogs and Aggression

In 2008, there was an article on sky new about feral dogs in Russia attacking and even killing people.

I also found this on news24.com from December 2009 “Fears of contact with a rabies-stricken dog have left 41 people hospitalized in Moscow, said Russian officials quotes by the Interfax news agency.” My opinion on rabies will need to wait for another blog post.

Wherever you have large numbers of feral dogs you will have dog bites. It’s the nature of the dog. In Taiwan, street dogs are known for not always being friendly.

Aggressive Dog in Taiwan

Aggressive Dog in Taiwan

The locals in the area I was staying even made special sticks to ward off dog attacks.

Dog sticks made while collecting herbs

Dog sticks made while collecting herbs in Taiwan

I met this man at the river carving these sticks with grate care. It appears that he chooses a certain kind of tree to use. I don’t know but I am guessing it’s because the wood is harder than the others riverside plants. From what he said, I think that he’s been harvesting wild herbs and greens from this part of the river for a very long time. Notice herbs in the bag he’s holing in left hand. It seems driving away wild dogs while harvesting plant has a long history.