How to Solve Separation Anxiety – Manhattan Dog Training Blog

How to Solve Separation Anxiety – Manhattan Dog Training Blog

Separation anxiety is a problem that plagues countless dogs. There are many reasons a dog might show signs of separation anxiety. Perhaps they’ve been taken to a shelter one or more times and been forced to leave their family; perhaps they’re naturally prone to anxiety; or perhaps the anxiety stems from a lack of boundaries within the home.

Separation anxiety can be fixed with the training tools we offer here at Gotham Dog Training in Manhattan!

In-home training can help in all of these instances. I’ve seen the dogs that howl if the owner tries to leave them, the ones that break nails and teeth trying to escape their crates, the ones that tear through a door in desperation to get to their loved ones. I’ve seen them, and I’ve helped them understand that their owner will come back and there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety need a few things in order to feel safe and secure: trust, firm boundaries, and a confident owner. Of course, the way we go about this with a dog is very different from the way we do with another person. You can’t talk to or reason with your dog, so you train.

Basic obedience training helps you become confident in communicating with your dog, places you in a leadership position, and helps your dog feel secure in your behavior and responses. A structured schedule and limited roaming let your dog know what to expect while at the same time keeping him or her from getting too caught up in distractions and their surroundings. Crate training (when performed properly) can also be a huge help in abating separation anxiety.

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Sibling Aggression – We Can Fix It! Manhattan Dog Trainer

Sibling Aggression – We Can Fix It! Manhattan Dog Trainer

Siblings are naturally competitive. They compete for attention, better grades, the last cookie in the cookie jar, friends, significant others, etc. It’s easy enough to tell kids to knock it off and remind them everyone’s special, but it’s harder to communicate that to dogs.

Dogs begin their lives in competition with the rest of the litter, namely for food. It’s common for the runt to get pushed out of the way while nursing, especially in a large litter, and without help from a human he or she may not make it. Of course this isn’t based in aggression at this age; it’s simple “survival of the fittest.” But as puppies mature, their competition and behavior naturally escalates. They wrestle, nip, growl, etc. Playing rough like this usually doesn’t have dire consequences, and, again, it’s very natural. But this puppy stage is the ideal stage to start setting behavioral boundaries, simply because this innocent play can easily morph into sibling aggression as the dogs continue to grow.

Two puppies who used to wrestle may begin a true fight for dominance, and this can be scary for owners. This is when stories of owners being attacked for trying to break up fights between two dogs occur. And it doesn’t only happen with puppies from the same litter–adoptive siblings can lash out, too.  Continue reading

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What’s Reward-Based Dog Training? – Dog Training Manhattan

What’s Reward-Based Dog Training? – Dog Training Manhattan

When it comes to hiring a professional dog trainer, most dog owners do their homework and research. In our internet age, we have so much information available to us, sometimes too much. One might not believe there’s such as a thing as too much information, but with all the conflicting theories, with all the self-proclaimed “experts” publishing their diatribes online…well, it can be overwhelming and it could lead to inconsistency with the training. And THAT could lead to a more anxious or misbehaved pooch.

At Gotham Dog Training, I want to be the dog trainer that not only fixes the behavioral issues, but makes sure that the dog is still happy and retains their individual spirit. While I keep an open mind and try to make things customizable for my clients, I follow a reward-based philosophy when it comes to my training.

When I say reward-based, I don’t mean “treat-based” or “purely positive”. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against using treats, and I certainly utilize positive reinforcement techniques with my training. But I don’t assign myself to only one quadrant of operant conditioning. I also don’t like to have treats in my pocket, constantly throwing them at the dog in the means of bribing them to behave. Bribery is not part of reward-based training. Instead, through meticulous designs based on setting the dog up for success, I use reward-based training to teach dogs how to adopt a better behavior, showing that it is the right thing and this it what will bring the dog the most pleasure and happiness.

I don’t believe in setting dogs up for failure and having them learn through constant mistakes and corrections. Instead, I want to lean toward the positive so we can minimize the negative as much as we can. I believe in balance, though, and I believe that dog must learn what to do, but also must learn what not to do. Reward-based training also requires the committed involvement of the owner. As a reward-based trainer, I do not want to exclude the owner in the training process. They need to learn how to handle their own dog and continuously reinforce the successful regimen. Reward-based training is not about bribery, but it is also not about dominating the dog. I teach the owner that they are a leader, not an alpha that needs to instill fear in their dog. A dog should make decisions because they want to, not based on either fear or treat bribery. Continue reading

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“Will the consequences of your aggressive dog will come back to bite you?” – Gotham Dog Training – Brooklyn Dog Trainer

“Will the consequences of your aggressive dog will come back to bite you?” – Gotham Dog Training – Brooklyn Dog Trainer

At first glance one might easily brush this topic off, scoffing to yourself about the “painfully obvious” answer here: of course having an aggressive dog has consequences! However, dog bites especially recently have been seriously affecting more than just the victim.  Injuries aside, (as if the cost there wasn’t bad enough!), aggressive dogs are taking a bite out of a lot more than just other people, but their owner’s homeowner insurance as well. So to the dog-loving homeowners and hopeful homeowners of the future, this is for you.

If you own both a dog and a home, then you already know that your liability insurance covers you if a bite occurs in your home or on a walk, with the standard policy limit usually around $100,000.  Now at this point most of you are probably saying to yourselves, “Phew we’re in the clear, my insurer didn’t even ask about Fluffy!”.  Fair enough. That said, rest assured that if Fluffy does bite, even just once, this is grounds for your insurance company to raise your premium or refuse to cover Fluffy at all.

Now you’re probably wondering, “How often does this scenario play out and what does this mean for me?” Studies from the CDC, Insurance Information Institute and insurance moguls like State Farm, all indicate the number of these incidents are steadily climbing, dragging the cost per claim for owners (particularly in New York) right along with it.  Bloomberg News stated that while the average cost per claim for the nation is $27,862, New Yorkers on average end up paying a whopping $43,122 on average for a claim. And just in case you still think you might have dodged this financial bullet, think again! Claims are not just limited to biting incidents, but also are filed for cases where a person is injured when a dog knocks someone down or even scares a person and they fall and get hurt.  Continue reading

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Poppy: Dog Reactive Case Study – Manhattan Dog Trainer Blog

Poppy: Dog Reactive Case Study – Manhattan Dog Trainer Blog

Some dogs are aggressive because they desire to be the leader of the pack. Some feel threatened by other dogs or people. Some dogs only react aggressively when frightened (fight or flight). Some dogs, like Poppy, use aggression as an outlet for anxiety.

Poppy was a young dog that had already gone through clicker training, but the training was incomplete. She’d never been taught “heel” or “stay” and the necessary foundation of trust and respect between dog and owner had never been properly established.

When I arrived for the in-home consultation, Poppy met me at the door, barking and lunging. She didn’t attempt to bite me, but she sniffed and circled me anxiously, paying absolutely no attention to her owner. On a walk, it was the same thing. She did what she pleased–pulling on the leash, zig-zagging, etc.–while paying no attention to her owner. Apparently her aggression presented itself mostly around other dogs, and she was kicked out of doggie daycare as a result. Continue reading

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Learn About Our Manhattan Puppy Training Program!

Learn About Our Manhattan Puppy Training Program!

Puppy training is essential to a successful, lifelong human/canine relationship. It’s best to establish boundaries early on, rather than waiting until both your dog and his/her problems have grown. It’s also easiest to establish these boundaries when your dog is young. If he/she hasn’t exhibited many behavioral problems, basic obedience (like the type offered through our Practical Pet Protocol classes) may be all that’s needed. But if he/she has begun exhibiting more serious behavior problems like biting, chewing, trouble housebreaking, or aggression, it’s best to hire an in-home trainer such as myself to assist you.

I recently worked with a young puppy named Cinnamon who would bite to get attention, pee in the house, and exhibit signs of separation anxiety. I came to the owners’ home to observe the behavior for myself and create a detailed training plan for Cinnamon. She met me at the door jumping and nipping, and I witnessed her eliminating in the home. Her owners’ frustration was more than understandable. I put together a plan for them that involved communicating in a way Cinnamon could understand, crate training, and limitation of roaming.  Continue reading

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How Anxiety Causes Aggression Issues – Dog Training Manhattan Blog

How Anxiety Causes Aggression Issues – Dog Training Manhattan Blog

We’ve all had friends who are tightly wound. Some of us have probably been that friend. They’re anxious, easily startled, and snappy. Oftentimes, it’s due to an isolated incident–a test, a meeting with the boss, fighting with the significant other, Halloween, etc. Tightly wound dogs, however, tend to stay that way. Anxiety and aggression become a part of their behavioral pattern, and before long they’re growling at visitors, snapping as passersby, and making you question just how safe they are to be around.

It’s a common problem, but it can be solved with the right training.

I recently worked with a small dog named Jamboree. Her owner called because Jam was acting overprotective of her, began guarding resources, and showed signs of fear aggression. When I arrived for the in-home consultation, Jamboree met me at the door–luckily on a leash–with her teeth bared and hackles raised. She never really calmed down. At one point, it seemed as if she was sleeping, but she bolted upright the moment I moved. Jamboree’s behavior was causing her owner a lot of grief. The neighbors filed complaints because of Jam’s barking, she couldn’t be boarded, and the owner was unable to have visitors. Continue reading

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A story of Aggressive Dog Training in Brooklyn

Clover – Aggressive Dog Training in Brooklyn

An aggressive dog can turn the fun experience of dog ownership into a nightmare. Instead of having a loving, cuddly pet, you’re wrought with anxiety over the consequences of a possible attack and embarrassed about your dog’s behavior (growling, snapping, snarling, etc.), even if he/she never manages to get a hold of anyone.

I offer aggressive dog training in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the surrounding Burroughs, and recently met a dog named Clover who has broken away from her owners several times to bite friends and family members. Rather than let the dog drive a wedge between them and those they love, the owners gave me a call. Aggression, whether it’s dog, human, sibling, maternal, or territorial, is an issue I’m very familiar with, and I know exactly what methods are needed to help Clover. Continue reading

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The Importance of Communication – Brooklyn Dog Training

The Importance of Communication – Brooklyn Dog Training

Communication 

One of the biggest issues I find when I first begin working with a new client is that they are a bit unclear about how they say “yes” and “no” to their dog. Dog training and changing dog behavior isn’t rocket science, but it does require one specific thing: communication. Half the battle is finding a clear way to communicate “yes,” and a clear way to communicate “no.” The other half is doing that consistently!  I always begin my Brooklyn Dog Training program with a comprehensive behavior consultation, and one of the things I’ll look for is the communication that’s going on between a dog and his/her owners.

Variety is the spice of… confusion!I offer an outstanding Brooklyn Dog Training program that teaches you how to communicate effectively with your dog!

In the process of raising a dog, we have the tendency to develop our own little lingo. Most people develop a vocabulary of sounds and words that really only applies to their dog. Sounds like “uh-uh”, “shh!”, or “ahh!” are common. A new client once said to me “it’s like we have our own secret language that no one else understands.” While your dog may understand your secret language somewhat, the reality is that it’s more confusing than clear. If it was totally clear, you wouldn’t need a dog trainer! Continue reading

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Case Study: Dog Aggression In Brooklyn

As a professional dog trainer in Brooklyn, I have been working with Dena, Ryan, and their French Bulldog Bruce for just a few weeks, and the progress that they’ve made so far is incredible.

Bruce the French Bulldog practices calm behavior in his “place.”

Dena and Ryan had been told by more than one other Brooklyn dog trainer that Bruce was beyond help, and that they’d just have to live with this behavior. They knew that in their dog friendly community of Brooklyn, this was unreasonable. Something had to be done, and thankfully Dena and Ryan weren’t ready to give up on Bruce. When they contacted Gotham Dog Training, they explained that Bruce had several severe behavior issues. I assured them that change is possible, so long as they’re committed to following through. They expressed their commitment to improving Bruce’s behavior, and they were hoping to make major changes as fast as possible. Needless to say, they were very excited to meet with me for the initial behavior consultation. Continue reading

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