Taming The Tooth Monster

Some dogs take treats too hard. As in, they manage to scrape your hands painfully when they grab the goody. Usually these dogs weren’t taught as puppies what is an acceptable amount of pressure for big pearly canines on human skin. They are not trying to hurt us; they just never learned to regulate jaw pressure. Sometimes this tendency is exacerbated by excitement (Ooh! My favorite treat!) or stress (Yikes, another dog is close by and she might also be interested in my favorite treat). What to do about it Stop letting go. Get a good hold on a treat before you offer it and only release the treat if your dog uses a soft mouth, i.e. light pressure or, preferably, all lips and no teeth. If your dog grabs too hard, say, “Too bad” or “Bummer” in an oh-what-a-shame tone of voice and pull the treat away. As long

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Building A Lifelong Relationship

The American Veterinary Medical Association defines the human-animal bond as “a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both.” So, what are the behaviors in question? Being a responsible caretaker is at the foundation, of course, and includes providing food, water, shelter, and safety, as well as medical care when needed. But aside from that, what influences a person’s relationship with her dog? What takes it from good to great? In the human world, psychologist John Gottman spent four decades studying couples to find out what makes marriages happy and lasting. His major takeaway was that a deep sense of connection and trust is built between couples that make many “bids”—verbal or nonverbal requests for attention and connection—and offer positive responses to those bids. Positive reinforcement training shows us that the same principles apply

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