Why Are so Many Dogs Going Gray as Early as Age 1?

By Dr. Becker

If you’re familiar with the term “the graying of America,” you know it refers to the fact that the American population is increasingly dominated by older people. In other words, the median age of Americans is going up.

But what about the graying of America’s dogs? Have you noticed all the white muzzles out there these days? Have you been surprised to learn a very gray dog is just 5 or 6 years old? What’s going on?

Please read full article here >


Dog Training’s Dirty Little Secret: Anyone Can Legally Do It

Dog training is an unregulated industry although dogs need to be licensed.

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D.

Dogs and humans beware

During the past year I’ve had a number of emails from people both lauding and severely criticizing the dog trainers to whom they went to help them teach their dog to live with them in their homes and elsewhere. Of course, different people have different needs and dogs are unique individuals, so it’s essential that a dog trainer/teacher be well versed in dog behavior and various principles of ethology/animal behavior and psychology. They also need to be able to assess the nature of dog-human interactions.

usernetsite free images

Source: usernetsite free images

In her scholarly and well researched law review article called “OCCUPATIONAL LICENSURE FOR PET DOG TRAINERS: DOGS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO SHOULD BE LICENSED,” Elizabeth Foubert notes, “In the United States anyone can work as a dog trainer, regardless of the person’s qualifications. Scientific research in animal behavior and canine ethology indicate how to humanely train dogs, but nothing in the law requires that dog trainers apply these proven methods in practice. Dog trainers may use training techniques that bring harm to dogs and deceive consumers as to its efficacy. The onus is on consumers to educate themselves to these dangers when selecting a ‘qualified dog trainer.'”

There’s a lot at stake when a person entrusts their dog’s life to a trainer. Thus, I was shocked to learn that in the United States anyone can call themself a “dog trainer.” I went online and did many different searches, and while there are many excellent certification programs, it is the case that anyone can legally hang up a shingle that says “Dog Trainer” and begin to work with dogs and their humans. I also queried a number of trainers and they also agreed that there really is a “dirty little secret” about which many, perhaps most, people are unaware, as I was. And, if course, it’s not a little secret at all, but rather a huge one, because of the incredible damage that can be done by someone who isn’t trained to be a dog trainer. Of course, certified dog trainers also can cause harm but that goes beyond what I want to write about here.

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Update on NEW AKC Trick Training Titles

By Marie Macher

puppy_gymTrick training is a fun, engaging, and great way to build a bond with your dog!  Not only do you and your pup get to show off tricks to family and friends, but your dog is staying mentally stimulated while gaining confidence.

As trick training can be practiced almost anywhere, it allows both social and reactive dogs the ability to participate, recently trick training has been growing in popularity!  As a result, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has partnered with Kiera Sundance, Do More With Your Dog, and now your dog can even earn an AKC title for doing tricks!

Beginning on May 1, 2017, AKC will officially offer its Trick Dog Program, which will include four level of titles ranging from Novice to Performer allowing dogs of all levels to participate.  To earn an AKC title, the dog will need to be registered with AKC.  Not registered yet?  No problem – it is easy to obtain an AKC number for your pup.  Simply register for Canine Partners (mixed breed) or Purebred Alternative Listing (purebred) on the AKC website www.AKC.org.

There are two ways that a dog can earn the AKC Titles.  The first option is to perform the trick for an approved CGC Evaluator who can help witness the tricks by filling out a form from their website (http://www.akc.org/trick-Dog/trick-dog-applications/) or, in collaboration with Do More With Your Dog (DMWYD), titles earned through DMWYD can be submitted until the end of 2017 to be reviewed for the AKC Title as well!

At Courteous Canine, we have instructors certified (in AKC CGC and Do More With Your Dog CTDI) to help witness for both AKC and Do More With Your Dog titles and we are excited to offer this to our clients! Call us 813-949-1465


Insecure Teenage Dogs at the Off Leash Park

Patricia McConnell's Willie

Recently I got asked: “What should I do when my dog goes over to another dog, puts his head over the other dog’s shoulder and, depending on the other dog’s reaction, they will start squabbling?” So far no one got hurt. The dog is just two years old and has no previous history of aggression.

Most dogs go through a phase where they become a bit ‘stroppy’ (as we say in Australia) with other dogs in off leash situations. Anecdotal evidence suggests that male dogs may be more prone to show that kind of behavior.

A previously well socialized and easy going dog suddenly becomes a bully. His body language towards other dogs is more assertive, he might get into scraps and he does not take no for a no.

Behavior is never stable and it always changes, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. The change I am talking about often happens when the owners already have a difficult time with their teenage dog.