Category Archives: Dog Training General

Littermate Syndrome in Dogs | Off Leash K9 Training | Problems with Littermates

Dogs, Puppies, Play, Two, Group, In The Free, Nature

Bringing a new puppy home is an amazing experience that will change your life, but some breeders may try and encourage you to take a littermate also. Some people would be able to handle such a commitment of two puppies, but littermates can come with a whole set of challenges you may not be expecting. In this article we will talk about what littermate syndrome is and how it can cause multiple behavioral issues littermates can develop.

What is littermate syndrome?
Littermate syndrome is when two puppies from the same litter are raised in the same home and develop a bond with each other. This early bond to one another can cause dog on dog aggression in the future and prevent the puppies from bonding to you. Additionally, these two puppies can become so bonded that when they are separated from each other they can develop severe separation anxiety. Sometimes when puppies of the same age are adopted and raised at the same time, but are from different litters, can still develop littermate syndrome. Other behavioral issues that can develop are:

  • The failure to learn simple commands because the focus on each other.
  • Fearful to unfamiliar stimuli
  • Fighting amongst littermates later in life

What if you already adopted a pair of littermates?
Now not every pair of puppy siblings will develop littermate syndrome, but there are things that you can do to prevent it from happening that won’t harm your puppies’ development. The goal is to keep the puppies from developing emotional dependence with one another. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Crating is a great habit to develop at a young age to get your puppies comfortable with them and it also provides them with a safe place that is their own within the house. Each puppy should have their own crate that they sleep in at night. For the first night, you can set the crates side by side, so each pup can start to adjust to being alone. Increase the distance between each crate incrementally until the crates are far enough apart that the puppies cannot see one another.
  • Separate the training and playing sessions and work with each puppy individually so they can focus on giving you their undivided attention. This allows you to also become the leader to each puppy because you are the one giving the commands and the one in control of the treats. To keep you other puppy occupied have another member of the family work or play with that puppy in another room or in the backyard. If this wont work, you can use a treat-release toy with the other puppy while they are in their crate. 
  • Lastly, if you notice a major increase in issues, I recommend that you give one of the puppies to a friend or family member.  Sometimes, this is the best solution for everyone involved.

Littermate syndrome is not going to happen to every single pair of puppies that are raised together. Sometimes genetics play a role but the most important thing you can do is to make a commitment to your puppies and raise them to be well-socialized balanced adult dogs. If this might be too much for you to handle, just adopt one puppy, train it and raise it, until it is an adult and then add another puppy into your household. 


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Tips for Dog Owners this Halloween | Off Leash K9 Training | Halloween Dog Tips


Over the years, Halloween has been a fun tradition highlighted with candies, trick-or-treats, themed parties and fun costumes. 

Indeed, Halloween is a fun time not only for kids and adults alike – but also for pets. But before you get carried away with fun and excitement, here are important things that dog owners should remember to ensure that you and your dog will have a fun and safe Halloween.

Keeping Halloween Fun and Safe – 17 Tips for Dog Owners

  1. Keep your dog comfy. While its fun to dress them up for the Halloween, make sure that your dog is comfortable wearing the costume. The costume they wear should not interfere with your pet’s movements, block their sight or limit their ability to hear and cause them trouble breathing.
  2. Avoid those costumes that contain tiny, dangling pieces or parts that can be easily chewed off or swallowed by your pet. You should also regularly monitor your pet when he or she is in costume.
  3. Have your dogs wear their costumes for rehearsals before the actual Halloween to see to it that the costume they wear fit them properly and get them desensitized to it.
  4. See to it that your pets wear a reflective collar for enhanced visibility. Having them wear dog tags with microchip, your name and contact information can also come in handy in case they get lost from the Halloween crowd. 
  5. As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Have the list of important numbers saved through your contacts including your local veterinarian and animal poison control hotline.
  6. Prioritize visibility and choose the color of your pet’s costume wisely.
  7. Do away from complex and overly embellished costumes. Choose simple yet creative costumes to avoid stressing your pets.
  8. If your pet is wary of wearing fancy costumes, a festive bandana can do the trick to dress them up.
  9. While we are in for sweet treats, candy bars and chocolates are dangerous for dogs.
  10. Be careful with cellophane wrappers and tin foils which can be harmful when ingested by your pets.
  11. Keep your Halloween decorations out of your pet’s reach, specifically those powered by electricity and lighted candles.
  12. When greeting trick-or-treaters see to it that your dogs won’t break out  the door by keeping them leashed or putting them in a closed room.
  13. If your pet is not particularly sociable or may have the tendency to bite, have him or her stay in a safe hiding place during the hours of trick-or-treating.
  14. Watch out for those popular Halloween plants including pumpkins and corn used for decorations as they can cause stomach discomforts to your pets.
  15. For safety, ensure that your pets are housed safely indoors and avoid leaving them out in your yard during the Halloween.
  16. Glow sticks can add drama for the Halloween spooky night, however they contain liquid which may not really be toxic but may cause your pet to vomit or act strange once they accidentally chew on them.
  17. Reduce noises as much as possible. Doorbells and the screaming kids can easily stress out and even terrify your dog. Using a sound machine or TV can help drown off the noise or you can keep your dog in a quiet and safe room at the moment.

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Natural Remedies for Dog Diarrhea | Off Leash K9 Training | Natural Dog Remedies



Let’s face it: as a pet parent you are going to have to deal with more than a few messes in your time. When it comes to diarrhea nobody wants it smeared over their carpet or even in their kennel. It’s one mess that we would all rather live without! Fortunately for those of us who’s pets hate the V-E-T there are a few natural remedies for doggy diarrhea available that can help soothe the distress.

Finding out the cause:

The first step in any diarrhea cure is to find out what is causing it and avoid that thing at all costs. If you can prevent the problem happening then you won’t need a natural remedy at all! Obviously if your dog has a severe bout of diarrhea at any time in its life you should visit the vet. It will make them lose vital enzymes, salts and waters from their body that can leave them severely dehydrated if you don’t act.


1. Remove all food for 12 hours.

2. Make sure the dog has access to plenty of clean water. If needed, add chicken/beef broth or Pedialyte in addition to the water to help motivate them to drink.

3. Offer the dog a small portion of boiled white meat chicken (no bones or skin) and white rice. This can be the dog’s food until their stool consistency returns to normal.

4. If the diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours or your dog’s condition worsens at any time, call your vet immediately.

Natural Yogurt:

Giving your dog a little dose of the natural probiotics found in plain yogurt will help to replace some of the vital stomach bacteria they have lost. Probiotics should be used in harmony for best results.

Boiled Eggs:

Eggs can give your dog a natural protein boost that makes sure they are getting the nutrients they need in spite of the diarrhea. Be warned that this one is a hit or a miss. Sometimes an egg will just run straight through them. 


Plain canned pumpkin is a great choice to sometimes help with diarrhea! It contains fiber, prebiotics, and vitamins/minerals! You can 1-to-4 tablespoons of pumpkin to your dog’s food. Start out with smaller quantities to avoid adding too much fiber to your dog’s diet, if you are unsure, consult your veterinarian. 


Remember that if the symptoms persist you need to go to the vet. Also, if your dog has a pre-existing medical condition that causes the diarrhea then consult your vet about the best dietary changes to make. This problem is sometimes caused by a food allergy, so the solution should usually focus on diet first… it just never hurts to get a check up and make sure there is nothing else going wrong.

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10 Warning Signs To Ensure You Are Not Getting A Dog From A Puppy Mill!

Nowadays it has become more important than ever to adopt a pet instead of buying it. Thousands of helpless animals are put to death every year because they are ownerless. If you have your heart set on a puppy of your own there is no reason not to call around shelters and find some puppies that way… however; if you absolutely must buy your new pup from an unfamiliar source you can still do your part to help out. Here’s how.

Puppy Farms are more commonplace than you would think. Puppy Farms exist the whole world over. Why are they so bad? Puppy Farms (also called Puppy Mills) keep numerous dogs in cramped conditions with poor sanitation and little food. The dogs are often kept in tiny cages, are fed whatever the owners can spare and are bred relentlessly with the sole aim of making their owners a profit.

To help you spot potential Puppy Farmers we put together a helpful list of points to look out for. If you suspect you have found a rogue breeder then you ought to report them to the relevant authorities.

Some ways to tell if your puppy was raised at a puppy mill:

1. The most obvious sign of a Puppy Farmer is that they will not be able to produce either of the pups parents. No parents means the dog has already been separated – usually too early. If your breeder won’t let you meet your pups mom and dad (at least the mom) then read on and see if they meet any other criteria.

2. The second thing to ask is if the parents were vaccinated. If the mom is up-to-date on shots. If not, there may be a distinct possibility that this breeder doesn’t care much for their animals. They should know this information, and if they don’t know both parents bear in mind that they therefore cannot be entirely sure of the lineage.

3. You will be able to tell a lot about where the breeder meets you. Purchasing from a reputable dealer you will often find you are invited to their home. If the address is a warehouse in an industrial estate don’t bother going. A dodgy breeder might also want to bring the puppy to you or meet at a neutral spot, so be wary of that, as well.

4. Once you meet your breeder, ask them specifically how many breeds they own. If it is more than two (or three at a maximum) then the chances are that they are a Puppy Farmer. Puppy Mills often carry as many breeds as possible, reputable breeders tend to keep their dogs at home and in comfort, and more than three breeds is hard work for a household.

5. Ask how many pups are for sale. A normal litter is between five and eight puppies (with exceptions), if there are eighteen (etc) puppies for sale then you know that the breeder has multiple pregnant dogs from different breeds, a clear indicator of a Puppy Farmer.

6. Ask what age the puppy is. Puppies shouldn’t be taken away from their mothers until “at least six weeks,” but eight weeks is recommended (and in some cases, state law). If the puppy is younger than that and the parent is nowhere in sight then alarm bells should be ringing.

7. Hygiene can be another clue. A new puppy smells much like a new baby. A puppy from a Farm will smell like a kennel. They will often be dirty in appearance and their coat is unlikely to be shiny.

8. Paperwork is important. If you are buying a breeder’s dog they will provide you with paperwork assuring you the dog is a registered pedigree. If you are not buying a pedigree of course you cannot get this certificate – however – a good breeder should care where their pups go. Your breeder should draw up some kind of paperwork that states what happens if the dog needs to be returned etc. They will often also want to call you to check in. A good breeder wants to know their dog has gone to a good home. So, look for a contract and the breeder questioning YOU (fenced in yard, do you have a home or an apartment, etc). A Puppy Farmer is a lot less likely to care. If their only concern is that you have the money and no other questions, contracts, or applications, it is more than likely a puppy mill or backyard breeder. Also, they should care with pairing you with the RIGHT dog.

9. If you are buying from a pet shop make sure to inquire about the dogs parentage. A good shop will keep records, a bad shop might be dealing in out-of-State Puppy Farmers. Always ask. In general, you should shy away getting dogs from Pet Shops, as many of them are obtained from puppy mills.

10. Deception – if you think you are being deceived then don’t buy. Do a little research. For example; if you want a small dog learn which breed of small dog specifically you would like. If you then go to a breeder armed with this information you are less likely to be fooled. Puppy Farmers are notorious for telling you what you want to hear and will make all sorts of wild assurances to make the sale. It is hard to tell when you are being lied to, but much easier if you know exactly what to look for in your prospective pup!

There are other things you can look for. If the dog seems unhealthy in any way then a good breeder will know what is wrong with them and be able to tell you how to go about fixing it. A good breeder will also have a reliable phone number, and possible multiple ways to be contacted – not true of a Puppy Farmer, who will often change numbers to avoid angry retaliation from clients. Small clues you might look out for in the dogs behavior include being afraid of humans, a generally nervous disposition and anything else that indicates that the animal has been kept in dark or cramped conditions. Puppy Farm pups are often kept in wire cages and you might see signs of this on their paws.

In general, be wary of bad breeders and report anything suspicious until no dog has to endure such a terrible life.

The website, Bailing out Benji has a solid list of known puppy mills broken down by state: Generally, you will be able to see a correlation between heavy Amish communities and known puppy mills in the area. For example, the 3 largest Amish counties in the United States, are also the 3 largest counties in those states with known puppy-mills. So, not all Amish run puppy mills; however, this is why it’s important to do your research!

So, if you are going to get a puppy from the Amish, Pet Stores, or unknown breeders: do your research! Ask for references, ask to meet the parents, meet at the place the dogs actually live, see the living conditions of the dogs, and their appearance of health!

If not, you could be stuck with a dog filled with a life of behavior or health issues.

If you have any questions, contact a trainer or vet near you to see if they have more information!

Why Is Play Combined with Obedience Important? Should You Play Tug With Your Dog?


Throughout history, up until now; people have often suggested that powerful relationships are established through play. By analogy, studies have shown that a competitive games can affect dog-human relationships, in a positive way.

There was a Rooney and Bradshaw study done on this idea/fact in 2002, let’s look at the study in deeper details:

The study had fourteen Golden Retrievers, each were experimented to two games: 20 sessions of a ‘tug of war’ game which the Retrievers were allowed to win, and 20 experiments which the Retrievers lost; the relationship with the experimenter was then assessed. There is a factor which is most closely corresponding to the conventional dominance, which is Confidence; however, confidence was not affected by the treatments. The Retrievers/Dogs scored higher for obedient attentiveness after play treatment regardless of whether they won or lost the experiment/game, and also, the demanding scores increased with familiarity of the experiment person. The top ten most playful Retrievers/Dogs scored much higher for playful attention seeking after winning the experiment rather than after losing the experiment. In conclusion, the dominance dimensions of the Dog-Human relationship seem to be unaffected in regards to the outcome of the repetitive ‘tug of war’ game experiment; however, effects of games can also be modified by the different presences of the play signals, and, games/experiments may also be assumed to be a greater significance for small population of ” potentially dominant” dogs.

If you have more questions about training with your dog, find an Off Leash K9 Trainer in your area:

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Quicker and Stronger Behaviors Reinforced Using Variable Reward System | Off Leash K9 Training

Dog Training Variable Reward


In the 1950’s, a man named B.F Skinner described a powerful cognitive quirk, called A Variable Schedule Rewards. Skinner’s experiment/study observed that lab mice reacted most voraciously to random, variable rewards; when the mice would press the lever, sometimes they’d get a small treat, other times they’d get a large treat and then at other times they’d get no treat at all. The mice that received variable rewards seemed to have pressed the lever compulsively, where as, the mice that received the same treat every time seemed to have pressed the lever more freely and controlled. The same principle applies for humans…

Here is a interesting example/reality; have you every spoken to a person while he or she is playing a video game, trying to engage with them and ask them questions, but all you get in reply is a mumbled “yea, ,mhm, ok, whatever”, then you have seen this mental state. The person playing the game is so attached to the game that they will almost agree to, or do anything in order to get rid of any distractions that is coming their way and do whatever it takes for them to keep playing the game. That is why it seems as if, and is believed that variable rewards seem to keep the brain occupied and providing new habits coming its way. Our brains are never satisfied, therefore always in search for the next reward, which is why we state this transcendental state as “fun”. Recently, a neuroscience study has shown that our dopamine system works at such level that it always requires and is in search for new desires rather than provide us with rewards for our hard efforts.

Even though this stressful, hardwiring mental state pains us at times, it has kept us alive for decades as species.

Why does this work?

Well there isn’t a correct, proofed answer; but it has to do with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is very closely connected with ones’ desires and habits. Receiving rewards increases ones dopamine levels in the brain, which then motivates and encourages them to do what they did in order to get that reward (rats with no dopamine receptors tend to struggle to build habits). Studies and experiments have shown that unpredictable rewards/treats tend to cause a greater increase level of dopamine.

Let’s briefly look at how variable rewards have been applied in such areas like casinos and other gambling games.

Researchers have shown a study that dopamine levels in ones brain varies most in situations where they are unsure about wether they are going to be rewarded or not, such as when gambling or playing the lotto. Dopamine has been known for a long time as a important role in ones system in how we experience rewards from variety of different natural sources such as food and sex. “Using a combination of techniques, we were actually able to measure release of the dopamine neurotransmitter under natural conditions using monetary reward,” said David Zald, assistant professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University. This research is a way of understanding what happens to ones brain during an unpredictable reward situations, such as gambling.

The team studied the people under three different situations. Under the first situation, the individual chose one of four cards and knew a monetary reward of $1.00 was possible but did not know when it would happen. During the second situation, individuals knew they would get a predictable reward with every fourth card they selected. Under the third situation,
individuals chose cards but did not receive nor expect any rewards at all.  Zaid and his team found that over the course of the study, dopamine  increased more in one part of the brain in the unpredictable first situation. In contrast, the receipt of a reward under the predictable situation did not result big increases in dopamine.

In summary, when faced with unpredictable positive responses, our internal instinct is to automatically try and to make it predictable so we can control the outcome. However, once it is predictable,  it often times loses its’ appeal. This is the same reason that people love to play video games and spend hours per day doing so; however, once they beat the game or master the system, they rarely play that game anymore (and move on to a new one).

“The most interesting thing we found is that there were areas that showed increased dopamine release during the unpredictable condition,” Zald said.

To make this very simple to understand, I like to look at it like deer hunting.  If every single time you went out to hunt, you actually got a deer (fixed ratio, 1:1), you wouldn’t be very motivated because you know it will always be there.  If you knew that you had to wait for 4 hours and then a deer would appear (fixed interval: 4 hours) then you would not be motivated for the first 3.9 hours, because you know it will not appear anyway.   If you know it will appear only on day 3 (fixed ratio) but could appear at any time on day 3 (variable interval), then you would only be motivated to really pay attention throughout day 3!

Then, we have the reality of hunting, which is the primary reason it’s so addictive and men/women every season spent countless hours and days in their tree stands.  It’s because it works off of a variable ratio and variable interval “reward” schedule.  What this means is that the deer could show up on ANY day and ANY time; however, as all hunters “know,” you feel confident that if you “put your time in,” the reward will come.  This is why we stay highly motivated to “hunt” every year, and now you understand why something such as a detection dog stays highly motivated to “hunt” for the odor, as well.

With keeping the hunting scenario in mind, please refer back to the quote earlier, “In summary, when faced with unpredictable positive responses, our internal instinct is to automatically try and to make it predictable so we can control the outcome.”

Can you think of how hunters also do this in hunting?  What do hunters do in order to make the variable ratio/variable interval much more easy and predictable (fixed ratio/fixed interval)?  They use trail cams, they use doe urine, and they use bait.  This is to try to maximize efficiency and minimize effort, which is the same thing dogs do, as well.  However, as noted above (casino, hunting, playing video games, etc), once it becomes 100% predictable,  motivation and interest usually declines.

If you have any questions about making your dog great, find an Off Leash K9 Trainer in your area:


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Why Positive Reinforcement Only Does Not Work | Off Leash K9 Training

The Problem With ‘Fad’ Training

Nobody likes to hear that they are, in any way, failing those we care about. Whether it is children, pets or ourselves, the thought that we are teaching self-destructive habits to anybody is truly heart breaking. It’s no wonder, then, that as soon as some new article comes out about healthy living, you can guarantee a swarm of interest as everyone jumps on the band wagon.

The same can easily be said of our canine friends, whose method of training has become big business over the past few years. Naturally, this has led to a number of fad regimes which in many ways can paint an unrealistic – and often dangerous – picture of how to train an animal.

Purely Positive Reinforcement

Marketed as the only humane way to train an animal, the exclusively positive reinforcement approach to dog training has its roots in marine animal parks. Here, in front of thousands of applauding fans, animal trainers are shown to reward the animals – normally dolphins and killer whales – with short whistle bursts and treats for every good deed.

In many ways, this follows the same psychology of clicker training. Eventually the animal will associate desired behavior with rewards and begin to act on cue for their handlers. The sad fact of the matter is that while this would seem to be a great way to train an animal, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes.

1. Isolation

These animals are isolated in sterile, distraction free enclosures all day, every day. The only time they are mentally challenged and encouraged to socialize is during the short periods where they are engaged by their trainers. It’s hard to imagine what this would be like for an intelligent animal, but this form of captivity will obviously promote a very response behavior.

2. Starvation

In the wild, killer whales and dolphins are defined by their hunting prowess. Often hunting in packs, their natural survival instincts encourage co-dependence on one another in order to survive. This instinct is exploited by the training programs, which encourage starvation for the periods of time that the animals are not in training. This encourages co-operation with the trainer and natural competition to try and out-do any other animals in the area, with the added benefit of making it seem to the audience that trainer and animal share a mutual and inseparable bond.

To see how the negative effects of how this form of training can impede an otherwise intelligent animal, I highly recommend looking up the tragic story of Tilikum, the killer whale that was involved in the death of three people, including two trainers. This was the subject of the CNN documentary film Black Fish (2013).

The worst thing about it is it doesn’t even seem to be completely effective. Anyone who has ever been to SeaWorld and the like will know that quite often, many animals will simply refuse to participate. This is often played for laughs, but goes some way to highlighting the negative results this form of training ends in. This says nothing about the extreme levels of stress many of these animals will feel on a daily basis, between isolation, starvation and performance anxiety.

While the idea is encouraging, there sadly is no such thing as a purely positive method of training, even for dogs. To achieve just the appearance of positive reinforcement, marine trainers use punishment regularly to condition the animal into the correct level of conditioning. There have even been scientific studies that prove denying a dog an anticipated treat will often cause more psychological stress than a moment’s correction, which goes a long way to describing the brutal levels of punishment that must be felt by the killer whales of SeaWorld.

Force Free

An odd choice of language, as the idea behind not using force to train a dog goes against even using a collar and leash. Holding a dog back from sprinting off the moment you leave the house requires more than a degree of force, as does withholding treats for misbehavior – which forces a response from the dog.

I have found these sort of paradoxes again and again when looking into the supposed ‘force free’ method of training, it would seem there is little more to this than an emotive title to appeal to the dog loving community. It seems shameless, and I would challenge you to look these methods up and see if you think there is more to this than a business proposition and a beneficial way of training your pets.

In all honesty, there are going to be weaknesses and limitations in every form of training in one scenario or another. A trainer that retains an open mind, rather than doggedly (pun intended) pursuing a fixed ideology is one that will greatly benefit the lives of you and your dogs. They will be able to remain flexible, approaching different challenges from multiple angles and reach the core of the problem, without losing integrity in the face of defeat.

Don’t get me wrong, positive reinforcement is of course a wonderful thing when training dogs. It can encourage and modify behavior without the need to unnecessarily harm and punish them, however there are some occasions when this is simply not enough. A balanced approach will encourage trainers and dogs to work together to find a solution to consistent misbehavior, without the need to overindulge or psychologically punish the dog.

Anyone who truly cares for the welfare of our dogs will understand that being fixed doggedly to a single method is only going to encourage laziness and misunderstanding in the wider community. Of course we all want the best for our dogs, but appealing to the empathy of dog owners just feels like a grab for profit, without regard to the feelings and behavior of our pets.

If anything, the only thing a trainer truly needs to grasp is open-mindedness in a sea of confusion. They must hold the emotional needs of the dog highest and, what’s more, keep their integrity while so many others fall short.

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What Is The Most Aggressive Breed? Dog Aggression Training | Off Leash K9 Training

 We do dog aggression training regularly in Northern Virginia (our Headquarters), we often times get asked, “What is the most aggressive breed?”

The answer may surprise you!

There are so many dogs that get put to sleep on a regular basis as a result of their aggressive behavior. This is because there are a lot of people that think that these dogs are inherently aggressive. The problem is that studies show that breed has very little to do with aggressive behavior, rather it is generally as a result of  owner-dependent factors. This fact came from a study on some of the breeds most associated with aggression, including the Pit Bull and Rottweiler.

Studies completed by the University of Córdoba took a look at the inherent traits of the dog and the owner-dependent factors and noticed that these owner-dependent factors were generally the culprits to aggression. According to researcher Joaquín Pérez-Guisado, these factors include not bringing the dog to obedience training; being a first-time dog owner; failure to use correction when necessary; over-spoiling or pampering the dog; purchasing the dog as a present for someone else, impulsively, or as a guard dog; or not spending enough time socializing the dog. To put this into further perspective, the study concluded that over 40% of the dominance aggression that dogs display is actually related to a lack of authority of the owner, who likely never took the dog took the time to do obedience training and structure with their dogs.

The breed of a dog has very little to do with the aggression that they display. Researchers studied a nearly even mix of male and female dogs, totaling around 711. Some of these were pure-bred while others were mix-breeds. This large group of subjects showed that there are some dog-related factors that may cause aggression, including being male, specific breeds, or being around 5 or 7 years of age. While these can be factors, it was also shown that human-related factors were much more likely to cause problems.

However, there are things that you can do in order to minimize and even eliminate this aggression. The owner must handle the undesirable behavior appropriately and work hard to re-establish your pack leadership and control. This is why on many dogs, it is imperative to find a trainer who uses the quadrant of operant conditioning, so you can correct the unwanted/negative behaviors before they become out-of-control.

If you have more questions about your dog displaying aggressive or dominant behavior, you contact an Off Leash K9 Training Center about your dog’s behavior.

-Nick White


Why Is My Dog Starting To Become Aggressive? Dog Aggression Training in Northern Virginia

We deal with dog aggression regularly in Northern Virginia.  Your dog may have been such a sweet little puppy. They were behaved and well-mannered. That was until they were not. One very common question for animal behaviorists is why their dog suddenly starts showing aggression. This problem is especially common between the ages of 1 and 2. These dogs are also dogs that never go through the proper training, which makes them more susceptible to this aggressive and undesirable behavior. There are many reasons why your dog will “suddenly” start to show signs of aggression and that is the topic that will be discussed today.

First of all, the importance of training cannot be understated. If you want your dog to behave in an appropriate manner, training is the best way to do that. You should go through a training course with a trained professional who has the tools to ensure that your dog is properly trained.  You can find a certified Off Leash K9 Trainer near you here (  Through obedience training, your dog will learn that you are the alpha dog and the leader of the pack.   They also learn structure, discipline, rules, and good decision making.

Another reason that a dog may suddenly show aggression is because it was allowed to happen at a gradual pace. For instance, maybe your puppy growled at something and or showed another sign of aggression and you encouraged it because you felt your furry friend was just protecting you. However, rather than encouraging this behavior it should be stopped because it shows your dog that aggression is a good thing. You need to correct this bad behavior right away before it assumes its behavior is desirable.

A final (and most common) reason for this aggression could be due to a lack of socialization. Dogs need to socialize with other dogs just as children need to be out with other children. Dogs can learn desirable traits from other dogs, making them very useful training tools. These dogs need to be dogs outside of the household because socialization with others in the pack does not really count. Making playdates with dogs that belong to your friend or taking it to a dog park to play with all of those other dogs can really make a huge different in your dog’s behavior.  Being well socialized with a wide variety of dogs and people are both highly important.

It is never too late to correct your dog’s behavior. It is far more difficult to correct a dog’s aggression as it gets older but it can be done. If you find your dog is starting to show aggression, you should not wait to correct it. You need to contact an Off Leash K9 Training location that has the tools to really help these problems. A regular dog trainer may not be capable of helping you with this aggression issue. The behavior specialist will usually start with some rehabilitation before moving onto some obedience training along with behavior modifications. You need to get help before something bad happens, like a dog shows aggression like biting to another dog or a human. You can help your dog get better with the right help on your side.

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Why Do Dogs Hump? Dog Training in Northern Virginia | Off Leash K9 Training

Dog Humping, Dog Training Northern Virginia


This is one of the many dog training issues we deal with in Northern Virginia.

You may notice your dog humping something or everything and wonder why your dog does it. Part of you wants to laugh and post the video but other times this can be an incredibly embarrassing situation. Whatever the reason is, knowing the reason that they do this can be very helpful to you to as a way to get the solutions for this problem. This will take a close look at the reasons behind this embarrassing problem so you can fully understand why dogs hump.

While you may think that humping is a solely sexual act, there are actually quite a few reasons for why this happens. One reason for this is because it is a sexual act. You may think that only unneutered males do this but the fact is that all dogs are capable of this act. Male or female, fixed or not, your dog may hump another dog. This is the most obvious reason for this type of behavior.

Another major reason for this is because they are playing. Play behavior can very closely resemble sexual behaviors. When they are playing, you will not notice things like erections or ejaculation as you would when they are humping for sexual reasons. What you do need to worry about is when a dog that is poorly socialized starts displaying this behavior. This means that the dog does not know how to play properly, so it gets aroused during playtime. If you notice this is happening to your dog, you should plan more playdates to learn how to better socialize.

There is also a social component to humping. A dog may mount or hump another dog as a way to show their power and control over the other dog. Dogs, as you likely know by now, are a species that absolutely relies on a hierarchy. The dogs rely on a hierarchy so other dogs know who the boss is. If a dog is humping another one, she could be sending the message that she is the top dog.

There could also be something emotionally wrong with your dog. A dog may hump because they are feeling over-emotional at the time. If they are feeling overly stressed or emotional, they may hump you, a toy, or some other object that is around the house. If the dog is allowed to continue to do this as a way to relieve this stress, this can turn into a compulsive act. A compulsion can interfere with the quality of life that your dog has so you really need to stop this behavior.

A final reason for this could be for medical reasons. Some of the medical problems can include skin allergies, urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections, and priapism.

There are a few things you can do to help. Fixing your dog may not eliminate the problem but it will certainly reduce the risk of this happening. You can also distract the dog if you notice that they are about to start humping. Another thing you can try is to put your dog in a time out away from anything else for a few minutes. Finally, you can try use your dog’s training by yelling a command.

If you are having issues with your dog humping, we can give you full control over this!

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