Archive for the ‘Training Tips’ Category

Why Does My Dog Lick Me?

Do you love dog smooches or do they gross you out? Dogs like to lick us on the face, hands, feet, arms, legs and wherever they can reach. While some dogs may only give a lick or three, other pups just don’t know when to quit. Excessive licking can be an annoyance for you and a turn-off for your non-dog friends. Luckily, it’s a behavior you can modify with lots of training and patience.

Why Dogs Lick Us

Many people see dog licks or kisses as signs of affection. While there is some truth to that idea, dogs also lick humans for other reasons.

• Licking is a natural instinct. Dogs first experience licking as newborns when mothers use their tongues to stimulate and clean their babies. Your dog may lick because he wants to bond with you.

• Dogs learn about us through licking. Dogs gather information about us through scent receptors located in their nose and mouth. Through the sweat and sebum we release, they can tell if we are stressed, afraid or happy. Dogs tend to like licking feet since they contain the most sweat glands.

• Licking feels good. When a dog licks, endorphins are released that allow her to feel pleasure, comfort and safety.

• Dogs show respect by licking. Your dog is indicating that you are in charge and he is the submissive one. In other words, he knows where his kibble comes from!

Is it Safe for my Dog to Lick Me?

You’ve probably heard the old myth that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. Well, that’s both true and not true. The kind of bacteria found in both dog and human mouths depends on what’s recently been there. Unlike humans, dogs will eat garbage, raw meat and even poo. They lick privates and sniff butts. But in terms of spreading disease, dog’s mouths are clean. That’s because the bacteria there is species specific; meaning dog germs won’t hurt humans and vice versa. The one exception is rabies, a damaging disease that can be passed from dogs to humans.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Licking You

Since licking is an ingrained behavior, you’ll need to teach your pup that it’s not acceptable. You’ll need time, patience and consistency to change this habit. When the going gets tough, just remember that your dog wants to please you, so show him how.

• Tell your dog “no” and move away. The first step in the training is to let your dog know that licking you is not okay.

• Teach him a better way. If your dog seeks your attention by licking, reinforce simple commands such as sit, shake, down and roll over. Pile on the praise and reward him when he correctly follows these commands.

• Distract your dog from licking. Interrupt the behavior with a sharp sound or a toy that she can fetch.

• Apply something that taste bad to dogs to your skin. Curb the licking with hot sauce, lemon juice or something equally yucky.

• Pretend that the licking hurts you. Some dogs have responded well when their owners yell “Ouch!” whenever the dog licks them.

• Consider a time-limited “licking session.” Allow your dog to lick you as much as she wants during a set time. Teach her the word “lick” when she’s doing it and teach her to stop with the command “no lick.” Some dogs just need to get licking out of their systems and will be satisfied after the initial greeting.

Dawg Gone Good’s Top 3 Licking Distractions

True Chews Bully Sticks: Dogs love bully sticks and they taste better than humans. Stop the licking with one of these odor-free 100% natural chews.

Kong: Fill a Kong with peanut butter or liver treat and let your dog lick to his heart’s content.

Planet Dog Eats: Use these 100% natural treats to reward your dog and give her the attention she craves.


Help for the Ball Obsessed

Playing fetch with your dog is great exercise for you and him. Some dogs, however, become too enthusiastic and develop a ball obsession. They get so focused on the ball that nothing else matters. They constantly stare at the ball, bug the heck out of you to throw it or even sleep with a ball in their mouths. Many people find this incredible frustrating because their dog never seems to relax and just hang out. Working, herding and sporting dogs such as shepherds, collies, pinchers, labs, spaniels, huskies and boxers have been bred to perform jobs and fetching the ball is instinctual to them. Any breed of dog though can become ball fixated. Luckily, there are ways to train your dog to play with the ball without overdoing it.

Dangers of Ball Obssession

It’s important to determine if your dog loves chasing the ball or if she is really ball obsessed. A balanced dog can play with other toys, kids and dogs. An obsessed dog seems to go into a trance.  The body stiffens, eyes glaze over and the pupils become fixated. Instead of being fun, fetching the ball becomes a matter of life and death. Some other things to consider:

• Does your dog abandon everything to play fetch?

• Does your dog prefer fetch above all other things?

• Is your dog neurotic about the ball?

• Is you dog destructive and anxious without the ball?

The more you answer yes, the more likely it is that your dog truly has a ball fixation. While playing fetch with your dog outdoors is a great way to release pent up energy, true ball fixation can cause problems such as:

• Safety issues for your dog. He may be so focused that he runs into the street or other dangerous areas.

• Safety issues for others. Your dog may stop at nothing to go after the ball, knocking down people, kids and other dogs in the way.

• Heat exhaustion. Some dogs do not understand the need for a rest break and a drink of water.

• Not following you as the pack leader. You must establish rules and limitations during playtime so your dog will follow your command.

• Not socializing with other dogs. A ball-obsessed dog typically will not run or play with other dogs if a ball is in sight.

Tips for Breaking Ball Obsession

Your dog loves boundaries and rules. When playing fetch, it’s up to you to set boundaries of what is acceptable behavior.

1. Learn to recognize when your dog is going into an obsessive state. Look for the physical signs of dog obsession in your pooch and correct her in the early stage before the obsession takes over.

2. Take your dog on a walk before playing ball. This will help expend any pent-up energy and allow him to play in a less frenzied state.

3. Get your dog calm before throwing the ball. Ask him to sit and make eye contact with you. Reward him by throwing the ball. Use a calm, assertive energy and avoid getting him worked up by saying things such as ,”You want it? You want it? Go get it!!!!!!!”

4. Allow your dog to play with a ball at home without playing fetch. Being near the ball will desensitize him and help bring down the level of obsession.

5. Teach the “all gone” command. Put the ball away and out of sight and say, “All gone.” Then ignore your dog when she asks for the ball. Be consistent and always follow through on this command.

6. Buy a ball chucker. You’ll be able to throw the ball three times further than by hand and give your dog more exercise in a shorter time. Another big plus? No more bending over to pick up a slobbery ball!

7. Alternate toys. If your dog is fixated on a certain ball, mix it up. Between throws, try a frisbie or different type of ball. Keeping the energy up will help stop him from obsessing on one object.

Dawg Gone Good’s Best Fetch Toys

Planet Dog Bamboo                    K-9 Vibram Disk                       JW Toys Duck Dummy


Why Does My Dog . . . ???

Do you ever feel like your dog has selective hearing? No matter how many times we scold them, our four-legged friends can seem hell-bent on eating the cat’s food or digging up the yard. Dogs actually love rules and want to please us. When they don’t, it’s because they don’t understand what we want. It’s up to us to consistently reinforce the rules and train our dogs out of bad behaviors. Here, some common behavior issues and how to resolve them.

Not Coming When Called

Many of us experience this frustrating behavior with our dogs. Teaching your dog to come when called is essential to his health and safety. To get your dog to come, you need to make the experience a happy one. Call to him in a happy voice and when he runs to you, reward him with praise, hugs and treats. Don’t use a scolding tone and if your dog runs, don’t chase him. Practice calling him in the house or your yard and reward him every time he obeys. Until your dog can be trusted, never let him off his leash in an unconfined area.

Pulling the Leash

Dogs pull on the leash because they’re excited, scared, see something to chase or want to get to other people and dogs. They also naturally walk faster then us. A great technique to stop leash pulling is to completely stop any time the lease is not loose. Stand still, ignore your dog and once he stops pulling, praise him and move forward. You have to be consistent in this training, which means stopping a lot, but your dog will learn that walking by you will get him where he wants to go.

Whining for Attention

Does your dog whine when her ball rolls under the sofa? Whining to get attention, treats or a toy can be annoying and you may be unknowingly reinforcing that behavior. If your dog whines and you make eye contact, touch, or even scold her, she’s getting your attention. Instead, teach your dog to stay quiet. Don’t give her any attention or rewards until she stops whining. You can also cross your arms, turn your back and ignore her to show her that whining won’t work.


Dogs dig for many reasons: to bury a bone, chase prey or get cool in the summer. They’ll also dig if they’re confined, bored or need exercise. Stop your dog from digging as soon as it happens so your pup won’t make it a habit. Start by giving your dog walks, playtime and training. Don’t leave your dog unsupervised in the yard and redirect him with a firm “no” if he starts digging.

Barking at the Door

When someone rings your doorbell, does your dog go wild? While it may make sense to yell at your dog to quiet down, she doesn’t understand and thinks you’re barking, too. One way to stop door barking is to teach your dog to go to a place such as her bed. Have a friend knock or ring the doorbell. Throw a treat on your dog’s bed and tell her, “Go to your place.” Work to get her to go to her bed first, then reward her with a treat. As she progresses, try opening the door. If your dog, steps off her bed, close the door quickly.

Jumping on People

Dogs interact with other dogs by jumping on them so it’s natural for them to jump on people. Many people send the wrong message to jumping dogs by pushing them away with their hands or yelling at them. Dogs see this as a game and a reward for jumping. The most effective way to stop a dog from jumping is to cross your arms and turn your back to the dog. Ignore the dog and don’t give him any eye contact.

When a Dog Hates Baths

If you can bathe your dog with minimal fuss, consider yourself lucky. Many dogs do not like baths and will run, hide, whimper or howl when they realize they’re headed for the tub. Dogs don’t understand baths; they’re perfectly happy with the way they smell and with whatever nastiness is on their coats. Some dogs have a fear of water which extends to bath time. These pups tend to be anxious, overly sensitive or victims of abuse. If bath time equals fight time in your house, try these tips to ease your dog’s fears.

• See a groomer. At Dawg Gone Good, we have experienced groomers who can help your dog relax. If your dog is scared of water, try our Desert Dry Grooming, a waterless shampoo that leaves dogs smelling heavenly.

• Make bath time no big deal. Get your supplies such as shampoo, conditioner, brush and towels ready, then take off your dog’s collar and calmly carry him into the room. Never say the word “bath.”

• Put down a rubber mat in the tub. Dogs can become afraid if they lose traction in the tub and start to slip.

• Don’t fill the tub and minimize the sound of the water from the faucet. Keep the drain open and don’t have the taps turned on all the way. Some dogs do not like the sound of the water running. Use a cup to gently pour water over your dog.

• Stay calm and talk to your dog throughout the bath. Your soothing voice will reassure your dog that bath time is not so bad. Also, if your dog is afraid, becoming agitated will just make his fear grow.

• Enlist a helper. If your dog really fights you, ask someone to help. Leave the dog’s collar on so your helper has a place to hold; the helper can also put a hand on your dog’s rear to hold him in place.

• Give your dog a treat after his bath. Your dog will start to associate bath time with getting a special treat.

Teaching Your Dog to Love the Tub

If you have an anxious dog, slowly introducing him to the bathtub can ease his fears.

1. Put your dog in an empty tub once or twice a day. Give him lots of praise and treats. Don’t make it a big deal if he climbs out. Make him sit in the tub for longer periods of time to get his treat.

2. Add an inch or two of lukewarm water. After your dog willingly goes into the empty tub, put him in the tub with water. Give him treats and praise and slowly extend the amount of time he’s in the tub.

3. Turn on the faucet. Give your dog praise and treats. Using a cup, pour some water across his back. As he learns to tolerate being in the tub with the water running, you can try washing part of him, such as the back half, and see how it goes.

When to Bath Your Dog

Some owners give their dogs a bath once or twice a year. Others may bathe their furby monthly.  It all depends on your dog’s breed, coat and what he’s been doing.  As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once a month because you can damage his coat and skin by removing natural oils. It may be tub time when:

• Your dog has rolled in something and smells. Use a deodorizing shampoo and shampoo twice.

Your dog has the “dog” smell. Some dog odors are signs of ear, mouth, feet or anal gland problems and disease. For odor beyond the doggie smell, take your dog to the vet.

• Your dog has dandruff. Flaking can be caused by dry, irritated or oily skin. Check with a groomer or vet to determine the right shampoo.

•  Your dog has ticks, fleas or mites. Shampooing can be very effective against parasites. Check with a groomer or vet to determine if your dog has parasites.

• Your dog has allergies. Bathing can help with itchy skin. Look for a soothing oatmeal or hypo-allergenic shampoo.

Dawg Gone Good Recommends . . .

Happy Tails Canine Spa Line offers solutions based on specific needs such as stinky dogs, dull coats and dry, itchy skin. Stop by and we’ll find a shampoo that’s right for your pup.

Let’s Be Friends: Socializing Your Dog

The secret to a well-behaved dog? Proper socialization. Puppies and adolescent dogs (ages 3 to 6 months) need to be exposed to new people, animals and places in a non-threatening way. These positive experiences will help the dog be calm and accepting as he matures. In addition to early interaction with the world outside the home, dogs benefit from life-long socialization. If you have adopted an adult dog that shows signs of shyness, anxiety or aggression, those traits may always be present. Yet, with socialization, your dog can learn new behaviors that will make interactions with people and other dogs more pleasant.

Tips for Socializing Your Dog

1. Start immediately. Take you dog on short walks around the neighborhood and let her experience her surroundings. Encourage people to pet her and give her treats. Try to expose her to all types of people — men, women, children, people in wheelchairs, people wearing hats and coats, people with bicycles.

2. Invite healthy, vaccinated dogs to your home. If you have a puppy still getting his shots, this allows him to interact with dogs without the worry of a health risk.

3. Bring your dog to Dawg Gone Good. Your puppy can interact with other people who love dogs and visit our relaxation and play area.

4. Take your dog to other dog-friendly businesses such as Home Depot, Lowes or restaurants such as Kelly’s Brew Pub or Flying Star that have outside seating. ABQ Dog has a listing of both on leash and off leash places to take your dog at

5. Visit friends or have friends over to your house. Show your dog that people are pretty cool by letting your friends give him a toy or treat.

6. Enroll your dog in puppy kindergarten or obedience training. Not only will she be exposed to a new group of people and dogs, she’ll begin learning behavior basics.

7. Check out local dog parks if your dog is vaccinated.

8. Touch your dog, brush him and handle his feet and offer treats for good behavior. This will help when he has to visit the vet or groomer.

Socializing your dog takes time and effort but the reward is a well-adjusted companion that you can take anywhere.


Legal Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a vet’s professional diagnosis and treatment.