Michelle Douglas

Michelle Douglas is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC).   Michelle has published several articles on various aspects of owning and training dogs, and is featured in the books Top Tips from Top Trainers (©2010 TFH Publications) and The Dog Trainer's Resource, The APDT Chronicle of the Dog Collection (©2006 Dogwise).   Michelle is a certified member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a member of the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals, a member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators, a licensed Family Paws Parent Educator for the Dogs & Storks™ and the Dogs And Toddlers™ programs, an approved AKC STAR PUPPY & Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, and a Mentor Trainer for Animal Behavior College.  Michelle is also a past president of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the largest professional organization for pet dog trainers worldwide.  Michelle currently serves as Humane Education Coordinator for A Hand For A Paw, Inc.

Blog posts by Michelle Douglas

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Skunked!

Well, it finally happened to me!  My dogs got skunked! It was, of course about 9:30pm, and I had just put the baby to bed. My husband was reading the 4-year-old his story and I let the dogs out into my fenced-in backyard.

 
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Food Aggression

This is in response to a comment asking for suggestions on how to deal with food aggression. The original question was regarding a dog who would snarl over his food bowl and snap at his owners if they approached. He was not walked and had never had any formal training.

For food-guarders, I generally put them on some version of a ‘Nothing in Life is Free’ program, with hand-feeding as the major component. Simply teaching the owners how to teach some basic cues and adding an exercise routine may make a world of difference! While each case is different, some general recommendations for food guarding include:

1) The owners need to teach (at least): eye contact, come, sit and lie down. I would also suggest targeting (touch hand with nose OR ‘paw’) and go-to-your-place.

 
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Leash Aggression

(photo is Bailey - Lure-walking)

Leash Frustration or ‘Leash Aggression’ is a very aggressive-looking reaction to other dogs (or people) when on-leash. This comes from the feeling of frustration at not being able to freely investigate the other dog (or person). It doesn't necessarily mean that he wants to fight, but he does associate the frustrated feeling with the presence of other dogs (or people), so the aggressive behavior is directed at them. With intense frustration, there can be a loss of self control which can increase the likelihood of a bite, even if your dog is not normally aggressive.

 
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A Cute Picture is NOT worth it!

I received another e-mail today. You know the ones with a string of adorable pictures of babies and dogs. People send me these thinking I will love the cute photos of cute kids and cute dogs. I don’t. These pictures terrify me. They usually show a stressed out or aroused dog with a child who is too close. The videos that circulate are even worse! Children and dogs should not ever be set up for a photo opportunity. This is dangerous. A stressed dog can inadvertently smother or trample a small child, or scratch or bite them to stop them from screaming (or even giggling). Dogs can hurt babies by trying to play, or just in an attempt to get away, especially if mom or dad is there telling the dog to stay! This creates a conflict for a dog: instinct urges, leave the scene, but mom says stay, so how do I get out of this?

 
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Time To Say Goodbye

The past few weeks we’ve been getting closer to the end of our dog, Farley’s life. He’s been having two unrelated chronic problems for almost two years. My husband and I knew this was coming, and we’ve wondered how to explain it to our three year old. Last year, Gibby went to heaven. She had cancer and Christian seemed to understand that she was sick and she went to a place where she wasn’t sick anymore. Farley has one issue, a recurring (daily) rectal prolapse, which just has become normal. Farley’s other issue is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, or doggie-Alzheimer’s. He has slowly been forgetting who he is and who we are. Through all of this he has stayed a calm, sweet and loving dog, just an increasingly confused one. Well, last week he began having “accidents,” forgetting to go to the door to go out. Then he began loosing his faculties, and defecating while he slept.

 
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Getting Kids Involved in Bringing Up Doggie

As we begin another New Year, I figure it is a good way to begin my new venture here on Dog Star Daily talking about new beginnings. Many folks are resolving to take better care of themselves, and some are settling in with a newly acquired puppy or dog. By now, if you gotten that Christmas puppy for the kids, you’re probably realizing that much of the responsibility for this new family member is falling to you, the parent.

Well, it is not too late to make a good start for the pup and for the kids. I would like to take this opportunity to remind parents that kids can learn responsibility and they can enjoy their doggy-chores too! It is all in the presentation.

 

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