??

Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. She is definitely in pain and should be seen by a vet as an emergency. Without more information and a physical exam it is difficult to predict the focus of her discomfort but this is definitely not normal behavior and she is in distress

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Fear and Anxiety

Our dogs can become upset, anxious, and even fearful just as easily as we can and sometimes this manifests as crying, shaking, and excessive vocalization.

It could be that the dog wants the owner to play with the toy with him, and whining is his way of expressing that desire. For example, if you`ve taught your dog to play fetch, he may come with his toy in his mouth, requesting a session. If you do not pay attention, he may whine.
A dogs` back legs may shake if they are experiencing pain, especially in the hip or knee, from a degenerative joint condition. A torn ligament in the knee, arthritis or hip dysplasia can all cause pain tremors in the back legs when the dog tries to walk.
Like humans, dogs can sprain or strain their muscles. They could have also overexerted themselves and are now feeling weak. Your dog may have been involved in an accident that caused fractures or trauma, which can make their back legs shake. Your pup could have injured their spine, which is painful for them.
As with humans, exercise can be a great stress reducer. Physical activities like walking or playing fetch help both you and your dog release tension. It is also good to provide your dog with a safe place in the home where he can escape anxious situations. Everybody enjoys a calm place to retreat.
Try a Thundershirt – This snug shirt wraps around your dog and applies gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling a baby. It can sooth some dogs into a calmer state. Supplement the scary sounds with music, TV, or white noise. Some certified veterinary behaviorists say classical music works magic on scared pets.
When your dog brings you a toy, it is his way of saying, “Come play with me!” Most owners provide their dogs with a variety of dog toys that engage them in different ways for mental and physical stimulation. The toy your pup chooses to present to you may be a toy that you use most often to play with him.
We do know that dogs can get really attached to a toy that reminds them of a puppy. Think of a child who wanted to care for a baby doll. “Some dogs, female dogs in particular, might bond with something that`s like a surrogate for a puppy,” Loftin explains.
When you scratch your pet`s tummy and hit this spot, these nerves get activated and send a message to the hind leg, via the spinal cord, to start kicking in an attempt to dislodge the source of irritation. This doesn`t necessarily mean your dog doesn`t enjoy the sensation of being scratched in that spot.
What Do Dogs Dream About? While no one knows for sure what your dog dreams about, researchers think they likely dream about dog things like chasing squirrels, running after rabbits, and playing fetch with you. But while dogs dream happy dreams about fun activities, they can also have bad dreams or nightmares.
Shivering and trembling may be symptoms of something serious — like poisoning, kidney disease, or injury. So, if your dog suddenly starts trembling or shivering, it`s important to take note of other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping. Then talk to your vet right away.
This can happen due to mobility-reducing health conditions, surgery recovery, or lack of use in aging. Arthritis in your dog`s back legs may cause the muscle in your dog`s legs to atrophy. Not so coincidentally, arthritis is another condition that could cause your dog`s legs to become shaky and weak.
Wincing, Whining or Crying

All three of these actions indicate an injury or some kind of pain your dog is experiencing. If you start to pet your dog and they shy away from your hand or whine, you know there is something wrong.

While pups do not perceive darkness in just the same way that humans do, it is possible for some dogs to become scared of the dark for any number of reasons (such as past bad experiences).
Dogs have several reasons for staring at their owners, like to communicate with and understand us. Some dogs stare to manipulate owners, as in with begging for food or asking to be let outside. Training and dog sports are good ways to turn focused staring behavior into a positive experience.
Do Dogs Like When You Talk to Them? Yes! Research published in Animal Cognition found that both puppies and adult dogs are attentive to the high-pitch voice we use with babies and the more even-toned language used with adults.
Previous research has shown that when humans cry, their dogs also feel distress. Now, the new study finds that dogs not only feel distress when they see that their owners are sad but will also try to do something to help.
Like their human counterparts, dogs develop favorite people over time based on positive experiences and positive associations with that person. Some people use tasty treats and other rewards to create strong bonds with pets, but the best way to build a healthy relationship with your dog is through play.
Anxiety and Stress

Dogs who have anxiety issues often develop clingy dog behaviors. Interestingly, dogs can also become clingy if they sense our stress or anxiety. Dogs can also become clingy if you change their daily routine or make changes in the home or household that cause them stress.

However, you may have noticed that dogs have preferences for certain toys. In some cases, your dog may even have a favorite one that they`re very attached to. Although you shouldn`t worry about your dog favoring a certain toy, it can become an issue when the toy becomes due for replacement.
Generally, dogs show you their toys to express their emotions of happiness and excitement to see you or initiate play time.
Experts in dog behavior believe that, in general, dogs do not like being embraced. However, every dog has a unique personality. Some may dislike hugs more strongly than others, and some may actually adore them. The closest thing our furry family members do to a hug is something referred to as `standing over`.
Dogs are good at reading us, and they usually know when we are being affectionate, such as when we kiss them. Because they love affection from us, most dogs do like being kissed. However, they don`t like the act of being kissed but rather that we give them attention and show affection.
Many animal scientists think it`s a form of communication among dogs. Ground-scratching has been referred to as a composite signal that involves chemical and visual components of communication. The kicking motion is a visual display for other dogs and may help spread the scent of urine.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. I have a 10 year old mutt who is hyper but doesn’t like hyper dogs. Getting another dog from a shelter soon any ideas on calm breeds?
ANSWER : A. If your dog is uncomfortable with other dogs (of any sort), it is important that you bring your current dog to the shelter so he can meet the dog you plan to adopt. You should check out your local shelter, and walk around looking at all of the dogs. Mixed breeds have mixed amounts of energy and it’s tough to recommend a breed. I suppose I would say calm breeds would be the Great Pyrenees, the Newfoundland, the Bernese Mountain dog CAN be a calm breed.. really with any breed you will have mixed litters. Many breeders breed specifically the “calm” Newfies, or the “hyper” Bernese. If you are going to adopt from a shelter however, it’s impossible to expect that level of breeding.

As I said, just be sure you bring your dog along so you can slowly introduce the dogs. If your dog is uncomfortable, immediately separate them, and try again in a couple of minutes. You don’t want to force them to get along, and you don’t want to move too quickly when introducing them.

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. How can I train my 4 month old puppy to sit?
ANSWER : A. Training basic commands such as sit is very easy using a positive reinforcement method and does not require any more materials than a place to sit and some very yummy treats! When beginning to teach your dog new tricks, starting off in a distraction free area (such as a quiet room in the house) is best. The training can then expand to more distracting places once your dog has the hang of things.

Start by showing your dog a tasty treat and placing it over his or her nose. When they begin to sniff at the treat, gently move the treat backward. Most dogs will follow the treat with their head, and the backward motion will cause their back ends to sit down! Once your dog sits, reward with the treat and some praise. If your dog tends to walk backwards instead of sit, doing this technique against a wall will prevent your dog from walking backward and encourage sitting.

Once your dog has done this a few times, begin to add the word “sit” every time you put the treat above your dog’s head. Only say the word once, and then continue with the luring motion. Your dog will begin to associate the word with the action after several tries! After this, you can begin to attempt to offer the word “sit” once, and if your dog does so, reward with a treat and praise! If your dog forgets, or appears bored, stop training and try again at a later time- most puppies only have an attention span of a few minutes at most!

Q. Looking to get a second dog to go along with my 10 year old dog. He doesn’t like other hyper dogs, are there any specific “calm” dog breeds?
ANSWER : A. Stay away from puppies then. No matter what breed u get, they will be hyper. Calmer breeds can include something like a climber spaniel (dog that the cartoon droopy was modeled after) Basset hounds (although you give up hyper and they are very loud) it’s hard to say on a lot of breeds due to the fact that not all dogs are the same even in the same breed. Research almost any breed that appeals to you if your going to buy a pure breed dog, if going to rescue or adopt from a pound then go look around and see the attitude of the different dogs and see how they do with your pet.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. What can I do to stop my dog from barking at people and front doors?
ANSWER : A. Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. This means don’t give him any attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to him, don’t touch him, and don’t even look at him. When he finally quiets down, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. If he barks for an hour and you finally get so frustrated that you yell at him to be quiet, the next time he’ll probably bark for an hour and a half. Dogs learns that if they bark long enough you’ll give them attention.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. It may sound nonsensical, but the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

When your dog starts barking, ask him to do something that’s incompatible with barking. Teach your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits him from barking, such as lying down in his bed.

Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of fetch and playing with interactive toys.

Q. Hello, my dog is a mix breed. Her mom was a toy poodle, she weights 12 pounds. She is crying, shaking and crawling backwards. What can it be??
ANSWER : A. She is definitely in pain and should be seen by a vet as an emergency. Without more information and a physical exam it is difficult to predict the focus of her discomfort but this is definitely not normal behavior and she is in distress