Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It could be local skin infection (something like ‘hot spot’), ringworm, skin growth. You should take your dog to your vets to make diagnosis and get treatment.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

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

A melanoma is a dark-pigmented skin tumor that may be either benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign melanomas (also called melanocytomas) are diagnosed much more frequently in dogs than malignant melanomas. They most commonly develop on the head and forelimbs in middle-aged or older dogs.
Officially Called an “Occiput”

This bony protuberance has an actual name: an “occiput.” It is a natural part of a dog`s anatomy and is there for a couple of reasons. Its primary purpose is to protect the bones of the dog`s skull and, in turn, his brain.

Types of lumps and bumps

Histiocytomas are small growths found on dogs` heads, ears and legs. They`re typically common in younger dogs and usually go away on its own. Lipomas, aka fatty tumors, commonly form on dogs` chest, belly or legs. Sebaceous adenoma resemble warts and are found on older dogs` legs or torso.

Exposure to the sun is the most common cause of black spots in dogs skin and fur. Ageing is also known to cause dark spots in canines (age spots). Friction can also cause dark patches in areas such as armpits and under the legs.
Skin squamous cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed form of skin cancer in dogs. These tumors appear as raised wart-like patches or lumps that are firm to the touch and are most often found on the dog`s head, lower legs, rear, and abdomen.
Watch for these signs: Firm, raised wart-like blemishes (squamous cell carcinomas) Rubber-like, inflamed sores (mast cell tumors) Strange-colored lumps or bumps on the lips, mouth, pads of feet, toenail beds (melanomas)
If the lump has solid components, due to tissue rather than liquid or air, it could be either benign or malignant. However, the only way to confirm whether a cyst or tumor is cancerous is to have it biopsied by your doctor. This involves surgically removing some or all of the lump.
A sebaceous cyst is essentially a large pimple on your pet`s skin. These superficial bumps are clogged oil glands in the skin that are harmless to your pet, although they can become inflamed and sore if they rupture.
Dog Cyst vs Tumor: How Do I Tell The Difference? Cysts are fluid-filled sacs under the skin that are usually easy to move around, while tumors are typically more solid. A cyst also may drain a white, yellow, or green discharge.
It could be a harmless gene mutation.

If you randomly find one long, dark hair, it may be that a single hair follicle diverted from its normal path. Atlanta dermatologist Angela Love Bookout, MD says, “The growth phase in a hair`s lifecycle determines its characteristics, such as its length and diameter.

Mites are tiny spider-like creatures that can typically only be seen with a microscope, but sometimes they may be visible as tiny orange, black or white dots moving on your dog`s skin.
If black spots have begun forming on your pup`s skin, it could be due to hyperpigmentation. This refers to when your dog starts producing higher amounts of melanin, which makes their skin`s natural pigmentation darker. This might become most noticeable on dogs with lighter coat colors than on darker-coated dogs.
Primary brain tumors seen in dogs and cats include meningioma, glioma, choroid plexus papilloma, pituitary adenoma or adenocarcinoma, and others. Meningioma – This is the most common primary brain tumor in dogs and cats (and in humans).
The lesions can be ulcers, nodules (lumps), plaques, reddish patches, or areas of scaling and hair loss. Some dogs experience itching at the lesions. As cutaneous lymphoma progresses, the skin commonly becomes thickened, reddened, ulcerated, and may begin to ooze fluid.
They may grow quickly, over the course of a few weeks. More commonly they grow slowly over months or years. In advanced cases, the skin overlying the tumor can ulcerate or break open. This leaves dogs susceptible to pain and infection.
Sudden lumps on a dog can be caused by anything from allergies, infections or even tumors. There is no way to know what the sudden lump may be without going into your dogs body and looking it over closely.
It`s always best to have a veterinarian examine and diagnose any changes to your dog`s skin and determine a course of treatment, if needed. Lipomas: these fatty tumors appear as soft, round lumps of flesh beneath the skin. They`re made up entirely of fat cells and are always benign, or non-cancerous.
Lymphoma affects the lymph nodes and causes them to swell up to the size of golf balls. In case you don`t know, dogs have lymph nodes all over their bodies. Lymph nodes are found under the chin, at the back of the leg, near the leg joint, and around the shoulder.
An infection or abscess is perhaps the most common cause behind a mass that is mistaken for a tumor. In addition, cysts may arise from inflamed joints or tendons as a result of injury or degeneration. Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also result in soft tissue masses.
See a GP if:

your lump is painful, red or hot. your lump is hard and does not move. your lump lasts more than 2 weeks. a lump grows back after it`s been removed.

Cysts can look and feel different, depending on the type. They are typically slow-growing, smooth, raised bumps on or under the skin. Sometimes they ooze a discharge, and over time they can ulcerate and change shade. They are usually colored white, blue, or a dark hue.
If the underlying cause is removed, some cysts will shrink or disappear. Cysts due to trauma may resolve in time. Depending on the cause, excision often leads to a complete cure. If your pet develops recurrent or multiple cysts, a diagnostic investigation may be necessary to determine the underlying cause.
Cancerous or malignant tumors can be hard or soft. The feel of a mass and whether it bothers your dog has little to do with whether it is cancerous or not.
We must sample lumps, and evaluate the cells under a microscope to determine what they are. There is no other way to know whether a lump is benign or malignant. Your veterinarian must perform a fine needle aspirate and/or a biopsy to make an accurate diagnosis.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. How do I teach my dog to sit still enough and not move his head while I clip on the gentle leader?
ANSWER : A. Most dogs HATE the gentle leader, and it’s not at all surprising. Would you want something foreign on your face? It’s an uncomfortable training tool, and no dog enjoys wearing it. If you are looking to have your dog behave better on-leash, you should consider tossing out that gentle leader, and using a front hooking harness like the Sensible http://www.softouchconcepts.com/index.php/product-53/sense-ible-harness, or the Sensation http://www.softouchconcepts.com/index.php/product-53/sense-ation-harness harness. These harnesses will eliminate the pulling power of your dog, and put you in control in a positive, and gentle way. Any time your dog pulls, he is redirected until he is facing you. You can practically walk your dog with your pinky.

I dislike the gentle leader because it can cause neck injuries in an avid puller/lunger. You also can’t ever hook a long-lead to the gentle leader and allow your dog to run around because it would break his neck. Another thing I dislike about it, is it discourages sniffing the ground during walks. When your dog attempts to sniff, and the leash is short, his nose is redirected upwards. When you trip on the leash, the head is jerked around and the nose is directed upwards. Sniffing during walks is extremely important. Sniffing = mental stimulation, which will tire your dog out more during your walks. The more your dog lags, or forges, the less he can sniff the ground, and the more frustrated he becomes.

If you’re dead set on using the head halti.. you should be using treats to hold his attention. Place the head halti on the floor, reward him for sniffing it, pick it up, treat him, put it near his face, treat him, lure his nose through the loop, lots of treats, take the head halti off, more treats, lure his nose through again, more treats. Take baby steps going forwards AND backwards so the “game” of getting the halti on isn’t always getting more difficult.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. My Beagle listens to me, but cries & whines when I’m gone & doesn’t listen to my parents. I adopted him just a couple days ago. Any tips for my folks?
ANSWER : A. I really highly doubt that your Beagle listens to you and has formed a connection with you in just a couple of days. It takes months to build up any kind of serious connection with your dog. You need to work on communication with your dog through training them to understand different cues. For instance the Leave-It cue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

You have to work on bonding with your dog through mental stimulation. Training is very important. Luring each new behavior from scratch, and training using treats is how you form a strong bond with your new dog. No scolding is ever necessary… work on being calm, and positive, all the time.

If your dog is crying/whining when you leave, this may be separation anxiety. You’re going to have to separation train this dog from scratch. This dog needs to learn that separation can be a good thing! Tell your “folks” to NOT scold the dog when he is crying/whining after you leave, because that will make your dog MORE anxious when you leave next time. Your dog will be dwelling on the negative if your parents fuel your dogs negative feelings towards you leaving. FUN things should happen when you leave. Your parents should pull out the treats and start doing some basic obedience training with your dog. Your parents should stuff a Kong filled with awesome treats (peanut butter) and give it to him so he feels happy when you leave.

I have some excellent separation anxiety exercises you can work on. If you’d like, you can purchase a consultation with me, and I will go over how to separation train from scratch. It will make your dog comfortable being alone, guaranteed.

Read Full Q/A … : I Don't Like My Mother

Q. Why does my dog eat grass?
ANSWER : A. As another user mentioned, dogs can eat grass when they want to vomit. Sometimes, when a dog has an upset tummy, they will eat grass. If you notice your dog eating grass frantically, you can assume vomiting will shortly follow. Grass does not digest and pass normally. If your dog eats too much grass, it can cause serious issues with pooping. Your dogs poop can end up all tangled inside of her, and it can need veterinary assistance to remove it. The same goes for celery, so avoid feeding celery to your dog.

The other day my boyfriend accidentally left the laundry room door open where we were keeping the trash that was filled with cooked chicken bones. She ate one of the chicken bones lightning fast. We had to induce vomiting by feeding her some hydrogen peroxide. After we had fed her the peroxide, she immediately began frantically eating grass because her tummy was upset.

If there is something lacking in your dogs diet, it could be that your dog is eating grass to make up for it. I am sure that my dogs diet is extremely well balanced (I do not only feed her an air-dried raw food-type diet (Ziwipeak), but a wide variety of safe, healthy foods), so when she eats grass, I know that it is because she has an upset tummy.

That is why I think it is important making sure your dog has a very well balanced diet. If your dog is on a low quality kibble, your dog may be trying to let you know by eating grass (or eating poop).