Surrendering Dogs Due to Behavioral Problems: Try these things first!

Is your pet is exhibiting problematic behavioral patterns that are causing you to consider getting rid of him/her? You are not alone, but the good news is that there is hope! There could be many potential causes and many potential solutions to what your dog is experiencing. Here are some things to try first before making the heartbreaking (to you and your dog) decision to surrender!

  1. Talk to your vet about your animal’s behavior. Some behavioral issues can be a symptom of underlying medical issues which can be easily fixed by receiving veterinary care, e.g., biting could be a sign your dog is in pain, and barking when you are not home could be due to anxiety, both of which can often be helped with medical treatment or medication; Incontinence can often be helped by medication, etc.
  2. If your pet’s behavioral pattern is not health-related, take some time to figure out the underlying cause or trigger of your dog’s behavior. For example, biting is a serious issue both for you and your dog. However, there are varying levels of biting and different ways to deal with them, e.g., growling or snapping when someone got near their food or toys versus biting out of pain or fear. If you can address the triggers through training, then there’s a very good chance the behavior will improve.
  3. Consult a trainer or certified behavioral consultant. No matter the age of your dog or whether he or she has received previous training, a professional may be able to help find ways to reduce or eliminate the behavioral issue.
Free dog training resources

Adopt a Pet Training Resources

Dog Gone Good’s Dog Training Blog

Dunbar Academy

GoodPup webinars

K9 of Mine on Youtube

K9 Training Institute

In-person Training

The best way to find an in-person class is through word of mouth.

  • Ask your vet, the local humane society, as well as dog owners in your neighborhood or at the dog park for recommendations.
  • Check with your local Petsmart for dog training classes
  • Search for trainers in your area on the Association of Professional Dog Trainers website and ask if they teach classes. (The APDT doesn’t screen its members, but it encourages them to use humane methods and to keep up with the latest thinking in dog training and behavior.)
Virtual Training Resources (fees vary)

Dog Gone Good Dog Training offers live online dog training sessions.

GoodPup offers 1:1 training over video chat with a vetted and certified trainer. You can also access your trainer outside of sessions should any questions come up.

Is rehoming an option?

In some cases, rehoming your dog may be an option. Your dog’s safety or quality of life may be low in your home but thrive in another home (for example, a dog who has bitten a child may not be able to live in your home anymore, but may be successful in a home without children). Or perhaps you don’t have the time or money to modify your dog’s behavior, but it’s reasonable for someone else to be able to do so. For rehoming information and resources, please go HERE.

Dog owner death planning: Who will care for your beloved pet when you die?

If you are like most pet owners, the last thing you ever want is for your pet to be without a loving caretaker if you end up outliving them. The sad reality is that according to Best Friends Animal Society, approximately 10 percent of animals in shelters are there because of the death or illness of their caretaker. That’s why it’s so important to have a “plan b” for our animal companions!

There are several ways to make sure that your beloved pet is taken care of when you are no longer able to do so. This site HERE is a great place to start as you create your “plan b”. This site is also an excellent resource for helping every pet owner make sure furry family members are well cared for in the event of their human’s death.

How much sleep do dogs need?

dog sleep

If you have a dog, especially an older dog, you may notice that they sleep a lot—after sleeping all night, they will happily spend their days napping in sunbeams and dozing on the couch. What a life, huh?

So how many hours a day sleep is “normal”?

Dogs require a significant amount of sleep, even more than we do, although the total amount of sleep a dog need can vary depending on a range of factors (including age).

But in general, experts agree that most adult dogs seem to need between eight and 13.5 hours of sleep every day, with an average of just under 11 hours. Compared to puppies, middle-aged and senior dogs tend to wake up less often throughout the night and sleep later in the morning. They also nap more frequently during the day.

Unlike humans, who generally stay up all day and then sleep for one long stretch at night, dogs spread out their sleep time. In fact, they might only spend five hours a day being active, with half the day devoted to sleeping, and the remaining time resting, when their ears might be on low alert for any activity worth getting upright for.

Sleep is essential for dogs, just as it is for humans. Dogs who sleep well are better adjusted and more emotionally stable. On the flip side, dogs who suffer from inadequate or unrestful sleep tend to be more aggressive, anxious, and stressed.

You may notice your dog’s eyes twitch, their paws flick, or even a growl or two, during sleep. Rather like our rapid eye movement (REM), this is their dreaming time. Sometimes your dog may express extreme agitation, which could be a nightmare. Experts say don’t wake them up: they may be scared, or lash out in fear. You could try and calm a troubled sleeper by gently stroking their back and using a reassuring voice to soothe them.

It’s never too late to teach old dogs new tricks!

Maybe you’ve heard and even believe the old adage: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The good news is that this is not true! Dogs are innately good learners—no matter what their age, they are naturally inquisitive and are eager to grasp new experiences.

Here are 5 tips when teaching your old friend new tricks.

1.      Recognize and respect your dog’s limits. Before starting any training, it’s important to carefully consider the age and health condition of your four-legged friend. Take your dog in for a checkup and once the vet gives the okay for training sessions, you can start.

2.      Use training as a way to build trust and a strong friendship with your dog. Training activities are a great way to bond as long as they are fun for you and your dog. If you need some ideas for what to teach your dog, start with the “7 Basic Commands” and work your way up from there!

3.      Keep training sessions short. Although an older dog has the capacity to focus longer than a puppy, an older dog will tire more easily, so be aware of signs of exhaustion or boredom.

4.      Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement! Use dog treats and praise as a means to steer the dog’s behavior and motivate him to learn new things.

5.      Be patient. Remember that dog training requires time and consistency and won’t happen overnight. (Research says it takes up to 4 weeks for an old dog to learn new things).

No Dogs Allowed? Helpful Tips for Finding Dog-friendly Housing

One of the potential drawbacks of renting a house or an apartment is dealing with pet restrictions.

Property owners often have good reasons for not wanting dogs on rental properties. For example, damage resulting from irresponsible dog owners may have soured the owner toward renting to people with animals forever.

Though finding a pet-friendly rental is not always easy, it is possible. Here are some ideas and resources:

  • has a search engine where you can find organizations working hard to preserve affordable housing, prevent eviction, and reduce family homelessness.
  • People With Pets has a search engine where you can find pet-friendly apartments in your area.
  • Pet Friendly Senior Living has a search engine where you can find housing for seniors where they can live with their animal companions.
  • also has a way to filter to see pet-friendly apartments.
  • Check with your local homeless shelter (google “homeless shelters near me”, and ask if they have a pet-friendly housing list available to help you find a new home for your entire family, including your pets.
  • Try to negotiate with potential landlords. Offer to pay a pet deposit or pet rent. Here are some other ideas for communicating with cautious prospective landlords.
  • See if you can qualify to designate your dog as a service animal or emotional support animal. The Fair Housing Act ensures that an individual with a mental illness or mental disability does not experience housing discrimination because of their need for an emotional support animal or service animal. Housing providers must instead provide reasonable accommodations for these individuals and are not allowed to charge the individual any type of fee, such as pet deposits.
Apartments with Breed Restrictions

Certain dog breeds and their mixes are not permitted to live in living in certain rentals, regardless of their general pet policies.* That means that even if your dog is a “mutt”, he may be banned, depending on the various dog breeds in his mix. (if you’re unsure of your dog’s breed, get a DNA test done! It is tough to identify a breed or breed mix visually.)

What you can do

Getting around pet and breed restrictions as a renter is an uphill battle, but not impossible. Try writing a pet resume to include with your rental application so potential landlords can get to know your dog as an individual. You can also try offering to pay an extra pet deposit or pet rent or offer to obtain pet insurance. Or, as mentioned above, you could register your pet as an emotional support or service animal.

In any case, always be honest and upfront with potential landlords about dogs you intend to have in your home. It’s always better to get a refusal before you move in than to be evicted due to violating a lease.

*We at KeepYourDog do not endorse any form of breed discrimination. We believe that all breeds deserve loving homes. Each individual dog is just that – an individual – and should be treated as such regardless of breed.

How dogs cope with the loss of a dog sibling

dog grief

Losing a pet is a difficult situation for everyone, including the other dogs in the household. You may not realize it, but dogs do grieve the loss of a doggy companion. And just like people, dogs can react differently to loss—some dogs may act completely normal, while others get depressed. Some dogs may even develop health or behavior issues.

Also, many things can affect how long the grieving process lasts, including the age and health of the dog, the relationship with the other dog, and the grieving process of the humans in the household.

How can you help?

No matter how your dog reacts to the loss of another dog, he or she is probably feeling some kind of stress over the changes in the household. Your dog may also feel bored due to the loss of a companion and playmate.

One of the best ways you can help your dog adjust to the loss (and also help you cope with your own grief) is to stick as carefully as possible to your normal routine and schedule and provide your dog with more exercise and mental stimulation (feeding and walking at the same time, providing new interesting toys, having more cuddle time, etc.).

NOTE: If you notice that your dog isn’t eating or is very lethargic, it’s important to consult with your vet. Not only can a vet help diagnose and treat an illness that your dog might be experiencing, they can also prescribe a medication to help with your pup’s grief.

It may take weeks, or even months for dogs to emerge from grief. Just hang in there and honor the process by allowing him or her to make sense of it all in his or her own time with your help.

Should you get another dog right away?

Before getting another dog, first ask yourself whether you are ready for another dog. It’s also important to make sure your dog will accept another dog (you may want to consider letting your dog select your new dog by allowing the dogs to meet first before making a decision).

Does your dog know the 7 basic commands?

How many of these does your dog know? Remember: you CAN teach an old dog new tricks–it’s never too late to teach a dog no matter what age they are!

  1. Sit. This is a good one to start with because it’s the most natural concept for most dogs and one of the easiest for them to learn.
  2. Down. Once your dog can sit on command, you can teach him or her to lie down. A dog that will lie down on command can be taught to go to a place like a dog bed and be calm, or be calm and well-behaved at an outside eatery.
  3. Stay. A dog who knows how to stay won’t run into the street if he or she gets loose, so this is one of the most important skills for a dog to learn. Be patient: Most dogs take at least a couple of days to understand Stay and it can take a few weeks to master it.
  4. Come. If you plan to take your dog anywhere off-leash, this is an important command. It can also keep your dog safe if he or she breaks off the leash.
  5. Heel. Dogs of all sizes should learn to heel, or walk calmly by your side, especially if you exercise your pup where there’s not much room on the sidewalk or path. The skill is even more important for large or strong pups so that walks are more pleasant for your dog and your arm socket!
  6. Off. Jumping on visitors or furniture is a common issue. There are several ways you can discourage jumping, such as turning your back when your dog jumps up, grabbing the dog’s paws and shaking a plastic bottle filled with pennies while you say “Off.” You’ll need to try a few to see which clicks with your pet.
  7. No. No makes a good, all-purpose command for everything you want your pup not to do. You can also teach “Leave It” instead or in addition to no.

While taking a class to learn these and other commands may be beneficial for you and your pup, you can teach your dog right at home (there are a lot of helpful resources available online). The most important thing is to keep training positive and relaxed, especially if your dog is fearful or anxious. Also keep in mind to always praise your dog once he successfully follows the command.

Did you know your dog has superpowers?


Did you know your dog has superpowers?

It’s true! Compared to humans, your dog has amazing superpowers they use every day using just their bodies!

Super smellers: Dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. And the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than ours!

Super hearing: Like their sense of smell, dogs’ sense of hearing is far more acute than ours. Not only do they hear much louder and more clearly than we do, they’re able to discern subtle differences in sound that we humans can’t hear. They also hear sounds in completely different frequencies than humans do, which is why they can hear dog whistles, but we can’t.

Super feelers: A dog’s entire body is covered in touch-sensitive nerve endings that “feel” the world around him, like the wind blowing or a fly landing on his back. And, dogs have touch-sensitive hairs called vibrissae – better known as their whiskers – on their muzzle and above their eyes. Dogs continually use their sense of touch to communicate with other dogs and with you. Physical affection, petting, scratching, and massage are all positive and important ways to communicate to your dog through touch. That’s why a great way to show affection through touch is brushing.

Not so super, but still awesome:

Taste:  Dogs have fewer taste buds than we do—about 1,700 in the average dog compared to 9,000 in us. But unlike us, they also have special taste buds aimed at tasting only water. So, I guess in a way, that’s a superpower!

Sight: While many believe that dogs have poor eyesight, especially compared to humans, the truth is that they just see differently. A dog’s sense of sight has evolved in such a way that makes them see movement as opposed to clear objects. Also, dogs can see better in the dark than humans. But, unlike humans who see in full color, a dog is only able to see the world around them in shades of blue, yellow, and gray (something to think about when choosing toys for your dog).

Does your dog have bad breath?


It’s a sad fact that 80% of dogs will have some form of periodontal (gum) disease by the age of 2! Not only can that result in tooth loss, it can also cause heart, lung, and kidney problems!

Since dental health is crucial to your dog’s overall health, it’s important to take care of your dog’s teeth and gums. Here are some ideas:

  • If your dog will tolerate it, use a gentle finger toothbrush with an enzymatic toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs (never use human toothpaste on a dog). You can also use organic coconut oil instead of toothpaste. (If your dog won’t tolerate brushing, there are sprays and wipes available. Ask your vet for suggestions.)
  • Find tooth-friendly dog toys and treats. Certain chew toys and treats are designed to control plaque, reduce tartar buildup, freshen breath, and help maintain healthy teeth and gums. And your dog will likely love them!
  • Consider a professional cleaning. Once the plaque on your dog’s teeth has turned into solid tartar or your dog’s gum disease has progressed past a certain point, your dog will likely need a professional cleaning done by a trained veterinarian.

Good dental care can extend your dog’s life so if you are concerned about your pet’s teeth (bad breath is often an indication something is not right), see your vet!

Easing Separation Anxiety in Dogs

dog anxiety

The Covid 19 pandemic was heaven for a lot of dogs, with their family members having to stay home every day! Now that the world has gotten back to normal, dogs may have developed separation anxiety. Some signs of anxiety in dogs include: howling, barking and whining; digging and scratching at doors or windows; destructive chewing; and potty accidents in the house (even with otherwise house-trained dogs).

One of the best ways to resolve a dog’s separation anxiety is by teaching him to enjoy, or at least tolerate, being left alone.  For example, you could give your dog a special treat each time you leave (like a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter). Only give them this treat when you’re gone, and take it away when you get home.

Some other tips for helping ease anxiety:

  • Make your comings and goings low-key without a lot of fanfare. Remember that saying goodbye is for you, not for your dog! So, if you must say goodbye, do it long before you leave. Then when you’re ready to go out the door, just go; don’t make it a big deal. When you come home, stay calm. If you can, ignore your pup for the first few minutes after you get home then calmly pet them.
  • Exercise your dog before you leave. A tired dog is a happy dog!
  • Play an audiobook while you’re gone. Studies have shown that the sound of a human voice can have a calming effect and help reduce anxiety while you’re gone.
  • Consider adding another dog to your family pack. That way, they can keep each other company while you’re gone.
  • If all else fails, talk to your vet about medication or supplements to ease anxiety or consult with a trainer or certified behavioral consultant.