immagine Come insegnare al cane il comando resta

How to teach the "stay" command to your dog

 The "stay" command is very useful for the owner, but also for the dog. That's why it should be one of the first commands your pet comprehends. Let's see how teach them in a simple and effective way.

The stay command can be fundamental in many situation. Think, for example, of a dog that tends to shoot as soon as it sees a cat. We should absolutely avoid the dog to hurt himself or other animals surrounding him. Therefore, the command "stay" is particularly useful in these cases. If we were to be outdoors, without a leash and a car approaching at a high speed it is essential to keep our dog still to avoid tragic consequences.

To begin with, we need to equip ourselves with the usual necessities, which can range from snacks to the clicker method. Both will be perfectly valid. The command "stay" necessarily requires the dog's previous acquisition of the command "sit" or "down", which, as we have said many times, represents an excellent starting point for communicating with the dog in order to have his full attention when we are about to talk to him

  1. We ask the dog to sit or lie down;
  2. We stand in front of him, bringing one hand up to the muzzle, not too close;
  3. At the same time we pronounce our command "stay!", We move one step back and, if the dog has remained still, we give him a treat or click the clicker;
  4. We continue several attempts;
  5. Once he has been able to understand our command, will we be able to move further and further away, remembering to always give the command when we are next to him, and then return to the dog to reward him once he has performed the exercise.

    cane comando resta premioAn alternative method is based on posture

    1. Let's stand next to the dog and ask him to sit down;
    2. Once he has done it, let's reward him by giving him a treat. Let's give him more than one snack, to make sure he understand that our goal is to keep him still;
    3. We position ourselves in front of the dog and reward him if he stays still, let's go back next  to him and reward him again
    4. Each time we proceed with the exercise, we can rotate a few steps backwards at a time, making sure that the dog remains seated in the same point. We should not expect too much fro the first attempts. Even two or three steps back is more than enough;
    5. Let's go back to the dog and reward him once again. If the dog moves, we repeat the activity from the beginning;
    6. Once he has learned the mechanism, we repeat the exercise over and over again.

    The goal of this command is not to create a statue of our pet, so once we have rewarded the dog, let it move freely.

    The "stay" command is also very useful as a support for all dogs that tend to eat very quickly. As we have seen in the specific article for this problem, every time we hand the bowl to the dog, we must always make sure that it can only approach the it with our command, to avoid greedily eating its food and becoming aggressive.


immagine Il cane geloso che ringhia al marito o a chiunque si avvicini al proprietario

Jealous dogs that growl to strangers or partners

 You spend the vast majority of your time with your pet, but when you finally find "human" love and you decided to take the big step forward and go to live together things might get complicated. The problem arises when you dog starts to behave in an aggressive way with your partner and refuses to accept him as a part of the family. If the dog is jealous of the owner, we absolutely must solve the problem before it becomes more and more serious. Let's see how.

Why does the dog become jealous?

It is certainly not only a matter of great affection, and must ask ourselves what kind of relationship we have established with our dog. Many owners tend to create an exclusive bond with their four-legged friend, who will inevitably feel threatened by the arrival of a child, a boyfriend, a husband, a stranger or anyone else who invades our personal space.
cane dorme sul letto geloso marito moglie

These are some of the causes, indicating the potential enemy as the letter B:

  • Your pet is a quiet type, maybe even an elderly one, whilst B is too exuberant and ruins the domestic atmosphere;
  • B repeatedly invades your pets spaces whilst eating or sleeping;
  • The owner is pregnant and your pet does not let anyone approach;
  • Your pet has always slept on the bed.

The problem behind many attitudes of this type is related to a protective instinct that the dog feels he has to put into practice towards anyone approaching the owner. The typical situation is precisely the dog that protects the owner from the husband or the wife.

Some dogs, however, may also be jealous of both owners, but alternately. For example, if we are sitting on the sofa with the dog, he may not want his wife to approach and vice versa.

The reason is that the dog feels threatened in some way and feels the need to express his discomfort by growling.

Some people like to interpret this behaviour by using the theory of dominance as an excuse. Some others prefer to use different terms, such as "accreditation", but in essence the concept is that the dog feels that he is at the risk , just like a child growing up without rules. The result is always great insecurity, which will push him to see threats everywhere.
cane sul divano geloso

What can I do to help my dog accept other people in the house?

We must absolutely avoid beating the dog. Certain methods are no longer used and accepted, because they go against respect for the animal and are also counterproductive. We want our dog to respect us, not to fear us.

Firstly, let's ask ourselves what our relationship with the dog is like. Have we always slept with him on the bed? Did we always feed them?, cuddles, attention? Are we the only ones to take him out for a walk? Do we defend him against everything and everyone, even when he has inappropriate behaviour?

All these attitudes are harmful to the dog's psychological balance. He must see us as its guide, not as the only human being worthy of trust in his world.

There is nothing wrong with sleeping with the dog on the bed, as long as our four-legged friend behaves in a "normal" way.

If he begins to show aggression against anyone who approaches our bed, it is our responsability to  get rid of this habit immediately, giving him a comfortable bed to use in a quiet part of the house.

If we refer to some problems caused by partners, children or other acquaintances, we must follow some simple tips: (remember that B symbolises the person causing the problem in the house)

  • When he tries to growl, we should ignore him without even looking at him. Let's avoid touching him, but above all, let's try to avoid caresses or hugs.
  • Let the dog spend more time with B, but in a constructive way, for example with a nice walk full of fun, at least once a day, clearly without us;
  • Let B take care of the food, filling the dog's bowl and giving him some treats directly from his hands;
  • We show B how to interact correctly with our dog, without disturbing him while he sleeps or eats nor annoying him whilst he doesn’t want to be touched;
  • We teach B to read the animals non-verbal language, in order to start communicating in the right way;
  • Lets find a comfortable and isolated place for our dog to rest without disturbing him. However, he must never lay in his safe spot forever, this would increase its fear instead of facing it;
  • Lets avoid playing with our partner in an aggressive way in front of our friends to show them how protective our dog can be in these situations. He might memorize this event as something real and increase the hatred he feels towards B.

Anyways, this type of problems usually needs the presence of a behavioural vet or an educator. They will be able to solve the problem before anyone gets hurt.


immagine Cosa fare se il cane cerca di scappare di casa

What can I do if my dog tries to run away from the house?

 This problem really affects many owners. When the dog runs away from home, in most cases he does not do it because he cannot stand us anymore and wants to run away, but he just wants to take a breath of fresh air. By running away, however, he might get lost, but also might come across the typical dangers of the road, such as cars or other dogs with which he could fight. Here's how to fix it.

Why does the dog run away?

As we have just said, in most cases dogs don't want to run away from us specifically. The reasons why they could decide to run away can be many. For example:

  • He had previous habit of going out and going to the toilet on his own.
  • Before adopting it, he lived in an outdoor place, like a countryside, albeit fenced;
  • He gets bored because he doesn't have enough stimuli;
  • Tends to get too excited in some situations, for example the sound of the intercom;
  • He is afraid of something in the house or garden and tries to get away;
  • Outside the house there is something particularly interesting that awaits him (other "friends" animals, people who offer him food, stimuli to hunt);
  • Feels the presence of a female dog in heat to conquer;
  • The dog runs away in search of a companion;
  • He simply enjoys devising new plans to escape.

Each of these situations hides a very specific reality: the dog finds something more pleasant outside, compared to our presence and his home. Therefore, we must begin to ask ourselves questions about our relationship with him, evaluating if we really do our best to create a pleasant, peaceful and fun environment for him.

What to do

Although many owners tend to ignore a problem of this type, in reality it is a situation that must be stopped immediately. None of us would like to live with a segregated dog at home, but, as mentioned above, the dangers present outside are real and are also very dangerous and harmful.

Think, for example, of the dog running in the street while we chase after him desperately. Speeding ​​cars, bunch of dogs, children, poisoning risks are just some of the dangers present.

The dog must absolutely have the opportunity to go out, but all together, under our constant control. We will determine where and when to free him for a good run, protected from dangers.

For this reason, the first thing we have to do, as obvious as it may seem, is to make sure that the dog is equipped with a collar with an identification tag, in addition to the microchip so we can be able to localize him if he runs further away from us.

cane scappa di casa scava terreno recinzione

Therefore, to prevent them from running away you can bring padlocks, reinforced locks, fences and anything that can help you seal doors and windows. Remember that dogs can jump, so even if they are very small, they can surprise you with incredibly agile leaps. Avoid leaving possible "trampoline" furniture around the fence or balcony.

In addition, we should enrich our dog's space and time with many pleasant activities, so he can play with us or on his own. Old cuddly toys, pull-and-spring ropes, food-filled toys, intelligence boards. Everything can be used to fight boredom.

Remember that the dog has an extreme need to socialize, not only with us "humans", but also with his fellow companions. If you really don't have the opportunity to adopt another dog for him to play with, go to green areas for dogs close to your city or try to arrange some activities with friends and acquaintances that have a pet. The socialization classes organized by educators are also excellent.

Finally, if the dog is not sterilized yet, and you do not intend to mate your dog in the future, the best solution is to resort to this surgery. No door lock is able to resist the call of nature!

Let's move onto the behavioural aspect.

A very useful thing to do in these cases is to teach the dog to respond to our calls, which all owners should do. To find out how, read our specific guide on this topic carefully.

Alternatively, for those who have time, desire and patience to devote to dog education, you can teach your friend to wait for our command before leaving the house, with or without us. To do this, we will use the usual snack or clicker technique, but we will have to be familiar with the "stay" command first.

  1. Let's stand in front of the entrance door
  2. We ask the dog to sit or lie on the ground, to make him understand that we want him to stand still and to devote all his attention to us
  3. Communicate the "stay" command, rewarding the first few times without doing anything. So we continue getting closer to the front door and returning to reward him every time
  4. At this point we touch the handle, press the dog gently and continue until we can keep the dog still even with the door wide open

If we are handling frightened dogs, the situation is quite different. If the cause of the escape is fear, then you will have to carve out a safer corner in its personal space, for example with a kennel or a table, which can help him feel safe.



immagine Il cane che rincorre e morde la sua coda

Dogs chasing and biting their tail

 Some of us probably have a laugh watching our cat’s intent on whirling around on himself, in a desperate attempt to catch his tail. However, this behaviour, rather frequent especially in puppies, can be the symptom of a behavioural problem called "compulsive disorder".

Compulsive disorders

We have devoted an entire article to this problem, explaining what it is precisely and in what forms it can appear. However, we will try to report the most important information, applying it specifically to the situation of the dog chasing its tail.

Compulsive disorders are nothing more than the animal equivalent of a man's obsessive-compulsive disorder. We are talking about animals that show weird  attitudes many times during the day, especially when they feel bored, stressed or afraid.

Among the classic examples, we find the dog or cat licking the floor or glass, ingesting objects, attacking a part of someone’s body (such as the tail or a paw) or chasing the reflections of light. Many of these attitudes, in reality, can also be considered normal at first glance. We mention compulsive disorder when an animal has these “ticks” in a repeated and urgent way. Briefly, if he really wants to bite his tail, nobody will be able to stop him from doing it at that moment.

These attitudes are called "compulsive", precisely because the animal feels the need to remove its internal discomfort (boredom, stress, frustration, fear, anxiety) by transferring it into an urgent action, which therefore represents relief.

In humans, however, we often talk about obsessive-compulsive disorders as the action stems from a fixed, constant, almost manic thought, which generates the need to put compulsive attitude into practice. To give a practical example, a man who feels "dirty", due to various discomforts or psychological traumas, will be obsessed with the idea that everything is covered with bacteria (obsessive thinking) and therefore will try to wash his hands as much as possible (compulsive behaviour).

In dogs and cats, we are not able to know if these obsessive thoughts exist, precisely because we are still unable to understand what they think, so at the moment we can only talk about compulsive attitudes.

How to understand if it is a behavioural problem

The first intervention that we must consider is undoubtedly to contact our veterinarian, who will be able to analyse the situation and understand what the causes of the problem may be. Clearly, in these cases it will be important to be able to provide the veterinarian with all the information that could help him to reach a more founded diagnosis, so we must observe our dog during the day.

  • When does compulsive behaviour appear? The morning, the afternoon, the evening, the night, always?
  • Is there a special occasions that will encourage the dog to bite its tail? For example when a family member leave the house or when they hear noises from outside
  • How do we behave when the dog chases its tail? Do we laugh, caress it, pick it up, scold it, ignore it?
  • Have there been any changes in the family or home in the last period?
  • Has the dog had any health problems recently?

All these questions can add fundamental elements to obtain a complete picture of the situation. Some of these may even seem unusual to you, but nothing is taken for granted. For example, the vet will want to know how you behave when the dog chases his tail because it may not be a compulsive disorder, but a simple request for attention. Alternatively, if you cuddle or laugh at him he will feel the centre of attention and will continue to do so whenever he feels neglected.

At the same time, if he has a dermatitis that causes severe itching at the base of the tail, he will do anything to scratch himself, turning over on himself until he finds a way to do so. So in this case, it would not be a behavioural problem, but a health problem.

How can we avoid this behaviour?

Once the vet has successfully identified the cause of the problem, he or she can provide a series of indications to stop the upstream mechanism of the behavioural disorder. This means that a good research must be done to understand what the source of the problem is, either boredom, anxiety, stress or fear.

cane dallo psicologo psichiatra disturbo compulsivo

It is not a simple task, so forget the do-it-yourself and rely on a good expert. Be wary of some educators or veterinarians who don't have the necessary skills to deal with a behavioural problem.

You will also need to consider that this type of ailment tends to get worse over time if you don't proceed in the right way. So avoid ignoring the problem, because it could become more and more frequent or you might find yourself with many more additional compulsive behaviours, which would add up to the original one.

The principle behind the "therapy" for compulsive disorders requires the removal of the source of discomfort, if possible. In this case, the veterinarian will understand the cause of the problem and recommend a suitable way to decrease or eliminate it.

At the same time, it is very important for the dog to stop this behaviour in the right way. Shouting at him or picking him up while biting his tail is definitely not a good solution, quite the opposite. In the first case, we would increase psychological stress, triggering an even stronger desire to chase the tail. Secondarily, he would feel rewarded for what he has done, without diverting the thought of doing it again.

Therefore, the only useful advice to follow is to make sure that the dog's mind concentrates on positive activities, which in a few words allow him to “waste time” productively. Here are the most effective methods:

  • Purchase a game of mental activation or intelligence, such as interactive boards, puzzles, but also the numerous to-do games, which you can consult on the specific article. The purpose of these activities is to allow the dog to concentrate in order to find the snack hidden inside the toy, obtaining the reward and personal gratification;
  • Use the controls - such as "paw" or "sit" - to make sure that he focuses on us and on the reward it will receive at the end of the exercise;
  • Enroll in an agility course, to teach the dog to channel his energies into a very rewarding sport from a self-esteem point of view;
  • Go out together more often in the open air, letting the dog run freely in the fields to release the tensions accumulated during home life.

All these tips have the possibility of helping him not to think excessively about this inconvenience. Remember, however, that stress, boredom and all the other problems underlying behavioural disorders must never be neglected, because in the long run they can compromise the health of our dog.

immagine Perché i cani leccano viso, mani e piedi?

Why dogs lick face, hands and feet

One of the most common behaviours among dogs is to obstinately lick its owner. Hands, arms, legs, feet and even the face are the parts of the body preferred by dogs, but only because they are the most exposed. We often interpret this dog attitude as a simple way of kissing us. In reality this explanation is really too reductive. So, let's try to understand why dogs lick us.

When can dogs lick each other in nature?

In nature, dogs tend to lick their fellows in specific circumstances.

Firstly, the mother will lick her puppies during the first weeks of life. At the time of birth, she will lick and tear the placenta surrounding the baby, especially trying to eliminate any residues present in the nostrils, which could obstruct breathing. During the first few days, she will try to keep them clean, but also to stimulate the escape of poop and pee, considering that very young puppies are not able to do this without external stimulation. In these cases, mother's licking can vary from the quickest ones, typical of the first period, to the slower ones, which give us a clearer idea of ​​maternal care towards offspring.

cane lecca piedi

Another typical attitude of mothers is to lick their puppies to cover their strong smell, which could attract the attention of predators. Therefore, in these cases it protects its puppies from enemies.

In addition, some puppies may lick their mother to ask for food. As "disgusting" as it may seem, mothers often regurgitate their pre-digested food, giving it to their offspring. By licking the muzzle of the mother, the babies ask for regurgitated food.

As far as the social explanation is concerned, we have to talk about pheromones once again. These particular chemicals are released by each of us and serve to stimulate communication between one individual and another. For example, females communicate their sexual availability to males through pheromones. Normally these molecules are received through the sense of smell, but in some cases, dogs can try to lick us to feel them more distinctly.

Another type of licking is the hierarchical one. In nature, in fact, hierarchically inferior dogs tend to lick the dominant to recognize his supremacy.

What does it mean when the dog licks us?

As we have seen before, the "normal" situations that push dogs to lick can be different. Here are a few reasons why dogs tend to lick their owners.

  • Food request: just as puppies lick the mother's face to ask for regurgitated food, they can also do it with us, especially if they tend to lick our lips or in any case our face. The dog that jumps on us when he sees us, aiming above all at our mouth, does it precisely to mimic the typical behaviour of when he was a puppy. He clearly does not want to get regurgitated food from us, but in any case he would just like to eat;
  • Protection: some dogs tend to lick us just when they smell very strong odours, to try to hide us from possible predators. The most typical example is the dog who licks the owner's feet or armpits, after a long run in the summer, or after a shower. In all these cases it is the smell that attracts the dog, who tries to eliminate it by covering it with his own, in an attempt to protect us from any dangers;
  • Take care of us: often we come across videos of dogs carefully licking babies and children. The reason, in these cases, is linked both to the attempt to protect them, and to put natural maternal care into practice. The licking will be slow and accurate, almost as if the dog were in another dimension;
  • Hierarchy: the dog can also lick the owner for hierarchical reasons, even more so if he is afraid. The typical example is that of the dog licking the face or hands of the veterinarian during the visit, to communicate "ok, you have the power, but don't hurt me";
  • Pheromones: some dogs can lick us to get more information through the perception of our pheromones. In some cases, in fact, we can emit a larger quantity than usual or with a different scent. The dog will lick our skin where we are producing pheromones, to try to understand what is going on.

What if the dog licks himself?

In these cases, we talk about various situations.

A dog that licks its muzzle repeatedly, perhaps in front of us or another dog (sometimes even looking away) is implementing one of the most classic "calming signals". It's a coded message, which really means "I don't want to do anything to you, leave me alone".

In addition, the dog can also trigger a behavioural response when he tends to obsessively lick the owner, himself and even object such as floors and windows. In these cases, we might have come across a compulsive disorder, which will require the help of a behavioural veterinarian. The reasons could be many, the most common reasons are boredom or repeated stressful stimulus, determined by a negative situations at home, a health problem or a new event in the house.

If the dog licks himself too often, talk to your vet immediately, who can help you understand the reasons and suggest an appropriate solution, before the situation gets worse.


immagine Come scegliere il nome per il cane o il gatto ed insegnarglielo

How to choose a suitable name for your pet and how to teach them

When we are ready to adopt a new pet, we are always enthusiast about it. Amongst the preparation, one of the most exciting thing to do is certainly choosing the name for our pet. Not everyone is aware that the name should have some specific characteristics, especially if we want our friend to be able to associate it.

The most suitable name

In most cases, the name is chosen once the new friend has arrived in our house. Many of us prefer to rely on simplicity, recalling some aesthetic characteristics of the animal such as colour, personality or looks.

Others, however, find the sound of the name more interesting, drawing on history, cinematography and literature to choose what they prefer, as well as the world of music or comics.

insegnare al cane richiamo vieni

Others, for example, find it fun and convenient to assign a "human" name to their friend, among “Carlo il Carlino” or Jack of Jack Russell.

Let's say that, regardless of the origin of the name of the newcomer, there are still criteria that must be taken into consideration. The name, in fact, should be rather simple and short, in order to help the animal understand when we are calling him. This means that the classic names such as Fuffi and Fido are not at all trivial, but designed to prevent the animal from getting confused.

Of course, the important thing is that the name of the animal is not too similar to those words that we will direct directly to him. To clarify this concept, lets think of the main commands, such as "stay", "come", "sit". If the dog was named “stray”, it would be difficult for him to understand if we are just calling him or asking him to execute the "stay" command.

So we can indulge ourselves as we prefer in choosing the name, as long as these few, simple indications are respected.

How to teach their names

Some of us wonder if there is a way to teach the animal its name and in fact there is. Dogs are able to recognize their name. There are dogs that, once they become adults, still do not understand what their name is, so it is very important to proceed efficiently since puppies, if we want to avoid this.

The name, in fact, is essential for each of us, even for our four-legged friends. If the dog or cat were to go away, how would we call him back without a name with which to attract his attention, making him understand that we are talking to him?

These are some methods to achieve this:

  • Associate the name with something positive: whether it's a caress, a compliment or a snack, we give the dog or cat a reward every time they look at us when we say their name. Let's call them in a high pitched voice while they are distracted. If they turn to look at us, they will receive a prize;cane gira la testa di lato
  • Use the name often: whenever we have to talk to him, we always remember to get his attention first by calling him by his name, especially if we want him to execute commands. So we won't have to say "food is ready!" or "come!", but "Fuffi, food is ready!" or "Fido, come!". This will help him understand that we specifically talked to him, and make hum understand if we repeat that word so often, it probably has something to do with him;

  • Use the commands in association with the name: the commands must never be used alone, but always after the name. In fact, by pronouncing the name of the animal we will attract his attention, making it clear that he must listen to us, while the command is the action it must perform. Otherwise, we would generate some confusion in the animal and could begin to think his name is “sit”;

  • Nicknames and pet names: let's face it, our pet has a very long list of nicknames like "love" and "puppy" or "beautiful-heart-of-mommy". No one would ever forbid us from using nicknames and endorsements, with the exception of some situations. The "official" name of the animal must be a single one and we will need it to call him and to express commands. All possible variations, however, can be reserved for the most intimate moments, such as that of cuddling or playing;

  • Shorten long names: dogs and cats with long and high-sounding names, such as those with Pedigree, may not react when we call them. Moreover, it would also be inconvenient for us to pronounce it each time for example, "Ivan-the-terrible-thirty-second-come!". Therefore, we try to limit ourselves to the first name or by shortening a long one.

Once you have followed these tips, your new four-legged friend will be able to understand his name in no time.