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Dog Training

How Active is Your Dog?

Apr 4, 2013

Dog care for your active dog

One of the key elements to dog ownership and parenting is to keep your pup active and happy. Not all dogs are going to be bouncing off the walls and chasing balls, though there are times when every dog wants and needs to get out and be active. In most situations, we take our dogs out for walks and even play a game of fetch at the park. But is that enough for them?

Aspects to consider

One of the first questions every owner should ask themselves is: What breed is your dog? All dogs need to experience an active lifestyle, but those who enjoy the company of working, herding, hound, or terrier breeds will notice they are often very active and require a lot of attention, which you must be ready to deliver. This is one of the most important things to consider when you adopt a new pup into your home, since your lifestyle may not mesh well with the activity levels your dog needs to stay healthy and happy.

Ask yourself a few questions about your dog’s personality as well, since breed won’t always determine how much activity your dog needs. Are they active and attentive to you? Are they confident about exploring new things?

Their present weight can also play a big part in their activity levels as well. Are they getting a little pudgy around the middle? If you can’t feel their ribs (be sure to account for the fur), they might be putting on a little too much weight. And it doesn’t take much for a dog to become overweight and unhealthy.

Weather will play a part in your dog’s activity levels as well, such as cold and heat. Most dogs won’t be active during the hot hours of the day, but when it gets cool and in some cases a light shower falls, you may find your pup eager to get out and enjoy some time exploring in the cooler air. In fact, most dogs, especially long-fur breeds, will want to get outside when conditions are around 60 to 70 degrees, much like we would. So be sure to make the most of the weather and enjoy some activity time together.

Also, the age of your dog matters, such as the huge difference between puppies and seniors. Puppies need early stimulation and as much attention as you can offer, while most seniors will simply want to enjoy the comfort of your company, often relaxing and getting their bellies rubbed.

How active should your dog be?

So, therein lies the real question: How often should your dog be active? All of the mentioned factors will affect their comfort, health, and trainability. Interacting with your dog consistently helps develop a special bond between the both of you. Have you ever noticed your pup rushing out to chase a squirrel or pursue a butterfly through the yard? Many dogs will find these activities irresistible, but they can pose a danger as well, especially when they run off and fail to react to your commands, such as return or stay.

The key is to keep up with your dog’s activity demands. Are they regularly stimulated? This applies to both mental and physical challenges to keep them entertained. And don’t assume that your dog isn’t smart, because they are inherently problem solvers. They enjoy puzzles and obstacles that challenge their intelligence just as much as they enjoy a good race against you and their fellow friends out at the park or even around the yard.

In fact, many dog owners may have encountered their “escape artist” companions wandering around the neighborhood unexpectedly. This often happens in dogs that have little stimulation or activity where they’re at, which can make the grass on the other side of the fence seem a little more colorful. This is often a sign that they need a lot more attention from you, and there are several forms that you can deliver to keep them settled and happy right where they are.

Keeping them active

The simplest activity that most owners consider is regular walks. Not only does it give the pup time to address their potty issues, but it offers stimulation of their mind through sights, smells, and interaction that are provided in the environment. It also naturally develops a bond between you and your dog, since the journey is shared together.

The other is mental stimulation, such as puzzles and goals that can keep your dog active while you’re away. Luckily, the pet toys industry has started to produce more “puzzle” toys for dogs, such as Kong’s bone that can be filled with various treats they need to work to get to. Others can be as simple as putting a Frisbee on the tile floor, making it a challenge for the dog to pick up. You may even hide their toys throughout the home (a bag of tennis balls is cheap and there’s plenty of them), leaving your dog exploring and active while you’re gone. Designing different challenges for your dog will help keep them busy, especially while you’re away at work.

Keeping your dog active is an extremely important part of being a dog owner or parent. Not every dog is going to be as active as the next, and with the busy world we live in, it can be difficult to always be there to keep your dog entertained. But, there are many forms of entertainment that can keep your dog active, even when you aren’t around. So be sure that whether you’re here or there, your pup stays happy and active so they can get the best out of their life with you.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Tips on Stopping the Pull and Tug

Dec 13, 2012

Proper dog care when your dog keeps tugging and pulling

Have you ever taken your dogs to the dog park and found that they are actually taking you to the park? They lead the way by tugging and pulling you. Basically, your dogs are walking you rather than you walking your dogs.

Unfortunately, tugging and tugging can quickly become an ingrained habit that becomes harder to break as it develops over time. It can cause harm to both owner and dog alike. For dogs, it can damage the dog’s windpipe. For dog owners, it can put them in harm’s way – like being pulled towards traffic on a busy street.

For this reason, it is essential that every owner take the time to train their dog to follow rather than lead them. After all, you’re responsible for their safety and health, so it’s up to you to make sure that they perform properly, especially when on their leash.

Effective Ways to Stop Your Dog from Pulling and Tugging  

1. Use a body harness 

It’s important to note that tugging on a collar is a danger to dogs on a physical level. Due to their determination to be a pack leader, they are going to tug with the full force of their body in order to be in the lead. What happens is that a collar will dig into their neck, restricting the airway (trachea) and causing slight damage. While it may start out as coughing and wheezing, over time this can wear down their airway, especially with larger dogs that have more weight to tug with.

For this reason, the use of a body harness will help during the training process. These are relatively inexpensive – usually about the cost of a collar, and will displace the force of the leash across their chest rather than solely on their neck (it’s still necessary to use a leash for their tags and license).

Be sure that it fits your dog snugly and won’t chafe them, such as in areas under their legs. If the harness has a metallic buckle, consider using a cloth or tape to secure it so that it doesn’t strike their chest or flanks when they’re moving around; this becomes more of an issue when there’s too much slack in the harness.

2. Stop, turn and go

While you’ve addressed your dog’s well-being, it’s still necessary to get your dog to stop taking you for walks. So, stop and think about why your dog is tugging in the first place. Basically, a dog is going to move in the direction where they think you are going (they just don’t have the patience to wait up for you and your two-leg speed). They see the destination and basically want to get there in a hurry. For most of us owners, we tend to just go along with them, but this only enforces the fact that perhaps they are in charge right now.

In order to stop this behavior, the best place to start is when your dog pulls, you stop. This will leave your dog tugging against you, but they won’t be able to move on. Another good technique is to change direction regularly. If they’re tugging forward, stop, turn around and go the other direction.

Start out on the sidewalk, where there is no apparent destination for them to see or note. Start walking in one direction and when they begin tugging, stop and move in the other direction. Do this several times until they begin to wonder where it is that you’re going. They’ll eventually begin to wonder what’s going on and look to you for the answer. This is exactly what you want to happen. In order to stop the pulls and tugs, you need your dog to focus on staying with you rather than getting to the destination as quickly as possible.

  1. 3. Use commands and treats

The preceding process can also be associated with commands, such as “stop” or “stay” when you stop. If you stop, give your dog a command to “halt” or “stay with me.” This will help them associate the fact that they need to pay attention to you because you have the answers they’re looking for. Additionally, the use of a treat will help incline them to listen to you during the initial stages of training. But you will want to eventually wean them off treats and for them to respond to you on command alone.

Next time you take your dog out for a walk, be sure that you’re the one leading the expedition. With a little training and the right tools to ensure their safety, you’ll be able to take charge of your dog and guide them instead of them dragging you along for the ride.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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What Happens to Your Dog’s Body When You Make Them Wait

Sep 21, 2012

Here’s why dog owners should not make their dogs wait

Everyone has to go potty. But not every potty area is convenient, especially for a dog. Most owners have to take their dog outside to potty, whether it’s out in the yard or out for walks. Regardless of where, the question is always- when?

The body naturally wants to eliminate waste. But what happens when we don’t let it? What happens when we don’t permit our dog to regularly take care of their physical necessities? Not only is it harmful, but it’s just plain mean not to let your dog potty when they need to. Consider if you had to hold in your bowel movements for a long time. Wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable? Perhaps even in pain?

Every good dog owner understands the importance of letting their dog take care of nature’s call, but it’s just as important to understand why.

Age and size matters

Not all dog’s bodies are designed the same, and every dog has different habits. As for puppies, they should not be forced to hold their potty for any longer than two hours. It goes up an hour after their first birthday. For the most part, three hours is a good schedule of elimination for the average adult dog and eight hours is the maximum hold time. Senior dogs tend to have less bladder control as well, so be sure you address their timely needs.

Do keep in mind that if you have to go, it’s likely your dog has to go too. This is one of the best ways to gauge potty time for your dog because it acts as a regular reminder about what’s necessary.

Feeding and drinking schedules play a part in potty needs. If they eat, they will need to potty, usually within the hour. Dogs are creatures of habit and will regularly need, or at least want, to go out during specific times of the day.

Physics apply- namely larger dogs have a higher bladder capacity than smaller dogs. Small dogs, therefore, need to be provided potty opportunities more often.

The waiting one

As far as your dog is concerned, they show signs whenever they need to potty. Circling, pawing at the door, coming to get your attention are all signs. A dog relies on their owner to help them fulfill a happy day. Initially, a dog feels the need to urinate when their bladder is half-full. The body senses the swelling of the bladder and informs the dog that it’s ready to be relieved. A dog may start to show signs of needing to go before it is vital that they go. This is to give you adequate time to make arrangements to allow them to relieve themselves.

Remember that if they can’t eliminate in the proper area, they will do so wherever they feel most secure- such as behind furniture. This is mostly because they understand that what they’ve done isn’t according to the rules, but as far as their body is concerned, they needed to do what is only natural.

Obstruction of potty time

The important thing to know is that when a dog is forced to hold their potty for extended periods, it can cause physical damage to their body.

A dog that can’t potty will often avoid eating or drinking as well, resulting in dehydration and malnutrition. If your dog isn’t eating, it could be because they are sick, but it is often due to constipation. Rawhide bones have a tendency to build up in the intestines, causing blockages. If they can’t potty for long periods, it can result in an impacted colon, requiring laxatives or even surgery to remove and repair the damage.

The bladder is something completely different. A bladder infection, or cystitis, is an inflammation of the bladder due to bacterial or fungal infection. When your dog is forced to hold their urine for extended periods, it gives the urine time to build bacteria. Resulting infections can occur which will only cause your dog to need to potty more frequently until treated properly.

Give them an option if you can’t be there to provide the opportunity. If you spend long hours away from home, consider an indoor litter box so they can potty at their own leisure. This will help keep them from overwhelming their body or even secretly eliminating behind the couch.

Some dogs can hold it in for a long time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay for them to. Take care of your dog properly and make sure they stay happy and healthy.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Puppy Swimming Lessons

Jul 27, 2012

Tips for dog owners who want to take their dogs swimming

Not all dogs naturally know how to swim, and it is up to you to teach them for safety’s sake. Expecting them to be able to handle themselves in an aquatic situation can be dangerous, especially if you have a pool or visit lakes or rivers during camping trips with your canine companion.

So, how exactly do you teach your dog to swim? While they quickly learn how to stay afloat, it is crucial that you target a few specific points and techniques to ensure their safety and make the experience fun for them. After all, fun is the best teaching tool of all.

For most owners, getting them adjusted to the water is a good start. You don’t want them to panic when they enter a water environment (river, lake, pool, or even canoeing) because they can easily get confused. So, how old should a puppy be before they begin any kind of swimming lessons? Generally, it’s good to start early, around seven months, to get them accustomed to a water environment. It’s good for safety purposes, just in case they fall into a swimming pool or get excited and jump in (dogs are renowned for their desire to save their friends and will often jump in to try to save you if you’re in the pool).

Teaching your dog to doggy-paddle

You may want to start with a doggy pool. They’re inexpensive and are great for cooling them off during the hot summer months. In a shallow environment, they’ll be able to move around in the water without being afraid.

Once accustomed to getting wet, it’s time for swimming lessons. Don’t just put them in the pool. There are some handy tools, such as pool ramps, that give your dog a boost out of the water. This is mainly because dogs cannot climb out of a pool like we can. Just keep in mind that swimming can be disorienting for them, and knowing their exit point is important. Dogs can panic, so be careful that they don’t pull you down or scratch you.

Place them in the pool at their exit point and allow them to get a feel for the water environment. Then you should guide them around the pool and have them follow you. At the end of the lesson, guide them back to the exit and let them get out on their own.

Precautions when swimming

Protecting yourself is just as important. Wear a shirt and shorts that will cover your torso and legs. Dogs can easily scratch you with their nails, especially when they’re paddling or even panicking. It is likely that first time swimmers will want to grab on to you for safety, so this can save you from unnecessary nicks and scratches.

This brings up the importance of hygiene. Something to consider before introducing your dog into a pool is your dog’s nails. Many people know how much it hurts when they stub their toe or hand when swimming or just getting out of the pool. Dogs are just as susceptible, and can easily crack or shatter a nail, which could easily become infected. This is where additional tools like the doggy ramp can help out.

You must also be cautious about a pool environment, since chlorine can be hard on their eyes or dangerous to ingest. Sometimes it’s not good for them even to just inhale it. Consider the use of a salt-purified pool. Salt actually makes the water denser and things in it more buoyant (so your dog will find it easier to float) and is softer on their skin and eyes. Keep in mind that their fur can be hard on your pool filters, so don’t be surprised if you have to clean your filters more often.

Swimming lessons for your dog

There are of course a range of doggy swimming training facilities available to help train your dog. Because this is all about safety, there are a few questions to ask before you enlist in any classes. How will they train your dog? Do they teach through positive reinforcement or through discipline? How you train your dog will affect their outlook and attitude towards water. What safety precautions do they take? Is their pool a safe environment and dog-friendly? Consider that it is also important that trainers be aware of the risks of an aquatic environment and are able to take measures to ensure your dog’s complete safety (such as resuscitation). Then consider what type of environment they will be in. Remember that chlorine pools can quickly irritate their eyes.

As your dog’s owner and protector, it is up to you to ensure their safety at all times. Though we do not always think about how dangerous a pool can be to our dog, it is important to understand that without proper training, your companion could injure themselves or even someone else if they don’t know how to swim safely.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Dog Behavior Modification Takes Consistency

May 11, 2012

Everyone wants their dogs to behave. They take the time to train them and teach them the basics, like potty training. But there is a step beyond training. This is called behavior modification and it is the basis on which training is best developed.

Behavior modification is an extremely valuable tool that helps both dogs and their owners, providing a platform in which a dog can easily learn and develop future skills. The only problem is that behavior modification demands consistency, or else it will become counterproductive to the process. If you begin teaching using an outside source such as a trainer and then take them home and contradict or neglect what they’ve learned, your dog won’t be able to learn properly.

Continuing the behavior modification process

The first and most effective lesson you can learn is the act of teaching your dog how to learn. This process is simple, but provides the basis by which all other training is done. From here, it is your job, regardless of whether you have a trainer or not, to constantly solidify your dog’s teachings. Always start by isolating them from distraction. If they receive outside communication, even if another person is trying to help, it can confuse your dog and distract him from the lesson. Your own house is ideal for this, since the outdoors can produce numerous sounds and scents, and a new environment can be confusing and more interesting all on its own.

An ongoing experience

Even though you may be using an outside professional trainer, it is imperative that you continue the work that is being done. Like a student coming home from school, there is always homework that needs to be done and discipline that is required. Spend time affirming what they’ve been taught. Remember that young puppies can easily get bored or frustrated, so you may consider including games in the learning process.

Rewards are something should be given when they are deserved. This is one of the biggest problems in contradicting the learning process. Owners are renowned for giving their dogs treats, like rawhide or toys, without reason. While it may seem that a dog would definitely deserve it (they are the epitome of affection), it is definitely a contradiction to the behavioral training process. Rather than simply giving your dog a treat, have them give you full attention prior to giving it. Don’t be fooled by their supposed attention when they may likely have their attention targeted towards the treat. Have them “see” you first. You can confirm this by offering a variable command (change it every time so they don’t get used to one). When they succeed, give them the treat.

Behavior is forever

The reason these techniques must be practiced consistently is because dogs are renowned for developing habits. If you tell your dog to “sit” every time, they will always sit when you speak. This is a habit you’ve trained into them. While repetition is essential to mastery, you must include variables into the education process.

It is recommended that a quality training experience last no longer than fifteen minutes at a time. These increments should be scattered periodically throughout the day. During these training periods, incorporate a different task to learn each time or your dog may develop a habit out of the command.

This process helps to develop a dependency on you, rather than simply a reaction. This is the process of teaching to learn. While it may seem simple, it is the basic structure that helps your dog develop behavior modification in a positive light.

Training your dog to perform tasks is slightly different from behavioral training. When your dog develops the right behavior, training is as simple as instruction. This is where behavior modification plays an essential role in dog development. While classes and personal instruction can help, it is vital that you continue teaching your dog how to act and learn.

In order for your dog to succeed, you must be willing to teach and your dog must be willing to learn. This is a fact shared between every teacher and student. Behavior modification helps your dog learn how to learn for the rest of their life. But it takes the persistence and dedication of a good teacher to remain consistent during the process.

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Steps to Control Dog Aggression

Apr 20, 2012

Something that we don’t often consider about dogs is that we don’t necessarily know what they’re thinking. One minute, they’ll be running, jumping, and licking your hand. But in a split second, they can decide that they want to fight a fellow playmate, or even worse, a person.

For instance, my border collie often fights with my friend’s basset hound (separating them is a challenge of its own). At first, I couldn’t figure out why, but then it struck me. The two dogs played wonderfully together when no one was around (I was watching through the window). They often sleep next to each other, and even chase one another through the yard while they play. But, when my friend or I approach to pet one or the other, they get mad at each other: A hint of jealousy perhaps, but it is difficult to understand exactly what they were thinking. Regardless, it has made interaction between the two decline to a very limited basis.

This raises the question of dogs and their aggression. Whether you’re visiting the local dog park or just over at a friend’s house to enjoy some company, dogs can sporadically become aggressive, and the worst part is that you may not even know when it will happen.

Protecting you

One of the most common stimuli of aggression is when a dog senses danger. Now, keep in mind that many owners have their dogs for that exact reason- to protect. They have the instinctive nature to love you and the unbreakable desire to protect you from harm. When out and about, another dog may want to simply explore or even meet you. But, to your dog, they may appear to be trying to do harm to you. They don’t always know the difference.

This is why socialization is imperative to a dog’s development. When you meet new dogs, familiarize yourself with both dogs at the same time. Pet them both, while restraining them both, along with your fellow dog owner. This definitely needs to be a group effort.

Mine! Mine! Mine!

Now, that brings about another important topic for dog aggression. Who’s in my space? Bedding, food, and even toys are all “mine” to a dog. The den, as a dog would know, is a private sanctuary where they have the desire and need to feel safe at all times. When another dog intrudes, even if they are harmless, it can raise aggression to dangerous levels.

Keep in mind that your dogs need to meet on neutral grounds. Territorial invasion is amongst your dog’s dislikes. So, it is in your dog’s best interests to always be introduced to another away from their own territory, such as in a park.

Unfortunately, aggression can be difficult to spot until it’s too late, which brings about the subject of spreading the aggressors apart. NEVER get between them. That is a definite “don’t do” interaction. You can be bitten or injured in the attempt. One of the safest and possibly best ways to stop a fight is to utilize water. It’s harmless to anybody, and definitely cools down a situation. How you dispense it is up to your intuitive thoughts.

Dog aggression and people

An uncommon, but dangerous issue is when a dog shows aggression to others. This can be dangerous, but it’s also important for any dog owner to be able to tell the difference between wanting to play (such as chasing a jogger or playing child) and attempts to intimidate or attack another person.

Do keep in mind that dogs are very protective of you, their loving owner, but it is also your job to protect those around you from your dog’s protective instincts. Perhaps the best way to introduce a new person is to positively interact with them. You may find your dog barking at first, attempting to scare an intruder away (especially when they ring the doorbell), but if you simply shake hands and act in a friendly manner, your dog can pick up on your attitude in the situation. A friendly handshake is always good. You may avoid hugging, though, since it may be taken as an attack. Instead, restrain your dog and allow them to watch while you interact with another person. Keep in mind that sniffing and inspecting are important before acceptance.

With small children, this can be difficult. Many times, youngsters may pull hair, ears, or even tails, causing pain to a dog. They may correct the child as they would their own pup, by nipping or biting. Because of the extreme danger that can present, if you have young children in the presence of your dog, avoid unsupervised situations where this can happen. Dogs are very curious creatures (even more so than cats), but children are much more, so take preventative measures to ensure that curiosity doesn’t get the better of either.

Dogs are very protective creatures. Some are aggressive, while others are passive, but we must always remember that they are our friends. So, it is up to us dog lovers and owners to help teach and prevent situations in which a dog might feel obligated to become aggressive. When you do this, you construct a happy, perfect home for your beloved pet.

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Help Your Dog Learn not to Bite

Apr 18, 2012

One of the many problems that dog owners face is the biting issue. Sure, a puppy nibbling on your finger may be cute and just tickle a little, but as a dog gets older, biting can really become a serious problem. Many dog owners realize the danger that a dog bite can present- both to people and the dog. A dog bite raises more than just an issue with harm or danger. There is also the concern that if a dog bites someone else, you and your dog may be in trouble- legally.

Needless to say, biting isn’t only harmful, but dangerous. But why is it that dogs bite? Mostly, it’s often derived because your puppy and other puppies and dogs will play by biting and nipping at each other. When one becomes too rough, the others are quick to correct the other. This helps them learn the appropriate levels of biting. Unfortunately, when a puppy leaves their mother and fellow “playmates” to live with you, they don’t necessarily have that instinctive advantage of learning not to bite.

An opportunity to learn

Because your dog commonly only experiences mainly you and what you teach them, it’s up to you to correct this biting tendency in your puppy. Keep in mind that regardless of some old fashioned techniques like biting their ears or having to resort to other physical discipline, this may not be at all necessary. Rather it has to do with the way you treat them and the example you set early in their life.

The first step for any young dog is proper socialization. The most opportune time to begin socialization is around or before three months of age. During this time period, dogs develop the primary habits that will ultimately carry over into the rest of their lives.

Socialization includes a wide range of interactions. You will want them to encounter and experience other adults, children, and even dogs. During this process, many young puppies will be either very shy, or else aggressive. They may play, they might even retreat, but eventually, they will get used to the idea that there is more than just you and them in the world. This understanding helps to eliminate their fear of an unfamiliar face.

During the interaction, it is imperative your dog doesn’t become accustomed to biting. This applies to biting both humans and other dogs as well. Many young puppies are teething, and will chew on just about anything to relieve the irritation that goes along with this. While young puppy bites aren’t usually harmful because they aren’t fully grown, they can be regarded as “cute” or “it’s okay” by others, even children. But, it’s not okay at all. If your dog is chewing or nibbling on hands, feet, or even clothing, stop them, and instead take a step in a different direction.

This means that you should be providing appropriate toys to curb their biting desires. Chew toys, ropes, tennis balls, and even treats all help teach a dog when and what they should be biting on. Even as they get older, the need to chew and bite is often a reflex to the need to help scrub their teeth, so be sure that you provide them with that opportunity so they won’t be nibbling on your favorite pair of shoes.

Dogs will be dogs

Consider that dogs will always be dogs. They play, tackle, and even nip and bite each other. But fighting shouldn’t be allowed. During socialization, dogs learn a lot from you and their peers, including when biting is appropriate, and when it is too much. That’s why socializing with other dogs at an early stage is crucial to developing non-biting habits. During their interaction, other dogs will quickly alert their playmate that they are being too rough. Not to worry, because often times it is simply a yelp to alert them that they’ve been injured or sensed pain.

You can even practice the alert sounds, because if your dog bites you, even just a nip, yelp like you’ve been injured and play the part. You’d be surprised at how often your friend will instantly stop because they don’t want to hurt you. They may just be trying to play.

The experience with you

You need to be ready to stop your dog from biting. Don’t let young puppies chew on fingers, hands, or even your clothing. Even if you think it’s okay for them to bite you, it can definitely confuse them during their experience with others. By starting your dog off with some socialization skills and by giving them something that’s okay to bite, you can prevent them from biting anybody or anything they shouldn’t put their mouths on. After all, you don’t know where they’ve been.

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How Do You Get Your Dog To Eat From One Bowl?

Mar 21, 2012

One of the troubles of having multiple dogs is feeding time. Once the food hits the bowl, you immediately hear the sound of paws and claws rushing towards the source. But, it’s not the eating that usually concerns the owner- it’s what happens around the dinner bowl. Fights, overeating, and even intimidation may all take place during this favored moment of a dog’s day.

Unfortunately, this means that there are various scenarios that can take place when it comes to feeding two or more dogs at the same time. One dog may decide that they want all the food to himself, finishing their bowl and diving in for seconds out of another’s bowl. Another problem is that one dog may decide that all the food should be his- through aggression or force, causing fear and intimidation amongst his companions. Owners would want their dogs to just get along, sharing and enjoying their own food without concern for the other but that isn’t always the case.

Separate Meal Times

One of the best options is to separate your dogs. Because dogs can become physical during the eating process (snarling or biting the other), separating them may be necessary to provide a safe environment for everyone. After all, one bowl and two dogs can become a problem when everyone is hungry.

This doesn’t mean you need multiple food bowls or territory. In fact, it can be beneficial to feed every dog from the same bowl. The first problem that arises is deciding who to feed first. Here, there is the concern about “dominance” theories, but it really shouldn’t affect your decision on who eats first. Instead, you may think about your older dogs first (age before youth). You can also go so far as letting them share their feeding times. Alternating feeding times (One feeds first on Monday, but second on Tuesday) will give each of your dogs a fair share of the feeding process.

Feeding the dogs is another thing entirely. Because there may be trouble if one dog spots something tasty that they want, they will likely invade and take over the meal. With this in mind, it is often important to separate the dogs entirely while they are eating. Only one food source should be available to your dogs to enforce eating habits and training. Select a single room (kitchen or other selected room) where your dogs will eat. When it comes time for one dog to eat, keep them in that room until they are done eating. Then it will be time for the other dogs to eat. This will prevent any trouble at the food bowl.

Another handy trick that you can take advantage of is training. Dogs know that they will get something for nothing if you give it to them unconditionally (the exemption is love). So, before you feed them, you may include commands that designate their name and what they are supposed to do before you fill their bellies. This gives the added advantage of a distraction-free environment. Your other dogs won’t be yipping and eager to interfere in the process. For a multiple-dog owner, this can be an event that will provide the exact atmosphere you need to properly train each dog. You can also use this time to separate who gets to eat when. This will enforce who eats first without causing trouble amongst your dogs.

After Feeding

After feeding poses another problem for the dog owner. A dog that doesn’t eat all of their food will leave some leftovers. Perhaps they may want to come back for more later or they just weren’t as hungry today. Equal portions are an important part of feeding. You don’t want other dogs happening upon some extras in the food bowl when it isn’t their turn to eat. This can lead to overeating or even secondary fights when one discovers that the other is eating their leftovers. When it isn’t feeding time, be sure you remove the food and the bowl from their access. This is a sign to designate that feeding time is over. It will help them develop a sense of feeding time and prevent other problems in the future.

Eating is a big part of a dog’s life (hopefully it isn’t your shoes). Handling this fact amongst multiple dogs presents another challenge for dog owners. But with care and patience, you can assure that each of your dogs is fairly treated and gets their share of food each day.

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Setting Goals For Your Dog

Jan 6, 2012

Much like people, pups can have goals as well. Well, I guess lazing around on your pillow might be amongst them, but we’re talking about the goal of good behavior. When you’re teaching your pup the proper way to act in your home, or just working on a few basic tricks to impress your friends, we have to spend time with our four-legged friends and set some goals for them achieve.

Training session

Contrary to what you might think, the shorter the training period, the more your pup will usually absorb. Because pups often have short attention spans and quite frankly would rather have fun, long training sessions can actually be counterproductive to learning. A short time period of about five minutes should be the longest you will want to continuously work on a single subject. During that time, start with your command and continue to reinforce it. Your pup may be confused at first, and a little guidance may be needed (holding your pup in place for “stay,” or laying them down to put them into the lay position). Although the time period seems short, it isn’t limited to once a day. Work with your pup at different times of the day, and give constant reminders by always utilizing your commands. While the lesson may be short, learning is done throughout their experiences during the day.

Small goals

Set small goals for you and your pup, and don’t try to achieve everything in one day. There’s a lot to learn, and if you burn them out and make learning a boring part of the day, they may not even want to listen to you. They’ll just look at you and bark, “Well, you’re no fun at all.” If you’re going to keep your pup’s attention, you need to set small learning goals during which they learn a little at a time. These goals gradually work up to the ultimate goal of good behavior.

These goals need to be steady and habitual. Set certain times each day during which you and your pup will spend time learning good behavior. Teaching a pup good behavior is like teaching them a habit. They may learn to sit today, but if you don’t continuously enforce that skill each day, they won’t make a habit of learning that’s what their supposed to do.

If you have trouble with organizing your day, or keeping track of when puppy school starts, go ahead and make a schedule. Whether it’s added into your daily planner, or you may even put your smart phone to use and set a few alarms to remind you. It’ll help you maintain the goal of working with your pup, and your pup will be able to make a habit of getting a good education.

Treat with fun

When teaching your pup, entertainment is a must. If they don’t enjoy the experience, they won’t want to do it. Make learning a treat in itself. The situation is positive for your pup, and they’ll actually want to learn good behaviors. One way to teach a pup to “stay” is to incorporate their playtime into the mix. While you’re playing a good game of tug-o-war, use your “stay” command during the game and stop playing. They may want to continue, but you just ignore them and continue to use the command until they settle down. Then use your “release” command and begin playing again. It will take time to solidify the knowledge, but it’s a process that you have to continuously work on. And the best part is that it’s fun for your pup. The learning itself becomes a game rather than school.

Making the experience fun means that you want to refrain from doing anything that would upset them during this process. Rather than scold or yell, ignore them until they are successful. If you start shouting, they may get confused or become irritated with you. When the student isn’t enjoying the class, they won’t pay attention. When you don’t pay attention, you won’t learn a thing.

Setting goals for both you and your pup keeps your pup learning at a steady pace. Rather than dump all of that puppy knowledge on your dog in a few short hours, you set a good learning pace to ensure a fun learning environment. Properly training your pup takes time. Spend a little time with them each day, and eventually you’ll find that your pup was a clever rascal after all.

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Puppy Training Party

Dec 23, 2011

When your four-legged friend first enters your life, we know how important it is to train them properly. Aside from potty training, we need to influence their behaviors to help them become as likeable to others as they are to us. Of course, few couldn’t help but adore your pup’s wagging tail, but your pup isn’t always up for talking to strangers (and you didn’t even have to tell him). During a pup’s early months, the relationship they build with other people will affect how they will behave when out in public.

This leads us to the puppy training party. This is a positive situation that will help your pup adjust to people. Not all dogs are naturally friendly with everyone, which is why it is important to introduce them to others at an early age.

What this party is begins with a few friends of yours. Family members can join in, but make sure that you have a few new faces and hands that your pup can familiarize with. Since you want to express individuality, have your friends dress very differently, such as hats and purses of various kinds. This helps your pup associate with the style and looks of many different people.

A place to party

Choose a place that is neutral to your pup. You don’t want them in defense mode as they try to protect their den and family from intruders. Best place to start may be a unoccupied park (not a dog park with distractions) or out in your yard where things are familiar, but not necessarily territorial. Another thing to remember is that everything should be well lit. You don’t want anybody in the shadows where they may appear intimidating to your pup. This should allow your pup to meet his new friends without wanting to play the instinctive guard dog (plus it gives everyone some room to play and interact).

Party manners

Now keep in mind that some basic training skills will help the situation strongly. Pawing or jumping up on people shouldn’t be allowed at the party. The purpose here is to socialize and teach your pup proper manners around groups of other people. Even if they are happy to meet these people, they shouldn’t be allowed to jump upon them out of eagerness for a treat. You may confirm this by ignoring them, rather than punishing them or pushing them down, especially since you want your pup to develop a positive relationship with people.

Time to party

When your guests do arrive, it’s important to avoid a mass of hands seeking a hold of that furry rascal. Introductions should be one at time. Go about this by putting your pup’s instincts to work. Have each person hand-feed some regular dog food to your pup when introduced. It teaches your pup that hands are friends and shouldn’t be attacked or bitten. As your pup becomes more familiar with each person, they can gently touch and pet, starting with the collar area. Try to avoid places where your pup can’t see what their hands are doing. Make sure you avoid anybody using intimidating actions towards your pup. Most pups don’t like it if you cover their eyes (if you’re trying to pet their head from an elevated position) or touch their hindquarters when they aren’t looking. Keep every action clearly visible to your pup to avoid startling them. The last thing you want to do is scare your pup during his party.

One thing to keep in mind is not to force your pup to allow someone he does not seem to like, for instance- if he is growling and cowering profusely, since it will only leave them despising the person or persons. Wait until your pup is ready to get comfortable with them, not the other way around. Take things slow until everyone is ready to have fun. After all, it is their party.

It is important for your pup to socialize at an early age, or they may end up with behavioral problems later down the road. Throw a puppy training party for your faithful friend to ensure that they get along with others as well as they do with you. With the help of some good friends, your pup can learn to appreciate more than just you and your family.

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