Training Tips

Handy tips for you and your dog

10 Tips for Stress-Free Travel with Your Dog!

Bringing your dog on your summer vacation? Want him to enjoy it as much as you do? Here are ten travel tips for stress-free travel with your pup!   Read More at Smart Animal Training

How to Introduce Your Dog to Your Baby: Myth vs. Reality

You’ve mastered pet parenting, but now it’s time for the human kind. Your little bundle of joy is on the way, and you might be worried about how your dog or dogs will react. We’re separating myth from reality with California trainer and founder of Pawtopia Dog Training, Colleen Demling, who gives us the top tips for introducing your baby to your dog. Read More on Rover.com...

Finding the right dog trainer

Finding the right dog trainer What many people don’t know is that anyone can call themselves a dog trainer or behaviorist because there is no government regulated national school or certification. Many  organizations provide certification that sounds official but these “titles” are only as good as the program itself. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between a professional dog trainer and one who just happens to like dogs. Before deciding on a specific class or trainer, pet-owners should consider the following 7 tips: Do a reference check – Ask where the person got their education, who they mentored with, and the last time they were at a conference. Be weary of “certifications”. Even though there are some wonderful organizations that test and certify trainers, many on-line schools will also certify a trainer after they have completed a simple on-line course. The only independently verified certification organization is the Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers. Any trainer that takes the time to become a CPDT, takes their profession seriously. The voice of experience – How many hours of hands-on dog training experience does the person have? This is important. It’s easy to read a few books and say you are a dog trainer, but without extensive hands on experience, you don’t know if the person is really able to observe, assess and modify dog behavior. Please make sure your trainer has at least 3 years professional experience and over 1500 hours of hands on training. Reputation is everything – Ask to speak to former clients. Ask these clients if they enjoyed the class and if their dog showed improvement. These testimonials are often the best...

How to exercise with your dog

How to exercise with your dog If you are a dog owner into fitness and health, you know that your fury friend can be costly. In fact, over a 13 year lifespan, adding in various expenses, your animal will cost you between $20,000 – $80,000 depending on the size. Much of that money is invested into health and emergency care costs, that’s why it’s so important to keep your pet healthy and fit. To help get you and your pup in shape: Talk To Your Veterinarian While most dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day, no one form of workout is right for every dog so talk to your veterinarian before starting their exercise regimen. Make sure your vet educates you on the signs of exhaustion or overheating. If your pooch pants excessively or hyperventilates, his tongue and gums turn brick red, or he can’t keep up and stands or lies listlessly, stop exercising and seek immediate veterinary care. These may be signs of a heat stroke, which is potentially fatal. Doggie Paddle With Your Pooch Not only is swimming fun and a great work out for both of you, its great for dogs with arthritis as well as dogs with short noses that are not efficient for breathing. Taking a dip in the cool water can help overcome heat exhaustion that’s caused by exertion. Interval Walking and Jogging Dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes per week whereas people without dogs walk about 168 minutes. Take longer walks a day and if your dog is healthy enough try adding a few sprints in between to boost their metabolism as well...

How to keep your dog from barking in the backyard

How to keep your dog from barking in the backyard The first step in alleviating the barking is to make sure your dog is properly exercised and entertained. Many people assume that because a dog is in a backyard, it means he will exercise himself or find productive things to do with his time. This isn’t the case. Even dogs with large back yards need to walked or run at least 60 minutes everyday. Additionally, make sure to provide your pup with proper and engaging toys such as food cubes and bones to chew. If your dog is tired and has toys to engage him, he will be less likely to bark when he hears your neighbor. Second, make sure you aren’t reinforcing your dogs barking. Often, when dogs start barking, their owners start yelling from the house for them to be quiet. Guess what the dog thinks? The owners barking with him AND he is getting more attention then he was when he was quiet. So, to the dog, barking must be a really great thing! Instead, make sure to periodically go outside and praise your dog when he is being quiet. Additionally, spend time in the yard when he may hear the people and noises that he barks at. As soon as you hear the noise and BEFORE he starts barking, praise him and give him a yummy treat. He will soon learn that being quiet is the way to get treats and attention. Third, since barking when he hears people near and/or passing your property is normal behavior for a dog, it is important that you to teach your dog how to stop barking on command....

Keeping your dog from begging for table scraps

Keeping your dog from begging for table scraps Start by discouraging others from feeding him from the table. It not only reinforces his behavior but some human food can actually be dangerous for pups. Even if you are giving him meat, the butter, oil and spices we often use during cooking can upset his stomach. However, we understand that it may be harder to train your guests (or kids!) then your dog so if you think people won’t listen to the “No Table Scraps” rule, we suggest putting a small bowl on the table. Any time someone looks into his sweet face and wants to give him a little snack, they can instead put that piece in the bowl. When the meal is done and the dishes are put away, you can then put the dog safe contents from the bowl into his dog dish. This makes the guests happy and wont’ reinforce your pup’s begging. Second, teach your dog to go a dog bed or blanket on command. To do this, put him on leash and lead him to his bed. As soon as his entire body is on the bed, say “Bed” to mark the behavior, and then reward with a treat and praise. Keep your dog on the bed until you release them with the word “Ok”. If he leaves the bed before being release, Say NO and gently lead him back onto the bed. Slowly build up the time he has to stay on the bed until he can comfortably lay there for extended periods of time both on and off leash. To increase his desire to perform this command sprinkle his favorite...

Keep your dog from chewing on everything in your home

Keep your dog from chewing on everything in your home Most dogs chew because they are bored. In order to fix the chewing, we have to fix the boredom. The dog should have his current exercise program increased by at least 30 minutes and make sure his toys are being rotated so he doesn’t get bored of the toys he has and start to chew on things he shouldn’t.   Also, make sure to buy several different types of bones and chew items since some dogs prefer to chew on a squeaky toy while others prefer an antler. As a result it is important to find out what a dog really enjoys. Make sure that the dog also has access to several interactive toys such as food cubes and Kongs. Additionally, if a dog tends to chew a certain type of material when being destructive (Fabric? Plastic? Wood?) try to find a toy with similar texture. Another great game to teach dogs that chew or show other types of behaviors due to boredom is the Find It game. Find It is when we teach the dogs to search for things we have hid for them. This game is both mentally and physically stimulating. Start with a treat, ball or other favorite item. Put the treat on the floor and say Find It as he eats the treat. Then place a treat behind a chair (with the dog still watching) and say Find It. When the dog does, praise him as he eats the treat. Place another treat around the corner of a wall and say “Find it.” Encourage the dog to find it and if he has trouble, point...

How becoming a dog trainer has changed my life

People ask me all the time about my career as a dog trainer; “You are so lucky that you get to play with puppies all day!” “You get to be outside and around animals? How amazing!” “You must meet so many adorable dogs!” Yes, I am lucky, VERY lucky. Being outside in the California sun is the best office in the world and my phone is FULL of pictures of adorable dogs. But this career has taught me so much more then how to train a pup to behave. It goes deeper then that. It has taught me how to be a better person and how to better the world around me. Most of the issues I see between dogs and owners are a simple case of miscommunication. The dog is trying to say one thing; the owner is hearing another, and visa versa. Most dogs aren’t trying to be “bad”, neither is our boss, friend, or partner. Everyone is dealing with their own reality and reacting in the way they think is best. Very little that is done to us is personal. The dog didn’t destroy the your favorite chair because he was mad or getting even but because he was scared, anxious and nervous. The person who cut you off in traffic isn’t trying to be rude, his wife was just diagnosed with cancer and he is rushing to be by her side or someone cut him off earlier in the day and he is still carrying that anger. It’s NOT personal. Thus, the first step in changing any behavior is learning how to have compassion and...

Getting dogs to stop pulling on their leash

Learning how to walk properly on leash will not only help to teach your dog good manners but it will save you from a sore back and arms! Equipment-Before you get started, you want to make sure that your have the right equipment. Any dog that weighs less than 30 pounds or puppies of any size under 5 months of age, should wear a harness (preferably a No Pull Harness) when out on a walk. This is because small dogs can injure their neck if they pull excessively on a collar. Young puppies are excited to explore their new world so they often run back and forth on the leash, suddenly pull in a direction or stop quickly to smell something. If they are on a regular collar, these sudden movements could also accidently hurt their growing neck. All other dogs can use regular or training collars but make sure to consult with a professional trainer before putting your dog on a prong collar. Set Him Up For Success– Learning how to walk on a loose leash is very difficult for dogs since they are often so stimulated by all of the other things in the environment that they can see, hear, and smell. As a result, when you are first teaching this skill, make sure to set your dog up for success by having him learn in a quiet environment first. For example, walk in the middle of the driveway and practice your skills before you walk next to the grass. Or make sure your pup is capable of behaving in a quiet environment before you take him...

How to prepare your dog for moving

Moving to a new place can be nerve-racking for your pooch because he is suddenly in a different environment with new smells, sounds, and people. However, a few simple tricks will help him settle into his new home quickly! Moving Day-The day the moving truck come is stressful for people so imagine what it is like for your dog. To help make moving day easy for him, make sure that he is locked in a spare room with his favorite toys, at doggy daycare, or out for the day with a trusted friend. Unpack Fido’s stuff first-We want to make sure that your dog understands that this is now home so unpack his toys, bed, food and dishes right away. Make sure that his things are in the same area as they were at your old home. For example, if the dog bed was in the master bedroom then put it in the master bedroom again. Meet the neighbors-Your new home and the surrounding area are filled with different smells and people. Take Fido out for a walk and let him explore this new area. Give him extra time to sniff and investigate so he becomes familiar with his new neighborhood. Keep him on leash during these outings so he doesn’t try to run away and go back to his old home. Update his information-Make sure that Fido is wearing a tag with your new phone number and address. Don’t forget to update his micro chipped information too! Finally, if you have decided to take Fido to a new vet, make an appointment for a wellness check so you...

Teaching your dog to trust you

It is extremely important to teach your puppy that you can handle and restrain him. This will not only prevent problem behaviors, like not allowing you to clip their nails, but it also teaches your puppy to trust you. All responsible family members should practice handling the puppy so he is comfortable with everyone in his life. Start gradually with each of these exercises, increasing the time each day in small increments. Cradling– Gently roll the puppy onto his back and hold him there if you can. It is sometimes easier to sit on the floor with the puppy between your outstretched legs. If the puppy will not allow you to manipulate him gently on to his back, please get assistance from a trainer before continuing. Talk softly but confidently to him. As long as he is calm, pet and praise him. End on a positive point and do not push a pup past his comfort level. Preparing Your Dog for the Vet– Most dogs aren’t restrained until they go to the vet for a shot or a check up. This can make the whole experience stressful for the dog (and you) as he struggles to get away. Instead, restrain your puppy like the vet would, give him a body hug, or gently hold his muzzle closed. Start by holding him for only a second and then giving him a treat. Slowly increase the time.  This will teach him that being restrained is a good thing and it will allow him to be easily handled by the vet in a case of emergency. Preventing Body Sensitivity– Some dogs develop...

Preparing your dog for the dog park

Dog parks can be a great way to socialize and exercise your dog but they can also be extremely dangerous since dog fights are common. To help minimize your risk and increase the enjoyment of the neighborhood dog park, follow the steps below. Most importantly, make sure your dog likes the dog park! Some dogs, like some people, would prefer to relax in their neighborhood instead of going to a crowded restaurant (or in your pup’s situation, a dog park) with a bunch of strangers! Make sure your dog is under voice control. This means that he must come to you when called and stop doing a behavior when told “No”. If you don’t have this basic control then you will have no way to help him if he gets into a dangerous situation. When you get to the parking lot, take a few minutes to observe the dogs and people in the park. If you are uncomfortable for any reason…LEAVE. Take your dog off leash before he enters the park. This will give him a greater ability to get away from trouble if it erupts but it will also help him to feel more comfortable. Move away from the gate as quickly as possible. The gate is the main area where dog fights start because dogs that are already there try to prevent new arrivals from entering. Don’t hang out with large groups of people. Lots of people go to the park to socialize. They sit around one table or stand in one area. As a result, the dogs cluster in this space so there is a greater...

Flying with your dog

Summer vacation is here and now, many airlines will allow you to take your small pup with you on the plane. To make sure this trip is successful for everyone, follow these tips: Check Ahead- Each airline has different requirements for pet travel from what sort of health certificate a pet needs, if any, to the size of the crate they allow, to how many pets can be on the plane at one time. Thoroughly investigate each airline to see what flight is the best fit for you AND your pet. Once you make a decision, book as far in advance as possible to secure your spot. Getting Ready– Even if your pet is use to being in a crate, they may not be comfortable with the smaller crates that most airlines require. Buy the crate that you will use when you fly at least 3-4 weeks before your trip. Give your pet time to eat, nap, and relax in the crate. This will help the trip be as stress free as possible for your pet AND you. Pack the Essentials- When you pack your bag, pack a bag for your pet too including a copy of vaccines records, extra medication, food, treats, and a favorite toy. Make sure that the information on the ID tag and microchip are also up to date. Airport Etiquette- Pets should fast 4-6 hours before a flight and potty right before they go to into the airport. If you have a multi-leg flight, check ahead to see if the airports you are traveling through have pet potty areas and if so what terminals...

How to housebreak an older dog

The first and most important thing you should teach your new pup is where he should go when he has to potty. Remember that, even if a pup is housebroken, it doesn’t mean he knows where to go at your house or how to get his potty routine in line with your schedule. To help him be successful, and save your rugs, follow these tips: Patience and Understanding. When your new dog has an accident in the house, that is exactly what it is, an accident. He isn’t trying to ruin your things on purpose. He isn’t mad at you. He isn’t being spiteful. He is just confused. If you get mad at him, yell, or rub his nose in it, it will only make the issue worse.  Show him where to go. For the first month your new dog is home, take him out the same door every time he goes potty. If you take him out multiple doors he will never know where he should go to let you know he has to potty. Go outside with him so you can praise him lavishly when he does potty. If you just send him out, he may pee, but without feedback from you, he will not know if he is on the right track. Confine for Success. Even though you may want to give your dog unlimited access to his new home, you will better set him up for potty success if you confine him in a crate or other small room when you can’t watch him. Dogs won’t general have accidents in small spaces so he will...

Keeping your dog from biting

For many dog lovers, it may be hard to face the fact that each year more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs. Although a dog may be man’s best friend, every animal is capable of biting when feeling threatened or provoked. Canines are everywhere in today’s world, and some are friendlier than others. It’s important for both pet parents and non-pet owners to have a basic understanding of raising a dog, their behaviors, and how to prevent bites from happening. Protect and Educate Children Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are more likely to be bitten by a dog than any other age group. As a parent, it’s important to teach children on how to behave around pets. Studies have found that the number-one dog-bite prevention measures are through education. Small children often move around quickly and could play rough with their furry family member. For instance, ear pulling, skin pinching, or tail tugging MUST be off limits. A child who invades a dog’s territory has a greater chance of getting bitten. The main cause of aggression in a dog stems from territorial behavior. It’s important to teach children to never tease or disturb a dog that’s sleeping, eating or protecting something. Explain to a child that face-to-face contact or hugging could make their animal friend feel uncomfortable. Instead, scratch the dog gently on the neck or chest. Be sure to set strict rules with a child. For instance, always ask a dog’s owner for permission before petting. Both adults and children should follow this basic rule. Reinforce to children that if...

Crate training your dog

I just adopted my new beagle, Beau. I want to crate train him. Is that the right thing to do? How do I do it? Many people object to using crates because they think it is unfair to their dog. However dogs, by nature, LOVE small spaces that they can call their own. Plus, crates give us the tools necessary to teach our dogs proper manners by helping with potty training and preventing destructive behavior like chewing. Below are the steps to take to make your pup’s crate his happy place. The Perfect Home There are a variety of crates available for dogs. The durable plastic “airline” approved plastic crates work best since they provide a “den like” environment. Plus a dog is less likely to get a claw or paw stuck, compared to the all wire crate. The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around and stretch out comfortably. If you have a young puppy you may need to get a crate that just allows the dog to turn around and stand up. If the crate is too large, the puppy may have accidents. Party Place The key to crate training is to make the crate a happy, fun place for your dog or puppy to be. Place the crate in an area of the house that is convenient but is also close to the rest of the family. Put a nice dog blanket or bed in the crate to help your pup feel comfortable. Feed him in his crate. If he gets a new toy or bone, put it in...

Taking your dog on spring break

Your dog needs to get ready for his trip just like the family does. Updated ID- Check your pets ID tags and Microchip information to ensure they are updated with a current cell phone number. Also, add a second tag that has the address and phone number of where you will be staying when you are traveling. Play it Safe-Just in case the worst happens and you have to take your pet to the vet while you are traveling, you want to make sure you have all pertinent information such as important medical history and vaccination records. Pack a Bag-Make sure to bring everything your pet may need including an extra leash, their favorite toy, any needed medication, and plenty of food. You don’t want to risk the local pet store not caring the needed things to keep your pup happy! If you have a sensitive pet, you should also pack a couple of containers of your local water since some pets will resist drinking water that tastes different from what they are use too. Home away from Home-When you arrive at your destination, give your pet time to adjust to his new surroundings. Take him on a walk. Put his things out. Hang out as he gets use to all of the different sounds and smells. This will help him feel relaxed and calm when you do have to leave him...

Health benefits provided by dogs

Im so sorry for your loss but I am glad you are encouraging your Aunt to get a furry companion. Dogs provide many benefits for their 2 legged owners. Among these benefits are: Happy Body–Numerous studies by the CDC and National Institute of Health have shown that pet ownership reduces heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol as well as increases serotonin levels in the body. Happy Feet- People who own dogs have to exercise, walk and play with them which means most owners get at least the minimum recommendation of 30 mins of exercise a day. This helps people to maintain a healthy weight or get into shape. Plus, having a dog as a workout partner has shown to be a great motivator for people to stay with their exercise regiment. Happy Heart- Dogs give their owners unconditional love. This 100% acceptance when a person is sick, depressed, or recovering from surgery alieveates anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Dogs also give their owners a sense of purpose so on the days when a person feels least motivated, a lick on the face and a thump of a happy tail gets people out of bed and out the door. Happy Times- Dogs are great icebreakers for conversation and when an owner has to get outside to walk their dog they are more likely to meet their neighbors as well as build lasting bonds with other dog lovers. A strong support network and an active social life are proven fighters of disease and...

Stop Dog Jumping Behavior

Dogs jump to get attention and most of the time it works great!. It’s hard to ignore a dog when he is knocking you over! However, we can teach him more appropriate ways to get attention with a few simple tricks. Make sure everyone ignores the dog when they first get home. It’s hard to do but if every time someone walks through the door there is a party with the pooch then we can’t blame him for getting excited and jumping! If your dog does jump, say no as you firmly walk into him (don’t raise your knee just take a few firm steps forward). This clearly tells your dog that you don’t like what he just did. Plus, if he is backing up to get out of your way, he can’t rebalance and jump again. The only feed back Bubba, should get from you is the No. If you start to lecture him or give him any eye contact, he may confuse your NO for a YES since he got your attention when he jumped. When he stops jumping, lavishly, but calmly, praise him. This will teach him that jumping equals correction but all four paws on the ground means he gets all the love he was looking for in the first place. Most importantly, as you work on this jumping, we are also going to teach him that sitting is the absolute best thing to do in the whole world. If he is constantly and consistently rewarded for sitting he will learn that sitting is the best way to get attention. Makes sure to reward him...

What is the elevator etiquette for dogs?

As metropolitan dwellers, we know that the usage of elevators is non negotiable. Here are a few ways you can ensure the safety of your pet and the comfort of those around you when embarking on one of the many vertical voyages in your day. When waiting for the elevator to arrive, always put your dog in a “Sit” at least 3 feet from the elevator door.  This way your dog will learn to respect the boundaries of the elevator and you will have more control over any surprise interactions when the door opens. As the door opens, make sure your dog waits for your command (“Ok”, “Release”, “Go Ahead”) before he/she enters the elevator.  Tell your dog to “Wait” as you take a step forward and check on the elevator occupancy.  If someone is inside (and would like to exit), allow them to pass first. Do not allow your dog to greet without permission as some people and dogs may not be as interested in saying hello.  Once you have waited your turn, release your dog on command, and step inside. While in the elevator keep your dog in a “Sit” or “Down-Stay”, especially if sharing the elevator with another occupant.  This will prevent your dog from greeting someone without permission since some people/dogs may not be interested in having an elevator play session.  This impulse control activity will also reinforce to your dog that the elevator is a common area and is not their personal play pen. When you reach your destination floor, again make use of your “Wait” command. Check to see there are no immediate...

Getting your dog to potty in the rain

Dogs in San Diego are as spoiled by the goods weather as we are so when it rains getting them to go potty outside can be a battle that may end up with them peeing inside the house. Here are 5 tips to make those rainy days not so stressful and wet for you, your pup, and your carpet. Go Potty! Go potty! This starts way before the storm comes but it is critical to teach your pup to pee on command so when it’s raining and you put him outside he has an idea of what it is you want him to do. To teach this, take your dog outside to an area  where he normally pees, as he is sniffing tell him to “go potty”. Once he starts to go, say “good potty”. When he finishes, throw him the biggest puppy party ever! It will take him several weeks for him to learn to go on command but all that hard work will pay dividends when it’s raining! Get your rain gear on!When it rains, we like to shove our dogs out the backdoor and stand inside convincing them to go potty but they stand right by the door trying to convince you to let them back in! So get on your raincoat and go outside with your dog. Once the dog is in the middle of the yard he is more likely to go. And as much as you and he may hate it, you may also have to walk him. The exercise will not only stimulate his bladder but once he senses you’re serious he...

Introducing dogs to each other

First impressions can be lasting so getting you and your neighbor’s dog off on the right paw is critical. To help this happen: Make sure that both dogs have plenty of exercise before they meet. This will make sure that they have burned off all excess energy. Put both dogs on leash and, starting 20 feet apart (more, if either dog seems nervous), start walking in the same direction. As the dogs become more comfortable with each other, slowly reduce the distance between you and your neighbor. Once the dogs get side by side, let them walk another half a block together. This allows them to get to know each other in a safe, pack bonding, environment. Bring the dogs back to the house and take them straight into the backyard. Anything the dogs could be possessive about such as toys, beds, or water bowls, should be removed. Calmly drop the leash and let the dogs interact. Watch closely for any signs of aggression. You and your neighbor should stay happy and calm throughout this interaction. If either of you are anxious, your dogs will feel it and will be anxious too. Keep the first interaction short and sweet. Remember that we want your pups leaving on good terms so they are excited to hang out with their new friend again...

The difference between a Service Dog and a Therapy dog

A lot of people get service dogs and therapy dogs confused. Service dogs are individually trained to do work for or perform specific tasks for people with disabilities as defined by the American Disabilities Act. Service dogs have full public access and are allowed on airplanes, in restaurants, and in stores. For example, there are guide dogs for the blind, for those with severe physical disabilities, and seizure alert dogs.   Therapy dogs, on the other hand, are invited into specific facilities (like a hospital or nursing home) to provide animal therapy to the residents. Therapy dogs have no public access rights and are considered pets. To help your pooch become a therapy dog, you first have to decide which organization you would like to work with. Love on a Leash and Paw’sitive Teams are two large organizations in the area. There is also a Therapy Dog Program at The Helen Woodward Center and San Diego Humane Society. After you decide, contact the organization directly to see what qualifications they have for certification. Once you pass those, you are on your...

6 tips for socializing a new puppy

It’s a big, loud, exciting world out there for puppies. So it’s never too early to start working with your puppy so he grows up well adjusted, good natured, and gracious in social situations. Here are six basics for socializing your puppy… 30 experiences in 30 days. Don’t miss out on important socialization opportunities in the first weeks of life. Give them one new experience, sound, or person to meet every day for 30 days. One day, give them a dance party and acquaint them to music. Another day, let them hear the sound of a kitchen appliance like the blender or cake mixer, and so on. By introducing every day activities and sounds slowly over the course of the month, you’ll reinforce your puppy’s confidence and not flood them with too many potentially scary experiences all at once. Frequent Field Trips! In the first several months of your puppy’s development, she’s getting used to a lot of new sights, sounds and smells. It’s an exciting time to be alive! But it can also be scary when you’re little.  Once your puppy has had all her vaccinations, capitalize on her natural curiosity by taking her on frequent field trips. Your puppy will be more likely to be anxious and fearful if they never experience life outside the comfort zone of their crate or your backyard.  Take them to the pet store or the park. By exposing them to a variety of places, smells and landscapes early on, you will give them confidence that will translate in a more even temperament in adulthood. Network and mingle. Introducing your puppy to...

Tips for keeping your dog safe around the water in the summer

Heading off to the beach, lake or lounging poolside are great ways to beat the heat and enjoy quality time with your dog. But each year approximately 40,000 pets die in drowning accidents.  Anything that can harm you at the beach can also harm your dog. High temperatures, sunburn, riptides, sharp shells or broken glass, jellyfish, and aggressive dogs are all potential hazards to help your dog avoid. Here are some tips to safeguard your dog for a fun filled summer near the water: SPF ASAP – Hairless breeds, short-coated, light-colored and dogs with pink noses are more prone to getting sunburn.  You can find sunscreen specifically formulated for pets at most pet stores or online. Make sure not to use sunscreen that contains zinc, as it can be toxic to dogs if ingested. To avoid licking, avoid sunscreens with fragrance. “Come here boy!”- Make sure your dog has a firm grasp of the recall command before you allow him to go off leash near any body of water. This means your dog comes to you when you call him, every single time. Fresh Water: Drink. Rinse. Repeat. – Sun, sand and saltwater is a delight for your dog’s senses, but can leave him with a nasty “beach hangover.” Discourage your dog from drinking seawater by offering fresh, cool water often and by removing him from the water if you see him drink it. Seawater can irritate their stomach, cause vomiting, and is very dehydrating. A fresh water rinse immediately after the beach will help keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy. Surfs up! – Unless your dog knows...

Preparing your dog for doggy day care

Doggy day care can provide a great outlet for a pup’s excess energy as well as give her the opportunity with other like minded canines. To help your pup succeed follows these tips: Play It Cool– It will be thrilling to see your pup at the end of the day but remember that if you get really excited, so will she which may cause her to jump, bark, or yank on the leash. Then if you correct her for these naughty behaviors it really isn’t fair since you were the one that got her excited in the first place!  Instead stay calm when you see your dog. This will help her be calm too. Be Polite-Most dogs LOVE daycare and can’t wait to get there! But if your pup drags you out of the car, into the lobby, and then jumps on every person she sees she is less likely to behave herself during daycare. As a result, have your pup sit 5 times between the car and the front door of the day care. If she starts to pull you, say No, and stop. Once there is slack in the leash, start walking again and praise her. It may take you a little extra time but it will ensure she has a great day at daycare! Clear Communication-Make sure to always fully communicate with the day care staff. Does your dog seem a little off today? Did she get in a minor scuffle at the dog park over the weekend? Does she have a new found obsession for balls? Has there been any change in health or behavior...

Symptoms your dog may be stressed

Dogs communicate constantly with us and each other but most of the times we miss what they are saying. Below are examples of behavior a dog shows when they are uncomfortable. None of these signals happen in a vacuum so you must look at the rest of the dog (body posture, tail, head, eye contact) in order to properly interpret what the dog is trying to tell you. Signs to look for that means a dog is stressed: Yawning – A common way for dogs to relieve stress, not just when ready for a nap. Teeth chattering – Seen both when dogs are stressed or highly aroused with excitement (ie right before play).  Take into account the look and demeanor of the entire dog before deciding on which case you are dealing with. Lip Licking –With no treat in sight, tongue curls up and licks front or side lips to signal stress. Tongue Flicking -Tongue comes straight out then flicks up to touch nose or air which signals submission or a desire to have you closer. Whale Eye– Dog exposes the white of his/her eyes.  This is a distance increasing signal and should be respected as such since it is often followed by a bite. Move away immediately! “The Freeze”- This is defined by a momentary “freeze” of all body movements.  It is often accompanied by a hard stare or held breath and is another distance increasing signal that should not be ignored.  Move away immediately! Pacing – Constant walking in circles or back and forth.  Indicates a inability to settle and is therefore a sign of stress. Excessive Shedding-If...

How to teach your do to come when you call

“Come” is the hardest command to teach a dog and the easiest to ruin. So PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRATICE! Before you start training, ask yourself, if you told your dog to Come, how often would he respond the FIRST time? If his success rate is less than 65% then change the word. Most dogs  learn from an early age that when their owner says Come it means; “Please come to me it is convenient for you or whenever I chase you around the yard”. Once your dog thinks this is the definition of Come, it is hard to change his mind, as a result, your best chance for success is to change the word. I tend to use “Here”.   The golden rules of “Here”:   1.Lay a good foundation- It is easy with this command to think that the dog knows it and quickly advance the difficulty of the command. This only leaves room for mistakes which shows the dog that there is a “grey area” with “Here” and that he doesn’t always have to listen. When in doubt, repeat the command from the current level of difficulty 10 more times. I cannot stress enough how important this is. If the foundation is not solid, then the command will NEVER be reliable. 2.Do not say “Here” if you can not immediately enforce it. In other words, if you are inside and the dog is outside, do not say “Here”. Say anything but that word to encourage him to come inside. 3.Coming to you on command should always be positive. If your dog is in trouble, go get him. DO...

Making sure interactions with other dogs on leashes are good

Meeting other dogs on leash is a common occurrence when out on a walk with your pup. By following the tips below you can ensure that every dog interaction is a good one! Manners Matter- Before you let your dog approach any other dog on leash ask the owner if their dog is friendly. If you hear anything but a resounding “Yes!”, keep on walking. Some owners will hesitate with their answer because their dog is friendly with some dogs and not others. However, you don’t want to take the chance that your pup won’t be well received.  Also, if your dog is off leash and you see another owner approaching with their dog on leash, put your dog on leash as well. Your pup may be friendly but you never know if the other dog is and it is best to be safe. Nice to meet you- If you decide to let your dog greet the other dog you make sure that your leash is loose when they dogs initially meet. This allows the dogs to greet properly. Many owners hold their dog’s leash too tight because they are afraid that something might happen. But can you imagine meeting someone new while your friend is holding your hands behind your back? Awkward, right? Your dog feels the same way! Just Having A Friendly Conversation- If you want to have your dog get along with his new friend, make sure you start a conversation with the owner!  Most times, people get very quiet and stiff when their dog first meets a new dog because they are waiting to see...

Keeping a smart dog from getting bored

Having a smart dog has endless benefits. He keeps you entertained with his endless creative tactics. He amazes you with the things he does. However, if he has to be home alone for hours while you work, that intelligence can quickly lead to boredom which can cause problem behaviors like destruction or barking. To help keep clever pup happy when he is alone, follow these tips: More Exercise! The first step in keeping your pup happy and content during the day is to make sure he has had adequate exercise before you leave. Making time before work can be hard but can you imagine waking up full of energy for the day, and then, having to sit around with no TV, no cell phone, no computer and no way to exercise? How long until you would get frustrated? Your dog feels the same way! Most dogs need at least a 45 min walk or run in the morning. If that is impossible, give him as long of a workout as possible while he wears a weighted doggy back pack. The extra weight will help tire him out. Also, sending him to doggy daycare or getting a dog walker a few times a week will not only make him more content but could also save you tons of money in replacing your furniture or landscaping. Where’s breakfast? Making mealtime fun and engaging is a great way to keep your dog entertained. Instead of watching him devour his meal in a few seconds, you can put his kibble in a food cube, KONG Wobbler or similar product. You can also hide...

Making sure your dog has fun on Halloween

Halloween is our favorite time of year but we want to make sure our dog likes it too. Any tips? Halloween is just around the corner and although all of the ghosts and goblins can be fun for kids and adults alike, Fido may have a different perspective! Below are 5 tips to make sure your dog has as much fun as you do! Are you laughing with him or at him? You may think the hottest new dog costume is great but unless your pup is use to wearing dog clothes, he may not understand the appeal of becoming a pumpkin or ghost for a night. Your dog will probably be under enough stress with all of the trick or theaters coming to the door that you should resist dressing him up unless he really seems to like it. Ignore the sweet tooth. Kids love to get candy for Halloween which means there will be lots of chocolate around the house. But remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs so have all candy out of reach. If you want Fido to join you in the fun, get some treats from the local pet store or make some special dog cookies at home! Beware of the door! Seeing all the costumes can be fun but having so many people come to the door can be stressful to your dog-especially when its superman, a vampire, and a power ranger. Make sure your dog is locked in a separate room or is wearing a leash so he doesn’t sneak out when the door is open! Your dog should also be wearing current ID tags in...

Teaching your dog to not nip at people when it’s scared

This is a relatively common issue for dogs just coming out of rescue. How you address the issue in the first 8 weeks the dog is with you will determine if the nipping becomes a lifelong issue or just a passing fad. Know what your dog is saying- if your dog is yawning, licking her lips, won’t make direct eye contact, starts to shed excessively, or keeps turning her head away, this is her way of saying I’m SCARED! If you see these signals, calmly remove your dog from the situation. Let her become comfortable with whatever she is nervous about at a greater distance. Be your dog’s advocate-Many people do not know how to interact with a scared dog so they will invade the dog’s space or try to pet it. This is very nerve racking for an insecure dog. Make sure to be proactive and tell people to refrain from petting her if she is nervous. Also, if your dog is uncomfortable around a few strangers, don’t take them to your child’s soccer game. The key to getting your pup over the fear is by SLOWLY getting them use to whatever scares them. Make sure to carry yummy treats or your dog’s favorite toy. If every time your dog comes across a scary person or situation she gets a treat or special playtime with her favorite toy it will help her to realize that the world is not that scary after all. She only gets play/treat time if she is brave. If she nips because she is scared and then you give her a ball to play...

Helping a new dog adjust to your home

Your new family member will bring you laughter and love but how you introduce your dog to your house and your life will make a huge difference between success and STRESS! Go Slow-You know your dog has found his forever home but he has no idea who you are or how long you will be around.  Any dog that has been in rescue has been under stress and at some point in his life, people have proven themselves to be unreliable. As a result,  it’s normal for your dog to pace, pant, drool, whine, bark, and even seem a little distant when you first bring him home. He is simply trying to figure out if he is safe and if you are really sticking around. To help him adjust, take him on a short walk when you first get home and then keep him on leash as you take him around the house and let him explore every room. You may have to do this several times with him in order to make your house, his home.   Newly dating- You are embarking on a new relationship with your dog and, just like a newly dating couple, time together should be stress free and fun. So although you may be dying to take your dog to the dog park, have all the neighbors over to meet him, or bring him to the local street festival, your dog would much prefer spending quality, quiet time at home with you for the first 2-3 weeks so that he can bond with you.   Rules Rule- Dogs are most happy when they...

How to keep your dog safe on July 4th

Even though July 4th is a fun day for us humans, it is a scary holiday for most pups. To help keep your dog safe and happy, follow these 5 tips. Up to Date: July 4th is the biggest day of the year where dogs run away because they are spooked by the fireworks.  In order to ensure your dog makes it back home safely, make sure your dog is wearing a collar with ID tags that have your current information. If you are going out of town and your dog is being taken care of by someone else, make sure he has that person’s information on his collar too. Exercise: Your dog should get tons of exercise earlier in the day so that he is nice and tired by the time evening comes. Remember that a tired dog is a happy and relaxed dog. Also, make sure to take him out to potty before the fireworks. Leave him at home: Although the parades, picnics, parties, and fireworks are great, many dogs would rather be left home alone then deal with the crowds and scary sounds. For the firework show itself, make sure your dog is inside the house and in a nice quiet, safe place.  A bedroom with a yummy bone, and the TV turned up to help block out the firework sounds works great. Things to help: If your dog is extremely scared of fireworks, make sure to consult your vet for a tranquilizer for the night.  You can also use more natural remedies like the Thunder Shirt, an anti-anxiety vest,  or homeopathic calming tools like Rescue...

How to deal with separation anxiety

Separation Anxiety can be very frustrating for new owners of rescue dogs since a dog with SA will often whine, dig, bark, excessively salivate, cause destruction (like scratching at doors, chewing through crates), and/ or  pee and poop in the house when the owner isn’t home. The first thing to remember is that your dog is not doing this because he is mad at you, or to be a “bad dog”. As a result, punishment and anger will not work. Your dog is acting out because he is panicked that when you leave, you may not come back. After all, he is a rescue dog, so at some point in his life someone DID leave and not come back. There are several things you can do to help your pup feel secure: Calm Exits/Entrances!  It is best to ignore your pup or say a simple goodbye and hello when you come and go. If you make emotional filled exits and entrances, telling your dog over and over that everything is going to be okay or get really excited with them when you get home, then your dog is going to be convinced that leaving him is a big deal because you always get so emotional! Come and Go and Come and Go! The more you come home and leave the faster your dog is going to learn that you aren’t abandoning him. Pick up your keys, put on your jacket, walk out the door, then turn around and walk back in. Do it again and again. Your goal is to be able to leave and come back before your...

Is taking a new rescue dog to the dog park a good idea?

I know you want to show your new pup a good time but remember that he is just getting to know you so taking him to a dog park or any other active public area isn’t a good idea since, if he gets scared or nervous, he won’t know that he should trust or listen to your guidance. This can set both of you up for possible disaster such as a dog fight at the park or having nip a stranger in public. Instead, you want to make sure your dog has a quiet and stable environment while he is adjusting to your home for the first two weeks. This will allow him to bond with you and learn to trust you before he has to meet the rest of the neighborhood. Just think of all the stress he has recently gone through! Give him time to relax and get familiar with his new life. Once he adjusts to you, give him at least 3 new experiences every week. Wear a large hat while you feed him breakfast. Drop a book. Skip around the house. Show him a skateboard. Introduce him to the landscaper. Have him meet friendly dogs on leash. DO NOT take your dog to a dog park until you are sure he is dog friendly and has learned his basic commands such as Leave It, Stay, and Come. This will make sure that his first experience at the park is a positive...

Choosing the right collar for your dog

There are many different things to consider when picking a collar. But remember, that no matter which you chose, there is no “quick fix” in training and that your dog will also need lots of treats, praise, and guidance to become the good dog you are looking for. Flat Buckle Collar Every dog should wear one with ID tags attached. If it is a young dog that goes to dog parks frequently or has another dog at home that he/she plays rough with, the collar should have a snap buckle that can easily be released if the dog gets tangled up with another dog. The collar should fit be comfortable and fit about 2 fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck. Martingale Collar This is a great collar for dogs that pull a little or one’s that like to slip out of their collar. The chain martingales are the best since they release easier and the sound from the chain correction helps to train the dog to not pull. The collar should fit tight around the dog’s neck. This collar should only be on during walks since it tightens around the dog’s neck and can cause injury if this happens by accident when the owner is not home. Gentle Leader/Halti/Snoot Loop This is not a muzzle. It’s great for dogs that are strong pullers or dog’s that are reactive to other dogs. The owner should desensitize the dog to the collar for a week in the house before they start using it on a walk. If the dog is extremely reactive, the gentle leader should be attached to...

Using treats to train your dog

Treats are a great motivator for your pup and should be used throughout training! A high quality, tasty treat works best. You want a treat that your dog absolutely loves since that will give him the motivation to learn new commands. Soft treats work best since they are easy to break. The treat should be small. You do not want to give your dog a whole bone or a large treat every time he does a command. The do g w ill quickly become full and will no longer be interested in learning. The ideal size of the treat should be the size of a dime. Yes, a dime! In the beginning you want to give your dog a treat every time he performs a new behavior. This helps to show your dog that he is on track and motivates him to continue to learn. Make sure to praise him every time too. So it should be “good boy!” as you give him the treat. Timing is critical! If you ask your dog to sit, he sits, and then as you fumble for your treat he gets up and walks away, you have missed your opportunity to reward the good behavior. So be ready to reward within 1-2 secs after the dog does the behavior you are looking for. Once your dog starts to become “fluent” in his new command, it is important to fade out the treats so the dog will listen to you even when you don’t have anything in your hand.  To do this, you want to turn your dog into a gambler. Give him a...

Making sure your dog enjoys the holidays

There are many things you can do to make sure Fido has a festive and happy holiday season. A potato chip here, some mashed potatoes there, and just one more spoonful of stuffing because it’s a holiday and Fido likes it so much! All of these table snacks may seem harmless but this high fat and calorie diet can lead to acute Pancreatitis, which can be a serious medical condition for your dog.  Symptoms include abdominal swelling, lack of appetite, loose stool and possible vomiting. Often times, people equate these symptoms to their pup just having too much holiday excitement so they delay contacting the vet. Do Fido a favor, and leave the leftovers for you! Cooked Turkey bones splinter easily and even small amounts of Onions or Chocolate can be dangerous for your pup so make sure to keep all out of reach! This includes taking the trash out after the holiday dinner so your dog doesn’t try to get some of these items out of the trash while you are distracted. The house may look magical as it is filled with holiday glitter and glamour but some of those decorations can actually be dangerous for your dog. Cedar pine trees, poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly berries are poisonous. Tinsel, Holiday decorations, and Christmas tree lights are also dangerous if chewed on. Make sure to always supervise your dog while he is around the decorations. If you have a younger dog, you can also put a fence around the Christmas tree or a gate to prevent him access to the room where the Christmas tree is. This will help...

Keeping your dog safe during an emergency or natural disaster

So many people don’t even think about having an emergency evacuation plan for their pup until it’s too late. Below are things you can do NOW so you are ready when (not if) the next emergency situation happens. Have a crate with an extra leash, collar, bowls, toys, bones , and at least 3 days of food and water packed and ready to go so you can grab it quickly in an evacuation. Know where you are going. Not all emergency shelters or hotels accept pets. Make sure to do your research and find out what hotels outside of your area are pet friendly. Also have a list of boarding kennels in surrounding areas in case you need to board your dog. Make sure you have a copy of all vet records including recent vaccinations and an update picture of your pup. This should be kept with or near the crate so you can find it quickly in an emergency. Some emergency shelters and most boarding kennels will not allow your dog to stay without proof of current vaccinations. The picture will help you to locate your dog in case he/she is separated from you. Update your dogs ID tags and microchip information. Often when a person moves or changes their number they forget to call the microchip company or get that new tag made. Having the correct contact information is critical to help getting your lost pup back to you in an emergency. Have an exit plan. Talk to your neighbors and develop a plan to get your dog out of danger in case you aren’t home when...

Starting a safe exercise program with your dog

Active dogs are happy dogs but it’s our job to make sure our four legged exercise companions stay healthy and injury free as they start to get in shape. First, make sure your dog is old enough to start an exercise program that includes jogging or intense cardiovascular workouts. Dog’s bodies don’t fully mature until they are 12-18 months old so stressful exercise before that can cause long term joint damage. Once your dog is of age, build any exercise program slowly to give your pup‘s body time to adjust to their new routine. Start with a one mile run instead of ten! As your dog starts working out with you, make sure to carefully watch for any injuries. Dogs want to make us happy and many won’t show signs of joint pain or muscle injury during exercise. So check your dog everyday for soreness or tenderness especially on their legs, hips, and paws (remember they aren’t wearing the new air cushioned tennis shoes like you!). Beware of overheating. Dogs can’t cool their body as effectively as humans so Fido will start to feel the afternoon heat before you. Also, dogs cool themselves thru panting and the pads on their paws so if the pavement is hot, it means they may not only injure their pads but they won’t be able to stay cool. Make sure to watch your dog for signs of heat stroke on warm days and carry plenty of water. Finally, remember that fuel is key! As your dog starts to exercise, his nutritional needs may change as his body starts to burn more fat and...

Three tips to make your training more effective

Congrats on your new pup! Below are the top 3 tips to make your training more effective since HOW you train is more important than how long you spend training. Praise the victories The most important step in training a well behaved dog is to praise the small victories. Often, we get so frustrated with a pup so when she finally sits after being told 10 times we don’t reward her, we just walk away or move onto the next thing that we were trying to do. This is the wrong thing to do. Praise her lavishly each and every time she does something right. Did she come to you? GOOD GIRL! Did she sit? GOOD GIRL and a treat! Did she stay? Wonderful! Remember that dogs increase behavior that feels good. If she sits when you tell her to, and she gets praise, she will be more likely to sit the next time since sitting gave her a positive outcome. However, if she is being resistant to sitting and you tell her to sit 10 times and when she finally does, you, feeling frustrated at her non-response, simply say “good” and walk away, she will think, “Well sitting got me nowhere and in fact my owner just stopped paying attention to me. I guess the only way to get attention around here is to act up!” Set her up for success The second puppy pitfall to avoid is giving the dog too many tasks to do at once when she first starts training. For example; sit then stay then come then stay. Because your dog is just learning...

5 Tips to help your dog not be afraid of new things

It is normal for dogs to be scared of new things but how you deal with the fear will make the difference between a well adjusted dog and a dog who is scared of his own shadow. Follow these 5 tips to help your dog bravely face the big world outside the front door. When encountering something scary let your pup go at his own pace. You may know it’s just the trash truck but in his mind it’s a scary urban monster that is about to eat him! If he is scared of a new item (or a person), praise him if he moves towards the item. If he stays where he is or backs up, let him do this but don’t talk to him. Many people want to tell their dog that “its okay, the (blank) won’t hurt you.” This is meant to be reassuring but since dogs don’t understand English they think that you are praising them for being fearful. Do not force him into any situation. It will only confirm to him that the world is not only scary but that you can’t be counted on to protect him. To help him get comfortable with whatever he is nervous about, you should walk up to the item/person and say hi to it and touch it if possible. It sounds funny to talk to a trash can or hat but if your dog sees you calmly interacting with the “scary monster” it will help him realize that there is nothing to be afraid of! If he moves forward, praise him, if he stays where he is...

Introducing Fido to the Rest of the Pack

Bringing home the new family member is an exciting day but it is critical to proper prepare your current canine friend to the new arrival. Start early Practice the obedience commands with your current dog. The new dog will likely look to your dog for guidance on what is acceptable behavior and what is not so if your dog still chews your shoes then the new dog will as well. Teach your dog to drop things on command and to only take things out of your hand when he is told “okay”. This is a critcal skill to have when you will soon have two dogs wanting the same treat or chew toy. If possible, take your current dog to visit the newcomer. By having them meet at a park or other neutral location you will help to prevent territorial aggression or jealousy. Welcome home! Before you actually bring your new dog home, make sure that he has some space of his own to go to-like a crate or exercise pen. This will give him a space to escape to if he is overwhelmed by the new environment. Make sure that he has a place to safely eat and enjoy a bone. You can often avoid fights over food and toys if you allow the newcomer to adjust to adjust to the household without having to defend himself. Remove anything and everything that the dogs may fight over. Even if your dog has never protected his toy or food bowl, he may once a new dog enters the house. Only allow toys during supervised play periods and watch all...

Early Play

Play is an important part of the puppy’s life. Not only does it provide physical exercise for him but it can also be used as a training aid. When you play with your puppy you increase your bond with him and since you are the one setting the rules, it enhances your role as his leader. Benefits of Playtime Proper amounts of physical exercise is critical throughout the dog’s entire life. It minimizes behavioral problems by reducing high levels of energy and at the same time alleviates boredom. A structured exercise program can also calm an excitable puppy because it allows him to burn off his energy in a constructive way. As a result, the puppy will be more content and restful during other times of the day. Obesity is a problem with domestic dogs and has been linked to a shortened life span. Along with a high quality diet, a good exercise program can help to keep the puppy in top physical shape as he grows. Proper Play for Your Puppy Try to have at least two 30-45 minute exercise sessions per day. Good forms of exercise include long w alks, hikes and games. Do not jog with the puppy on pavement or for long distances before he is ten months old. The jarring can cause bone and joint problems. If the puppy shows any sign of limping or physical pain, stop the exercise until the problem is resolved. Be sure that you and not your puppy decides when a game should start or end. For example, if he drops a ball in your lap, do not begin...

Tips for taking your dog out in public

It’s great to be able to take Fido to the local dog friendly restaurant or store. But to make sure the public and staff at these establishments love and enjoy your dog as much as you do, just follow a few simple rules. Before you go – Before you try to take your dog out to a public place, make sure that he responds to simple commands like sit, down, and stay and knows how to walk on a leash. This will give you some tools to help control him during your outing. Also, remember that not every dog is a social butterfly so if your dog is fearful (or protective) in public, it might be best to leave him at home while you go out to lunch. Then you can work on bettering his public manners at a time when you don’t have to split your attention between him and that yummy burger! Be prepared – Always, I repeat, ALWAYS have poop bags and water for your dog. Also, if you have a dog that tends to drool (like some of the larger breeds) make sure to bring an extra towel. You may not be bothered by puppy slobber but the local high end clothing boutique will not find the habit so endearing! Keep him out of the way – If you take your dog to a restaurant or shop make sure that he is under the table or out of the main aisle. This will make sure that the guests don’t have to walk around your pup or the waitress isn’t trying to balance a tray full...

Becoming fluent in “dog talk”

Becoming fluent in “dog talk” is the most important thing you can do for your pup because it will prevent a life time full of misunderstandings. Often times, your pup is trying to tell you that he is STRESSED OUT! Because most owners don’t understand what he is saying, they fail to help the pup feel comfortable or address his fear. This convinces the pup that the situation is indeed scary (the trash truck, housekeeper, or new neighborhood dog could all be intimidating for your pup) and that he is on his own in the world because you’re not listening to him! As a result, he is more likely to act out or become aggressive instead of looking to you for guidance. Keep in mind that all these behaviors are normal and none of them happen in a vacuum so you must look at the whole dog to decide what he is trying to tell you. As long as you look (aka listen) to your dog, he will show you exactly how he feels. Yawning – A common way for dogs to relieve stress. If your pup is not just waking up from a nap when he yawns, then he is telling you he is stressed. Teeth chattering – Seen both when dogs are stressed or highly aroused with excitement (i.e. right before play). Lip Licking – With no treat in sight, tongue curls up and licks front or side lips to signal stress. Excessive panting – If your pup suddenly starts panting like he just then he is nervous about the change in his environment. Pacing – Constant...

How to prevent resource guarding

Resource guarding is a serious behavior where a dog will growl or bite to protect something they see as valuable. Most pups aren’t born with Resource Guarding but over time they learn that if they have something they want to keep (like their favorite bone or your shoe!) they better run and when cornered, hang on tight because you are about to take away their prized possession! As a result, many dogs learn that having people around their things is bad instead of good. The first step to preventing this behavior is to teach your dog to drop an item on command. Have yummy treats in your pocket and then start to play with your dog. Throw the toy, when he picks up the toy and turns to come back to you, show him a treat. This will help him come straight to you instead playing “keep away”. Once your dog comes up to you, offer him the treat. As he drops the toy, say “drop it” and give him the treat. Then throw the toy again. This will teach him that giving things to people is great because he gets a treat AND he gets the item back. You can also use this method to help teach your new pup that you can take anything away from him. To do this, walk up to him as she is chewing on a bone or toy. Reach down, take the toy away from him and give him a treat. Then tell him “okay” and give the toy/bone back to him. Remember to be confident in your movements when you take...

In Praise of Adopting

In Praise of Adopting As you start to look for you new furry friend, there are many reasons why you should consider adopting you next dog from the local shelter, Humane Society, or Rescue Group. Save a life! Close to 7 million wonderful pets are killed each year because they don’t have a good home. You will be matched with the right dog. The number one goal of the staff at Rescue Groups and Shelters is to make sure that you and your new dog are a good match. They will help you decide what type of dog you are looking for and will have extensive knowledge about the dogs in their care. Don’t worry about baggage! Many people don’t want to adopt because they think the dogs is in the shelter are “bad”. This is simply not true. Most dogs are given to the shelter for reasons that have nothing to do with their behavior such as divorce, death, or their family being unable to care for them. You CAN find a specific breed. If you have you heart set on a purebred dog do your research! Approximately 30% of dogs in shelters are purebred. You know what you are getting! Unlike puppies that still need to grow up, you can adopt a dog that has already reached his adult size and his personality is fully developed. Plus, many rescues groups and shelters temperament test their dogs before they are adopted so you will know if your new pet likes other dogs, children or has any issues with food. You have a head start on training. Many rescue groups and shelters have...

How to handle coming across a loose dog

I get this question a lot from my clients. Coming across a loose dog you can be a nerve racking experience. If you do find yourself in this scary situation: Have Faith. Most loose dogs are only curious and will not attack. STAY CALM!! If you get nervous, your dog will get nervous, and then the other dog will get nervous. Instead turn and face the dog. If you run, the dog will normally start to chase you. Keep your dog on a loose leash and watch his body language. You should be able to tell from your dog if the other dog is safe. Non aggressive dogs will normally stop when they see you and maybe sniff the ground. They will then approach with a relaxed body and in a calm manner-sometimes even making a half circle. If your dog starts to show extreme signs of nervousness, fear, or aggression or if the other dog is approaching in an aggressive manner then it you must act quickly to prevent further trouble. Be Confident! Stand up straight, face the dog and say “NO” in a loud and confident voice. This will stop most dogs in their tracks. As you continue to face the dog, slowly back away. Repeat the “NO” when the dog shows any forward movement. NEVER turn your back to the dog. Use a loud noisemaker such as a whistle or blow horn to scare the dog. Many pet stores now carry Pet Correctors which give off a loud sound when used. Buy (and learn how to properly operate) a repellent spray to use on attacking dogs...

Early Handling

It is extremely important to teach your puppy that you can handle and restrain him. This will not only prevent problem behaviors –like not allowing you to clip their nails-but it also teaches your puppy to trust you. While practicing your puppy may struggle or try to nip at you. If he does this try to ignore the bad behavior but do not stop the exercise while he is struggling. If you do, you will teach your puppy that if he struggles and fights, he will get what he wants. Instead, wait for him to calm down, even if it is just for a second, then stop the exercise. Remember that you want this to be a positive experience so if you find your puppy struggles make sure to move slowly so that he can be successful. All responsible family members should practice handling the puppy so he is comfortable with everyone in the family. Start gradually with each of these exercises, increasing the time each day in small increments. Cradling– Gently roll the puppy onto his back and hold him there if you can. It is sometimes easier to sit on the floor with the puppy between your outstretched legs. If the puppy will not allow you to manipulate him gently on to his back, please get assistance from a trainer before continuing. Talk softly but confidently to him. As long as he is calm, pet and praise him. End on a positive point and do not push a pup past his comfort level. Preparing your dog for the vet– Most dogs aren’t restrained until they go to...

Dog parks: Minimizing risk and increasing enjoyment

Most important!! Make sure your dog likes the dog park! Some dogs, like some people, would prefer to relax in their neighborhood instead of going to a crowded restaurant (or in your pup’s situation, a dog park) with a bunch of strangers! Make sure your dog is under voice control. This means that she must come to you when called and stop doing a behavior when told “No”. If you don’t have this basic control then you will have no way to help her if she gets into a dangerous situation. When you get to the parking lot take a few minutes to observe the dogs and people in the park. If you are uncomfortable for any reason…LEAVE Take your dog off leash before she enters the park. This will give her a greater ability to get away from trouble if it erupts but it will also help her to feel more comfortable. Move away from the gate as quickly as possible. The gate is the main area where dog fights start because dogs that are already in the park try to prevent new arrivals from entering. Don’t hang out with large groups of people. Lots of people go to the park to socialize. They sit around one table or stand in one area. As a result, the dogs cluster in this and there is a greater chance for a fight or disagreement (among the dogs AND the people). Plus, if you are busy chatting with a friend then you may miss the early warning signs of a pending dog fight. Heavily praise your dog every time she looks...

House Breaking 101

Teaching a puppy not to go to the bathroom in the house is one of the most frustrating parts of puppy ownership. It is also very time consuming. However, if you are proactive and consistent during the first 4 weeks when you bring the puppy home, you will see a big improvement and will prevent many months of toileting issues. Routine Keeping your puppy on a fixed schedule is the most important aspect of house training. You should feed your puppy, play with your puppy, take him on a walk and put him to bed at about the same time every night. If you provide this consistency to his schedule it will help you predict when he will need to go to the bathroom. If there are several people in your household, keep a “potty diary” which tracks when the puppy went out, if he went to the bathroom, and if there were any mistakes in the house. This will help you to recognize patterns and adjust your schedule as needed. Go Potty! Try to take your puppy to the same spot and at the same time every day. Stand outside with him for five to ten minutes. Say the same word to him every time you want him to toilet (like “go potty”). If he does toilet, praise him heavily. Give him lots of pets and even a treat! Show him that he is the best dog in the world every time he goes to the bathroom outside. After he has toileted, stay outside for another few minutes. If you immediately rush the puppy inside after he goes...

Keeping your dog calm in new situations

Some dogs are nervous or frightened in new situations-some people are too! But how you handle this fear can make the difference between a well adjusted dog and a dog that is afraid of her own shadow. To help your dog with her fears do the following: Always be calm! Do not grab or chase the dog or force her into a situation because she is “acting silly”. This will only confirm to her that the world is indeed scary and so are YOU! Instead, use controlled body movement and a quiet voice. This will help to show your dog that you are a good leader and that you do not intend to hurt her. Many people want to tell their dog that “its okay, the (blank) won’t hurt you.” This is meant to be reassuring but since dogs don’t understand English they only sense the anxiety in your voice and think that you are scared too! Instead, act happy and show her that there is nothing to be afraid of. If she is afraid of an object (like a trash can) have a party with it! It sounds silly but touch and talk to the object in a happy and excited voice. If she sees you interacting with “the monster” and not dying, she will start to think the object is okay! If she continues to be scared after 3-5 minutes, remove her from the situation and try again later. Be your dog’s advocate! Many people do not know how to interact with a scared dog so they will invade the dog’s space trying to convince her that...

How Dogs Learn 101

Dogs think in black and white. If something is okay it must always be okay and if something is not okay then it must never be allowed. For example, it is very hard for dogs to be allowed on the bed but not allowed on the couch. To them it is all furniture. As a result, make sure that the house rules are very clear for the dog and everyone else. Secondly, dogs increase behavior that feels good to them and decrease behavior that doesn’t feel good to them. That is why we will reward them with treats and pets when they are good but also use a FIRM NO when they misbehave.  Remember to be firm enough that you make an impact on the dog. This will teach them that they must listen to you. If you are too soft, they will view it as nagging…and no one likes to be nagged! Be in the moment Dogs think in the moment. They do not regret what they did yesterday or worry about tomorrow. All of their thoughts are in the present tense (I am worried. I am scared. I want to eat that leaf). As a result, your feedback to them must also be instantaneous. If the dog is doing somethin g w rong/right IMMEDATLY correct/praise her for it. If you are delayed on your correction/praise it will confuse her because she will associate the feedback with the wrong moment. In other words, your dog picks up something she shouldn’t have but then drops it. After she has started to drop it, you tell her NO. What will she...

Making your pup’s first days in your house happy and stress free

Bringing home the new family member is an exciting day. By following a few simple guidelines you can makes sure your new pup’s first days in your house are happy and stress free. Mind your Manners. If there is another dog in the house, start to practice his obedience commands a few weeks before your new pooch comes home. The new dog will likely look to your dog for guidance on what is acceptable behavior and what is not. In other words, if your dog jumps on you when you get home, your new dog may pick up that habit too. Also, teach your current dog to drop things on command, to wait nicely for his food, and to only take things out of your hand when he is told “okay”. This is a critical skill to have when you will soon have two dogs wanting the same treat or food bowl. Nice to meet you! The first time the dogs meet make sure it is in a neutral place. If possible, take your current dog to visit the newcomer at a local park or friend’s house. By having them first meet in a neutral location, you are helping to prevent any territorial issues that your current dog may have if the new pup just comes running into his house. Learn to Share. Remove anything and everything that the dogs may fight over. Even if your dog has never protected his toy or food bowl, he may once a new dog enters the house so when they first meet, pick up everything. Only allow toys during supervised play periods...

Puppy Development

Just like children, puppies go through different developmental stages as they grow. It is important to understand these different periods in your puppy’s life so that you can better understand his behavior and know what to expect from him. Neonatal: Birth to 12 days Obtain nutrition and stay warm. Transition: 18-20 days Eyes are open but puppy does not see well until 21 days; puppy can crawl and begins to walk; teeth first develop; pup will react to sound but will not be able to tell where it came from; can go to the bathroom without stimulation. Awareness : 3-4 weeks First week puppy is able to use sight and hearing. A stable environment at this period is critical. Pups have the greatest need for their mother and a stable environment during this period. Learning begins in this stage. Canine Socialization: 3 to 7 weeks Puppy is weaned. Puppy practices body postures and vocalizations and learns their effect on littermates. Learn coordination and timing. Learns to accept discipline from his mother. Learns bite inhibitions. It is critical to keep the puppy with his mom and littermates during this developmental stage. Human Socialization: 7 to 12 weeks Best time to bring a new puppy home! Best time to introduce pup to things (in a positive manner) that he will be exposed to. Most rapid learning occurs. First Fear Impact: 8 to 14 weeks Any traumatic experience at this time will have a more lasting effect on the puppy then if the event happened at any other stage. No elective surgery should be done at this time. Puppy classes at this...

Preventing your dog from marking in an apartment or condo

Preventing your dog from lifting his leg and peeing in the wrong spot can be especially difficult when you live in an apartment or condo. But there are several things you can do to make sure you and your pup adjust to urban living with minimal stress and accidents. Be consistent! In order for your dog to learn where he can and can’t go to the bathroom you must not only give him amble exposure to where he should go to the bathroom but also correct him if he makes a mistake like lifting his leg in the hallway as you wait for the elevator or in the common area before he makes it outside. Make sure to take him out at the same time every day too so he starts to learn bladder control. Create a solution! If taking your dog from the 5th floor to street level to potty is inconvenient, you can also create a proper potty spot on your balcony or in your condo. Artificial turf or potty pads in your condo provide great, low odor alternatives. Be in charge! Dogs mark because they think an area (like a hallway or your living room) belongs to them. But if they understand that you are the leader then they are less likely to mark. Having your dog do simple tasks like sit, stay, or down, before he goes on walks, gets fed, or is let into the hallway can make a world of difference. If your dog does start to mark or have an accident in the wrong area, swiftly and firmly tell him NO, then...

How much exercise does a new puppy need?

Play is an important part of the puppy’s life. Not only does it give him an outlet for his puppy energy but it is increases your bond with him and since you are the one creating the proper games and setting the rules. Remember a tired puppy is a GOOD puppy. There should be at least two 30-45 minute exercise sessions per day. Long walks, fetch, and dog parks are a great way to burn energy. Do not jog with the puppy on pavement or for long distances before he is 1 years old since it could cause physical problems later in life. Be sure that YOU decide when a game should start or end. For example, if he drops a ball in your lap, do not begin a game of fetch. Instead wait for a time that is convenient for you and then encourage the puppy to play. Do not rough house with the puppy or engage in any type of play that encourages him to be “mouthy”, growl or jump because, although these behaviors can be cute when he is young, you are reinforcing bad habits that will be difficult to get rid of later when he is full grown. Do not play “chase” with your puppy because it shows him that running away from you is really fun so he is less likely to “come” when you call him. Instead, make sure he always chases you. Have Fun! Playtime should be fun for you and your puppy so enjoy...

Moving Day!

Moving to a new place can be nerve-racking for your pooch because he is suddenly in a different environment with new smells, sounds, and people. However, a few simple tricks will help him settle into his new home quickly! Moving day! Moving day can be stressful for people so imagine what it is like for your dog! To help make moving day easy for him, make sure that he is locked in a spare room with his favorite toys or out for the day with a trusted friend. Unpack Fido’s stuff first. We want to make sure that your dog understands that this is now home so unpack his toys, bed, food and dishes right away. Make sure that his things are in the same area as they were at your old home. For example, if the dog bed was in the master bedroom then put it in the master bedroom again. Meet the neighbors! Your new home and the surrounding area are filled with different smells and people. Take Fido out for a walk and let him explore this new area. Give him extra time to sniff and investigate so he becomes familiar with his new neighborhood. Make sure that he is always on leash and that you clean up after him. Update his information. Make sure that Fido is wearing a tag with your new phone number and address. Don’t forget to update his micro chipped information too! Finally, if you ha v e decided to take Fido to a new vet, make an appointment for a wellness check so you and your dog can meet the...

How to get an overweight dog into better shape

Keeping your dog in shape is just as important to his health as keeping fit is important to yours! Overweight dogs are prone to health problems, joint deterioration, and shortened life span. To help prevent Fido from a growing waist line keep a few things in mind. First, remember that food does not equal love and attention! So resist your pup’s pleading eyes to have a bite of your pizza and instead give him a carrot stick or pretzel. If your dog still seems hungry after dinner you can also help him to feel full without adding excessive calories by adding green beans or apple slices to his food. Secondly, exercise is KEY to not only a happy and thin dog but one that is well behaved. Dogs are roamers by nature and their bodies are built to travel many, many miles in a day. Although a walk around the block may work off some of his excesses energy, your dog should also be given the chance for extended exercise (hikes, runs, dog park visits) at least three times a week. Make sure to build any exercise program slowly to give your pup ‘s body time to adjust to their new routine. Start with a one mile run instead of ten! Third, check the fat and calorie content of your dog’s food. If your dog is older or less active, you may be able to switch him to a lower fat or calorie meal. Also, make sure to include your vet on any weight loss program so that they can ensure that Fido is on the path to a...

Preparing your dog for a new baby

Bringing home a new baby will turn life upside down for everyone, including your pup. Its best to start preparing your dog early for what life is going to be like with the new family addition. Make physical changes to the house as early as possible. Set up the crib, sit in the rocking chair, turn on any musical baby toys, take your dog on a walk with the empty stroller. Encourage your dog to explore all the news items in the house. Get your dog used to the sounds of babies. Invite friends over with young children. Take your dog to a playground and let him watch the children play. You can even purchase CDs. Two of the best are Sounds of Babies and Preparing Fido. Brush up on your dogs obedience skills. The Stay and Leave It may not be used now, but they will be once the baby arrives! Gradually spend less time with your dog so he is more independent when he is no longer the baby in the family! Encourage bonding with any family member that will be spending more time with him once your child comes home. NEVER leave your dog unattended with your new baby! Even though they may love each other, even a small play nip can severely scare or injure a...

What to consider when looking for a new dog

My family and I are thinking about adopting a dog, but we don’t even know how to get started. What things should we consider as we look for our new family member? Are you ready? Most people are so excited to get a dog that they never stop to think about the true responsibilities of pet ownership. Are you ready to clean up diarrhea off of your favorite rug at 3am? Or take your dog out to toilet in the pouring rain? Are you ready to have your house take on that unique odor that only a dog lover could enjoy? Or have dog hair on your favorite outfit? If you can say yes to these questions, then read on! What type of dog fits into your life? Too many people find the dog they want and then, try to fit it into their current lifestyle. This often backfires once the Mastiff comes home to the small apartment or the 8 week old puppy has to stay alone for 10 hours as his parents go to work. Evaluate your life and what you want out of a dog. Be honest! How much time do you have for him? What type of activities do you want to do with him? Do you want a dog that sheds? Do you want a dog that can easily travel? Do you want a dog that can run all day or one that prefers to sit on the couch? Do you want an outgoing and dominant working dog or a soft and submissive lap dog? What will your life look like in the future?...

How to Pick a Dog Trainer

Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer or behaviorist. There is no national school or certification. As a result its important to be able to tell the difference between a professional dog trainer and one who just says s/he is a professional trainer. Things to look for: Education Ask where the person got their education, who they mentored with, and the last time they were at a conference. Be weary of certifications. Even though there are some wonderful organizations that test and certify trainers, many on-line schools will also certify a trainer after they have complete a simple on-line course. Experience How many hours of hands on dog training experience does the person have? This is important. It is easy to read a few books and say you are a dog trainer, but without extensive hands on experience, you don’t know if the person is really able to appropriately assess and modify dog behavior. Reputation Ask to speak to former clients. Ask these clients if they enjoyed the class and if their dog showed improvement. These testimonials are often the best indicator of a trainer’s ability. Also, ask your veterinarian or other trainers in the area what they think of the trainer and her/his ability. Size of class Ask the trainer how many dogs they allow in a class at one time. If its over six, be concerned. Higher numbers in a class show that the trainer is more interested in making money then helping you or your dog improve. Some trainers also offer private classes that can allow you to receive customized training for your individual situation and...

Oh no, it’s a loose dog!

When you are out walking your dog and you see another dog running loose, it can be a nerve-racking experience but it is important to remain calm. Most loose dogs are only curious and will not attack. Prevention is the best answer so avoid walking your dog in areas that are known to have off leash dogs. If you see a loose dog, call your local animal control immediately. If you do find yourself in this scary situation: Calmly turn and face the dog. If you turn and run, the dog may follow, if you calmly turn and face the dog it will help you to better judge the situation. Keep your dog on a loose leash and watch his body language. You should be able to tell from your dog’s body language if the other dog is safe. After several seconds, the loose dog should stop, sniff the ground and if it continues to approach, should do so in a calm manner. All of theses are signs of a non-aggressive dog and you shouldn’t have any issues. If your dog starts to show extreme signs of nervousness, fear, or aggression or if the other dog is approaching in an aggressive manner then you must act quickly to keep the other dog from approaching! Below are some ideas on how to protect yourself if the loose dog is aggressive: REMAIN CALM! If you start to get nervous, both dogs will sense it and it will escalate the situation. You must remain in control as much as possible. Use a loud noisemaker such as a whistle or blow horn to...

Treats!

What type of treat do I use? A high quality, tasty treat works best. You want a treat that your dog absolutely loves since that will give him the motivation to learn new commands. The treat should be small. You do not want to give your dog a whole bone or a large treat every time he does a command. The do g w ill quickly become full and will no longer be interested in learning. Plus, the excess calories could lead to weight gain. Use a special treat that the dog gets only when he is training. This will help the dog feel rewarded for a job well done. When Do I Give My Dog a Treat? In the beginning you want to give your dog a treat every time he performs a new behavior. You can even use the treat to show your do g w hat you want. For example, if you slowly lift the treat above your dog’s nose, he will most likely sit. Then you can give him the treat as a reward. Timing is critical! If you ask your dog to sit, he sits, and then as you fumble for your treat he gets up and walks away, you have missed your opportunity to reward the good behavior. So be ready to reward! Moving Beyond Treats Although treats are a great way to start a training program, it is important to teach your dog to listen to you even when you don’t have anything in your hand. Start to verbally praise and pet him before you give him the treat. This will help...

Public Manners

It is fun to take your dog with you to the local pet store or out to lunch but the first time in public can be nerve racking for both you and the dog! To help make sure that the outing is enjoyable follow these tips: Before you try to take your puppy out to a public place, make sure that she responds to simple commands like sit and stay and knows how to walk on a leash. This will give you some tools to help control her during your outing. If your dog is nervous with one person around then don’t take her around two people or into a store. Remember that not every dog is a social butterfly so let her go at her own pace. If you put her into to many “scary” situations it will show her that everything is scary! The golden rule is: go at the puppy’s pace. When you are out in public, introduce her to as many different types of people as possible. Let her interact with kids, the elderly, homeless people, police officers and people of other ethnicities. When she meets these people allow her to be friendly but make sure she doesn’t jump. If she does, tell her no then use a treat or the leash to make her sit before the person is allowed to pet her again. Introduce her to as many different types of noises and things as possible. Show her a balloon, a grocery cart or a garbage truck. This will help teach your dog that although something may be loud it doesn’t mean she...

Helping your Fearful Dog

Some dogs are extremely nervous or frightened in new situations. How you handle this fear can make the difference between a well adjusted dog and a dog that is afraid of her own shadow. To help a do g w ith her fears do the following: Always be calm! Do not grab or chase the dog or force her into a situation because she is “acting silly”. This will only confirm to her that the world is indeed scary and so are you! Instead, use controlled body movement and a quiet voice. This will help to show your dog that you are a good leader and that you do not intend to hurt her. Many people want to tell their dog that “its okay, the (blank) won’t hurt you.” This is meant to be reassuring but since dogs don’t understand English they think that you are praising them for being fearful. Instead, act happy and show her that there is nothing to be afraid of. If she continues to be scared after 3-5 minutes, remove her from the situation and try again later. Be your dog’s advocate! Many people do not know how to interact with a scared dog so they will invade the dogs space and try to pat it on the head. This can be very nerve racking for an insecure dog so make sure to be proactive and tell people to refrain from petting her if she is nervous. Carry yummy treats or your dog’s favorite toy. If every time your dog comes across a “scary person or situation” she gets a treat or special playtime...

Picking the Right Dog

Picking the right dog can be difficult but it is vitally important since you will be spending the next 10-15 years with your new canine friend. To help you make the right decision, consider the questions below: Are you ready? Most people are so excited to get a dog that they never stop to think about the true responsibilities of pet ownership. Are you ready to clean up diarrhea off of your favorite rug at 3am ? Or take your dog out to toilet in the pouring rain? Are you ready to have your house take on that unique odor that only a dog lover could enjoy? Or have dog hair on your favorite outfit? If you can say yes to these questions, then read on! What type of dog fits into your life? Too many people find the dog they want and then try to fit it into their current lifestyle. This often backfires once the Mastiff comes home to the small apartment or the 8 week old puppy has to stay alone for 10 hours as his parents go to work. Evaluate your life and what you want out of a dog. Be honest! How much time do you have for him? What type of activities do you want to do with him? Do you want a dog that sheds? Do you want a dog that can easily travel? Do you want a dog that can run all day or one that prefers to sit on the couch? Do you want an outgoing and dominant working dog or a soft and submissive lap dog? What will your...

Crates!

Many people object to using crates because they think it is cruel. However, we must respect our dog enough to look at it from their point of view. Dogs, by nature, LOVE small dark spaces that they can call their own. That is why many dogs happily sleep in their crate even after they are given the chance to sleep in the bed with their owner. Plus, crates give us the tools necessary to teach our dogs proper manners by helping us potty training them and preventing them from starting bad habits when left alone-like chewing on our favorite chair! What type of crate should I use? There are a variety of crates available for dogs. If you have a young puppy or your dog is still adjusting to the crate, a durable crate such as the plastic “airline” approved plastic crates work best. Once your dog adjusts to his new space, you can invest in one of the many designer crates that are available. That way, your dog can stay safe but you don’t have to stare at a large ugly crate. How big should the crate be? The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around. If you have a young puppy, it is especially important to get a proper sized crate because, if the crate is too large, the puppy will still go to the bathroom in it. How do I get my dog to enjoy the crate? Place the crate in an area of the house that is convenient but is not separated from the rest of the family....

How to Find a Good Breeder

Finding a good breeder can be time consuming but it is VERY important. Many temperament and health issues can be prevented with proper breeding. Make sure to buy your puppy from a breeder who: Knows extensive information about the breed. The breeder should be able to talk to you about the proper breed standards including size, body proportion, head shape, and coloring. They should also tell you about common genetic disorders and what they have done to screen for these disorders in the new litter of puppies. Keeps the puppies in a clean and home like environment. Your do g w ill not be living in a cage so it shouldn’t grow up in one! Is recommended to you by your vet, groomer, local kennel club or other trusted resource. Will allow you to talk to families who have dogs from previous litters. Require that they meet and interview YOU! Responsible breeders invest time and energy in making sure that the puppy’s temperament matches the lifestyle of the new family. Has a waiting list. If a breeder constantly has dogs available then it is a sign that s/he is more interested in making money then producing quality dogs. Is interested in looks AND temperament. The breeder should be able to talk to you about what temperament tests the puppies go through as well as what type of personality each dog has. They should be heavily involved in helping you pick the puppy that is right for your family. Offers a health guarantee and will take the dog back at any age if you are unable to keep it. If...

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