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1/10/19 -Helping Your Dog through Grief
2018 was a difficult year for my family with the loss of my father and a few more close calls. Although my dog was not around my father much before he passed, she definitely was affected by the changes in routine and the stress and grief my family was going through.
A few of our clients also had dogs cross the Rainbow Bridge this year, having a noticeable effect on the other dogs in the home. It made me think I should write a little about helping dogs through the grief process, whether they are grieving or affected by those grieving around them. So to help your dog through a difficult time…
- Try to keep their daily routine the same if possible. Abrupt changes in the schedule can be very stressful for dogs.
- Go for a walk together, play fetch, hide and seek, or however you normally exercise your dog. Physical exercise reduces stress for both people and dogs.
- Spend some time outside with your dogs. Fresh air can boost our moods and Fido’s too!
- Increase your dog’s mental stimulation with puzzle type dog toys that are designed to put food into and your dog has to figure out how to get the food out.
- Another great way to mentally stimulate your dog is with training such as obedience type training, dog tricks, or games. Just make sure it is positive reinforcement dog training so that it is fun for your dog and not stressful.
- Give your dog a massage…it can help you both to feel better 🙂
- Essential oils are a great natural calming option as long as you use ones that are safe for dogs. For more information, check out our page on essential oils and dogs.
- If all of the above are not enough to boost your dog’s mood, you may need to talk to your dog’s veterinarian about some natural calming aids, or a temporary medication may be needed in more severe cases. Just be sure to ask your veterinarian how to wean off of the medication.
- Dogs can sense our emotions and stress so be sure to take care of yourself too. Try getting a massage or going to see an uplifting movie or lunch with some friends…whatever works for you. Keeping your spirits up with help your dog to feel better too.
- Be patient with yourself and your dogs. There is no time limit for grief. We all have to go through it in our own way and our own time, and that is true for our dogs too.
This post is dedicated to all of you who have also lost a loved one. My heart goes out to you and I hope 2019 brings much healing for you and your family.
Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019 filled with much love and blessings. Happy New Year!!!
HOLIDAY GIFT CERTIFICATES NOW AVAILABLE: Having a well behaved dog can bring a lot of peace to the home…so why not give the gift of happiness and less stress this holiday season with a gift certificate for dog training.
HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS: There are many dangers for our pets this time of year including holiday plants, foods, Christmas trees, and decorations. Check out www.aspca.org/pet-care for lots of tips to keep your pets safe during the holidays and all year round. Happy HOWLidays!!!
10/28/18 – HOWLoween Safety Tips
Keep all candy in a safe place away from your dog. Chocolate can be poisonous and even deadly and many types of candy can cause choking. Tin foil, plastic, etc. can also cause serious problems if swallowed.
Think twice before displaying lit pumpkins, or at least be careful where they are placed so your dogs do not tip them over or get too close and get burned.
The ongoing arrival of strangers in costumes can make dogs very nervous and fearful. Therefore, it’s best to keep them safely confined to an area of the house away from the door during trick or treat hours. Fido should also wear his ID tags just in case he gets out the door. If you are worried about your dog dashing out the door, please contact us so we can help!
Most dogs do not like to dress up. If you do dress up your pet, do not leave your pet unattended and make sure the costume doesn’t inhibit movement, vision, hearing, breathing, or barking. Choose safe costumes without small pieces that can be chewed off and choked on. If your dog will be around other dogs when in costume, it’s best to choose a costume that does not conceal his body language. Since dogs communicate with each other this way, hiding their body language can contribute to dog fights.
Keep your pets indoors on Halloween or under your constant supervision when outside. According to the ASPCA, pets have been teased, injured, stolen and even killed by vicious pranksters on this night. It’s advisable to keep cats in the house for several days before and after Halloween. Black cats are particularly vulnerable to pranks.
We wish everyone a safe and happy HOWLoween!!!
5/22/18 – Rain, Storms, and Fireworks, Oh My!!!
Has your dog been acting up lately or seems anxious or even a little depressed? Is your dog afraid of storms or fireworks? Your dog is not alone. All of this rainy weather is affecting a lot of dogs’ moods and behavior. If this is your dog, don’t worry…there are ways to easily fix your dog’s seasonal behaviors.
So if your dog seems to be getting into more trouble lately, depressed, or anxious from the storms… Or maybe you are dreading the fourth of July because of your dog’s fear of fireworks….just keep reading for some easy solutions.
Did you know there is training that can be done to help dogs overcome their fear of storms? We have several ways of addressing this behavior. You could first try getting a storm CD or download and play it at a very low volume at which your dog is NOT nervous. After five minutes or so, turn it up very gradually. Turn it back down if your dog starts to act nervous and then play it at a lower volume for a while longer before trying to turn it back up again. Continue doing this until you can play the storm sounds at a loud volume without your dog being nervous.
You could also do the same approach if your dog is afraid of fireworks. You could probably find a fireworks video on You Tube or also a dog trainer named Terry Ryan sells firework downloads for this purpose.
This training approach is called desensitizing and for some dogs this is enough, but not for all. So if your dog needs more help getting over their fear of storms or fireworks, no worries, just contact us. We offer both phone consultations and in-home training for this behavior. But don’t wait…July 4th is quickly approaching!!!
If your dog has been acting up lately or seeming depressed…there’s a good chance it is from less exercise due to the rainy weather. It is very common to see these changes with our dogs’ behavior when they are not getting enough exercise. We can help with this too…
Did you know there are lots of ways to exercise your dog indoors and even in small spaces? We have ways to tire your dog out inside even if you live in an apartment or condo. For some free tips check out our January blog post and for lots more ways to exercise your dog indoors…click here to learn about our Fun Fit Fido training program.
Happy Memorial Day! Hope you have an awesome holiday weekend and hopefully some sun too 🙂
1/8/18 – FREE Indoor Games and Exercise for your Dog
It’s that time of year when we often hear of dogs not behaving at their best due too built up energy. If the cold weather is preventing your dog from getting the exercise he needs, you should give some of these fun and free games a try.
The Come Game
This game is best suited for two or more people. One person calls Fido to them and rewards him when he gets there with a treat, toy, play, etc. Then continue with the next person. Start in close proximity of each other and when your dog is ready, gradually build the distance between you.
Hide and Seek
Once your dog masters the above, now you can turn it into a game of Hide and Seek by starting to move around and gradually making it harder for your dog to find you. Just be careful not to make it too hard too quickly or your dog might give up. And never scare your dog…when he finds you he gets rewarded with a treat, toy, etc.
Teach your dog to find treats or toys. First put him into a “stay”. If he does not know “stay”, then put a leash on him and safely secure him to something or let another person hold him by the leash while you hide the item. At first make it very easy to find and let him see where you are placing the item. Return to him and tell him “Find It” and then release him to get it. Once he learns the “Find It’ command, you can gradually make it harder for him to find.
Do not underestimate the power of tricks. Teaching your dog tricks provides a lot of beneficial mental stimulation which can also tire our dogs out. But if it is physical exercise you are seeking, tricks is great for that too! A few examples are…puppy push-ups and crawl are great for their legs…beg/sit pretty and roll over are good strength training exercises for their core…and bow is great for stretching and preventing injury. Those are just a few. There are many more awesome tricks you can teach your dog.
For an inexpensive starter puzzle… try hiding treats in a muffin tin and covering them with tennis balls. Put treats in every slot at first but once your dog has the idea, then gradually reduce the number of slots that have treats but all slots should still be covered by the balls.
If your dog masters this puzzle quickly, there are more advanced puzzles in some pet stores and many online stores that you could purchase.
If you have a safe area indoors with enough space, you might want to try a portable at-home agility kit for another fun way to exercise your dog indoors. Just be sure to purchase one that can be used indoors and not one that requires staking to the ground.
We hope you enjoy these indoor games with your dog. For help teaching any of the above or for more fun ways to exercise and play with your dog indoors, check out our Fun Fit Fido Program.
Please remember to keep your dog safe this winter. Do not leave your dog outside for more than a few minutes during freezing temperatures and remember, short haired dogs need coats in winter weather.
We wish everyone a very Happy New Year and much health and happiness in 2018!
HOLIDAY GIFT CERTIFICATES NOW AVAILABLE
12/10/17 – 5 Quick and Easy Ways to Have a Better Behaved Dog
Would you like your dog to behave better? Here are some free training tips for 5 quick and easy ways to improve your dog’s behavior.
- Teach your dog to sit before all rewards including food, treats, going outside, putting the leash on, coming out of the crate, for toys, etc. Doing this teaches your dog that sit means “please” and being polite gets him what he wants.
- Be sure to prevent the undesirable behaviors from happening when you are not there to monitor your dog by safely confining him to a crate, behind gates, etc. The only way to effectively correct your dog for wrong behavior is to catch him in the act…please see our blog post “The Two Second Rule” for more on this.
- Never use a retractable leash when walking your dog. There are many problems with these types of leashes including giving you less control and allowing your dog to roam too far and therefore lose focus of where you are. Six foot leashes are best.
- Teach your dog to stay on one side of you during your walks instead of allowing him to cross back and forth. Not only will this decrease the likelihood of your dog tripping you… but also provides more structure to the walk, improving your dog’s attention to you.
- Use the leash more. Using a standard 4-6 foot leash in the house and even inside a fully fenced yard is a great training tool when we need our dogs to listen better. You could either hold the leash, use it to safely secure your dog, or let him drag it if in a safely confined area. Please remember to NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG UNATTENDED ON A LEASH!
These 5 things will get you off to a great start to having a well-trained dog. Please contact us if you would like more assistance with training your dog.
10/10/17 – Do you want a well behaved dog for the holidays?
Imagine no more embarrassment or apologizing for your dog’s behavior when visitors are over. And you do not have to confine him to another room or crate either. With our training programs, your dog can learn how to be well mannered with company.
Dogs are social beings and want to be part of the activities. After completing our training program, your dog can be a welcomed member of your holiday festivities…
…So you don’t have to feel guilty about confining your dog or worry about how he will behave around your visitors. Let us help you train your dog so that you can have a stress free holiday season.
For example, would you like to teach your dog the amazing “place” command? Your dog would happily go to his designated spot like a dog bed, rug, etc. and stay there while your visitors come inside and get settled…
…Or you can have your dog go to “place” and stay there when people are sitting down to eat. Just imagine all the amazing ways the “place” command would make life easier and less stressful.
But there’s not much time left. The holidays are approaching quickly!
We have three awesome in-home dog training programs to choose from: Polite Pooch, Impressive Pooch, or Fantastic Fido! Contact us so we can learn more about your dog and how we can help.
There’s also still time to take advantage of our 15 Year Anniversary Sale but the sale ends soon so don’t miss out on the huge savings! Get started today and have a well behaved dog for the holidays! We look forward to training with you and your dog!
5/28/17 – Tis the Season for Dog Training
Time to open up the doors and windows and let the fresh air fill your home! Or is it? Are you worried about your dog barking at everything outside or escaping through a door? You don’t have to keep your doors and windows closed all summer. Check out our in-home dog training programs. We can help!
Tis the season for picnics, barbecues, and ball games. But will feeling guilty about your dog being cooped up at home take away from the fun? Your dog doesn’t have to be left at home. Well trained dogs are welcomed at many summer festivities. We can help train your dog to be a welcomed member of your social gatherings!
Warm weather makes the perfect time for potty training a new puppy or dog. Let us help you get off on the right foot with our in-home dog training. We can come to your house and show you exactly what to do with your new puppy or dog.
Your dog is probably loving the warm weather too…but maybe a little too much? If you have a hard time getting your dog to come in from the yard, no problem…we can help with that too!
Would you like to take many enjoyable walks with your dog this summer? No problem! We can teach your dog to walk nicely on a leash instead of pulling you down the street. So give us a call if you would like to teach your dog leash walking or heel.
Unfortunately, it’s also time for the dreaded fireworks and thunderstorms for many of us pet owners. However, there is a lot that can be done to help dogs overcome their fear of fireworks and thunderstorms. Yep, you guessed it…we can help with this too 🙂
So why wait? Dog training equals lots of fun for you and your dog – contact us and let us help you train your dog to be on his best behavior this summer!
2/10/17 – Welcome Home Poochie!
Meet our new demo dog Poochie! After almost eight months of fostering this little girl, we couldn’t imagine giving her up anymore. She is part of our family now. Welcome to your new forever home Poochie!!! READ MORE
CLICK HERE to see Poochie performing some of her tricks.
1/11/17 – We are excited to share this press release for our 2016 Super Service Award on Angie’s List! We have also earned this award in 2012, 2013, and 2014! A huge thank you goes out to all of our wonderful clients who helped make this possible year after year. We are very appreciative of your support!
Dog Gone Good Dog Training Inc. Earns
Esteemed 2016 Angie’s List Super Service Award
Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service
Dog Gone Good Dog Training Inc. has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of customer service to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2016.
This achievement is particularly significant as Angie’s List experienced unprecedented member growth in 2016. More than 1.6 million consumers, many of whom were eager to quickly hire highly qualified service pros, joined Angie’s List after the company added a new, free membership tier.
“Companies that can meet higher demands without missing a beat in their exemplary performance standards truly do stand apart from their peers,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Only a fraction of the Animal Training companies in the Chicagoland area were able to do it.”
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade. The SSA winners must also be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
Dog Gone Good’s owner and trainer, Michele Meyer, says “I am often asked why I do not expand and hire more people. Prior to starting my own business, I managed and helped run companies with many employees. Although there are benefits of expanding, there are also many benefits of remaining a small business. I feel at this time, I can best meet my high standard for customer service by staying a small business and not letting go of the personal touch that has been a big part of Dog Gone Good’s success. I’m not just in the business for the animals, but also for my love and compassion for people.”
Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.
For more than 21 years, Angie’s List restricted access to its verified reviews to consumers who paid membership fees. When the company removed that barrier, some companies worried that the new, non-paying members would not be as engaged as members of the past. Experience has shown, however, that these newly added members are just as engaged – across all age groups – as prior members. Also, because the company continues to adhere to its review verification process, there has been no degradation of review quality.
“The biggest change at Angie’s List is that we are connecting even more consumers to high quality service professionals,” Hicks said. “And that’s good for everyone.”
Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than 4.5 million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly rated service providers in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of more than 10 million verified reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.
12/26/16 – More Happiness in 2017
It’s that time of year again when the holidays are winding down and we start reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the next. As you reflect back, I hope you find that 2016 was filled with many blessings. One of the things I am always very grateful for is having a life filled with furry friends. But as much as we love our pets, they sometimes can contribute to our stress levels. Is that the case for you? Would you be happier if your dog was better trained? No, but really, let’s think about it for a minute. Let’s think about how having a better trained dog could increase your happiness. How many of these would you agree with?
- Happiness is an enjoyable walk with my dog.
- Happiness is attending more social events with my well mannered dog.
- Happiness is having more visitors come over without feeling embarrassed of my dog’s behavior.
- Happiness is having my well behaved dog enjoy the time with visitors instead of being confined when company arrives.
- Happiness is not worrying about my home or my dog when I am not at home.
- Happiness is no more family arguments over the dog’s behavior.
- Happiness is the peace of mind that comes with knowing my dog will not run out of the door or yard and will come when called.
- Happiness is when my dog is happy!
All of these things are possible and dogs love our positive reinforcement dog training methods. So what are you waiting for? Let us help you reach your goal for more happiness in 2017! We love helping families and their dogs live happily together and we want to help you too. It all begins with the first step. You can enroll in one of our group dog training classes or in-home dog training programs and be on your way to a happier 2017!
We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and wishing you a safe and Happy New Year!
11/6/16 – Celebrating 15 Years in Business
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 15 years of training dogs since we opened our doors in 2002. Time flies when you’re having fun! We have helped trained thousands of dogs and I am so grateful to be able to earn a living doing something I am so passionate about. I want to extend a huge thank you to each and every one of you that has contributed to Dog Gone Good’s success. These 15 years were possible because of all of our supportive friends, family, clients, employees, business relationships, and of course all of the dogs and puppies needing training. Also a big thank you goes out to my furry business partner, Persia. Dog Gone Good exists because of you and you will forever be in my heart.
Thank you again to all of our clients and supporters! Looking forward to another 15 years and then some 🙂
7/13/16 – To Sniff or Not to Sniff
Sniffing provides much information and mental stimulation for our dogs. It is like their daily newspaper and allows them to gather important information about their environment. A perfect example of this would be if your dog was lost, could he find his way back home? Therefore, you SHOULD allow your dog to sniff on the walk. You can either choose to allow your dog to sniff anything he wants as long as it is on his side and he does not pull you to get there or you can choose to only allow him to sniff when you say it is okay. If you choose this option, then periodically along the walk you should stop, have your dog sit, and then give a release command such as “go sniff” to allow him his sniffing time. He will not know what this means at first, so you will have to bring him into the grass/sniff area and encourage him to sniff. You can follow him during this free time however do not allow him to pull you. Once you decide the sniffing time is over, tell your dog “let’s go” and resume the walk. Please contact us if you need help teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash.
6/26/16 – Dogs and Fireworks
This is the dreaded time of year for many pet owners with dogs that experience stress from fireworks. Here are a few tips that can help your furry friends during this stressful time.
- NEVER bring your dogs to an event that will be displaying fireworks. This would be an extremely scary event for dogs and the loud noise could trigger them to pull free from the leash and run away.
- Be sure to keep your dogs safely confined in your home while fireworks are being set off. Do not let them roam free in your yard, even if it is fully fenced. Many dogs break out of their fenced yards in panic when fireworks are set off and then continue to run in fear of the loud noise.
- Many dogs feel relief by having an area in the house to go to where the noise and light exposure is less. You could also try keeping the lights on and turning on a radio, television, and/or an exhaust fan to help drown out some of the noise.
- Many of our clients have seen stress reduction in their dogs with use of a pressure wrap such as a Thundershirt, Adaptil DAP spray/diffuser, and Bach Flower Rescue Remedy FOR PETS (not the human one). Be sure to follow the instructions for each of these carefully.
- You CAN comfort your dog. This will not reinforce the fear. It is however best not to “baby” your dog. Try sitting down next to your dog and slowly and calmly petting him. Try not talking to your dog unless you find it helps him to calm down. If you do talk to your dog, do so in a calm and soothing voice.
- Fear usually gets worse overtime if not addressed. Please contact us if you would like to set up training to help your dogs overcome their fear of fireworks, storms, or other stressful situations.
6/18/16 – Meet our Foster
We are so excited to welcome our new foster into our home. Her name is Poochie and she’s such a love bug. She loves to get belly rubs, sit on your lap, and cuddle. We are looking forward to getting to know her better and training her for her forever home. Read More
6/10/16 – Dog Training Tip: Avoiding Food Dependency
Is your dog food dependent? In other words, he won’t listen unless there is a food reward involved? One way to avoid this is to teach your dog he has to work for more than just food. Train your dog to sit before going outside, putting the leash on, coming out of the crate or gate, being petted, playing fetch or tug, coming on the furniture, and of course for food and treats! There’s nothing wrong with using treats for dog training as long as you also train your dog to work for non-food rewards to help avoid food dependency.
6/3/16 – Bridging the Canine and Human Communication Gap
Are you having a hard time getting your dog to listen? Communication gaps often play a big part in our dog’s confusion and improper training. Some common examples are too much verbiage and inconsistent feedback. Talking to your dog in sentences gets translated as “blah, blah, blah”. Dogs understand best when we use just one or two syllables which is why all commands are just that such as sit, stay, come, and down. It’s also important that everyone who interacts with Fido is consistent in using the same commands.
Timing is everything! This is because dogs live in the moment and therefore need to be rewarded or corrected within two seconds of doing the behavior. A common example of this is when dogs go outside to go to the bathroom and then come in to get their treat. They will also expect a treat when they come in even if they didn’t go to the bathroom. This is because they think the reward is for coming in, which is a great thing to reward. However, to reward your dog for going to the bathroom, you would need to bring the treats outside with you and give him the treat within two seconds of him emptying.
The two second rule also applies for corrections. Your dog has no idea what you are correcting him for if you do not catch him IN THE ACT. Even five seconds afterwards is too late!!! Please see our previous blog post “The Two Second Rule” for more on this topic.
A well trained dog means more peace and enjoyment for everyone, including Fido. Dogs that are well mannered are able to be a part of social gatherings instead of being confined or left behind. Please contact us if you need help training your dog to be a welcomed guest at this summer’s festivities
5/28/16 – Proactive Puppy Training
Puppies are ready to learn at six weeks of age so it’s very important to start proper training with your puppy right away. Puppies grow quickly and those not so good behaviors that sometimes may even seem cute become very problematic when puppy is full grown. Practice makes perfect and that goes for undesirable behaviors too so there’s no time to waste.
All puppies should be taught basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, leave-it and drop-it to help keep them safe. Dogs that know these commands can often save their owners from some hefty veterinarian bills. Teaching your pup these commands will enrich your bond and result in a well-mannered and more enjoyable pet.
We can help teach your puppy these commands along with leash walking and addressing any house manners behavior like housebreaking, destructive chewing, nipping, jumping, barking, begging, etc. We can also help with teaching children and puppies how to interact together along with several other extremely important puppy proactive exercises to prevent common behavior problems from developing. Time is of the essence with this training and we can help you get off to a good start with your puppy.
5/22/16 -The Two Second Rule
One of the most important rules of dog training is the two second rule. This is because dogs always live in the moment so TIMING IS EVERYTHING! Feedback must be given to your dog within two seconds of the behavior in order for him to understand what you are correcting or rewarding. Your dog has no idea what you are correcting him for if you do not catch him IN THE ACT. Even five seconds afterwards is too late!!!
This does not mean that your dog only has a two second memory or that he cannot focus for more than two seconds. Dogs will however ALWAYS associate the correction with what they are doing or what is happening in that EXACT moment such as you walking into the room. For example, you walk into a room to discover a chewed up shoe or a puddle on the floor and your dog is lying on his bed. You then try to point out what he did wrong and correct him for it. He will not understand what you are trying to communicate and he will associate the correction with either lying on his bed or with you walking into the room.
Therefore, there is much harm that can be done by correcting your dog after the fact. Correcting your dog as soon as you enter the room and see what he did while you were gone can cause your dog to develop separation anxiety. Your dog will be anxious about your return and the likelihood that he will be punished but that doesn’t mean he knows why you are upset. In addition, dogs often start to fear people that punish too late because they do not understand why they are being corrected and therefore associate the correction with the person instead of the behavior.
But you say your dog looks guilty? People often mistake a dog trying to appease as guilt. You may see what you think is “guilty” expressions or posturing from your dog. However, it is not guilt that you are witnessing. This is just your dog’s way of trying to appease you and diffuse conflict. He is just responding to your emotions or he may even have a conditioned response to automatically start this posturing when you arrive because these are times where you are frequently upset with him. In other words, our dogs do not need to know why we are upset before they “apologize”. They will show this commonly mistaken as “guilty” body language simply to try to calm us and diffuse conflict regardless of why you are upset.
Effective communication is the key to dog training and to having a harmonious relationship with your dog. So be sure to only correct your dog when you catch him in the act and use proper management to prevent undesirable behavior when you are not able to monitor your dog. Dogs that are not housebroken or display other destructive behaviors when left alone should be safely crated or gated when unsupervised. Please note that it is important to properly introduce your dog to crating or gating so he is accepting of it and will not hurt himself trying to escape. Please contact us if you need help introducing your dog to crating or gating or for assistance with housebreaking your dog or other destructive canine behaviors.
5/16/16 – Dog Training Tip: Toy Selection and Rotation
Is your dog bored with his toys? You can’t have too many toys for your dog but you should leave only a few down at a time. Rotating your dog’s toys helps keep the novelty. Your dog will be less likely to practice undesirable behaviors if he is more engaged with his toys.
Toy rotation also creates great training opportunities. Tell your dog to perform a dog training command such as sit, down, or stay before giving him a toy. This is a great way reinforce your leadership since your dog will see that you are the provider of the toys and he has to earn the rewards.
Be careful when choosing toys for your dog. For example, if your dog has rope toys he will most likely confuse the tassels on your rugs or curtains as his toys. For this reason, do not give your dog old socks, shoes, etc. to play with because he will not understand why he can’t play with your new ones!
5/9/16 – Walking Your Dog Training Tip
Dogs are explorers by nature and variety is the spice of life, so be sure to vary the paths you walk with your dog. Most canine behavior problems develop from dogs not getting enough physical exercise or mental stimulation. In addition, dogs are more likely to pull on the walk when they know exactly where you are going. Changing directions and paths often can help teach your dog to pay more attention to you. Please contact us if you need help training your dog to walk nicely on a leash.
5/1/16 -The Best Way to Give a Frozen Kong Toy
There are many Kong toys to choose from but for freezing, I recommend the Kong Classic. This is the one shaped like a snowman and is made of rubber. Some benefits of a frozen Kong are:
- Makes a great summer toy
- Can help sooth gums of a teething puppy which can help prevent destructive chewing and mouthing
- Can occupy your dog for a while to help prevent destructive and undesirable behaviors
- Can help ease canine stress and anxiety
You will need to choose the right durability for your dog. Red is for dogs that are average chewers and black is for aggressive chewers. Light pink and blue colors are for seniors or puppies whose jaws are not as strong. Next, you will need to choose the right size for your dog. There should be general weight guidelines on the packaging. I often recommend going one size larger if the dog’s weight is near the higher end of the guideline. For example, I believe the guideline for the small Kong Classic is up to 20 lbs but the medium starts at 15 lbs.
You will now need to choose your Kong stuffing. One of the most commonly used stuffing is peanut butter but you could also use wet dog food, almond butter, or pure canned pumpkin to name a few. This moist stuffing can also be mixed with small pieces of apple, carrots, plain cheerios, etc. Please keep in mind dogs cannot have all people food so please check with your dog’s veterinarian to ensure what you are giving your furry friend is safe. Also, new foods should always be introduced in small amounts, one at a time, and under observation to ensure your dog can tolerate them before giving larger amounts. For example, you wouldn’t want to give your dog a large amount of peanut butter the first time and leave him alone if he has a peanut allergy. Also keep in mind how long your dog will be left with the Kong when choosing the stuffing. Wet dog food should usually not be eaten after 20 to 30 minutes of sitting out so this may not be a good option if you are leaving Fido with the Kong for longer than that.
I recommend easing into the difficulty level if you are just introducing your dog to a frozen Kong. Some dogs give up if it is too difficult to start. Therefore, I do not recommend freezing it the first time you give your dog the stuffed Kong. Try freezing the stuffed Kong for just 30 minutes the next time you give it and then for an hour the following time. If all is going well and your dog is not giving up on getting all the goodies out, you can then start freezing it for a couple hours or more so it is completely frozen. The last level of difficulty is to stuff the Kong with your choice of the fixings mentioned above and then squeeze the Kong so that the opening becomes more oval instead of round. You can then lodge a crunchy dog treat in the whole and put a little of the moist stuffing on top (e.g. peanut butter) to entice your dog. Now freeze it until completely frozen.
CAUTION: Please take caution when giving your dog high value toys and food items like a stuffed Kong. Although our dogs are part of our family, they are still animals and can feel the need to guard high value items. Therefore, please make sure everyone, especially kids and other pets, do not bother Fido when he is enjoying his Kong and remember to pick up the Kong once Fido is done and walks away from it. Each dog in the home should have their own stuffed Kong and should be kept safely away from the other dogs in the home until all Kongs are emptied and picked up. Do not give your dog a stuffed Kong if he is already displaying aggression around food or toys. Please contact us if you need help with food or toy aggression.
4/25/16 – Visitors are Coming
Follow these steps to have a more well behaved dog for your summer gatherings:
1. Exercise your dog within a couple hours prior to the arrival of your guests.
2. Consider leashing your dog in the house and yard for more control but never leave your dog unattended on a leash.
3. Have a food stuffed Kong dog toy in the freezer and ready to give to your dog when you need him occupied like when your guests sit down to eat. Be sure everyone (especially children) stays away from your dog when he is enjoying his Kong. Check back soon for our upcoming post on the best way to stuff a Kong.
4. Have a quiet, safe place for your dog to rest when the excitement is getting to be too much for him.
5. It’s easy to forget about Fido when we are occupied with our visitors. Be sure to stick to your dog’s bathroom schedule and pay attention to his signs to go out. The excitement and change in routine can cause a dog to eliminate more frequently.
There is much more that can be done to teach Fido how to be a welcomed guest at your social gatherings. Please contact us if you would like more help training your dog.
4/22/16 – Is your dog ready for warmer weather?
Nicer temperatures bring more open doors. Start now and teach your dog not to dash out open doors and gates. All dogs should be trained to sit and stay at doors and not walk through until invited. This means with every person, every time, and all doors including car doors. It is also important to train your dog to come on command reliably just in case he does get out of his home or yard unexpectedly. Please contact us soon if you need help with these exercises. Training your dog in these areas can save his life!!!
4/18/16 – Our blog is born!
DOG TRAINING SOLUTIONS FOR DIGGING
Did you know that dogs learn by observing our behavior? That means dogs can learn to dig by watching us dig. So it’s best not to garden when your dog is around. That is, unless you want him to dig up all of your flowers and vegetables 😉
There are several reasons why dogs did but one of the most common is boredom. So if your dog is a digger, be sure to exercise him before leaving him in your yard unattended so he does not release all of his built up energy by digging up your yard. It can also help to have dog toys in the yard but you may need to choose large toys that your dog can’t bury if he likes to bury his toys. Another fun solution is to give Fido a digging pit of his own such as a baby pool filled with sand. Hide his favorite toys in the sandbox so Fido learns it’s more fun to dig there. This may quickly solve the digging problem but if you catch Fido digging in your yard still, quickly correct him by telling him “NO” sternly. Then redirect him to his digging pit and give him lots of praise when he digs there. Be sure to praise him whenever he is digging in his sandbox and not just after you had to redirect him.
There are many more reasons and training solutions for digging. Please contact us if you need help solving your dog’s digging problems.