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Helpful Tips For Your Recalls

Is your dog not responding to their recalls like you would like?  Do they look at you when you call them to ‘come’ but continue to turn and run the other way?  If you find you are having a hard time with your dog coming when called, apply these helpful tips.  When applied you will see results immediately! 1.        First and foremost, set your dog up for success.  Do not give your dog freedom until they are coming to you reliably– unless you are in a situation where you do not need them to come when called.  The reason for this is because every time you call your dogs to ‘come’ and they do not, they are learning to ignore your requests.  People hate to hear ‘keep your dog on leash’ until they know better.  They envision their dogs running free and coming back to them at

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Why Do Dogs Love To Roll In Stinky Stuff & Grooming Tips

Few dogs don’t have this habit to some extent—whether it’s a good shoulder-first roll in fresh grass with all its hidden secrets or a nosedive into a freshly manured field. The behaviour is called scent rolling and researchers speculate that it originated as a way to bring information back to the pack. Of course, dogs have had much time and adaptation to make the behaviour their own, so it’s likely dogs roll in grass and other interesting materials for a number of reasons. One is to get rid of unwanted smells, for example that doggie shampoo you enjoy but that Fido does not appreciate. Itchy skin can be another cause for frequent and vigorous rolling, so look out for fleas, tick bites, or tell-tale signs of skin conditions such as scabs, redness, rashes, or bald patches. Rolling in grass is not dangerous in itself. Just be sure your dog has

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Taming The Tooth Monster

Some dogs take treats too hard. As in, they manage to scrape your hands painfully when they grab the goody. Usually these dogs weren’t taught as puppies what is an acceptable amount of pressure for big pearly canines on human skin. They are not trying to hurt us; they just never learned to regulate jaw pressure. Sometimes this tendency is exacerbated by excitement (Ooh! My favorite treat!) or stress (Yikes, another dog is close by and she might also be interested in my favorite treat). What to do about it Stop letting go. Get a good hold on a treat before you offer it and only release the treat if your dog uses a soft mouth, i.e. light pressure or, preferably, all lips and no teeth. If your dog grabs too hard, say, “Too bad” or “Bummer” in an oh-what-a-shame tone of voice and pull the treat away. As long

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Building A Lifelong Relationship

The American Veterinary Medical Association defines the human-animal bond as “a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both.” So, what are the behaviors in question? Being a responsible caretaker is at the foundation, of course, and includes providing food, water, shelter, and safety, as well as medical care when needed. But aside from that, what influences a person’s relationship with her dog? What takes it from good to great? In the human world, psychologist John Gottman spent four decades studying couples to find out what makes marriages happy and lasting. His major takeaway was that a deep sense of connection and trust is built between couples that make many “bids”—verbal or nonverbal requests for attention and connection—and offer positive responses to those bids. Positive reinforcement training shows us that the same principles apply

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Water Rescue

Water rescue is the umbrella term for the lifesaving feats of dogs like Newfoundlands and Portuguese Water Dogs (PWDs). Newfies are legendary in this area, crowding the history books with acts of courage in aid of humans. PWDs were primarily bred to work alongside fishermen retrieving nets and even herding schools of fish, but have in modern times also been highly successful partners in lifesaving teams at beaches and watersports destinations. Both breeds are strong working dogs with extraordinary lung capacity and swim-stroke propulsion, webbed feet, muscled tails that act as rudders, and waterproof coats that protect them in icy water. A healthy, fully trained Newfie can swim over two miles and can keep a drowning victim afloat for more than an hour. He can bring a lifeline or rescue tube to a victim or tow an inflatable rescue boat with 10 people to shore. Where a human lifeguard must

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Tripods Don’t Stop

A common reaction when people see a three-legged dog is sympathy. (“Poor thing…”) Another is admiration. (“What a brave pooch!”) Both are entirely understandable. For humans, amputation can involve complex psychological and emotional issues. For dogs? Less so. Dogs have no notion of body image, no mental image of what they are supposed to look like. What they care about falls into two major categories: One, whether they are in pain. Two, whether they can do things they love: go for walks, play with toys, eat yummy food, get belly rubs, snuggle on the couch, etc. Nature is kind to animals in this way. A pain-free, well-fed dog with a loving home doesn’t give a hoot that her daily walk happens in the characteristic tripod hop instead of a lope. Amputee dogs, often called tripods, generally lose a limb either as a result of an accident or as a means

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Motivating Your Dog

  Does your dog’s response to cues seem lackluster? You may not have found the right motivation. Like humans, dogs work harder with strong motivation. Here’s how to turbocharge your dog’s drive—whether to come when called or break her agility speed record.   Find What Drives Your Dog We are all motivated to action by different things. Maybe it’s that afternoon caffè latte we promise ourselves if we finish the report, or the massage we feel we earned after a month of gym visits. But the wrong reward would leave us cold. If you wanted chocolate, would you toil for a carrot? What does your dog most want? If in doubt, parade different treats past your dog to see what really gets her attention. Most dogs go nuts for meaty, greasy, and smelly. A few dogs prefer bread-based items. Some dogs, particularly working breeds like Border Collies and some terriers,

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Size Matters

Your Chihuahua may love Boxers and your Rottie mix may adore Dachshunds. But when little and big play together, keep close watch. Big dogs can unintentionally harm small dogs—and on the rare occasions when friendly play escalates into a scuffle, the smaller dog is at risk for serious injury or death. If you let your dog play with very differently sized dogs, supervise vigilantly. No chasing. Don’t allow chase or wrestle games between a very large and a very small dog. If you see this happening, call your dog away with a treat. At the park, seek out areas with more dogs his own size. Why is this important? Dogs love to chase things—balls, cats, sticks, Frisbees, and other dogs. They get this love from their wolf ancestry, along with the instincts to stalk, and grab and shake small prey animals. But wolves are all about the same size and

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The Best of Dog Times

The Best of Dog Times It’s human nature to get sentimental about the past. When we imagine dogs’ lives 100 years ago, what likely comes to mind are idyllic scenes of working dogs herding sheep on green pastures or bouncing alongside horse-drawn fire engines (thank you, Disney). We forget—or never learned about—the popularity of dog fighting, the widespread animal cruelty of the 19th century, or the out-of-control stray problem that saw thousands of dogs rounded up and killed in inhumane ways. Today, fewer dogs do the jobs they were bred for, but they enjoy endless advantages never afforded their forebears. Take, for example, medical advances in veterinary science over the last 20 years. Not only are there more and better treatments available, canine pain management options such as acupuncture, massage, TTouch, and swim therapy mean that dogs with injuries, arthritis, or in post-op recovery suffer much less. Then there’s the

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How Puppy Training Has Changed- and Why

Formal dog training as we know it originated during World War II. Before that, dogs had been working household members and their behavior was largely shaped through organic learning from older dogs. Only when soldiers needed to train large numbers of dogs to assist in warfare did compulsion training arise and, when the war ended, was developed into a recognized field by discharged military personnel. Back then, society as a whole accepted punishment as a valid teaching method. Typical training approaches involved physical corrections, leash jerks, and loudly yelling at the dog. This was difficult for puppies to endure, so the prevailing wisdom was to hold off on proper training until the puppy was seven months old (house-training was the exception). In some places, these outdated methods are still used. But from the 60s and 70s and on—through the work of pioneers like Bob Bailey, Karen Pryor, and Dr. Ian

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