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Try This Before Your Walks

Did you know that the way you start your walks with your dog can set a precedent to how your walks will go?  If you allow your dog to pull you out the door at the beginning of your walk, it is more likely your dog will pull you during the entirety of your walk. Consequently, it will take that much longer to gain their attention.  I quickly learned that if I allowed a dog to jump all over me while putting on their leash, or allowed them to pull me out the door, it took me and my furry companion much longer to get anywhere without them pulling. I’m not sure about you, but I do not find walking a dog that pulls me to be fun, at all.  One of the first things that I do when training one of our Board and Train or Day Train dogs

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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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The Shell Game

A positive push that has happened for me this year was to see how I could stimulate both dogs and owners during Stay at Home Orders due to COVID.  I’ve done this by having fun getting out of my routine and implementing brain games into my behavior repertoire. I have often told owners that mental exercise such as training, allowing your dogs to smell, and brain games can tire dogs out.  I have seen and gotten reports back from students how this is true. Students who have joined me in my Games class reported that they were spending more time with their dogs and their dogs took a nice long nap after class due to the fun mentally stimulating activities. In this post I want to share a simple, fun, interactive game for both you, your dog, and family,  The Shell Game.  Let me know if by adding The Shell

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3 Keys To Successful Dog Training

Setting boundaries/ guideline/ expectations/ rules, however you want to look at it can help dogs, adults, kids, animals thrive with knowing what is expected of them. Knowing that there are rules, keeps pure and utter chaos from ensuing. Boundaries/ guidelines/ expectations/ rules takes the guess work out of what needs to happen in various situations and in order to get attention. For example, I have found training your dog to ‘sit’ to get attention instead of them jumping can be life changing for both the dog and their owner. The best part of that? It’s not that hard as long as your consistent and follow through. In my son’s Taekwondo dog class their Black Belt Success Cycle is something I have always followed and implement with my students. I feel these are the 3 keys to successful training, setting boundaries, and obtaining goals in life. The key steps are: Know

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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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Bichon Frise

This cheerful and companionable powder puff hails from the Mediterranean area; bichons traveled widely as companions for sailors, minstrels, and circus groups. Beginning in the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, they found favor with one royal European family after another, from Spain to Italy to France (King Henry III of France reputedly carried his bichon in a basket hanging from his neck). Bichons are the star performers of the dog world. Consummate entertainers, they love attention and can play and clown around for hours. The well-socialized bichon is friendly, resilient, and quick to learn. This, combined with a sturdy build, makes him an equally great buddy whether traveling or lounging at home. Despite his classification as a nonsporting dog, the bichon is a terrific little athlete that, with training, can excel at agility, K9 Nose Work, and Rally obedience. To give a Bichon Frise a home, search online for

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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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