Archive for » June, 2010 «

How to Prevent a Couch Potato Dog

Have you noticed there is a slight increase in the number of overweight dogs lately?  If you walk along the streets, there seems to be noticeably heavier dogs than in the past.  I am no scientist.  I have no statistical research, but it seems our dogs are left entertaining themselves solo more than in prior times.  It makes commonsense.  People are working longer hours at further jobs making up for financial loss that occurred during the recession.  Thus, we are away from our homes for extended durations.  And when we do this our dogs may be hanging around doing nothing, unless we provide our dogs with activities.  Here is one way to prevent your dog from turning into a couch potato.

Use Puzzle Toys

I have briefly discussed this before, but it is important to discover puzzle toys.  Puzzle toys are toys that are stuffed with food or your dog’s favorite treats, but takes time for your dog to discover where the treat is located inside the toy.  It is essentially a puzzle.  Hence, the name puzzle toy.  This engages your dog in mental and physical activity.  Sometimes it takes your dog one hour or two to solve it.  It is a great way to keep your dog from just lying around sleeping while you are gone from the house.  It provides your dog with a chance to develop skills further, even while you are away.

This is one way to prevent your dog from turning into a couch potato.  For more tips, talk to a Florida dog obedience training professional or a k9 obedience instructor today.

Why Negative Reinforcement Fails!

Many of my friends own dogs, and turn to me for advice on how to correct negative behavior.  There is a constant inquisitiveness about how to attain positive behavior in dogs.  Thus, we discuss at great lengths about how positive reinforcement in dog training works.  One such discussion focused on what do if your dog tears up the house while you are gone.  This conversation taught my friends something new, and I’d like to share it with you too.  It should help you understand why negative reinforcement never works, and why positive reinforcement is the training method of choice amongst owners and dog trainers alike.

How a Dog Translates Negative Reinforcement

My friend started the dialogue by describing how every time she leaves the house the dog tears up everything in sight.  She comes home from a dinner out with friends and it looks like she returned to a ransacked house with furniture flipped over, pillow stuffing laying all over the place, and her dog the culprit of it all.  And to fix the problem she thought coming home and scolding the dog would be adequate.  Then she would leave and the same thing would occur again.

Well, scolding or using any negative tactics on your dog does not work.  The biggest mistake is you are not correcting the problem immediately after it occurs.  A dog will not correlate you coming home and the negative behavior you instill as punishment for tearing up the house.  Too much time has passed so the connection is not made.  Thus, it does not work.  A dog needs to show the correct way to act, provide praise immediately afterwards and the connection between the positive praise and not tearing up the place is made in the canine’s mind.   Positive reinforcement always triumphs over negative reactions.

To find out more about why never to use negative reinforcement, talk to a Florida dog obedience or a k9 obedience professional today

How to Teach Your Dog to U-Turn

When taking your dog out for a walk, there are many distractions along the way.  There are other animals, traffic, and people enticing your dog’s instincts to chase.  At these moments is when teaching your dog to turn around comes in handy.  It keeps your dog safe, still and prevents your dog from running after others while outside.  Here are a few tips on how to teach your dog do a turnaround.

Start Walking with Your Dog on a Leash

To begin, start walking in a straight line with your dog on a leash.  After a couple of footsteps, use the command, “This way!”  At the same time, hold a treat with cheese, chicken, or your favorite dog’s treat in front of your canine’s nose.  This will get your dog’s attention.  Once your dog pays attention, start leading your dog with the treat out front and turn around.  Your dog will follow.  Just do this in a smooth movement.  Do not tug on the leash.  After your canine follows, take a few more steps, and give your dog a treat as a reward.  Provide praise.  Repeat these movements.  Your dog will begin to associate the u-turn around with the reward.

Repeat Sequence

Keep this lesson fresh in your dog’s mind by practicing.  Then start weaning your dog off the treats during the turnaround.  Give your dog the treat after two turnarounds, then lower the frequency.

To find out more information about how to teach your dog to u-turn, contact a Florida dog obedience training professional today.

What to Expect with a Small Dog

Small dogs are great companions for urban dwellers.  They do not take up much space making it ideal for apartment living.  But there are common mistakes made with taking care of small dogs.  Some dog owners are uneducated on the difference between handling a small versus a larger breed dog.  Here is an inside look on what you can expect when living with a small breed.

Exercise Your Small Dog

Just because a dog is small does not mean you should carry your dog everywhere.  Dogs need to run around.  A small dog breed is no different.  Allow your small dog to exercise, run around your apartment, play fetch, and expend energy.  It may take less time for a small dog to wear out than a large breed, but exercise and playtime is still necessary to providing your dog with a healthy life.

Do Not Carry Your Small Dog Everywhere

Small dogs are still dogs.  It is good to permit your dog to walk around on a leash when possible.  Do not carry your dog everywhere.  A small dog needs to roam around, and develop social skills.  This occurs when you allow your dog to walk next to you rather than carry it.  For instance, if you approach someone while holding your dog in your arms, you do not allow natural relationships to build between your dog and others.  People will automatically come and pet your dog.  It may cause fear in your dog.  However, if your dog is on the ground, walking, sniffing, approaching other animals and people, as your dog is comfortable, then the natural instincts a dog feels to approach or avoid occurs.  It is part of a fit development of a dog.  If you carry your dog, then you are eliminating this process from happening, which could harm your dog in the long run.

To find out more information about small breed dogs, talk to a Florida dog obedience training professional.  He/she will provide additional information on what it is like to own a small dog and how to adapt to a small breed ensuring the needs of your pup are met.

Why Enroll in Puppy Kindergarten

Puppy kindergarten is a great place to teach your pup the basics of growing up.  It teaches your pup to be comfortable around other dogs, people and not be afraid during unwarranted situations. It shows a pup how to socialize and behave in a positive manner.  It is an uplifting experience for you and your pup and the benefits are life lasting.  But what exactly does puppy kindergarten do?  What does a class consist of?  Here is a basic outline of what puppy kindergarten is about, and why you should enroll today.

Provides Support for You…and Your Puppy

It is difficult to manage teaching your puppy how to act when you are implementing it solo.  You may become frustrated taking away from the bonding opportunity available.  However, if you are teaching your puppy in a group, then there is instant support on how to handle the situation in a positive manner.  It keeps the lessons light, and there are experts available to help you along the way until you are comfortable to manage the situation on your own.

In addition, your puppy learns from watching and interacting with other puppies.  Therefore, if other puppies are picking up a lesson quickly, then your pup will take note and try to exhibit the same results.  It is a wonderful avenue to utilize when training your pup.

Your pup will receive many benefits from puppy kindergarten classes.  It teaches your pup the necessary socialization skills needed to live a healthy and happy life.  And who better to teach you then a Florida obedience dog trainer.  Contact him/her today and find out more details about puppy classes.

How to Find the Perfect Dog in Two Steps

When adopting a dog, it is vital to your dog’s well being to produce a safe, loving, secure home.  Produce an environment where your dog can grow in a positive manner.   Here are some tips to help you attain this goal.

Do Your Homework

Before bringing a new dog into your home, do your homework.  Research what size dog would be appropriate for your house.  Does your dog need room to run?  Do you have a backyard?  Do you live in an apartment?  Is there limited space in your place for a dog?  These are all circumstances you need to consider before adding any new member of the family.  Your dog needs room to run around, play, and be comfortable.  If you live in a flat with no area to walk your dog on a daily basis, then this could be an issue for a bigger breed dog.  Think about what type of dog is suitable for your living space prior to inviting one into your home.

Match Your Lifestyle

If you are someone who is anal about cleanliness, then perhaps a large dog that drools is not a match for you.  Alternatively, if you love to exercise and are looking for a running dog to come along then do not choose a toy breed.

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, personality.  Thus, find a dog corresponding with your lifestyle.

To find out more information, talk to a Florida dog obedience training professional today.  A k9 obedience instructor would be able to provide ample facts about what dog breed would be most suitable to you, your home and the lifestyle you live.

Why Keep Your Dog on a Leash

When raising a dog in the city, there are many obstacles to face.  There is constant construction, people, traffic, runners, parents with strollers, street signs, vendors and other dogs crossing paths.  So how do you keep your dog safe from all the nuisances around?  How do you ensure your dog is near you and does not get into something harmful?  One way is to keep your dog on a leash, and here is a list of reasons why as a responsible dog owner keeping your dog on a leash is a smart move.

Traffic

You need to keep your dog safe from traffic.  Cars zooming by are too tempting for some dogs to chase after.  Using a leash keeps your dog safe and close in proximity.  In addition, think about roller bladders, skateboarders, runners that go by your dog.  Some dogs tend to chase after these people, which could cause severe injuries of all parties involved.  Keep your dog out of harm’s way, and use a leash.

Health

In the city, there is trash pick-up on the side of the road.  You want to steer your dog clear of the trash area.  If your dog digs through there, a harmful substance could be swallowed without notice.  Alternatively, there could be glass items, light bulbs, and loose nails placed throughout the trash.   You have no clue what people throw away.  Separate a good amount of distance between your dog and these areas.  It is better to keep your dog safe than take any chances.

If you would like more tips on how to train your dog to be comfortable, walk, and train on a leash, contact a Florida dog obedience training professional or a k9 obedience instructor today.  He/she will be able to guide you in the right direction.

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing

Puppies chew.  Dogs chew. It is normal for dogs to engage in this behavior.  But what you do not want is your dog to chew on inappropriate objects throughout the house.  Save your new Nike tennis shoes, the lady’s new Prada heels, and the kids’ school shoes.  Spare the furniture from torture too.  Help your dog contain this habit to objects created for chewing like chew toys, bones, and treats.  Preserve the household items from being mangled by your dog.  Here are some tips to direct you in the right direction.

Puppy-Proof the House

First thing you must do is remove items from the floor that a dog or puppy may get into.  Put shoes up on shelves or away in a closet.  Pick up your clothes from the floor.  Place books on the shelves.  Eliminate visible cords.  Whatever your canine’s mouth may grab, move it.  You do not want to encourage the chewing behavior by leaving things within your dog’s reach.  For it sends mixed signals to your pup.  Best solution is clear the room of anything that may seem too tempting for your dog to resist.

Supervise Awake Time

If you are able to provide the chance to supervise your dog while the dog is awake, then do so.  You need to teach your dog what is okay to chew, and what is not.  You may accomplish this task by watching your dog throughout the day and making appropriate corrections teaching your dog to learn quickly.  If you are unsure on how to make the corrections with positive reinforcement talk to a Florida dog obedience training professional today.  He/she will be able to provide ample techniques on how to prevent the chewing from growing rapid in your home.

If you still have further questions about any aspect of your dog’s chewing behavior, talk to a k9 obedience instructor or enroll in a puppy kindergarten class.  Both are great sources of knowledge and wisdom providing methods assisting in resolving this issue before it gets out of hand.

Dog Safety Tips for Outdoor Vacations

Taking your dog on outdoor summer excursions is great!  Your dog gets exercise, runs around outdoors, and it is a wonderful excuse to relax and get away from the city.  But you need to prepare for these outings properly.  Here are some basic rules to follow regarding how to keep your dog safe while vacationing outside.

Update Identification Tags and Microchips

Before leaving for vacation, update your dog’s identification tag information.  Make sure the phone number, address, and name are recent.  In addition, it is a good idea to implant a microchip in case your dog gets lost.  Your dog might run around in the wilderness, and of course, you should be near or have your dog on a leash the entire time.  However, sometimes the leash breaks, or your dog may run after a squirrel and get lost.  Thus, an identification tag and microchip are a great way for others whom may come across your dog to identify your pup and bring him/her back to you safely.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

If your outdoor adventure is in the woods gain knowledge about the area prior to departing.  Know what plants may be threatening to your dog’s health.  Find out if there are any poisonous vegetation and in which region they would be growing.  Furthermore, if you are going to take your dog to the beach, discover if there are jellyfish in the water.  Gain information about your location prior to letting your dog explore.  It is vital to keeping your dog safe, and yourself at all times.

It is summer time, and with the warm weather comes the temptation to run outdoors with your canine.  Just take extra steps to keep your dog healthy throughout the entire summer season.  Talk to a Florida dog obedience training professional today.  Find out what other precautions they suggest, so you may travel with confidence.

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Fetch

Some dogs will run after a toy no problem.  But the trick is when your dog brings the toy back to you.  Does your dog hold on to it?  Does your dog wander off with it?  You need to teach your dog to bring you the ball and drop it.  This is where some dog owners are unsure how to implement.  Here are some tips to help you along the way.

Teach “Drop It” Command

If your dog has no problem chasing after the toy, but needs help with the “drop it” command, then this is the advice for you.  When your dog fetches the toy, call to your dog.  Your dog should already know “come” and “sit”.  Thus, when you call to your canine, your dog comes.  Afterwards, say the words “drop it.”  While doing so, put a treat in front of your dog’s nose.  This will automatically cause your dog to drop the toy where you want and be prepared to receive the treat.   When your dog does so, praise your dog.  Give your dog the treat, and repeat this method.  After practicing this technique, your dog will understand the command “drop it.”  And you shall be able to play fetch with your pet.

This is only one of many tips taught in a Florida dog obedience training class.  The instructor will show you how to play fetch using different methods, finding the positive technique that works for your pup.