Cool Summer Fun

Posted by sitstaydogs

Jul 23, 2013 1:59:00 PM

SUMMERfun

We have all heard the warnings of summer heat and your dog…avoid outdoor activities during the mid-day hours, provide plenty of water, never leave your dog in a car… but without activity, dogs that just sit in the house all day can become bored and look for their own ways to “entertain” themselves. But what to do in the heat of summer? With a little creativity, there are many safe and entertaining activities to keep your dog busy during the hot summer weather.

Nose work: teach your dog to find objects. Once a dog gets the idea of “go find” and they understand to use smell to do it, it quickly becomes a favorite game. It can be played both inside and outside without a lot of exertion.sanddog

Smell walks: Give your dog the opportunity to explore on his own on a low-key, low speed walk to “stop and smell the roses”. Unlike your normal walk when you have a destination and a time frame, just let him wander and explore with his nose.

Sandbox: a small sandbox with wet sand can be a hide and seek haven for a playful dog. Wet the sand to keep it moist and cool and hide toys for your dog to find.

Training or brain games: using his brain is tiring to a dog just as aerobic exercise is. Do some manners or other training with your dog inside to spend their excess energy. Remember to make it fun for both you and the dog.

Keep your dog cool & exercised, summer dog days can be fun!

Joann Neve, CPDT-KA, M. Ed
Packleader Behavior & Training


www.packleaderbehavior.com

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Topics: Wellness, Training

Paws on Pavement

Posted by sitstaydogs

Jul 23, 2013 1:52:00 PM

paws_on_pavement

Now that summer is officially here you should observe some caution with sidewalks or pavement. These surfaces get VERY hot! Hold your hand on the surface to feel what your dog feels on his paws. Try to limit your dogs contact with pavement. Even pavement that is in the shade can still be hot and metal objects like manhole covers can be unbearable.

When the weather is hot, limit your outdoor activities like walking or playing to the early part of the day or in the evening. If you can walk on the grass, do it! Be sure to bring along water for your dog to drink.  pawspavement

If you can’t avoid concrete and there are no shady areas around, consider carrying one or two wet towels in a baggie so that your dog can stand on them while you pick up waste or while you are unloading the car. You can also consider doggie booties. They will protect the feet from hot surfaces. However, since dogs cool themselves through the pads of their feet, booties can limit this and cause your dog to overheat.

If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your dog!

By Elisabeth Catalano, MA, CPDT, CDBC
Director of Behavior and Training
The Coventry School, Inc.

www.thecoventryschool.com

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Topics: Wellness

Thunderstorm Phobia

Posted by sitstaydogs

Jul 23, 2013 1:32:00 PM

Thunderstorm

Thunderstorm and other noise phobias are a common behavior problem I’m called on to address, and are very treatable. They’re also one of the problems that I find owners to be much less concerned about then they should be, despite the very real risk they pose to dogs. Here’s the take-home message: if your dog has a noise phobia, it is inhumane not to address it. Let’s talk about how to do so.

Noise phobias often develop later in a dog’s life, with the majority of the cases I see becoming critical between the ages of 4-8 years. Once a dog begins to display noise sensitivity, this issue tends to continue worsening until it’s addressed. Dogs become more and more sensitized to the noise, sometimes also becoming concerned about other triggers that they associate with that noise, such as grey skies, lightning, rain, or changes in barometric pressure.

Noise phobic dogs may pace, pant, whine, tremble, attempt to escape, or hide. Many of these dogs choose to hide in bathrooms, often wedging themselves behind the toilet. Some dogs become much more clingy, wanting to be held. Regardless of the exact behaviors they exhibit, these dogs are suffering.

How we treat thunderstorm phobia will depend on many factors, including the severity of the dog’s anxiety, the ability of the owner to carry out behavior modification plans, whether or not we’re currently in thunderstorm season, and the dog’s living environment. The individualized plan I put together often includes multiple facets. Here are a few of the more common treatment options that can help:

Dog Appeasing Pheromone: Sold under the brand name Comfort Zone, this is a synthetic version of a comforting pheromone that mother dogs release while puppies are nursing. It is available in diffuser, spray, or collar forms, with the diffuser being the most helpful option for most of my clients. This pheromone can help to reduce mild anxiety in some dogs, although it doesn’t work for every case. Usually clients who report success with this don’t notice a huge difference initially, but report that when the diffuser runs out after about 4 weeks they realize that it had been helping.

Thundershirts or Anxiety Wraps: these special wraps work on pressure, fitting very snugly around the dog’s body. Some clients have also used snug t-shirts with similar success. While not the miracle cure that most people hope for, these can again be helpful for some dogs with mild anxiety. They work on the premise that deep pressure can help calm the nervous system – much the same way that swaddling an infant or using a hug vest for a child with autism can be helpful. Be aware that some dogs shut down when wearing these garments. While a dog who has shut down may appear calm, they are not in a positive mental state and the shirt is likely doing more harm than good. If your dog refuses to move or to eat treats while wearing the Thundershirt, it is not the correct tool for him, regardless of how “calm” he may appear to be.

Through a Dog’s Ear Music: This special music is designed to have a physiological calming effect based on bioacoustic research. Before using it during thunderstorms, we play it for several weeks during times when the dog is calm and relaxed to further associate the music with pleasant feelings. Playing it during the beginning of a storm may help some dogs to become less panicked.

Changing the Association: regardless of which of the other therapies we use, this behavior modification is absolutely necessary. The basic premise is simple: thunder predicts good things for your dog. How we implement it is highly individual. Some dogs enjoy having their frisbee tossed after each rumble of thunder, while others learn that thunder makes pieces of chicken and cheese rain from above. (By the way, these exercises aren’t a bad idea to do even if your dog doesn’t currently exhibit noise issues, since they can also be preventative.)

Medication: a truly panicked dog cannot learn, so treatment of thunder phobia often involves the use of medication. There are many different anxiety medications available, and teaming up with a veterinarian who is knowledgable about the different choices is critical for success. Please note that acepromazine, a medication that some vets still prescribe, is never an appropriate choice in cases of anxiety or aggression. An appropriate anxiety medication should not knock your dog out, but rather should simply cut through the anxiety so that he can begin making new associations.

Anxiety medication puts dogs who are too distressed to learn into a state where they can do so. Oftentimes medication in these cases is only temporary, and can be weaned off once the other treatments have done their job. Some clients are resistant to the idea of using anxiety medication. It’s important to remember that anxiety oftentimes has a physical cause, and treating your dog with anxiety medication is no different than treating a heart condition with beta blockers or diabetes with insulin.

Other Treatment Options: As I mentioned before, treatment of thunder phobia is highly individual. Some of my clients have benefitted from other treatments, such as TTouch massage, essential oils, mat or crate training, soothing praise from their owner, tug sessions, relaxation training, setting up a safe room, and the like.

The good news about thunderstorm phobias is how very treatable they are. Like any other training, the sooner the behavior issue is addressed, the faster the behavior modification goes. A dog who’s just starting to show some mild concern will be much more easily treated than a dog who panics and squeezes himself under the toilet while trembling violently, although the latter can absolutely be helped. Contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer to help you put together a plan for your dog.

Does your dog show any signs of anxiety during storms? What helps him the most? Did you do any preventative work with your puppy or newly adopted dog to prevent storm anxiety? Please share your stories on our Facebook page!

By Sara Reusche CPDT-KA CVT


Paws Abilities Dog Training  |  http://www.paws4u.com/




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Topics: Wellness

Kong Stuffing 101

Posted by sitstaydogs

Jul 23, 2013 1:20:00 PM

kong_stuffing

In the last newsletter we introduced the Kong toy as a great tool to provide mental exercise. Food-and treat-stuffed Kongs are excellent enrichment!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Throw away your food bowl! For dogs who eat raw, home cooked, or canned diets, just spoon the food directly into the Kong. If your dog eats kibble, mix his food with a spoonful of canned food, yogurt, cottage cheese, or other healthy moist food before stuffing it in the Kong.

Freeze it! Throw your dog’s stuffed Kong in the freezer the night before for a “Kong-sicle” that will last much longer.

Microwave it! Mix a little cheese with your dog’s kibble or some dry tidbits and spoon the mixture into a Kong toy, then nuke it long enough to melt the cheese. Make sure to allow plenty of time for the mixture to cool before giving it to your dog.

Set up a scavenger hunt! Stuff your dog’s food into multiple Kong toys, then hide the toys throughout your house or yard. Your dog will love spending his day hunting down and “dissecting” his Kong-kills.

Train with it! Give your dog a stuffed Kong any time you leave him in his crate. Not only will he love spending time in his kennel, but this can also prevent separation issues from developing.

Do you have a favorite Kong stuffing trick or recipe? 
Share it in on our Facebook page! > 

Sara Reusche CPDT-KA CVT
Paws Abilities Dog Training, Rochester, MN   


www.paws4u.com


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Topics: Wellness, Playtime

What to do about whining?

Posted by sitstaydogs

Jul 23, 2013 1:11:00 PM

whining

Whining is one doggie behavior that can really drive humans crazy! The natural inclination is to try and make the dog stop it. Unfortunately, most people try to accomplish this by punishing the behavior. The fact is that some dogs can’t help it, and probably don’t even realize that they are whining.



Rather than trying to punish the behavior away, it is essential to determine WHY the dog is whining and remedy the situation. Whining can be the result of several different things: pain, fear, anxiety, needs, and finally wants.

The solution to the first problem - pain - is obvious, an immediate vet check is in order. Global fear of things and generalized anxiety should be evaluated by a Behavior Counselor who can give case specific suggestions and may suggest a Vet visit as well. If the dog is whining for something that he needs (i.e., a potty break or a drink) you must attend to that immediately. Whining for wants on the other hand require some good old fashioned impulse control! Teach the dog to be patient, and quiet, to get what he wants!

What tactics have you used to problem solve whining?

Share it in on our Facebook page! > 

Elisabeth Catalano, M.A., CPDT, CDBC
Director of Behavior and Training

The Coventry School, Inc.


www.thecoventryschool.com

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Topics: Wellness, Training

Not-so-Ho-Hum Training

Posted by sitstaydogs

Jul 23, 2013 12:52:00 PM

NOT_SO_HO_HUM

When you attend an obedience training class, most, if not all, trainers will tell you that you must practice frequently with your dog. Some will even get specific and tell you that you need to practice at least 10 times a day for a period of 2 to 5 minutes each time (and this is very good advice).

However this is where the problem comes in and things start to fall apart for the owner. Basic training, sit/down/stand/stay/etc, is pretty boring stuff…boring for you and for the dog. These are the kinds of things that make it difficult for dog parents to follow through with work at home and therefore lead to less desirable results from the training class.

What if I told you, however, that your at-home sessions need not be so boring? Not only don’t they have to be, but they shouldn’t be. If you and the dog are not having fun, learning is not happening. So why not make it fun? There are many games and activities that can teach and reinforce teaching to give you solid reproducible, predictable results with your dog.

nothohumtrainingWorking on recall? How about playing hide and seek with your dog? When you make a game of it, your dog LOVES to hunt you down to find you (especially if you are out of sight or move quickly away from him). You can even go so far as to teach your dog YOUR names and use this and recall to have him deliver messages attached to his collar to the other humans in the house.

Teaching stay with distractions? Once he has the idea, the old Monkey in the middle is excellent for stay and self-control (just make sure he gets the ball every once in a while so he can have fun too).

How about loose leash walking (LLW)? Make a maze with chairs and other household objects and have your dog follow you through the maze. If you can teach him to stay by your side without a leash and add distractions to that, Lose Leash Walking is almost a given.

Also, never be comfortable that your dog has learned it all. Every and any skill can always be taken to the next level, be made harder and practiced while having fun. Adding distractions, combining skills, and placing the skill in a new situation will all present a challenge for your dog. For example, if you have taught your dog to sit, can they do it with the kids running around? Can they do it at the dog park? Can they do it at a distance? Can they do it while they are in motion on their way to you?

There are many games you can play or make up to have fun teaching your dog even the basics of self-control, position changes, and just about anything you want. Use the Net to search training games, make them up yourself, or find a trainer that uses these methods and can help you. The important thing is that you are having fun with your dog. While you are doing so, you will also be increasing his “education”.

What training tips and tricks have you used?
Share it in on our Facebook page! >

By Joann Neve, CPDT-KA


Pack Leader Behavior & Training   |  www.packleaderbehavior.com

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Topics: Wellness, Training

Home Away From Home

Posted by sitstaydogs

Jul 22, 2013 4:51:00 PM

Home_away_from_home

Elisabeth Catalano, M.A., CPDT, CDBC
Director of Behavior and Training

The Coventry School, Inc.

Trusting your best friend’s care to a boarding kennel can be scary. There are some things that you can do however, to ensure their safety and happiness. Always check out your kennel first with an in-person visit. It should be clean and odor free. Check with Veterinarians in the area of the facility and ask if they have any recommendations or any complaints.

Make sure to determine where your dog will spend the majority of the day. Some facilities house the dog in the kennel and only take them out during pre-paid sessions. Others keep the dogs in crates and take them out only for potty breaks and feeding. These options can be safe, but not very fun! Some kennels offer all-day play. The appropriate place will depend on your dog’s personality and energy level.

You will want to know where your dog will potty. Some facilities have specific indoor potty areas for dogs while others require that the dogs eliminate in their runs. Your at home house-training rules will determine which is the right choice for your dog.

Most importantly, is there staff on duty 24/7 or are the dogs left alone at night? Knowing someone is there in case of emergency will ease your mind. Boarding is not right for every dog. Dogs that are anxious or fearful of new places or things can be extremely stressed at a kennel. If your dog does not do well in new situations, then boarding may not be appropriate.






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Topics: Wellness

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The products we share are healthful, enriching and good-dog-approved. Everyday we strive to do our part in improving pet lifestyles and make it a point to have loads of fun along the way.

Join our mission to raise the most spoiled-rotten dogs on the planet … somebody’s got to!

Cheers from Nebraska!