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Here’s how to build your dog’s confidence

 by yunus on 25 Oct 2018 |
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Dogs that struggle with their confidence aren’t just harder to train; their quality of life suffers, too. There are a few tricks to overcome this issue. Here’s how to build your dog’s confidence Just like humans, your dog’s sense of self-worth can be impacted by factors from his personality or a lack of socialization to stressful situations and past abuse. If your pet is wary when it comes to new situations, chances are he’s suffering from low confidence. Not only does a lack of self-esteem interfere with Fido’s quality of life, but it can lead to problems training your dog and other behavioral issues. Here are a few tips to help boost your pet’s self-esteem:   Start simple: One tell-tale sign your dog is suffering from poor confidence is balking when he’s asked to learn something new. Low self-esteem makes training harder, so start with simple commands that will boost your pup’s confidence. Always use the same command for the same trick and be sure to lavish your pet with praise every time he gets the trick right. Practice often, and eventually you can move on to more difficult types of training like bath time.   Stay positive: Dogs suffering from poor confidence already feel doubtful, so it’s important to avoid negative corrections whenever possible with your pet. Instead, focus on praising him for the things he does right. If your dog is afraid of new places, for example, don’t scold him for stopping mid-route on a walk; instead, praise him for taking a few steps forward. Dogs are experts at picking up on our emotions, so try not to show your frustration when working with a timid pet.    Give your pet something good to remember: Every time you form positive associations with something that causes your pet fear, you take part of that fear away. Whether it’s offering a treat after he successfully performs a trick or playing with his favorite toy during an outing to a new location, you can help your pet overcome his anxiety by giving him something good to remember after facing a scary event.   If you’re not sure whether your dog is suffering from low confidence, look for signs such as following you obsessively, standing between you and an unfamiliar person, heavy panting or drooling in a new situation, and pacing or chewing at his tail or paws. Consider whether any changes in his environment may have triggered your dog’s stress, or if a past experience has shaped his anxiety. Once you’ve discovered the root of his fearfulness, you can begin working slowly and consistently with your pet to expose him to small amounts of the stressor, using positive reinforcement to work up to more intense versions of this trigger over time.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Hiking with Pets

 by yunus on 19 Sep 2018 |
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By following a few simply tips, you can make the most of hiking with your companion while being good trail ambassadors for all four-legged friends. Every pet owner loves bringing Fido along on adventures and dogs can make excellent hiking companions, regardless of their size. Before you hit the trail with your pet, however, there are a few things you need to consider.   Just as you choose trails that match your fitness level and abilities, you should also consider Fido’s physical fitness before hitting the trail. Hiking is more strenuous than walking and often involves uneven terrain and vertical climbs. Take into account your dog’s normal level of activity when planning a hike. If a typical walk is less than a mile, for example, an 8-mile climb should be out of the question. Be sure to check the weather the day of the hike, too, because no matter how fit you and your companion are, a hot, humid day can wreak havoc on your health. You should also note any health issues, such as hip dysplasia or arthritis, that may affect your dog’s ability to enjoy a hike. While it’s obvious why senior pets may not be up to the climb, it’s important to remember that puppies’ bodies are still developing and may not be suited for hiking on uneven terrain, either. After considering your pet’s fitness, it’s equally important to take note of his obedience and behavior when planning a hike. You’ll be sharing the trail with other people and animals, so it’s important to bring only well-socialized pets on popular routes. Hiking companions should also be experts at sit, stay, heel and come and feel comfortable walking both on- and off-leash. Aggressive or timid pets will not be good at sharing the trail, so it’s best to work on socializing these dogs before taking them hiking. On the trail, you and your pet will be ambassadors for other hiking dogs, so always practice good etiquette by giving dog-free hikers the right of way and maintaining control of your pet. If you encounter a loose dog on the trail, put your own pet on a leash to avoid any potential confrontations. And remember: Always pick up after your pet both on and off the trail.   Ensure your companion stays safe by choosing hiking routes without exceptionally steep climbs or ladders. Do your best to stop your pet from drinking standing water by packing his own water and dish. Especially on longer treks, plan on bringing plenty of fresh water and food for both you and your pet. You should consider buying a doggy “backpack” so your pet can carry his own supplies, making him feel useful and taking some of the burden off of your own back. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and has been adequately treated for fleas, ticks and heartworms before visiting your favorite hiking spot.   With some planning, you and your four-legged friend can enjoy hiking together. It’s important to choose routes based on both of your fitness levels, maintain control of your pet at all times, and follow the “leave no trace” rule when it comes to picking up after your pet. By adhering to these simply guidelines, you can make hiking the best experience for you and your pet and act as positive ambassadors for other four-legged friends on the trail.

Tips for setting boundaries with your dog

 by lucy on 30 Aug 2018 |
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Setting clear boundaries for your dog is very important. On this article, you'll find some helpful tips. We all love our canine companions, but sometimes Fido jumps on the furniture, bolts through the front door or engages in other problem behavior. Setting clear boundaries for your dog teaches him what is and is not acceptable, not only strengthening the bond your share with your pet, but keeping him out of harm’s way.   When setting boundaries for your pet, the first step is to clearly establish your own space. If you watch dogs interacting with their fellow four-legged friends, you’ll notice each animal asserts his physical space through use of his body language. A dog claiming his food bowl may stand over it, for example, and canines will simply push each other out of the way to claim space another animal occupies. Do the same with your pet by blocking access to a doorway with your body or standing over a morsel he should not eat on a walk, for example. This will teach him boundaries in a way he clearly understands.   Asserting your space will also help your pet respect you as his pack leader. Dogs are social by nature and look to their leaders for guidance and safety. While there are many ways to establish yourself as the leader, one good example is making Fido wait: to enter a room, to eat, and even on walks. While this may sound like tough love to some, teaching your dog to walk beside, rather than in front of, you and to wait for you to enter a room ahead of him provides a clear structure he can understand. When he knows you have control over a situation, your dog will trust your commands.   Learning the ropes takes time, of course, and you should be patient with your pet as you establish boundaries. To help the process along, be sure to provide consistent instructions at the right time. Don’t scold your dog minutes after he bolts through the front door, for example, but instead, give him a firm “No!” as soon as he begins running for the entryway. Don’t wait until Fido is gnawing on something he picked up off the street to command him to “Drop it,” but instead, give the order as soon as you notice him going for the offending morsel. Use consistent commands and never bend the rules once you’ve established them, which includes having other members of your household do the same. With some practice, your pet will learn which behaviors earn your approval and which are better left undone.   Setting boundaries is an important part of training your pet. Not only does establishing yourself as your dog’s trusted leader strengthen the bond you share, but having a pet that listens to your commands will help keep Fido out of harm’s way and maintain a peaceful home.  

Four signs your dog respects you

 by lucy on 03 Aug 2018 |
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Earning your dog’s respect is a crucial component of any pet-parent relationship. Here are a few signs Fido holds you in high regard.   Dogs are known for being loyal, but it’s equally important that your pet respects you. This not only keeps him safe when you give commands to keep him out of harm’s way, but also leads to a happier relationship with your companion. Here are a few signs Fido holds you in the highest regard:   He lets you go first: If your dog races to beat you to the door, chances are he doesn’t respect you. In a pack, the leader always goes first, so watch for your pet to wait patiently behind you. Likewise, pack leaders always eat first, so make sure to eat your meals before feeding your dog. If you can leave your plate unattended for a short period of time without your dog stealing your food, this is a major sign he respects you as his pack leader.   He greets you warmly:  Dogs that truly respect their owners greet them with a wagging tail, relaxed ears and other submissive body language. If he plants a kiss on your cheek or licks his lips, your dog is showing he respects you as leader of his pack.   He listens to you: A dog that ignores commands it asserting his dominance, so it’s important to  teach your pet to obey basic commands such as sit, stay and come. Not only is this crucial in earning your dog’s respect, but it can keep your pet out of harm’s way in situations involving oncoming traffic, poisonous substances or other hazards.    He isn’t a comfort hog: Pack leaders always occupy the prime spots for sitting or lying down and this principle should carry over with you and your dog. A respectful pet will move out of your way when you claim a spot on the couch or bed. While it’s totally fine to share these spaces with your pet, he shouldn’t try to push you out of the way.   Earning a dog’s respect isn’t difficult. Give consistent commands and offer plenty of praise when he listens to you, and likewise, enforce consistent punishments—such as cutting playtime short—when your dog acts out. Make plenty of time to play and bond with him while always maintaining control over this situation. Be showing you are an able leader, your dog will come to trust you, strengthening the bond you share.

How to use clicker training with your dog

 by lucy on 26 Jun 2018 |
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Unlike traditional training, which relies on fear, pain or intimidation to bully pets into learning, clicker training uses positive reinforcements. Clicker training is a popular way to train dogs by rewarding good behavior. Unlike traditional training, which relies on fear, pain or intimidation to bully pets into learning, clicker training uses positive reinforcement to shape your pet’s actions.   A clicker is a small, handheld device that—as the name implies—makes a “click” noise when pressed. Owners use the sound in place of marker words traditionally used in training, and for good reason. While praising your pet with a “yes” or “good boy” after he performs a trick certainly works, clickers make a distinctive noise. Unlike our voices, which we use constantly around our pets, the click is a sound your pet will associate only with training. Unlike our voices, too, clickers produce a constant, neutral sound. This can eliminate the confusion your pet experiences when trying to decipher the tone of your voice, helping him focus more on the task at hand.   Clicker training relies on the scientific concept that animals will continue to perform a behavior that is rewarded. To begin clicker training with your pet, click every time your dog looks at you, followed immediately with a reward. After some practice, your pet will know the sound signals a tasty treat is able to arrive and you can begin using the clicker to shape his behaviors. If you’re teaching your dog to lie down, for example, start by clicking every time he lowers his head to follow your hand when you give the “lie down” command. Once your dog has mastered this, click only when he begins to curve his body closer to the ground. Eventually, you will only use the clicker and food reward when your pet has fully executed the trick.   As with any type of training, shaping behavior using a clicker takes practice, so simply walk away and resume teaching another time if you or your dog becomes frustrated. Canines learn best in short spurts, so training beyond five or ten minutes will likely only irritate both you and your pet. Try to find a quiet location during the early stages of clicker training and reward each small step toward the desired action until your dog fully masters each new trick. If your pet is struggling with a certain trick, you can also use a food lure to speed up progress toward desired actions. When using a clicker, it’s important to remember the sound is a reward for doing something right—not a way to get your dog’s attention. Never use the clicker to call your dog, and always follow the click immediately with a treat

How prepare your dog up for success during your next vacation

 by lucy on 14 Jun 2018 |
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Whether it’s work, a wedding or a well-deserved vacation, every pet owner occasionally needs to skip town to travel. Leaving your dog behind can be hard on both you and your pet, but by planning ahead, you can set your dog up for a low-stress transition while you’re out of town.   Before hopping on a plane, it’s important to decide where your pet will stay while you’re away. You can board your dog at a kennel or veterinarian’s office, but many owners opt to hire a pet sitter. Not only does this minimize stress by allowing your dog to stay within the comforts of his own home, but also provides you with a house sitter to pick up mail, water plants and take care of other day-to-day activities while you’re gone. Whatever option you opt for, be sure to provide your pet’s caretaker with any necessary health information, including your vet’s contact information in case of an emergency.   Once you’ve arranged a spot for your dog to stay, you can begin mentally preparing Fido for your trip. Invite your pet sitter over or take your dog to meet the staff at the boarding facility so he isn’t confronted with strangers on departure day. If your pet is prone to separation anxiety, discuss this with his caretaker and ensure he won’t be left alone for long periods of time. Spend some extra time with your dog before you head out and make sure he’s had plenty of exercise to help him relax during the transition. If you’re dropping him off at the kennel or vet’s, you can send him with familiar objects, such as toys and bedding, that will bring the smells and comforts of home. You can also send your dog with his usual food and treats to minimize any changes to his diet. Some pet owners find it helpful to leave their pets with time-consuming toys, like a Kong, to distract them the day of their departures. When it’s finally time to leave, be sure to remain calm and confident, as dogs can easily pick up on their owners’ emotions.   Your companion will miss you, just as you miss him during a trip, but a few preparations can help ease the transition. Planning ahead will help you feel ready for your temporary separation, and if you feel confident on departure day, so will your dog.

Four tricks to teach your dog now

 by yunus on 16 Feb 2018 |
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When it comes to keeping your dog’s brain sharp, nothing works quite as well as teaching him a few new tricks. Not only can obedience training strengthen the bond you share with your pet, but it can also help tackle behavioral problems now and in the future. Here are a few top tricks to teach your pet:     Sit: Because sitting is a simple command to master, it’s a great way to start training your pet and build confidence. Begin by holding a treat near your dog’s nose—but not close enough for him to grab it from your hand. Slowly move your hand up, causing your dog’s head to tilt up to follow the treat and his rear to lower to the ground. If you have trouble, try gently pushing his chest backwards, which should encourage your dog to sit. Once Fido is in the sitting position, reward him with the treat. Repeat this sequence before meals, walks and other activities until he’s mastered the command, which can be used to keep him calm and collected in a variety of situations.   Come: The “come” command can keep your dog out of trouble by bringing him back to you when he gets loose. To teach your dog this command, put on his leash and collar. Walk to the end of the leash and, stooping to your dog’s level, say “come” while giving gentle tugs. When your dog comes, reward him with a treat. Once he’s mastered this command with a leash, remove it and continue practicing with only the verbal cue.    Stay: Once Fido is an expert at “sit,” you can teach him to stay. To begin, have your dog sit and then open your palm in front of you in the “halt” gesture. Take several steps backwards while repeating the “stay” command. If your dog stays put, reward him with a treat and praise. Over time, you can increase the distance you move before rewarding your pet. Once he masters this trick, you can use “stay” to avert behavior problems and keep your dog out of trouble.   Leave it: Teaching your dog to “leave it” can be a literal lifesaver when a curious pet get into something he shouldn’t eat. To teach Fido this command, start by placing a treat in both hands. Close your hands and show him one fist while giving the “leave it” command. Your pet will probably sniff, paw or bark at the treat, but it’s important to ignore these behaviors. Once he has stopped, offer your dog the treat from the other hand. Repeat this process until your pet immediately moves away from the first fist when you said “leave it.” Cement his training by only offering the treat when he moves from the first fist and looks up at you upon hearing the “leave it” command.

Teaching your dog good leash manners

 by lucy on 21 Dec 2016 |
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Every dog parent has watched with envy as a friend, neighbor or relative walks his canine companion seamlessly down the street. Good leash manners don’t come easily, however, and require patient and consistent training on your part.   Leash tugging can make walking your dog stressful, but good leash etiquette stretches beyond comfort. Pulling on the lead can cause your dog to accidentally break free from your grip, for example, not only toppling you into the pavement, but also putting your pet at risk of encountering cars, animals and other outdoor dangers. Walking side-by-side is a bond-building exercise, too, showing your dog is paying attention to you and making it easier to guide and direct him on walks.   To teach Fido to walk with you side-by-side, start with a big bag of treats. Food is a great motivator, after all, and a tasty reward will reinforce good behavior on the lead. Attach a long, 10- to 20-foot leash to your pet and take him to an open area where he will be free to roam to and from your side. Choose either your right or left side and feed your dog a reward at that hip. Then, take up a fast walk and continue to offer your pet a treat whenever he walks next to your chosen hip. Soon, your dog will associate your side with tasty treats and you will not need to feed him as often.   Once your dog has mastered staying by your side with some consistency, practice giving him the command to join you. Start by walking him on a long line in an open area. Wait until your dog is off on his own and then give him a command such as “let’s go.” When he catches up with you, reward him with a treat and praise on your preferred side. If he continues walking by your side, reward your pet with a treat every few steps. If, however, your dog doesn’t follow and the leash becomes taut, stop walking and gently apply pressure to remind him you’re there. When he does approach, praise him and release the pressure on the leash.    Once a dog responds to the “let’s go” command, you can switch to a shorter lead and practice changing walking speeds and directions. Continue to reward your pet when he stays by your side, gradually decreasing the frequency with which you give him treats. Eventually, you will be ready to take to the streets with your new, leash-savvy companion.   Remember, teaching a dog good leash manners takes patience as well as a hungry pet. If you’re having trouble with leash training, take a break and try another time when your dog is hungrier. In time, you’ll find you have a pet that walks faithfully by your side, not only making walks more enjoyable, but also allowing you to take more and longer jaunts with your canine companion.

Teaching Your Dog Table Manners

 by yunus on 02 Nov 2016 |
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No one wants a dog that jumps on guests or begs during a dinner party, or that growls at other pets during his own meals. Teaching our canine companions mealtime manners is important, then, both during our meals and their own.   Dogs are scavengers by nature, so vying for food comes easily to them. Having a pet that begs, whines or whimpers while you’re eating is exasperating, however, and can be embarrassing when you have guests over for dinner. Fortunately, teaching Fido to respect your space during mealtime is simple with some consistent training. Start by having him go to his sleeping area or a favourite spot, and then give your dog a command such as “go to your spot” with a treat. Soon, he’ll start associating the command with that space and a tasty reward. Once you’ve mastered this step, you can add the “stay” command, starting from just a few feet away from his spot and slowly working your way backwards. Over time, you will be able to give the command and leave the room entirely, freeing you to enjoy your meal without a barrage of begging. If your dog does approach the table after you’ve told him to “stay,” lead him back to his spot as many times as necessary to get him to stay put. After dinner, be sure to reward your pet for staying in place with plenty of praise and a treat.   Mealtime manners aren’t limited to your own spreads, however, and should also be part of your dog’s own dining routine. Growling at another dog, or you, is unacceptable and you need to teach your pet to respect those around him during dinner. The solution is simple: If your dog misbehaves by growling, fighting or guarding his food, simply remove his dish. Rather than letting Fido go hungry, however, replace his bowl with your hand. Hand feeding doesn’t just strengthen your dog’s understanding that his food comes from you, but also reinforces the idea of mealtime as a positive experience. After a few rounds of hand feeding, trying giving your pet his food dish back. If he’s still acting out, take the dish away again and try hand feeding him for a longer period before giving the bowl back. If, however, your pet’s bad behaviour has vanished, you can reinforce mealtime as a positive experience by slipping him an extra treat in his food bowl.   Remember, establishing a routine is key to teaching your dog mealtime manners. Serve his food at the same time each day so he learns to distinguish his dinnertime from your own. Never give in to begging, as this will only reinforce bad behaviour. Do reward good behaviour, though, with plenty of treats and praise.

Why does my dog jump and how can I stop him?

 by yunus on 09 Aug 2016 |
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It may be cute in a puppy, but when your full-grown dog jumps up to greet you, it can be a nuisance and dangerous for children and elderly friends. Because dogs jump up to say “hello,” it can be difficult to break them of the habit. With some consistent training, however, you can teach your pet a more polite way to welcome you and your guests.   When puppies greet an older dog, they often lick the adult’s muzzle as an appeasement gesture. In the same way, your canine companion tries to meet you nose-to-nose, jumping on his hind legs to do so. To break your dog of his highflying habit, it is important to show him that you will only greet pets that have all four feet on the ground. If your dog jumps, don’t acknowledge him by pushing him off, but instead look over his head and turn away if necessary. As soon as your dog’s front paws are planted, reward him verbally and with affection or a treat, withdrawing your attention immediately if he hops on his hind legs again.   It is also important to replace your dog’s jumping with another behavior, which you can do by practicing the “sit and stay” greeting. Practice this type of training on your own, or with a friend by having your friend hold your dog on a loose leash and asking him to sit. You can then walk towards the two from about a dozen feet away, stopping and returning to the starting point each time your dog hops up. This will eventually help your pet form a connection between a seated greeting and a reward— your attention. If your dog gets too excited to meet a person while seated, you can try replacing jumping with holding or playing with his favorite toy instead. Remember, if he jumps up during training, remain calm and never shout or knee your dog or cause him any other pain when he hops up on humans.   Once you’ve experimented with replacing jumping with another behavior, try greeting real guests. Crate your dog, put him on a leash, or otherwise keep him calm when company comes over until he has mastered a composed “hello.” With some time and practice, your canine companion should master the art of welcoming humans without hopping up. If, however, you are struggling with training your dog shows signs of aggression, such as growling or bearing his teeth, seek help from a certified trainer. Most importantly, remember you can’t teach your dog a behavior some of the time, so be consistent about ignoring your dog when he jumps up and reinforce acceptable behavior immediately. 
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