Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Speak or Sing

Encouraging your dog to bark or howl is easy.

How do you do it on command?

Dogs often respond to the sound of barking by issuing their own woofs. The same is true of howling. When dogs hear howling or sirens or other high-pitched sounds, many dogs try to sing along.

To teach speak or sing, have plenty of treats ready for both you and your dog.

1. Look at your dog and say, "Speak!" Then make a barking sound and pop a treat into your mouth.

2. Repeat your verbal cue, and bark. After some repetitions, your dog will make some sound; a whine, huff, or woof. Any sound counts. Say, "Yes!" and give your dog a treat.

3. When your dog catches on, it will bark when you say, "Speak," and will not wait for you to park.

4. Teach "Sing," the same way, but make a howling sound instead of barking.

Once your dog knows Speak or Sing, teach your dog to stop on cue.

1. Get your dog barking or howling, then say, "Hush!" and toss a small handful of treats in your dog's direction so they hit the floor and scatter. The dog will stop to eat the treats.

2. When you notice your dog stopping as soon as it hears your cue, quit throwing treats on the floor and just hand them to your dog.

Once your dog learns this trick, you can also use it to quiet the dog when barking or howling on its own.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dogs and Snowballs

Kids and dogs know how to take advantage of a good snow fall.

Here in Olympia, Washington, we recently experienced well over a foot of snow. It overwhelmed our city which does not have the necessary amount of equipment to handle snow. Many people were without power for days and crews from all over came to help.

Here is a toy for dogs who cannot get enough snowball play. It is a snowball that lasts through the seasons. Dogs can chase it through the snowdrifts and never have it disintegrate in its mouth!

The Orbee Snowball has a fresh minty taste and smell. I wonder if it gets rid of "doggie breath"?

This chew toy is one of the most popular products from Planet Dog. (They donate 2% of every sale to worthy charities.) It is recyclable and durable.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dog Shades

They may look like an accessory, but sunglasses do more than make you dog look stylish.

Sunglasses have long been used to protect search and rescue dogs' eyes from smoke, fumes, and debris, but owners of nonworking dogs have come to recognize the need of canine eye protection.

Dogs that spend lots of time in the sun, wind, or sandy beaches; those with sensitive eyes; or dogs recovering from eye conditions have found comfort and protection with dog sunglasses.

Doggie sunglasses look more like stylish sports goggles than human glasses. The right fit is crucial in getting your dog to accept them. If you cannot find a store where your dog can try on a pair, find a website that enables you to print out a mock pair of glasses to help with sizing (www.doggieshades.com).

How to select the right sunglasses for your dog:

1. Look for lenses that are shatterproof, anti-fog, and offer UV protection.
2. The strap should be comfortable and adjustable.
3. The cup of each eyepiece should rest comfortably over each eye and be deep enough to accommodate eyes that protrude.
4. Color and frame design is up to you and your dog!

Do not just slip the sunglasses on your dog's head and expect your dog to adjust immediately. It takes some getting use to them. Never try them on indoors as your dog will not be able to see in the dark. Take your dog outside and let her sniff them. Then gently slide them on, carefully adjusting the fit. Offer a treat or two and casually walk around. If your dog is uneasy, take them off and repeat the process the next day, until your dog becomes comfortable.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Camp for Owners and Dogs

Across the nation, outdoor adventures for both owners and their dogs are gaining popularity.

There is the choice between day and overnight camps, and each varies in scope. Some camps offer a sport or training-specific agenda, some run the gamut of canine fun, and others provide a place where guests can plan their own retreat.

Day camps tend to provide a jam-packed day of dog/owner activities which include a mix of sports and activities such as a canine first aid seminar, reading canine body language, managing canine stress, or something not tried before - such as, treibball, lure coursing, or canine freestyle.

Owners who are after more activities can seek out an overnight dog camp, usually planned around a one-week stay in a dorm or cabin. Dog/owner pairs can choose from a variety of dog-friendly events. Depending on the camp, sessions cover sports, training, and enrichment; activities such as paw-painting and leash making; and hikes and evening campfires. Human meals are usually included, but owners typically bring their dog's own food to avoid a change of diet.

A big draw to camp is the freedom of letting your dog be off leash. Camp provides a safe place for dogs, and there are no issues with people, so it becomes a haven of fun, comfort and excitement. It is fun to watch dogs unwind.

Here is a place to start your search for a dog camp.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dog Aids Parenting

This video is for all Mothers and Fathers who have dealt with a child who throws tantrums.

I do not think this is covered in parenting books.

Then again, I have not seen any dog training that covers this either.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Too Much Praise?

"Praise your Dog!"

Have you heard those words often especially in dog training?

Praise provides feedback that tells your dog, "You did well," but it becomes meaningless if given without consideration for the behavior preceding it.

Ineffective accolades before discounts what should be an anticipated reward.

Consistency is the key to any good training method. It includes using properly timed praise to reward desired behaviors.

Withholding praise lets your dog know she missed the mark and must try again to earn rewards. A correction can be the withholding of praise, food, or a toy, followed always with the reward once the desired behavior is achieved. Use, "Try again," when withholding praise, so your dog learns that additional effort brings success and the highly valued praise that means a job well done.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Resiliency In Dogs

Hallie is a little black and tan long haired dachshund that was adopted from an animal shelter by the artist, Dee Dee Murry.

Hallie is a constant companion to Dee Dee even when she painted. One day Dee Dee wondered if Hallie might like to paint. Hallie learned to pick up the brush out of the paint cup and go over to the paper to make strokes and dabs. Hallie has a website of her paintings for purchase. Since she is a rescue dog herself, the proceeds from her artwork are donated to Purple Heart Rescue of Centralia, Washington.

In April of 2011, Hallie went blind overnight from an autoimmune disease called SARDS (Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome). After Dee Dee took Hallie to Iowa State for possible treatment, she found out that Hallie's blindness was irreversible.

After several months adjusting to her disability, Hallie re-learned to paint. By trial and error and some assistance from Dee Dee, Hallie once again repeats her routine motions of applying a brush stroke of paint followed by several dots of paint.

Dogs are so resilient and amazing in their positive adjustment to disability and Hallie is a shining example and inspiration to not fear our pets' disabilities, nor shy away from adopting disabled dogs.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Native Dog of Argentina

In 1925, two ambitious young brothers in Argentina set out to create a new dog breed.

Antonio Nores Martinez and Agustin Martinez envisioned a dog that was fast with an excellent sense of smell to hunt big game like wild boar and mountain lions. They desired a dog that was fearless and tireless on the hunt, but a friendly family dog at home. More than anything else, the brothers wanted their breed to get along well with other dogs.

The brothers used 10 breeds to design their new hunting dog, starting with the now-extinct Fighting Dog of Cordoba. They then added the Boxer, Bulldog, Bull Terrier, the Dogue de Bordeauz, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Pointer, and Spanish Mastiff. Breed development took decades. Finally, in 1973, the Argentina Kennel Club recognized Argentina's first and only native breed: the Dogo Argentino.

Today the Dogo Argentino is rare in the United States.

In 2011,the American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the breed into its Miscellaneous Class, the final step before full recognition.

The hallmark of the breed is its pure white coat - one dark-colored patch around the eye is allowed - which requires little care. Simply groomed once a week with a rubber curry brush. Dogos are prone to sunburn and must have access to shade during the summer.

Dogos are 23 to 27 inches tall and weight 80-100 pounds. These large, muscular dogs might look intimidating, but Dogos are friendly, affectionate, and devoted to their families, especially children.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

916 Marathons

916 marathons or about 916 miles is the distance an average owner walks with her dog during the dog's 12.8 years, according to a British study of 3,000 dog owners.

The average dog in this study was walked three times a day, totaling 107 minutes. That amounts to almost 6,000 hours of her life spent walking.

Do you think Americans walk their dogs as much?

Ebony and I have logged several hundred marathons already!

Probiotics and Prebiotics in Dog Food?

Are prebiotics and probiotics worthwile food additives
in dog food?

Good question!

Probiotics are microorganisms that help tip the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract toward the types of bacteria that maintain a healthy internal environment in the gut. They are popular supplements in both the human and veterinary markets, and more dog food companies are adding them to their kibble.

Prebiotics are fibers that stimulate the growth and function of the good bacteria and also rank as popular additions to food and supplements.

According to most veterinarians, the problem with adding them to food is that they are hard to quantify. There is no way to know how many are in one diet versus another, or whether the bacteria have survived processing, storage, and stomach acid. Since the amount and efficacy of probiotics in food is hard to measure, pet owners who what to give their dogs probiotics may look to giving them in supplement form.

Sounds similar to our unregulated vitamins issue. How do you know what is on the vitamin label is what is in the bottle or in the right quantities as well as good quality?

Research from Nestle Purina suggest that probiotics boost immunity in young puppies and dogs under great stress, such as working and performance dogs in harsh climates.

Apparently, no one know for sure if the probiotics in dog food are effective.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beyond the Daily Walk

Do you walk your dog daily?

Several times a week?

The same route?

Here is an idea to make the walk more interesting.

On you walk, add something challenging along the way. When you pass a vacant bench, teach your dog to walk along the length of it, or duck underneath if you have a small dog. How about teaching your dog to climb on a tree stump and sit, or hop over a fallen log.

Giving your dog simple tricks adds to the fun and enhances her listening skills.

Be sure to bring plenty of treats!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rally Sport

No not cars, but with dogs!

In 2005, the American Kennel Club incorporated the sport of rally into its title competitions and has become extremely popular.

Rally is a series of 15 to 20 numbered stations, each with a sign and picture showing the obedience exercise you and your dog do at that station. The exercises incorporate heeling maneuvers, basic stays, and come.

It is said that rally proves easier than formal obedience because owners can communicate with their dogs, which is against the rules in formal obedience. Though exercises must be performed correctly, rally judges look for spirited cooperation between owner and dog over absolute accuracy. Timing is used only to break a tie score; the quickest time in a tie wins. In addition, the handler must concentrate on going to the next station correctly and not get lost in the course.

It is a great opportunity to develop a bond with your dog.

For more information, visit the website.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Heel Backward

We usually think of heeling with your dog as a forward movement, but once your dog understands heel position, you can teach her to heel backwards, too.

How to teach heel backwards:

1. Start next to a fence or wall, with your dog between you and the barrier. This will help guide your dog to take straight steps.

2. Show your dog a treat in your left hand then heel forward several steps. While in motion, suddenly bend forward and hold the treat below your dog's chin so her chin tucks toward her chest. Let her nibble the treat.

3. Without halting, shift into reverse and take one or two small steps backward, pushing the treat toward your dog's chest to encourage her to move with you. When she moves any paw backwards, say, "Yes!" Let her eat the treat.

4. Repeat several time, until she gets the idea of stepping backward to get the treat. When she's easily taking one step, urge her backward until she moves another paw, then "Yes!" and another treat. Add a left hand signal, gesturing a back-up waving motion, and a verbal cue, "Back up," while making the hand gesture.

5. Phase out the treat; instead, tuck it between your thumb and forefinger, and release it to your dog when she steps back. Switch to signaling without a treat, still rewarding with one when she steps back. Gradually decrease the amount you bend forward when cueing, eventually not bending at all.

6. Increase to three backward steps or more. Gradually move farther from the wall until your dog does not need it to move straight.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Doggie New Year Resolutions

As you know, New Year's is traditionally a time to reflect on our past, and more importantly, look forward to the changes we want to make in the coming year. In addition to your own New Year's resolutions, your dog might have a few, too.

The American Kennel Club® (AKC) reflects on some resolutions your dog might be thinking about for 2012.

If dogs could talk their top 10 Resolutions might include:

10. Owner on floor, dog in bed.
9. Stop begging and actually get a seat at the dinner table.
8. Give up the dream of ever catching my tail.
7. Bark like a big dog but still get cuddled on lap like a little dog.
6. Get back at cat for litter box incident.
5. Find every bone I ever buried.
4. No more haircuts! (Come fall, I can go as a Komondor for Halloween).
3. Become alpha dog in my house. Well, at least stop letting the cat push me around.
2. Invent goggles that allow me to see the electric fence.
1. Finally pass that darn AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

For Additional information on responsible dog ownership visit the American Kennel Club Website.