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Sudden Mysterious Boom in Fireworks Terrifies Pets & Worries Their Owners

Uncategorized
For weeks now the sudden nationwide increase in random backyard fireworks has terrified many noise-sensitive pets and upset their owners. Authorities can't say why it's happening and most people have no idea what they can do about it. If it's this bad now, you have to wonder what will happen on July 4th. That means that if you have a dog that panics during fireworks, the time to prepare is now before it's too late and your pet suffers more than necessary. What could be more heartbreaking than feeling helpless while your pet is scared? Can we accept the fact that there's not much you can do to prevent the fireworks from happening? I'll get to why in a minute. But first, I urge you to put your energy where…
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Puppy Backtalk: How You Answer It

Puppy Backtalk: How You Answer It

Puppy Training
Puppy backtalk will happen eventually.  It's one of those milestones along the way to maturity. How you answer it, however, will decide the direction it takes. Pop Quiz: What age group of kids are MOST likely to challenge authority? Too easy?? The answer, of course, is teenagers.  Questioning, resisting, backtalking - it's all a normal part of kids growing up, testing limits, and discovering their independence. Puppy backtalk happens for the same reasons. If you're a dog aficionado like me, then there's no need to remind you that puppies, too are teenagers for a while. That three-month-old baby who happily did your bidding morphs behind your back into a six-month-old adolescent whose favorite reply is "not-gonna-don't-hafta".  Six-month-old Radar showed me his true teenage colors today. Anyone who's raised a puppy will recognize the inevitable moment…
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Why Exercise Alone Won’t Cure Your Dog’s Boredom

Why Exercise Alone Won’t Cure Your Dog’s Boredom

Stay Home Survival Kit, Training
Bored dogs, just like bored teenagers, want "something to do". But, of course, exercise alone won't cure your dog's boredom. Dogs naturally need physical exercise to stay fit and healthy. But a tired dog isn't necessarily a calm dog. The same goes for people. There's a "good tired". You know,... that calm feeling that comes after playing a challenging game, building, creating, producing a result, or solving a problem. The kind of activity that engages both body and mind is enriching and satisfying.  However, the other kind of tired...the not so good kind... comes after a lot of activity that keeps you busy but without mental enrichment. Work that doesn't also engage the mind can leave you feeling exhausted and restless. Not calm. Not satisfied. Think about the last time you had to figure…
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Misunderstanding Your Dog Will Make You Crazy

Misunderstanding Your Dog Will Make You Crazy

Dog Behavior
If you're like most dog owners, misunderstanding your dog happens a lot.   Ever wonder why the dog picks your stuff out of the laundry or your shoe from the closet?  And leaves everyone else's stuff alone? I bet you thought he was trying to get even for some imagined offense. Imagined by you, that is, - not by your dog.   Here's an example of what I'm talking about.  Maybe you felt guilty about paying too little attention to your dog when you were busy.  And then you figured that because of it your dog must have been so mad at you that he decided to plot a little bit of revenge. So he sniffs out one of your favorite belongings and trashes it. Except for the part about sniffing, that entire scene is just a fantasy.  Yet so many…
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The Little Game With Your Dog That Fixes Big Problems

The Little Game With Your Dog That Fixes Big Problems

Dog Behavior, Training Games
Did you ever wish for a magic wand to get your dog to stop pulling on the leash, quit jumping on you and other people, give up barking at whatever, come back when you called even if he's rolling in bunny poop, stop chasing bunnies, birds, squirrels? I can't offer you a fantasy magic wand, but what I can give you is even better than magic. And you don't have to be a magician or perform any fancy tricks. What if you could play a simple little game and zero in on the reason behind all the naughty stuff you wish a magic wand could fix? So, why do dogs ignore you and do those things?  What do all the things on that list have in common? And what missing ingredient could you add to change…
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Your Dog’s Answer to Confusion is Always No.

Your Dog’s Answer to Confusion is Always No.

Uncategorized
"The answer to confusion is always no." When the author Donald Miller wrote that statement he was talking about communication between people. But Miller is also a proud dog lover. So I bet he'd approve of expanding it to include our dogs.   Here's what I mean by that. Dogs get confused when people aren't clear. We humans often suffer from the illusion that more is better.  We pile on words, words, words when the dog still hasn't figured out what we said first.  Information overload leads to a shutdown.   The answer to confusion is always no. I have good news for you, though! You can turn your dog's confused no into a joyful yes.  More easily than you imagined! What does this mean for you? It means that you no longer have to feel frustrated because you believe that your dog…
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Dogs Stuck at Home Want to Play

Dogs Stuck at Home Want to Play

Dog Behavior, Stay Home Survival Kit, Training Games
The coronavirus is an invisible enemy.  I hope you and your family, including the animals who share your life, are all doing OK.  And as you struggle to get everything right and keep hoping you've not missed any important precaution, another invisible enemy - anxiety - keeps trying to crash the party! But remember one thing - dogs stuck at home just want to play! Let me be clear - I don't have any medical training. So heed the advice of the pros for that.  But because I have spent my entire life learning about dogs, here's what I have discovered. Dogs have the mysterious power to comfort, calm, and restore an anxious soul. Yes, of course, you feel good when you pet your dog.  That's for normal times.  These are NOT normal times. …
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How I’m Socializing My Puppy During Quarantine

How I’m Socializing My Puppy During Quarantine

Uncategorized
Social distancing isn't quite how you planned to welcome Spring, 2020! And yet, here we are! At first, the isolation felt weird - and more than a little scary - but as the days pass, isolation begins to feel like the unwelcome guest that tried to spoil the party. But, welcome or not, social distancing is a responsibility and it has to be taken seriously.  You've heard that before, right?  Now I have a four-month-old puppy. He needs to be socialized as a baby so that he'll grow up with a healthy attitude toward living within our human social norms. (check out his stinkin' cute picture below). When I adopted my Border Collie mix, Radar, in early February, I was vaguely aware that there was an epidemic in China.  However, it never crossed…
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Your Over-Aroused Dog Can Calm Down

Your Over-Aroused Dog Can Calm Down

Dog Behavior, Puppy Training
Have you ever tried to talk your excited and over-aroused dog into calming down?  How did that work for you? Not too well, I'm guessing! When your puppy or your grown-up dog is all wired up and bouncing around like a kid on a trampoline, words just don't make much of an impression. Unless you talk louder and gesture a lot - then your dog figures you're excited too!  And that fires up his excitement even more! It's a feedback loop - your excitement feeds your dog's excitement, and so on... There are better ways to help an over-aroused dog to calm down and all of them involve you modeling calmness so your dog can mirror your actions.  We know that our dogs tune-in to our emotions.  So take a deep breath and be…
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A Playdate Checklist for Dogs and Puppies

A Playdate Checklist for Dogs and Puppies

Dog Behavior
A playdate can be a lot of fun for dogs and puppies.  However, don't rush into it without a playdate checklist for essential precautions. Just like humans, some dogs just don't get along with each other. An experience meant to be fun can become scary when dogs aren't a good match for each other. Let me tell you about one of my dogs.  Because I think it's a lesson for us all. One day, when my now 12-year-old Papillon, Junior, was training in Agility, I took him to a group class.  He was about 2 years old at the time. Dogs of various breeds and sizes were there. But my 5-pound Junior was the smallest dog - and also one of the fastest. Fortunately for us both, he ran the fastest... As…
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