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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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Who Will You Trust To Train Your Dog?

Who Will You Trust To Train Your Dog?

Puppy Training, Training
Looking for help to train your dog? Let's face it. What's the first thing you do when you need answers?  Google it! Am I right? So if you want an answer to training your dog to...let's say, stop barking too much or jumping on guests, ...why not just get a bunch of ideas off the internet?  After all, there's so much out there about every subject under the sun! And that's exactly the problem! You'll find so much chatter and clutter that, unless you're already an expert, you have no way to differentiate what's good from what's just plain crap.  The thing you should know is that experts can tell the difference. They spend years and years researching and learning. Serious trainers will consistently dissect and test ideas and then measure them against proven data. They can instantly…
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Dogs Don’t Multitask-The Distraction Dilemma

Dogs Don’t Multitask-The Distraction Dilemma

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Dogs don't multitask either. Here's why. Remember the last time you tried to multitask?  Was it as efficient as you hoped? Did you nail accuracy for both tasks? Were you able to remember the important details for both? Research shows that attempting to multitask is less efficient and wastes time. Our brains can focus on just one thing at a time. So multitasking is an illusion. The brain is not doing two things at once but instead shifting gears from one to the other. The shift consumes time. The results are less accurate and more difficult to remember. What does this have to do with training a dog? First, dogs learn best when focusing on just one new skill at a time. If you're teaching SIT, teach and reward only that. Ignore everything else. Don't…
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Dog Treats Made From Scratch

Dog Treats Made From Scratch

Dog Behavior
Homemade Gifts Send a Special Message Dog treats made from scratch will make any dog wag his tail with happiness. Remember the hand made gifts you've received in the past?  Crafts that kids bring home from school? Or a gift that a friend created from scratch with you in mind? Did you feel the special message meant just for you in that small kind gesture? You can do the same thing for your dog! Homemade Gifts for your dog can have a special message. Yes, I'm talking about treats made from scratch.  Even if baking isn't your jam, there's an unmistakable satisfaction for you, too when you see your dog devour your homemade-with-love goodies.  This is a recipe for dog treats made from scratch that's so easy and so yummy- it's…
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How Full Is Your Dog’s Emotional Bucket?

How Full Is Your Dog’s Emotional Bucket?

Dog Behavior
Your Dog's Emotional Bucket Each of us has our own personal emotional bucket.  And so do our dogs. How full is your dog's emotional bucket? When your bucket is full, you feel positive, confident, and productive. But when your bucket is empty, you feel drained and negative.  So it is also with your dog. In How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Don Clifton, the authors explain that we all have the choice either to fill or to empty our own emotional buckets.  We also can fill or empty those of others.   You can fill up your dog's emotional bucket and make him stronger, healthier, and happier. When you do that, you fill your own bucket, too. But you can also dip into his bucket with negativity and drain it drop…
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How Safe Is Your Dog During a Car Ride?

How Safe Is Your Dog During a Car Ride?

Dog Behavior
Most dogs love a car ride. Maybe it's because car rides mean that they get to be with you instead of staying home alone! Yes, it's true that some dogs have trouble with a car ride - even a short one. However, the solution to that problem is a topic or a different day. Today, it's all about planning a safe road trip with your dog - whether you're driving hundreds of miles or just making a quick trip to pick up the kids from school. How safe is your dog during a car ride? Although seat belts are the law for people, and you wouldn't ever dream of holding a child in your lap while driving or letting a toddler ride unrestrained in the front passenger seat while leaning out the open window, there is a disconnect when it…
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Choosing a Dog Trainer

Choosing a Dog Trainer

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Who Do You Trust? When you put your trust in a dog trainer to advise you about educating a pet you care deeply for, you have a right to expect the same high standards as you would from any professional providing a service to a family member. But dog trainers aren't licensed and they don't have to pass a standardized test or agree to a code of ethics. They may have letters after their names that indicate where and how they received their professional training.  That's valuable information, but in itself, it doesn't guarantee that the individual will be right for you or for your pet.  If you ask five dog trainers the same question, you'll probably get five different answers.  Nevertheless, most trainers fall into one of two distinct camps.  The first is…
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