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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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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Why Your Dog Ignores You

Why Your Dog Ignores You

Dog Behavior
When it seems like your dog ignores you, have you ever wondered if it's "selective hearing"?  Of course, that would suggest that your dog is ignoring you intentionally.  But why would a dog do that? Let's ask the question another way.  Is it fair to expect your dog to immediately interrupt what he's doing whenever you tell him to? Why does that kind of human control over a dog seem so necessary? Is it that people often view their dogs as subordinate and expect them to comply, or else? Why make it such a big deal? When I talk to dog owners about their pets they share some revealing insights about why they expect compliance from their dogs. Here's why a dog "ignoring a command" is such a big deal to some. If I let the…
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Why Dogs Fear Fireworks and How You Can Help

Why Dogs Fear Fireworks and How You Can Help

Dog Behavior
A Favorite Holiday is the Most Dangerous Day of the Year for Dogs Don't Miss the Five Day Challenge to learn more about why dogs fear fireworks:  Your Dog's July 4th Survival Kit - June 28 - July 2, 2019  Click below to sign up! [maxbutton id="6"]     July 4th fireworks and summer thunderstorms can be terrifying even to ordinarily calm dogs.  From a human perspective, fireworks displays are fun and storms are just a weather event.  So why are these things so scary for dogs? Fireworks are loud and don't sound like anything else in a dog's experience.  The whistle, followed by a loud explosion and crackling noises can be alarming to dogs because the sounds are not related to any source they can understand.  A dog's more sensitive…
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Five Things NOT To Do When Your Dog Is Afraid

Five Things NOT To Do When Your Dog Is Afraid

Dog Behavior, Training
Knowing What Not To Do When Your Dog Is Afraid Lets You Be Smart About Managing Your Dog's Fears You have the best intentions. You want to help your dog get over being scared. Maybe she barks at a visitor, so you encourage the visitor to approach and "make friends". Or, maybe your dog seems afraid of other dogs, so you take her to a crowded dog park so she can "get used to" being around strange dogs. What if your dog growls at someone and then you punish her for misbehaving. In each case, the way you managed your dog's fear increased the dog's anxiety and prolonged it;  it did not relieve it. What should you do when your dog is afraid? Fear is a powerful emotion that can be overwhelming.  Your dog's emotion can show…
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Stubborn Dog or Just Too Stressed to Learn?

Stubborn Dog or Just Too Stressed to Learn?

Dog Behavior, Training
Recognize Early Signs of Stress in Your Dog Is your dog too stressed to learn?  Remember what it felt like when you had to take an important exam? Or when you struggled with learning some new skill that seemed complicated? We've all been there.  Let's face it - learning is stressful. A little bit of stress can actually help - keeping you alert and challenged in a good way. But if stress overwhelms you, your brain just shuts down on you and it becomes all but impossible to learn. The same thing can happen to your dog when you are teaching him something new. When is your dog too stressed to learn? Just like you, your dog can't focus his thinking on learning a new thing if he's upset or scared.  If he feels afraid,…
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Your Timing is Your Message in Dog Training

Your Timing is Your Message in Dog Training

Dog Behavior, Training
When you communicate with your dog about ANYTHING, your timing is your message.  That's because dogs are creatures of the moment - they live in a perpetual NOW.  To put it in practical terms think of it this way.  If two events happen at the same time, or if one event takes place immediately before or immediately after another, then your dog may decide that the two events are connected. Sometimes the connection happens after only a single experience: a puppy gets car-sick and is afraid to get into the car after that one bad experience.  Often, however, a connection grows in the dog's mind after a few consistent repetitions: the sound of a bag of treats being opened signals the dog that sitting will earn him a treat. The most important lesson that…
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“Guilty” Dog? Think Again!

“Guilty” Dog? Think Again!

Dog Behavior
He lowers his head, looks away, tucks his tail and flattens his ears. What is causing your normally friendly, happy-go-lucky dog to behave like this? Is it because he feels guilty about the shoe he chewed an hour ago or the trash he overturned this morning after you went to work? Does he remember his earlier misdeed when you begin scolding him about it hours later and does he "know he was wrong"? Or is he trying to tell you that you're being scary and he wishes you would be nice again? Dog owners often translate a dog's behavior into human terms - treating the dog as if he were an adult human with a moral conscience.  But animal behaviorists agree that a mature dog's emotional capacity is comparable to that…
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