Sudden Mysterious Boom in Fireworks Terrifies Pets & Worries Their Owners

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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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Your Dog’s Answer to Confusion is Always No.

Your Dog’s Answer to Confusion is Always No.

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"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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How I’m Socializing My Puppy During Quarantine

How I’m Socializing My Puppy During Quarantine

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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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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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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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