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Dog Training

  • Posted on December 10, 2014 by Lindsey Mattson

    With gifts to wrap, meals the plan, and lists to complete, it is a fun but overwhelming time of year. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, my house turns into Santa's workshop with gift wrap, tape and ribbon on the dining room table; a tree full of festive decorations in the living room; and a guest room hiding spot for super-secret toys. With all of the crazy happening, it is easy to forget the pet hazards that all of this holiday fun leaves behind.

    Pet Safety: Holiday Hazards for Dogs #PoochPawty Pet Safety: Holiday Hazards for Dogs #PoochPawty

    My furbaby is an old guy who lays around most of the day, gets up to eat and has to be coaxed outside to potty. He doesn't play much and doesn't get into too much trouble anymore. BUT - this time of year he rolls the age-clock back and turns into a puppy. I don't know why - maybe it is just the hustle and bustle that gets him excited, but once every year we get blindsided and come home to a living room disaster reminding us of the dangers this time of year brings.

    This weekend we came home to candy wrappers ALL OVER! St. Nick arrived on Friday, treats were opened on Saturday morning, and then we left for the parade. That furmonster tore into packages of peanuts and wrappers of taffy - Thankfully it wasn't anything on the list of holiday hazards!

    Please, share this list so everyone know of the holiday dangers in their home. It is a good reminder of what to keep away from your dog and a great reference in case an accident happens so you know the signs and symptoms.

    For our complete list on safe and harmful people foods, click here.

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties, Christmas & Winter, Halloween, Fall & Thanksgiving and was tagged with Pet Safety, Dog Training, Elderly Dog Care

  • Posted on October 31, 2014 by Lindsey Mattson

    Halloween is a fun time for everyone - planning the perfect costume, getting the BEST candy (and trading the rest), and decorations that are gloriously spooky spectacular.

    But, what if you were a knee-high furbaby who didn't understand the holiday? With all of the ghosts and goblins running around, it could be a scary and stressful time for your dog. Not to mention the tempting sweet treats they may find laying around afterward. Follow these eight Halloween Safety Tips for Dogs to keep your pooch happy and everyone will have a memorable evening!

    Halloween Safety Tips for Dogs #PoochPawty
    Infographic: 8 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe and Stress-Free this Halloween! via The Uncommon Dog

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties, Halloween, Fall & Thanksgiving and was tagged with Pet Safety, Chevron Boy Party Ideas, Dog Training

  • Posted on July 23, 2014 by Lindsey Mattson

    Our furbabies sit. Waiting. Watching. And as soon as we turn our backs, the adventure is on! Who knows what this brave duo will get into next - gotta love 'em.

    Double The Trouble - Adventure Time! {Ruh-Roh Moments}

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties, Mom Moments and was tagged with Ruh-roh - Dog Moment, Pet Safety, Dog Training

  • Posted on May 16, 2014 by Brenda Knutson

    Dog Life JacketMost of us assume all dogs know how to swim, which is a common misconception. The “doggie paddle” was named that for a reason, right? While some dog breeds love to be in the water, there are some that don’t enjoy being anywhere near the water. For some breeds that have low body fat, like Greyhounds, it can even be dangerous. These breeds may have a very difficult time staying afloat and regulating their body temperature. If a dog is afraid of the water, and shows high levels of anxiety when put in the water, their normal breathing can even be affected. Dogs that are elderly, sick, overweight and out of shape can also have issues in the water. Waves, currents, undertows, and fast-moving rivers and waters can overtake even the strongest swimmer – including a dog. Wearing a life vest may make the difference between life and death.

    Dog Boating My pup loves to be in the boat with us, and will even jump into the lake on his own and swim. He doesn’t, however, have the best stamina in the water. This has been a concern for us, as we spend a ton of time in the water in the summer. I had seen life vests for dogs in stores, but had previously never seriously considered them. Then, last year my youngest daughter was jumping off the boat to me, and Mocha got excited and jumped in the water too. We were in the middle of the lake, and here I was with two little bodies swimming towards me. Thankfully my daughter always wears a life vest, but it still made for a juggling act getting everyone back onto the boat.

    If you have ever had a dog swim to you, they are all paddling legs that don’t stop and claws. It is definitely not easy to keep yourself afloat and manage that moving furry body, and not get scratched up in the process. Dog life vests not only help your pup stay afloat, most also have a handle on the back that helps handle your pup in the water and lift them out of the water. After using the life vest, Mocha seemed to appreciate the additional lift and support from the vest, and we appreciated the piece of mind.

    If you are considering a life vest for your pet, I would talk to other pet owners for their recommendations. Dogs come in every shape/size/weight, so be sure to have your pet fitted for the vest that will work best and be most comfortable for them. There are many dog life vest styles out there and the materials used have different levels of buoyancy in the water. I would also never leave your pet unattended while wearing a life vest - they can be quite hot to wear if not in the water and your pup may chew or become entangled in the vest if bored or wanting to escape.

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties and was tagged with Pet Safety, Puppy Care, Dog Training

  • Posted on April 18, 2014 by Brenda Knutson

    Don't you ever wonder what your pooch is thinking on the twenty-third time you are tossing his ball while playing fetch? This infographic may not reveal your pup's thoughts, but it does tell you exactly what is going on in his brain! Training actually stimulates sections of his brain, both releases and reduces different chemicals, and makes him physically addicted to listening to you. (Now if I could only figure out a way to do that with my kids!)

    This great reference really drew me in with all of their additional training tips, tricks, easiest and hardest to train dog breeds, dog training behaviors, easiest and hardest tricks to teach, and popular training techniques. I  have been working on the "sneeze" trick with my dog for a while now, and I feel better seeing it is in the list of five hardest tricks to teach.  This amazing information has really motivated me to spend even more time with my pup, and get in some consistent quality training time.

    Click to Enlarge

    - See more at: http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/effects-training-dog-brain/#sthash.ShOsHIgD.dpuf

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties, Tips and Tricks and was tagged with Training, Dog Training

  • Posted on March 28, 2014 by Brenda Knutson

    artolog / Foter / CC BY-NC

    Giving your dog different food treat rewards for good behavior is a fun and effective way of training. Using a variety of treats will also help keep your dog from getting bored, and keep him interested in training.

    Training treats are best if they are tempting and delicious, small or easy to break into small pieces, easy to carry, and healthy. It is also good to have some that mean less to your pup (like his dog food) and more valuable treats (like meat) so you can reward less important or more important reactions appropriately.

    Use your dog's regular food as treats:

    • Dry dog food: If your dog likes his dry food enough to do tricks for it, you can use it for training.  This works for less important training, not as valuable reactions, and dogs on a diet. One way to make dry food more exciting is to put it in a paper bag with some small pieces of bacon for a few hours to let it soak up some of the scent.
    • Wet/canned food: You can put this in a jar or bowl, and give one bite or lick per trick.

    "People Food" makes great dog treats:

    • Chopped fresh meat: You can dry fresh meat out a bit in the microwave by cooking it uncovered for 30 seconds at a time. Any meat works well. If you are, however, using a high fat meat like sausage only use a small amount or your pup can get an upset tummy.
    • Jar baby food, meat flavored: Give your dog one lick per trick. You can even reuse the jars by refilling them with yogurt or peanut butter.
    • Cheese: Mozzarella, Cheddar and Colby work well as they are not sticky or crumbly. String cheese is also great for training since it is convenient & can break into small pieces easily.
    • Chopped veggies, like green beans: Some veggies, like raw carrots, are not always digested well but are healthy and may just "come out" looking the same as they went in. This makes them great for a dog on a diet!
    • Chopped fruit, like apples: Dogs love fruits, and it is also a healthier option. You should always check to be sure a fruit is not dangerous for a dog before using, for example grapes, peaches and apricots are NOT good for dogs. Some good options are apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries and watermelon.

    Store Bought Treats: When buying store bought treats, look for high quality, healthy ingredients like meat, cheese, eggs, nuts, etc. and try to avoid ingredients that you are not familiar with.

    Homemade Dog Training Treats: A great way to save money on treats and keep your dog healthy and happy is to make your own training treats.

    Tuna Training Bars:

    • 1  6-oz. can tuna in water, undrained
    • 1 egg
    • ½ cup rice or oat flour
    • Parmesan cheese

    Mash the tuna and water in a bowl with a fork to get the clumps out, then liquefy in a blender or food processor. Add extra water (in very small amounts) if needed to liquefy completely. Pour into a bowl and add flour. This should be the consistency of a cake mix. Spread into a greased or sprayed square cake pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. When done, the edges will pull away and the texture will be like putty. Use a pizza cutter to slice into small squares. These freeze great, and dogs love them!

    Turkey Training Treats:

    • 2 pounds ground turkey (pure turkey, not turkey sausage)
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 cups oatmeal
    • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

    Mix all ingredients together and pat into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool completely, then cut into thick strips as these do not hold together when slicing into small squares. Freeze unused portions and keep the portions you're using refrigerated. These have the consistency of meatloaf. When you are using the treats, break off pieces of the strips to give to your dog.

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties, Recipes, Tips and Tricks and was tagged with Pet Nutrition, Training, Dog Training, Recipes

  • Posted on March 24, 2014 by Lindsey Mattson

    When I first came across this list of safe people foods for dogs, I wasn't surprised to see some of my pup's favorites on the left side - and the usual offenders on the right side. But there were a few that caught my eye and prompted an office discussion of who's dog has eaten what.

    Of the Don'ts, the general rule of avoiding sugars and salt applies, as they will harm Fido's kidneys. The surprise came from the image of the gum - which lead to a story of a friend's dog being rushed to the ER after rooting around in her purse and eating a pack of sugar-free gum. It turns out that Xylitol, a common sugar replacer, is incredibly toxic to dogs. Even in small amounts, two pieces of gum, the chemical can induce severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and cause liver failure. Scary stuff!

    My dog is known as a purse-robbing brownie thief but has thankfully never gotten into a pack of gum. Other office dogs will do anything for a lick of peanut butter, eye up a toddlers yogurt and stare longingly at your fish dinner, but have, so far, never been rushed to the ER.

    Please share this list and let others know how harmful sugar-free gum can be!

    This infographic was created by PetCareRx. Providing quality pet meds and supplies for all your pet needs.

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties, Recipes, Everyday Parties and was tagged with Puppy Care, Dog Training, Recipes

  • Posted on January 20, 2014 by Meeko ThePooch

    ucumari / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

    This week we took a trip to the Vet and received the unfortunate news that our old dog needs to be taking a medication once a day now. For any other dog owner this may be ok since their dog loves treats. For us, not exactly. Our dog loves treats, but he is the rawhide bone type of guy, not the mushy treats that make it easy to shove medication inside. It is officially time for us to get creative! I did some searching online to find some ideas on how to sneak pills and wanted to share some tips with you too!

    1. Our dog LOVES fetch. He is crazy obsessed to be 100% honest.  I felt a bit silly to not think of this myself- but they said to simply smash the pill into even a piece of bread for the dog to “catch.” Each website stated to use more than one “treat” to play the catch game and simply sneak the pill into one of the treats you toss. Great idea for us!
    2. The smellier the food, the better. Think liver pâté or a stinky cheese like Limburger cheese and sneak the pill inside making for a smelly treat to eat. Also simply using a piece of sandwich cheese, or you can use a small portion of meat with some water and simply mush up together making a tasty treat for your dog.
    3. They also do have some medication that you can request to be made to taste like treats vs. the not so pleasant medication taste. You can also use a plain gelcap to hinder the taste that you can pick up at your vet office and simply lubricate it to make it easy to swallow.
    4. I also found a very informative video where a Vet shows how to easily give a medication to a dog. 

    I wish you the best on your journey giving your pets pills as well. Not an easy trick to master, but thankfully he is doing well so far with getting cheese treats and playing “catch” the medicine!

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties, Tips and Tricks and was tagged with Dog Training, Elderly Dog Care

  • Posted on January 3, 2014 by Brenda Knutson


    Why is it important to teach a dog to “drop it”? If you have a puppy at home, you know they seem to always have something they shouldn’t in their mouths. If you have an older dog that still has this habit, it will protect her from having something dangerous, toxic, poisonous or even valuable to you in her mouth. It also allows you and your dog to safely play games like tug-of-war.

    The goal is right when you say “drop it”, your dog drops whatever it is they have in their mouth. With positive reinforcement training, you do this by rewarding them with a treat when they listen to you instead of yelling at them, chasing them or disciplining them until they spit the item out.

    An easy way to train “drop it” is while playing tug and fetch games. Have your dog chew on one of her favorite toys. Once she has her mouth on it, put a treat (good treats like meat or cheese work great with this type of training) close to her nose and say “drop it”. When she opens her mouth for the treat and drops the toy, feed her the treat and praise her for dropping it. Don’t force the toy out of the dog’s mouth if she does not drop it, as she may think this is a game. Continue to tempt her with the treat until she does drop the object. Then feed her the treat and give her praise. If your dog likes to play “keep away” and runs away with the toy in her mouth, keep a leash and collar on your dog during the training session.

    Repeat this training several times until she is responding consistently. After a while, try holding the treats farther away and eventually try the command with praise instead of treats.  Once your dog seems to understand the “drop it” command, practice it randomly both with and without treats, but always with praise. Eventually your dog will respond automatically to the “drop it” command.

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties, Tips and Tricks and was tagged with Training, Dog Training

  • Posted on November 15, 2013 by Brenda Knutson

    Positive Reinforcement Training with Mocha #PoochPawty #PositiveReinforcement #DogTraining

    What do you do when a loving pet does the unexpected and hurts a family member? Unfortunately this happened to us. What we consider a member of our family, our dog, bit my daughter. We didn’t know what to do – How could we ever trust him again? We found an animal behaviorist that works with positive reinforcement training, and it changed our lives.

    Many experts believe animals learn faster and retain the most information when taught through positive reinforcement. This type of training means the dog gets something he likes when he does what you consider to be a desirable behavior. This can be treats, time playing with a favorite toy, and even just love and attention. Dogs will repeat behaviors that are positively reinforced. In fact, a dog will try even harder in hopes of earning approval. You can use this concept both to train a dog to do something as well as stop an unwanted behavior.

    Our dog did not have extreme behavior issues, and that is why the bite was so unexpected. He did have some behaviors that we thought were just part of his personality and not able to get rid of; jumping up on people, mild jealousy of another pet, and being somewhat territorial around food. Positive reinforcement training has helped control these issues. We used to yell at him and put him in his crate, but that just seemed to make it worse. His anxiety, defensiveness and being territorial increased with our level of anger and discipline. Now ignoring unwanted behavior instead of yelling at him and drawing more attention to it, and reinforcing good actions with love and treats or distracting him from making bad choices, makes him show the wanted behaviors instead of the negative ones. For example, if he starts to show jealousy toward our cat, distracting him by telling him to go get his ball and play fetch or putting a treat in his blue ball to occupy him is a much better option for both of us than yelling and disciplining him. It is amazing how the words “Go get your ball!” have changed the mood in our home!

    Amazing Treat Ball for Dogs #PoochPawty #DogTraining #PositiveReinforcement

    I won’t lie, it is a lot of work to retrain you, your family and your pet’s behaviors. If you love your pet, it is worth every minute. Our home has gone from yelling and not trusting our dog, to a positive environment where we are playing lots of fetch and giving lots of love!

    This post was posted in Puppy Parties, Tips and Tricks and was tagged with Dog Training

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