How to Avoid Dog Behavior Problems

“We may have gotten a little carried away..”

Adding a new pet to your family is a big decision. Pets bring balance, love, and an escape of sorts from our everyday stresses. Pets also bring us together and manage to teach us an awful lot. All dogs were originally  bred for certain behaviors, (herding dogs herd, sight hounds run fast, etc) so do your research and make sure the breed of dog you are interested in has an activity level that will fit into your lifestyle. Dogs are not predisposed to behavior problems.  Most behavior problems  are due to inconsistent or lack of training from the beginning, and behavior problems are the most common reason dogs are left at pounds.

Puppies (and dogs) are not really that hard to manage if you remind yourself that you are dealing with the mind of a 2 year old and that training is a logical, progressive process that anyone can master with a little patience, humor, some high value treats and a lot of love. Spend the time when your dog is new and you will soon have a loving, well behaved member of your family.

Here are seven basic rules to help you manage the toughest puppy training challenges and ways to incorporate them into your daily activities:

Rule #1 Crate Train your dog.

Dogs are not spiteful. Dogs live in the moment. Chewing up your shoes or shredding the garbage was not done in spite because you left him home alone.  Remember that 2 year old? Well he has got one powerful nose and if the garbage is accessible and something good and smelly was left inside, he is going to want to investigate. If you leave your new dog loose in your house, there is no telling what sort of mischief he may get into. A large new place, like your home, can be a bit overwhelming and even scary for a new dog to be left unattended in.  Crate Training does not mean that your dog should / or will live the rest of his life in a crate. What it does mean, if done correctly, (lots of high value treats) is  your dog will have a place where he can be feel safe and secure until he is mature and confident enough to handle a larger space unattended. Giving your dog a place that he can call his own also can help suppress separation anxiety, and speed along house breaking.  Click  here to learn more on how to crate train your dog.

Rule #2 Practice Redirecting

So your new pup wants to play, but your schedule is keeping you busy and the pup at your feet is getting in your way.  This is  a good time to redirect your pups attention to something that will entertain him, but allow you to get your tasks done. The easiest thing to redirect to is a chew toy. I use nylabones for this purpose, as they are safe (they don’t cause guarding in my multi-dog household) clean and easy. You may need to spend a few minutes interacting with him with the bone.. maybe toss it a few times, let him know how excited you are about this bone and how good it is to chew. You could also get an interactive toy that involves putting dog cookies  or peanut butter inside and let him play with that for a while.  Nylabones do seem drab and unexciting to some dog owners compared to other chew toys that are now on the market, but, they are much safer and healthier  then processed rawhide or animal parts, and will last a lot longer. Read more about the best chews for your pup here.

Rule #3 Draw Boundaries

Lap Dog?

Puppies are cute, But when your 10 pound puppy grows into that 70 pound dog, are you still going to want him sitting on your lap? It is a whole lot easier to train a puppy  correct behaviors from the beginning then it is to try to re-train that half grown dog. Boundaries can and should be established with the beginning of training, besides, once training begins, and the “lightbulb” goes off in your little dogs head that you are communicating and he will get a cookie if he responds correctly, learning will begin in earnest.   So decide from the onset where your boundaries are. Are you going to let your dog on the furniture, or on the bed? Are you going to let him chase the cat or the children? Don’t know how to stop behavior that you don’t want.. Go back and review rule #1 and #2

Rule #4 Socialize your Pup

Everyone wants the perfect dog. One that will be friendly with visitors, yet bark at danger. A dog that will hang with the kids, and be ready to go for a jog. Your perfect dog is within your reach, but it is up to you to mold that “2 year old” into the solid citizen that he needs to become. Socializing your new pup allows him to meet other humans and dogs in new and exciting places. But the biggest benefit to taking your dog out to new places is the “bonding effect”. Your new dog is going through a lot of new experiences, hopefully by this time, he has learned that YOU are “nice”.  He knows you feed him, you let him out, give him cookies, love him and you talk nice to him.  When you are at a new place, You are his comfort, his trust and his safety. By taking him out into the world you have given him a big adventure with his new best friend. The more adventures you have together,  the more confidence he will gain in himself and the more trust he will gain in you.

Not sure where you can take him in your town? Look for farmers markets, dog friendly festivals, and outdoor supply stores. Make sure you are loaded with his favorite high value treats, and his favorite toy. And Please don’t forget to bring your common sense. Make sure your dog has a properly fitted collar (combo collars are good for new dogs) or harness, with proper ID on it, be prepared to clean up after your dog, and remember that not all dogs that you meet will be friendly, so ask the handler before you let your dog run up to any unknown dogs.

Rule #5 Be Consistent

As a perpetual 2 year old your dog is going to have a limited vocabulary, and even though dogs are champions at reading body language and tone, it is important to have  consistent verbals when training. You do not have to use the words that everyone else uses, and you can certainly make your own words for communicating  with your dog.  For example, I use “This Way” while free walking my dogs on their daily walk, it keeps them with me without feeling that they have to be beside me.

One of the absolutely easiest things you can train your dog to do in your house, yard or out on an adventure, on lead or off, and quite possibly the most important thing he will ever learn is a recall.  I carry dog treats with me 95% of the time. This allows me to call my dog and reward him whenever and wherever I can. For a new dog this may be 2 feet away and on a leash.. that is okay, if the dog looks at me and comes for a treat when I say “HERE” he gets a reward.  Always practice this in a enclosed area at the beginning, eventually get someone to hold him while you increase your distance. Practice this often, ALWAYS, ALWAYS reward (eventually this reward will be just a “good dog”)

Rule #6 Create Motivation

MINE!

Your dog should be exposed to different sorts of toys. Things to Chew, Things to fetch and Things to tug, shake and share. As he grows you will learn what toys are best for him and what toys he responds to. Eventually, you will notice that he may favor a certain toy, Maybe he really loves to fetch a ball, maybe its a frisbee, perhaps he Loves a game of tug with you. This favorite toy can also work for you as a motivational aid. This favorite toy may eventually be substituted instead of treats, and can be used as a reward for training tricks, dog sports, or any thing that you may need to teach your dog for his own safety. Be observant, and notice what toys really excite your dog. Take that toy with you on outings and use it when you need to get your dogs focus back on you or just to help him relax.

Rule #7 Enjoy

New dogs and puppies do not happen very often in our lives, and this new relationship should be looked upon as the special new beginning that it is. Have fun with your dog daily. Smile and laugh at the silly things that your dog does. He will love you with all his heart and You should love him back. Get help if you need it and if you really want to explore all that a new dog has to offer, take him to classes. There you will find others exploring relationships with their dogs, new friends and new dog friends.

I hope I have offered you some clues to make your new dog comfortable and your new position as caretaker enjoyable and full of positive fun. I Love talking dog and would love to hear about a special time in your relationship with your dog.  Please leave me a comment.

 

Antlers-Bones-or Rawhide: The Best chews for your dogs

Dogs love to chew, and chewing is a perfectly normal behavior.

Puppies chew when teething. Dogs chew for stimulation, to relieve anxiety and just for fun.

Left to their own devices, Dogs may choose to chew sticks, furniture or your favorite pair of shoes. Whether or not you like it, your dog would benefit from chewing on things that are safe and healthy.

 Things to chew

There are Three main categories of dog chews that are marketed for your best friend.

 

Colt and Juno
Juno and Colt enjoy their new   Moose Antlers
  • Organic un-treated bones and antlers
  • Hard rubber/plastic bones like Nylabones
  • Animal parts that are treated  like rawhide and pigs ears.

 

Lets start with Bones and Antlers.

DogBone1
Beef leg bones can cause entrapment.

Face it, Dogs have been chewing on Raw bones since, well, since they were wolves. That being said, our breeding of dogs to suit our needs and purposes has given some dogs an advantage or disadvantage of chewing on bones. Bones that we offer our dogs have also changed and it would be unlikely that a wild dog would find a nice slice of a cattle leg  bone to chew on.

Bones slices can be dangerous and one of the biggest mistakes dog owners can make when choosing any kind of chewing “toy” for their dog is that they provide bones / chews that are to small or become too small quickly.  Hollow or marrow filled leg bones can also splinter and cause damage to your dogs mouth, throat and/ or intestinal track. If you are dead set on giving your dogs cattle leg bones you are best to use joint or “knuckle” bones as they are less likely to entrap your dogs jaw and are a little harder to splinter.

Antlers seem to be the new fad at this time and there are now a few choices :

  • Ram/water buffalo: of these choices, Ram horns are the newest on the market. Not really antlers as they do not naturally shed, Ram horns are more like bones, and are known to splinter.
  • Deer: As many deer are harvested yearly, deer antlers can be readily available. However, Deer Antlers are the softest and can be quickly and easily eaten by a heavy chewer
  • Elk: Elk antlers are a better choice, but are known to splinter
  • Moose: Moose Antlers are denser making them the hardest and the ones that I prefer to give my dogs. Like Deer and Elk, Moose antlers are naturally shed and consist of pure calcium. Moose antlers get worn down as the dog chews on them. I have never had one break or splinter.
  • If you want your pets new Antler to last longer, purchase large pieces and not the “splits”.  All antlers that are split, are easier for the dogs to destroy.
chewing-on-a-nylabone
Nylabones are durable and safe for most dogs

Hard Rubber / Nylabones

There are quite a few different brands of these Hard Rubber bones. Some dogs will not have anything to do with them, others love them.

Because I live in a multi dog family, I find that these can be left around and are unlikely to cause any conflicts among the pack.    I have also found that the brand Nylabones are the ones preferred by my dogs over any generic brands.

It is  likely that my dogs like to chew on these because when new dogs are first introduced to my house and the pack, I encourage the chewing on these by replacing any inappropriate thing the new dog is chewing on with a nylabone. Nylabones hold up under heavy chewing, wear down, and do not splinter. Stick with types that are molded into one piece and avoid ones that are attached in halves, as they can be chewed apart leaving small attachment pieces that can be swallowed.

Rawhide, pigs ears, bully sticks

dog-bone
Rawhides can be eaten and should be considered as part of your dogs diet if he is eating them.

Of all the things that you can give your dogs, this category can be the most dangerous. Due to the amount and type of preservatives that some manufacturers choose to use in the making of these products, pet owners should look carefully at labels. Often these products are bought by bulk in stores and sold with out labels. Formaldehyde is one of the key preservatives used and when fed to dogs continuously can cause some serious health problems. Because these things are almost always completely eaten, they should be considered part of the dogs daily caloric intake / diet.  Please only purchase rawhide, pigs ears and bully sticks in packaging that allows you to see the ingredients including preservatives used.

Rawhide, Pigs ears and Bully sticks are made from dry, dehydrated animal parts. During the chewing process, it is common for large pieces to be chewed off and be swallowed, and due to the preservatives, the digestibility of these products are poor, therefore these products should only be fed in moderation and under supervision.

Things to Remember

  • Purchase the largest size that you can for your dog. Never give your dog a chew that  can cause damage to your dogs mouth, throat,  teeth or digestive system.
  • Always remember to monitor any toy that is given to your dog to chew and when it gets small enough to be a hazard,  TAKE IT AWAY  and replace it.
  • If you have more then one dog, Always monitor them when given any new toys.
  • Read reviews and packages. Know what you are feeding your dogs.
  • Some manufactures of antlers use naturally shed antlers that do no harm to the donor. ( these are my favorite!)

Watching your dog enjoy a good chew, knowing that it is a natural behavior, that allows him to clean his teeth while releasing energy,  should be a healthy and enjoyable time.

If you have a favorite chew that your dog loves, I would love to hear about it! Or if you have questions, please leave me a note and I’ll get back you  as soon as possible.

May All Your Dogs Be Healthy!

Shelley

 

 

Interactive Tether Tug Dog Toy Review

teathertug-corgiMental and physical Fun for your Pup!

I recently discovered this amazing interactive tug toy for  my corgi Eddie. Eddie is a very active  Cardigan Welsh Corgi that is constantly on the go and is always ready to retrieve a ball. Recently, Eddie pulled the sheath off  of one of his toe nails and running and ball playing were not allowed.. and although he has been healing up nicely, his technique of sliding into the retrieve, often caused him pain and more limping.

I bought the Tether Tug Dog Toy for one of my other dogs that is more into rope toys, never thinking that  the corgis would enjoy it so much, but after a little bit of interacting with him and the rope, he caught on quickly and now it is one of his favorite things to play with in the yard.

This Tether Tug toy is  a great stress release for him as I have noticed when the dogs across the road are barking, instead of running to the fence to bark back, he runs to his “tugger” and starts pulling and shaking.. The amazing thing is that because of his stature, his front toes do not take any abuse, and his sensitive toe is just about all healed up, with the added benefit of keeping him fit (he is an agility dog) and strengthening his core  at the same time.

I can’t stress enough how much this has helped Eddie maintain his happy outlook, all the while, keeping him from painfully banging his toe and causing any further injury.

Here is my Product Reviewteathertug-BC

PRODUCT NAME:  Tether Tug XL
PRICE: 59.99
INTRODUCTION: No matter what size dog you have, I would recommend you get the largest size you feel comfortable with. Mine is an XL and certainly a great choice for my corgis who are not XL..  Easy to install, using a large hammer, and, the pole lifts out for easy lawn maintenance.  

The XL comes with:  

  • 55 inch tether tug pole that slides into a in-ground base
  • A knotted rope toy with a quick connector 
  • The XL is designed for all dogs over 60 pounds including Pit Bulls, and has a larger heaver duty base.

This toy is great for any active, high energy dog or any dog that likes to play tug. Often times , both my corgis will pull at the same time, against each other and against the pole.
PRODUCT OVERVIEW;  As with any dog toy that is played with roughly, the rope should be monitored for damage and can easily be teathertugreplaced with tether tug replacements, or you can make your own tether tug replacement with fleece.  
RATING; 8 out of 10 . When installed correctly, this toy provides hours of entertainment for your dog(s). The one worry that I have about it is the “snap” that holds the rope toy to the pole. My taller dogs tend to reach higher toward the top of the rope and occasionally would mouth the snap. I wrapped it with a bit of duct tape, to prevent teeth from getting  caught, and that solved that issue.
FINAL OPINION:  This is a great toy to add to any dog lovers arsenal of toy options for your dogs! Certainly can’t replace the time you spend with your dog, but can help burn off some excess energy and strengthen at the same time.
WHERE TO BUY; Amazon.com

I would love to hear about your dogs adventures with their Tether tug.. Or have a question I can help with? Drop me a note… I LOVE to talk dog..!

Shelley

Find the Best Interactive Dog Toys @ ActiveDogToys.com


Tough and durable dog toys for multi dog households

 

pullingDog toys are intended to enhance the life of you and your dogs, and each one of your dogs will have a different approach to each toy. In a Multi dog household it is sometimes difficult to keep toys around, so it is important to consider what kind of toys are good for each of your dogs and, to purchase toys that are durable, safe and of quality.  You absolutely do not want to give toys that are worth fighting over.

I Love Dog Toys that my dogs love!  Having said that, I do not love some of the things that my dogs do with their toys, especially destroying  them. Stuffed toys occasionally make their way into my home, only to be quickly un-stuffed and de-squeaked, but if the outside of the toy is made from a durable fabric, like canvas, and it is large enough, this toy can go on to become a fine outside toy that can be tugged, shaken, buried and drug around. And if I have a couple of old un-stuffed toys I can tie them together in a knot and maybe even put a squeaker back in.

Chew Toys and bones are a requisite for the multi dog household, but a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always supervise when initially giving out new chew items. After a few days the new bones will loose their initial appeal and they will be available for general chewing..
  • Always provide more then the number of dogs that you have.
  • Stay Away from  chew toys that can be  easily eaten by any members of your pack. Besides being loaded with chemicals and empty calories, things like rawhides, bully sticks, and pig ears can cause coveting and guarding.
  • Choose Items that are designed for the largest dog(s) that you have … or bigger! Once any toy gets small enough to cause a choking or ingesting problem for any of your dogs….. THROW it OUT!

My Favorite Treat to give my pack of dogs is Antlers.  I prefer Moose antlers as most manufacturers use naturally shed antlers,  Moose Antlers are also the hardest  of the three antlers that are commonly used. Elk Antlers are not quite as hard and can splinter, and deer antlers are the softest and most common. My dogs will grind away on an antler for hours, and my moose antlers will last for months.Prairie Dog Pet Products Deer Giant Antler Treat, 8-9"

Nylabones are also a very good option, and in a multi dog household, a variety should be available.Nylabone Big Chew Monster Original Flavored Durable Toy Beef Bone for Large Breeds

Teaching your dogs to love to chew on antlers or Nylabones is easy if you already have a chewer. If your dog likes to chew on inappropriate things, the key is to make the Antler more appealing then your furniture or shoes, by redirecting your dog to it and showing him how happy you are to give it to him. Show our dog the new “bone” , talk happy talk and Physically hand the Antler to your dog and tell him “bone, get the bone”.   You can purchase antlers that are flavored, and/or you can even spread a small amount of Peanut butter or cheese spread on the antlers. While your dog is preoccupied with checking out his new bone, and not watching you, now is the time to spray or wipe some deterrent on the object that was getting chewed. I like to use  Bitter Orange

Things that squeak.2015 25798

It is a mystery to me why, when given a toy with a squeaker in it, most dogs have to get that squeaker out ASAP..  So I stay away from stuffed toys with squeakers, but we love toys that squeak and have no stuffing. Two of my agility dogs have “special” balls that we use only for training that squeak, and for every day playing we use kong squeak air balls. Toys that are made of fabric, no stuffing, just squeakers are a favorite in my house.   Plush Puppies  snakes are large enough for tugging, and are fun to  carry and squeak.Gnawsome TPR Squeaker Ball for Dogs, 3.5-Inch, Various Colors

Ropes and Tugs

cropped-2015-3323.jpg

Years ago, I ended up with two puppies in one summer, both were rescues, one a German  Shepherd and the other a little beagle mix.  The beagle, Bandit, was a little older then the Shepherd, Bailey and for a little while they were the same size. One day, while I was peacefully managing the barn work, and they were entertaining each other, they got rather quiet in a stall. As I peeked around the corner to see what they were up to, they both stopped and looked back at me… each one hanging onto the end of a bailing twine.  I took the bailing twine, added a couple more tied it into a bunch of knots, and it became our first rope tug toy.   Tug Toys have come a long way , but the appeal to dogs is amazing. Fleece tug toys and tugs made with ropes come in a variety of combinations.  Many in the Agility world use fleece or rope leashes that dogs can tug and pull, but in a multidog house hold a heavy duty rope tug out in the playing field can give your dogs a chance to play keep away with each other, and you can join in shake and tug and throw and let them run and have fun with a sturdy toy that will be around for a long time.Braided Fleece Rope Tug With 2 Balls 36 inches

Power of the Toy

Remember that all the toys ultimately belong to you. You worked hard to buy your dogs the best toys, that would last long and play hard. Train your dogs with a release word, so that when fun time is over, you can put away the toys that are “special”. With the use of a high value treat in one hand, grab hold of the toy that is in your dogs mouth and tell him “give” or ” trade” or what ever you want your release word to be. Liver Bits Treats for Dogs (4 oz) When your dog releases the toy for the treat, give him the treat and place the toy out of sight .

Enjoy your dogs daily, have fun with them and remember to let them see you play!

Dog Tug Toys @ ActiveDogToys.com