Category Archives: Uncategorized

Forget About Stress & Anxiety

POSITIONING THEMSELVES FOR REINFORCEMENT First off, sorry. The title was designed to get your attention. We cannot forget about stress and anxiety but rather than focus on those conditions we assume a dog is experiencing, let’s get down to the business of behavior. It has been important that people have been encouraged to […]

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Forget About Stress & Anxiety

POSITIONING THEMSELVES FOR REINFORCEMENT First off, sorry. The title was designed to get your attention. We cannot forget about stress and anxiety but rather than focus on those conditions we assume a dog is experiencing, let’s get down to the business of behavior. It has been important that people have been encouraged to […]

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A few early puppy training lesson

There are many ways to start a puppy or young dog on the early skills required for dog sports.  This video demonstrates two useful things – ‘choosing’ to work and the start of heel work.

In this video, puppy Kismet (11 week old Dutch Shepherd) and her mom are having their first lesson on recall away from distractions, a bit of heeling, and “go play”.  Mom doesn’t always do exactly the right thing at the right time, but it works anyway.  Both mom and puppy will get better with experience.

In this video, I’m combining three concepts in one lesson – choice (work or free time), recall and heeling.

“go play” – you are free to do as you wish.   Kismet chooses to explore when allowed – that will often change as the weeks go by.  By allowing the puppy to choose between what she is likely to want to do (explore) and what you want her to do (work), you can be sure you’re not overwhelming the puppy.

“Come” is rewarded with exciting praise every time and a cookie most of the time.  The puppy is also rewarded with the option to “go play” again.  Recalls don’t end the fun; they simply interrupt it with praise and cookies.

When the puppy begins to show more interest in you, turn your left side towards the puppy and walk away.  Most puppies “fall” into heeling – reward.  That is the beginning of heeling.

What a nice puppy!

The post A few early puppy training lesson appeared first on Denise Fenzi's Blog.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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What do you feed your dog? And why?

The other day, I happened to go into a pet supply store that I had never been in before, and was looking at their collection of leashes, toys, treat bags, and, of course, food, when I overheard a conversation between a couple who were in the store with their new puppy. I had crossed paths with them several times, and had smiled at and ogled the puppy each time, but they both had frowns on and were looking only at the products as they walked up and down the food aisles. Finally, they flagged down a store employee. Throwing up her hands, the woman said, “You don’t sell the food that breeder told us to get! We don’t know what to get! It’s too much!”

Unfortunately, I had to go; as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t stay to hear what the store clerk told the couple.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. If you knew nothing – how would you know what to buy, where to start?

Pet supply store or veterinary clinic employees: I’d love to hear from you. How do you advise people who are looking for food and don’t know what to buy?

Dog owners: How did you choose what you feed?

I’ll go first:

I feed my dogs dry foods from three different companies, mostly. I tend to buy similar formulas – a chicken-based, “all life stages” food – from each of the three companies that I am familiar with and feel good about, and I usually switch which company’s product I buy with every single bag. Why chicken? I am not a huge fan of beef or lamb, as dog foods made with these tend to be lower in protein and higher in ash than high-quality chicken-based foods. And I don’t like the smell of fish-based foods – but more importantly, fish-based foods tend to be volatile (they go rancid quickly, especially at our summer temperatures, even indoors).

Dry food is not all they eat, though. I don’t make a big point of it, but if there are healthy leftovers from the family table that I feel like they would enjoy, they get those.

Also, if a dog food company sends me samples of something new, I often feed that to my dogs, whether it’s a canned, frozen, or dehydrated diet. I’m curious to see what different products look and smell like, how the dogs like it (how palatable it is) and how it comes out the other end (how digestible it is).

Neither Otto nor Woody is sensitive to any particular food ingredient, and neither seems to have digestive trouble if there is a spike or a dip in the amount of fat or protein they get. I’m lucky! Nevertheless, I go with the three main foods I feed because they are all in the same approximate ballpark in terms of protein and fat levels. One food has 25% protein and14% fat; the next has 23% protein and 13% fat, and the last has 26% protein and 15% fat. These levels seem to maintain my dogs at a healthy weight, coat, and energy level with a reasonably sized portion.

So, that’s us. I’ll repeat the question:

How did you choose what you feed your dogs? If you advise others about diet, what do you ask them about their dogs? How would you recommend that other people choose their dogs’ foods?

The post What do you feed your dog? And why? appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

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Q&A with "The Truffle Hunters" filmmakers Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw

Documenting the canine search for the world’s most expensive fungi.

The Truffle Hunters opens with a gorgeous, contemplative long shot—a steep, thickly forested northwestern Italian hillside accented by its trees’ yellowing leaves and skeletal branches—that sets the tone for what’s to come. In the bottom of the frame, a person accompanied by a dog slowly emerges from the forest. It’s clear that the year is ending, that cold and snow are coming—an apt metaphor for the through-line that defines this documentary. A meditation on a group of elderly men and their devoted dogs engaged in an ancient activity that may be doomed by both modern life and climate change, it’s won awards from the Directors Guild of America and the American Society of Cinematographers, among others.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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Meet Rosie

smiling dog

Rosie is beautiful and graceful. It’s a pleasure to watch her move, like watching a dancer.

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Adopt a Shelter Dog, Enlarge Your Life

We chose a geriatric Pit Bull with many, many health issues. He enriched our lives in ways too numerous to list.
adopting senior dogs
April 30 is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, a day devoted to raising awareness of the millions of animals waiting for homes in shelters across the country. Adding a companion animal in need of safe harbor to our lives has many benefits, as this essay illuminates.

Imagine, if you will, Shrek, the green swamp-monster cartoon character, only tan—the color of a corn chip. Then imagine Shrek as a dog, a 70-pound Pit Bull to be exact, warty, wide and smelling like a can of farts. (I guess in that way Shrek stays the same: super-stinky.) Doing this simple exercise will give you a mental picture of Frito, our late dog whom I often referred to as mi rey. My king. Frito was stubborn and, in many ways, gross, but to me he was regal, and I loved him.

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