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Many dogs love to play tug of war – it is a healthy display of their predatory nature. There has been some debate over tug of war and dogs. Some feel the game causes aggressive behavior and dominance. However, the tug of war is actually mental and physical exercise for your dog. It is also a great way to reinforce the human-canine bond. The most important thing to remember is that there are rules that should be followed to keep the game from going overboard.

  1. Before you begin playing tug of war with your dog, you should teach a release command, like drop it. This will help you stop the game if necessary.
  2. Choose a dog toy that is designed for tugging. The toy should be durable and flexible. The best tug toys are typically made out of rubber or a similar material and have a comfortable handle that keeps your hand away from the dog’s mouth. Here are two good choices:

    Kong Tug
    Orbee-Tuff Tug

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Getting a New Dog

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by on February 26, 2013 · 0 comments

Are you thinking of getting a dog? Choosing to bring a new dog into your life is a major decision. Be sure you are ready for a dog before you start the process. It is also essential that you understand the cost of dog ownership. If you have decided that the time is right, congratulations! Now it is time to figure out what type of dog is right for you. There are several factors to consider before choosing a dog. Most importantly, examine your current lifestyle and consider what adjustments you are willing to make for a dog. Look at the needs of your family – especially if you have children or other pets. People with allergies, or those who prefer low-shedding dogs, might want to look into hypoallergenic dog breeds. Next, think about the ideal size, energy level and age of your new dog. Then, determine where to get your new dog. Just remember that getting a dog requires a firm commitment to responsible dog ownership.  Here are some tips to help you choose the best dog for you and your family. [click to continue…]

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Training your dog to go to his place can be helpful when you need him to settle down or get out from under your feet. You can pick one place in your home or a different place in each room to send your dog when you tell him to go to his place. This command is fairly easy to teach your dog. Here’s how to do it:

What You Will Need

Your dog should know how to lie down on command before you teach him to go to his place. Spend several training sessions working on down. Once your dog is able to reliably lie down on command, you’re ready to move on to the place command.

Next, decide where you want your dog to go when you give him the command that sends him to his place. A bed or area rug works well. If you want to be able to use the command in any room, use a portable bed or mat that you can easily move from room to room. [click to continue…]

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How to Train a Dog to Wave

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by on January 18, 2013 · 0 comments

Training a dog to lift his paw to wave hello or good-bye is not too difficult. Your friends are sure to be impressed by this cool dog trick!

What You Need

To train a dog to wave, all you need is your dog and some yummy dog treats. You should also have your clicker handy if you are using clicker training.

Here’s How to Do It

  1. Before you start training a dog to wave, he should first know how to shake paws. Waving is built from what he already knows how to do when he shakes. If he hasn’t learned to shake yet, you should go back and work on this skill with your dog.
  2. Give your dog the command “shake.” When he lifts his paw to shake your hand, move your hand up slightly so he has to move his paw up a bit to get to your hand.
  3. When your dog moves his paw up farther than he would to shake, click your clicker or tell him “good,” and give him a treat. [click to continue…]

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Dealing with a Growling Dog

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by on January 15, 2013 · 0 comments

Dog growling is one way dogs communicate with us. They growl to let us know they are afraid, or in pain, or need us to back away from their possessions or territory. Often our first instinct is to run from a growling dog or to punish him for growling. Because growling can be the first sign of more serious aggression, it’s important to handle a growling dog appropriately.

Never Punish a Growling Dog

Many dog owners get understandably upset when a dog growls. Their first reaction is often to suppress the growling by scolding or punishing the dog. This is never a good idea. By teaching your dog that growling is not an acceptable behavior, you are taking away his ability to warn you that he may bite. Often we hear stories of dogs who bite with no warning. In many cases, this is because the owners trained the dog not to give a warning growl first.

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Many of our dogs’ common behavior problems are caused by boredom. When your dog gets bored, he begins to look for ways to entertain himself. This leads to inappropriate chewing, excessive barking, and digging. While training can help with some of these problems, there are several other things you can do to curb your dog’s destructive behavior.

Here are some tips for busting your dog’s boredom, and putting an end to problem behaviors:

Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Exercise

If your dog is being destructive, chances are he’s looking for a way to burn off energy and bust boredom. What better way to burn energy than exercise? There are a number of ways to add exercise to your dog’s daily routine. It can be as simple as a walk around the neighborhood or a game of fetch in the backyard. High energy dogs may need something more. Border Collies, pit bulls, and other high energy dogs may  do well with jogging or getting involved in a dog sport, such as agility. [click to continue…]

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Cool Treats for Hot Dogs

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by on January 8, 2013 · 0 comments

When temperatures rise outside, your dog can easily get overheated. Heatstroke is just one of the many summer hazards that can affect our dogs. There are many ways you can help keep your dog cool in the hot weather. Chilled or frozen dog treats are a great surprise for your dog. Not only will they help cool her off, they can also help relieve boredom when she is cooped up inside. Here are some ideas for healthy, cold treats your dog will love:

Doggie “Ice Cream”

Real ice cream is not healthy for dogs. The excess dairy can cause GI upset, plus there is too much sugar. “Lick-a-lots” and “Frosty Paws” are two types of healthy dog “ice cream” that dogs love. But, if you want to save money, or would rather not run out to the store, you can make a version of them yourself at home. Here’s how:

You will need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 8 ounces of plain yogurt (lowfat or non-fat, greek yogurt isideal)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (creamy is best) [click to continue…]

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Top Ten Dog Sports

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by on January 6, 2013 · 0 comments

These days, the choices in dog sports and recreation are nearly endless. Dog sports are great options to keep active dogs both physically and mentally healthy. All dogs need some degree of exercise, but most will thrive with extra stimulation. Very active dogs are ideal candidates for high-performance sports like agility and flyball, though almost any healthy dog can enjoy participation.Be sure your dog has a thorough veterinary evaluation prior to starting any dog sport. Once your vet gives clearance, consider these top dog sports that can challenge your dog’s mind and body while reinforcing the canine-human bond.

1. Agility

Canine agility is a competitive dog sport that takes place within an obstacle course. Dogs are trained to make jumps, travel through tunnels, and navigate various walkways – all in

a specific order. Each step of the way, the dogs are directed by their owners.

Agility is an excellent form of exercise and mental stimulation, making it ideal for high energy dogs like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. However, just about any dog can participate in agility. The intensity and difficulty of the course can be altered to accommodate dogs with health complications or special needs. Teamwork between dog and human is the cornerstone of this sport.

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Toxic Foods and Your Dog

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by on January 2, 2013 · 0 comments

The kitchen can be a virtual playground for your dog’s nose and taste buds. Most dogs love food and especially yearn for “people food”. Dog experts have discouraged the feeding of table scraps to dogs for years because of the potentials for toxicity, obesity and general poor health. While healthy, well-balanced diets can be prepared for dogs using human food, it is essential to feed the right foods. Know what foods to avoid so you can prevent poisoning and keep your dog healthy. If you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic food, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Grapes and Raisins

  • Grapes and Raisins can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys, possible resulting in death.
  • Ingesting as few as 4-5 grapes or raisins can be poisonous to a 20 pound dog, though the exact toxic dose is not established.
  • Signs of toxicity include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased urine production (possibly leading to lack of urine production), weakness and drunken gait.
  • Onset of signs typically occurs within 24 hours (though they can start just a few hours after consumption)
  • Your vet may start by inducing vomiting, or the stomach might be pumped (gastric lavage). Treatment involves aggressive supportive care – particularly fluid therapy and medications. [click to continue…]

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Training Tips for Deaf Dogs

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by on December 31, 2012 · 0 comments

Deaf dogs may seem like a challenge to train. Even though they aren’t able to hear commands, deaf dogs CAN be trained. Here are some tips to help you to train a deaf dog:

Getting the Attention of a Deaf Dog

Before you can ask a dog to do anything, you must first have his attention. For most dogs, this is as simple as calling out their names. For deaf dogs, it can be a bit more of a challenge. There are a few things you can do to get a deaf dog to look at you:

  • Stamp a foot on the floor. Sometimes the vibrations coming through the floor are enough to turn your dog’s attention in your direction.
  • Use a flashlight. Some owners of deaf dogs use a flashlight to signal to their dog. You can train a dog to look at you by turning a flashlight on and off. Continue to do so until your dog turns to see where the light is coming from. As soon as he looks at you, give him a treat to let him know he did what you wanted.The dog will soon learn that a flash of light means that he needs to look at his owner. [click to continue…]

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