Sit pretty! Roll over! Jump! Teaching your dog tricks might not seem like the easiest thing in the world, but it’s highly beneficial to you and your dog. Teaching your dog tricks can help strengthen your relationship with your beloved pet in many ways. Below are some great reasons why you should start teaching your dog tricks.
1. Make everyone safe- While learning to teach your dog tricks, you learn many training techniques which can also be used to help manage your dog. Tricks can allow your fearful dog to be around people and other dogs at a safe distance. Also, people who are afraid of dogs can still enjoy dogs without having to get too close to them.
2. Give your dog something to do- It doesn’t take long before your dog gets bored and decides to take on a new hobby like chewing anything in sight, including your brand new sofa. Teaching your dog tricks will keep him focused on the task at hand, and will entertain him and you!
3. Help keep your dog’s mind sharp- Teaching your dog tricks will keep his mind active, responsive and alert. Teaching your new and challenging tricks gives your dog the mental stimulation it needs to avoid boredom.
4. Help create a better bond between you and your dog- Tricks are fun to train and learn, so the tricks you teach become their own reward. Best of all, once your dog learns tricks you two become a team when training or performing.
5. Show off- You can show off your dog if you teach it some cool tricks, and your dog will get people’s attention. Dogs love attention and they love being in the spotlight so they will enjoy performing in front of your friends and family. Of course, you will also get the recognition of being a star trainer.
6. Make Vet check ups easier- Both the veterinarian and you hate it when your dog can’t control itself during a check up. If you teach your dog to be calm during the check up, it will make both of your lives easier, and you won’t be embarrassed that your dog is acting up. Wouldn’t be nice if your dog could lie on its side on cue to be examined (“play dead”) or offer its paw for nail trims (“high-five”)?
7. Give your dog a hobby- We all have hobbies we enjoy like watching TV, gardening or playing games, but dogs also need things to do. Teaching your dog tricks is a great thing to do on rainy days when you can’t take him for a walk.
If these reasons have inspired you to teach your dog tricks, then you’ve come to the right place. I am a Certified Trick Dog Instructor available for private and group lessons. I offer a Tricks for Fun and Fitness class in Ft Lauderdale at Auggie’s Doggies Learn more about trick training at www.Domorewithyourdog.com or call me at 954.507.7524 for help training more fun and creative behaviors.
Do more with your dog!
(This article is an oldie but goodie.)
I frequently get asked, “How do you feel about dog parks?” I wanted to address that question with some hints and recommendations to make sure your dog enjoys it’s visit to the dog park.
Bowie the wheaten is having fun at the dog park
First of all, make sure your dog is fully vaccinated. Even having vaccinations cannot completely prevent your dog from becoming ill if they are spending time with unknown dogs. I want to say that I do not recommend dog parks for dogs under six months even if they have had all of their vaccinations. The action at a dog park is too quick for you to make sure nothing detrimental happens before you can intervene. It is too easy for a young puppy to have bad encounter with another dog that defines how it feels about other dogs from then on.
Remember dog play behavior is just practice for how your dog will behave in other situations. So even play can create a negative experience for your dog. Especially if your dog is being bullied or is a bully. Supervise your dog. Do not just assume the dogs will work it out. If your dog is being chased relentlessly or is hiding near you, it’s time to go. In true dog play situations, each dog will get a chance to be “top dog.” If one dog seems to be continuously assuming the role of leader, by standing over all other dogs it encounters, that dog is probably a bully. That behavior should be immediately interrupted.
Do not allow your dog to drag you to the dog park. First, a dog that is pulling on leash toward other dogs is building it’s arousal level because of the tension it feels on the leash. This can lead to frustration and reactivity toward the other dogs when it finally reaches its destination. Also, the dog park can be wonderfully rewarding experience for your dog. So what are you rewarding if you let your dog drag you into the park? You guessed it– pulling on leash! You have now created an occasion when it is perfectly acceptable to pull on leash. You are also missing a perfect training opportunity. If your dog starts pulling you toward the park, quickly turn to head home or back to the car. Don’t jerk; just turn and go. When your dog is back in step with you, turn back toward the park. If your dog pulls again, repeat the u-turn maneuver as many times as it takes for your dog to realize that it is its own behavior that is keeping it from the park. If it seems to be taking too many attempts (there is no such thing; “as many as it takes” means just that), go for a walk instead. But do not go into the park if your dog is pulling.
Don’t bring food or toys to the dog park. They can cause resource guarding issues. Dogs are frequently running full speed in the park, chasing and fetching and having fun, often in pairs or groups. They can’t always avoid running into stuff and people. Small children should also not be allowed to be inside the dog park.There is often body language miscommunication between children and dogs that can lead to dog bites. No matter how dog-savvy the child is, some dogs just do not enjoy the company of children. It is unfair to put a child into such an unsafe situation. And it doesn’t matter how provocative the child was, if he gets bitten, it will always be the dog’s fault.
Supervise your dog at all times. The dog park is not just a place where owners socialize while dogs run amok fending for themselves. Make yourself familiar with dog body language. Just because your dog isn’t getting into dog fights does not mean your dog is having a good time. And I cannot stress enough, just because dogs are wagging their tails when they meet, does not mean they’re not about to fight. A dog’s tail is not its only moving part. Look at the whole dog for signs of how that interaction is going.
I recommend your dog wear nothing at all or a close fitting buckle collar. Your dog should definitely not be wearing a leash, choke or prong collar. Have you seen how dogs love to mouth each other on the neck? Well, that behavior coupled with rambunctious play has led to jaws and paws being caught in each others collars causing misunderstandings, serious injury and even death. Leashes can also lead to unsafe situations. A tight or tangled leash can cause tension and defensive behavior. A dog that is on-leash surrounded by dogs that are off-leash can feel very vulnerable and react aggressively.
The off-leash dog park is really not the best form of exercise. It is a good way for social, friendly dogs to burn some energy. But a good long walk is still one of the best ways to exercise your dog because it provides mental stimulation in the form of information-gathering (sniffing) as well as physical exertion. Dog training classes also provide plenty of mental stimulation, especially tricks and dog sports like agility and Rally Obedience. Socializing a dog should be a closely supervised activity that teaches your dog appropriate behaviors around other dogs and people. The dog park can be fun for your dog but make sure you check with your dog to make sure it is.
Dogs get themselves into all kinds of trouble. Some of these troubles can send you speeding to the nearest veterinary hospital – resulting in lots of stress and sky-high veterinary bills. Accidents can happen to any dog, but you can help protect your pet and reduce his risks of injury or worse with effective training.
Basic training is a very important foundation for every dog. Whether a puppy or an adult, each new pet you acquire should be instructed in basic manners. Basic tricks for a dog include “sit,” “stay,” “lie down.” Once your pet can perform these tasks reliably, they serve as the groundwork for more advanced concepts.
“Sit”, “lie down” and “stay”
“Sit” and “lie down” are very basic but very important. While your dog is sitting or lying down they should still be focused on you – waiting for your next command. You can reinforce these basics with “stay,” which lets your dog know that they should maintain their position until you release it. This will ensure that your pet will listen to you and do as you ask during any sticky situation.
Sit in a doorway
Every dog should be taught to sit before entering or exiting an outside door. He needs to learn that you always go through the door before he does. Not only will this make it easier to put on his collar and leash, this can help prevent your pet from darting through an open door and out in to the path of an oncoming car.
Sit at a curb
If your pet knows to sit at a curb, he will be less likely to dart out into the street without you leading him. If he did, it could be catastrophic.
Teach your pet how to “wait” on the side of the road so cars, animals or people can pass by without interaction. There are many potential situations where this could be helpful. It also lets distractions move along so you and your dog can focus on enjoying your walk.
Don’t jump up
Another important concept to teach your dog is that he is not allowed to jump up on people. Jumping up on someone is a bit rude and can cause scratches, bruises, or even knock the person down. Certain breeds – those with elongated spines – should never be allowed to jump up on people or furniture. These dogs – dachshunds, corgis, bulldogs and similar breeds – are more prone to back injuries and must be protected.
Come when called
Your dog should learn to come when you call his name. This way, if he does happen to scoot out of your front door or dig a hole under your fence, you can simply call his name and wait for him to come running. Save yourself the hours you might spend searching and spare yourself from the sadness of losing a pet.
“Leave it” and “drop it”
“Leave it” will save the day when your dog decides he wants to scoop up that tasty dead thing off the side of the road. When your dog picks up and eats things outside, there are many potential risks: intestinal blockage, poison, even parasites. This essential command will probably come in handy someday. “Drop it” will allow you to remove whatever nasty thing is in your dog’s mouth without having to grab it and pull it out yourself – Yuck!
A dog that has been schooled in proper leash behavior is essential to a safe and enjoyable stroll around the neighborhood. This is especially true of large, strong breeds. If your dog drags you down the street it opens up a lot of potential for injury – for both you and your pet. Suffering a slip and fall injury when your dog suddenly darts after something could really ruin your day, and if Fido gets away from you, there’s no telling what he could get into. He could be hit by a car, get into a scuffle with another animal, or he could be lost for days.
Many dogs can be “reactive” to interesting things while walking on a leash. Some will lunge and bark at other dogs passing by. Others can have issues with moving objects like runners, bicycles, skateboards or cars. And still others will intently try to kill any vermin that happen to cross your path.
All dogs should be trained in loose-leash walking techniques. They should walk nicely at your side on straightaways and should follow smoothly along around turns. Your dog should resist lunging or chasing after other objects or animals. It is very important to start leash training while your pet is young, but even older dogs can learn to behave on walks. Reactivity can be prevented with proper socialization, but dogs that are already reactive can also be rehabilitated.
Prevent or treat separation anxiety
Dogs with separation anxiety express their emotions in a variety of ways. Sometimes they experience so much stress than can cause damage to your house or furniture. These dogs can shred couches, try to chew their way out of their crates, and have even smashed through windows out of fear and anxiety. Not only could this cost you thousands of dollars in repair bills, it could result in astronomical vet bills as well. Dogs can fracture their teeth, give themselves lacerations, swallow inedible objects or even get into poisons this way.
Preventing separation anxiety needs to start at a young age. Your pet should be taught that good things happen when you leave. Making a fuss right before you go out the door can cause your pet to feel more stress. Provide a safe haven like a crate and teach your pet to love it. This will help him feel secure while you are away.
Training saves dogs lives
Many healthy pets are put to sleep because of behavior problems that could have been solved with training. Dogs have been euthanized because they can’t be house-trained, they bark excessively or because they’ve hurt someone with their jumping or nipping. Training can help prevent the euthanization of a healthy animal for what really amounts to bad dog manners.
Proper training is vital to developing a strong, healthy relationship between you and your dog. Not only will proper training keep him safe, it will make your pet-owning experience the best it can be!
Our dogs experience anxiety for many different reasons. Luckily, through a regimen of assertive training and helpful calming products, we can help them acclimate to stressful situations. If you are bringing home a new puppy or shelter dog, moving to a new location, or altering your dog’s schedule, purchasing a pheromone based product may help your dog to adapt more quickly.
Appeasing pheromone products for dogs come in spray, diffuser and collar form. Several popular brands include Adaptil (formerly known as D.A.P.), Comfort Zone, and Sentry. The science behind these products is simple. During nursing, mother dogs release a soothing pheromone to help calm pups as they feed. Applying a pheromone collar to your pet allows them to experience this pheromone in slow, steady doses throughout the day, improving their overall sense of well being. This is extremely helpful in insecure dogs that experience generalized anxiety in various different situations.
For dogs with specific anxieties, fears and behavioral issues, a spray or diffuser may work better. Some dogs get extremely anxious in the car. Spraying the seat 20 minutes before your car trip can help ease panting, restlessness, crying and car sickness due to fear. Dogs who are anxious at home in situations such as visitors coming to the door, respond well to pheromone diffusers placed close to the problem area. In this example, the diffuser should be plugged in close to the front door. The downside to sprays and diffusers is that they are only effective in the immediate area where they are being utilized. The calming effect does not move with the pet, as in the case of the collar.
The herbal product, Rescue Remedy does not contain pheromones; rather it is made up of five flower extracts for owners who prefer a holistic approach. Reviews of such products are mixed. It seems that for dogs whose issues are relatively minor, a natural product such as Rescue Remedy may provide some relief. The effects are probably similar to a human drinking a cup of herbal tea to unwind after a tough day. If your dog suffers from severe stress, fear or obsessive behavior, choosing a pheromone product will likely garner better results. Pheromone collars, sprays and diffusers can be used together to maximize the calming effects.
Dogs develop anxiety and unwanted behaviors when they are insecure. While pheromone products and herbal supplements may provide some relief, there is no substitute for professional training. A good trainer will teach you, the owner, how to recognize the symptoms of anxiety and how to be proactive in helping your dog to overcome them. Dogs need consistency and leadership to feel secure when there is a major change in their life. As a species, dogs crave leadership and routine. When they do not know what to expect out of a given situation, it is quite normal for them to react with fear, anxiety and unwanted behaviors. This is a leading cause for dogs being relinquished or returned to shelters. The good news is, with consistency, confidence, anxiety relief products and a competent trainer; your dog can acclimate to just about any situation.
You can buy Adaptil here:
I have partnered with Barkers Pet Center to offer group classes, day training and two-week board and train programs. So I can be your one-stop dog behavior solution center! I am offering Level one Beginner classes on Wednesday nights starting November 5 at 6pm. I am also starting a Trick Dog training class on Thursday November 6 at 6pm. As a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI,)I can help you get a trick title for your dog.
I will be at Barkers weekdays Monday-Friday from 2pm-6pm to answer training questions and help you select the appropriate dog training class for you. Call 954-888-2274 to sign up or scheduling information or 954-507-7524 for other questions.
Looking forward to seeing you here at Barkers.
Sign up before November 5th and save 10%!
Trick training class