Does your dog bark when left alone? Eat your furniture to pass the time? Constantly demand your attention? Save your sanity by turning your pup’s mealtime into playtime. All kinds of dogs can benefit from food-dispensing toys, if chosen carefully and used properly. Here are five ways to add these toys to your daily routine to encourage good behavior from your best friend.
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So you’ve made up your mind: you’re ready to adopt a dog. Hooray! But as you browse through countless photos of adorable furry faces, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of dogs looking for forever homes.
Not sure if you should adopt a puppy or adult dog? Here are some pros and cons of adopting a puppy. (Considerations for adult dogs are outlined in a separate post.)
Read my petguide.com article or click "Read More" if you don't see the text below.
Few topics are as contentious in a household as the dogs-on-the-furniture question. Should you let him sleep with you? Will bed or sofa access make your dog dominant? Can he sometimes be allowed on the bed, and sometimes not?
The answer is not a clear-cut “yes” or “no.” The rules depend on the individuals, both two- and four-legged, in your home. Let’s look at your options.
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In your dog's eyes, the kitchen is likely the most exciting room in your home. The counter, fridge, and garbage constantly beckon him with alluring smells. And if you eat your meals in the kitchen, your dog may have learned to position himself right next to you, in hopes you'll drop something delicious. All of these things contribute to bad doggie behavior, including begging, whining, and jumping up.
Rather than simply banish your dog from the kitchen, teach him to go to a dog bed or mat where he can enjoy the sights and smells of the kitchen without getting underfoot. This technique, called "Place," creates a win-win situation in which your dog is rewarded for being on his mat, while you get to enjoy your time in the kitchen without worrying about what the dog is getting into behind your back.
This video follows some of the key steps to teaching Place with Distraction in the kitchen, where you gradually add in higher and higher distractions to build your dog's impulse control. For the full description of Place (and many other behaviors to teach impulse control), check out the BKLN Manners™ book!
Does the doorbell send your dog into a frenzy? A simple management solution will keep your dog from going bonkers when he hears that irresistible “ding-dong!”
Check out the steps by going to my petguide.com article here, or by clicking "Read More" if you don't see the text below.
Ahh, the boundless enthusiasm of some dogs. It's why we love them, but uncontrolled excitement can present a danger when that enthusiasm is launched onto grandma or a passing toddler. It's critical to teach your bouncy dog to greet people politely, whether in your home or out on the walk.
The video below gets you started in teaching a polite greeting. Essentially, it's your job to teach your pup that, when a friendly person is approaching, your dog should actually turn his attention to you. This allows you to control the interaction in a way that is pleasant both for your dog and for the person who greets him. Sound too good to be true? Watch here to see it in action.
Why use a boring old bowl when you can turn mealtime into a game? Mealtime is the perfect time to provide a fun way for your dog to expend his energy, all with no extra work on your part.
Read the full article here at petguide.com, or click "Read More" if you don't see the text below. And check out Batman's preferred toy, Kong Genius Mike, in this video.
When training your dog, certain tools can help the learning process. A go-to tool for many trainers is a clicker: a simple device that fits in your palm and makes a unique “click” noise when you push its button. It works to mark the moment a dog does the behavior you were asking.
Read the rest of the article here on petguide.com or click "Read More" if you don't see the rest of the text below.
You adopted a puppy and took a whole week off to make sure he’s settled into his new home. Then, after your first day back to work, you find a note on your apartment door: “Your dog has been barking all day. Please make it stop.”
At this point, you might assume your dog has separation anxiety and your life is about to be turned upside down. True separation anxiety can be a difficult issue to deal with, but the good news is that many people who think their dogs have separation anxiety are mistaken. In this case, it’s good to be wrong! What looks like SA may actually be temporary stress when a dog comes to a new home, a surplus of doggie energy that is not being sufficiently burned, or plain old boredom while home alone.
Read the rest of the article, including ways to determine if your dog really has SA, here on petguide.com or by clicking "Read More" if you don't see the rest of the text below.
Does this frustrating behavior sound familiar? “My dog always comes when called…. except at the park.”
Not only is this frustrating for owners, but it can be dangerous if your dog won’t come to you when danger is present. Fortunately there are steps you can take to teach your dog that coming to you is actually the best part of his outing, not the end of the fun.
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The multi-billion-dollar pet industry has no shortage of gadgets, toys, and educational resources dedicated to dog training and activities. Read below to check out some of my top picks, ranging from $2 to over $200!
Dog trainers, behavior consultants, vet behaviorists, oh my! When your puppy needs training or your dog has developed a behavior issue, it can be confusing to know which kind of dog trainer you should contact. To complicate matters, dog training is currently an unregulated field, meaning that anyone can call him or herself a trainer or behavior expert of some sort with no substance to back it up.
When looking for a dog trainer or behavior specialist, I believe qualifications count. While there may be excellent dog trainers out there without any certifications or formal education, I always feel more comfortable knowing that a professional has made the effort to earn certain credentials. Let's break down the different kinds of trainers and behavior specialists, so you can find the right professional for your needs.
Who's a good dog? These dogs are! This good lookin' bunch of pups just completed the four-week BKLN Manners(TM) class at Brooklyn Dog Training Center. Congrats to (L to R) Mowgli the Coonhound mix, Jones the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Rosy the itty bitty Pitty, Clara the Toy Poodle, Hudson the Yellow Lab, Bea Arthur the shih tzu mix, and (not pictured) Wilbur the Cockapoo! Now they've got the tools to deal with doorbell drama, sidewalk snacking, jumping on people, and more.
Interested in the BKLN Manners(TM) class? Click here to learn more!
Bored with the same old walk around the block? Turn your surroundings into a doggie playground! Parkour is a fun way to to burn your dog’s energy and teach polite leash walking skills. Read my full article here at petguide.com to learn what Dog Parkour is all about and how to get started.
Dog Parkour is a sport I've just started to dabble in with my two Chihuahua-ish mixes, Batman and Beans. For me, the appeal of Parkour is its flexibility. While other sports require a large open space and/or specific equipment (for instance, Agility jumps and tunnels), Parkour can be done anywhere, even in your living room, and the equipment consists of the "environmental features" that naturally occur there. The two Dog Parkour titling organizations allow you to earn titles by submitting videos of your dog performing certain exercises with these environmental features, such as putting two paws on a tree stump or jumping inside a cardboard box. That means no traveling to trials, plus as many do-overs as you want until you get just the right take. The organization All Dogs Parkour has very flexible requirements for earning titles, so even a 14-year-old tiny tyrant like Batman can find enough exercises that fit his abilities. The other, more established (meaning, created in 2014) organization is International Dog Parkour Association, which has stricter criteria for titling submissions.
Below are two videos. The first is Batman's Level 1 submission for All Dogs Parkour. You can see how easy it is. (Please don't judge too harshly... this was the first time we'd tried these exercises!) The second video is a Level 5 Grand Champion submission by trainer Kristine Hammar and her fantastic dog Tessa. You'll see that, even at the highest levels, Dog Parkour is all about interacting with the environment safely.
If you’re anything like me, a house isn’t a home unless it has a dog in it. As your dog gets on in years, you might consider bringing a second dog into your family.
Two dogs can be twice the joy. Before taking the plunge, however, carefully consider several factors.
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Below: Then and Now. Batman "screaming" when we brought home Beans in 2014. Now, they are each other's favorite pillow. When searching for a second dog, we only considered small, low-energy, adult dogs.
Treat & Train, developed by Dr. Sophia Yin and owned by PetSafe, is a multi-purpose training tool that is most frequently used to help with problem behaviors such as barking and jumping when people enter your home. It can also provide a ton of rainy-day indoor fun for your dog by making him work for his food, burning both physical and mental energy in a small space. (See the video below.) The device includes a food-dispensing container with several options for dispensing treats, a remote control so you can activate the machine from far away, and a target stick. Sound strange? It’s actually brilliant. Here are some ways you can incorporate it into your routine. (Click "Read more" below.)
If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably been there countless times. You’re taking Sadie for a walk down the sidewalk and an oncoming dog, also on leash, is approaching you. What should you do? Should you let Sadie greet the other dog when it reaches you, or is it better to just keep walking?
I recommend you avoid greeting the other dog if:
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Pet parents have heard this one many times: “It’s okay, I love dogs!” Guess what – it’s not okay! Here’s how to deal with friendly strangers who undo your training.
You’ve sunk hundreds of dollars into obedience classes for your dog and spent countless hours teaching him not to jump on people. And all your efforts seem to wash away as soon as an overly enthusiastic dog lover crosses your path–arms flailing, baby voice squealing, exclamations of “It’s okay, I love dogs!” as your pup covers the person’s chest in muddy paw prints.
While there’s not much you can do to train the human in this scenario, you have some options to keep your dog under control during a greeting.
Feeding your dog from a bowl is like using a Blackberry… there are infinitely more useful options out there. For the overworked urban owner, feeding a dog in a food-dispensing toy is an effective way to help him release some energy (especially “mouthy” energy) and engage his brain while you’re busy doing other things. While never a substitute for training or exercise, these toys add a little fun to your dog’s day without any extra effort on your part.
One of my go-to toys is the oddly named -- and oddly-shaped -- Kong Genius Mike. This tube-like, rubber toy has slits at both ends, which you can fill with treats or kibble. I use this to feed both my dogs their evening dry food; I put the dogs in separate rooms and shut the doors, giving them 5-10 minutes of alone time to work independently. In turn, I get a few minutes of peace and quiet while they’re busy getting all the pieces out. This toy is also suitable for training treats or other hard goodies, but not for wet or sticky food.
If it takes your dog an hour to walk around the block, a simple training technique can help get his motor running.
At Doggie Academy, owners sometimes contact us because their dogs refuse to walk on leash. It’s most common with puppies, though occasionally it happens with older dogs, including new rescues who are unaccustomed to walking on a sidewalk. In many of these cases, particularly with puppies, the dog is on sensory overload. He’s taking in so much information that he can’t focus on the actual walking. In other cases, the dog might be overwhelmed or anxious in an urban environment, making him unwilling to venture further from home. Or, perhaps, the dog is just perfectly comfortable sitting there on the sidewalk, taking in a sunbeam or watching people pass by.
Kate is a certified dog behavior consultant, certified dog trainer, certified dog parkour instructor, and award-winning author in Brooklyn, NY with Doggie Academy and in Southbury, CT.