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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dog Training Tips from Cooper City to Help Your Dog Eat His Food


Ideas to get Your Dog to Eat His Food

I was out at a Dog Training revisit this morning in Cooper City for a Coonhound that we haven’t seen for over seven years.  The dog had been doing great for a very long time until recently when a few things had changed in the family dynamics.  We took care of that pretty quickly (and that can be the topic of a future article).  The client then mentioned, “I just don't get it.  I spend more money on Mystie’s "holistic/good for you food" than I spend on myself.  I put the food down and she really isn’t interested in it.  I don't want to feed her the junkie food with all the additives, but I don’t want her to starve.  What can I do to get her to eat the healthy food?”

DOG TRAINING COOPER CITY


So many times we can relate our current experiences with things we have lived through in the past.  Let's think about our childhood and our mom serving us green beans.  If you are like me, there was no way I was going to take my fork and eat those green beans sitting on that plate.  But you know what?  If I mixed the beans in with some mashed potatoes and then put some melted butter on the top, I would eat them all day long.  I am not saying that we need to cover Mystie’s food in mashed potatoes and butter, but there is a way to enhance the food to make it more desirable.  There are things that we can add to Mystie’s food as “side dishes” that are healthy and will enhance the desirability of the entire eating experience.  Here is what Robin, my wife, adds to our dogs' food and they just love:
  • PUMPKIN PASTE.  Pumpkin is very healthy for dogs and is a great additive to the dry food.  It is a little hard to mix with the dry kibble, but a great, tasty treat for our dogs.
  • LOW SODIUM CHICKEN BROTH.  Chicken is a healthy and light meat and the low sodium minimizes any additional salt added to their diet.  The moisture gives a pleasing smell to the dry food that our dogs love.
  • COTTAGE CHEESE.  The wonderful aspect about cottage cheese is that it is so easy to mix up with the dry food.  The moisture that it adds helps take away the “dryness” of the kibble.  It is healthy and good for the dogs and what dog doesn't love cheese?  It is a true winner that we have been using for years for all six of our dogs.
  • FREEZE DRIED RAW DOG FOOD.  Many experts are proponents of feeding dogs natural, raw food.  Although very healthy and rich with minerals and vitamins, it is just a pain to actually do.  You can now buy raw dog food in freeze dried form in many of the better dog food stores.  Put a few teaspoons of the food into a bowl, add a little water, and wait for about twenty minutes.  You now have a great, healthy treat that you can add to your dog’s food and he will love it.
Again, these are just some simple ideas to spice up your dog’s healthy diet.  The one thing that I want to emphasize is to not add wet dog food to your dog’s diet.  Although there are many good and healthy wet dog foods on the market, they all require you to brush your dog's teeth regularly.  Most of us just don't do that.  Our dog's teeth will then rot out early, causing health issues in their later years.

Try one or more of these options and I am sure you will find that your dog can’t wait for meal time.  As always, check with your vet regarding all your dog’s health and nutritional needs.  For more information about this or any dog training issues, please contact us at (954) 424-0170 or our web site at The Best Dog Trainers in Cooper City and South Florida.



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dog Training Information from Sunrise Florida about Bike Safety

When You Ride Your Bike

I was up in Sunrise yesterday with a new dog training client and her Boxer who had a jumping problem and loved to run out the front door.  We resolved those problems pretty quickly and I was finishing up the lesson and planning what we would to at the next lesson and when we would return.  She had another dog issue that didn’t refer to her Boxer.  

She loved to ride her bike around the neighborhood but the local dogs loved to chase and bark at her.  She could never get in a full bike ride because of all these doggie distractions.  I mentioned that I had worked on this issue years ago and came up with some very interesting observations and suggestions for bike riders and “dog chasers”… 

DOG TRAINING SUNRISE FLORIDA


Dogs love to play "tag, you are it".  In fact, this is one of the natural submissive/dominance that they naturally play as puppies to learn proper canine socialization.  When we ride past dogs on our bikes, they chase us, and we speed up, we are encouraging the idea of "tag, you are it". Here are some suggestions:
  • When you are biking towards a dog or a group of dogs, slow down to a "crawl". Peddle as little as possible. Look straight ahead and move past them in a very slow, deliberate manner. The dogs should read your "non adrenalized and uninterested body language" as "I don't want to play" and ignore you completely.
  • If the dog or dogs begin to chase after you, slow down and come to a stop. As soon as you have stopped moving, you have taken away the "I want to play" language from your movements. The dogs will normally slow down and approach you in a non interested manner.  They might be wagging their tails and give off a few “hello” barks.  Stand still and don’t stare at them.  They should quickly turn around and go back to where they came from.  (No fun here.)
  • If the dog(s) approach you in an aggressive manner (jumping, showing their teeth, assertive barking), stop and get off your bike. Place your bike between you and the dog(s).    Do not make any sudden moves that would encourage or stimulate adrenaline in the dog(s).  Slowly back away, continuing to show an uninteresting distraction.  The dog(s) should loose interest in two to three minutes and leave.
  • I have ridden my bike past a large number of dogs and have used these techniques and my bike rides have always been enjoyable.

For more information about bike ride suggestions with dogs or general dog training, please call us at (954) 424-0170 or The Best Dog Trainers in Sunrise and South Florida.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dog Training Tips from Parkland Florida about Jumping

We were at a new client in Parkand last week and were about half way through our initial canine behavioral review discussing rules and consistency.  She looked a little troubled, we we stopped the discussion and asked her if something was bothering her.  She replied “I hear what you are saying, but I really don’t mind if my dog jumps on me.  He did it since he was a puppy and it was no big deal.  We are having a bunch of friends and family over in a few weeks for July 4th and I just don’t want him jumping on all my friends and their little kids”…

Dog Training Parkland Florida

Things must be really simple when it comes to what you want your dog to do and what you don’t want your dog to do.  The instructions you give your dog must be absolute.  Saying that your dog can jump on you, but not your friends and their kids is not an absolute rule.  It injects logic and a level of problem solving that is impossible for your dog to accomplish.  If you don’t want your dog to jump, it must be that he can not jump on anybody, period.  Even if some of your friends like him to jump on them, he can not.  Here are some idea that will help you accomplish this:
  • You must enforce the "cold turkey rule".  You must never suggest or encourage your dog to jump on yourself or anybody.  Tell your friends not to do the “jump on me pat” or encourage him to jump.  This undermines your authority and the effectiveness of the rule.
  • If your dog approaches you and gives the appearance that he wants to jump, pay no attention and calmly walk away.  This passively removes you from the inappropriate moment.  Don't turn your back on him when you walk away.  Move diagonally from him, keeping him in your peripheral vision.
  • If you miss the moment and he starts to jump, don’t turn your back on him or raise your knee.  I know that a lot of trainers say that you should do this.  Don’t!  Stand tall, face him, say “No” in a low, firm tone, and give a big clap of your hands.  As soon as he decides not to jump, praise him in a high toned “Good doggie!”
  • When you have guests around, put a leash on him.  If he is starting to build adrenaline and jump, simply step on the leash at a point where he doesn’t have the ability to jump.  This passively takes his ability to jump away while you are staying calm and focused on your guests.  After a few failed attempts, you will find him calmly sitting at your side.

Follow these simple and consistent suggestions and you will have happy friends and a well behaved (not jumping) doggie..  For more information, please contact The Best DogTrainers in Parkland and South Florida.




Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dog Training Tips from Miramar to Help Your Dog Prepare for a Summer Vacation Plane Flight

Robin and I were at a Dog Training session in Miramar last night helping a client and his dog with Separation Anxiety.  Being June, everyone is either on their summer vacation trim or preparing for their summer vacation trip.  Our client was getting ready to take his family and dog to California and Disneyland.  This meant that his dog was going on his first plane flight.  He wanted to know what he needed to do…

Dog Training Miramar Florida


We first explained that getting a dog ready for a plane is not something that can be done overnight.  Like most behavioral issues and socialization requirements with dogs, it requires time, patience, and consistency. There are many things that you must reinforce with your dog before you get in that scary, cramped seat.  It is often scary for “us humans” who have traveled many times before.  Just think of what it must be like for our dog!
The one thing that our client had going for him was that his dog is a Toy Poodle and can be taken on the plane with him.  With this said, here are the instructions we provided:
  • Be sure you have an approved and appropriate carrier for your dog. Contact the airlines you will be using and ask them for the proper specifications for the dog carrier.  Most Dog Carriers that are “airline approved” will have that noted on the purchase tag.
  • Confirm with the airlines that your dog is the appropriate size to travel with you.  Ask for all specifications you will need to confirm.  Different airlines have different rules and they can change from time to time.  Make sure that your information is up to date.
  • Airlines have a specific number of dogs they allow on any. Make sure that you have a confirmed space for your dog.
  • Start to socialize your dog with the dog carrier by placing him in it for short times during the day. Increase the time that he spends in the carrier and carry it around the house.  Take him to public places and carry him around in the crate.  This will simulate your carrying him through the airport.
  • Put him in his carrier, walk from one room to the next, sit down, and put him at your feet. Next, read a book for an hour or two to simulate the flight.
  •  Make sure that your dog has toys and other distractions in his carrier to keep him busy and to stimulate his mind.
  • We don’t want a “poopy accident” while on the plane.  Feed him far in advance of the flight and make sure he had gone to the bathroom.
  • If he still seems fearful of these actions as you approach your flight day, try giving him Bach Flowers Rescue remedy or a relaxant prescribed by your Veterinarian before you board the plane. (This is the equivalent of all the nervous human passengers hanging out at the bar next to the boarding gate.)

 Remember that all we are doing is socializing our dog with the notion of staying in his carrier for an extended period of time.  If we turn the carrier into a happy and safe place, he will embrace the carrier and we will have no problem. For more information about flying with your dog or general dog training information, please contact us at (954) 424-0170 or The Best Dog Trainers inMiramar and South Florida.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dog Training Tips from Plantation about Extension Dog Leashes

Pardon me if I just get on my high horse for a moment and talk about one of my biggest dog training pet peeves…  People who use extension leashes with their dogs!



First of all, I have to state that we all just love things with buttons, widgets, and gizmos.  We always think that the more buttons, the better it is.  Let’s check out an extension leash.  Wow!  It has a handle and several buttons.  Look at all these things you can do with it!  You just have to get it because you need to be pushing those buttons!

No you don't. Bad, bad dog owner!

I always teach my clients that the most important thing that we must do when we have our dogs out with us is to let them know we are keeping them safe and protected.  We might be walking in our neighborhood, at the park, or at the mall.  In order to do this, we must have their focus so that we can let them know how they need to act.  If we are walking and change direction, they must understand that they need to change direction too.  If we slow down and stop, they must do the same thing.  This allows them to follow our lead and stay safe.

To be able to do this, our dog must always have an eye on us and we must have an eye on him. The only way this can happen is if he is by our side. If he starts to deviate from our side, we must be able to guide him back.  When this takes place, we are providing the proper consistency and repetition of our actions to communicate to our dog "don't worry, you are with me."

Now let’s talk about the horrible extension leash. The only thing this leash does is to give your dog the ability to do whatever he wants.  He can be twenty feet in front of you, behind you sniffing the bushes, or even in the street.  The one thing he is not is by your side, focused on your actions.  When this occurs in the canine world, and you allow it to occur, you are placing the "Boss Hat" on your dog. He gets to do whatever he wants because you are letting him.

With the extension leash, when another dog or person starts to approach you, your dog will bark and jump at them.  He is simply taking the leadership/protective role in the situation. You might get mad and yell at your dog, but you are still allowing him to lead.  He is the leader.

The good old fashioned six foot leash allows you can keep your dog right next to you and naturally provides the leadership your dog requires. You will have a great "walkies" and a dog that will be well behaved on and off the leash.

I could go on and on about this subject, but I will stop now.  If you would like to hear more why I hate the extension dog leash or have any other dog training questions, please call us at (954) 424-0170 or go to The Best Dog Trainers in Plantation and South Florida.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Dog Training Tips from Coral Springs When the Family is Crazy

We were at a Dog Training revisit session with a family in Coral Springs last week and their dog that was fine when we had left the first time had gone back to showing the same bad behavior we observed at the beginning of our first session.  The entire family was there for our current visit and we observed that the family dynamics was “nuts”.  Everyone was all over the place.  At one point the mother looked at us and asked “Can our family be making our dog go nuts?”



To paraphrase Charlie Sheen... "Duh, Yes!"

We always try to reinforce the idea that in order to have your dog learn, you must first establish a calm and consistent environment. This will allow your dog have the opportunity to provide focus and allows you to have the opportunity to command that focus.  Your ability to show a passive, assertive nature towards your dog will naturally have him drawn towards you as the one telling him what to do next. 

Guess what, if the environment is full of yelling and screaming, you can’t be focused on your dog and he will naturally draw away from “crazy you”.  What is imperative is that your entire family take a deep breath and “think good thoughts”.  This will provide the essence of what is required to begin the respectful relationship between you and your dog.  This can be really hard to accomplish, but let me provide you with some ideas:
  • As a family, you (and I mean all of you) must have a family meeting to discuss how you want your dog to act.  Make a list of rules that you will all agree is correct and you all will agree to enforce.  If you feel that a rule might be too hard for everyone to enforce, change it before you begin.
  • Review each rule and discuss how each family member will enforce that rule.  It might be that a sibling just might not engage in a particular act that encourages the inappropriate action.
  • Every family member must agree to their tasks and the results they wish to accomplish.  This is not only for them, but for the greater good of the entire family.
  • Have every member of the family work with your dog on a daily basis on one or more of the issues your family has identified.  Have them work in teams so that they can make sure that they stay consistent.

As you are doing all this, be sure not to:
·                     Scream your dog
·                     Hit, kick, push, or do anything hurtful or frightening to him
·                     Play rough with him
·                     Give him treats to do what you want him to do.

As we always tell our clients, remain calm and stay consistent.  This might sound really easy to do, but when you have a crazy family; it is hard to put into action.  For more information on this subject or tips on other dog training issues, please call us at (954) 424-0170 or contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in Coral Springs and South Florida.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dog Training Tips from Weston Florida about Walking Your Dog

I was at a dog training session in Weston the other day and the client and I were walking his dog down the street.  We were walking on a short leash and everything was going great.  This was a larger dog and the client was right handed, so we decided to walk the dog on the client’s right side.  As we were about half way through the dog walking exercise, a neighbor approached us and said he was doing it all wrong.  He told my client that all dogs should be walked on the left side.

dog training dog walking weston florida


We politely acknowledged the neighbor and tried to get away from him as quickly as possible.  When we were out of earshot, my client asked me if there was a correct side to walk the dog.  My answer was “It depends”.

I always tell my clients that it doesn't necessarily depend if they walk their dog on their left or their right unless they are going to be in dog shows.  In a dog show, you walk your dog in a counter-clockwise circle around the judge.  You have to keep the dog on the inside of the circle (on your left) so that the judge can easily view and grade your dog.  If you don’t plan to be in dog shows, who cares…

With that piece of information, let me add some general tips about picking the right side for you and walking your dog.
  • You pick the side you want to have your dog on when you walk.  You can pick the left or right side, it doesn’t matter.  The important thing is consistency in the walking process.  When you finally pick your side, you will always walk your dog on that side.  This allows your dog to establish a perspective of where he should be while walking with you and will make the entire experience far more enjoyable.
  • If you have a big dog, walk him on your dominant side.  If you need to correct him, it is important that you do it from your strong side.  (i.e. Are your right handed or left handed?)
  • Once you have picked a side for your dog during the walk, everyone will walk him on the same side.  If you allow different friends and family members to walk him on different sides, it will add to his confusion and extend the time it will take him to “walk well”.
  • He should always walk by your side.  When he walks ahead of you, it is far harder to have him obey you when you encounter a distraction such as a duck or squirrel.
  • (My pet complaint!)  Use a regular six foot leash when walking.  NO EXTENSION LEASHES!


Follow these simple suggestions and your "walkies" with your dog will be a great experience! For more information about dog training, canine obedience, or dog behavior, please contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida or call us at (954) 424-0170.