These days with modern dog training techniques we recommend using food as the primary motivator. It all gets a little tricky when we have a dog who loves to scoff food and has a tendency to put on weight, it seems by just sniffing it. If this is something you experience with your dog, there are some other healthy options you can try.
I like to have a mixture of treats, in a jar, kind of like a pick and mix bag of lollies. Dogs have their favourites and it helps make things a little more interesting if they don’t know exactly what flavour they’ll be receiving.
For dogs who need to watch their waistline, you can try diced carrots, beans, peas, broccoli, dehydrated chicken, lean beef, dehydrated liver, and fish.
If you’d rather a prepared option check out the ingredients and calorie count on the back of the pack. Choose brands that are low in sugar, fat and other preservatives, there is likely to be a reasonable selection wherever you purchase your dog supplies, read the labels and do a comparison (like we do for our own food). Your vet will also be able to recommend a suitable pre-packaged product.
Be aware of how many training treats you give your dog on a daily basis. Treats and tidbits should be on average around 10% of a dog’s daily intake. If you think your dog gets a little more because that’s how your lifestyle works, that’s ok just be aware and adjust the size of his meals accordingly. Awareness around the quantity and quality of treats is important especially if you are leaving enrichment toys containing treats when you leave for work every day. So being aware of what’s in a treat and the calorie count is really important. Remember exercise is important to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
We all know dogs need physical exercise to keep them fit and healthy, but did you know dogs thrive on mental exercise? Mental exercise stimulates the brain as well as the body and it is equally as important.
Organising a brain gym for your dog isn’t difficult, it can be as simple as taking your dog out to explore the world. Expanding his world and allowing him to experience different things will give his senses a work-out and will also allow you to practice your training techniques. The added bonus is your dog’s confidence will increase, he’ll be more capable of thinking for himself and it’s a great way to proof his behaviours.
Enrichment games are another great way to give your dog his daily mental push-ups. There are a heap of puzzle games for dogs available check your local pet store, jump online or if you’re local head down to our training school.
One of my favourites is The Muffin Tin Game. Here’s how it works:
Grab an old muffin tin or mini muffin tin if you have a smaller pooch. Turn it upside down and place some treats between the bumps. To get at the treats, he’ll have to push the food around from different angles. This is a great puzzle for larger dogs as they can’t flip the tin over.
When he’s played this game a few times, you can change it up. This time keep the tin upright and place some treats randomly into half the cups. Cover each section with a tennis ball.
How do you mentally exercise your dog?
We’d love to her about the enrichment games you do with your dog. Let us know in the comments below.
Boom, crack, hiss!!!
Fireworks are scary things especially to dogs and many other animals. Every year thousands of dogs escape their yards or homes and run in a frenzy petrified by the noise of fireworks. Tragically, many dogs end up in already over-flowing shelters and others lose their lives after being hit by vehicles. Don’t let your beloved dog become a statistic these holidays.
Here are my Top 8 Tips to keep your dog safe this silly season.
1. BE PREPARED. You prepare and plan for your parties over the holiday period, its equally important that you plan for the needs of your dog during the party season. Make a plan and ride it out.
2. Have a safe secure space where your dog can be contained. Dog crates are ideal.
3. Put on some music.
4. Use a calming spray or diffuser with Adaptil (available from your Vet).
5. Use a Thundershirt or other calming shirt. These can work with varying degrees of success (available on-line and at pet stores).
6. If your dog chooses to hide in a safe place, leave him there to wait it out.
7. Don’t mollycoddle your dog, even though you may be very tempted to do so. Reassurance to this degree will make the issue worse and you may end up with your dog being scared of other loud noises like lawn mowers, machinery and thunder.
8. Ask a responsible friend or reputable dog carer to house sit with your dog while you are at a party or New Years celebration.
Finally, don’t forget to be considerate of others. If you plan to let off fireworks or are having a party that is likely to be really noisy, let your neighbours know so they and their animals can be prepared.
Remember, keep yourself and your dogs safe this ‘Silly Season’.
Topic: Reliable Recalls – (Training your dog to come every time you call him)
Date: Sunday 7th January
Time: 4pm – 6pm
Location: The Training Paddock – Peninsula Industrial Estate, Woy Woy Rd, Woy Woy
Prior Knowledge: No previous knowledge or experience is required
Format: Workshop with a mix of handlers with dogs (8) and observers without dogs (unlimited). Training ‘Reliable Recalls’ using Master Trainer Louise Harding’s step-by-step approach.
Cost: $75 per person (handlers with dogs) only 8 spaces available. Your dog must be friendly with other dogs and friendly human strangers.
$50 per person (observers without dogs) unlimited spaces.
Drink refreshments will be provided.
> REGISTER NOW or call Louise 0437148402 for more information
Email Louise to Register
NOSE to TAIL: A Holistic Guide to Training Your Dream Dog
It’s with much excitement to announce it’s almost here!
Make sure you head on over to our > Nose to Tail website and signup to receive all the latest news and a very special limited time offer to be one of the first people to pickup the book, there will be a very special offer coming soon.
Often puppy preschool groups are socialisation only classes, where (hopefully) small groups of puppies are interacting together. Often, for some, these classes can be stressful and chaotic for both pup and owner. Because of their age and limited mental capabilities and lack of impulse control, they are often put into situations where they are set up to fail. Calling a single puppy away from a seething mass of squirming excitable moving puppies is no mean feat, even if you have a highly food motivated puppy.
My belief, is that initially a few weeks bonding and learning family/house rules can make all the difference. Once you have these basics in place, depending on your puppy’s level of mental maturity start looking for recommended and experienced trainers who run their own courses.
Many of my clients who attend my six week course’s have previously attended a puppy preschool course run by a vet practice or pet store. I am regularly told by these clients who attend early puppy training classes that they feel these classes were really a waste of time and that they don’t feel they benefited from the experience.
I believe the problem is that the organisers of these classes tend to forget about one very important step. Building a bond and relationship between dog/owner while having a dog who is friendly with other dogs it’s important that it’s not at the expense of your dog completely ignoring you and trying to drag you across the road to greet another dog.
In my opinion it appears that most puppy owners are not getting their real needs met and I feel that some of the advice given is questionable.
How experienced is the trainer? I believe that these classes should be run by the most experienced trainers as during this period puppies are in one of the most crucial developmental periods.
Not all puppies are the same so it’s important that a trainer can and will balance the needs of the group but at the same time meet the needs of the individual puppy and analyse both their breed traits and individual personality.
If you do decide to attend early puppy training classes (puppy pre-school) have a clear understanding of your expectations from these classes and what the instructor can and will deliver. If this is not your first experience with a dog it’s likely you may have more knowledge and experience that the person giving the advice. So ….. If you want a deeper understanding of dog behaviour, relationship and communication I suggest you explore a few options.