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  • Being an Effective Dog Leader | HAPPY PAWS - PetCare ®

    Being an Effective Dog Leader OBEDIENCE TRAINING 101 GUIDE It’s extremely important that we don’t try to gain the leadership role with force or intimidation. The myth that humans should be “dominant” in order to get respect, can actually cause fear and aggression. Although some TV shows depict this as a legitimate way to train, these are extremely out dated methods. There's no need to use force in order to have an obedient dog. Gaining your dog's trust and respect through leadership exercises will result in the type of dog who will follow your lead with unwavering reliability. ​ ​​ Make training part of your daily routine. Before meals, play time, letting them up on the couch, or anything else they want, ask them to do a behavior for you first. Then the food, play, or cuddles they receive afterwards is a reward for making good choices. This is an easy way to fit little training sessions into your everyday life. You can use simple behaviors to do this like sit, down, stay, or come. Asking for a behavior before earning something they want is reinforcing them for giving their attention to you. Always be on the lookout for good behavior to reward . Whether it’s a random sit while you're waiting to cross a street or when they see the mailman go by and don’t bark, reward it with praise or treats. These practices encourage them to continue looking to you for direction. You will see them habituate good manners, good listening skills, and good decision making. Just like with humans, this takes time and consistency in our message. Make training fun and exciting! Your dog will sense your energy and it will make them more eager to work for you and follow your instructions. Teach your dog that they can trust you by never forcing them into situations they are uncomfortable with. Be attentive to your dog’s body language and respect their limitations. A dog who is stressed or overstimulated will not be able to learn or perform as they normally would. If your dog senses you becoming impatient or frustrated they are likely to freeze up or shut down. In these situations we have to manage our expectations and adjust the situation before continuing onwards. Leadership Exercises PRINT HAPPY PAWS

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    My Items I'm a title. ​Click here to edit me. Should I Take My Dog to the Dog Park? How to Know if The Dog Parks Right for Your Dog The first thing to consider when wondering if the dog park is a good choice is will this be good for my dog. Not all dogs are dog park dogs, just like not all people are park people or social people. When you're trying to figure this out, there are some major questions to answer. One, does my dog enjoy playing with other dogs? Two, will this be a safe experience for my dog? Three, will the benefits out-weight the cons? Keep in mind when answering these questions that every dog is an individual and its completely fine if they're not the social type, this isn't something we ever want to force on a dog. Forcing a dog whose fearful or aggressive to socialize can actually make the problem much worse. If you do have a social dog or puppy, then think about the area they will be in and the dogs they will be interacting with. Depending on the size of the area and the amount of dogs there, it's possible that the situation could still be overwhelming even to the most social dog. The pros of dog parks are huge: there's a great deal of socializing that helps your dog become well mannered, your pup can get mental and physical exercise, and you can monitor the interactions and adjust the situation if needed. The cons though, can also be pretty big: dogs can spread diseases, viruses, fleas, ticks, etc all through close interaction with each other. There's also the possibility that your dog gets hurt by another dog there. How to Make Your Experience Great In order to give yourself the best experience possible, theres a few key things to do. First, make sure your dog is up to date on all their vaccinations, flea and tick medications, and that they are generally able to handle other dog's in their personal space. It's especially important to think about thing with puppies as their immune systems are not as developed as adults and they have a greater risk of catching something from another dog. It's really crucial to pay attention during your visit to the park. This means full eyes on attention, not multitasking with phone calls or texting. It only takes a second for an interaction between dogs to become violent and dangerous. This is why you'll want to be vigilant about who your dog interacts with and what their owners are doing as well. Are they also watching their dog? Or are they busy writing an email on their phone? This can make an enormous difference if two pups were to get into an altercation. What to Watch Out for at the Dog Park Some of the hazards of the dog park have the potential to leave life-long scars on your dog. Not just in the physical sense, but in the sense that they will be observing and mimicking the behavior that they see. This holds true especially with younger puppies. They will learn both good and bad manners from the others they interact with so it's important to choose their playmates wisely. Young dogs who have been attacked at a park tend to carry that experience with them throughout their life and this can create issues with anxiety and aggression down the road. Even simple behaviors like barking or whining will be picked up by certain dogs. The way they act with others during these experiences will shape the way they respond to other dogs in the future. More What's the BEST Dog Food for my Dog? Raw Dog Food Diets are the Healthiest Option If you're wondering what the best possible food you can feed your dog is, the answer is a raw diet. Raw diets have become more popular over the past several years and they truly are the optimal option if your main goal is finding the healthiest food. However, they do have some major downfalls including food contamination, high cost, and their inconvenient nature. On the upside, feeding your dog a raw diet if possible will give them the best nutrition which has been proven to improve overall heath in many different areas and can lead to a longer, happier life for your pup. The main thing to consider when considering a raw diet are weighing the pros and cons for your and your dog's particular life style. If you're able to afford a significantly higher price point and have the ability to prepare and feed the raw diet, then you are good as gold. If on the other hand you're worried about the downfalls here are some things to keep in mind. First, handling raw meat can be dangerous if you have young ones in the household. Second, preparing these meals does take a good amount of time and effort. Third, it's crucial to make sure that the diet you feed them contains all of the vitamins and nutrients they need to be healthy. You can do this by researching raw diets or by contacting a pet nutritionist. Dehydrated Dog Food is The Next Best for Your Pup If you're thinking well I'd like to feed raw, but it's just not possible for me at this time, then your second best option is dehydrated diets. These are raw diets that have been pre-made and packaged so that you just have to add water and feed. They take the hard work out of gathering all the correct ingredients and prepping the food for your pup. In general, these are very healthy dog foods and they will give your food exactly what they need without the extra inconvenience of raw feeding. The only major downfall to these foods is their high price tag. In some cases, a months worth of food can cost upwards of $150. However, if you have a small breed dog who eats much less than say a labrador, then this could be much more affordable for you! Typically they come in small nuggets or patties and your only prep needed is the adding of the water. But some of these foods do need to be first defrosted, depending on how you have to store them. They are great for dogs with special dietary needs or dogs who have allergies because most of them are high in quality ingredients and will provide your pup with all the essential nutrients. If you Must Choose Kibble for your Dog, Choose Wisely Over the last decade or so, the public has been exposing the big brand name pet food companies and educating the owner on how awful dog kibble can really be. We have seen a huge uptick in the amount of information that's now available to the public and there are some significant conclusions we've been able to make now. First, most kibbles are not healthy diets for dogs. Even the best kibble on the market is likely to have way too many carbohydrates and not enough protein for your dog. This is because as consumers we want a low price point and the convenience of food that will stay preserved for weeks. In order to get those things, we have to compromise on the quality of the food we feed. If you do have to go with kibble, make sure to read the ingredients and do your research before buying. Always pay attention to the wording on the bag as well because there are some loop holes the pet food companies use to trick the consumer. A good example of this is using the word "beef flavor" instead of "beef diet." In these cases, the companies who put "beef and rice flavor" do not actually have to put any beef in their food. If on the other hand you see "beef and rice" diet, then you know that these two ingredients must make up at least 25% of the food. Be sure to pay close attention to the first five ingredients and also choose one with a meat as the first ingredient. Wellness is a great example of a balanced, nutritious kibble for dogs. More How to Train Fearful & Anxious Dogs Time is KEY to training fearful dogs Whenever training a puppy or dog who is fearful or anxious, you must go about your training in a different way and understand that giving them time is crucial. Giving them extra time to adapt to their environment and to you must happen before you begin any training. Using typical training methods could actually harm your relationship with the dog which creates an even bigger challenge when it comes to training skills. Once your dog has had time to adjust to having you in their environment, you can start to build trust between you and your dog. The first step is bringing something they find enjoyable so that they can make a positive association between you and the item. People most commonly use treats or the dogs favorite toy for this. You'll first want to read the dog's body language before moving forward with this first step. This again may take some time. Your Approach with the Dog is Important The best way to approach a nervous puppy or dog is to make yourself look less intimidating. You can do this by crouching down or sitting down on the ground. Take off any items that may make the dog scared like hats, big jackets, large boots, and so on. You also want to avoid making direct eye contact with the dog at first, this can be perceived as a treat by the dog. Your approach should be calm and gentle. Think about your voice tone and your body language as you begin to work with the dog. Remember that this is a process and it can take some dogs weeks or even months to trust a person. It's common for puppies to go through fear periods where they may be more easily startled, this is a short few months time period they will likely grow out of. However, if it's something that last longer then this is a more serious concern. Dog's who are adopted from shelters can sometimes have these types of behaviors. Depending on their history and genetics, any puppy can turn into a dog who is fearful or anxious. This is why it's so crucial to prepare with good dog training whenever getting a new dog. Once Trust is Built, Dog Training Can Begin. It's crucial to have a solid relationship based on trust before any dog training begins. Once that is established, you can start working on your training. It's best to start with easier obedience skills like sit and down. Starting with something complex like leash walking for example, could make things much more difficult for you. Once you've got reliable basic commands you can move on to more challenging tasks. Always keep in mind that no task is more important than the relationship you've built with your dog. If you push them too far too fast, you may end up setting back your training. Never force your puppy or dog into situations where they're fearful because that can translate into you not being a trustworthy person. Instead, build slow gradual progress with them and see how their desire to learn and please you begins to grow. This is without a doubt the best way to train fearful or anxious dogs. More How to STOP Your Puppy From Barking Understanding WHY They're Barking is Key There are different types of barking and understanding the reason behind the barking will help you get to the right solution. You don't handle all types of barking the same way, it's all dependent on the circumstances. Asking why won't my puppy stop barking is similar to asking why won't my baby stop crying. You have to examine the situation or have a dog trainer come help with training to get to the root of the issue and start working towards a resolution. The main reasons puppies bark are because they want attention, because they're over-stimulated or over-excited, or because they are afraid. We handle each of these situations differently and it's vital to have good puppy training when it comes to approaching this correctly. First, if a puppy is barking for attention it's extremely important to avoid giving them that attention by talking, touching, or looking at them. Doing this can accidentally reinforce the behavior because your puppy will learn that all I have to do for attention is bark and they will continue to do so. Instead you want to wait for them to be quiet and remain quiet for a short time before reinforcing them for the correct behavior. If your puppy is barking because they are over stimulated or excited then you want to practice with them in these scenarios and reward them for making good choices. Notice the times when your dog is likely to bark, then begin working with them in these scenarios by rewarding the correct behavior. Use Dog Training Methods That Work Without Pain Outdated methods of dog training use pain and fear to stop barking. These methods mainly involve the use of shock collars. Unfortunately, there are still some trainers out there who recommend these tools. This is primarily because it is the "quick fix" to your problem. However, in the past recent years we've had studies done showing how detrimental these tools are to dogs. Using pain and fear causes the dog to stop what they're doing often times, but there are serious consequences to going this route. Now we know that using shock collars can increase your dogs anxiety and result in even more intense actions. For example, if a dog was used to barking at the mailman but now knows if he barks he will be shocked, then he may begin clawing at the door or destroying furniture in the nearby areas. This is because that feeling they are experiencing is still there, and they have to find another way to get it out. Be Consistent With Your Puppy & They Will Learn When training your puppy or dog not to bark, the best methods will only work with consistency. If your dog is accidentally reinforced for the behavior, they are likely to continue it. Keep in mind that the best tools you can use to limit your dogs barking are providing plenty of mental stimulation, giving lots of physical exercise, and managing the situation so that your dog can be successful. More The MOST Common Household Items That Can Poison Your Puppy or Dog Household Cleaners Household cleaners are commonly kept under the sink or in a closet. However, people are sometimes not thinking about the chemicals they're using to clean areas where their pets are also going to be. For example, your pet may not be able to get to the bleach under the counter, but if you use bleach to clean your bathroom and then the dog goes in the bathroom, then you can have some serious health issues. Dog's commonly lay on floors, lick their paws, or use their paws to itch their bodies. These are just some of the ways your puppy or dog can end up ingesting these products. Plants Some of the most common household plants that can be dangerous or even deadly to dogs include: aloe, birds of paradise, daffodil, and azalea. But there is a whole laundry list of plants that are also toxic to dogs. With plants, it's sometimes depends on which part of the plant the dog ingests. It's also very important to consider the size of the dog and the amount ingested. For instance, a full grown German Shepard taking a nibble of a plant leaf wouldn't have the same hazard as a Chihuahua eating a whole plant. Keep in mind that these plants can also grow outside, like ivy. So its a good idea to inspect your yard before allowing your puppy or dog to roam around. Insecticides Insecticides and rodenticides both fall into the extremely dangerous category. Although these are also products that people often store away, you must consider not only the placement of the object or spray, but also your dog's contact with the bug or mouse. Spider spray is a great example of this. You may not spray where your dog lies or eats, but if your dog eats a spider that has already ingested poison then they too can get sick. It works the same for mice and rats which is something to note especially for the Terrier owners who know how much these breeds love vermin. Batteries Batteries contain acid which can can chemical burns and the batteries themselves can cause intestinal blockages. If your dog chews on a batteries, this is cause for concern and a call to the vet is most definitely warranted. Batteries can easily come loose from dropped remotes or be found lying on the floor in garages. Luckily, we are transforming into a more rechargeable-friendly world where most objects can simply be recharged and do not need batteries. However, older handheld tools or items of that nature do have this potential threat. Xylitol in Peanut Butter Xylitol is an ingredient thats typically found in sugar-free foods. This has become a new emerging market especially over the past couple years. Peanut butter is a food commonly given to dogs so its vital to check that you get a peanut butter that does not contain xylitol. It's also often times seen in sugar-free gum which can smell extra yummy to your puppy or dog. We suggest always keeping a close eye on your puppy as they are exploring the world around them because these items which are seemly harmless can wreak havoc on your dog's health. More What Does Your Dog's Breed Tell You? #1 Labrador Retriever The Labrador Retriever ranks #1 most popular breed in the U.S. They're followed closely by the French Bulldog and Golden Retriever. The Labrador Retriever has become so popular that they are now commonly bred with Poodles and Goldens to create a beautiful mix of genes. It's important to understand your dog's specific bred traits so that you can prepare to best care for them and meet their needs. While labs are excellent puppies, they soon grow into quite large dogs who have high energy needs and they're also famous for eating things they shouldn't. They also tend to be quite mouthy since they were bred to work with their mouths so this is something to consider as well, especially if you have small children. On the plus side, they are well known for being social, friendly, and amazing companions. They usually get along very well with kids, other dogs, and new people. They can truly be the perfect pet if trained properly. #2 French Bulldog The French Bulldog is a new emerging breed who has become extremely popular due to their small size, easy-going demeanors, and of course how adorable they are! They are known to be good with children and other dogs. They are easily trained and they also have a high score for doing well meeting new people. They can be on the pricer side of dog breeds because most are born by C-section to have a safe birth. The major downfall to this breed is predominately their health concerns due to genetic issues. Because of the way their face is shaped, they can develop problems with breathing and eating much easier than other breeds. They're body shape also makes them prone to hip dysplasia. However, their tiny size makes them perfect apartment dogs. If you have the time and affection to devote to these dogs they really can become the sweetest lap pups you'll ever meet. #3 Golden Retriever The Golden Retriever has always been at the top of the ranking list for best breeds to choose from. This is because they meet most everyones life styles. They do require a decent amount of exercise, but they make terrific jogging partners. Since they were originally bred to work with humans, they usually develop a very strong bond with their family or owner. They want to be included in activities and are great to take camping, hiking, or just for walks around the neighborhood. They do very well known for being extremely friendly with everyone and everything. They do have some grooming needs that are quite minor but can become problematic if not handled appropriately. Because of their long fur, regular baths and brushings are required to prevent matting. They can also be a bit mouthy because of their genetic instinct to put things in their mouths so it's important to teach them early on what is and is not ok to bite onto. The good news is they are for the most part incredibly easy to train and are eager to please their owners. More How to Stop Your Puppy From Pulling Understand Why Your Puppy is Pulling Whenever your puppy is doing a behavior you dislike, it's a good idea to find out why they're doing that behavior first. In the case of pulling, there's a variety of reasons your dog may pull but we can boil them down to a few common ones. Most of the time you'll see pulling on leash when a puppy is first learning how to walk with you, they may also pull when they see something that excites them, or they may just be pulling because naturally with them having four legs and us only having two, they have a faster pace. Understanding why your puppy pulls will give you an advantage with your training methods. Get the Proper Gear Having the right training gear is crucial to the training process. We recommend using flat collars, harnesses, or gentle leaders if needed. We never recommend using any type of painful collar like shock collars, prong collars, or choke chains. These collars were used in the past few decades as training tools until it was brought to light how many negative side effects they can have. Unfortunately even though we have better tools these days, some trainers rely on using the old painful tools so its important to check with your trainer which tools they recommend. Use Correct Methods Using the correct training methods is second most important after having the proper tools to train. We always train using positive reinforcement training methods that have been recommended by the leading animal associations of the world like the ASPCA. This means that training your puppy to walk on leash will look like a lot of positive feedback with both food and verbal reinforcement to get the nice leash walking behavior you desire. We start this off by rewarding your pup for walking nicely on leash in very short increments. In the beginning this may be only a few steps at a time and that's completely normal. Set & Keep Expectation for Your Puppy It's easy for us to get wrapped up in our lives and forget about the training process with our dogs. But when you're teaching something new, you must set and keep expectations with your puppy. This is because if you're inconsistent with your expectations, then your dog will be inconsistent with their behavior on leash. This means if you don't want them to pull, you must never allow them to pull. Set this as your expectation and remain firm about your expectation so that they can learn that there's certain rules they have to follow during their walks. If you allow pulling at any time, keep in mind that they are being rewarded for that behavior with every step they take forward and that will set back your training. Practice, Practice, & More Practice Having a puppy who walks nicely on leash doesn't happen overnight, or even over weeks. It can sometimes take months for dog's to learn and master this skill, and thats completely normal. Training a puppy to walk at the same pace you're walking is no easy task. However, as with most things in life, practice makes perfect! If you prioritize your leash training then you will see results faster. Make sure that you're using the proper gear, using the correct teaching methods, and maintaining your expectations. These are the golden rules to training your puppy to stop pulling on leash. More How to Stop Your Puppy From Jumping Understand Why Your Puppy is Jumping Most puppies will go through a jumping phase at one point or another in their early life. It's good to have a head start on how to handle and properly manage this behavior and it's equally important to understand why it's occurring in the first place. Puppies jump because they are trying to get your attention. It's that simple, they're down on the floor and to get closer to you they jump. It's important to understand this because it helps us resolve the underlying issue. If your puppy is jumping to get attention and they get attention by getting eye contact or being pet, then this behavior is being reinforced and will likely be repeated. The BEST way to handle a jumping puppy is to ignore this behavior completely and turn your back to them. Doing this teaches them that jumping actually gets them less attention and over time they will learn to stop the behavior. Many people make the mistake of pushing the puppy down or telling them "off" but truly, even though these are well meant actions, they still give your puppy attention. Bad attention is still attention and therefore reinforces the behavior. Giving them that eye contact, touching them, and speaking to them is exactly what they're seeking. Many people inadvertently encourage the behavior without even knowing it. Properly Manage the Behavior Next on your to do list is going to be properly managing the behavior so that you can set your dog up for success. Using baby gates or puppy pens are wonderful management tools to use when you are training your puppy in the beginning. It's not a great idea to begin your jumping training when your puppy is already bouncing around and clearly going to fail their lesson. Instead you can use these tools to help aid your puppy by giving them some time apart from the person before their interaction. This gives your puppy time to calm down and will give you a better position to engage with them from. Once your puppy has learned how to properly greet you and guests, then you may phase out the training tools. However, in the early stages of training these can be extremely helpful in preventing your pup from developing bad greeting habits. Remember that what's reinforced is likely to be repeated so you want to prevent as much reinforcement for this behavior as possible. Using these tools will help give you the confidence to slowly build your dog's greeting manners. Teach a Replacement Behavior Lastly, teaching a replacement behavior is going to be your fastest way to success when teaching proper door manners. Teaching a replacement behavior simply means teaching your puppy to do another behavior as an alternate to the behavior you'd like to get rid of, in this case jumping. Teaching your puppy that you'd like them to sit to greet you and others is a perfect replacement behavior to train. This gives your puppy a task to do and also gives you a way to encourage a wanted behavior instead. This is something that can be taught as soon as you see the jumping behavior arise. In any situation where you think they may jump, ask them to sit instead and then frequently reward them for sitting. It's great to keep treats by the entrance for this practice so you can get in many repetitions. When this training is repeated several times over several weeks you'll begin to notice your dog will automatically start sitting to greet you. Always be sure to reward them as soon as they sit with food rewards in the beginning gradually transitioning to verbal phrase once the behavior is solid. More What to do BEFORE You Get a New Puppy Choose the Right Breed for You Before you bring a puppy home, it's a good idea to do some breed research and pick the right breed for you. Know that each breed has their own set of character traits and these may or may not line up with your life style. Some breeds are more prone to barking, digging, or alerting you. Some breeds were genetically programmed to perform a specific task and this is why they have these certain traits. Herding breeds for example, like your cattle dogs or shepards, were originally bred to herd and protect livestock. Although over the generations some of these traits are lost or minimized, we still see a great deal of dogs who have these types of traits that come out in our modern day life. For instance, your herding breed dog may try to herd your children. Some terrier breeds are also more prone to barking as this was something they were bred to do to alert handlers generations ago. Pick a Veterinarian You want to make sure that you have a veterinarian already picked up and scheduled before you get your puppy. This is because you'll want your pup to have a vet check up as soon as you get them to verify that they're healthy. This can vary depending on whether you go with a rescue or a breeder. Breeders typically give you a few days to get a vet check after you get your puppy to have their health verified. If your puppy does have any health issues, it's always best to know this as soon as possible so you can start treating any problems they have. In addition to a health check, you'll also want to start their vaccines, deworming, and flea medications. Most puppies are born with worms and it's nothing to worry about as long as they're properly dewormed. These are some of the many preventative care steps you'll want to take. Puppy-Proof Your House It's a great idea to get down on your hands and knees and see everything around your house thats going to be around your puppy. Things like power cords and shoes are usually very appealing to puppies and they're likely to chew on anything that's on their level. It's also good to note that items like shoes, socks, and clothing, are typically their favorite to go after. This is because they smell a lot like us and puppies find your scent appealing. As important as it is to make sure there's nothing they can get into that they shouldn't, its equally important to make certain they have plenty of things they are allowed to chew on and interact with. You'll want to provide squeaky toys, chew toys, and bones to help give them an outlet for all that chewing they'll want to do. You'll also want to provide them with a safe area where they can rest. This can be a crate or dog bed or anywhere your dog prefers to rest. Rest is especially important to young puppies because they usually go from 0 to 100 and then back to 0 in a very short amount of time. While their in their early months they'll do a lot of high energy activities and then do a lot of napping right afterwards. Just like with children, they sometimes need to be given a break for nap time or reminded by crating that it's time for a nap. Plan for Dog Training The earlier you begin training, the better off you'll be in the long run. Consider all of the possible training routes you may want to go. Some people prefer group classes while others like private lessons. It's going to be more helpful if this is your first puppy ever or first puppy in a long time to invest in private lessons. This way you have time to get all of your questions answered and your pup will get the one on one attention they need to best succeed. More How to Help Puppy with Separation Anxiety Lots of Exercise Before Leaving Your Puppy Having some separation anxiety is normal in puppies. There are three types of separation anxiety: mild, moderate, and severe. Mild separation anxiety is fairly common among young puppies. Whether your dog has mild, moderate, or severe anxiety, exercise will help to minimize this issue. Exercise can be done with a mile walk around the neighborhood or a game of fetch in the backyard, but it needs to be enough to tire your puppy out. There's no substitution for physical exercise so it's important that even on those extremely hot or cold days, you have to find a way to exercise your dog. You can switch it up to play inside instead on days where the weather isn't acclimate, just be sure again that your pups needs are being met. Exercising your dog before you leave helps to tire them out and calm them down, just like with us humans. It's far more likely that after a mile walk your puppy will want to curl up and take a nice long nap rather than destroy the furniture. Start Leaving Them in Short Intervals When you first start this training, you want your departures to be short and sweet. Even 30 seconds to a minute is good in the very beginning. Keep in mind that young puppies are used to being with their mom and litter mates when they first come home so being alone can be a scary experience for them. You want to be sure they're in a happy place like a crate that you've made enjoyable for them to be in with a chew toy to work on. You can also use a puppy proofed room or area if your dog needs more space. Some dogs just don't like the feeling confined and that may look just like separation anxiety from the outside symptoms so consider this with your set up. Give Them Lots of Puppy Toys You want to leave them with lots of great exciting toys to eat and chew on while you're away. Kong, bully sticks, and marrow bones are all great options for this. You want something thats going to last a long time and that is safe to leave your puppy along with. Try out some different chew toy options and see which your pup loves the most. Thats the one you'll want to bring out only for these occasions where you'll be leaving. It's good to give your dog a few different items that way they can work on one after another leaving them mentally exercised as well. Studies have shown that chewing releases serotonin in dogs brains when they chew, which explains why it would help to reduce feeling of anxiety and stress. Serotonin is known as a "happy" chemical that will help to give your dog a much better chance at not caring so much when you leave. Over time, they can begin to associate your leaving with them getting their special toy and they may even begin to feel happy about anticipating you leaving. Desensitize Them to You Leaving When leaving your home there's certain cues that your dog notices you do. Perhaps you pick up your keys and bag or put on your coat. Your dog notices these cues and begins to anticipate you're leaving soon, which can bring on anxiety. You can work on this by desensitizing your dog to your departure cues. Try picking up your keys, giving them a kong, then sitting back down on the couch. Or putting on your coat, giving them a bone and making dinner. Doing these behaviors over and over again will teach your dog that these behaviors don't actually mean you're always leaving and therefore cut down on the anxiety level before it even begins. By using all of these tools we've gone over most dogs will be able to get over their separation anxiety. If you need help with your puppy, visit our puppy training page for more information. More How to Fix Puppy Nipping with Dog Training Redirection is KEY It's important to understand that between 3 and 6 months of age your puppy is teething. Meaning, just like kids they're getting all their adult teeth coming in at the same time. If you've ever experienced this with a child, it's very similar. They want to bite on everything including you! It's key to note that this behavior is prompted by a painful experience that's happening in their mouth. They're biting to help soothe the pain they're feeling. This behavior will occur during this age regardless of how you handle it. But handling it properly is key. Redirection is going to be the BEST tool you can use. So instead of your puppy biting on you, they can bite on a frozen Kong or bone to help ease the pain. Providing them with plenty of textures and options is the easiest way to have good ways to redirect them. Handle the Puppy Training Properly Know that although puppy nipping is extremely normal behavior, it's also not ok to allow them to bite you. This is the part where you step up with your puppy training and teach them right from wrong. It's good to have a word or sound that means something they're doing is wrong. We recommend using something short and loud like "AH!" or "AH-AH!" when using this method. You'll want to make this loud sharp sound anytime your puppy starts puppy nipping. Then redirect them to an appropriate item to chew on. Make sure when using this method that you don't accidentally reward the behavior of them biting you with a toy. You want to make this sound first to communicate that what they did is wrong and then you provide them with the toy afterwards, but not immediately afterwards like you would with a reward. It's best to ask them to do a behavior like a sit for you before you give them their chew toy or bone. Understand Why Whats Happening & Why Although puppy nipping can be extremely frustrating to deal with, know that it's a direct result of pain and try to have some empathy for your pup. It's never a good idea to hit your dog or try to hurt them back for doing this behavior. Years ago, trainers would advise that you bite your dog back so that they understand how much it hurts or to push your dogs tongue down so they bite it. We now know that methods like these ones described are not only ineffective, but they can cause more damage down the road. Whenever dealing with a teething dog, take the opportunity to implement good dog training techniques and you will see beneficial results. Studies have shows that redirection and aversion sounds do help to minimize the puppy nipping phase. Mostly, keep in mind that you're not alone in this process. Every new puppy owner that gets a young puppy goes through this and knows just how stressful it can be. If you're not successful in trying to redirect your puppy, check out our dog training options. We're happy to help guide you in the right direction. More What are the BEST Dog Training Treats? Zuke's Mini Naturals The reason Zuke's Mini Naturals makes the top of our list is that they check off every box you could possibly want in a dog treat. They're healthy, the perfect size, and dogs LOVE them! With less than 3 calories per treat you can feel a lot better about rewarding your dogs good behavior without worrying about unhealthy affects on their diet or bathroom routine. If your pup has never had beef flavored dog training treats before then it's a good idea to only use a small amount in the beginning to let their digestive system adjust that way you won't have stomach issues later on. Stella & Chewy's Freeze Dried Treats Stella & Chewy's is a close second for the best dog training treat! They're made in the USA and they only have one simple ingredient per flavor. For instance, if you get the beef heart flavor, they are 100% beef heart. They're perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs or puppies who haven't adjusted to puppy training treats yet. They're gluten free, grain free, and poultry free. Unless you prefer the chicken flavor of course! The fact that they're freeze dried helps them stay fresh longer than say a piece of cheese or meat for example. Because they're raw they are also really good for your dogs digestive system. Bil-Jac Dog Treats Lastly, we recommend Bil-Jac Dog Training Treats. These tasty treats as great if you have a low budget and don't want to break the bank. They are no fillers and no soy in their recipe. They're perfect size for training treats also! Best of all, you can get 3 packs of over 600 treats in for under $40. Now that takes a big load off for any of those who are trying to manage a tight budget. Most dogs LOVE the flavor of these treats and are willing to work hard to earn them. That's the ideal goal in these situations. How to Pick the Right Treats for Your Dog Finally, we want to discuss how to pick the right treat for your dog training. It's easy to do a taste test to find out which ones are your dog's favorite and thats's exactly what we recommend doing. While doing your training try switching up which treats you use. See what kind of reaction you get. If your dog all the sudden gains enthusiasm and is ready to do anything you ask right away, then you know you've found your winner. Keep in mind you'll want to use these are your high-value reward and not necessarily on a day to day basis. That's what will keep them so reinforcing for your new puppy or dog. If you're having a hard time getting your dog excited about training, contact us today to learn more about our dog training services in Denver, Colorado. Our trainers are certified and experienced in dealing with dogs who just don't seem excited about training. Sometimes using different treats can help, but other times dog's need a different type of reinforcement to be excited for their dog training lessons. We cover all this and more in our puppy training program. Good luck & happy training! More

  • Evaluations | HAPPY PAWS - PetCare ®

    Evaluations Help us Find the Perfect Pup for You! Name: Phone: Gender: Email: Address: Age: Diagnosis / Illnesses: Household Information Please list the members of your household & their ages (including children): Please list any of pets in your household, breed & age: Have you owned a dog before? Have you trained a dog before: Do you rent or own your home? What type of dwelling is it (apartment, house, etc.) Do you have a yard / outdoor area? Please describe the area & approximate size: Owner Information What are your goals for having a psychiatric service dog? How do you plan to care for your psychiatric service dog? How will you spend your time with your psychiatric service dog? What qualities are you looking for your psychiatric service dog to have? When do you plan to get your psychiatric service dog? Any additional information you’d like to add? Submit Thanks for submitting!

  • Leash Walking | HAPPY PAWS - PetCare ®

    Leash Walking OBEDIENCE TRAINING 101 GUIDE The Expectation Leash walking is one of the more difficult skills to teach a dog. It does not come naturally to them to be tied to someone while they are walking, just as we would have a hard time walking if we were tied to the person next to us. This is a skill that takes time and patience but is well worth the training once we accomplish it. How to Teach Walking Nicely on a Leash ​ ​ We recommend a 4ft to 6ft leash. Retractable leashes will allow your dog to pull away from you so until they have this skill mastered we like to make it easy for them to succeed by only giving them a small area to move around in freely. Start in a distraction-free environment such as a living room or your backyard instead of taking them around the neighborhood at first. We want to practice their walking skills in an environment where they have very little to be distracted by and therefore will focus more on us. Put their leash on and begin by encouraging them to be near you. Use a happy voice to praise them when they are standing nicely next to you on the leash or giving you their attention and follow this praise up with tasty treats. Next take a step or two in any direction. Encourage them to follow you and praise and treat them when they do. Start with just a few steps at a time making sure you are telling them what a good boy or girl they are along the way. If they are happily following you, increase the amount of steps you are taking while continuing this process. If they are not following you, do not force them by pulling on the leash or speaking harshly. This will only make them freeze up more or possibly shut down completely. Dogs are masters at picking up on our body language so if we are frustrated, they will sense that. Try to be patient and take note of anything that may be making them nervous in the environment. Dogs can be sensitive to certain flooring, unfamiliar objects, and noises. Allow them time to get familiar with their surroundings, their leash, and collar. If you are unable to get very far in the walking lesson, that's ok. Remember that this is a skill you’ll want them to do well for their whole life so it’s better to take it slow and steady than to rush and create a dog who is fearful of leash walking. Once you are able to walk 10-15 steps in one direction with them following along, you can start to position them where you’d like them to walk next to you on your left or right side. We do this by giving them treats only in that area right next to your side. We call this the “sweet spot.” Rather than reaching out to treat them wherever they are, bring the treats down right next to your side. This will encourage them to stick in that spot. When your dog can walk nicely next to you for short distances in your distraction-free environment you can then move your training sessions to a realistic outside setting. When you move outside remember there are now many more things for them to be distracted by. Go back to taking only a few steps at a time. Keep the same practice of praising and treating them for staying near you and giving you attention. Important Notes ​ If your dog becomes too overwhelmed by the environment to focus on you then give them some time to investigate their environment before starting the training. Allow them to sniff and look around for a brief time. When they’ve adjusted, use your happy voice to get their attention back on you. Be generous with your praise and treats. You will be competing for their attention with all the other smells and sights around them. You have to be the most rewarding thing for them to focus on. If your walking lessons are always full of treats and praise, your dog will grow to love walking right along next to you. Pulling Pulling should be dealt with as soon as possible. The longer the behavior goes on, the longer it will take to correct. Puppies will naturally test their boundaries when learning how to walk on a leash. Adult dogs with a history of pulling will continue pulling for as long as they’re allowed to. Whether you have a brand new puppy who pulls or a 5 year old dog who pulls, now is the best time to start the training. How to Handle Pulling Go back to basics. Start in a low distraction environment like a backyard or an empty field. Practice taking just a few steps at first and encourage them to stay near you with praise and treats. If you are having success you can gradually increase the amount of steps you take. When your dog looks like they are about to start pulling use your happy voice to grab their attention and bring them back towards you. If you’re not able to get their attention back on you, use either the “tree method” or the “this way” method, listed below. Stop Pulling Using the “Tree Method” & “This Way Method” Tree Method​ - ​When your dog starts to pull and you are unable to get their attention back, become a tree. Plant your feet and don’t allow them to move. Whether it’s towards things to sniff, people to greet, dogs passing by, or anything else, don’t allow them to do it if they are pulling. These things will become their rewards. When they relax on the leash then they can sniff and greet until their heart's content. This Way Method​ - When your dog looks like they’re about to start pulling, say “this way” and then walk in the opposite direction. Repeat this every time they are about to start pulling. The idea is that once we start walking unpredictably, they have to pay closer attention to the way we are going and therefore pay more attention to us. This is our opportunity to treat and praise them for giving us their attention which will encourage them to continue walking nicely next to us. Tools to Help with Pulling It’s very important that every time you take your dog for a walk you are consistent with your leash walking rules and that they are never allowed to pull. But since we don’t always have the time to turn every walk or potty break into a walking lesson there are some tools that can help reinforce these rules. We recommend using a harness or a gentle leader. Harnesses can work great to stop some dogs from pulling. For strong pullers, a gentle leader will be your best option. These work similar to the way a head halter on a horse works. They strap around the head and make pulling uncomfortable for the dog but without causing pain. These can be fantastic training tools to help your dog stick to their leash walking manners. We strongly advise staying away from any tools that cause pain including prong collars, e-collars, and choke chains. Research has proven that using these types of tools that cause the dog pain can have serious negative effects including increased aggression. Remember the most important thing is that we stick to the golden rule: they are ​never allowed to pull. If we are consistent with this rule, they will learn over time that it’s not even an option to pull and you will be able to enjoy a lifelong walking companion. PRINT

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