So, You Want A New Puppy!

Thinking about a new puppy? Your first steps…

Ask for assistance

It is not a bad idea to enlist the support of a trainer or shelter staff to help choose the companion dog that is best suited to your family. With hundreds of dogs to choose from, an expert can help you narrow down your choice.

Be realistic

Just as there are no perfect people or families, consider that there are no breeds or mixes that are perfect. The goal is not to find the ‘perfect’ dog, but rather to narrow your search to a type of dog that has the general attributes that are most likely to fit with your lifestyle. Also, remember that each pup is an individual and while a general assessment of a pup’s potential future activity level, behavioral tendencies, and the like can be made, it is ultimately your responsibility to guide your pup towards becoming the mannerly, well-socialized adult dog you hope for. That will require early and ongoing management, supervision and training, and a whole lot of love.

Create a wish List

Start with a detailed list outlining your weekly schedule, the general time and monetary commitment you can make, and the activities you enjoy (and hope for your dog to be a part of). This will give you a good starting point in regards to what sort of dog may be most suitable for your family.

Stimulate Your Cat’s Senses

A cat owner should place a lot of importance on the cat’s environment. A boring environment often results in a bored cat. A stressful environment results in an anxious cat. A stimulating environment helps your cat fully enjoy her life. If a cat has a healthy, fun way to use her energy she’ll be less likely to demonstrate unwanted behaviors.

Since this is such an important topic and one that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, Friskies has divided it into a three-part series to help you get enough ideas on how to up the fun factor in kitty’s life.

Benefits of Environment Enrichment

Cats are athletes. Some are more athletic than others but every cat needs exercise, movement, fun and the opportunity to fully enjoy life. If a cat has no outlet for her energy or is in a stressful, boring environment then chances increase that behavior issues will crop up or health problems may develop.

Environmental enrichment doesn’t mean just increasing the number of toys your cat has or giving her more space in which to roam around. It truly means creating an environment that contributes to improving her physical and psychological welfare. Sound complicated? It really isn’t. Environmental enrichment is easy, doesn’t break the budget, and the benefits are ongoing.

Start with a Good Foundation

The foundation on which you’ll build on is safety. Of course, it’s important to make sure all toys and objects you use are physically safe, but the safety we are actually referring to has to do with creating areas of refuge. Your cat needs areas that are her own comfort zones. If you have kids these areas should be places where the cat knows she can nap, eat, or just relax without any intrusion. In a multicat home, safety refers to having enough litter boxes so no one has to compete; perhaps more than one feeding station so no one feels intimidated; several levels of elevation (such as tiered cat trees) so everyone can perch somewhere without being pushed out of a favorite spot. A big cause of multicat tension is due to having to compete for resources. Every cat needs to feel safe in the environment. No amount of toys or playtime will work if a cat doesn’t feel safe enough to come out from under the bed.

Speaking of a good foundation, here are some of the basics that your cat needs for optimal health and welfare:

  • Healthy food that meets her appropriate stage of life
  • An ongoing supply of fresh, clean water – Consider a Pet Fountain to make this task a breeze
  • A litter box that’s the right size, filled with appealing litter and kept clean
  • A scratching post (if your cat has claws)
  • Cat Toys and the opportunity to engage in solo and interactive playtime
  • A safe, clean, and stress-free environment
  • Elevated areas for perching
  • Regular veterinary care
  • You!

Identifying Different Types Of Canine Aggression

Dog Training ProductsOf all dog behavioral issues, aggression is the one that most frustrates owners. It is very common, though canines display signs for very different reasons. Many owners observe hostile behavior in their pets, but are unaware regarding its trigger. Consequently, they are uncertain about how to respond.

First, it’s important to realize that aggressive behavior is natural to dogs. Though most are domesticated, they remain pack animals, and perceive the world around them accordingly.

Second, in order to properly address hostility in your canine, you must first be able to identify the different types of aggression. Once you can determine the trigger, you’ll be better prepared to “cure” the problem.

With this in mind, we’ll provide a brief overview of the most common reasons dogs become antagonistic. The following descriptions will offer a springboard from which you can remedy the problem.

Protect The Family

As pack animals, canines have traditionally protected those within their group from assailants. If an intruder threatens one member, the others will respond quickly to protect him or her.

In your home, your dog considers you and your family to be members of his “pack.” If he feels you, your family, or other pets under your roof are threatened by a perceived attacker, he will behave aggressively to warn the attacker away. The problem is, many canines become overly-protective, and consider any person outside their “pack” to represent a potential threat.

Protect The Home

Similar to guarding their families, dogs also guard their territories. If an intruder approaches their den, they will respond with hostility to discourage that person or animal from coming closer.

Your canine considers your home to be his den, and will respond aggressively to any person or animal he feels to be a threat. Here, too, he may become overly-protective of his home. If he does, he will treat everybody aggressively, even those you consider friends. Interestingly, this type of aggression is very rare in puppies since they have not yet learned to protect their “dens.”

Stemming From Fear

Canines react to elements that frighten them in the same way as humans: they retreat. However, if retreat is not an option, they will fight. In the wild, if a pair of wolves approach a dog, the dog will initially seek a path that provides him an escape route. If, however, such a path is unavailable, he will turn to face the wolves, despite his fear.

Fear aggression is dangerous. If a person unwittingly corners a canine, that person risks being bitten. Thus, always provide an unfamiliar dog a route through which he can escape.

Guard Possessions

Dogs are hard-wired to protect their possessions. While this trait stems from the need to fight for food outside the human-canine relationship, it has carried over to today’s pets. For example, when a person or animal approaches a dog’s food bowl, he may bare his teeth and growl to communicate his ownership.

Within your home, your canine may express possessive behavior over his food, toys, and even the area in which he likes to rest. This may become a problem if visitors – either people or animals – stumble upon your pet’s possessions without realizing they have done so.

Hierarchical Order

Dogs have always functioned within groups according to their understanding of their pack’s hierarchy. As long as they know – and accept – those ranked above and below them, there is minimal conflict. Conflict arises when there is a bid for authority within the group.

This latter problem occasionally happens between canines and their owners, families, and other pets. The dog will compete for authority, and act aggressively when others confront him.

Canine aggression can only be addressed successfully after the behavior’s trigger has been identified. If you’re having difficulty doing so, consider working with your veterinarian or a professional trainer.

Find the best Dog Treats and Dog Chews

Stop Your Dog From Guarding His Food

Dog Bowls and Elevated Pet FeedersDog obedience training techniques rely heavily on food, which is a huge motivator for any dog. This is an example of positive food motivation. But when food becomes a catalyst for aggression in your dog, you’ve got a food guarding situation, which can escalate to become dangerous for you, and the other dogs in your household.

Your dog’s ancestors guarded food because they often didn’t eat for days at a time. When a kill was brought back to the pack, the wolves that fought for the right to eat got to eat the most, and the best, meat.

If your dog has a submissive personality, he may inhale his food at record speed to prevent other, more dominant dogs in the house from horning in on his treasure. And, if one of those dogs approaches, he might feel the need to defend his meal. Or, if your dog is the dominant natured one, he might growl or snap at other dogs, whom he sees as freeloaders that don’t truly deserve a piece of his meal. One way to stop your dog from eating too fast is to use a product called the Omega Paw Portion Pacer.

Studies show that bloat is a leading cause of death in dogs. Teach your dog to eat correctly with the Stainless Steel Portion Pacers.

The Omega Paw Portion Pacer lets you control how fast your dog eats to prevent choking, gulping, vomiting, and bloat. Just place the Portion Pacer into any food or water bowl. It trains your dog to eat and drink properly – up to 8 times slower than before.

It’s easy to use, sanitary, and works with any breed, size, or age of dog. The durable stainless steel Portion Pacer washes easily in your dishwasher. Available in two Sizes: Small – 2.9″ Diameter and Large – 3.5″ Diameter.

Food guarding might be perfectly natural, but, as with many dog behaviors that we feel the need to change with dog training, it’s not ideal for modern day living. Prevention of this behavior, when your dog is young, with dog obedience training techniques, is the best course of action. Take these steps to prevent this potentially dangerous habit from developing.

Put only a portion of your puppy’s meal into her bowl. When she’s finished eating that, pick up the bowl, put more food into it, and then replace it for her to finish. You can divide the meal into as many segments as you’d like.

Stroke your puppy while he’s eating.

Hold the bowl while he eats.

Train your puppy or dog to sit before filling his dog bowl, and then ask him to sit again, halfway through eating. Keep an extra tasty treat handy for this exercise, like a piece of chicken or steak.

Interrupt mealtime and ask your puppy to sit. Reward her. Now take a piece of steak or chicken and put it into her food bowl. Stir the contents with your hand. Allow her to continue eating.

Take the food bowl partway through her meal. Put her favorite meat treat into the bowl. Replace the bowl and allow her to finish eating.

Ask children and other family members, along with visitors, to try these dog training techniques, too.

These dog obedience training techniques will teach your puppy or dog that his food is safe, that mealtime is meant to be free of stress, and that when you’re around, mealtime is full of bonuses. Add clicker training techniques to these food guarding prevention tips, and you’ve got the perfect way to accomplish all of this, quickly and easily.

It’s important that you understand that these dog training techniques can only be performed safely if your dog isn’t already guarding food. If he raises his lip or his hackles, growls, barks, or shows his teeth while eating, you could be injured if you attempt to intervene.

It’s no longer necessary for your dog to guard, or fight for, her meal. Unlike her ancestors, she’s privy to an endless supply of food. When she fully grasps this concept, mealtime will be safe and pleasant.

Your dog’s development as a domestic pet has transferred the responsibility of survival from her to you. She can trust that you have her best interest in mind, and that dog obedience training, in and out of the bowl, is her ticket to a long and well fed existence.

Want to find out more about dog training, then visit Dr. Nortey Omaboe’s site on how to choose the best dog obedience training for your needs.

Dog Training Tricks And Techniques

Dog TrainingYou have acquired a great new member into your household with the pitter patter of little puppy toes going across the floor. Now you need to start as soon as you can on getting him to be the best and most well behaved dog he can be by implementing these easy dog training tricks. Puppies just like humans are not born with the knowledge of what is right or wrong, they have to be taught these things just as we do.

The sit command is one you will use not only for the purpose of sitting but also as the first step in the other two tricks we have listed below. This is a trick which will help you keep him still and calm in situations which may prove dangerous to him or you. It will also help with minor annoyances such as greeting everyone with paws on the shoulders if he is tall enough, licking, jumping in the lap etc..

The easiest way to do this is to get his favorite dog treats, hold it above his head. Once he settles down a bit, immediately say the word “sit” and follow it with good dog then proceed to give him his treat and a pat on the head. Keep on working with him on a continuous basis in this manner and he will be sitting on command in no time.

Next we will work with teaching him the lie down command. This is a very important command. This command will teach him to lie down in the car and in the home when he is being a bit over animated or rambunctious. It will also save you from any accidents in the car if he is a larger dog by moving around and blocking someones view or stepping on something he should not have.

You will also be using the great snack method of training for this exercise too. This time when they get into the sit position as you command then slowly move the treat along the surface of the ground until your pet is forced to make themselves lie down to see or follow this treat. Once they have done that appropriately then immediately say the lie down command and give them the treat along with a good boy and a petting.

One of the harder of these commands for your puppy to learn is that of the stay command. This is a very important thing for them to adhere too for their well being and your peace of mind. This stay command will keep them firmly where they sit down until you tell them it is okay to move. Great for if a door gets opened, you walk to the curb to get your paper or even walking over to a neighbors home. Your puppy will sit right there until your return. Tell him the command of sit with treat above his eyes then move slightly away from him while keeping the treat in his view say, stay, stay and if he does not move then he gets the treat. It takes much practice for this one but is well worth it in the long run.

Training sessions should not be very long. Dogs, especially puppies, can become bored very easily and not as focused as they can be in shorter sessions. Routines on a daily basis are another thing that dogs rank on their list of importance as well. Make your daily sessions around the same time every day. Training your dog gives you and him quality time together so you should each have fun with it and have some much needed play time after a good days lessons.

Many pet stores have different types of books for training tips and techniques. They often have some specifically for certain breeds and their behaviors. You will also be able to find training videos as well which will give you some insight on new tricks to teach your dog and some answers regarding some behavior issues you have concerns about.

All these dog training tricks and many more not listed can help even the most unruly misbehaved dogs become well-mannered and a joy to be around. These will help them control their urges of jumping on visitors as soon as they walk in the door, nibble on arms or hands as playing, chasing other animals within the households and so on. Take the time to teach your pet the right things instead of reinforcing the wrong things in their behavior and they and you will be much more productive and happier together.