Category Archives: dog treat

What is Flyball?

By Michelle Martin, CANIDAE Team Member

When you ask the average dog lover what agility is, they can probably give you a general description, but ask them what Flyball is and you usually get a response like “Fly…What??” My goal today is to introduce readers to the wonderful, action packed sport of Flyball! It’s a fast paced dog relay race that sets two teams of four dogs each, to race each other. Flyball is a fun sport that combines agility and an advanced game of fetch.

Flyball is a competitive team sport that was invented in California in the late 70’s. Herbert Wagner was credited for creating the first ever Flyball box when he showed millions of Americans his dogs playing Flyball on the Johnny Carson Show. Soon after, dog trainers were making their own Flyball boxes and in the early 80’s the sport became so popular that the North American Flyball Association (NAFA) was formed; they are a know worldwide. Today we have two associates that host Flyball competition, which are NAFA and U-Fli.

Flyball races place two teams of four dogs and handlers each to their own lane, racing side-by-side, over a 51-foot long course. Each dog runs in a relay fashion over a set of four jumps in a straight line, and then they hit the box, which triggers the ball to pop out. The dog then catches the ball (on the “fly”) and returns over the jumps with the ball to their handler. The next dog is released but cannot pass the start/finish line until the previous dog has. The goal here is to have the dogs cross as close as possible to the start/finish line. The first team to have all four dogs finish the course without error is the winner of that race. If you could take a guess how fast this could be done, what would it be… 1 minute…30 seconds? Can you believe the fastest that Flyball has been raced so far was clocked at 14.690 seconds! This is the world record held by a club called Touch n Go during a 2011 competition.

Like I mentioned, a Flyball team consists of 4 dogs running; usually one of those four dogs is a lot smaller than the others. People watching a competition always wonder why there is a small dog on the team. They think we are just being “nice” to let the little dogs play. In actuality the hurdle heights are determined by the smallest dog on the team, which is then called the “height dog.” Dogs and their owners really like having small dogs on the team because it lowers down the jumps, which usually means the big dogs can run faster! So we big dog owners really like having the little dogs play.

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Teaching Your Dog to Fetch


By Ruthie Bently

You can teach your dog to fetch a newspaper, Frisbee, beer, a ball, even an egg. You can teach your dog to fetch (or retrieve) anything that is small enough for them to get a secure grip on, pick up and bring back to you. Teaching your dog to fetch is a good way to give them the mental stimulation they need so they don’t get bored and misbehave.

It is easiest to teach your dog to fetch when they are a puppy, but an adult dog can be taught to fetch too. With any training program, patience, praise, repetition and treats like CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ work well. Schedule your training time when the temperature is comfortable for both you and your dog, and not during the heat of the day. Only work your dog for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. If your dog already knows the commands for sit, come, stay and drop it ahead of time, this will facilitate teaching them to fetch an object for you.

Attach your dog to a six foot leash to allow them room to move. Using one of their favorite toys, begin by showing them the toy and pass it from hand to hand. Put them on a sit/stay and toss the toy a few feet away from you. Detach the leash and tell them to get the toy using the command “fetch.” If they don’t immediately go and get the ball, walk them over to it and repeat your command. If they don’t pick it up, then you pick it up and offer it to them. If your dog takes the ball, praise them and offer them a treat. Take the toy back to your starting point, put your dog on a sit/stay and begin again.

If your dog goes and get the toy and only comes part way back to you before stopping, encourage them to bring it all the way to you. If they drop the toy and return to you, you can ask them “where’s your toy?” Use praise and encouragement to get them to go back for it but don’t offer a treat until they bring the toy back to you. Don’t chase after them; that will only excite them in a game of chase and won’t further your cause. Your dog will learn quickly that fetching a toy brings praise and a treat from you, and will want to bring the toy back. Once your dog brings the toy back from a few feet away, you can begin tossing it further and further away from you. When they are fetching on their own and know the command, you can stop giving treats and reward them with praise alone, as your dog will want to play fetch just for the fun of it.

If your dog doesn’t already know the command for release, you can teach it to them as well. When your dog brings the toy back to you, steady their head with one hand. Place your other hand in front of their mouth and say “release.” If your dog doesn’t want to let go, repeat the “release” command and gently remove the toy from their mouth. Offer praise and a treat. Keep repeating the exercise until your dog lets go of the toy on their own. It is best to teach one command a day so as not to confuse your dog or wear them out.

Another command I have taught Skye is “easy.” This is a simple one to teach and I did it using CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ treats and abundant praise. While Skye was on a sit/stay, I put a treat between my thumb and forefinger and offered it to her after telling her “easy.” If she grabbed for the treat, I scolded her with a firm “no,” put her back on the sit/stay and tried again. When she reached for the treat gently, I praised her profusely and gave her the treat. Skye still forgets her treat manners sometimes. I just correct her bad behavior with a “no” and we try again. She never makes the mistake twice and I still have all my fingers.

Teaching your dog to fetch is good exercise for both of you, and if your dog becomes proficient at it, you might consider teaching them to be a disc dog, joining a disc dog team and competing. Every dog needs an activity, and teaching your dog to fetch can be the beginning of a wonderful job for them. This can keep them calm and well-behaved at home and become a fun hobby for you.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Surf


By Julia Williams

A few months ago I told you about a wonderful dog named Ricochet who not only surfs, but uses her extraordinary ability to “hang twenty” as a way to raise money for charity. Before I wrote that article, I didn’t even know dogs could surf. As it turns out, Ricochet might be the most famous surfing dog in the world but there are many other canines who also love to shred the waves. CANIDAE staffer Diane Matsuura’s young Lab Hailey, pictured here, is one of them. She recently competed in the Loews Coronado Resort 5th Annual Surf Dog Competition in Imperial Beach, California with 65 other four-legged surfers!

Surfing with a dog sounds like a lot of fun and makes me wish I had a canine companion. I’m positive my cats would not enjoy surfing. I did find a video of a surfing cat in Peru whose owner claims she loves being out on the surfboard. However, to me (and many others) it looks more like a terrified cat hanging on for dear life lest she fall off into the ocean. Yes, some cats actually do like water, but I’d bet the farm that none would enjoy surfing in the ocean. Most dogs love water and swimming though, and this guy obviously adopted the wrong pet.

Never mind. I’ll get down from my soap box now and get on with giving you some tips for teaching your dog to surf. I won’t provide a full-on canine surfing lesson because that’s better left to the pros, like Surf Dog Ricochet. She’s written an excellent beginner’s guide to doggie surfing with tons of helpful information, which you can read here. Surf Dog Ricochet’s website also has links to qualified instructors, surf dog clinics and upcoming competitions.

You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to teach your dog to surf. You just need a surfboard, a doggie life vest, and a pool. Most people recommend a foam surfboard for dogs because it’s easier for them to grip. Small dogs should use a 6-foot board while larger breeds can handle 7 or 8-feet boards. Look for a dog’s life jacket with a handle on top, which will help you lift your pooch out of the water or back onto the board after the inevitable wipeout. If you don’t have access to a full-size pool, a small portable backyard pool will suffice, and small breeds can even use a kiddie pool.

Like any other canine sport, teaching a dog to surf requires time, patience and practice. The pre-water part of your surf dog training can be done indoors or out – basically any place you can set the board down. You want your dog to do three things: 1) form positive associations with the surfboard; 2) learn to get on the board themselves and be in the correct position, and 3) work on balance techniques.

For positive associations, some surf dog trainers feed the dog and give them belly rubs while on the board. You shouldn’t ever force your dog to get onto the board. But if and when they do, give them lots of praise and dog treats while they are still on the board. You want to reinforce the behavior of being ON the surfboard instead of getting off. The next step is to practice a “stay” command. Teach them to remain on the board until you give them a release command, so that once they’re in the water, they won’t try to jump off and swim back to you.

If your dog has never worn a life jacket, you should practice putting it on them and letting them wear it around the house. Once they’re comfortable with it, have them wear it for their surfing lessons. The last pre-water step is teaching your dog to balance on an unsteady board. Use pillows or cushions underneath the board to make it wobbly. When they master the dry land surf lessons, you can move on to a pool. Here, they learn to jump onto the board themselves, and you can push them around so they learn to balance on the board while it’s moving.

Once they’re comfortable being on the board in the pool, take your surfing lesson to a lake or bay where the water is calm. A perfect place for this step is somewhere that allows boating, which will create very small “practice waves” your dog can master before graduating to the ocean. Even if you don’t live near the ocean, lakes can still be a great way for your dog to have fun on a surfboard.

These tips are not intended to be a comprehensive guide to dog surfing. For that, please visit Surf Dog Ricochet’s website or enroll in a dog surfing school. And speaking of Ricochet, I have some exciting news to share with you about “Rip Curl Ricki” and CANIDAE in a day or two – stay tuned!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank: A True Success Story


By Julia Williams

Last November I told you about a wonderful Portland charity called The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank. In seven short months, what started as one man’s heartfelt desire to help two homeless men feed their starving canine companions, has blossomed into Oregon’s largest charitable pet food resource. Thanks to the Pongo Fund and CANIDAE, more than 500,000 premium quality meals have now been scarfed up by hungry pets in Oregon and southwest Washington. That, my friends, is a lot of fortunate dogs and cats who not only have full bellies but are able to remain with a loving family instead of being given up due to dire financial circumstances.

I recently spoke with Larry Chusid, The Pongo Fund Founder and Executive Director, to ask him how things have been going. Larry said “The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank is only open two days a month for three hours. In other words, we’ve been open to the public for the equivalent of 42 hours. That’s it…42 hours. We know that we provide food for thousands of families with pets that are at risk of being abandoned or surrendered because their families cannot afford to feed them. But how do we really measure success after only 42 hours?”

Well, I’ll tell you how. You measure success by the hundreds of people who, rain or shine, come to stand in line for their pet food every two weeks. You measure success by their radiant smiles when they receive the pet food, because you can see how much it uplifts their spirits to be able to feed their beloved dog or cat. You measure success by realizing that, because of your pet food bank, more than 50,000 premium quality meals are being provided to family pets each and every month.

You measure success by the unprecedented accord the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has been able to establish and maintain with a long list of major human services agencies and charities – organizations that have direct contact every day with people who need help feeding their pets. You measure success with your recent donation of seven tons of pet food to the Oregon Food Bank for statewide redistribution, which means that you’ve now extended your reach far past the Portland city limits.

You measure success with the knowledge that The Pongo Fund has already achieved two of their primary goals: 1) using premium quality food as a lifeline to keep family pets from being abandoned or surrendered because their families cannot afford to keep them fed; and 2) reducing shelter populations without using euthanasia or other fatal methods. And you measure success by each human life that’s saved because now they can use their money and food stamps to feed themselves instead of giving their own meager provisions to their pets.

So you see, it’s really not that hard to measure success, is it? Of course, all of these things only scratch the surface of the impact the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has on people and their animal companions. It’s not just the people and pets of Oregon who are being helped either. As word spreads, the Pongo Fund has begun receiving pleas for help from as far away as Florida, from people concerned about their Oregon friends and relatives in dire need of pet food. Knowing that help is at hand enables those who live far away to feel less helpless, and gives them peace of mind.

CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods is a vital part of The Pongo Fund’s mission to keep family pets from starving or being surrendered to a shelter because their families cannot afford to feed them. Their initial donation of $125,000 worth of pet food was the lucky break this humble nonprofit needed to turn a dream into reality.

But why did a California-based company decide to support an organization in Oregon? For one thing, the Pongo Fund’s founder has unmistakable passion for his humanitarian mission, and it’s this unbridled passion that creates incredible momentum for the organization to grow and succeed. CANIDAE wholeheartedly believed in the Pongo Fund’s vision from the start, and they believe in it even more now. The company continues to provide donations of their premium quality pet food, and recently expanded to include a $20,000 shipment of Snap-Biscuit® dog treats. “What would dinner be without dessert!” quipped Chusid.

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has achieved some truly remarkable things in seven months. But mark my words – this is just the tip of the iceberg, and the best is yet to come. To quote a hit song from the 80s, “the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.”

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Tips for Stress-Free Vet Visits


By Ruthie Bently

I’ve been a dog owner since 1981, and have been blessed with my dogs. My breed of choice is the American Staffordshire Terrier; while they are not the breed for everyone, they are a great fit for me. I got two of my dogs as puppies, and as a responsible pet owner I took the time to teach them a few things before we headed off to the vet’s office for the first time.

I began handling my dogs at an early age to get them used to it. Whether you show a dog in confirmation events or just want a family pet, they all need to get used to being handled. You want to handle them all over, touch their head, check inside the ears, open their mouth and look inside, check their gums, their feet, between toes, toenails, even their tail. Make it fun – using dog treats makes the job easier if you have a wiggler. Until a puppy gets used to being handled, it’s easier to do this after romping or just before you put them to bed for the night.

It is also important to teach your dog the basics of leash walking. When you go to the vets, use a regular six foot lead. It will give you more control than a retractable lead in the confines of the vet’s office where you may encounter other dogs. Get your dog used to riding in the car by going for short rides. Take your dog to the pet shop, a dog park or a beach, or other places they have fun.

Make sure to socialize them well and allow them to meet other dogs; this helps prepare them for encounters with multiple dogs at the vets. It also helps them to be less stressful, as they don’t just go in the car to the vet’s office. Schedule a trial run at the vet’s office at a time when the veterinary personnel can greet your dog and offer a treat. This lowers stress levels and puts a different spin on going to the vet. If your dog tends to get carsick, don’t feed them before going to the vet and keep this in mind when making your appointments. Make your appointments for early morning and feed your dog after you get home.

What do you do when you adopt an adult dog and don’t know the dog’s temperament at the vet’s office? If you adopt your dog from a shelter, ask to speak with the person who took them to the vet, or if the vet came to the shelter ask how the dog behaved there. How is the dog around other dogs? Do they ignore them, are they friendly or are they aggressive? Do they have a fear of noises? By finding out as much information about your new dog as possible, you will have an idea of what you need to work on.

If your dog acts anxious in the vet’s waiting room, don’t pet or comfort them. This only reinforces the behavior. Distract them with a treat or job to do that will bring praise. I have taught Skye the command “pay attention.” She knows that I expect her undivided attention and her eyes don’t leave my face. For example, if there’s another dog making a fuss at the vets, I say “pay attention” and Skye ignores the other dog. The vet’s waiting area is large enough for me to work Skye, so sometimes we bone up on basic commands while we wait. You can also just keep your dog on a down/stay next to you until it’s your turn to be seen. Don’t let your dog wander, because the other pets that are there may be ill and you should not allow your dog to approach them. They may not be as socialized as your dog, and illness makes pets cranky.

Depending on your vet’s situation, you may be asked to assist by holding your dog and keep them calm during the examination. This may be required when the vet draws blood, takes your dog’s temperature or gives your dog a shot. Put one hand on your dog’s neck and keep the other on their collar to help steady them. Be generous with your praise, as this will distract your dog from the procedure being performed. The calmer you are, the more comfortable your dog will be.

Skye has to visit the vet every six months for blood tests. I don’t worry about her though, since she loves the vet and enters (and leaves) with her head high and her tail wagging vigorously.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Teach Your Dog the “Drop It” Command


By Linda Cole

Dogs are great at finding things around the home or hidden in the grass. Sometimes they find things they shouldn’t have for one reason or another. Instead of engaging in what he thinks is a game of keep away with you chasing him, the easiest thing you can do is teach your dog to drop it. This is one of the more important commands for your dog to learn, and it can save you a lot of wasted time and energy trying to retrieve whatever your dog has in his mouth.

Anyone who’s raised a puppy knows how inquisitive they are. As far as they’re concerned, anything on the floor or within their grasp is fair game. They have no idea how harmful something they’ve grabbed may be to them. If you try to take the object or food from them, that’s a signal to the pup to run and if they can get you to chase them, all the more fun. Too many times, the puppy ends up swallowing what he had in his mouth.

When one of my dogs was a puppy, she had a hard time understanding what I was trying to teach her. At the same time, one of my cats was very interested in the treats I was using to help teach my dog. The cat would sit beside us, pick up one of the small toys I was using and when I commanded the dog to drop what she had in her mouth, the cat dropped his toy and waited for his treat. I still laugh when I think about the cat sitting there with a frog toy in his mouth waiting patiently for me to tell the dog to drop it. My dog learned to drop it when she saw the cat getting treats. So I was able to teach two at the same time. When the cat wanted a treat, he would bring the frog and sit down in front of me, waiting for the command.

Some dogs learn to drop it easier than others. And, as I found out, cats can also learn the command, even if it’s by accident. It was a good lesson for me because until that training session, I never considered trying to teach a cat to drop it.

Playing catch is more fun when you’ve taken the time to teach your dog to drop it. Instead of having to pry a slobbery ball out of his mouth every time, the drop it command puts it at your feet or directly in your hand. It also keeps you from having to grope around in his mouth searching for something he picked up that was more interesting than the ball.

Stay patient and calm when engaging in any training sessions. If your dog is more interested in playing than learning, put him on a leash to keep him from running away. Let it drag on the ground so you can step on it. Make the training fun and keep it short.

Before you start to teach your dog to drop it, gather several of his favorite toys. The idea is to have your dog take one of the toys in his mouth and play with it for awhile. Give him the command and wait for him to drop what he has in his mouth. Only say it once. Don’t attempt to take the toy because he’ll be more defensive and less willing to drop it if he thinks you’re trying to take it from him.

Entice your dog with a favorite treat, and give it to him as soon as he drops the object. Add lots of praise along with the treat. This might take a little time, especially if he wants the toy more than the treat. Don’t try to teach your dog to drop it right after a meal. If he won’t give up the toy, find something else he might be more willing to trade for a treat. Of course, you want to make sure the treat you use is irresistible to your dog. CANIDAE Snap-Bits and Snap-Biscuit® dog treats are two great choices.

If your dog takes his toy and runs away, don’t chase him. Let him play for awhile and try again later on. It’s not difficult to teach your dog to drop it, but it could take more than one training session. Keep at it because it’s important for him to learn, and it could save him from a trip to the vet and you from an expensive vet bill.

For more information on training your dog to obey basic commands, read Teaching Come and Stay, or Heel and Stand.

Read More Articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.