Category Archives: dog treat

Is Your Dog Right or Left Footed?


By Ruthie Bently

I never considered that my dog might favor one foot over the other until I noticed it firsthand. Just as humans have a dominant hand and are either right or left-handed, so do our pets. Dogs have a dominant foot, either right or left. I first became interested one day watching Skye climb the attic stairs; she always began (led) with her left foot. This made me wonder if she favored one foot over the other, so I watched her and found out that she did. When we are outside playing and I toss her ball, she goes racing up to it and hits it with her left foot first to get it to spin. When she is investigating something in the yard and wants to turn it over, she uses her left foot.

That made me curious as to how many other dogs are right or left-pawed, what the percentage of right over left might be, and if there were there any ambidextrous dogs. According to one report I read from 2001, dogs are about 80% right footed and 20% left footed. According to a study conducted by psychologists of Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, female dogs are right-footed and males are left-footed until they are spayed or neutered. Then the report says the differences disappear and it further suggests that hormones play a part in whether a dog is right or left-footed. That theory goes out the window with Skye. She is spayed and she is definitely a left-footed dog.

Using one paw in favor of the other is called lateralization, and until recently most scientists thought our animals were ambidextrous. Now they are finding that we are not the only species on the planet to favor one hand (or paw) over the other. It is believed that favoring one foot over the other improves an animal’s chances to find a mate, forage for food or escape predators. Do our left-footed companions suffer from the same stigmas as left-handed people used to? Not according to the faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney. They say left-pawed dogs are favored for training as guide and police dogs.

So how do you discover if your dog is right or left-pawed? Here is a test to help you find out. You need a tube and several dog treats. The tube can be made of either cardboard or plastic; I used the tube from a roll of gift wrap. It should be wide enough for your dog to reach into with their paw but not their head. I tried this test and used CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ which worked great. Put the treat in the end of the tube and hold the tube out to your dog, making sure they can see the treat. Encourage them to get the treat. Do this test three times with three treats. If your dog is afraid of the tube, try setting the treat about six inches in from the edge of a piece of furniture within your pet’s reach, and watch what happens. Which paw does your pet use to reach for the treat?

If your dog uses their right paw most of the time, they are probably right-footed. If your dog uses their left paw most of the time, they are left-footed. If they don’t seem to have a preference and use both paws to reach the treat, they are probably ambidextrous. I am sure there will be more research into this subject in the future. It is also thought that the research done so far will further dog training and the appropriate age to train a dog (as it refers to being right or left-footed), as well as improving the bond between people and their dogs.

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.

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The Right Way to “Treat” Pets


By Julia Williams

Doling out the dog treats and cat snacks is one of the more fun parts of pet ownership. It’s a ritual we all enjoy, but none more so than the pets themselves. I like giving treats to my cats because they really seem to love them, as evidenced by all the meowing, purring and leg rubbing that occurs when the treat canister comes out. They recognize this container and literally go wild when they see it. If treats make our pets so deliriously happy, there’s no harm in giving them, right? Well, not exactly. Too many treats, or the wrong kind of treats, can actually do more harm than good. Our dogs and cats can’t read labels, and they don’t know a thing about calories or what ingredients might be good for them or bad for them. Which means it’s up to us as responsible pet owners to make sure we’re “treating” them right.

Calories count!

People often joke about fat cats and pudgy pooches, but overweight pets are not funny. Excess weight can contribute to many serious health problems and can make a pet’s life miserable. To avoid over-treating your pet, ask your vet how much to feed your dog or cat each day, and include the calories from treats in their daily food allotment. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that no more than 10 to 20% of the day’s calories are coming from treats. Be aware that some treats have significantly more calories than others, so read the nutrition labels and choose your treats wisely.

Quality counts too!

Pet treats vary a great deal in terms of the nutrition and health benefits they provide. Some treats are as nutritionally devoid and bad for pets as a greasy bag of chips is for us. They contain little in the way of healthy ingredients and may also contain unhealthy things like by-products, chemical preservatives and fillers. Other pet treats, like the CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ and Snap-Biscuit® dog treats, are made with premium quality ingredients and other things that actually benefit the pet. Such as: viable micro-organisms for GI tract health and good digestion, balanced omega 6 & 3 fatty acids, essential vitamins and minerals, skin and coat conditioners and natural preservatives. These nutritionally complete treats are low in calories and fat, and high in protein. I don’t mean to sound like a commercial for CANIDAE here, but honestly, I consider these to be the crème de la crème of dog treats.

Don’t give treats for begging

Dogs and cats are incredibly smart creatures. It doesn’t take long for them to figure out that they can use those “sad puppy dog eyes” and feline wiles to manipulate their owners into giving them a treat. It can be hard to resist those plaintive looks or insistent meows, but resist you should. Giving in to their begging is rewarding them for inappropriate behavior, and once you do, they’ll never stop begging. I made this mistake with my cats. I started giving them each a handful of crunchies before I went to bed. Now, every single night without fail, as I am getting ready for bed there is loud, insistent meowing and pacing going on in the kitchen. I am 100% certain this begging is not from a place of “We’re starving here, give us some food already!” Nevertheless, it can be awfully hard to resist, and I hate that I created a situation where they expect – no, demand – these treats every night.

Use treats as a reward

During and after playtime is a perfect time to offer your cat or dog treats. This helps them to associate positive things with exercise, and they’ll look forward to this daily activity even more than they already do. Treats are also great to use for training sessions and teaching your dog or cat tricks (don’t laugh – cats can be taught to perform tricks!). Just remember to adjust the amount of their regular food to avoid overfeeding.

Giving treats is a pleasure, and it builds upon that amazing human/animal bond we have with our beloved pets. When we “treat” them right, they give us many years of love and companionship in return.

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.

What to Do When Your Dog Gets Loose


By Ruthie Bently

As a responsible pet owner you never want anything to happen to your dog, but what about those times you have no control over? We have a fenced yard for Skye, but accidents sometimes happen. A delivery person drops off a package and forgets to close the gate or Steve goes to work and forgets to latch it. Like most dogs, Skye loves to play and go for walks and car rides; an open gate is a different matter altogether.

To a dog an open door or gate means freedom – real freedom, not the kind of freedom they get at the end of a leash or at the dog park. It’s the “I’m on my own and can go where I want” freedom. All of the neighborhood smells are very enticing to dogs. The female dog in heat six blocks away or the smells coming from the neighbor’s garbage can; even the smell of something to roll in can trigger their wanderlust.

If this happens to you, what do you do when your dog gets loose? The most important thing is not to panic. You need a clear head to find your dog, and panic will only detract from you doing that in a timely fashion. Time is of the essence, don’t waste it. Enlist your family and friends, as they can help you complete multiple tasks at one time. Call as many neighbors as you can, as well as any veterinary offices and animal shelters in your area. Contact the local police animal control officer and make them aware of the situation. They’ll want to know how long the dog has been missing and from where. Unfortunately, dog theft is on the rise and the more information you can remember, the better you can help the police recover your dog if this is the case.

If you have a photo of your dog, make up flyers with their picture as well as your contact information. Include your dog’s name, age, gender, any scars your dog may have, whether or not they were micro-chipped or tattooed, and where they were last seen. Be as specific as possible. Get the flyers made as quickly as possible and begin distributing them. Make sure to get copies to the vet offices, shelters and police departments you contacted, as well as your neighbors. If there is a grocery store or mall nearby, ask the store owners if they’ve seen your dog or if they will put your flyer in their window. If you know which direction your dog went, take flyers, a leash, spare collar, dog treats and their favorite noisy toy with you. Get in the car and begin driving in that direction. Make sure you leave someone at home to man the phones in case your dog is found while you are out looking.

The best thing to do is to be prepared. If you have a plan in place before your dog becomes lost, you can accomplish finding them that much faster. Have a current photo of your dog taken and update it every six months. Write down a detailed description of your dog. Include the information mentioned above, as well as your current contact information. Make sure your dog’s identification tag has your current address and phone numbers on it. You may want to have another family member’s phone number on it as well. Take your dog for a walk in the neighborhood and stop and introduce yourself and your dog to the neighbors. Your neighbors will be less afraid of a strange dog wandering the neighborhood if they have already met it in person.

Consider a GPS collar for your dog. There’s a company in Minnesota that manufactures one that you don’t need a cell phone or monthly subscription to be able to use. It has a hand held GPS system that uses current satellite technology to find your dog. If your dog is not microchipped or tattooed, you might want to consider that. Shelters are required by law to have a microchip reader, and many dogs have found their way home due to this technology. Many veterinary offices also have chip readers and if a stray is brought in they’ll do what they can to return your dog.

No one that lives with a dog ever wants to be separated from them. The emotions we feel for our canine companions run as deep as those for a human family member. By being prepared you can help bring your beloved dog home quicker, and the reunion will be that much sweeter.

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.

Basic Commands for Dogs: Heel and Stand


By Ruthie Bently

“Heel” is one of the most essential commands you will want to teach your dog. It is used for your most basic exercise, a walk, and your dog should be able to do it correctly. You don’t want them to stray into traffic if you are walking along the shoulder of a road or on a narrow sidewalk. When your dog is heeling correctly, they will be standing (or sitting) at your left side, depending on what command you gave them.

To teach your dog the heel command, gather your leash in your left hand and get your dog to stand next to your left side, with their shoulder against your left leg. With the leash still drawn up, begin walking slowly and repeating the word “heel” to your dog. I have found that using this method works very well, as the dog does not have enough leash to stray away from you. Do a few circuits of your yard or living room, and come back to your original position. When the dog stops next to you again, tell them “heel” and then offer them a treat such as the CANIDAE Snap-Bits™. Do this for a few days, with about three training sessions per day, and reward the dog every time they do the command correctly. If you don’t want to use biscuits, you can just praise your dog or offer them a favorite toy (although giving them a toy may distract them from the rest of the training session).

After two or three days, begin letting out the leash. If the dog begins walking away from you or straying from your side, stop moving. At this point, the dog usually looks around at you to see why you stopped, so say the word “heel.” Sometimes the dog will come back to you, sometimes not. If the dog does not immediately come back to you, begin reeling up the slack of the leash until the dog is again at your left side in the heel position and repeat the word “heel.” It won’t take long for your dog to get the idea.

“Stand” is another very important command for your dog to learn. If you have a large dog, getting them to stand in the bathtub while you are bathing them is a blessing, not to mention brushing them after their bath. It is also easier for your veterinarian to examine them if they will stand on the table or the floor so the vet can look them over for any health issues. If you have a show dog and are going to show your dog in conformation, you need to teach them to stand. The judge examines the dog’s teeth, coat, spine and general physicality when the dog is standing, and they should not move.

I teach it by putting the dog at heel while standing and then telling them to “stand.” I walk in front of the dog while they are still standing and tell them to stay while putting my hand in front of their face, and back slowly away while still facing the dog. I practice this command several times, and use praise and a cookie when the dog obeys. If your dog is lying down you can reach under their tummy and raise them up into a standing position. If you do this, you need to steady your dog as you are raising them up. Once they are standing in one place, give the command “stand” and praise them when they stay still. Again you will need repetition if your dog doesn’t get it right away.

It takes lots of love, patience, praise and treats to be successful at teaching your dog these and other commands – but the rewards of having a well-trained dog are worth it!

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 Puppy His Name


By Julia Williams

When people adopt a puppy, one of the first things they usually do is name him. But once you’ve decided what to call your furry new friend, it’s just as important to begin immediately teaching your puppy his name. Why is it so essential? Because once your puppy learns to respond positively and immediately to his own name, teaching him other basic commands (such as sit, stay or lie down) will be much easier. When your puppy knows his name, you will be able to get him to focus his full attention on you instead of his surroundings. Thus, teaching your puppy his name is a fundamental base for any future training.

Your first objective is to teach your puppy that when you say his name, he must immediately stop whatever he’s doing, turn his head and look directly at you. With consistent training and patience, your puppy will eventually understand that the sound he hears is his own name. Later, you can teach your puppy that the sound of his name will be followed by a command.

Step One: Take your puppy to a quiet place with no distractions, armed with some dog treats (CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ are perfect treats for puppies) and a few toys that your puppy enjoys playing with.

Step Two: Put your puppy on a long lead, which will help you to keep him from wandering off if something attracts his attention elsewhere.

Step Three: Using a happy tone of voice, say your puppy’s name.

Step Four: If your puppy looks in your direction when you say his name, immediately reward him with a treat and praise, such as “good doggie.” Puppies are usually very attracted to the sound of your voice, and will naturally look towards you when you speak. By giving him a treat and praising him, you reinforce the desired behavior. Only say your puppy’s name once; if he doesn’t respond, you can gently tug his lead or touch his leg so he turns to look at you.

Step Five: Hold a treat up near your face so that your puppy has to look directly at you when you call his name. Doing this will ensure that you have his full attention.

Step Six: Swap a toy for the food treat, and use a few minutes of playtime as the reward for looking at you. Experiment with different treats, toys, and tones of voice to learn which ones are the best motivators for your puppy.

Step Seven: Repeat steps one through six several times during each training session until your puppy consistently looks at you when you say his name.

The next step in training your puppy to respond to his name is to introduce distractions. The goal is to teach your puppy that no matter where you are and no matter what else is happening around him, he needs to give you his full attention when you say his name. Try training him with other family members in the room, outside in your garden, at the local park or at someone else’s home.

Training your puppy in different environments or with distractions will likely be much more challenging at first (both for you and your puppy), but it is a great way to reinforce what your puppy is learning. Remember, your puppy wants to please you, so help him do that by remaining patient and taking this stage slow.

When teaching your puppy his name, it’s important that this sound only be associated with good things. In other words, try not to use your puppy’s name when you are scolding him. Otherwise, he will form a negative association with his name and may become confused or refuse to respond to you when you call his name.

Key points to remember:

* Keep your training sessions short (five or ten minutes at a time, several times each day), and keep them fun.

* Train your puppy before a meal so he’ll be more motivated to get the food treat. Just remember to account for the extra food in his daily rations, so as not to overfeed him.

* If more than one person will be teaching your puppy his name, make sure everyone understands what to do and uses the same technique.

* Be sure to give lots of praise along with the treat or toy reward, and always end each training session on a positive note.

If you follow these simple tips, your puppy will learn his name in no time at all!

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.

How to Give Your Dog a Bath


By Anna Lee

Humans need to bathe to remove grime, dirt and dust from our skin. Dogs need to be bathed to remove the dirt and grime from their coats. Dogs do have a natural “doggie smell” which a bath will help improve. It is part of a regimen that is important for the health of your dog. Bath time is also an opportunity for you to check for anything unusual on your dog’s body such as a lump, a scratch, or a tick, as well as a great bonding experience.

A dog does not need a bath as often as a human does. It is not recommended that you give your dog a bath more than once a week. You will judge when your dog is in need of one. I know when my dog needs a bath as she gets that “doggie” odor!

Supplies You Will Need

Dog shampoo is formulated for dogs and is the only shampoo you should use. Do not use the shampoo you use for your hair, or baby shampoo, or your bath soap. These products will dry out your dog’s coat. There are a variety of specialized dog shampoos such as whitening shampoo to be used on white dogs to eliminate the touch of yellow they sometimes get. There is odor control shampoo which is good for dogs that spend a lot of time outside, dog shampoo for sensitive or dry skin, and medicated shampoo. Choose the one that is right for your particular dog’s needs.

Towels are a must! I purchased a micro bath towel for my dog, which absorbs a lot of water. It’s important to get your dog as dry as possible. If you don’t have a micro towel, a large towel of any type will work. Old beach towels make excellent dog towels.

If you trim your dog’s nails yourself, have the nail timer handy too. You might as well use the dog toothbrush and toothpaste as the final part of the job. Finish up by rewarding your dog with a CANIDAE® dog treat or two.

The Bath Process

In order to keep your dog relaxed, continually talk to your dog during the bath. Your voice will be a calming influence and it will take his mind off of what you are doing if he isn’t one who enjoys a bath. The best way to shampoo a large dog would be outside with the garden hose. First you should thoroughly wet the dog’s coat. Apply a liberal amount of shampoo to the dog and rub it in. Use your hands to make sure you get all the nooks and crannies. While doing that, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to check for lumps, scratches or anything out of the ordinary. Once well lathered, give the dog a thorough rinse. It is not necessary to lather the dog twice unless there had been a run in with a skunk! If you have a small dog and have a utility sink, that would be the perfect spot for a bath.

Ears and Nails

Once the dog is almost dry, this is a good time to check the ears for wax. Labs are prone to wax building up because they have very close set ears which does not allow for good air flow. Since you have the dog’s attention it is a good opportunity to check the nails. If you brush your dog’s teeth this is a good opportunity to take care of that.

Rewards

By this point the dog is most likely getting a little bored with the bath game, and you are probably ready to put on dry shoes. Now it’s reward time! Take a few minutes to praise the dog for enduring the bath, throw his favorite toy or ball for him a few times and give him a dog biscuit as a reward. He will learn to associate bath time as a good thing.

A bath is necessary for the overall good health of your four legged pooch. If you follow the simple process outlined above, your dog will look good and smell nice – and be healthier, too. If, after all of this, you find it impossible to bathe your dog yourself, then go ahead and take him for a professional grooming. Check with your vet for a recommendation. The vet I use also has a groomer on staff for a reasonable price.

Read more articles by Anna Lee

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.