Category Archives: Snap-Bits

Teaching Your Dog Basic Commands: Come and Stay


By Ruthie Bently

“Come” and “stay” are important commands to teach your dog. They could save your dog’s life. I also teach the command “wait,” which is a variation on the sit/stay command or a long down, though your dog does not have to be in the down position.

I was lucky because Skye was already taught her basic commands when I got her, and was very well behaved. Teaching your dog to come is an easy command. Whether you are teaching a puppy or an adult dog, remember to have patience and only train your dog for fifteen minute intervals. This way they don’t get distracted or bored. As I mentioned in a previous article there are no time limits for training your dog. Each dog learns at their own pace, and you should never rush them or compare their progress to another dog’s progress.

The training tools needed are a collar (regular or choke collar), and a long lead line (cotton or nylon). I do not suggest using a retractable lead for training of any kind, though you could use one in a pinch. I use a twenty foot cotton lead, which is lightweight and easier for me to control, especially when I have a sixty pound dog on the other end. I also have plenty of CANIDAE Snap-Bits treats available, which I love because of their small size.

The “come” command is easier to teach if you have already taught your dog to sit, although it can be taught if your dog has not yet learned to sit. Attach the long lead to your dog’s collar and have them sit. Next, while facing your dog, walk backwards to the end of the lead so it is fully extended between you and your dog. Then call them in a happy voice and say “come” repeatedly until they come. If they don’t immediately get the idea, begin drawing the lead (with dog attached) toward you while you are repeating the word come. After they come to you, whether they do it on their own or with your help, praise them, give them a treat, or a hug and a pat on the head. Keep practicing and training until your dog has this one down.

You can also use the long lead to teach the “stay” command. Put your dog in a “sit” facing you and back away from your dog to the end of the line again, repeating the word stay as you back away. After you get to the end of the leash length, keep repeating the word stay for fifteen to thirty seconds. You want the dog to stay where they are until you give them your release word, which can be as simple as OK. I teach in increments of time beginning with about fifteen seconds and work my way up to one minute. If you go into open obedience classes with your dog, they will need to “stay” for longer than thirty seconds, but remember that your dog’s attention span when teaching a new command may be distracted by something else, so you want to make it easy and fun for them, without them getting bored.

I also teach the command “wait” to my dogs. This is a great command if you are getting your dog ready to go outside, to go for a ride in the car, or if you need to put something on the dog, like a different collar or a coat, sweater or boots. When I was teaching this command to Skye, I began by putting her in a “sit/stay,” which is basically getting your dog to sit, and then giving the stay command. Then you add the “wait” command. As Skye was already trained, I didn’t need to use a long lead; but you can teach it very easily that way. Put your dog in a “sit” and as before back away to the end of the lead’s length. Tell your dog to stay, then add the “wait” command. After your dog learns “wait,” you will not have to use the “stay” command; just put them on a sit and then say “wait” in place of the “stay” command you would use.

It is really a long “sitting stay” the way I use it, but it has come in handy. Most recently I took her with me to her favorite pet store to get her CANIDAE dog food and the cats’ FELIDAE. I have a small truck and while I have her leashed it is a short lead, which is designed to keep her close so she can’t climb out the window. While loading my purchases, Skye decided to get out of the truck. She was still leashed to the truck, but I was worried that she might hurt herself if she pulled on the leash too much. So I told her to wait, which she did. After I got the truck loaded, I unattached her leash while holding her collar, put her back in the truck, re-leashed her and off we went.

I learned this command from a man I used to work with who taught his Labrador Retrievers to sit and “wait” at any street corner or curbside they came up to. This may sound over-simplified, but if you live on a busy street and teach your dog the “wait” command when you get to the curb, this could be all it takes to save your dog’s life if they get out of the house unattended and go shooting for the street. I have come to the conclusion that you can never over-train a dog. They love to learn, and training will always keep them safer than not training them.

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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Tips for Socializing a Puppy


By Ruthie Bently

Every dog training book I have ever read has chapters about socializing your puppy. After living with a dog that was not properly socialized when she was younger, I understand the importance of socializing a puppy. You don’t want to live with a dog that barks at the mailman and delivery people. Or one that barks at every sound they hear outside, whether it’s your kids playing in your yard or a loud car stereo going by.

On the other hand, a dog that has not been socialized can also be a “Nervous Nellie” and may go hide in another room or under a piece of furniture. They can even be afraid of sounds inside the house, like the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher or clothes dryer. In a worst case scenario, they can become aggressive to other dogs or strangers that visit your home. So it is important to begin socializing your puppy as soon as you bring them home. But how do you go about it?

There are several ways to help you socialize a new puppy, and they don’t take a lot of effort. One good way is to enroll them in a puppy obedience class as early as possible, but make sure they’ve had all their shots first. Your puppy will get to meet other dog breeds, and by interacting with them will learn not to be nervous or fearful around them. When I took my first AmStaff to obedience class, I asked how many other dogs would be in his class. Since he was a younger, smaller dog, I wanted to get him into a class with fewer dogs. A smaller class is good because you can get more hands-on socializing, without overwhelming your new puppy.

The veterinarian’s office is also a good place for your puppy to have new experiences. They have a chance to interact with other pets and meet the vet and their staff. When you make your puppy’s first vet appointment, let the person you speak with know that you are bringing a new puppy, and that you would like help in socializing them. By having the vet and their staff make a fuss over your dog, your dog will learn that there is another place they are welcome to go and meet friendly people.

What about your local pet shop – are dogs allowed there? I managed one store in Illinois and we encouraged new puppy owners to bring in their dogs for a meet and greet. We asked for three things: 1) the puppy had to have a leash and collar (or harness) on; 2) we were allowed to give the puppy a cookie; 3) they should walk the puppy thoroughly before they brought it in to prevent “accidents.”

The place was large enough to negotiate with a puppy (or an adult dog), and the puppy got to help pick out their own toys and had fun being able to go into a store. Not only that, there were lots of people available (both workers and customers) to fawn over the puppy.

You can get your friends and family members involved in socializing your puppy too. Have a “meet the puppy” party, and supply puppy-sized treats in a dish by the door. CANIDAE Snap-Bits® are great for this; they are a perfect size, with a pleasant flavor, and they don’t have too many calories. Have the puppy next to you by the door and after the bell rings or they knock, open the door and hand the guest a treat for the puppy. If feeding your puppy between meals makes you uncomfortable, have the arriving guest get down on the puppy’s level and put out their hand for the puppy to smell, speaking to the puppy in a friendly voice and then have them pet the puppy. You can also ask a friend or family member with a dog to come over and meet your puppy. This way your puppy gets to meet other dogs in a safe arena under your supervision.

Are there any businesses in your town that hand out dog biscuits? Our bank has a treat jar right next to the lollipop jar at the drive through. Skye loves going for rides in the car, though I don’t take her with me when it is too hot or too cold out. By taking your dog for rides in the car when you can, they get used to going in the car and may be less apt to get carsickness, as it could be stress related. The dog park is a good place to meet dogs, but I recommend checking it out first before taking your new puppy. Go to the dog park and meet some of the other dogs’ owners, as well as the dogs, and see if you think your puppy is socialized well enough for that.

By following these simple ideas for socializing your puppy, you can meet new people and your puppy can make new friends as well. Nothing could be finer!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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 Train a Dog to Sit


By Ruthie Bently

When you live with a dog, they need to be as well-behaved as you would expect your human child to be. Having an unruly dog is just as bad, and can sometimes be worse than having an unruly child. Teaching your dog basic commands, whether in an obedience class with other dogs or with a private trainer, is important. You never know when you may have to use them, but the commands you have trained your dog to obey may be useful in saving their life.

There are no time limits for training your dog and you should not rush them to learn if they are a bit slow. Every dog is different and will learn at their own pace; you just need to have patience. You may even want to keep a training journal, because if you have training issues and need help it can be easier for someone to assess your dog if they can see your progress written down.

In obedience training with my own dogs, I learned that the easiest way to train a dog to sit was to use a tiny bit of bait, like a Snap-Bits® treat. I would put it in my hand, so that my dog could not see it or steal it, but was able to smell it. Then facing my dog, I started with my hand several inches above their nose and ran my hand with the treat, in line with their backbone back towards their tail. The easiest way for them to follow the treat is to lift up their head and they sit.

While my dog is beginning to sit, I say “sit” so they will learn to associate the word with the action. After they sit, I repeat the word “sit” several times and praise my dog for being good. If your hand is too far above your dog’s head, they may try and jump for the treat. Lowering your hand so it is closer to their head should take care of this. Sometimes, Skye will try and back up to get the treat. When she does this, I back her up against a fence, so there is a barrier behind her and she can’t back up any more.

I learned to teach the command ‘down’ by first putting my dog in a sitting position in front of me. Then, using a treat they couldn’t see in my hand or take away but could smell, I put my hand a few inches in front of their nose and lower my hand to the floor. Our trainer also taught us to look at the floor first, because our dog’s eyes would follow ours down to the floor and make it theoretically easier to get our dog to understand what we wanted. After my dog would lie down on the floor, I would put the treat between their front feet and say “down” several times and make much of my dog’s accomplishment.

When training a new command, I usually only work for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time, and about three times a day. If you are working with a puppy, even an older dog; you don’t want them to get bored. Keep it light and fun and they will have no problem with you wanting to train them, because they will think it is a new form of playing. After all is said and done, isn’t a well-behaved dog what we all want?

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?


By Linda Cole

I love sitting with my dogs outside in their pen, especially on warm, sunny afternoons. Trees provide plenty of shade as they patrol their territory. Their ears are pricked forward, adjusting as sounds float by in a gentle breeze. Interesting smells set their noses working overtime. At times, they sit and search the trees overlooking their pen for squirrels or neighborhood cats. Then, out of the blue, my dogs turn into a herd of grazing cows. Why do dogs eat grass?

Dogs are carnivores, but they are also omnivores. When hungry, a dog will eat whatever it can find. No matter how full they may be from scarfing down their normal meal of dog food, it seems like it’s never enough.

Vets have no real idea why dogs eat grass, but it’s believed by some that a dog’s diet included grass a long time ago. They are decedents of wolves and foxes who consumed grasses and berries when they ate their prey which were mainly herbivores. When these ancient animals couldn’t find food, it’s believed they turned to grass to fill their empty tummies.

Dogs aren’t picky eaters like cats. If my cats don’t like the smell from an offering before them, they stick their nose in the air and walk away. Dogs don’t care if their food comes from a bag, can, garbage container or some choice prize found hidden in the grass. They will scavenger anything they find laying around inside or out, including those “treats” they find in a cat box.

So if dogs like eating grass so much, why do they vomit it back up? Not once, but twice. It’s always twice. Many a dog owner has smiled at the look our dogs give us between one and two. A disgustingly bad tasting, sour look that indicates it didn’t taste that bad going down.

An old wives tale says your dog eats grass because he’s sick. Yes and no. Vets believe dogs eat grass to help relieve indigestion. Bile is secreted from their gallbladder into the stomach which helps break up fats. When their stomach is empty, they can get a sort of indigestion from the built up bile. Dogs will eat grass to make themselves throw up to get rid of the excess acid caused by the secretion of bile.

Vets also think some dogs simply like to eat grass. The nice, neatly mowed grass that makes up our lawns is soft and has a sweet taste. This grass is the best type for them to eat. More weedy types of grass can scratch and irritate their esophagus. If you see a slightly bloody froth after your dog throws up, they have gotten into a patch of weedy grass. It’s believed some dogs simply crave a good mouthful of greens every now and then. That’s when they seem to be able to keep it down.

If your dog eats grass regularly and throws it up, it could be cause for concern. A vet visit may be in order to make sure there is no underlying illness that hasn’t shown up yet. A dose of antacids can be prescribed by your vet to help get rid of that acid feeling your dog has, thereby curbing his desire to eat grass.

Another way to help discourage your dog from eating grass is to spread his food into smaller meals throughout the day. Keeping food in his stomach will help eliminate the acidic feeling your dog gets from an empty stomach. A round of treats like CANIDAE® Snap-Bits™ before going to bed can also help, or you can sprinkle a little bran on his main meal (bran helps fill the stomach).

It’s normal for dogs to eat grass, and it won’t hurt them. Just be careful not let them eat grass that’s been treated with any kind of chemicals. Once they’ve had a chance to break down, which isn’t usually very long, the grass is safe for your dog to graze on to his heart’s content.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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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 Dog Grooming: Supplies and Procedures


By Ruthie Bently

Each dog breed is different, and there are many hair types, show clips and grooming procedures for them. The basics of dog grooming, however, apply to every dog, whether it’s a Labrador Retriever, an Airedale Terrier, a Poodle or a Portuguese Water Dog. When grooming your dog, they should be relaxed and this should be an enjoyable experience for them.

Basic grooming supplies include a brush, comb, shampoo, conditioner (for longer coats), detangler, ear cleaner, toothpaste, toothbrush, dog toenail clippers, styptic pencil or powder, cotton balls and CANIDAE® Snap-Bits™ dog treats. All supplies should be for use on pets, not humans. The ph of our hair is different and you could dry out your dog’s coat and remove essential oils by using shampoo made for people. There are many good dog shampoos on the market and some of them are even “tearless.” I use the Snap-Bits after I groom Skye as an enticement for the next time, and they always work.

Brushing your dog removes dead hair and stimulates the glands that produce the natural oils which lubricate their skin and coat. I am constantly combing burrs and thistles out during the months when they are plentiful. I usually brush Skye’s coat outside as soon as the weather is warm enough to do so. Though she is a short-coated dog, like many dogs that shed, she can really blow coat in the spring and fall. I brush head to tail and use a rubber palm pad. The rubber creates a static charge with the hair and the hair sticks to the brush and massages Skye’s skin at the same time.

Bathing is important for all dogs regardless of age. Your dog’s activity level, what they get into, and how much they groom themselves will give you an idea how many baths they need in a year. There is no hard and fast rule, though some say you should bathe your dog at least once a month. If you have a dog that loves to roll in smelly things, or dig in the mud, you may have to bathe them more often. It’s good to bathe your dog yourself if you can, as it gives you a chance to examine them for injuries or any other abnormalities that a groomer may not be looking for. I found a cyst on my first dog’s back that way, before it came through his skin and became a major health issue.

Cleaning their ears is important because it lets you check for infection, ticks or ear mites that may be there. You can also look for anything that may have gotten lodged in your dog’s ears from their outside excursions. I clean out any heavy debris with cotton balls, and then use ear cleaner. Most ear cleaners are very easy to use; the one I use is self-drying and just gets squirted into the ear and then Skye shakes her head to remove it. You have to take more care with a dog whose ears droop, as it is easier for them to get an infection.

Cleaning their teeth is important because you can keep plaque from forming. You can also check your dog’s teeth for cracks, breaks or cavities that may be forming. It is important to use a toothpaste made specifically for dogs. Some human toothpastes have chemicals and artificial sweeteners in them that are toxic to dogs. Many veterinarians anesthetize a dog to clean their teeth. Depending on your dog’s age, this could be dangerous. There are human dental hygienists that clean dog’s teeth and use natural products and no anesthesia, but they can be difficult to find, so cleaning your dog’s teeth yourself is a win-win situation.

Keeping your dog’s toenails clipped prevents them from scratching and hurting themselves or you and your loved ones. It also keeps them from getting their toenails caught in fabrics or damaging the floors and furniture in your home. There are many types of clippers on the market, I know a breeder who uses a Dremel tool to trim her dogs’ toes because she likes the job it does. Having styptic powder is important if your dog has darker or black nails, as mistakes can happen and the styptic powder will stop the bleeding.

I love grooming Skye, as it gives us more special time together and my attention is wholly focused on her, which she loves. It doesn’t take much of my time and we get to bond further and get even closer. It has a calming effect on me and her occasional antics are hilarious, even if half of the bath water ends up on me.

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.

Responsible Pet Ownership – What it Means to Me


By Anna Lee

When we become pet owners we become the caretakers of those pets. We, the humans, are the responsible ones – it is up to use to do the right thing. We need to make sure we provide healthy and quality food, such as the CANIDAE® Beef and Fish Formula dry dog food, now in a re-sealable bag. We also need to provide proper vet care, discipline when necessary, and give love all the time no matter what.

Anything worth having is worth the work involved. A puppy needs your time and your involvement. Older dogs require even more time and work. There is a financial responsibility in pet ownership. Take all these things into consideration before getting a pet. Once you have one your life will change, and it will change for the good!

What does the phrase “responsible pet ownership” mean to you? Being a pet owner brings responsibilities that you cannot and should not ignore. I have some thoughts on responsible pet ownership, and I have chosen to pass them along in my own unique way, in the form of a poem. This style of poetry uses the first letter of each line to spell out another message, i.e., “Responsible Pet Ownership.”

Reality is taking care of your pet even if you don’t feel well.
Every day is a new opportunity to love your pet.
Sensible feeding habits will produce a healthy dog or cat.
Plan to spend quality time with your pet each and every day.
Only buy age and size appropriate toys for your pets.
Never give your dog bones of any type.
Share the love, get a rescue pet.
Instead of people food, give your dog CANIDAE Snap-Bits® treats.
Be the best pet owner you can be.
Life is full of challenges – like housebreaking!
Enrich your life with a pet.

Pets need food, water, shelter, medical care and lots of love.
Even though you may want a puppy, adopt an older dog.
Training is hard work, but it will pay off in the long run.

Only you make your dog’s eyes smile.
When you are feeling sad, your dog will make you feel good again.
Nothing says love more than a wet sloppy kiss from a pet.
Everyone loves double fun; get two puppies or two kittens!
Research shows petting an animal reduces our blood pressure.
Show the world what it means to be a responsible pet owner.
How you treat your pets reflects your personality.
Invest in quality items for your pets; they’ll stand the test of time.
Pets – we need them in our lives!

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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.