Category Archives: training dogs

How to Make Your Dog Training More Effective

dog trainingBy Langley Cornwell

There are some breeds of dog that have a reputation for being very smart, eager to please, and easy to train. What some people don’t realize is that all dogs are smart and can be trained; it’s just a matter of knowing what you are doing and being willing to challenge your dog. Many times, inexperienced trainers will stick with the activities their dogs have picked up quickly rather than training to their dog’s weaknesses. It’s important to continue practicing and drilling the activities your dog seems to have a block about, to gently and expertly push him to learn the things that seem hard for him to catch on to. This will obviously result in a better trained dog, but it will also foster a stronger bond between the two of you.

Dogs can be headstrong. For example, if you have a dog that you have taught to shake hands by lifting a paw, it can be difficult to get that same smart dog to shake using the other paw. Just like humans, dogs develop habits and it is up to the trainer to help erase any mental blocks a dog may have developed. Rather than just accepting that your dog only shakes with his right paw, it will benefit your dog to work with him so that he can and will alternate as you ask.

When a dog has learned and eagerly performs a series of “tricks” in order to get a CANIDAE PURE Chewy Treat, he knows what to expect. He may have to sit, shake, lie down and roll over, but as soon as the routine is complete he wants his dog treat. In order to train to a dog’s weakness, that routine needs to be changed up a bit. If you reward him for the same rote performance day in and day out, he is not being challenged and basically he has you trained. Dogs need mental stimulation. A dog that is not challenged may become bored and obstinate, and may eventually refuse to perform the skills he knows well.
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What Does It Take to Train a Service Dog?

By Langley Cornwell

Don’t we all marvel at the calm, focused demeanor of service dogs? My husband and I were being seated for lunch last week when I immediately noticed a giant Newfoundland calmly lounging under the bar. The dog wore a bright red “service dog” vest. My eyes traveled up to the gentleman sitting above the pup, eating his lunch, and I gave him a weak, polite smile. I didn’t want to gawk, but the dog captured my attention and it was hard to turn away.

Some time later when I was convinced the gentleman wasn’t looking, I stealthily pulled out my camera phone and snapped a photo. Don’t judge! Have you ever seen a Newfie service dog? It was a sight to behold. Congratulating myself on my sleight of hand, I snuck a look at the image. The photo was blurry. I’m clearly not cut out for the spy business.

I really wanted a closer look at this dog before the guy left, so I approached him, introduced myself and told him I was an avid animal lover and was mesmerized by his dog. He beamingly said she was one of only a handful of Newfoundland service dogs, told me about her special training, and allowed me to pet her. When I got up to leave, he said “Do you want to take another picture? I’m sure the first one didn’t turn out too well.” I laughed and told him I was trying to be sneaky. He confirmed that I need to keep my day job.

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Six Ways to Boost Your Pet’s Brainpower

By Linda Cole

When it comes to learning, dogs and cats process information in two different ways:  “fluid intelligence” (smarts they are born with) and “crystallized intelligence” (how they process what they’ve learned). This is according to Stanley Coren, PhD, a psychology professor and author of How Dogs Think. We can’t do much about our pet’s fluid intelligence, but we can help them expand learned intelligence and boost their brainpower by introducing them to new things that keep their mind sharp.

Increase Their Vocabulary

Most of us talk to our pet daily, but what we don’t do is teach them what a word means. Training is the art of teaching a dog or cat to associate a command (word or phrase) with an action. Even when we aren’t consciously trying to teach, our pets pay attention to what we say and can learn word association on their own. If you tell your dog “go do your business” and then praise him for doing it, he learns what that phrase means. Our furry friends are comforted by our voice and pay more attention than you may realize. Never underestimate a dog or cat’s intelligence. They can learn if you take the time to teach.

Work on Training

Teaching your dog basic commands helps the bonding process because of the time, attention and positive reinforcement you give them. Learning is a healthy workout for the mind, and daily reinforcement of commands will help boost your pet’s memory. Some dogs may be stubborn, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach them. Cats may seem incapable of learning, but they just need a little more incentive and motivation. With patience, dedication and commitment, you can teach a dog or cat anything that is within their ability.

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Training a Sensitive Dog

By Linda Cole

Dogs have different personalities just like we do. Each one is an individual who does show us how they feel, as long as we pay attention. Dogs can be confident, laid back and eager to please their owner. Others show a more sensitive side. It can take a little more prodding to train a sensitive dog, because you first have to gain his trust. If your dog seems hesitant, he may be sensitive.

We’ve been taking care of a friend’s dog since late winter. Dozer is a gentle and loving dog who acts like he wants to do what we ask, but he’s sensitive. Because he belongs to a friend, we were hesitate to get too involved with training him, but he needs to know basic commands whether he’s here or with his owner. We began a normal training program with him and failed miserably. Since conventional methods weren’t working, we needed to change tactics to gain his trust and help him find his confidence.

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How to Deal with Food Aggression in Pets

By Linda Cole

You may have a loving pet who would never do anything to hurt a family member – as long as no one touches his food. A food aggressive dog or cat is more apt to be given to a shelter or put down because their owner didn’t know how to deal with the problem. Food aggression doesn’t mean you can’t live with the pet; it simply means you need to change their behavior to one that’s acceptable to you. Here are some tips on what to do (and what not to do) when dealing with food aggression in pets.

Food aggression in dogs is a serious and potentially dangerous issue that needs to be stopped before it gets out of hand. When a dog growls at other pets or people while he eats, or even when his bowl is empty, he’s showing food aggression. It’s never cute, and a puppy who shows signs of food aggression needs his behavior changed before he grows into an adult.

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What is a Martingale Collar?

By Linda Cole

I was searching for a new collar for one of my dogs awhile back and ran across an odd looking one I’d never seen before. I had no idea how it even went on the dog, so I hung it back up and continued my search. Recently, I learned what it was – a Martingale collar – and why it’s one I need to consider. What is a Martingale collar, and what makes it better than some of the other choices we’ve had in the past?

What threw me when I saw the Martingale collar was the little loop on the back that appeared to have no function that I could see. However, that loop is what makes the collar a more humane one over the chain choke collar I’ve been using on my dogs.

I had a female Siberian Husky who kept escaping from her buckle collar. After so many times of chasing her down the street and screaming her name in vain as she raced away, I decided I needed a collar she couldn’t wiggle out of. She always came back, but that’s beside the point. I sure could have used a Martingale collar back then, but at that time, my only choice was a chain choke collar.

Choke collars are controversial for good reason. They were made for training purposes and aren’t supposed to be used as a regular collar for a dog. However, many owners find them useful in controlling their dog or as a collar for dogs like mine who wiggle out of a buckle collar. They should be used with extreme care though. If used incorrectly or by an overly aggressive owner, a choke chain can be very harmful to dogs.

A choke chain does exactly what the name implies. It can also damage the dog’s soft muscle tissues and  trachea, and can cause injuries to a dog’s spine, especially if the collar is put on wrong. The skin can easily be pulled through the metal ring of the collar or pinch the skin. Worn incorrectly, the choke chain won’t function properly during training sessions and the dog becomes confused as to what’s expected of him. He did what was asked, but if the chain doesn’t release its tension, the dog thinks he’s still being corrected. This type of collar should never be used on any small breed dog or on puppies.

A Martingale collar works in a similar way as the choke collar, but it can’t be pulled so tight it chokes the dog or causes injury to the neck. It tightens just enough to get the dog’s attention and releases the tension when the leash is relaxed.

This collar was originally designed for dogs with heads smaller than their necks, mainly the sight hounds like the Greyhound or Saluki. However, this is a good collar for any dog owner who has a wiggly dog who can escape a buckle collar or a larger breed that’s harder to handle and likes to pull on his leash. When the dog pulls on his leash, the Martingale collar will tighten just enough to keep the dog from backing out of it. Once the dog relaxes and stops pulling, the collar loosens on his neck. It’s also called a limited slip collar or Greyhound collar.

The proper fit of a Martingale collar is gauged by the two metal rings on the back of the collar holding the little loop that’s attached to a leash. When the collar tightens, the two rings should never meet. If they do, the collar is too big and the dog will be able to back out of or wiggle out of this collar. The purpose of the rings is to allow the collar to tighten just enough to keep the dog secure. Once you have the correct fit, it can be taken on and off the dog without having to readjust it.

A Martingale collar is not a half-check collar. It looks similar, but the Martingale is made entirely of nylon which reduces the chance of the dog’s hair or skin getting caught in chain. They’re sold in narrow or wider widths for better control. You can find Martingale collars with the little loop made out of chain.

It can be used as your dog’s regular collar, but the small loop can get caught on things, so it’s highly recommended to remove the Martingale collar anytime the dog is left unattended or allowed to wander on his own, especially while hiking. Put a regular buckle collar on your dog as his main collar and use the Martingale when he’s on a leash for safer control for you and him.

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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.