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Successful Crate Training Is Easier Than You Think

    Crate training has many useful benefits. It helps prevent separation anxiety as well as assist in potty training and overall management of new dogs and puppies. Proper crate training is easy, yet it is usually overlooked and not done properly or effectively. Today I am going to share with you some easy steps to ensure proper crate training.

     It is important to remember that dogs are den animals by nature, and the crate should represent their den. It should be a safe place for them to go either when you need them put up or they need a break from the world. In order to accomplish this we must make sure we teach our dogs that the crate is their den and not a scary place that their owners put them in. Follow these simple rules and you will have success:

  • Never use a crate as a punishment, if your dog is being bad and needs to have a time out make sure you make going into the crate a happy and friendly venture
  • Throw treats in the crate so your dog will go into it willingly
  • When in the crate, give your dog a good value reward for being in it,  and this will also give them something to focus on
  • Start giving regular meals inside the crate without shutting your dog in it
  • Do not allow your dog to be taunted or bothered while in the crate
  • Never open the crate to let your dog out if they are barking, whining, or being unruly

     These steps are the basics of crate training. Obviously there are dogs that have special circumstances with crates and it is a good idea to seek the help of a trainer to address these. Another thing to keep in mind is the type and location of the crate. These two aspects can set you and your dog up for success or failure before you even start training. When choosing a type of crate, remember that you want it to be den-like. Crates with solid sides or sides with small windows will help them feel more comfortable. However if you have a wire crate your can simply place a blanket over the crate to get the same closed in affect. When choosing a location, remember that it should be somewhere that can be a quite place that isn’t in direct sight main entry ways. This will keep initial excitement lower than if its right by the front door. These decisions of crate type and location will help ensure success.

     The size of the crate is really only important when using it to potty train dogs. The crates should be just big enough for them to stand up, turn around, and lay down, no bigger. Once they have been potty trained you can increase the size to give them more room. If you buy a large crate to begin with simply use boxes or something similar to block off access to the back of the crate until potty training is complete. I hope these simples rules and tips have helped and if you have any questions please get in touch with a trainer near you.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Monster Dog Makeover Update.

     The Monster Dog Makeover contest has ended and the winner is Comet Guy. Comet is a small white Bichon mix that was rescued only months ago. When Comet first came toPetSafeVillagefor training he knew very little and would seldom obey. He was very afraid of new people and dogs and was very nervous. Because the training program is a total behavior makeover, these issues and more have been addressed.

     Comet started his training two weeks ago and has come a long way. In addition to learning all of the training commands, Comet has also been involved in out Tiny Tots daycamp. This has really helped Comet overcome his anxiety with other dogs. He has also gotten much better with new people because he is around many new people everyday. Special thanks go out to everyone here at PetSafe who have helped me with Comet and allowed him to make a vast improvement.

     If you know anyone who has a dog that can benefit from a total behavior makeover feel free to recommend them to the training program. From unruly, uncontrollable dogs to those who need a confidence boost, the unleashed program can really make a difference in your dog’s behavior.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Don’t let the bugs bite!

     As spring ends and summer begins it is important to remember that extra precaution must be taken to keep our fury friends flea, tick, and heartworm safe. Many of us get outside with our dogs more as the weather gets nicer. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes also get more active as the weather gets nicer. This creates many more opportunities for dogs and cats alike to encounter problems with these pests. The good news is that there are some simple precautions that can be taken to make sure your pets stay safe from the effects of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.

     Fleas and ticks can be spotted by looking over your pets daily, and are easily treated. A monthly topical or oral treatment such as advantix or frontline can keep fleas and ticks from making your pet their home. It is important to remember, however, that these preventions only work after your pet has been bitten by fleas or ticks. This doesn’t cause much of a problem in the case of the fleas, but the ticks can embed themselves well into a dog or cat before the medication kills them. This is why it is important to check your pets daily, if not every time they come in from playing outside. These two simple steps will help your pet stay free of pesky invaders, but it will not help fight heartworms.

     Heartworms pose a serious threat to a animals health, and can result in death. This is why it is very important to understand heartworms and what can be done to prevent them. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes when an infected mosquito bites an animal. It is important to religiously give your pet heartworm prevention to keep this problem at bay. Because of the serious nature of heartworms, it is also a good idea to take extra precautions. If you live around an area that has a lot of mosquitoes it would be a good idea to use a fogger to treat the area and kill the mosquitoes. Another step could be to avoid going to public areas such as parks and lakes with your pets around dusk and dawn as the mosquitoes are more active around this time. Taking the precautionary steps will keep you worry free about the risk of heartworms in you pets.

     It is important to get out and enjoy the outdoors with you pet. They will love the time spent with you outside and enjoy the exercise as well. As long as consideration is taken for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes there should be no health issues arise because of them. Talk to your veterinarian about these medications and they can recommend the best solution for you and your pet.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Traveling With Fido

     The first phase of the Monster Dog Makeover contest is almost over. The deadline for entry is May 31st, which is Thursday. I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone to enter for a chance to win a free off leash training program, and two runners up will receive 3 private lessons for free. If you haven’t registered yet, or know someone who could benefit from this training, make sure to get squared away by Thursday. I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend, and I want to discuss traveling with your dog today.

     Many dogs love to go for car rides, and my dog Jiri is no exception. If my truck door opens he will jump right in, and when driving down the road he will poke me with his nose to get me to open his window. Even though many dogs love car rides, it is important to remember that they can still get car sick on long trips. My dog suffers from this and I have learned to cope with it as he usually attends my road trips. If your dog is like mine, he will gladly go on any road trip with you, but if your not careful he will leave a nice present for you to clean up when you arrive at your destination.

     There are a few things that can be done to help alleviate the symptoms of car sickness on long drives. First and foremost, try to keep your dog from starring outside the car. This is done by simply getting them to lay down and relax. If you have a dog who is overly anxious or excited during the whole trip try getting some medication to help calm them down from your vet. Another great practice is to stop and give them breaks every two to three hours. This will allow them to get out and stretch their legs, and get back on firm ground for a while. Taking breaks will help reset your dog before they get sick, and giving them water is a good idea, but do not feed them as the food may increase the sickness. These two simple tricks will go a long way in helping you and your dog cope with car sickness that occurs on road trips.

     There are obvious things that should be avoided though, such as letting them ride in the bed of a truck, or going hours on end without stopping for water and potty breaks. This should be common knowledge, but I must mention it. I encourage everyone to take their dogs with them on trips whenever possible. Taking Fido on a trip with you should be fun and rewarding. Make sure you plan to accommodate them and the possibilities could be endless.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Monster Dog Makeover

     Does your dog need a behavior makeover in a bad way? Or maybe your friend or neighbor has the worst dog inKnoxville. The good news is that help is here!PetSafeVillageand I are hosting the first dog behavior makeover contest called the “Monster Dog Makeover.” The winner of this contest gets a free pass to the PetSafe Village Signature Series Unleashed Training Program, and two runners up get three free private training sessions. The details of this contest can be found on our website as well as in local media sources. Today I want to tell you a little more about the contest and the training program.

     The contest works in a pretty simple fashion, and anyone can apply. To submit an application all you have to do is visit Petsafevillage.com and fill out the online form. We are requesting that everyone submit videos of their dog’s monster-like behavior, but it is not required. A simple detailed explanation will work fine. The deadline for applications is May 31st. A panel of judges will select the top 10 finalists and a popular vote will be held through facebook. The dog with the most votes wins. It’s that simple. After the winner is announced, the training will be scheduled to begin.

     The Unleashed Training Program consists of four weeks of training atPetSafeVillage. There is a long list of extras that the dogs get while they are here for the training, including daycamp if they meet the criteria to participate. At the end of the four weeks, the dogs are trained to obey off leash. After the stay here atPetSafeVillage, there are follow up appointments for a full year to ensure the training is maintained, and to address any issues that are specific to the home. This training program is very comprehensive and truly becomes a behavior makeover for the participant.

     Now is the time to finally do something about Fido’s bad behavior, andPetSafeVillageis providing an easy way to accomplish this. The comprehensive behavior makeover that is being given away during the Monster Dog Makeover contest gives contestants the opportunity to get the professional help they need. Don’t be the one who wishes they had done something about their dog’s behavior; be the one who has a dog that is the new envy of the town. Go to PetSafeVillage.com and sign up today!

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Avoid Teaching Your Dog The “Chase” Game

     When we bring our new four-legged addition to the family home for the first time, it is easy to be blinded by our new found love. And for good reason, who wouldn’t adore a new furry friend that thinks you are the center of the universe and is more than willing to shower you with kisses? Then a few weeks or months pass by and all of a sudden you find yourself in the middle of a unwanted game of chase ten minutes before you have to leave for work. After you finally corral your dog you have to tell the embarrassing story to your boss to explain why you are late. There are some very simple solutions to this problem, no matter what stage you find yourself in.

     The old saying a once of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure is exemplified in this scenario. When your dog is feeling a little rambunctious and grabs that off limits object, do everything in your power not to get flustered and try to get it from him. This is how the game of chase starts! I know, I know, it’s your favorite pair of shoes, or your best decorative pillow, but I assure you your dog has no sentimental attachment to the item. It has become one big game to him!

     If you find yourself with a energetic puppy who is trying everything he can to get your attention, do yourself a favor, when he grabs that inappropriate towel just take a deep breath, relax, grab one of his toys and invite him over to play with it. By offering him to play with something that is his you will teach your dog that if he wants you to play  all he has to do is grab his toy and bring it to you. If you chase him around and make a big deal about him having your slippers, he will know all he has to do is grab them and start running around and you will chase him. This scenario can quickly snowball out of control so it is much easier to prevent it from starting than it is to fix it.

     For those of us that fall into the “already taught” category, don’t stress too much. There are a few easy ways to help you overcome this problem and reverse the snowball. Remember your dog has learned to have you chase him because it has become a big game and now we are going to change the rules of the game. The next time he grabs the pillow and takes off running from you, turn the tables on him by grabbing one of his favorite toys, and while making sure he knows you have it, run the opposite direction making a big deal about having the toy. This should certainly spark his interest and make him come running in your direction. Once your dog is coming after your kneel down and start playing keep away with him. By kneeling it will prevent you from trying to revert back to chasing him, and it will make you more playful in his eyes. This will in turn evolve the game of chase into grabbing his own toys and having you play keep away with hm.

     Now, if your dog is waiting until you go outside to play this great game, you will want to address the issue in a similar way. Knowing that he is going to play this game, equip yourself with the tools to fix the problem. Grab that great toy and when he starts running from you pull it out and let him see it. Then, run towards the house and make a big deal about the toy. When he gets to you play with him using the toy to ensure your dog maintains a drive for the toy. This will also allow you to gain control by grabbing his collar. It is important to remember not to get mad and once inside continue to play with him. Otherwise you will teach him not to want the toy.

     As with any behavior you are trying to teach or correct, consistency is paramount. If you are not consistent your dog will quickly learn that if he is persistent enough he will get his way. Furthermore, the entire family has to be on board and doing the same thing or you will just be spinning your wheels. Remember, don’t create the game by ignoring the fact he has your stuff and offer to play with him using his toys. And, if you have already taught the game, turn the table in your favor by grabbing a valued toy and running away from him. While consistency is important, so is keeping your wits about. Be calm and confident while taking control of the situation and you and your dog will live happily ever after.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A Tired Dog Is A Good Dog

     Almost everyone who has owned a young dog understands the seemingly unlimited energy they posses. This energy can be very fun and rewarding when expressed appropriately. However, if it is not expelled it could mean big trouble for both the dog and owner. I always tell people that the energy and drive is going to be used, and if the owner does not direct it the dog will and I promise they won’t like the way Fido exercises by himself. Pent up energy can lead to numerous behavioral problems, and many of them are easily written off as a different issue all together.

These behavior problems include: Jumping, chewing, destroying your belongings, digging, barking, getting into the trash, running away or bolting, playing keep away from you with your stuff, nipping, and biting.

      This list is only some of the issues that may arise, and some of them are sure to occur if you do not exercise your dog. There are many ways to exercise your effectively and today I am going to address what I refer to as the three spheres of exercise, their affects on behavior, and how to effectively address each. These three spheres of exercise are:

  1. Physical exercise: It is no secret that dogs need a lot of physical exercise. This allows them to get their blood flowing, run, play, and drain the pure energy that they have. It is imperative that dogs get to run and play daily! While walks around the neighborhood are very important, they do not do a whole lot to drain all that pent up energy. How many times have you finished a nice long walk just to have your dog be ready to go again ten minutes later? Physical exercise means running and playing, get them breathing hard and wear them out.
  2. Mental exercise: Many people overlook the fact that dogs need to be challenged mentally as well. Their body may be tired, but if their mind is still fresh they will still get in trouble. Satisfy this by teaching tricks and practicing them daily. Interactive toys that make them think such as dog puzzles and hidden treat toys are a great way to strain their brain without taking all of your time. Remember that mental exercise can make up for physical exercise in times of inclement weather or when you just have too much going on to adequately run them.
  3. Drive exercise: This is one of the most overlooked aspects of a well rounded exercise routine, but in fairness may be one of the more difficult to accomplish. Most dogs, even mixed breeds, have certain drives characteristics that fuel who they are. Herding breeds like to coral and chase things, terriers like to dig and “kill” things, retrievers like to retrieve, and so on. Allowing your dog to practice these behaviors will satisfy the need to do them randomly. Ease this by providing a sand box for your terrier to dig up hidden toys, this will help with digging  in other inappropriate areas. Or make sure you play a nice long, fun game of fetch with you lab or retriever a couple times a week.

      The good news is that if done correctly, you can kill at least two, and sometimes three, birds with one stone. Playing games that address all of these three exercise needs will ensure your pet is healthy and happy, and will help alleviate those behavior problems brought about by boredom. Now, this is the real world and many of us have families and busy lives. A great way to ensure your dog gets the exercise they need and deserve is to plan ahead. When you know your not going to have time to wear Fido out try planning a day for him at day camp, and have a tired well behaved dog when you pick him up. An alternative is to take advantage of the numerous dog parks we have aroundKnoxville. Nothing will wear a dog out like letting them run and play with friends that can really keep up.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized