Monday, November 28, 2011

Train Your Dog to Stop Pulling

Walking on a leash does not come naturally to your dog. Does your dog practically yank you off your feet whenever you take it for a walk? Are you thinking about just putting your dog in the back yard for exercise and giving up walking all together? Do not give up yet. A few loose leash-training tips and your dog will be walking by your side, so you both can enjoy each other’s company. Whether you are a professional dog trainer or an amateur dog owner, all it takes is time and patience for successfully learning how to leash train a dog.
Patience Is the Key to Leash Training

The most important thing you need to leash train your dog is patience. If you are having a bad day or if you are not in the mood to deal with your exuberant dog, put off training for another day.

Get a six-foot long leash for leash training your dog. Choose a leash that is comfortable for your hand, since your dog will be pulling. Avoid leashes that pull out to 15 or 20 feet. Extend-a-leashes make keeping your dog under control too difficult, especially if there are other dogs nearby. Keep the thumb of your right hand through the loop and then drape the rest of the leash through the left hand, giving your dog about two feet of leash from his collar.

Use a clip collar rather than a choke chain or pinch collar. Your dog will learn quicker through positive reinforcement rather than through pain and fear. Your dog will actually enjoy training when you offer treats for positive behavior instead of tugging a choke chain for negative behavior.

Become the Most Important Thing in Your Dog’s Life

The basis of successful loose leash walking is to have your focus only on you. You must become the most exciting thing in your dog’s life. You do this by holding the leash and luring your dog toward you as you back away from him. Have your dog’s favorite treat or toy in your hand and just play with him as he follows you. Your dog will thing it’s playtime instead of training. Be generous with the treats and the praise, using a happy, excited voice.

Start your loose leash training without any type of distractions for your dog. This can be in your backyard or even in the house. When your dog constantly follows you and keeps focusing on you, venture into your neighborhood. If your dog starts pulling you and cannot focus, go back to practicing in your yard again. Stay in the yard with your dog following you until he is doing this 100 percent of the time.

Keep Training Short

As your dog follows you, put him in a sit or down every few minutes. This keeps your dog guessing, so he has to stay focused on you. This is also a great way for you to take a short break, especially if you are losing patience.

After a few seconds of sitting, have your dog follow you again. You will have more control over your dog’s behavior by stopping and having him sit every few minutes.

Keep your training sessions to about 10 or 15 minutes. You want to end the training on a positive note while your dog is having a good time and before he loses focus on you.

Start Your Dog Walking Beside You
Is your dog following you consistently yet? If you answered, “Yes”, then it is time to begin having your dog walk beside you. Follow the same procedure as you did when your dog was following you. Begin in your backyard or in the house, away from all distractions.

With your dog at your side, stand still. Try not to move, even if your dog starts pulling you. This is a difficult thing to do if you have a large dog but try not to move too much. Soon, your dog will figure out that he is not going for a walk and will either stand still and look at your or he will sit.

 As soon as your dog sits or looks at you, take a step. Most likely, your dog will get excited and pull again. Immediately stop and stand still again. You have heard the saying, “Patience is a virtue”, well your virtue is about to be tested. Do not take another step until the leash is loose and your dog sits down, even if it takes the entire training period.
Repeat this step repeatedly until your dog understands that you will not take another step until he is beside you. Eventually, your dog will walk beside you in your back yard without pulling. The next test is to go out into the neighborhood and continue training.

No matter what you are training your dog to do, it takes patience and perseverance. If you keep up with your training for a few minutes every day, your dog will be walking calmly beside you whenever you go for a walk.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Do You Feed Your Dog Too Many Treats?

Do You Feed Your Dog Too Many Treats?
Personally, I have fed my beagle too many treats in the past. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until he went to his yearly veterinarian visit and I was told that he had to lose at least 10 pounds. For a beagle, this is a lot of weight to lose, especially when he has a ravenous appetite.
Everyone in the family had to cooperate with my beagle’s diet or he would never lose weight. We threw out the dog biscuits and purchased low-calorie dog food developed for dog weight loss. My dog didn’t notice the change of dog food and gobbled it down without a problem. He just did not understand why he was not getting more. I used to fill his dog bowl without measuring his food and when I put him on a diet, he only got two cups of dog food per day. I fed him one cup in the morning and one cup at night.
I began making homemade dog treats and feeding them to Hunter only when he worked either for them, doing a trick or for good behavior. I broke the treats into very small pieces, just enough to let my beagle get a taste. I made dehydrated dog treats out of liver, beef and hamburger. Try making some of my homemade dehydrated dog treats for your dog. Although making dog treats is extra work, dogs love them and you do not have to worry about pet treats recalls.
My beagle’s diet was a huge success and he even got his waistline back! On his next veterinarian appointment, Hunter had lost 12 pounds and he looked great.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blue Wilderness Salmon Dog Food Review

Blue Wilderness Salmon is my new choice of dry dog food. My collie loves it and believe me, he is a picky eater. I had him on the Raw Food diet from the time he was a puppy until he was two years old. It became too difficult carrying raw food during the summer when we went camping or on other vacations. In addition, raw food wasn’t convenient if I had to bring my dog to the kennel.
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BLUE Wilderness Salmon
I searched all 100% grain free dog foods and tried Wellness Chicken first. Come to find out, my dog had an allergy to the chicken and ended up losing his fur, developing dry skin and constantly scratching. Once again, I went to the local Petco store and began comparing dog food labels. I read the Blue Wilderness ingredients and it came very close to the raw diet that my collie was used to. I liked the idea of the salmon, blueberry, potatoes and cranberry mixture for a balanced diet. Blue salmon also has fishmeal and chicken meal but the chicken in Blue doesn’t cause the allergic reaction of the Wellness dog food.
It took a couple of weeks to switch him completely to Wilderness dog food, mixing it with his other food so he wouldn’t develop digestive problems. After the two weeks, I fed my dog Blue Wilderness Salmon completely. Within one month, he stopped itching, his fur grew back and his coat is healthy and shiny.
My collie is still a picky eater and probably finishes about three cups of dog food every other day. I know this doesn’t sound like much but the vet said he’s healthy and he sure has the energy of a puppy.
Blue Wilderness Salmon works for my dog but if you are thinking of switching your dog to another dog food, watch for allergic reactions.