Archive for January, 2012

Help for the Ball Obsessed

Playing fetch with your dog is great exercise for you and him. Some dogs, however, become too enthusiastic and develop a ball obsession. They get so focused on the ball that nothing else matters. They constantly stare at the ball, bug the heck out of you to throw it or even sleep with a ball in their mouths. Many people find this incredible frustrating because their dog never seems to relax and just hang out. Working, herding and sporting dogs such as shepherds, collies, pinchers, labs, spaniels, huskies and boxers have been bred to perform jobs and fetching the ball is instinctual to them. Any breed of dog though can become ball fixated. Luckily, there are ways to train your dog to play with the ball without overdoing it.

Dangers of Ball Obssession

It’s important to determine if your dog loves chasing the ball or if she is really ball obsessed. A balanced dog can play with other toys, kids and dogs. An obsessed dog seems to go into a trance.  The body stiffens, eyes glaze over and the pupils become fixated. Instead of being fun, fetching the ball becomes a matter of life and death. Some other things to consider:

• Does your dog abandon everything to play fetch?

• Does your dog prefer fetch above all other things?

• Is your dog neurotic about the ball?

• Is you dog destructive and anxious without the ball?

The more you answer yes, the more likely it is that your dog truly has a ball fixation. While playing fetch with your dog outdoors is a great way to release pent up energy, true ball fixation can cause problems such as:

• Safety issues for your dog. He may be so focused that he runs into the street or other dangerous areas.

• Safety issues for others. Your dog may stop at nothing to go after the ball, knocking down people, kids and other dogs in the way.

• Heat exhaustion. Some dogs do not understand the need for a rest break and a drink of water.

• Not following you as the pack leader. You must establish rules and limitations during playtime so your dog will follow your command.

• Not socializing with other dogs. A ball-obsessed dog typically will not run or play with other dogs if a ball is in sight.

Tips for Breaking Ball Obsession

Your dog loves boundaries and rules. When playing fetch, it’s up to you to set boundaries of what is acceptable behavior.

1. Learn to recognize when your dog is going into an obsessive state. Look for the physical signs of dog obsession in your pooch and correct her in the early stage before the obsession takes over.

2. Take your dog on a walk before playing ball. This will help expend any pent-up energy and allow him to play in a less frenzied state.

3. Get your dog calm before throwing the ball. Ask him to sit and make eye contact with you. Reward him by throwing the ball. Use a calm, assertive energy and avoid getting him worked up by saying things such as ,”You want it? You want it? Go get it!!!!!!!”

4. Allow your dog to play with a ball at home without playing fetch. Being near the ball will desensitize him and help bring down the level of obsession.

5. Teach the “all gone” command. Put the ball away and out of sight and say, “All gone.” Then ignore your dog when she asks for the ball. Be consistent and always follow through on this command.

6. Buy a ball chucker. You’ll be able to throw the ball three times further than by hand and give your dog more exercise in a shorter time. Another big plus? No more bending over to pick up a slobbery ball!

7. Alternate toys. If your dog is fixated on a certain ball, mix it up. Between throws, try a frisbie or different type of ball. Keeping the energy up will help stop him from obsessing on one object.

Dawg Gone Good’s Best Fetch Toys

Planet Dog Bamboo                    K-9 Vibram Disk                       JW Toys Duck Dummy
Chucker

                                 

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Is Agility Training Right for Your Dog?

Do you have a pooch potato? One way to get your dog out and exercising is to try agility training. In this fun-filled activity, you direct your dog through an obstacle course and his performance is scored for speed and accuracy. Dogs learn to follow commands from afar and jump and weave through special equipment such as hoops, tunnels and teeter totters. Many dog lovers participate in agility just for fun but if you discover your dog is an agility athlete, you can participate in timed trials for competitions.

Best Breeds for Agility Training

Dogs between the ages of 9 months and 8 years do best in agility training. All breeds may participate but dogs descended from a working breed with medium builds tend to be better suited to the training. The best breeds include cattle dogs, shepherds, sheepdogs, poodles, pinschers, terriers, schnauzers, retrievers, collies and spaniels. Dogs with short noses such as bulldogs, boxers and pugs; giant breeds such as great danes or mastiffs, and dogs with short legs, such as dachshunds, may have difficulty with this type of training.

Personality Traits Needed for Agility Training

To have fun with agility, your dog needs to be interested in participating. Dogs successful in agility training have these characteristics:

• Motivation. Dogs willing to work for toys, food or praise can be successfully trained in agility.

• Focus. The dog needs to follow the owner’s directions without getting easily distracted.

• Self-confidence. The dog should be able to work away from the owner and handle change.

• High energy. Dogs that get bored easily or get into trouble at home often excel in agility.

• Athletic ability. Dogs in good overall health with good stamina make the best agility performers.

Benefits of Agility Training

Agility training provides an outlet for your dog’s natural instincts and abilities. Benefits include:

• Keeping your dog active and healthy through exercise

• Reinforcing obedience training and improving communication

• Developing flexibility, speed and accuracy

• Providing mental stimulation to combat boredom

•  Building trust and confidence

In addition to these great benefits for your dog, agility training can also help you stay in shape, burn fat, build muscle, stay alert, bond with your dog and have fun.

Agility Classes in Albuquerque

Interested in trying agility training? Check out these resources to get started. *

Acoma Training Center (acomatrainingcenter.com, 505-266-6436) offers beginning agility, agility drill and special agility classes.

Albuqerque Kanine College (albuquerquekkaninecollege.net, 505-275-6623) holds puppy, beginning and advanced agility classes.

Animal Humane New Mexico (animalhumanenm.org, 505-255-5523) teaches agility fun classes in a light-hearted setting.

Sandia Obedience Club (sdocnm.org, 505-888-4221) offers agility classes and sponsors AKC trials in obedience, agility, tracking and rally.

* Dawg Gone Good does not endorse these businesses. Listings offered for reader convenience only.

2012 Checklist for Dogs (and Cats)

What plans do you have for you and your puppy in 2012? Does your dog need to get out more or have more cuddle time with you? The beginning of new year gives us a great chance to resolve to be the best pet parents we can be. Check out our 2012 checklist below for ideas on keeping your dogs and cats happy and healthy this year.

1. Is it time for a check-up? A yearly visit with your vet provides the best preventive care and allows you to address any health problems before they advance. Your vet will also check your pet’s weight and make sure he’s up-to-date on his vaccinations.

2. Should your dog be on a diet? Overweight dogs (and cats) have become more common and can lead to serious health risks. You may have indulged your dog with goodies over the holidays. Now is the time stop the table scraps and extra treats. Your dog depends on you to provide a healthy diet. Make sure she’s getting high-quality, well-balanced food.

3. Does your dog’s breath smell? Dogs have plaque and tartar on their teeth just like we do. Without the proper dental care, they can  develop gum problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. Check your dog’s teeth and gums regularly and try some of the doggie oral care products on the market such as sprays, toothbrushes and freshening chews.

4. Is your dog getting enough exercise? To be happy and healthy, dogs need daily aerobic exercise. Take your best friend for a walk or jog, spend time at the doggie park or just throw a ball in the back yard. Your dog will love you for it!

5.  Does your dog wear I.D. tags? Thousands of dogs go missing each year and cannot be returned to their homes because they don’t have proper I.D. tags. When getting your dog an I.D. tag, make sure you provide enough information—phone number, cell number, address—so that you can be contacted if your dog is found. Sounds obvious, but many dog tags have missing or outdated information. If your dog is micro-chipped, keep your contact information updated with the chip company.

6. Is it time for a proper grooming? Start the year off right by brushing your dog or bring him to a professional groomer for a clip and nail trim. He’ll feel happy, healthy and loved. You’ll appreciate the soft, mat-free clean coat and disappearance of the “doggie” smell.

Dawg Gone Good Recommends:

The Orbee-Tuff Sport Football will keep your dog running. It’s made in the USA, recyclable, non-toxic and rinses clean.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Skid Stop Slow Feed Bowl has large interior indentations designed to prevent digestive issues by keeping your dog from scarfing her food. Pair it with one of our healthy pet foods: Taste of the Wild, SoJo, Go! or Now!

 
 
 
 
 
 
Maintain your dog and cat’s oral health with Tropiclean Water Additive. A few drops a day will promote healthy gumss and eliminate bad breath for up to 12 hours.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Easily take off or attach your dog’s I.D. tags with the Removable Pet I.D. Holder. Clips to any collar or harness.

 
 
 
 
 
Pamper your pooch with Dawg Gone Good’s Grooming Services. We offer cage-free, eco-friendly fluff and puffs designed to leave your dog looking, feeling  and smelling great.