Posts Tagged ‘dog training’

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.

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Why Does My Dog . . . ???

Do you ever feel like your dog has selective hearing? No matter how many times we scold them, our four-legged friends can seem hell-bent on eating the cat’s food or digging up the yard. Dogs actually love rules and want to please us. When they don’t, it’s because they don’t understand what we want. It’s up to us to consistently reinforce the rules and train our dogs out of bad behaviors. Here, some common behavior issues and how to resolve them.

Not Coming When Called

Many of us experience this frustrating behavior with our dogs. Teaching your dog to come when called is essential to his health and safety. To get your dog to come, you need to make the experience a happy one. Call to him in a happy voice and when he runs to you, reward him with praise, hugs and treats. Don’t use a scolding tone and if your dog runs, don’t chase him. Practice calling him in the house or your yard and reward him every time he obeys. Until your dog can be trusted, never let him off his leash in an unconfined area.

Pulling the Leash

Dogs pull on the leash because they’re excited, scared, see something to chase or want to get to other people and dogs. They also naturally walk faster then us. A great technique to stop leash pulling is to completely stop any time the lease is not loose. Stand still, ignore your dog and once he stops pulling, praise him and move forward. You have to be consistent in this training, which means stopping a lot, but your dog will learn that walking by you will get him where he wants to go.

Whining for Attention

Does your dog whine when her ball rolls under the sofa? Whining to get attention, treats or a toy can be annoying and you may be unknowingly reinforcing that behavior. If your dog whines and you make eye contact, touch, or even scold her, she’s getting your attention. Instead, teach your dog to stay quiet. Don’t give her any attention or rewards until she stops whining. You can also cross your arms, turn your back and ignore her to show her that whining won’t work.

Digging

Dogs dig for many reasons: to bury a bone, chase prey or get cool in the summer. They’ll also dig if they’re confined, bored or need exercise. Stop your dog from digging as soon as it happens so your pup won’t make it a habit. Start by giving your dog walks, playtime and training. Don’t leave your dog unsupervised in the yard and redirect him with a firm “no” if he starts digging.

Barking at the Door

When someone rings your doorbell, does your dog go wild? While it may make sense to yell at your dog to quiet down, she doesn’t understand and thinks you’re barking, too. One way to stop door barking is to teach your dog to go to a place such as her bed. Have a friend knock or ring the doorbell. Throw a treat on your dog’s bed and tell her, “Go to your place.” Work to get her to go to her bed first, then reward her with a treat. As she progresses, try opening the door. If your dog, steps off her bed, close the door quickly.

Jumping on People

Dogs interact with other dogs by jumping on them so it’s natural for them to jump on people. Many people send the wrong message to jumping dogs by pushing them away with their hands or yelling at them. Dogs see this as a game and a reward for jumping. The most effective way to stop a dog from jumping is to cross your arms and turn your back to the dog. Ignore the dog and don’t give him any eye contact.

My Dog Ate . . . WHAT???

As we all know, dogs will eat just about anything. Scavengers by nature, they seek out potential tasty treats on the ground, in the trash and off the floor. Your dog eating garbage or poop may creep you out, but is it really harmful? In most cases, the answer is yes.

Dog Poop

As disgusting as this seems to us, it’s very common for dogs to eat their own and other dogs’ poop.  There’s no known cause for coprophagia (that’s the technical name for this behavior) but theories range from boredom to vitamin deficiencies.

Harmful? Your dog could pick up parasites or other diseases if she eats poop from an infected dog. It’s also good to have her checked by the vet to rule out any nutritional issues.

Cat Poop

Some dogs find cat poop delicious and it can be an ongoing battle to keep them from snacking in the litter box. This can stress out your territorial cat or family members the dog decides to kiss.

Harmful? A dog that eats cat poop probably eats at least some cat litter, which contains chemicals. Cat litter that clumps expands 15 times when wet, and could cause an intestinal blockage. And, just like dog feces, cat poop may contain parasites and other disease-causing germs.

Grass

Some people think that dogs eat grass because their tummies are upset. While it’s true that dogs eat grass and then sometimes vomit, there’s been no proof that puppies ingest grass as a medicinal herb. They eat grass because they like the way it tastes.

Harmful? Grass and other plants that have been treated with fertilizer or herbicide will cause stomach upset and could be serious. Keep your dog away for these chemicals.

Cat Food

If your dog loves to clean out the cat bowl in addition to eating her own food, she’s getting way more calories than she needs. As carnivores, cats require a diet of meat and meat products. Cat food has more calories and fat than dog food, which makes it super-yummy for pups.

Harmful? Cat food will not harm your dog in the short-term. Over time, eating rich cat food can lead to obesity and digestion problems.

Garbage

Dogs see garbage or trash as an all-you-can-eat buffet. The food found there is so much more exciting than their daily kibble. Also, if you share food off your plate or leftovers with your dog, he doesn’t know the difference between those okay treats and the ones he finds himself.

Harmful? Eating garbage can cause more harm to your dog than just an upset stomach. Garbage contains many toxic elements that can poison dogs and even kill them. They can choke on bones and ingest non-food items that may cause intestinal blockage.

Dirt

It’s called pica when a dog eats dirt, mud, rocks, wood or anything without nutritional value. If you’re feeding your dog a nutritionally balanced diet, pica may be a behavioral problem caused by boredom or the need for attention.

Harmful? Many icky things can be in dirt or mud such as antifreeze, intestinal worms or parvovirus. Check with your vet if your dog continues this behavior to rule out parasites, nutritional deficiencies or other health problems.

Weird Things Dogs Have Eaten

•  13 rocks eaten by, Lucy a Lab puppy

•  Rubber ducky swallowed by Ozzie, a Staffordshire Terrier pup (above)

•  10-inch toy arrow consumed by Betty, a Bull Terrier pup

•  Chocolate and plastic egg with Homer Simpson figurine eaten by Dixie, a Dalmation

•  Fork swallowed by Apachee, a Husky

•  Magic fairy wand wolfed by Pip, a Whippet pup

•  130 (!) nails eaten by Roxy, a Basset Hound

•  15 baby pacifiers gobbled by Lulu, an English Bulldog

•  Mobile phone consumed by Nero, a Doberman/Great Dane mix

 

Legal Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a vet’s professional diagnosis and treatment.

Let’s Be Friends: Socializing Your Dog

The secret to a well-behaved dog? Proper socialization. Puppies and adolescent dogs (ages 3 to 6 months) need to be exposed to new people, animals and places in a non-threatening way. These positive experiences will help the dog be calm and accepting as he matures. In addition to early interaction with the world outside the home, dogs benefit from life-long socialization. If you have adopted an adult dog that shows signs of shyness, anxiety or aggression, those traits may always be present. Yet, with socialization, your dog can learn new behaviors that will make interactions with people and other dogs more pleasant.

Tips for Socializing Your Dog

1. Start immediately. Take you dog on short walks around the neighborhood and let her experience her surroundings. Encourage people to pet her and give her treats. Try to expose her to all types of people — men, women, children, people in wheelchairs, people wearing hats and coats, people with bicycles.

2. Invite healthy, vaccinated dogs to your home. If you have a puppy still getting his shots, this allows him to interact with dogs without the worry of a health risk.

3. Bring your dog to Dawg Gone Good. Your puppy can interact with other people who love dogs and visit our relaxation and play area.

4. Take your dog to other dog-friendly businesses such as Home Depot, Lowes or restaurants such as Kelly’s Brew Pub or Flying Star that have outside seating. ABQ Dog has a listing of both on leash and off leash places to take your dog at http://www.abqdog.com/albuquerque-dog-places.shtml

5. Visit friends or have friends over to your house. Show your dog that people are pretty cool by letting your friends give him a toy or treat.

6. Enroll your dog in puppy kindergarten or obedience training. Not only will she be exposed to a new group of people and dogs, she’ll begin learning behavior basics.

7. Check out local dog parks if your dog is vaccinated.

8. Touch your dog, brush him and handle his feet and offer treats for good behavior. This will help when he has to visit the vet or groomer.

Socializing your dog takes time and effort but the reward is a well-adjusted companion that you can take anywhere.

 

Legal Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a vet’s professional diagnosis and treatment.