They Call It Puppy Love!

There is one thing about dog lovers that I really do love. We’re creative. We have to be in order to live with a creature that does not speak our language and yet communicate with him every day. That takes ingenuity, patience and more than anything it takes love.

newshirtI had a successful T-shirt campaign in the past, and it was far past due to have another. Only this time it is not meant to help me or my business. This time half – 50% – will go to a charity that does so much and saves so many lives every single day. You may not hear about it because this one of a kind non-profit does not post sick or injured animals on Facebook to beg for attention or money. They don’t wait for donations to roll in before making the choice to save a life. If the Sanctuary has space – the animal is saved. No question about it.

Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary has helped me, personally, many times with my own critters. Be it information or offering a permanent home for an animal that has no place else to go, Critter Camp was always there. They may not be a dog rescue, but a furry, scaly or feathered family member does not need to be a dog to deserve love, trust, and medical care. That is why I have chosen Critter Camp to benefit from half of the money raised from this new campaign.11183439_10153568219866383_2628250851517749190_n

Buy a shirt, share the campaign, and above all hug your dog!

https://www.bonfirefunds.com/they-call-it-puppy-love

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Muzzle for Muzzle’s Sake; Why Every Dog Should Be Muzzle Trained & NEWS!

The holidays are fast approaching and plans are being made to travel. I’m sure you can’t wait for your family to meet your furry best canine friend, but it is a federal law in the United States that requires your dog to be fully vaccinated against the rabies virus and have a health certificate stating that your dog has had a wellness exam within the past 10 days before you cross state lines.  This is for air travel, car travel, train travel or even if your goin’ horseback across the country. Your dog must see the vet first!

Dogs don’t like vets though, right? Well, most don’t anyways and vets keep muzzles on hand for the dog who likes to snarl, bark or is otherwise simply scared of their poking and prodding. How can you blame your pooch, though, when a stranger comes at them with a needle?  Even the friendliest, most outgoing dogs can snap in fear at a veterinarian even if you can’t see his fear in body language.  You can make your dog so much more comfortable if you have trained him to comfortably and happily wear his own muzzle before heading to the vet’s office.

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Training your dog to accept and even enjoy his muzzle is actually incredibly simple and easy. There are many types of muzzles, with the basket muzzle being a top choice for pet owners because it still allows the dog to open his mouth to pant while protecting people and other animals from a bite. Any type of muzzle that you and your dog feel the most comfortable with will do. After all, he most likely will only have it on for mere moments at the vet’s office, and will wear it more often at home during training sessions!

Lure your dog into the muzzle first. With the muzzle open and sitting in your hand below your dog’s eye level, put a treat in the opening of the muzzle. This must be a high value treat that your dog just cannot live without, such as real meat or cheese.  As he grabs the treat, click your clicker to mark the behavior of placing his nose almost into the muzzle. If you don’t use a clicker, just say “Yes!” to mark it. His reward is the treat he just grabbed.  Continue doing this for a few minutes, and if your dog is comfortable, you can place the treat further in. You are literally luring him into the muzzle.

After a few sessions, you should be able to hold the muzzle up, say “Muzzle!” and your dog can put his face into the muzzle on his own. Give him time to accept that this is the behavior that you want, and do not close the muzzle around him yet!  Ask him to place his face in it by holding it the exact same way you did when there was a treat in. It may take him a few moments to figure it out, since there is no treat in it any longer.  When his face sets in, even if it’s not all the way, mark that behavior with a great big “Yes!” or click and praise and then give him the treat. Practice this, then move on to closing the muzzle for only 2 seconds, release then treat. If you are using a basket muzzle or any type that he can still accept the treat, it is best to give him the reward while he is wearing it!

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Using the food reward while he is inside the muzzle, as well as placing the treat directly into it to lure him in, is the exact same kind of conditioning methods used in crate training.  A good thing is inside the space that the dog wants, he gets it, and that item (the muzzle) becomes a positive object in your dog’s life. He sees the muzzle, he knows good, yummy things are about to happen!

If your dog is comfortable with the muzzle, he will be far less stressed out at the vet’s office during his exam and vaccinations.  No matter what your dog’s temperament is, muzzle training should be considered a basic command for all dogs. You never know when it will come in handy!

NEWS: I am back on Fiverr offering dog training and freelance writing for YOUR dog blog! If you like what you see here, need help with your pooch and/or content for your doggy site, blog, news, or any other canine media, I am here for you!

Furthermore, you can now follow me on FACEBOOK!

End Leash Pulling Today, and Walk Your Dog Right

You’re walking your dog and your arm feels like it’s about to pop out of socket.  You get jokes from neighbors and passer by about how he is really walking you, not the other way around. You’ve heard it all before as you struggle to get your dog under control while he charges ahead to get wherever he wants to go.   Sound like you?

Maybe after dealing with this for some time, you begin to really dread walking your dog.  It’s embarrassing when you cannot keep him under control and it’s a real pain, literally, when he jerks your arm around.  This leads to other problems as he becomes bored and begins to bottle up energy that he is no longer able to express.  Then other  problems begin to peak it’s ugly head, including hyperactivity, excessive chewing and more. What if you could just walk your dog as he happily trots next to you on a loose, controlled leash? You can begin to take charge today on your walk.

A plethora of products on the market exist to help end walking instantly, but none of them will live up to their potential if you do not combine them with training. After all, they’re meant to be tools used during training your dog to walk with acceptable manners on leash. One item The NaturalDog suggests is the front clipping harness, as it prevents pulling which create more scenarios in which your dog can be rewarded for not pulling. There are various brands, and any will work just as good as the next. The idea is to remember it is for training, not exercising your dog!

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Start training in your home. Attach your dog’s leash to him and have a handful of treats ready to go. If you use a clicker, have that ready to go as well.  Walk backwards, facing your dog, and encourage him to follow you. When he catches up to you, mark that behavior with a “Yes!” or a click of your clicker and give him a reward. Do this for about 3 to 5 minutes once or twice a day until he is reliable in easily following you.

You need to take this exercise outdoors to raise the criteria, but stay in a quiet area in the beginning.  Just walk backwards and call him to you. Instead of using the same command you use for recall, make sure you have a different one just for getting him to follow you, such as “Follow me!” When you’re doing this outdoors your may want to also increase the value of the treats to hold his attention and encourage him to listen to you instead of being distracted. You want his action of following you to be more reinforcing (with your reward) than anything that could be going on around you guys.

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This is just the first step in getting your dog into leash shape, but just be doing this one exercise you will see an improvement in your dog’s leash manners if you can also use it in real life situations in which you lose control over your dog on a walk. Just implement the same exercise, and watch the changes happen.

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Don’t forget The Natural Dog Diet or our T-shirt campaign which will be coming to close in a matter of days!