Happy Howl-O-Ween! This spooky time of year brings candy, costumes and a haunting good time but not always for our dogs. Below are some quick tips to ensure you and your dog have an enjoyable Halloween.
The best part of Halloween is dressing up in whatever costume you choose! We may enjoy dressing up but our four-legged friends may not. If you are dressing your dog up and they are not used to wearing outfits try and make it as an enjoyable experience as possible; make sure the costume doesn’t restrict movement, breathing or barking and remove the costume if they are showing sign of abnormal behavior or stress. Start trying on the costume days before Halloween, only having the costume on for 5-10 minutes at a time and praise them for cooperating with treats and lots of pets. Build the time up over a course of a week and your pet will be much more inclined to keep their costume on if they know it’s not a scary experience.
Trick or treaters:
Some dogs are protective of their home and their family; making trick or treaters coming to the front door a stressful experience. If your pup isn’t comfortable with strangers regularly coming to the front door, have them rest in a crate or room away from the busy commotion. Add their favorite toy or treat (as long as they don’t need to be supervised while enjoying it) and put on some classical music or television to help them relax.
A great option for keeping their minds preoccupied would be a Kong filled with peanut butter or their favorite wet dog food.
Don’t forget chocolate is poisonous to dogs so Halloween candy needs to be put out of reach. Chocolate contains components that humans can quickly breakdown but dogs break these components down much slower which can result in a built up to a toxic level. Although non-chocolate candy may not be poisonous to dogs, the high sugar content isn’t good for them to digest. Best to get your dog their own dog-friendly Halloween treat like pumpkin dog treats.
With all the fun of Halloween comes the pranksters too; most of the pranks are harmless but keep an eye out for dangerous ones. Keep your dog (and all pets) inside the night of Halloween. For outdoor pets, bring them in a couple days prior to Halloween and a couple days following just to be safe. Check your yard the morning after Halloween for anything out of the ordinary that could be dangerous to your pet.
Pumpkins and corn stalks are fun Halloween decorations but can be harmful for pets if ingested in large quantities leading to blockages. When decorating keep in mind of the height of your pet; tails can easily knock things over and paws can trip over electrical cords. Always keep open flames away from being knocked over, hide exposed electrical cords and monitor your pet closely when they are around decorations. <>/body>
Surveys show that there are over 80 million dogs on this earth and approximately one out of every two households owns a dog. We see them in movies and on television, making us laugh or solving crimes. Dogs are even in the news. They are used for companionship, they assist people with special needs, and they are known for being great pets and members of the family. Everybody knows that dogs are smart, friendly, and loyal, but we bet there are some things you don’t know about our canine friends.
Dogs Keep You Healthy
Dogs are being used in the care and recovery of patients in a variety of settings. Alzheimer’s patients have an easier time stabilizing their temperaments when they have exposure to dogs as companions. Petting a dog has been proven to help elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine in your body. Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters that contribute to the moods in your body and help you feel happy or good. People who have struggled with depression reported feeling improvements after caring for and loving a dog. Dogs have also been known to help their owners lower their blood pressure levels and reduce anxiety.
A large number of dogs snore when they sleep! It’s not very adorable when our spouse or significant other does it, but we think it’s pretty cute and entertaining when a puppy or grown dog snores. Some dogs begin snoring when they are new puppies and some dogs don’t exhibit the behavior until they are grown and aging. Snoring can also be the result of a dog gaining extra weight.
Dogs have similar sleep patterns and brain waves to humans and a lot of recent studies have suggested that dogs, in fact, dream. Nobody quite knows what dogs dream about, but researchers speculate that their dreaming would be comparable to humans. We tend to have dreams related to the events or occurrences that take place during the day; this is probably the case for dogs as well.
Dogs Can See in the Dark
Night-vision goggles won’t be needed for your pooch. Dogs are able to see in the dark because of the structure of their eyes. A dog’s pupils are a lot larger than human pupils, and as a result, they let more light in. They also have a lot more of the cells in their eyes that distinguish light from shadow, so it’s easier for them to get around when the lights are out.
Unique Nose Print
Just like a humans fingerprint, a dog’s nose is unique. If you look closely, their noses are made up of tiny little ridges and bumps. Each dog’s nose print is as different as each human’s fingerprint. Several countries and a few U.S. states have already adopted the method of using a dog’s nose print for identification of lost dogs.
There is so much to learn and love about these animals. Whether they are helping us stay healthy or keeping us company, dogs have a way of making us feel good. Getting professional dog training in Seattle can make your relationship with your dog even more beneficial.
The first 3 Mondays in May, Central Bark is offering great opportunities to try out new activities with your dog. Each hour long workshop lets both explore a popular dog sport, no strings attached. Dog sports are a fantastic way to focus, train, bond with, stimulate, and exercise your canine companion and they have something to offer for every unique breed, age, and physical ability. Here are the upcoming workshops and some darn good reasons why you should try them…
Rally Obedience on May 6th – Rally-O is the new wave of basic obedience trainining: fun reward-based pratical obedience using instructive signs. If your dog can sit, down, follow you, or turn right (any or all of the above) you are already on your way to aceing this dog sport. All of the exercises in Rally can easily go from competition ring to sidewalk. Rally broke the mold in that it allows you to praise and encourage your dog during competition and that the course is never the same twice, removing the predictablility and rigidness of old-school obedience.
Canine Freestyle on May 13th – This rapidly growing sport is an absolute blast to train and perform. You simply create a routine of chosen tricks to music. It lets your dog’s (and your) personality bloom, having no required moves to compete. You can do whatever your dog and you feel comfortable with. If your dog stinks at stay, then don’t stay. If your dog loves to jump, put that on cue and tada! If your dog wants to improvise, great, go with it. You will never be docked for too much personality.
Nosework on May 20th – Harnessing the power of a dog’s nose is part of our ancient and magical relationship with canines. Nosework does just that, by asking your dog to navigate a course of objects and indicate which objects are marked by a small amount of predetermined scent. It engages your dog’s brain, provides a ton of enrichment, does wonders for focusing and calming hyperactive dogs, and is a natural to train. Plus it welcomes dogs of all abilities (deaf, blind, handicapped dogs welcome).
Workshops are from 7:30-8:30pm. To enroll call at 206.325.3525 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: My dog barks all the time. I have tried spray bottles, vinegar, and collars but nothing seems to work in the long run. What do I do?
A: Dogs bark for many reasons: boredom, stress relief, attention, to scare away bad things, and many more. I think the one thing all these barky dogs can agree on is that they bark because they’re dogs. Barking is a totally natural behavior in dogs. It only becomes a problem when it doesn’t fit into the requirements for human living. Here are some questions to ask if you are having trouble with barking.
1) Are all of Fido’s needs being met? Is your dog getting adequate exercise, attention, mental stimulation, and are their housing and feeding requirements being met? Remember, your dogs needs are determined by your dog and your dog alone. An active 2 year old Lab needs more exercise and mental stimulation than a 7 year old Cavalier. If those needs are not being met, then there’s your barking problem.
2) Is your dog getting “Doggy Time”? Dogs have to have an outlet for their doggy behaviors. They have to dig, bark, chew, play and do zoomies somewhere. If you don’t give them appropriate outlets for their doggy behaviors, they will find inappropriate ones.
So what do we do now? 15 minutes of hard exercise and 2 minutes of training a day goes a really long way towards making most companion dogs happy. Putting naughty dog behaviors on cue goes even further. You can put barking, crazy running, digging, and much more on cue.
- Simply say “Bark”
- Prompt your dog to bark by ringing the doorbell or doing some other bark-inducing behavior
- Tell them what a great ferocious watch dog they are
- Get them to “Shush” by prompting them into a sit with a food treat
- Praise them for being a wonderful quiet dog
Now you have a happy fulfilled dog that only barks on cue!
We asked what you wanted from our training program and you told us. You wanted to brush-up on your basic manners and wished for more attention and focus from your dogs in general. You were also interested in taking your sidekick to the next level with fun & games classes that encorporate tricks, agility, and aspects from other dog sports.
Well here it is…
Polite Greetings & No Jump – Teach your dog to sit or stand politely when greeting people. Learn and practice techniques for greeting on walks, at home, and for visitors
– Sunday March 4th: 1 – 2pm $10
Leash Walking & No Pull– Learn skills to walk anywhere even under distraction
– Sunday March 25th: 2 – 3pm $10
Basic Manners – Build a strong training foundation or an obedience
refresher. This class covers polite greetings and leash walking, attention, and basic obedience cues sit, down, stay, come, leave-it, and more.
– 4 Sundays April 15th, 22nd, 29th, & May 6th: 4 – 5pm $80
We will have an intro to sports & games class on the agenda as well. More details to come. You can enroll via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 206.325.3525 See you there!
So for all of us crazy die-hard dog lovers that have been swearing for years that our furry companions can truly love us, care for us, and sympathize with us when we are in a pinch, here’s the proof…
The University of Chicago neuropsych lab tested whether rats would overcome their fears and brave into the center of an arena to free a trapped cage mate. They not only discovered that the rats would consistently open a door to liberate a friend, but the rats would also free the trapped rat when they would be physically prevented from socializing and when they had the choice to free the cage mate or pig out on some delicious chocolate chips. The rats even shared chocolate with their liberated buddies. They did not open the doors on empty or dummy-rat holding containers, proving that the motivator was the opportunity to help out a friend and not just exploration.
Finally, evidence that animals empathize. Don’t just take my word for it. Watch the video here!
Does your dog bark at the door? Does your dog need work greeting strangers? Does your dog shy away from funny looking people? We have the perfect opportunity to deliver precious socialization straight to your door…. Halloween! Here’s how to turn this spooky holiday into an awesome training opportunity.
Have someone else man the door while you work with your dog. This way you can move further away from the door if Fluffy is getting too excited.
Leash your furry friend to prevent escapes and to keep away from those overly generous chocolate-wielding trick-or-treaters.
Bring dog candy; soft, smelly, meaty treats that is. Reward those social butterflies for remaining
calm as kids arrive. For shy dogs, reward for bravely approaching those strange costumed creatures. For barkers, reward those quiet moments.
Create a training station using a cushy blanket or dog bed. It will give your dog a focal point for stationary positions like sit and stay, which can be tricky when there are distractions.
And remember, don’t force any encounters between Fido and those kids. If at any point your dog seems stressed or is refusing treats, it’s time to give them a break. Training should be fun and safe for everyone. Consider boarding if you’re concerned about your dog’s stress level.
Tucker is a very friendly 3 year old retriever mix that we adopted from the Humane Society. He has always been great with my three kids and loves playing with other dogs and going to the dog park and has never been in a fight. Recently he has been barking and pulling towards dogs on our walks. I thought he just wanted to play but yesterday when he reached the dog he bit it on the face. What has happened to my sweet Tucker?
What you are experiencing with Tucker is called “reactivity” in the trainer world and it is very common. Tucker’s reactivity is probably due to a combination of being uncomfortable meeting on leash and feeling frustrated at not being able to greet and play with dogs that he meets. In this case, having a social butterfly can make the situation even worse because the frustration at not being able to play is even greater.
There are two things that you will need to do to help Tucker’s reactivity.
1) Teach him that dogs approaching him on leash is awesome and that they are a cue that you are about to dispense awesome cookies and fun games.
How to – Bring tasty treats on your walks with Tucker. As soon as he sees another dog, say his name and pop a scrumptious treat in his mouth, then walk away. Treat him the very second he spots that other dog. Before long he will look up at you every time he sees a dog.
2) Teach him that calm behavior and attention is the key to being able to greet and play with friendly dogs.
How to – Have a helper bring a dog that Tucker knows and likes. Pick a distance from the other dog where Tucker is distracted but not lunging or barking. Ask for a sit, wait for him to comply, then release him to go play with his buddy. This exercise works best if both dogs are released at the same time and meet off leash.
I recommend Patricia McConnell’s book Feisty Fido if you want some extra help. Good luck in your training endeavors!
You can ask the trainer yourself at firstname.lastname@example.org
With our last training class being such a huge success, we are kicking off round two, and this time we are adding a new class into the mix!
Buddy Basics & Canine Good Citizen – This class includes all of the basic obedience cues (sit, down, off, stay, come, polite leash walking and polite dog-dog greetings) as well as prepares you to certify your dog through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen program. Certification is included in the cost.
Buddy Basic’s is 6 consecutive Tuesdays @ 7:30pm from 10/18 – 11/6 Cost is $130
Foundation Fido – Learn the techiques that pro sport dog trainers use to build that intense focus and stop-on-a-dime obedience that creates champion agility, flyball, weight pull, and obedience dogs. Your dog will form a foundation of focus, self-control, and confidence that will prepare him or her for dog sports of off-leash control. Class includes exercises like relaxed down-stays, long distance flying recalls (come!), immediate attention on cue and much more. For specialized attention, maximum enrollment is 4 dog/handler teams.
Foundation Fido is 6 consecutive Wednesdays @ 7:30pm from 11/15 – 12/20 Cost is $120
For more questions or to enroll contact email@example.com or 206.325.3525
And to see the graduates from last class click here.
Fall is here and that means back to school and back to icky nasty dark dreariness that makes getting out and walking the dog seem less than appealing (sometimes, even for Fido). Do not fear! We have some tried and true tips for wearing out the dog without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.
The key with tiring a dog out in the house is mental stimulation. For those of you who have the dog equivalent of the energizer bunny (you know who you are and thank you very much for your business) regular exercise is still required, but rest assured that you can make a dent in those canine Olympians.
1) Make your dog work for food. Eating out of a stainless steel bowl is not only easy and fails to tap into those deep once-upon-a-time wolf genes, it is pretty boring for your dog. Try stuffing treat dispensing toys with your dog’s dinner and hiding them around the house. My favorites are classic Kong toys and the Everlasting Fun Ball made by Starmark. They are tough, quiet on hardwood, and dishwasher safe.
2) Train your dog. You will find that brief 3-5 minute training sessions are surprisingly exhausting for most dogs as the brain burns the most calories when learning. Plus, you will have a better behaved dog!
3) Seek and DESTROY! This is another game that burns calories while tapping into your dog’s inner wolf. Step one: collect shreddable items, boxes, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, etc. Step two: take a handful of kibble, treats, or a chew toy, and box it inside a box inside a box (think one of those Russian dolls). Step three: give it to your dog and encourage them to destroy the box to get to the food. For maximum effect, hide it and have Fido find it first.*
*For any exercise that provides an outlet for your dog’s “naughty” behaviors, it is best to use a cue to start the game (like “Find-it”) so that you control when the game starts, not your dog.