Posts tagged #dog training colorado

Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

With so many people hitting the road for the Holidays, we put together a couple of key points to help you be the best dog owner possible; to your dog, your friends and family, and the public.

  1. Leave No Trace - This is a popular term in the great outdoors, but should also apply to anywhere you bring your dog. If you are staying in a hotel, pack a lint roller, a cover sheet (for the furniture) and POOP BAGS. While many people allow their dogs on THEIR bed, hotels rarely launder their top layer of bedding. Be a good dog owner and protect the next patron from excessive hair on the bed, or carpeting. I use an old king size sheet to cover the bed, so if my dog wants to snuggle, I can avoid getting the bedding dirty. PLEASE, please, please pick up after your dog, and put the poo in the garbage can (outside). Fewer and fewer hotel chains are allowing dogs because dogs are loud, messy, and the owners aren’t being responsible.

  2. Be sure your dog is comfortable in a crate, and confine your dog when they are not supervised. If you need to leave your dog alone to attend family functions, or get a bite to eat, etc, you can avoid a lot of problems (and major damage!) by bringing a crate along that you have already taught your dog is a familiar, comfortable space. While your dog might be completely house trained in YOUR house, most dogs are completely different in a new house, and are likely to chew, dig, or have accidents in a new space. Teaching your dog to stay in a soft crate allows for easy packing!

  3. Be prepared to address barking. Again, in an unfamiliar living space, your dog is likely to get stressed. Teach your dog that he must be quiet in the crate or car. Provide enrichment with appropriate chew items like kongs, bully sticks or nylabones (what ever is appropriate for your dog). Train your dog on a bark collar if necessary.

  4. Be sure there is time in your schedule to relieve the stress (even if it’s excitement) of traveling. Stressed dogs have a short list of activities to take the edge off; Bark, dig, run, and chew. Be sure to rigorously exercise your dog before leaving them crated or unsupervised during your travels. I will often plan my route around big open spaces to let my dog run. In smaller spaces I play tug or practice trick training or obedience (heel, sit, stay, recall, etc), to wear out my dog physically and mentally. That way, when I crate them in the hotel or friend/family member’s house, they are ready to hit the sack and sleep while I’m gone.

Safe travels, and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Posted on December 20, 2018 .

Food Rewards - What should you use for training?

Food selection is a very important part of the reward-based training process. All food is not equal. You can train your dog in less time, with longer lasting results if you choose the right reward for a job well done.

The first concept each trainer needs to understand is that the food you are using needs to be rewarding TO THE DOG. It sounds so obvious, but I have seen countless new trainers use their dog’s kibble, or buy some super-fancy-dehydrated-omega-something-or-other, that their dogs just didn’t like. You are not incentivizing your dog to work with you if they don’t want what you have. With a huge variety of options at the pet stores, it’s easy to go for really expensive, thinking you’re getting ‘the best’ treats. Or, you might go cheap, thinking you’ll save a dime. But neither are necessarily true. Be sure that what ever you’re using is of high value to your dog.

Food should be soft and easy to swallow. Nothing halts a good training flow like the crunch, crunch, crunch of a big biscuit. Your goal is repetition of the right behavior. It’s hard to get reps in when the dog spends a lot of time chewing.

Food should be easy to handle to avoid dropping it on the ground. Dropping food on the ground encourages your dog to break their attention from you to search for hidden treats in the grass. That can be quite counterproductive. Tiny treats, or treats that shred and crumble are not good choices.

Maybe your dog isn’t very in to what you have that training session. What do you do? Don’t switch training rewards mid session. Instead, do your best to end on a successful repetition of the command or behavior you’re working on and end the session. Make a mental note, that next time, you will need to up the value of the reward for that particular circumstance or environment and try again later. If you switch, your dog can learn to ‘hold out’ on you, and wait to perform until you have just the right thing. 

Use a variety of rewards. Try to find five or six different rewards that your dog goes bananas for…..but not in the same training session. Diversity and interest is key, but each type of food has a value rating to your dog. They will like one type of food over another, if used in the same session, and feel disappointed (instead of rewarded) when they get the less desirable treat. Switching the food out each session can also reduce irritation to the digestive system.

Foods that are nutritionally balanced are ideal for dog training. Many of the products you find at the pet stores are full of sugar, artificial ingredients, dyes and chemicals. There are healthy, tasty options out there if you know what to look for. Our favorite food rewards are high in value and easy on the budget. Give these a try:

RedBarn meat rolls

Natural Balance meat rolls

Fresh Pet Select Vitals

Hotdogs (yes, good old fashioned hot dogs)

Cut up cheese

Happy Howies rolls

Looking for a budget option, or does your dog have dietary restrictions? Follow our Dog Dynamix Board on Pinterest for delicious home made dog treat recipes.

Dog Training Best Practices

We have compiled a list of 'Dog Owner Commandments' to help our clients have the most happy, well-adjusted, and behaved dogs around. Follow these guidelines, and you are sure to have a Dynamic Dog. We'll forgo the 'thou shalts,' and get straight to the point.

1. Never give a command you cannot or will not enforce. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

2. Freedoms should be earned and not gifted. Freedom to be off-leash, and freedom to be loose in the house are all contingent upon having solid obedience and reliability. If you have those goals for your dog, help them earn those freedoms through management and training.

3. You are always 'training your dog' whether you are making a conscious effort to do so or not. You are either training behaviors you like, or behaviors you don't like. Be sure to think about how your actions may be affecting your dog's behavior.

4. Your puppy is learning to be an adult dog. What ever they practice is what they will become. Keep this in mind when you are deciding the house rules.

5. Dogs needs physical and mental exercise. Make sure you're using a balanced approach for total wellness.

6. The pet industry sells products for money, not results. Gimmicks like calming aids, 'special' harnesses, leashes and collars, and various other products are no substitute for a good training plan. Some products may even exacerbate behavior problems instead of curing them.

7. All healthy relationships have love and respect in common. Your dog can adore you and not respect you. Harmonize your relationship by ensuring both parties are invested. Make sure you're giving your dog what they need, and not just what they want.

8. Your dog needs rules and routine, exercise, and affection, in that order. 

9. Crate training is an essential protocol, even for dogs that will eventually have free roaming privileges. The last place your dog wants to learn about confinement is his first day of boarding in a new place, or worse yet, at the vet when she is sick or injured.

10. Spend time with your dog everyday; Quality, dedicated, invested time. Your dog needs 20 minutes (minimum) of your undivided attention, daily. Choose one activity to do with your dog (play frisbee, run, walk, hike, swim, agility, nosework, teaching tricks, obedience training etc) every day.  If you lose a thing, you can replace it. If you lose money, you can make more. Time you can never get back. It is the only true commodity. Never waste a moment with your dog.