Wednesday, November 19, 2014


What dog doesn't like to chew? Chewing is a natural and occupying activity that most dogs partake in. Problems start though when your dog starts to chew on something he is not supposed to. That is why, if your dog is a chewer, you should get a variety of safe and fun chew toys for your dog to choose from. Here is a guide of many chews that we use, our success some and not others.

Chewing No's
I personally would not give my dogs any bones or treats with any harsh preservatives or that is treated with chemicals, I wouldn't ingest these, and nor should my dog. 
Raw hides can be swallowed whole and choked on, and in my experience cause dogs to have upset stomachs and aren't worth the trouble. But they do work for some dogs, and can be beneficial if carefully supervised. 
Cooked bones, chicken bones, or any thin bones or flat bones likely to shard.
Any object, organic or not, that breaks off in sharp pieces that can be choked on.  

Okay Chews
Chews that I have had great success with are:
Kongs, especially if they are filled with peanut butter or some other treat and frozen, kongs can keep a dog busy for hours. 
Safe plastic chews that can be bought at any pet store.
Bully sticks.
Real, raw bones from butcher. Though some precautions should be made before giving your dog raw bones, like freezing the bone for a certain period of time.
And by far the most popular chew for our dogs are deer antlers, buffalo horns and any other antler/horn we can get our hands on. They can be very expensive, but if you happen across one while hiking, or hunt, they are fantastic chews for dogs. Deer antlers rarely break in sharp pieces, and one good antler can keep all three of our dogs busy for months.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Indoor Marking

Marking, not to be confused with urination, is used by dogs for territorial reasons. It is a perfectly normal behavior, but not appropriate indoors. A dog that marks indoors can be doing so for a few different reasons. It could be because the dog has never been taught that it is not acceptable, out of insecurity, if a new dog is introduced into the household or if the dog is introduced into a new household etc. 
If your dog has taken to marking indoors, you will need to take a few steps of prevention and correction to stop the behavior. 
If you have not already done so, spaying and neutering your dog may greatly reduce the behavior. 
To start, you will need to act as if you are dealing with an 8 week old puppy. Keep your dog in sight at all times, go for frequent potty breaks, and make sure you can quickly intercept your dog if you catch him/her marking. Tell him no and take him outside to eliminate where he is supposed to. I would also advise getting a deodorizing cleaner to clean all the places your dog has marked before. This will reduce the temptation for your dog to remark these places. 
I would also enforce a NILIF lifestyle until you have established common ground and communication with your dog. Your dog, just like a puppy, gets very limited freedom that slowly increases as he learns what he can and can't do, and as you begin to trust that he won't mark the minute you turn your back. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

yo-yo dog

Most dogs can get the point of loose leash walking pretty easily, but I see very few who can walk in a strict heel position for any period of time. Often times, when teaching your dog to heal, they start to 'yo-yo', where they will walk with you for a few steps, pull forward, fall back and walk with you, pull forward etc. All of my dogs still do this occasionally, and one of them is particularly bad at it. This video, made by a dog trainer whom I really enjoy watching and who I think has great techniques, shows you how you can actively stop your dog from this annoying walking behavior. This video is worth more than a thousand words. As usual with dog training it is way more helpful to watch what must be done rather than read it.
One thing I would add to the video is that if you are using a prong (which you shouldn't need to with correct techniques) or a regular collar, you can quickly and lightly correct your dog with a firm yet quick tug on the leash the moment you dog begins to rush forward. If you are being very interactive with you dog, like in the video, you shouldn't need to do this, but if you are out for an everyday walk and your dog starts to 'yo-yo' don't hesitate to give a quick correcting, and then start using the techniques in the video if he continues to pull ahead.