Saturday, April 4, 2020

Dogs and Kids Both at Home!


 There are lots of ways to be active with your dog while staying home. It is important to spend quality time with your dog and provide them attention and exercise. Here are some great ways to do that!

Dog Art

Create a portrait of your dog.  Try focusing on just your dog’s face or play with different media.  You can do one in pencil and then the next one in marker or crayon.

Geometric Dogs

Create a dog picture using geometric shapes: different sized circles, ovals, triangles, squares and rectangles.  You can cut out these shapes from paper, or use your computer. Here’s a fun instructional video on YouTube., using cut out paper.

Song and Dance

Change a pop song you like so the lyrics are about your dog.  Perform for your family.
Make up a dance routine with your dog! Check out this fun freestyle video Musical Dog Freestyle  and then practice teaching your dog to jump, spin and wiggle to your favorite song!

Favorite Places Map

Create a map of your neighborhood and include your dog’s favorite places to sniff and play.

Do-It-Yourself Agility

Create your own Agility jump for your dog.  Using household items such as a broom pole and chairs as anchors.  Place the pole between the two anchors.  Practice introducing your dog to the jump first, then guide them over the jump with their favorite toy or treat!

Pawprint Masterpiece

Make a pawprint finger paint masterpiece!  Using non-toxic paint, gently place your dog’s clean, dry paw.  Move their paw over to the paper and lightly press their paw down.  Use different colors to make a true doggie creation! After you are done, wash your pup’s paw off using warm water and their favorite dog shampoo.

Caring for your Dog

Practice good hygiene with your pups too! Take the time to wash their bowls and toys using warm soap and water, ask an adult for help before using a specific cleaner.  Make sure to brush them every day to keep their fur soft and clean!

Bake Dog Treats

With help from an adult, you can bake your dog some delicious dog treats. Find the recipe here.
Want more activities for kids?

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Puppy Socialization at Home

It's a challenge when you cannot leave your house and yard to socialize your puppy!  Here are some ideas:
If you have kids, play dress up, have them wear their costumes from years past, wear silly hats and glasses around the house.

Go on Youtube and download and play sounds for your puppy to hear.  Here is a link to my favorites:  Puppy Sounds Play List

Get in your car and go for a ride!  Park outside near the stores that are open and let your puppy observe the surroundings!  Drive to a park and sit in the car, letting your dog watch the birds and sounds of the parks.    Calm car rides are an essential part of the socialization process. While many cities are on lock down, you can always take your puppy to the a grocery store parking lot and allow your puppy to observe people at a safe distance. While you may not allow anyone to pet your puppy, you can teach your him/her how to focus their attention on you (watch me!) in the midst of distractions.

With limited access to shopping we are all online shopping! We are all getting lots of deliveries! Teach your puppy how to calmly go to the door and politely wait to accept those packages. Put your puppy on leash to prevent bolting outside and use your best training treats to encourage a sit/stay at the door. Your puppy will learn to love men and women in uniforms!

Hyper Pet Boredom Buster LickiMat Slow Feeder Dog Mat (Perfect For Dog Food, Dog Treats, Yogurt, or Peanut Butter) [Fun Alternative to a Slow Feed Dog Bowl] Available in a Variety of Colors & Sizes

Now is also a great time to work on cooperative handling, getting your puppy used to handling at the vet, grooming, nail trims, etc.  Using a Lickimat is a great way to keep puppy mouths busy while you practice. 
Virtual learning, we can do that!  Follow us on Facebook for information on upcoming Zoom classes!

Use the materials at your home like cardboard, rugs, yoga mats, towels, cookie sheets, ladders, flagstones, bubble wrap, or even an x-pen to lure your puppy over these odd/new surfaces for mental and physical stimulation.

Now is a great time to crate train! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Trigger Stacking

During this difficult time of "social isolation" we are all stressed out.  Our dogs can be too.  Here's a little graphic to teach you about trigger stacking.

What normally happens in a dog’s day is that they meet a series of stress-inducing triggers - door bell ringing, loud noise on tv, stranger at the door, you drop a pan and make a loud noise, people shouting, strange dogs, etc. If you’ve socialized your dog and introduced him/her to these triggers when they were young (before 20 weeks of age), he or she will most probably learned that these things are nothing to be afraid of. If you didn't, you’ve got an uphill battle to show your dog that a strange man in a hat, wearing boots and glasses, holding a shovel is nothing to be afraid of!

In order to understand trigger stacking, you need to understand how cumulative stress affects your dog. Each time Rover is exposed to a trigger which causes him stress, his brain is bathed in stress hormones. Just as in the explosive volcanoes, stress can be allowed to accumulate. We all have a limit of how much stress we can handle, dogs included.  Eventually, Rover goes over  threshold and explodes by acting aggressively and possibly biting.

Trigger Stacking: One way to think of it is in terms of a cup; some dogs may have a large glass, others a tea cup and some a shot glass.  Each of these  ‘cups’ can hold a different volume of stress.  By continually filling thacup with stressful things, eventually the maximum volume is going to be reached and it spills over the edge.  That moment of spillage is the trigger that sets off intense reactions. Dogs that live with long-term stress will have a cup that is constantly filling up and so there is less room for more stress to fill it.  Trigger stacking is an involuntary occurance that puts your dog into auto-pilot to protect himself.

Know your dog, avoid stressful things, don't let too many stressors happen at one time.

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