February is Dog Training Education Month

Dog Training for National Dog Training Education Month

Dogs stand out among all animals due to their unique traits such as obedience, protection, loyalty and beauty. A well-trained fur friend in your life provides a great amount of happiness! The purpose of this exceptional month is to bring awareness to training your dog. You can do it yourself, but it is always advisable to seek the services of a professional. Training can bring loads of fun to both you and your friend, along with strengthening your bond to each other.

Why February? 

You may wonder why the training should be done in February. It’s simple; February comes after holidays with all its numerous celebrations. Use February to strengthen your relationship with your fur friend. Training is a great way of teaching your dog good habits that will last a lifetime. If you start the year off with training, imagine how impressive your dog will be end of the year and many happy years to come.

Interesting Statistics 

Only 4 percent of all dogs undergo training, of that only 2 percent of households out of those trained, seek the services of professional dog trainers. A recent survey conducted by American Pet Products Association shows that there are 46.3 million households with dogs in the U.S. This means that an estimated 44.5 million dogs have not undergone any training. Also, only 5 percent of puppies are taken to socialization classes. Socialization helps puppies and adult dogs adapt to the world around them and develop healthy behaviors.

Understanding Dog Training 

If you have little to no experience, you may think training your dog can be challenging and frustrating. Dogs can learn a lot of things easily and within a short time. As pet parents your probability already know dogs are quite intelligent. This can make training them easy and sometimes with minimal effort just a few minutes of consistent and daily routine. Additionally, dogs naturally love to learn new things and when stimulated they will thrive. Plus, training is the best way to spend time and develop a bond between you and your fur friend.

Socialization

A well socialized dog will help guarantee a happy, healthy, and well-disciplined fur friend. Having well mannered and trained dog will help with fewer dogs being abandoned due to behavior problems.

One important thing that you should keep in mind is that the earlier you take your puppy to socialization classes, the easier it will be for them to adapt to new experiences. A dog that has undergone socialization training feels confident. Make February the month to start making your dog a well-mannered, socialized family member.

What Does Dog Training Involve? 

Dog training is not just about teaching your dog how to sit for food. It involves mental, emotional and physical training aspects. Understand that it is a communication between totally different species with two different languages. You and your fur friend will need to learn how to speak to each other.  You may be astonished to find out that your dog learns behaviors that you thought were impossible. It is always thrilling to see your fur friend learn new things such as sitting down when asked to, leaving toys and fetching their toys. One of the most important things to do is to develop a great relationship by engaging with positive reinforcement and trust.

As earlier mentioned, socialization is a core activity during National Dog Training Education Month. If you do get a new puppy take it to a socialization class, to help them learn about the world outside their home appropriately. We all want pets that are well adapted to live with people & other pets without any anxiety

Inexperienced dog owners will try various temporary fixes that makes the life of a dog difficult. People sometimes isolate dogs from other family members, yell at them or even subject them to uncomfortable collars. Some sadly even us negative reinforcement. These are very inappropriate ways of handling pets. Your fur friend needs respect, care and affection and they will treat you the same.  A dog that is subjected to no training can be confused and poorly equipped to handle life at home or outside the home.  February is the best time to take an initiative to remind both experienced and new dog owners the importance of training their four-legged friends. It takes time, practice, rewards, praise, consistency and you will be able to achieve amazing results. Learn how to combine these factors and you will not be disappointed by the results.

Finding the Perfect Dog Trainer 

Finding a professional dog trainer can be a daunting task. You want the best value for your money and to ensure maximum comfort and benefits for your pet. Research and ask around; ask local rescue organizations, your vet, other dog parents if they would recommend a trainer.  Word of mouth matters a lot in such cases.

Research for professional organizations for dog trainers. Some of the reputable organizations include Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), and National Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).

Once you locate a professional, ask them if it is possible observe a class. Look for different things such as:

  • Are the dogs being trained happy? Interact with some of the dog owners and ask them how they feel about the progress. Ask what they feel about the trainer and his efficiency.
  • What is the focus of the trainer regarding skills imparted to dogs? What are some of the materials required such as clickers, toys, and harnesses?
  • Is socialization part of the class?
  • Does the environment and training facility look comfortable and secure for your dog?
  • Is the training environment clean?
  • If the trainer asks for proof of vaccination, it is a sign that dogs in the facility are healthy.
  • Are positive reinforcement techniques used? Physical punishments are not suitable for dog training. Ask the trainer what training philosophy is used. This will help you to understand whether the trainer will handle the training professionally.

Kick out anxiety

Some dogs can be anxious when left alone at home. Your dog knows when you’re about to leave because there are things it associates with your leaving; grabbing your keys, putting on certain shoes and clothes.  It is time to change that narrative. Do little things like wear your work shoes on while at home, wear them around the house or wear them on walks. Your dog hopefully will learn that you are not necessarily leaving. With time, hopefully the panic will be ease.

Bathroom matters

House training should not be a dirty task. You can get all kinds of advice from books, internet and other various sources. The APDT offers a tip sheet and webinar to help you in dog training. Also understanding that odor removal is an essential part of dog training. Use products that are specially designed to remove pet odors. Like any other training process, it will take time, practice and rewards.

Child safety

The safety of your children and your dog matters a lot. If you have children, educate them about the importance of properly handling and treatment of dogs. Interacting with canines can be tricky for kids so teach them the importance of understanding a dog’s body language. Your child will need to know when a dog wants to be alone and when to play. Your dog will also need to be trained how to interact with kids and play with them safely.

Your fur friend should also be trained on how to interact with all people, not just little ones. Some of the things to train your dog may include; not jumping on people.  Little things like this will make life easier for your family and your canine friend.

Learning is bonding 

February is time to have fun while training your best friend. Dogs love practicing new things and learning new skills, mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercises. Your fur friend will relish the chance to have your full attention and the two of you will make priceless memories. You and your friend can learn from each other such as; moods, body language and develop a hidden connection with each other.

Understand that your dog’s training is a gradual process. Don’t expect your dog to learn new things within ten minutes, but once learned it is a lifetime of rewards. Be patient and you will be amazed by what your dog can learn and is willing to learn. Consistent and daily training will ensure that your dog’s training progresses. Also, it will ensure unwanted behaviors are not learned. Be willing to hire professionals for the best results.

References:

https://www.americanpetproducts.org/

https://apdt.com/

http://www.ccpdt.org/

https://m.iaabc.org/

Dogs and Fireworks Don’t mix

4th-of-july-blur-bokeh-450301

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

We all love fireworks, well most of us do. Our dog probably do not enjoy them as much as we do. They can hear almost four times the distance of their two legged family members. So they not only hear the fireworks in the driveway, but also at the city fireworks display. Hunting dogs, being a exposed to gun blast on a regular basis, may not be stressed by the noise, but they do have a higher occurrence of hearing lose compared to their non-hunting counterparts. Protect your pet this Independence day and keep them inside and comfortable.

Hiking With Dogs – Be Prepared

Over the years we have hiked Texas forest and the Mountains of Colorado. Over those miles we made some mistakes and learned a few things. There is a lot to consider when you are planning a hiking trip: Maps, GPS, first aid, weather, shelter, food, pack weight, water. That is just the basics for you. Now you need to consider your fur family needs.

Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Dogs Hiking
Furry Tired Dogs Make Great Pillows
  1. Is your dog ready for days hiking in what may be strenuous conditions?

It is always a good idea to do a few practice hikes prior to heading out for multiple days. Just like you, your dog needs to be physically ready before heading out. Long training walks or treadmill training is a great way to get them ready. Take into consideration your dogs breed and overall health prior to setting out on a multi-day hike. We treadmill train all of our dogs to ensure they are ready for the adventure. As always consult your vet to ensure your fur family is ready.

  1. Trail Etiquette

Believe it or not there are proper trail manners. Aggressive dogs, dogs that run up on others, jumping on others, chasing wildlife, or just not being under voice control is frowned upon. When you are far from civilization, a little problem can quickly escalate to an emergency and put an end to your trip. Ensure you dogs are ready for the adventure by practicing trail manners on local trails before departing.

  1. Dog Blanket

We have spent many nights in a two person backpacking tent with three dogs; One 110lb Lab, one 55lb Husky and one 50lb pittie. It can get crowded and uncomfortable fast. We quickly learned that packing a dog blanket and placing it in the vestibule of the tent helped with space constraints. Packing a dog bed is just not an option when weight and space is a consideration, but after a long day hiking your dog deserves a comfortable place to rest his paws. Ensure your dog cannot run off in the middle of the night.

  1. Food

Food for your fur family is important. It will be powering them over the mountains, across the plains and through the valleys. Food is also a huge weight and space hog. We highly recommend freeze dried food that is rich in calories and light weight. Freeze dried food can be easily re-hydrated with water at camp. As with any food, start your dog on it slowly by adding a little in each meal until they are 100% on the new food.

  1. Water

Water may be the most important consideration. Do not depend on there being water along the hike route. Even if there is, it may not be suitable for your dog to consume. Waterborne pathogens in water can make your dog sick. A sick dog at camp or during a hike is not fun for you or them. Always, carry extra clean water for them too. Carry a filtration system and when needed prepare enough water for yourself and your dog.

  1. Bowls

Like you, your dog will need something to drink and eat out of. Carrying a space consuming bowl is not practical. You should opt instead for a collapsible double bowl. This will enable you to provide water and food at along the trail and at camp.

  1. First Aid

Accidents happen, be prepared. When putting together a first aid kit, think about items that can be used for you and your dog. Things like vet-wrap bandages are wonderful. There are many pet first aid kits out there, none that seem to be well geared to hiking and saving space, so put your own pet & people kit together and save.

  1. Waste Disposal

Pack it out. Carry plenty of waste bags. Some parks do allow for waste to be buried, so check the local regulations. This helps keep our eco-system healthy and waterways clean.

  1. Packs

Fit & Test any dog packs prior to heading out on your adventure. Your dog should feel comfortable with the pack, not stressed. Fit test the pack in a location that your dog feels comfortable and confident. Do not wait until the trail head to put a pack on your dog for the first time. Try a few outings around the home front prior to heading out. Packs should fit slightly snug but not too tight, they need to breath be balanced and not shift around during activity.

  1. Pack Weight

A good rule is that your dog should not carry more than 25% of their body weight. This percentage is for dogs that are healthy and physically conditioned to carry the extra weight. Start out light and work up. If your dog is older or not in top shape then less weight is better. Have you dog carry things that will get used along the trip. Like his or her food, so their pack gets lighter as the trip goes on.

  1. Booties

Boots for dogs! These are great for dogs with soft paws that are not conditioned for long hikes day after day. But these booties often come off easily, so pack extras. Get your dog accustomed to the booties prior to your outing. Fit test them in the comfort of your home and try them out around the neighborhood prior.

  1. Microchips and Tags

Have you pet micro-chipped. In the case that your loved one ever goes missing, this increases the odds of them being reunited. Tags, Tags and more tags. When your dog is roughing it on a hike tags get lost or damaged. It is best to always have extras on your dog. We like to have two on the collar and one on their harness.

  1. Safety Lights

When night rolls around you need a headlamp or lamp. Keep your dog easily visible with a LED collar or glow sticks. We like the solar/usb rechargeable LED collars. If that is not an option, pack glow sticks, or even an extra headlamp and put it around your dog’s neck like a collar. Works great and this way you have an extra headlamp and your dog is easily visible… One less thing to carry

  1. Coats and Rain Coats

Depending on climate and where you are hiking, it is important to prepare yourself and your dog for the weather. Pack a coat & rain coat for your fur family. Helps keep your dog dry and not smelling like a wet dog. Also, consider packing a cooling bandana for warmer climates. They work great.

Chocolate Lab Hiking
Either Bring Your Dogs Coat or Be Prepared to Give Yours Up
  1. Treats

We all love snacks during a long hike, same goes for your fur family. Clip a treat bag to your pack or belt and reward them throughout the hike. It will help keep their energy and spirits up. Also helps with training them along the way.

  1. Have Fun!

Enjoy this time with your fur family. They will surely enjoy it.

What you do you consider an absolute must have when hiking with your dog? Let us know!