Scratch Boards

If your dog resists having his claws clipped try teaching him to file them down himself! A scratch board is easily built with either 120 grit sandpaper or slip-proof tape (the sort used on stair edges) and a plank of wood of a reasonable size for your dog. Wrap the sandpaper around the edges of the board and secure with a staple gun or adhesive, making sure that the corners aren’t sharp and the dog won’t be pawing over the staples.

Grab your clicker and some treats and reward your dog for first investigating, then touching the board. When he places a paw on it, click that a few times and stop. In your next session, click only for paw touches, then hold your click until he leaves his foot on the board for a longer period of time or drags it across the surface. Keep going in this way over the course of several short training sessions until he gives you good swipes with contact between nails and board. Make a game of it and in no time you’ll have a dog that does his own pedicures!

For more information about claw care, including how to condition your pup to accept nail trims, call us!

 

Picking a Park

Molly at the park

There are so many dog parks popping up, how do you pick the right one?

    • Pass or open to all? It’s not a fool-proof system, but parks that need a pass require proof of vaccinations, meaning your dog is less likely to pick up something yucky from his friends.
    • Big dog/Small dog zones. Can your yorkie play with pups her own size or is everyone sharing the same space?
    • Cleanliness. Are there garbage cans and are they emptied frequently or are they brimming with poop bags? Does the park provide bags? People are less likely to pick up after their dogs if not.
    • Security. Is the fence in good shape? Is there a double gate so no one escapes when someone arrives or departs?
    • Other people. Swing by the park without your dog and scope out the people. Are they on their phones or chatting with each other? On the other end of the spectrum, is everyone crowding the dogs while they play? There is a middle ground between ignoring and hovering!

 

 

How did you choose a park to play at? What helped you make up your mind?

Use it or Lose it!

You’ve taken the classes and done your homework, but without practice your dog’s training will slide!

Take the opportunity daily to reinforce the cues that are most important to you. Ask her to Drop when she is chewing her Nylabone and reward her for doing so by giving it right back, or cue a Leave It while you are on a walk even if the object she is sniffing isn’t objectionable, just to keep her sharp!

Reward recalls from the backyard and ask for a long Down Stay while you scoop out her dinner. Watch and Touch are easy to practice at random so that they work when you need them. Maintain your dog’s cues by putting them to use in normal interactions with her and you will reap the benefits of living your training!

 

Give that dog a treat!

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You’ve probably given a lot of thought to your dog’s food. Whether you feed kibble, canned food, a raw diet, or a hybrid of these options, we know that it’s not a choice you’ve made lightly. Your dog’s meals are important. They are how he gets the energy for those endless games of fetch (or throw-and-bring-halfway-back), what keeps his coat shiny, and how you keep his weight under control.

How about those extras, though? The in-between meal snacks, training treats, and little nibbles you give him throughout the day? You want to choose nutritious and safe grub there, too!

As with their everyday food, knowing how to read labels on your dog’s treats is key. Ingredients are listed by weight, so what you see listed first is what is present in the largest quantity. Whole, named proteins are good. Mystery meats like “poultry meal” or “animal fat” are not. Artificial preservatives, colors, and humectants (additives that keep treats chewy) are undesirable. Natural sweeteners like molasses are safe, artificial ones should be avoided.

There are plenty of “human” foods that can be given as dog treats as well. Carrots, broccoli and blueberries are good for your dog and you have the added advantage of knowing exactly what’s in them! 

Try the easy peasy recipe below and let us know if your dog flips for these tasty biscuits!

Preheat oven to 350 F then mix:

3 cups flour

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/4 cup shredded carrots or zucchini

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup water

Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut into shapes. Place on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes. Turn the biscuits over and bake 10 min more. Cool completely before passing them out to Fido!