Does your dog have the winter blues?

February is one of the busiest times for dog trainers because this is when dogs having been cooped up from cold winter days are bouncing off the walls, jumping on countertops and chewing on hands among other things.  “But I walk him,” many owners will say.  But sometimes our estimation of the amount of exercise or frequency can get a little like my Weight Watcher’s log ins…a bit fudged.  Or the walk may consist of multi-tasking and not much interaction.  And with sometimes long days spent in the crate things can get a little ho-hum and the urge to be naughty to gain attention becomes so tempting. What is an owner to do?  Mental exercise can actually tire a dog more than physical exercise and can help to get destructive behavior under control by re-channeling and creating a canine Einstein.  There are many fun mental activities and games that the whole family can participate in.  Dog pulling on the leash?  How about setting up soccer cones inside or out and doing weaves, figure eights and circles.  You can add rugs for pause spots and place a broomstick across two chairs and voila’ instant indoor agility course! Want to train your dog to use his head and his nose.  Hide his treats and put him in a WAIT and then release with OKAy asking him to GO FIND. After assisting him the first one or two he will catch on very quickly. Or if you love music and dancing pick a favorite tune and choreograph a routine including spins and steeping forward and backward keeping your dog guessing as you sashay across the floor. Your dog will thank you with better behavior and you will feel better too!

It’s National Train Your Dog Month!

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It's National Train Your Dog Month!

This may just look like a pretty pose but it took training to get that stand “just right”. Krista likes all eyes on her as a show dog but she also likes to learn new things like all dogs do. I have taught her to swim, pull me while cross country skiing, dance, swim and paddleboard and do about 50 tricks. Dogs really “can do” and so can yours!

Don’t Bite Me!

It might seem cute when your puppy chews on your fingers, until you feel those sharp little teeth!  Ouch!  It’s time to put an end to puppy play biting.  While it’s natural for your puppy to want to explore the world around him with his mouth, it’s just not acceptable in our homes.  

When nipped at most people pull their hands away.  Dogs see this as a game and it reinforces their urge to want to bite even more.  Shouting won’t make the behavior stop.  And hitting is out of the question.  So what to do?  You can say “Ouch” and walk away from the puppy.  We don’t want to reward the biting with attention.   You can also offer an acceptable chew toy in order to re-direct the behavior.  Another option is to put a deterrent on your hand and clothing (dog and child safe of course) so that the puppy realizes you aren’t very tasty.  Remember, everyone in your home must be consistent in order for training to be successful.  It also is a good idea to teach your dog that “everything has a price” so that he knows that all his “good stuff” comes from you.

Make your dog happy…

Dogs are the most wonderful and amazing creatures.  They give so much love without asking for much in return…a warm bed, food and water.  They don’t care what you look like, or smell like, or what car you drive.  The love unconditionally, and are there when we need them perhaps even more than some humans we know.  Let’s face it, they deserve more than a 15 minute walk in the dark when we come home from work.

This is where Canines Can Do can help.  Make it a special night out with your furry kid and have some fun training with us.  Our obedience classes cover more than just the basics.  We will introduce you to the fun of scent training, tricks, therapy work, agility and more!  It’s all about having fun with the best partner you’ll ever have…your dog!

My first positively trained dog was Duffy, a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier that took me on many adventures.  I was told this was a stubborn and willful breed that I would have to use punitive methods with to get results.

Fortunately I had some excellent mentors including Bill Delaney (deceased) the original owner of The American Canine Academy and Betsy Scapicchio, owner of Top Dog Obedience School, and we wound up winning titles including High in Trial as novices at the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America National Specialty!  Duffy became a therapy dog, a therapy evaluator dog, an AKC ACE nominee, a NJVMA Silver Award winner, the spokes dog for the American Cancer Society (ACS) Dogswalk Against Cancer/Bark for Life appearing on television, won the ACS and earned the Wheaten Ambassador Award (Canada). An annual award given in his memory to deserving Wheaten Terriers that help their communities.

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Here we are winning High in Trial at the National Specialty of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America.  I think Duffy knew he did something special.

When you train with kindness anything is possible

After competing Duffy always enjoyed climbing trees just for fun.