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Why You Should Be Concerned About Ticks

Why You Should Be Concerned About Ticks on Your Pets Ticks Carry a Variety of Diseases Ticks carry a variety of very debilitating diseases.  These include Lyme Disease, Babesia, Erlichia, Bartonella and many other diseases that can make both people and animals sick.  Although you may be careful when you hike or are out in “tick country”, your dog, cat, horse or other animals that you are affectionate with may bring ticks into your home, where they may transfer from your animal to you.  If you get bit by the tick, you are at risk of developing a painful, chronic illness. Lyme Disease Awareness You may be wondering why I decided to write about ticks and tick diseases this month.  Well, May is Lyme Disease Awareness month and I have Chronic Lyme Disease.  There were times in my life that I was bedridden due to the disease.  I am not sure when I was bitten, as I have never removed a tick from my body and I have never had the “bullseye rash” (actually, less than 50% of Lyme Disease patients actually get one.)  Because I hiked, camped, rode horses, worked in zoos and lived an outdoor life, I could [...]

By |2023-04-19T13:59:33-07:00April 19th, 2023|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

What to Look for in a Dog Trainer

Tips to Finding a Professional Dog Trainer There are no legal certifications or education requirements for dog trainers. That means that anyone can say they are a dog trainer, even if they have no actual experience, education or training. This can make it difficult to know if you are hiring a true professional or not. If you find yourself looking for a dog trainer but cannot decide who to choose, there are a few tips that can help you find a qualified trainer. Find a Trainer Who is Trained and Certified A true professional dog trainer should have some type or formal education and should have experience training dogs other than their own.  There a few reputable dog training groups that can help you find a good trainer. Certified Professional Dog Trainer (Knowledge Assessed or Knowledge and Skills Assessed)- these trainers have a required number of hours they must complete before they take a standardized test. To renew the certification, the trainer must get 36 continued education units within three years. (This means they must continue their education all of the time!) Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner- these trainers take a 6-month course that involves hand on skills as [...]

By |2023-03-23T08:53:49-07:00March 22nd, 2023|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Should I Brush My Dog’s Teeth?

For most people, we brush our teeth twice a day for good dental health. However, we don’t consider our dogs teeth, yet we often complain about them having “dog breath”. If we want our dogs to have “fresh breath”, we need to take care of their teeth like we take care of our own. Teach Your Dog to Have His Teeth Brushed The best dental health for our dogs is to brush their teeth daily. To teach your dog to have his teeth brushed, you need to go slow and be patient. Here are the steps to take to teach your dog to tolerate their teeth being brushed. Items needed: Peanut butter (if needed) Pet toothpaste (any flavor they may like) Finger toothbrush Soft child toothbrush How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth Steps: If your dog is at all unsure of you handling his mouth, put a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and rub onto teeth and gums. If you dog is VERY unsure, spend a few sessions just having him lick the peanut butter off your finger, then move to rubbing it on his gums. Once your dog is comfortable with you rubbing his teeth and gums, [...]

By |2023-03-22T12:59:45-07:00February 14th, 2023|Blog of the Month|1 Comment

Dog Stress Levels

When a dog has gone over threshold, attempting to train them at that moment will be useless. A dog that is over threshold is in “survival mode.” Her sympathetic nervous system is activated, which controls her body’s response to the perceived threat. Adrenaline increases, heart rate increases, muscles contract and pupils dilate as her body reacts as if it were facing a life-or-death event. In these situations, it is better to just get the dog out of the fearful situation or to try to minimize its impact in these instances. If a trainer fails to look at the dog as an individual who is fearful and views the dog’s failure to obey as a dominance issue, the trainer may start punishing a fearful dog for misbehaving when the dog is actually scared. This is especially true if the trainer ignores the fact that some dogs’ “zone of tolerance” is larger than others. Therefore, some dogs will take far less stress before going “over threshold.” Punishing fear only compounds the fear. The dog may then intensify its attempts to run away, or even go into fight mode and attack the handler. But if flight or fight do not work, and the [...]

By |2023-02-15T11:22:32-08:00January 16th, 2023|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

When Emotions Affect Behavior

When Emotions Affect a Dog's Behavior Some behaviors are the result of anxiety, fear, or excitement. As I have mentioned before, if a learner is too stressed, learning cannot occur. If the anxiety or fear is mild, you can help your dog with some homeopathic therapies. Some of these therapies can also help if you have a high-energy puppy or dog because they calm them down enough so they can learn the behaviors you are trying to teach. Homeopathic Therapies for Dogs ThunderShirt: This is a dog shirt that fits tightly on the dog’s body. It comes from the same reasoning that we use when we swaddle a baby. The tightness can help calm the nervous system and allow  the dog to be present when learning. The ThunderShirt can also be used during fireworks and thunderstorms.   Adaptil Pheromones: These pheromones come in collars, diffusers, and sprays. In some cases, these pheromones help reduce fear and anxiety so the dog can learn with less stress.   Through A Dog’s Ear (and other classical music created to calm dogs): This music was specifically created to calm dogs. You can use this when training; however, it is more beneficial to use when [...]

By |2022-12-15T09:18:16-08:00December 14th, 2022|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Potty Pads and Puppy Training

Be Clear About Your Puppy Potty Training Goal If your goal is for your puppy to potty outside, it is important to teach this from the very start. While they may be convenient, training pads can be a crutch and you may have to go back to the basics of training. Staying Inside If you are using potty pads and want to continue to use them for your dog's entire life, make sure to always put the potty pad in the same place in your home. If you DON’T want to use potty pads for your pet's lifetime, discontinue using them immediately as it can cause confusion on whether they should urinate or defecate inside or outside. Pick up any bathmats, rugs, towels, etc. and thoroughly clean anything the puppy may have urinated on (including bare floors) as your puppy may try to urinate wherever they smell urine. Training to Go Potty Outdoors  Supervise them! You can tether them to you while you walk around your home doing daily chores. If they’re out of their confinement space, you should always have eyes on them to prevent them from having an accident. Confine your puppy in a crate or x-pin if you are [...]

By |2022-11-16T15:07:50-08:00November 14th, 2022|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Halloween For Dogs

Halloween Can Be Dangerous for Dogs Halloween can be a fun day for people, but it can be scary and dangerous for dogs.  The decorations, costumes and candy can all lead to problems if we are not aware.  Although it may be tempting to include your dog in the festivities, it is important that you understand the risks and benefits of having your dog involved in Halloween. Decoration Dangers Halloween decorations can cause fears and can be hazards in your home.  We like to decorate our houses with scary skeletons, witches, and zombies for Halloween; unfortunately, these decorations can cause fears in our dogs.  If you notice that your dog avoids, barks at, or lunges when he sees Halloween decorations, he is likely afraid of the novel object.  You can try to desensitize your dog to the decoration, or you may just choose to avoid them to keep your dog comfortable.  In some cases, dogs will choose to chew on Halloween decorations, therefore it is important that you keep your decorations out of reach of your dogs. Costume Concerns Costumes can also be very frightening to dogs.  Although some dogs don’t care about the goblins, ghouls, and gremlins, they can [...]

By |2022-10-18T13:01:24-07:00October 18th, 2022|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

How Can I Teach My Dog To Play Correctly?

There are many reasons your puppy may not be playing correctly. Let's take a closer look! Signs your puppy isn’t playing correctly Playing too rough: I am often asked, “When is play too rough?” This can be tricky because some dogs like to wrestle and others like to chase. One tip that works with wrestlers or chasers is to make sure both dogs are enjoying “the game” - it MUST be reciprocal. If dogs are wrestling and one dog is always “on top”, I will separate the dogs. If the “bottom dog” comes back and wants to reengage, then, the play was likely mutual so I will allow the dogs to resume play. If dogs are chasing, I will stop the “chaser” dog and if the “chasee” comes back, they can resume play. If the “bottom dog” or “chasee” retreat, I know the play was not mutual. Try This! If your dogs are playing but you are not sure if it is appropriate, try catching the chaser and watch their body language. If they display a relieved look on their face, this may mean play is NOT reciprocal. If the chasee looks back like, "hey, keep chasing me" then IT [...]

By |2022-09-20T15:11:59-07:00September 20th, 2022|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Positive Reinforcement Training & Fear of Clickers

Positive Reinforcement Training & Fear of Clickers When you first begin positive reinforcement training using a clicker, you may find that your dog is startled by the sound. This is normal - this isn't a sound they hear often, and certainly not so close to them. This will pass quickly once they begin to associate the sound with the reward they immediately receive. If Your Dog Doesn't Respond Well to a Clicker There could be a few reasons why your dog does not readily respond to clicker training. First and foremost - ALWAYS pair the click with a high value treat or something rewarding to your dog (such as a toy). Change the Sound If your dog is sound sensitive, there are a variety of clickers to choose from! look for a clicker that's more "quiet." If this is still too loud, you can try clicking while the clicker is in your pocket to muffle the noise. Use a Verbal Cue Instead of a Clicker Use a verbal cue such as "good" or "yes" (instead of the click) with a reward of a high value treat or your dog’s favorite toy. Do you want more information on how to desensitize [...]

By |2022-08-13T13:10:33-07:00August 12th, 2022|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Bringing a New Dog Into the Home

How Do I Bring a New Dog Into a Home With Other Dogs Personality matters most and dogs of different sizes can get along! Start Introducing a New Dog Slowly If both dogs are comfortable with other dogs, and exhibit relaxed body language* try the following: (*Not sure what relaxed canine body language is? Check out Truly Force Free Animal Training's Understanding Canine Body Language webinar!) Make sure to have a high value treat on hand! Keep all dogs on leash while introducing to each other in an open space such as a backyard. You may need more than one handler when introducing multiple dogs. Try parallel walks with 2 handlers and 2 dogs. Let the dog sniff the new area/ environment as this calms the dog. Let the dog guide you and gradually get closer. Forcing this can cause even more problems so it is important to take it slow! Remember, slow and steady wins the race! If one or both dogs are reactive towards each other, we recommend contacting a professional dog trainer or behavior consultant before trying this on your own. For more information on the different theories of dog training and how to train your [...]

By |2022-08-12T11:08:07-07:00July 19th, 2022|Blog of the Month|0 Comments


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