All posts tagged: kennel
Teaching Dogs the "Come" Command

For dogs, learning to come when called is not only a behavior issue. It’s a safety issue.

For instance, if your dog slips out the front door and races down across the yard, you must be able to get him to stop and come back before he runs into the street.

Bear in mind that the “come” command isn’t always the best option when you want your dog by your side. For instance, if you haven’t fully trained your dog to understand what you want when you say “come,” don’t use that command and expect results. It’s better to go and get him than to say “come” repeatedly.

Keep practicing the “come” command until you are certain your dog will respond immediately the first time you call.

Method 1 for teaching your dog to come: The back up and recall method

You can practice this method in the house or while out on a walk with your dog.

  • Put your dog on a leash.
  • Hold the other end of the leash, say “come” once, then quickly move backward.
  • Keep moving backward until your dog gets all the way to you.
  • When your dog catches up to you, say “Yes!”
  • Give your dog a treat.
  • Training tip: Teach your dog polite leash behavior
  • The Back Up and Recall is a good way to teach your dog not to pull on his leash when you take a walk.
  • Each time he starts to pull, say “come,” and move backward until your dog gets to you. Say “Yes!” and reward him with a treat.

You may spend much of your first few walks going backward, but it won’t take long for your dog to learn that he must pay attention to where you are going instead of choosing his own path and speed.

Method 2 for teaching your dog to come: The long line

You can also practice “come” outside using a long (20-foot) training leash. The long leash makes it easy to catch your dog if he gets distracted and wants to wander around the yard. For this method, you’ll need the help of another person.

  • Attach the long training leash to your dog’s collar.
  • Your assistant should stand behind your dog and hold him by lacing her hands across his chest.
  • Get your dog’s attention by holding a treat in front of his nose and talking to him in an excited voice.
  • Run away a few feet then call your dog to “come.” Encourage him by clapping your hands or making noises but don’t repeat the “come” command.
  • When your dog runs to you, say “Yes!”
  • Give him a treat.
  • As he gets better at “come,” run farther away before you call him.

Training tip: Make it a game for your dog

As your dog learns “come,” practice inside (a leash isn’t necessary) by having your assistant distract or hold your dog while you go out of the room. Call out, “come.”

When he finds you, say “Yes!” and give him a treat. Over time you can make this game more difficult, by moving to more distant rooms of the house before you call “come.”

Ten Dog Care Essentials

Learn how to keep your dog safe, healthy and happy

It doesn’t take much to make your dog happy, and the rewards last a lifetime.

Your dog gives you a lifetime of unconditional love, loyalty and friendship.

In return, she counts on you to provide her with the basics, such as food, water, shelter, regular veterinary care, exercise, safety and companionship. Read on to find out the 10 things your dog absolutely needs.

Take care of these 10 essentials, and you’ll be assured to have a rewarding and long-lasting relationship with your canine companion.

1. Identify your dog

External Identification: Outfit your dog with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, address and telephone number. No matter how careful you are, there’s a chance your companion may become lost—an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your pet will be returned home safely. The dog’s collar should not be tight; it should fit so two fingers can slip easily under his collar.

Microchip Identification: Have your dog microchipped by your veterinarian. Microchip ID will ensure that your dog will be returned to you if he is lost, even if his collar came off. When scanned by a veterinarian or animal shelter, your phone number, address and other vital information will appear, and you can be contacted.

2. Follow local laws for licensing your dog and vaccinating him for rabies

Check with your local animal shelter or humane society for information regarding legal requirements, where to obtain tags and where to have your pet vaccinated.

3. When you’re off your property, keep your dog on leash

Even a dog with a valid license, rabies tag and ID tag should not be allowed to roam outside of your home or fenced yard. It is best for you, your community and your dog to keep her on a leash and under your control at all times.

4. Give your dog companionship

A fenced yard with a doghouse is a bonus, especially for large and active dogs; however, dogs should never be left outside alone or for extended periods of time. Dogs need and crave companionship; they should spend most of their time with their family, not alone outside.

5. Take your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups

If you do not have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter or a pet-owning friend for a referral and check out our information on choosing a veterinarian. If you are having trouble paying for veterinary care, you may be able to employ creative options or find sources of assistance.

6. Spay or neuter your dog

Dogs who have this routine surgery tend to live longer, be healthier and have fewer behavior problems (e.g., biting or running away). By spaying or neutering your dog, you are also doing your part to reduce the problem of pet overpopulation. If you feel you can’t afford to have your pet spayed or neutered, we can help you find low-cost options.

7. Give your dog a nutritionally balanced diet and constant access to fresh water

Ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your dog. Dietary requirements change as dogs get older, and a dog’s teeth need to be cleaned and monitored regularly to ensure she can eat properly. Also keep an eye out for pet-food recalls and foods and plants that can be toxic to you dog.

8. Enroll your dog in a training class

Positive training will allow you to control your companion’s behavior safely and humanely, and the experience offers a terrific opportunity to enhance the bond you share with your dog. Check out our information on choosing a dog trainer.

9. Give your dog enough exercise to keep him physically fit (but not exhausted)

Most dog owners find that playing with their canine companion, along with walking him twice a day, provides sufficient exercise. Walking benefits people as much as it benefits dogs, and the time spent together will improve your dog’s sense of well-being. If you have questions about the level of exercise appropriate for your dog, consult your veterinarian.

10. Be loyal to and patient with your faithful companion

Make sure the expectations you have of your dog are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavior problems can be solved. Remember, not all “behavior” problems are just that; many can be indicators of health problems. For example, a dog who is suddenly growling or snapping when you touch his ears may have an ear infection. If you are struggling with your pet’s behavior, contact your veterinarian or local animal shelter for advice.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging

Has your dog turned your yard into a moonscape with craters everywhere? If so, the first thing you should know is that your dog isn’t doing this out of spite or a desire to destroy your landscaping.

Dogs may dig for entertainment when they learn that roots and soil “play back.” Your dog may be digging for entertainment if:

  • They’re left alone in the yard for long periods of time without the company of their human family.
  • Their environment is relatively barren—with no playmates or toys.
  • They’re a puppy or adolescent and don’t have other outlet for their energy.
  • They’re a terrier or other breed that was bred to dig.
  • They’re an active breed who needs a job to be happy.
  • They’re recently seen you gardening or working in the yard.

What to Do

Expand your dog’s world and increase their people time in the following ways:

  • Walk your dog at least twice daily. Lack of exercise is a leading cause of problem behaviors.
  • Play with them using active toys (balls, flying disks) as often as possible.
  • Teach your dog a few commands or tricks. Practice these every day for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Take a training class with your dog and practice what you learn daily.
  • Keep interesting toys in the yard to keep your dog busy when you’re not around. Kong®-type toys filled with treats or busy-box dog toys work especially well. Rotate the toys to keep things interesting.

Hunting Prey

Dogs often dig in an effort to catch burrowing animals or insects who live in your yard. This may be the case if the digging is:

  • Focused on a single area rather than the boundaries of the yard.
  • At the roots of trees or shrubs.
  • In a “path” layout.

What to Do

Search for signs of burrowing animals, then use safe, humane methods to fence them out, exclude them or make your yard or garden unattractive to them.

What Not to Do

Don’t use any product or method that could be toxic or dangerous to your pets or other animals. Anything that poisons wildlife can poison your dog, too.

Comfort and Protection

In hot weather, dogs may dig holes to lie in the cool dirt. They may also dig to provide themselves with shelter from cold, wind or rain or to find water. Your dog may be digging for comfort or protection if:

  • The holes are near the foundations of buildings, large shade trees or a water source.
  • Your dog doesn’t have a shelter or their shelter is too hot or cold.
  • Your dog lies in the holes they dig.

What to Do

Provide your dog with the comfort or protection they seek. Bring them inside more often, and make sure their outdoors shelter is comfortable, protected against heat and cold, and has access to water in an untippable bowl. If your dog is still a dedicated digger, try setting aside a digging zone »

Attention

Any behavior can become attention-getting behavior if the dog learns that they receive attention for engaging in it. Remember, even punishment is attention. Your dog may be looking for attention if they dig in your presence or have limited opportunities for interaction with you.

What to Do

Ignore attention-seeking behavior and give your pooch lots of praise for “good dog” behavior. Also, make sure your dog has enough walk and play time with you on a daily basis.

Escape

Dogs may try to escape to get to something, to get somewhere or to get away from something. Your dog may be digging to escape if they dig under or along a fence.

What to Do

Figure out why your dog is trying to escape and remove those incentives. Make sure their environment is a safe, appealing place for a dog.

To keep your dog in your yard:

  • Bury chicken wire at the base of the fence. Be sure to roll the sharp edges away from your yard.
  • Place large rocks, partially buried, along the bottom of the fence line.
  • Bury the bottom of the fence 1 to 2 feet below the surface.
  • Place chain-link fencing on the ground (anchored to the bottom of the fence) to make it uncomfortable for your dog to walk near the fence.
  • Work with your dog on behavior modification to stop them escape efforts.

What Doesn’t Work

Regardless of the reason your dog is digging, don’t:

  • Punish your dog after the fact. This won’t address the cause of the behavior, and it will worsen any digging that’s motivated by fear or anxiety.
  • Stake out your dog near a hole they’ve dug or fill the hole with water.
  • Punishing your dog after the fact never works!

Next steps: A Digging Zone

If your dog is a dedicated digger, set aside an area of the yard where it’s OK for them to dig, and teach them where that digging zone is:

  • Cover the digging zone with loose soil or sand. Or use a child-size sandbox.
  • Make the digging zone attractive by burying safe items (such as toys) for them to discover.
  • When they dig in the digging zone, reward them with praise.
  • If you catch your dog digging in an unacceptable area, interrupt the behavior with a loud noise and firmly say, “No dig.” Then immediately take them to the digging zone.
  • Make the unacceptable digging spots unattractive (at least temporarily) by placing rocks or chicken wire over them.
  • If you’ve tried all these strategies and still can’t solve your dog’s digging problem, keep them indoors with you and supervise them during bathroom breaks in the yard. You may also want to consult a behavior professional for additional help.
Dog and Cat in Bed

Can you imagine your life without a comfy bed to crawl into each night? Your dog’s bed should be a haven and a place they can spend a good deal of time. It needs to be sturdy, comfortable, safe and of course easy to clean and resistant to parasites.

But what kind of bed should you buy for your dog? After all, people beds come in a bewildering array of sizes and shapes and the same is true of beds for our canine companions.

When looking for a bed for your furry best friend we recommend you ensure that the bed you choose meets the following criteria:

  • Made of non-toxic materials. Synthetic products, including stain-proofing and flame retardant chemicals, may harm your dog. This is particularly important if you dog has sensitive skin or allergies. This is also important for dogs who may chew their bed! When you first bring your bed home give it a good wash to remove any residues from processing.
  • Non-skid bottom. When you canine companion dives into bed the last thing you want is the bed to slide out from under him. A moving dog bed not only poses a risk of injury to your dog but can also become a trip hazard around the home. You can use non-slip matting if the bed doesn’t have its own non-slip base, the style used under floor rugs.
  • Easy to clean. If you have a smaller dog, buy a bed you can throw into the washing machine on a hot cycle over 60°C. This will kill flea eggs and dust mites. If you can also pop it in the sun to dry, perfect. If you can’t wash the bed, make sure the cover is washable or the bed can be hosed off and put in the sun to dry.
  • Warm or elevated. If you live in a cold area or your dog sleeps outside, an insulated bottom or an elevated bed is ideal to get your pet off the cold ground.
  • Water repellent. Many beds have a water repellent cover, particularly useful for pets that head off to bed after getting wet. You can also keep a collection of old towels to throw over the bed if your pet is a little soggy.
  • Indestructible. Particularly for puppies or those that chew, ensure the bed is tough, there are no parts that can be chewed and swallowed and for the chewers, avoid heated beds!
  • Big enough to stretch out fully. You will need something that will allow your dog to stretch out when it is hot, or curl up when it is cold. If your dog is young, ensure you are getting something that will fit when he is fully grown.

A bed suited to your dog and situation

There are many types of beds and depending on whether your dog is old, young or likes to chew you will need a different sort of bed. The type of climate you live in and whether your dog sleeps indoors or out is also a consideration.

Older pets. Pets that have old aching joints need to be kept warm. For these pets an elevated bed, heated bed or orthobed are ideal. Ensuring the bottom is insulated also helps if the bed is sitting directly on cold flooring.

Warmer climates. Cooling beds are a great idea, or you can pop frozen water bottles next to or in your dog’s bed on hot days. Dogs that have snub-noses like staffys are particularly prone to heat stroke. Hanging wet towels near your dog’s sleeping quarters can also provide make-shift air-conditioning. For larger dogs, elevated dog beds (also called trampoline beds) are ideal as the air can circulate under the bed.

Itchy dogs. If you have a smaller pet make sure the entire bed is machine washable and not treated with any chemicals. Avoid washing detergent or use a very small amount of hypoallergenic detergent and wash on a hot cycle (over 60°C) each week. For a larger dog a trampoline dog bed that can be hosed off and put in the sun to dry will be relatively low allergen. Consider getting two beds so you can rotate the beds and wash the bed on a weekly basis. Dust mites and fleas are the most common concerns relating to bedding that can cause allergies in pets.

Kennels and crates. If your dog sleeps outdoors in a kennel, you will need to make sure it is easy to clean. Avoid a carpeted floor, unless it can be removed and washed. Carpet would need a good vacuum, hose and to be put in the sun to dry. Wooden kennels can easily get damp, harbour mites and other creepy crawlies and end up very dirty. Kennels in hot climates also need to be in shade and well ventilated. Crates are very easy to clean and can mimic a ‘den’, providing a safe haven for your dog. They are easy to move should you need to and can be used for car travel. You also then have an area you can secure your dog at night or when guests are visiting. An old blanket or towels that can be washed weekly on a hot cycle are ideal for the base. For some useful information on how to crate train your dog.

Things to avoid

  • Mattresses that can’t be fully washed. Washing the cover is not enough to get rid of fleas and dust mites. These creepy crawlies live in furnishings like mattresses, carpets and cushions and are a common cause of allergies and dermatitis. Some covers such as Gore-Tex are resistant to fleas and dust mites, often by having a very narrow weave, but most regular mattresses are not protective and over time they will become smelly, dirty and harbour all sorts of creatures if they can’t be properly cleaned.
  • Beds with straps, buttons, zippers or piping. Particularly dangerous for those dogs that like to chew. Too much fussy detail can attract the attention of a destructive dog and anything that can be pulled off has the potential to be swallowed and form an intestinal foreign body. You should also avoid cooling or heated beds that have batteries or an electricity connection if your pet likes to chew!
  • Wooden beds and kennels often have a finish or lacquer on them that can be toxic when chewed. Wood also has the potential to harbour mites and can absorb the damp and go mouldy.

Whatever the sleeping quarters you choose for your beloved friend, remember that this is going to be a place that your dog could potentially spend up to 18 hours a day sleeping (half his luck!). Choosing something comfortable, safe and durable that is easy to clean is your priority. Sometimes it is worthwhile spending a bit more to make sure it will last and be resistant to common parasites.