Click the image to visit Only Natural Pet Store, one of my favorite online pet supply stores!
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All animals’ instincts are to forage for food and to look for a mate. We’ve pretty much eliminated those two important tasks, and some dogs are out of balance.
Instead of feeding your dog with a bowl, exercise that rascal and have some fun!
You can enrich your puppy or dog’s environment by providing foraging toys. Most dogs love the Tug a Jug!
Penny, the sweetest Pit Bull Terrier ever, pictured in this post, is hoping to find one in her Christmas stocking!
My dog, Bentley, loves the tug -a- jug. When I place dog kibble inside, he knocks it around a bit and gets most of the dog food. When I mix in a few tasty Paws Kickin Chicken treats, he gets downright excited. He’ll toss it much higher and farther for these Kickin Chicken treats! Click the Paws Gourmet Kickin Chicken Words below to get your Kickin Chicken from Sit Stay, one of my favorite online dog supply stores.
If you leave your dog unattended in the yard, laundry room, garage or kennel, beware! Your dog’s buckle or choke collar could kill! Every year, many dogs meet an untimely death from hanging via their collars.
If you have more than one dog, play can morph into a tragedy! One dog’s tooth can get caught on the other dog’s collar. It happens very quickly, so even if you watch your dogs play, please protect your dogs with a breakaway collar.
When your dog is exploring an area, unattended, items such as patio furniture, fencing, bar-b-q grills are potential death traps. Don’t let this happen to you. Sit Stay sells a breakaway dog collar, made by Premier Pet Products. Fit your dog with the correct size to keep that rascal safe!
Click on the image to visit Sit Stay and protect your dog or puppy today.
Tug is defined “to pull hard” by Webster’s online dictionary. People play tug with their dogs by pulling on an item the dog is holding in his or her mouth. To win at tug, you take the item away from your dog.
Many of my clients ask me, “Is it okay to play tug with my puppy?” Good question. I know why you ask.
Tug of war is one of those controversial topics. Some people believe it’s okay to play tug if the human always wins. Other state. “playing tug will increase unwanted aggressive behaviors”. These people tell others to avoid the game of tug with their dogs. I’m not sure why. I suspect these people promote concepts like alpha and dominance. The stronger animal is the boss and the weaker animal submits, right?
If you have visited a few pages on this site, you already know my thoughts on alpha.
Okay, here are my thoughts on playing tug with puppies and dogs. The simple answer is, ‘it depends”. Tug can be a wonderful teaching game and reward for some dogs. Tug can be a dangerous game with some dogs, without some guidelines to keep it safe and fun.
If your dog exhibits aggressive behaviors, directed at you, then tug is probably not a good game for you and your dog! Young children should not play tug with a puppy who does not know the rules. Play biting kids is a puppy’s favorite pastime. Please click this link about play biting and kids if you have children in the house.
Here are some ideas on teaching puppies and dogs about tug.
You do not want to play tug with your socks, especially when still attached to your feet. To prevent tug games with the wrong items, purchase 1 or 2 tug toys. Once your puppy knows the rules you can play tug with whatever you wish. Tug toys are made for tug and have easy grip handles. Longer rope toys with handles or knots make for good tugging! Keep the tug toys away from your dog, unless you are playing tug. That means the toys should not be in his or her toy box, for them to play with and chew. These toys only come out when you want to play tug!
Here’s one of the best, rope tug toys.
It’s normal for puppies and dogs to growl and snarl when playing tug. Look for other body posturing that indicate your puppy is playing, not fighting. If your puppy’s butt is in the air and his or her front legs are on the ground, that’s a play bow. Your puppy wants to play!
When your puppy “accidently” makes teeth on skin contact (and he or she will) the game should end. Tell your puppy something like , “oops, you blew it”, and then walk away. If possible, take the toy away. Wait a minute or so, until your puppy is less excited, and then resume play.
Teach your puppy a signal that ends the game. I use “Game Over, then ask for the Drop.
Use common sense about playing with your puppy. Puppies do not know how to play with humans. Avoid games that include rough play with your hands, tumbling or roughing up the puppy. This will send your puppy the wrong signals and increase play biting as well as other inappropriate play behaviors.
Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization
Most of us who pitch an occasional ball or play sports think little about matching the diameter of the ball to fit our dogs.
SIZE MATTERS! A medium or large dog should not play with any ball that could become lodged in their throats or stuck in their mouth.
It’s rare, but I’ve known dogs who have choked to death while their owners watched. Balls that are just a bit too large for small dogs can be compressed to fit into the mouth, where they flex back to original size and become stuck. Think about your dog’s safety during play!
My Australian terrier dog, Bentley destroys tennis balls in minutes! There are only a few types of balls that hold up to his destructive chewing. I’ve found a goldmine of incredibly durable balls made by Orbee. Bentley can compress, chew and squeeze the Orbee balls, but they do not easily rip and tear.
Orbee makes tough balls, in all sizes. Here is a sampling of the selection. Click the images below to purchase the perfect size Orbee Tough Ball from Sit Stay, a trusted on line dog supply store. You will not find it at a better price! Plus, I’ll get 8% of your purchase to help fund this FREE informational web site!
Orbee Tough Ball – Small 2.25″, Medium 3.25″, Large 4.25″ .
Click the image to visit Sit Stay and order Orbee Tough Ball – 2 1/4″ Small, 3 1/4″ Medium or 4 1/4″ Large.
2 1/2″ Orbee Tuff Fetch Ball – Same size as normal tennis balls.
Click the image to visit Sit Stay and order Orbee 2 1/2″ Fetch Ball.
3″ Baseball CLICK the image to visit Sit Stay and order Orbee 3″ Baseball.
3.25″ Orbee Tuff Glow for Good Ball CLICK the image to visit Sit Stay and order Orbee 3 1/4″ Glow Ball.
Orbee 5″ Soccer Ball CLICK the image to visit Sit Stay and order 5″ tuff soccer ball today!
Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization
This article has a dual purpose. 1) to point out features of leather and nylon dog training leashes; 2) to provide a direct link for those who want to purchase a leather dog training lead for the best price.
There are many choices among dog equipment and supplies. Some tools are better for some situations. Over the years, I have refined my list of favorite dog training supplies. I used to shop online at pet speciality supply stores, but now I can purchase the items through Amazon.
I’ll say it now. I prefer leather leashes. The benefits are discussed in this article. Generally speaking, leather leashes cost more than nylon leashes. But that is not always the case. It depends on where you buy your leash. If you shop wisely, you can purchase a leather leash for just a bit more than a nylon leash. The leather leash at Amazon, linked in this article is priced to sell! I’ve paid more for nylon leashes!
Nylon leashes have benefits too. If you like color, forget about leather. Another concern for some users is the ability to sterilize the leash. A leather leash is not a good choice for vet clinics, shelters, rescue organizations, etc., because you cannot wash and sterilize the leather leashes. If you are in this situation, choose a nylon leash.
Leashes come in all lengths. There are traffic leads of 2 feet. There are long lines, which are 8 to 100 feet long. In this article, I am discussing training leads of 4-6 feet in length, with clasps that snap onto the dog’s equipment.
Leashes come in different widths too. Wider is not necessarily better. Generally speaking, the wider the leash, the heavier the clasp. Choose a width that fits your hand and your dog. A 1″ wide leash doesn’t fit into small hands very well. Ladies, children and men with smaller hands will like a 3/8″ – 1/2″ wide leash. Compared to a smaller lead, the clasp on a 1″ wide leash will be huge, and too heavy for a 15 lb. dog! If you have a 5 lb. yorkie or other toy breed, a 1/4″ leather or nylon will be fine.
I use a 1/4″ leather lead to walk Bentley, my 18 lb. terrier.
When I handle a 25-75 lb. dog, I use a 3/8″ or 1/2″ wide leather leash.
If the dog is 80 lbs or more, I’ll use a hefty 5/8″ leather leash.
My general training leashes are 5 or 6 feet in length. A shorter leash may be helpful if you have trouble controlling your dog in traffic.
Here’s a link to the best price for a braided, 6 foot, 1/2″ leather leash.
A good training leash has several functions. First, it should function. The snap should be easy to operate and fail proof. I dislike the lobster claw and variations of a spring loaded snap (without a knob). I’ve seen more than one person holding an empty leash in their hands when the clasps failed! I’ve never experienced a failure with a bolt snap type of clasp. A bolt snap has a spring loaded knob you slide down to open the hook.
Next, a leash should be durable. The fewer seams in the leash, the better! Nylon leashes are stitches or stapled. The joints will eventually fail, and the nylon material will deteriorate over time. Leather leashes are stitched, stapled, or braided. The braided leather leashes will last a lifetime (unless you let your dog chew it).
The leash should be easy to hold and grip. You should never slide the handle end of the leash onto your arm, like a bracelet.
That’s the danger zone!
Nylon leashes are okay for grip, but they compress in your hands. You’ll need a wider nylon leash, because the slick nylon is difficult to grip. You’ll exert more pressure on your hand muscles hanging on to a nylon leash. A leather leash is easier to grip. Leather doesn’t compress and change shapes. Of course, you can always form a knot at just the right spot, in either style leash to get a better grip.
In the picture, Sparky is not wearing a training leash. He’s sporting a home made, 8′ tether!
Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN
Reactive Dog Workshops
I have these dog goodies linked on this site so my clients can find the best items at the best prices! I mention many of these items during group and private dog training sessions.
You can get these toys at many stores. I SHOP at AMAZON and SIT STAY for the best deals from reliable sources. My 10 year old Australian terrier,Bentley, loves each of these items (well, except for the head collar). Each item has been “terrier tested” for durability!
Here, you can find foraging /food dispensing toys, gentle leader head collars, squirrel dude, fire hose dog toy, and other How’s Bentley approved dog supplies and equipment. Just click the image to shop at Amazon. I get a small percentage of whatever you buy, but I’m not making a living at .40 cents per $10. 🙂
Here’s the Fire Hose toy for the Fire Hose Game. The Fire Hose Game is a simple solution for friendly dogs that get excited and jump on visitors. The toy floats and is great for games of water fetch. Fire hose is tough! But, this is not a chew toy, your dog can dismantle it by attacking the seams. The unique texture of the fire hose makes this a hit with all puppies and dogs.
The tug a jug is a commercial version of water bottle toy. This thing is tough! Bentley will carry it in his mouth, jump up into a patio chair and drop the jug on the rock patio. I keep waiting for it to break, but no cracks yet! This is better for medium or large dogs. Bentley is about 20 lbs., and the toy is on the large size for him.
The Gentle Leader Head Collar offers the most control among head collars. It does take a bit of learning to use, and is not for all dogs or people. It will not fit dogs with flat faces. I refer to the Gentle Leader head collar as a nylon valium. It has a natural calming effect on some dogs. If you are fitting and using without a trainer’s help, CLICK the image to order from Sit Stay which includes a dvd video.
Not all harnesses are created equal. The Premier Sure Fit Harness is the best harness out there! You do not have to slide your dog’s leg through a loop or buckle it on the belly. Other brands are a nightmare to fit and the dog can slide out of the harness. In addition, many of the harnesses do not distribute the force of the leash to the dog’s body, as a good harness should. If you have a small dog, I recommend a small, Premier Sure Fit Harness. Sit Stay has a great price. CLICK the image to visit Sit Stay and shop for Premier Sure Fit Harness.
Say, regardless of the equipment you like, you’ll need a 6 foot, leather training leash to teach Basic Obedience COMMANDS.
Here’s a link to Amazon, who has the best price for a braided, 6 foot, 1/2″ leather leash.
The Busy Buddy Squirrel is one of my favorite hollow rubber foraging toys. I like this design; the opening has rubber fingers that keep the dog kibble from falling out. Your puppy will have to work for the food! The squirrel design is cute, but Bentley keeps running to my patio door when I ask him to find the squirrel. It’s one of our favorites!
Kong- Hmm. . . what can I say? Everyone should have 2 or 3 of these! The kong is an all time favorite and tough foraging toy for any dog or puppy. Amazon has excellent prices on these famous Kong toys. You an get a large kong for under $8. Order two or three and follow my frozen chicken broth recipe for crate training help. The kong provides excellent foraging and entertainment value. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, order the ultimate black kong!
Sometimes we get so engrossed in stopping our dogs’ behaviors, we overlook the simple solutions. Friendly, jumping up on guests is the most common problem reported by my clients.
Many dogs calm down after a few minutes, so this solution is for those guys, the dogs that are too excited to obey during the first few minutes, but do relax after their initial exuberance has passed!
We’ve all read the same books and advice. Attach a leash, prevent the dog from mugging your guests. Teach the dog to sit politely for greetings. Yuk! How boring!
In theory that sounds like great advice. But in reality, many people do not have the skills, the time, or regular guests to use for practice. And some dogs are too darned excited to sit! I prefer to give these turbo dogs another active and exciting task (besides jumping up on guests).
Here’s my easy solution that will cost you under $15 and about 10 minutes to put into place. This works especially well for labrador and golden retrievers!
Try this jumping up solution with dogs that like toys, and are proud to prance with toys in their mouths.
Purchase a new toy. Dogs seem to really like fire hose material. The texture is a bit different and the fire hose is very durable. Amazon has a great selection. Here’s the best one I’ve found at the best price.
You’ll need to build a history of excitement and glee, and associate the toy with proud prancing, before you can use it in real life. You’ll do this when no visitors are nearby.
Give your dog the new toy. Chase, praise, cheer, clap your hands, make high pitched repetitive noises. Do whatever it takes to get your dog prancing or racing around the house with the new toy!
After 3 minutes of excitement, ask your dog to drop the toy and place the toy near your door. Wait an hour and then repeat the fire hose toy playtime. This time, you’ll label the game. Say something like, “Fire Hose” and then race to get the toy near the door. Give your dog the toy and cheer him on!
From now on, your dog only gets that particular toy when people visit your house. Say, “Fire Hose” and give your dog the toy the instant you open the door and invite the visitors inside your home. It’s very likely that your problem of “excited dog jumping on visitors” will be replaced with a display of prancing and running with the fire hose toy.
Stop your dog from pulling! The Canny Collar is the first head collar that anyone can fit and use. If you can attach a buckle collar to your dog, you can fit the Canny Collar. Price is $25.95 plus a flat rate, USA shipping charge of $6.95.
For years, I have suggested head collars for my clients. Clients use the equipment to get the dog to perform the good behavior, then they reward the dog for walking nicely!
A core problem with the Gentle Leader, Halti, and the Snoot Loop is fitting the collar correctly. Until now, all head collars required fine tuning and adjustments. Toss in an exuberant dog (why else would the people need a head collar?) and many people become frustrated and switch to other no pull devices.
The Canny Collar has fast become my favorite choice for many situations! Just order the correct size and you are ready to start enjoying walks with your dog! Click Here for a Size Chart.
None of the big box pet supply stores in Memphis, Germantown, or Collierville TN carry the Canny Collar. None of the speciality pet supply stores, such as Three Dog Bakery or All About Pets, or Hollywood Feed carry the Canny Collar.
Teach your puppy or dog very quickly using kind methods! Everyone who wants to use rewards based training methods to teach their new puppy or older dog will benefit from owning this 46 page booklet! How’s Bentley Jump Start is a “must have” for positive reinforcement trainers.
Most of the information in this PDF e booklet is on this site for FREE.
This PDF e booklet is for those who want an indexed copy of some of the instructions on this site.
Written by Alan J Turner,
Basic Obedience and Manners – 46 pages including cover and table of contents.
Steps to Success – How to Communicate – Establish a Reward System – Condition a Reward Marker – Cues – Capture Sit – Door Knock Game – Teach Target Here – Lure Down -Teach Attention (with command and without command) – Target Touch – Go to Place – Stay – Inside/Outside, and More!
You can teach a dog to come when you blow a whistle. You can teach a dog or puppy to come bump your fingers. You can teach the dog to come when you say “come” and when you say “here”. Dogs can learn multiple signals or cues that mean, “perform come behavior”.
Does your dog bark and attack the door when people come to visit?
If your dog barks at visitors, but likes them once they come inside, teach your dog that the sound of the door bell or a knock on the door is a command to come to you! Once your dog knows “come”, you teach him or her to perform “come” when someone knocks on the door.
The door knock sound and visitor outside can become the command or cue for your dog to come to you.
Cues are words or signals we use to talk to our dogs. It’s best to begin by selecting a single word, simple hand motion or short phrase for each command or cue.Cues are words or signals we use to talk to our dogs. It’s best to begin by selecting a single word, simple hand motion or short phrase for each command or cue.
When first teaching new behaviors, everyone in the house should use the same cues.
You can make any visual signal or word into a cue. If the dog’s senses can receive the signal, it can be a cue. I like to use normal events as cues.
That’s why you can teach your dog that the sound of the door bell or a knock on the door is a command to come to you!
When working with deaf or blind dogs, get creative with your cues!For instance, a thumbs up or high-five signal can be used as a marker when communicating with deaf dogs. Stomps that cause vibrations on a wooden floor can be used as cues when working with dogs that are both deaf and blind.
There are other topics to consider about cues! I have put together a document so you can learn about:
Teaching Multiple Cues for the Same Behavior – Follow the instructions and teach your dog that a knock on the door is a command for “come”.
Rules for Repeating Cues – Yes, you may repeat the command while teaching, but not without changing something. Follow these rules to teach your dog that you only ask once!
You can purchase the Door Knock Game document for the price of a song – .99!
Please visit the “Products” page and purchase Door Knock Game today!