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Canine Consul

Keeping your pooch healthy, happy and entertained is a full-time job, and we’re here to help! From nutrition to playtime, browse the articles below for tips and advice on all things dog related.

Leash Training at Any Age

Walking your dog should be a fun, pleasant experience and a time for bonding. However, for many dog owners it becomes a fierce tug-of-war as their dog strains at the collar attempting to catch a whiff of a new smell, meet new dogs and chase cars. Allowing your dog to pull you around on the leash is uncomfortable, not to mention dangerous on crowded sidewalks and in high traffic areas.

A little leash training can drastically improve the quality of your walks, and dogs can benefit from it at any age. Here are some tips to have your dog walking obediently at your side before the icy weather sets in for the season.

Six Leash Training Tips

  1. To get your dog used to wearing a new leash or head collar, start by attaching it during RedMoon chow time and leave it on for a wander around the house. This creates an association between the leash and something enjoyable - food.
  2. If you have a dog that goes crazy with excitement before you can even get out the door, stand still and wait patiently for them to calm down. Next, walk slowly around the house until your dog realizes that you’re not going anywhere without a demonstration of good behavior.
  3. When your dog tries to pull you forward during a walk, make a clockwise turn and begin walking the opposite direction, forcing the dog to turn quickly to catch up with you.
  4. In high traffic areas, train your dog to sit at every curb you come to before you cross the street.
  5. Rewards, rewards, rewards! Give your dog plenty of pats, praise and delicious RedMoon dog treats as positive reinforcement when they obey your commands
  6. Never shout at your dog or use the leash for punishment during training. Patience is key.
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Training Tools

Using the right equipment can help make training more effective. Most pet stores carry a wide selection of training aids. Here are a few RedMoon favorites:

Non-Retractable Leash: During leash training it’s advisable to use a plain 4-6 foot leash made of leather or nylon rather than a retractable leash. Save the retractable leash for dogs that are well-behaved walkers; it can give dogs in training mixed signals about their boundaries.

Head Collar (a.k.a Gentle Leader, Halti): This special collar is commonly used to train dogs that pull. It fits over the nose and back of the neck of the dog, giving the owner more control over the dog’s head. Dogs wearing head collars can still open their mouths to eat, drink and play fetch. This collar also takes the pressure away from throat of the dog, eliminating choking and gasping when they pull away from you.

Harness: This training aid, which wraps around a dog’s body, is preferable for smaller dogs to protect their fragile necks, and for bigger dogs with small heads that easily escape a normal collar.

 

Crate Train Like a Pro

Since the beginning of doggy time, the den has always been an integral part of life for all kinds of canine-related species. An indoor kennel crate can satisfy the modern dog’s need for a den-like space inside your home. While it will definitely help provide a restful sanctuary for your dog, it can also be a helpful training tool for you.

The Crate Training Advantage

Why crate train you ask? Simple:

     

  • A crate is an excellent housebreaking tool – dogs have a natural reluctance to soil their place of rest
  • It can help prevent separation anxiety
  • A crate can both prevent destructive behavior and keep your dog away from dangerous materials
  • A kennel crate can also be used as a travel cabin for your dog, and your dog’s positive association with their crate will be a plus no matter how far your journey
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What Kind of Crate is Best?

Any pet store will have many different sizes and styles of crates to choose from. When buying a crate, take into account the size of the dog and how the crate is to be used. For example, frequent travelers may want a lightweight portable crate, while crates for large breeds tend to be more permanent fixtures.

Choose a crate that is just big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in; a crate that is too big won’t provide your pet with a vital sense of security. If you have a puppy, you can buy a smaller crate, but there’s always the option to buy a crate that will be big enough for an adult – you can simply block off the extra space until your pup is all grown up.

Placing and Furnishing the Crate

Once you have your shiny new crate in hand, keep the crate near you as much as possible while you are at home. Dogs are social animals, and it’s important not to put their crates in isolated places. Also, keep crates away from drafty areas to maximize the cozy-factor.

Make your dog’s crate an inviting space by placing a soft blanket or mat on the floor. You can also fill the crate with your dog’s favorite toys and treats. It’s important to always provide fresh water for your dog while it is crated as well.

Crate Training Dos and Don’ts

With a little diligence, your dog’s crate can quickly become its favourite spot in the house. Here are some tips on how to make a crate your dog’s castle:

     

  • Consistently use a command like “Kennel” to tell your dog to enter the crate

    While they are getting used to the new crate, give meals and treats at the entrance with the door open

  • Give your dog lots of praise and pets when it uses the crate the way you asked
  • Never use the crate to punish your dog – it’s important to not make any negative associations with it
  • Don’t leave dogs crated for longer than they can comfortably “hold it in”. This can be as short as one hour for new puppies and about 3 – 4 hours for both older puppies and adult dogs
  • Be sure to remove your dog’s collar before enclosing them in the crate – it’s all too easy for collars to become stuck in the crate’s wire or mesh

Beat the Doggie Winter Blues

When cold weather hits, the last thing you want to do is take your dog for a walk in the freezing ice and snow. However, keeping your dog cooped up inside all winter can be unhealthy for you and your pet. Destructive behaviour like devouring furniture, shredding toilet paper and leaving surprise ‘presents’ are just some of the results of doggie boredom. And just like owners, dogs are also prone to weight gain in the wintertime due to lack of exercise.

Dogs need adequate exercise, mental stimulation and socialization to keep them healthy and alert over the long winter months. We’ve got some ideas to help your dog beat the winter blues without putting you in danger of frostbite.

     

  1. Boredom-Beating Toys

    Keep your dog mentally sharp with some interactive toys. Choose ones that act as puzzles or hide treats from your dog. For example, dogs have a blast searching for their favourite treats in the DaBomb Treat Ball, which also makes fun, exploding noises. Nita Otosson has designed an entire line of popular treat dispensing puzzles that really challenge dogs. You can also make eating dinner a stimulating challenge by packing wet dog food or some treats into a Kong chew toy.

     

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  3. Indoor Games

    Unfortunately, a game of fetch just isn’t as fun when confined indoors. But a game of tug o’ war or hide and seek will do the trick. You can also try hiding treats and favourite toys around the house for your dog to sniff out.

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  5. Play Dates or Play Groups

    As pack animals, dogs love to socialize, but satisfying their appetite for social time is hard to do if they never leave the house. So, why not organize a play date with the dog of a friend or neighbour? Take turns hosting the “date” every week. Many doggie daycares also have drop-in play groups where your dog can join others for some supervised fun.

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  7. Training and New Tricks

    Being snowed in is the perfect chance to work on doggie obedience and teach your dog some new tricks. Does your dog still have problems with basic commands? Work on sitting, staying and retrieving. It’s also nice to teach your dog less essential (but super fun) tricks like shake a paw, dance, roll over or take a bow. Training has the added benefit of keeping your dog both mentally and physically active.

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  9. Doggie Daycare

    Booking your dog into doggie daycare for even half a day every few weeks can do wonders to alleviate boredom. It can provide your dog with both a change of scenery and a chance to socialize, while giving you a guilt-free break.

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  11. Take a Class Together

    Dog obedience and education is the most common class available, but these days dog classes are becoming more and more creative. Check your local pet store and search online for everything from dog dance classes to swimming lessons to ‘Doga’ (yoga with dogs).

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  13. Break the Routine

    Breaking your dog’s routine in any way can also help to keep them mentally alert. Try taking a car ride or rotating toys. Exciting new sights and smells to discover will keep your dog’s mind razor-sharp.