Keeping your pooch healthy, happy and entertained is a full-time job, and were here to help! From nutrition to playtime, browse the articles below for tips and advice on all things dog related.
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.
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.
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 dogs 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.
Why crate train you ask? Simple:
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 wont provide your pet with a vital sense of security. If you have a puppy, you can buy a smaller crate, but theres 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.
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 its important not to put their crates in isolated places. Also, keep crates away from drafty areas to maximize the cozy-factor.
Make your dogs crate an inviting space by placing a soft blanket or mat on the floor. You can also fill the crate with your dogs favorite toys and treats. Its important to always provide fresh water for your dog while it is crated as well.
With a little diligence, your dogs crate can quickly become its favourite spot in the house. Here are some tips on how to make a crate your dogs 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.