Teach your puppy to have a soft mouth

It is very important to work with your puppy to teach him or her to have a soft mouth. Dogs don’t naturally understand to be gentle around people unless they are taught the correct way to interact with us. 

I currently have a client that has a wonderful 9-month-old Labrador Retriever puppy. He is in no way “aggressive” in his behavior, but has the roughest mouth I have ever worked with.

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Dog gets distracted outside? Work on eye contact exercises.

If your dog gets easily distracted outside, increasing the frequency of your dog's attention towards you is an important strategy to practice. This behavior lessens the normal desire to constantly scan the environment for distractions. It is also a very basic way of “starting the conversation” with a dog. If your dog learns to check in by looking at you, it will be easier to ask him to do things that you like such as walking nicely, Stop or come to you.  

There are two strategies to increase the frequency of eye contact with your dog.

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Backyards are not always the answer for dog problems

Finding strategies to properly exercise dogs is an ongoing challenge. As puppies get older they might slow down a bit, but they still need daily mental and physical stimulation.

I frequently hear the puzzled remarks of people that have a backyard, but their dog still doesn’t behave properly. It is important for you to remember that dogs often do not self-entertain. Dogs find things to do in whatever space they are in, often choosing activities that we deem inappropriate. Backyard examples include digging, barking and chewing on landscaping.

Sometimes people remark that there must be something wrong with their dog because they still need so much time and attention even though they are in the backyard for hours a day.

Dogs need structured play and training no matter how much space they have to roam. The fantastic benefit of a backyard is that it provides easy access for training sessions, games of fetch and play.

The other issue that I see with backyards is that people get into the habit of letting their dogs out, playing in backyard and not going on walks. The biggest issues that can arise for dogs that don’t get a lot of time out of their yards are decreased skills in leash walking as well as dog-to-dog interactions.

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Cattle Dog rescue organization

I recently read about a new rescue organization devoted to helping Australian Cattle Dogs find a good home. Australian Cattle Dogs were included on my list of high-energy dogs and it is not surprising that many people find them extremely challenging.

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Why did your dog do that? I don't know.

The other day a client asked me why her 1.5-year-old dog urinates on her living room rug about once a month.

My answer? I don’t know.

Just because I am a professional dog trainer doesn’t mean that I know why dogs always perform certain behaviors.

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How to safely introduce a dog and a cat

It is often difficult to know how a dog will react to a cat until you see them together. This topic is important if you already have a cat and might be considering bringing a dog into the family. 

Even though I don’t have a cat for daily practice, 2 of my 3 dogs are totally fine with the small number of cats they have come into contact with.

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Should I get a second dog?

Bringing a second dog into the home often sounds like a good idea, but it can also cause problems in certain situations. Here are common reasons for getting a second dog and my thoughts on why it might or might not be a good idea.
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How much exercise does a dog need?

I get asked this question very frequently. My basic rule of thumb is that all dogs should receive at least 60 minutes per day of physical exercise and 15 minutes of training to be happy, well-adjusted dogs. This is just a starting point. The numbers can vary greatly depending on the age, breed and individual requirements of your dog.

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Is your dog demanding or destructive? Shape the absence of the behavior.

Destructive behaviors such as chewing on furniture or digging in the backyard are one form of inappropriate behavior. Demand behaviors are also inappropriate and are another way of describing a dog that is asking for something in a way that is deemed inappropriate. Examples include jumping for attention, play nipping for attention, barking for you to throw the tennis ball, or barking to get let out of the crate.

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Create a dog training cue - a summertime example

I was walking my dogs this morning and realized that I use a cue all the time that you might want to use with your dogs. What is the cue? “Flowers”.

What could “Flowers” possibly be used for? I use it to tell my dogs not to urinate on a specific location. I see the remnants of so many irresponsible dog guardians that don't pick up after their pets that I am hyper-sensitive to making sure that people know that most people are responsible and don't leave a mess. Many people spend a lot of time and money making their gardens attractive and I don't blame them for being upset when people allow their dogs to mark them.

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