Tips & Resources
TLC hopes to be a resource for our community. Our goal is to help educate & inform current and potential dog owners by providing training tips, as well as other information, to help keep your dog & family safe & healthy.
Training Tip Tuesday
Imagine if you didn’t brush your teeth daily. Your gums would get infected and you would get cavities. This can happen to your dog’s teeth as well. Puppies have 28 deciduous teeth that typically fall out by about six months of age, so dental care should begin then. Ideally, a dog’s teeth should be brushed two to three times weekly. In honor of February being Pet Dental Health Month, her here some tips for making sure your dog has good oral hygiene and not stinky breath!
A properly used crate can be your dog’s sanctuary for your dog and your home when you leave for the day, go on a trip, or have company over. Most dogs learn that the crate is their “safe place”. However, there are some dogs that have crate anxiety. For these dogs that are unwilling to go into the crate, you need to teach them it is OK.
Start the introduction with no pressure. Allow your dog to investigate the crate by placing toys, treats, or food and water inside, leaving the door open. Encourage him to investigate it. Lavishly praise him when he does enter the crate on his own.
Feed your dog in the crate every other meal. When you want to give him a treat, bone, or dog toy, toss it in the crate for your dog to retrieve. Put his favorite blanket in the crate. Sit down and play with him in the crate. Continue to leave the door open to teach your dog to trust the crate as a voluntary sanctuary where good things happen.
Dogs running to the door when we are greeting guests, running out the door when we open it or jumping on guests are some of the most embarrassing and annoying “bad things” that our canine family members do. Visitors that have been jumped on can become scared or mad at you. Chasing your dog down the street and trying to get him back does not make for a fun visit with friends. In any case, it is an event no one wants to happen. Many people just don’t know what to do about this and unwillingly, accept it as part of having a dog.
It is important that we try to maintain the safety of ourselves, our guests, and our dogs. We need to establish a clear, simple, and consistent rule that your dog must always obey when the door is opened. Is the rule that you don’t want your dog to jump on visitors, or is the rule that you don’t want him to run out the front door? If you could get your dog to stay away from the door, it would resolve both of your wants. So teaching him one simple rule of not crossing a door boundary any time the front door is open, would solve both of your issues, while keeping it simple for your dog.
If your home has both canine and feline members, you may have noticed that your dog tries to steal a nibble or two of your cat’s food. Some people think kibble is kibble and it doesn’t matter if they share their food, but feline kibble and canine kibble is formulated differently.
Cats are known carnivores, while dogs are omnivores, so cat food has a much higher protein content and less fiber than dog food. This difference can affect the taste and dogs seem to be drawn to the protein-rich food, like junk food cravings.
Can it be dangerous for dogs to eat cat food and cats to eat dog food? Some dogs won’t be affected while others will have diarrhea or even vomiting, depending on how much was ingested. Dogs need a balanced diet and eating too much protein can cause liver and/or kidney damage. Even if your dog does not get sick from eating cat food, you should try to limit his access to it. If you can’t feed your cat in an area that your dog can’t access, then you need to teach your dog the “Leave it” command, and teach him to stay away from the cat’s food.
For your cat, dog food lacks two essential nutrients felines need, taurine and arachidonic acid. Taurine is essential for your cat’s heart health. While arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, plays a role in maintaining your cat’s skin, coat and renal function.
In the end, pet owners should feed their dogs and cats a healthy, well balanced food for that species of animal.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery County, northern Chester County and eastern Berks County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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