Dog Training Education Month

February is Dog Training Education Month.  Why not consider a variety of daily activities you can participate in with your dog to establish or enhance his training.

Every day you can focus on a new aspect of training. Of course, if you think one topic a day might be too rigorous a schedule for your dog, you can slow it down and expand the schedule to teach one new aspect of training each week, or every 2 weeks, and beyond. You can change to tailor to your dog’s temperament and needs. The point is to train your dog every day in some way.

Acme Canine can teach you some aspects or types of training you didn’t even know existed, giving you a starting point to research how best to train your dog in disciplines you think he’d benefit from knowing.

The more you work with your dog the better your bond will be. So jump in and participate in Dog Training Month. You may both enjoy it!

 

Winter slump? Cabin fever?

Cabin Fever is otherwise known as boredom, which (in a dog) can manifest itself in such destructive behaviors as digging, shredding things, and self-mutilation.  Your dog needs more activity.  A walk is good for you, and better than nothing for your dog, but he would much prefer a high-speed game of fetch or chase.  Exercises that involve the thinking process, and not just the limbs, are particularly good for your dog.Indoor Games:

Hide the cookie.  Even a dog with no training can play this game.  Most dogs like treats, and all dogs have a powerful sense of smell.  All you have to do is create the atmosphere, by showing the dog the treat and getting him a little excited about it.  Just hide the treat and have him search the house for it.  It’s fun to watch the dog “puzzle out” where you might have hidden the goodie (I fake him out by pretending to hide it in several places first).

Hide and seek.  Hide somewhere in your house and then call the dog.  If you hide in a closet, it will be extra tricky for him to find you.  When he looks in the room, doesn’t see you, and turns around to check the other end of the house, call his name again.  When he finds you, give him a big hug and a cookie.

Home Alone Games:

If your dog spends much of his time in your home while you are at work, you can still provide some educational toys for him to amuse himself with while you’re gone.

A Buster Cube is a hollow plastic block with baffles and chambers.  It looks like a die, with the dots representing 1 – 6 on the sides.  Treats come out of the hole in the “one” side of the die.  The dog can bat, kick or paw this toy around for quite a while, until a treat finds its way out of the hole.

A Kong Toy is a hard rubber toy with a hollowed-out center.  It has an irregular shape, so that it bounces and moves in unexpected directions.  You can fill the inside of the Kong with a variety of goodies, like cheese, peanut butter, cookies, kibble, fruit, vegetables, or anything else good for your dog.  The dog is kept interested by the changing menu emerging from his little “all day sucker.”

Another variation of the treat “exercise puzzle” is a standard brown paper bag with various kinds of treats inside.  The bad part is that the dog might shred the bag, but if you have a dog who was going to shred the curtains, anyway, cleaning up pieces of a paper bag when you arrive home would be the least of your worries.  Make sure that the bag has no staples, tape or plastic parts that your dog might ingest along with the treats.  Leave it on the kitchen floor for your dog to find, unwrap and enjoy.  If you have a dog which does not already shred your house, or one which would respectfully leave a paper bag intact, I don’t recommend this one.  You may teach him habits you don’t want to encourage.  I teach my dogs, for example, that just because there’s an open bag of treats on the floor in front of them, they are not necessarily entitled to have them.

Outdoor Games:

Most dogs love to run and race around, and if you can incorporate that into a game which also stimulates the mind, you are getting two for the price of one.

Frisbee.  Teaching a dog to catch and fetch a flying disc is “cheap” exercise.  You only have to stand in one spot for a few minutes with your dog, while he exercises every muscle in his body and has a lot of fun.

Fetch.  Many dogs will fetch sticks, balls, toys, or anything else you are willing to throw, for hours on end.  This is good exercise, and you can also add an element of problem solving to it by tossing the object into some leaves or tall grass, so that the dog will have to search for it.  Be careful with your choice of objects and their “landing area”.  If your dog is very excited, he could injure himself on gravel, a sharp stick or other debris in the area.  Always check out the ground surface of any area in which you plan to play with your dog.

Go to the park.  Many areas are developing dog parks.  These are special areas where you can go with your dog to enjoy the outdoors, and meet other dogs and owners.  Social interaction is important for your dog.  He may have been socialized as a puppy, but it is still important to practice his social skills with other dogs.  A large, fenced area, where the dogs can interact and play is ideal.  Make sure before you go that your dog is reasonably friendly with other dogs, is up on all of his vaccinations, and is free of parasites.  There may be additional local requirements for entering the park.

Buried Treasure.  If you have a dog which has access to a fenced yard all day, you can make his day much more interesting by sprinkling some dry kibble here and there for him to find later.  It’s much more interesting than eating it out of his dinner bowl, and it keeps him busy searching.  Again, I caution you, if you want to teach your dog not to pick up items from the ground, this is not a good choice.  But most of the bored, “problem dogs” have busy owners who are not going to take the time to teach that anyway, and it is a very quick way to give your dog something to do while you’re gone, and he’s home alone.  You can also teach the “eave it” command to let your dog know when it is not okay to pick up items from the ground.

There are many more activities you can engage in with your dog that will burn a lot of his pent-up energy: agility, swimming, skijoring to name a few.  These activities require more of a commitment, and possibly driving to another location to enjoy.  But, I guarantee that you and your dog will enjoy involvement in these dog sports.  It will get you out of the house, give your dog the much-needed exercise that he craves, and improve the bond that you have with each other.

 

 

Puppy Commands

Your puppy is like a sponge, taking in his environment with all his senses.  Take advantage of this by assigning words to tasks and activities you would like your puppy to respond to.  Each time you put your puppy in his crate, say crate”.  Put your puppy in the same place each time he goes for a ride in the car and say place” when you do this.   Give names to his toys and repeat the name each time he takes it (this becomes a great trick later on).  Do something similar with each member of your family.   Be creative.  You’ll be amazed at the words your puppy will learn.

  1. Name – use puppy’s name only in a positive manner, “good Fred”, “Fred hungry?” etc.

 

  1. 2. “Leave it” – use this command to prevent the puppy from taking something. Correction    is a pop on the leash with a verbal NO.  Praise the puppy when he does not pick up the item.

 

  1. “Take it” – introduce toys and food with this command whenever puppy puts them in his mouth.

 

  1. “Drop it” – use this command when removing something from your puppy’s mouth.  Encourage puppy to drop the item by pressing his upper lip against its canine tooth.  Don’t pull item from his mouth.

 

  1. “Walk” (on loose leash) – encourage puppy to walk on a loose leash. Correct with a quick pop of the leash and verbal NO whenever the puppy pulls on its leash.  Praise when puppy walks without pulling.  Can give as “Walk” command.

 

  1. “Potty” – use this command while puppy eliminates. Say “good potty” in a soothing voice.

 

  1. “Settle” – use this command when puppy is resting. Right now you are just introducing the command to the puppy so don’t say the command unless the puppy is in a relaxed state.  It is not to be used at this point to encourage the puppy to settle down.

 

  1. “Say hi” – use this command to encourage puppy to politely visit with people or animals. Encourage puppy to allow petting by pointing to person and saying command.  Praise puppy if he doesn’t jump on the person.

 

  1. “What’s that?” – use this command to encourage puppy to investigate new objects. Say command with emotion and excitement and you should show interest in object too.  Praise puppy for approaching object but discourage chewing on item.

 

  1. “Off” – use this command whenever puppy jumps on an item, furniture, or person which you don’t want him on. Praise puppy when he returns to the ground.

 

  1. Where’s (puppy’s name)? – once your puppy knows his name use this command to encourage the puppy to find you rather than you chasing the puppy.  Reward the puppy with a treat and tons of praise.  Do not correct if puppy does not “find” you.

 

Pet safe Ice Melts

As the frigid depth of winter approaches, everyone makes last minute trips to the store for necessities to survive Ohio winters: ice scrapers, salt, and sun screen (for the intermittent brief days of spring weather).

For many Ohioans, this can be a quick trip to a convenient store.  If you have to deal with a dog, however, you have more responsibility to ensure its safety.  Normal salt mixtures contain chemicals that are not only harmful to your dogs, but also corrosive to the surface beneath. The main ingredient in most of these products is either sodium chloride or calcium chloride which, when ingested, can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Luckily, there are now many options for pet-safe ice melt that will provide plenty of traction on the driveway while remaining safe for your dog or any wandering mutt that may happen across it.

A few available brands of pet-safe ice melt are Happy Paws, Safe Paw, and Morton Safe-T-Pet.  Every type of pet-safe ice melt we used at Acme did the job just as well as its more hazardous cousins and gave us more peace of mind.  Also, many brands that advertise as eco-friendly often may also be pet-friendly, but it is important to still read the ingredients to be sure.

In addition to using a pet-safe ice melt, we feel it is still a good practice to wipe or wash your dog’s paws after walking outside.  Acme Canine follows through with this with all the dogs that are in our care.  You can’t be too careful.

SmartBones

All dogs have an inherent need to chew that begins when they first grow teeth and continues through old age. Chewing is essential for dogs for several reasons: it relieves boredom, it satisfies an urge, and it is essential for good tooth/gum health. Your dog is going to chew, so it is always best to teach him the proper things to chew and prevent his access to things he should not have. Otherwise, he will develop negative chewing habits, and the financial and emotional costs could be great.

For several years Acme Canine has suggested dog owners not provide rawhide and other animal parts to their dogs.  Now we have found a food alternative for the heavy chewer.  SmartBones.

SmartBones’ outer layer is made of wholesome, flavorsome vegetables including corn, sweet potatoes, peas and carrots.  The inner layer of real is real chicken.  No rawhide.

In addition, SmartBones are 99% digestible.

We have tested SmartBones with several Acme dogs.  Not only did they love the product, they didn’t choke on the product or have loose stools afterwards.

Have a product you’d like us to test?  Send us the product’s name and where it can be obtained and your favorite Central Ohio dog training center will do the rest

2016 and Acme Canine

As Acme Canine starts its 11th year of business we thought we’d share  our plans and goals for the year.  As always the dogs in our care are our number one concern and what we base our goals on.

Please knock.  We work with all personalities and temperaments of dogs. For their safety–and our clients–we have adapted a locked door policy at our front door.  By doing so we can prevent dogs who shouldn’t meet each other from having the opportunity to do so.

Product testing.  The Pet Industry is booming and coming out with a variety of new ideas and products.  It is difficult for dog owners to know what works or is best for their dogs.  Acme Canine has been testing new products since its inception and this year will be no different.  Every product tested is used in daily life at Acme for a minimum of 2 months prior to providing our review.  Each product is tested by the dogs in our care as well as by the staff.  Opinions are gathered and the results are posted on Spike’s Blog as well as Pupdate on Products in this e-newsletter.  Many are so exceptional they end up being sold in our Woofie Shop.

Continuing Education.  Education is at the core of Acme Canine.  We share our canine knowledge with clients, trainers and others in the canine business.  Many of the handouts and booklets we have created are now available on-line.  In addition, our staff continues their education of canine behavior and care through hands-on demonstrations, lectures and video classes.  This year we are hoping to receive accreditation by the IBPSA.

Giving Back. Giving back to the community is part of Acme Canine Resource Center’s purpose.  Raising funds as well as collecting items is just one of many charitable activities in which Acme participates. Acme volunteers Reading Dogs to schools and libraries, sponsors an Olentangy Little League team, and gives demo dog presentations to local schools and organizations.  Each year we select a non-profit charitable dog organization to bring attention to.  This year we are assisting FFBF.

Experience, integrity and knowledge have solidified this business model.  One we will continue to use for years to come.

For more information, contact your favorite Columbus dog training facility at 740-548-1717 or dogs@acmecanine.com.

FITNESS GAMES FOR YOU AND YOUR DOG

It is best not to just assume a dog is in good condition or fit.  Have the dog checked out by your veterinarian to be sure the dog is healthy enough to participate in an exercise program.  Most experts feel that a 30-minute routine four times a week is sufficient for a dog of normal health, although daily is even better if you have that much time to give. A few examples of these types of exercise are jogging, biking, hiking, roller-blading, cross-country skiing, playing fetch, plus many more.  The dog can run with the owner during some of these types of activities, but for safety reasons, keep in mind the need for leash restraint.

You have several options. You can either break your routine into two 15-minute sessions, or, if you and your pet are up to it, you can do the full 30 minutes all at once.

Simple exercise options that work:

Play a vigorous game of fetch.

Go for a long walk

Go for a jog.

Play a wild game of chase.

If you have a water-loving breed, such as a Retriever, go swimming. (Swimming is an excellent source of exercise as dogs grow older, as there is minimal impact on joints and consequently fewer aches and pains)

Other types of fitness activities: Obedience training /agility exercises or competitions that are fun and provide mental and physical stimulation.  Even something as simple as a walk around the block every day will have a beneficial health impact on you and your dog.

The benefits you will experience for a regular exercise routine are endless:   Pets who have had their bodies and their minds stimulated by regular play tend to exhibit problem behaviors less frequently.

Your dog will be gaining social skills by interacting with you regularly.   The bond between you and your dog will be strengthened, creating an even happier home life for you both.   You will get exercise right alongside your pet.   Your dog’s health will be improved so that he/she can live a longer, healthier life.

DOG NUTRITION

A proper diet of high-quality food is just as important for your dog as it is for humans. Surely you’ve heard that if you eat healthy food, you feel healthier and if you eat junk food, well, then you feel like junk. Almost every dog owner is willing to have in-depth discussions on which is better (or not) and why. Put quite simply, it almost always comes down to which food your dog processes the best and stick with it.

What should my dog eat?

Dry Kibble: There is a multitude of different brands of dog food out there and it can be overwhelming to try and pick the ‘right’ food for your dog. Just walking into a pet store’s food aisle can be dizzying!   You can buy very high-end or choose a very basic chow kibble. There are no regulators in the pet food industry such as the USDA or FDA, which is troublesome. The optimal dog food ingredients include one meat (protein and fat) and one whole grain (carbohydrate).

Canned or Moist Food:   Many canned foods generally contain much less grain than dry kibble and typically contains more proteins and fats. It can be helpful to a dog with food allergies. They can also contain more sugar so dry kibble may work better to keep your dog’s mouth, gums and teeth healthy.

Raw or “BARF” (bones and raw food) diets: This is a hot topic right now and is growing in popularity because of the 2007 pet food recall. Champions of this diet claim that it is a much better way to feed because it’s all natural (holistic), is the way the wolves still eat, helps to avoid food allergies and medical conditions like bloat, doesn’t contain any processed ingredients and provides all the nutrients and enzymes needed for a healthy pet.   Opponents say that you are exposing your dog to unnecessary bacteria such as e-coli and salmonella which can cause severe illness, a higher choking hazard because of bones and that the domesticated dog hasn’t directly descended from wolves for many, many generations.

“People” Food: Because feeding your from the table or counters may cause behavioral issues, Acme Canine generally does not recommend giving your dog human food.

How much should my dog eat?

This is determined by the size, age and activity level of your dog.   Obviously, a Chihuahua doesn’t need as much food as a German Shepard, who doesn’t need as much food as an English Mastiff. Puppies need more nutrients, as do working dogs and nursing mothers. And as your dog reaches a certain age, you may have to change to a senior formula to ensure they are getting the right dietary balance. A very general rule of thumb to remember: dog food companies are in business to sell you food. Stay towards the low or middle amounts of food recommendations on label.

How often should my dog eat?

This too can be decided by your lifestyle. Some people have the time to allow a lunch meal. Many feed breakfast and dinner meals, while some dogs may only choose to eat once a day. Be careful of the nibblers! It’s hard to determine just how much your dog is eating if you leave their food down all day. Structured meal times help regulate housetraining and aids in putting the dog on the human’s normal routine/schedule. In these times, we are usually rushed everywhere so within a few days you know how to ensure time allowances so that your dogs elimination needs are met.

What about treats?

Treats should take up no more than 5%-10% of their normal dietary intake. Many treats on the market today contain a high amount of sugar and fats. Choose treats that are high in fiber, low in fat or sugar. Biscuits or cookies are nice but contain many carbohydrates.   Some human foods may be OK, such as tiny bits of cheese, ice cubes, baby carrots, green beans or apples but NO GRAPES. Think of treats as a “fun-sized” candy bar, like the ones given at Halloween. How many of these treats would you give your child? Ensure that everyone in the home is on the same boat so that your dog isn’t encouraging someone to giving them treats while the others aren’t looking!

Is my dog at a healthy weight?

Stand behind your dog with their tail towards your legs. Looking down at your dog, you should be able to see definition or curve behind their rib cages leading towards their hips but that curve should not be too shallow or extreme. From the side, you should be able to feel their ribs, but not see them.

What if my dog is too heavy?

Don’t panic. Remember that it didn’t get this way overnight. As with humans, crash diets are unsafe and don’t usually work for any length of time. Have a baseline weight of your dog so you know your goal. Start small by eliminating 10% of their normal meal size. You can accurately do this by using measuring scoops to serve their food. In two weeks, weigh your dog again. Any loss is a step in the right direction and you’ll know that you are on the right track. This is not a quick fix but is the safest method of weight loss for your dog. You should also introduce more exercise. Most dogs love to go for walks and it’s a wonderful way for you to unwind as well. In the normal course of a day, think FETCH not FOOD. Throw the ball a few extra times to interact with your dog. They will enjoy the special attention.   Set up a special play date with another friend and their dog. The romping is a good calorie burner.

Most importantly, what you feed your dog and how much of it you feed will impact the dog’s level of fitness.  Simply stated, do not allow your dog to become overweight.  You must fight the urge to choose your dog’s food based solely upon price and instead base the decision on a food’s quality in conjunction with what you can afford to sustain.  If you do nothing else to improve your dog’s fitness, choose a high quality, meat-based food and avoid feeding your dog too much.  You have total control over what your dog eats; that’s a big responsibility and it impacts the dog’s physical fitness every single day.

FITNESS FUN WITH FIDO

How much serious thought have you given to dog fitness? If you’re like many dog enthusiasts, you may believe that your dog is doing just fine managing things for himself, but the fact is that many dogs could benefit from a little active fitness management on the part of their caretakers.

Just like their human counterparts, dogs need a fitness regimen to keep them on the path to good health. The key in any dog fitness regimen is you. As the owner, it is up to you to set the routine, find the motivation and get out there and exercise with your dog.

Far outweighing the inconvenience of committing time and effort to achieve physical fitness, the rewards of being physically fit, for man and dog, will last a lifetime.  And those rewards can actually be felt physically and emotionally.  Deep inside every canine brain there exists a structure called the Hypothalamus.  That’s where nerve impulses of happiness and pleasure set the dog’s tail into motion, crank up the heart and breathing rate, and propel the dog into all sorts of body language that signals excitement and enthusiasm for whatever wonderful thing is about to happen.  And since all dogs are born to run, anticipation of an exercise session really sets it off.

Experienced dog trainers understand that when it comes to dogs, an inadequate amount of exercise can result in behavior problems. “The primary outgrowth of keeping your dog physically fit will be a substantially improved quality of life throughout the aging process,” cites Laura Pakis, owner of Acme Canine.  And when old age does come knocking, your dog will be much better equipped to continue to be mobile, alert and enthusiastic throughout the day.  When thinking of how physical fitness impacts your dog, “quality of life” are the key words.  Fitness and exercise have the same beneficial effects in the dog as they do in the human.  It helps to keep unwanted weight off the dog and improves the overall physical health.  One of the most important benefits that exercise has on the dog is the positive effect on its psychological well-being.  And sedentary canines have a much higher risk of health and medical problems than active dogs.

So why not start the new year with an exercise program that includes your dog.  Acme Canine has several booklets for sale on this and other topics.  Check out their square marketplace https://squareup.com/market/acme-canine-llc

 

Blind Dog

Spike here,

Well it’s official…I am blind.  Not totally though.  I can see light and dark.  It’s still been quite a change for me.  I run into things, miss food that has dropped on the ground and now I have to dictate my blog posts.  What a pain.

Thank goodness for my owners.  They’re being very supportive.  They’ve done a lot.  Food flavorings to scent the door ways and  stairs.  Lemon for the back door and cinnamon at the base of the stairs.  They keep more lights on to help me see and they’ve taught me new words like “step” and “door”.  I’m on a leash when I go outside because sometimes the smells move with the wind and I can’t find my way back to the house.

I think I’m getting something called a halo.  I heard them ordering it. It’s some kind of wire structure attached to a harness so it bumps the wall before I do.  I guess I’ll get used to it.

Overall it’s not too bad.  Thank goodness for my other senses, especially hearing and smell.  I am really using them now.

I just wanted to let you know what’s going on with me in case you may know of another dog that has issues with their sight.  Maybe you could help them like my owners are helping me.

take care,

Spike