Patting A Dog

Children can often be rough when patting a dog. One tip to ensure they are gentle, is to teach them to stroke the dog's back with the top of their hand instead of their palm. Think of having their palm facing the sky vs. touching the dog.

That position reduces the likelihood of the child pushing down too hard or tapping repeatedly on the dog's back.

Retractable Leashes

Think twice: It's so tempting to purchase a retractable leash so you have the ability to give your dog more room to roam around while on a walk. Allowing your dog ample opportunity to sniff and explore is wonderful and should be the focus of your walks - it is for him after all. Flexi  leashes are not the best way to do this for a number of reasons including how easily they get wrapped around the dog's legs not to mention your fingers.

I just met up with someone on our walk and while the dogs were sniffing, the other dog's flexi leash got tangled up in my  dog's tail - right on the tip. It could have been a disaster had we not noticed right away. 
I choose to walk my dogs on 9' leashes. I give them the length of the leash when it's time to "go sniff" and gather up the excess when it's time to walk.

Training Your Dog To Come When Called

Your dog is in the backyard, you call him inside. He comes quickly until one day - he doesn't. What happened? It's likely he learned when you call him inside, the fun ends. You leave the house, he goes into his crate or ex-pen. After enough repetitions, your dog quickly learns that coming inside when asked is not a good thing.
Make sure you practice calling your dog inside every once in awhile - give him a cookie  or play tug (whatever he likes) and send him back outside again.
If you do need to leave the house, make sure you call him inside at least 15 minutes before you actually have to leave. This gives him time to settle and does not make an association between coming inside and you leaving the house.

Tip to Stop Dog Barking at the Door!

Barking at the door is not an easy fix but here is a trick you may want to try.
Sometimes when there are multiple dogs in one home, one dog barks and the other is quiet. That's the case in my house. If all dogs are barking than this won't work.
Try this trick for a week. When the noisy dog begins to bark, go over to the quiet one and start praising and offer treats. It won't be long before the barky dog comes to investigate. Treat him too.
Do a "set up" so you can practice. Have someone come to the door and knock. You can ask a neighbour if you don't have a family member around. Have them knock 3-4 times so you can repeat the process. Try to practice this at least once a day for about 1 week and see if the barky behaviour decreases.
This is a trick that worked very well in training classes! Dogs who were quiet were rewarded with a tasty tidbit. The barky dogs caught on pretty quickly :)

Dog Eared!

Do you know what your dog's ears smell like? Have you ever taken the time to get a good sniff? If you have floppy eared dogs or dogs who swim a lot, it's not unlikely that he will get an ear infection at some point. 
It's important to know what your dog's healthy ear smells and looks like. A change in either will be an early signal an infection may be brewing.

Creating Positive Dog Behavior 

Do you know why some behaviors are so hard to get rid of or change? Because someone is reinforcing the dog - sometimes. Think slot machine. It pays off sometimes so people keep trying. The same with dogs. When a behavior pays off sometimes, the dog will keep trying. Think of counter surfing. Sometimes jumping up results in a turkey leg:) It's worth it to keep trying because he never knows when it will pay off. The behavior remains strong.
In my house, sometimes I give my dogs a piece of cheese or whatever I happen to be cutting at the counter. I have 2 dogs with an extremely solid "stay/sit" at the counter.
If you want any behavior to become stronger, reward it intermittently. 

Walks Aren't Enough for an Active Dog or Puppy

Ever wonder why you can go for a 30 - 60 minute walk with your dog and when you get inside he wants to play? Walks are like appetizers for dogs or  a warm up :)
If you want to burn off energy and tire him out, you need to provide aerobic activity such as fetch, tug or chase games. Consider playing in the backyard before your walk to burn off some energy. Your walk will be more relaxed as well as he won't be raring to go!

 Chase Recalls!

Chase recalls are one of my favourite ways to teach a puppy or dog to "come!". With your puppy or dog on leash or long line, take a few steps away and say his name. When he looks at you say "come!" and run in the opposite direction. Let him catch up to you and reward with food or a game of fetch or tug (depends on what he likes).
I have yet to meet the dog who does not love to chase!

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