Sunday, September 22, 2013

Training Your Dog with Hand Signals

Murphy is not only Sitting, he is Waiting too. 
People that know your dog probably think he is smart with the tricks you have taught him. What would they think if he understood your custom (made up by you) hand commands? If your dog already knows word commands, now you can teach hand signals.

When training my dog, I used a word command plus I added a hand signal. For example, I would say Sit and raise my hand out in front almost as if I was saying Stop. As we were training, I had my son push on his behind to get him to sit.This helped him associate the word with the command as well as the hand signal. Don't forget to reward with mini treats.

To teach Sit: Start by showing your dog a treat. Say, SIT and give the signal with your hand. Make sure he can see your hand command and with the treat in your other hand, raise it above his nose. This should force his head up and his behind should start to lower into a sitting position. If he stands, start over. When he does SIT, say Yes, and reward with the treat. Repeat these steps until he sits quicker. You want to phase out of showing the treat and just use the word and hand gesture. You can continue to reward with treats, but do not show them until he Sits.

This training is truly amazing and you may make up any hand signal for the command you wish your dog to do. I have various tricks that my dog can do with the sign language I have created for him and our family.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dental Care for Your Dog

Periodontal disease is very common among dogs and cats. Plaque can build quickly on teeth and bad breath is the first sign that something is going on in your dog's mouth. It is easy to forget about our pets' oral needs, but it is something we should take care of regularly.

I use a doggy dental solution called Pearly Whites that is simple to give to your dog each day. I put 1 (one) teaspoon of the solution in 1 (one) cup of water each day for Murphy. This keeps the plaque from building up on his teeth and keeps his breath fresh. He also has his teeth brushed twice a year as yearly maintenance.

Home dental care is essential for your dog's overall health and fresh breath.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday The 13th - Doggie Style

Would you be scared if you saw this tonight? 

Happy Friday the 13th from and Murphy!! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

#Throwback Thursday

Have you heard of Throwback Thursday? If you use Twitter, I am sure you have seen the hashtag #throwbackthursday or #tbt. The idea is to post a picture of yourself from a different era in your life to Twitter or Facebook. This is Murphy's #tbt picture!

#throwbackthursday Murphy

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What Motivates Your Dog?

When you begin to train your dog you need to know what motivates him. Every dog is motivated in a different way and figuring out what moves your dog will make your training efforts a success.

You will find your dog to be motivated with food, play and/or praise. Figuring out what makes your puppy pay attention to your commands will make training much easier for the both of you.

My dog responded to play and food, but treats really seemed to grab his attention. I used small, bite size treats when teaching commands such as sit, stay, bark and hi-five. He learned that if  I gave a command and he responded, he was rewarded with food. He loves to play with his favorite toys as a way of being rewarded too. This type of reward must be quick. Grab a toy and tug or have him fetch. If you play too long your pup will forget what initiated the play time.

Try all the motivators mentioned when you begin training your pup and watch how he responds. This will help you to motivate your dog!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

To Crate or Not to Crate

Crating your puppy may not seem like a natural thing to do, but dogs like to feel secure in their own space. Have you ever noticed your dog laying under the table, behind the couch or under your feet? He is seeking a spot that makes him feel safe. You should take advantage of this natural preference and crate train your dog.

It may make you a bit uncomfortable at first, but your dog does not mind his new home. He will feel safe and will stay out of trouble when you are sleeping or when you are not home. Give him a special blanket or crate mat along with a few toys to really make it feel like home.

You want to give your dog's special place a name. Every time I put Murphy in his crate I would say, "Time To Go To Bed." You can say: Go Home, Go to Your Room or Go to Your Place. This will help him understand what you would like him to do in time. Using a treat to get your dog into his crate will also help with the training process. Before you know it, you will give your command and in the crate your dog will go.

As unnatural as crating may seem to us, dogs really do enjoy it!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


GoldenDoodle Bailey
Check out this cool website! Skyenimals, pronounced "sky-nimals" is about kids, animals and imagination!

On children can learn about animals, play animal themed activities, and even create their own mixed species animals, called Skyenimals. Children can upload their own artwork or draw animals using an online drawing tool on the site.

Skyenimals is a kid friendly web site, as all the pictures and user supplied drawings are reviewed by the skyenimals admin team before being allowed to appear on the public web site.

Skyenimals has pictures, information and facts on 1,000 of real animals. Every picture on the site, including the ones you draw or upload, can be used in various mini activities and puzzles.

Other interesting things you will find on Skyenimals include
  o Online Skyenimals board and picture books for kids
  o An animal blog for kids that covers various animal themed topics, including zoo reviews, animal ownership, etc.
  o Animal and Nature wallpaper images

Skyenimals can also be found on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social networks.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How to Stop A Dog from Jumping Up on You

Does your dog jump on your guests when they walk into your house? Does your friend have a dog that jumps on you when you go to visit? The best way to let the dog know you want his behavior to stop is to be a tree.

When you enter your friends house and the dog greets you along with his owner, you want to stay still. Put your arms at your sides or clasp your hands in front of you and stand still. Look at the wall or down at the floor, but do not look at the dog. This simple pose will show the dog that you are not playing or interacting right now. I like to turn my back to the dog and stand still for a minute until he calms down.

If you continue to train your dog with tree pose he will learn not to jump on your family and friends when they come to visit. It is also a great technique to teach children that are nervous around dogs.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Is Your Dog Feeling Blue As The Kids Go Back To School?

This may be a tough time of year for your dog as the kids head back to school. The kids are probably not thrilled to head back to class and your dog may be sad to see them gone all day. My kids have been home all summer and I have used vacation time to be home more this summer. Now the summer fun is over and the kids will head back to school. This means my dog will be home alone all day again. This can be a tough adjustment for your dog as dogs love to be with their family (pack).

I am very lucky that my dog, Murphy is a good dog. He adapts well when we return to school and work in September.  I do try to make this transition as easy for him as possible. Before everyone in the house is gone for day, Murphy gets a 30 minute walk with one of us. This way he will burn some energy and lounge around during the day. I also hide mini dog treats each morning. Not only does this keep him busy, but I know exactly where he has been each day if he finds each treat. Some days I leave the radio or TV on for a little bit of noise to make it feel like someone is home.

As soon as I get home, Murphy is at the door waiting to say, "Yeah, You are Home!". We head outside for a few minutes to play as I know he has been waiting for me all day. We also take a nightly walk to visit friends, spend time together and burn more energy.

Give your dog an extra few minutes of play time in the morning and when you get home from work the next couple of weeks as he adjusts to staying home alone again.