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Category: Training

December 18, 2017

Teach Your Dog to Stop Barking

Barking can be one of the hardest dog problems to solve. The more you yell at your dog to stop barking, the more he barks. And unlike other pup issues, this one affects the neighbors, sleeping kids, and other dogs in the house.

The quickest way to quiet a talkative dog is with the DogWatch BarkCollar. It senses the vibration of the bark, and gets the dog’s attention with a correction zap. One of the reasons it’s so effective is because it’s immediate. The dog doesn’t have to think very much to make the connection between the bark and the zap. You can find the right level of zap that quiets your dog’s bark, or use our favorite level, Progressive. When you turn the dial to P, the first bark is corrected with a vibrate, and if your dog continues barking the level goes higher with each bark until he stops.

The other important training component of the BarkCollar is consistency. Dogs understand in black and white, so if every bark is corrected, they learn so much quicker. No matter who is at home with the dog, even if he’s home by himself, the BarkCollar will correct barking. That way your dog learns that ALL barking is bad.

Here are some tips when using the BarkCollar:

  1. Charge it completely before using it for the first time. It has a rechargeable battery that lasts several months.
  2. Make sure your dog doesn’t know it’s about the collar. For him, the problem is the barking. To do that, put the collar on him at a time when he wouldn’t bark, and then create a barking situation once he’s forgotten that he’s wearing it. For instance, a couple hours after putting the BarkCollar on your dog, walk out the garage door and ring the doorbell.
  3. Start on a low level and work up to the level where your dog stops barking. There are 7 total levels, starting at a vibration.
  4. Check out the Bark Counter feature. Learn about your dog’s barking patterns when you’re not at home, and address specific triggers if necessary. Lots of barking at 3:00 on weekdays? Could be that pesky school bus.

Read all about the BarkCollar here, and purchase it online here. Give us a call if you have questions or want to learn more.

November 10, 2017

How To Have Fun with your Dog in the Winter

Winter is right around the corner, and the chilly weather has already arrived. But don’t let that end the fun with your pups. Put on some winter gear and get out to the sidewalks and the dog parks, and then switch things up with these wintertime ideas.

SHOPPING SPREE

Start winter off right with warm gear for yourself and your dog. Stock up on cute sweaters and vests, of course, but also consider boots if you’ll be on areas where snow-melting chemicals are used. And if you use snow-melting chemicals at your house, always choose pet-friendly versions.

Treat your pup to a couple new blankets, one for home and one for the car. For even more warmth, try a heated dog bed. You can add a self-warming topper to your current dog bed or crate for safe, efficient coziness.

INDOOR DOG MEETUPS

Get your pup out of her normal routine with a meetup to socialize with other dogs. Just do it indoors! Schedule a playdate with your friends who have dogs and let them run off some steam. New toys can add to the fun, but limit food and treats since that can lead to aggression for some dogs.

Check online for indoor dog meetups. In the wintertime throughout the Twin Cities, you can get the dog park experience inside. That way you can stay and play for longer. Plus the more enclosed area means the humans have a great opportunity to meet and chat about their fur babies.

CUT DOWN YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS TREE

If you’ve never chopped down your own Christmas tree, it’s a great experience and so Minnesotan. Plus, it’s a perfect excuse to get the whole family together, including the pups. Many tree farms in the area allow dogs to join the fun, and it’s a perfect way to give them exercise – you’re already bundled up and ready for a winter walk.

NEW WAYS TO PLAY IN THE HOUSE

Get creative this winter with new ways to play indoors to liven things up and stop boredom in its tracks. Make your own obstacle course using couch cushions, laundry baskets, your dog’s favorite toys, and anything else you can find. Race your dog up and down the stairs for a serious workout for your both. Create a puzzle your dog has to solve using some treats and something to hide them under, like plastic cups or under clear Tupperware. Put treats under 2 cups, and leave 2 cups empty. You’ll find out pretty fast just how smart he really is. You and your dog will survive cabin fever much better this year with a little ingenuity.

HOMEMADE TREATS

Get in the spirit of fall and winter by making some homemade dog treats using seasonal ingredients. You’ll have a way to fill up a chilly afternoon, and your dog will love the smells and anticipation. For fall, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash and apples are in-season and healthy for your dog. Check out this DogWatch blog post for the recipes.

For wintertime, use cookie cutters to create festive shaped treats, like candy canes and gingerbread men. Incorporate ingredients like cranberries, peppermint oil flavoring, and cinnamon for a cold-weather kick.

TEACH YOUR DOG SOME NEW TRICKS

Use some indoor free time to teach your dog new, fun tricks. She may know the basics like sit, stay, down, etc. but what about sit pretty, talking, touchdown, and dancing? Use this article for some tips on which tricks to try, and how to make the training effective and fun. Get the treats out and put on your teacher glasses.

 

October 27, 2017

Dog Fence Training Tips

The most important aspect of a DogWatch hidden fence, or any electric pet fence, is the training. The steps are simple and it doesn’t take very long, but it’s essential that it’s done correctly. These small adjustments will help training go more smoothly.

TRAINING SESSIONS
A typical training session consists of two laps around the yard, depending on your yard size. A dog’s attention span is fairly short, so don’t walk for laps and laps at a time or continue a training session for more than 20 minutes. After that timeframe, the dog is no longer learning anything.

Before, after or in the middle of a training session, take some time to play with your dog on the leash. If outdoor time is all about scary flags and corrections, it can be overwhelming and make your dog more nervous than he needs to be. Throw a ball in the air or just lay in the grass and pet your dog to remind him that the yard is still a fun place.

Talk to your dog and praise him while you take your training laps. That will help keep your dog’s spirits up and make sure he doesn’t associate you with the corrections. It’s all about the flags.

NERVOUS DOG
If your dog gets nervous, that’s OK. It’s very normal for dogs to get a correction and want to head for the house. The main thing to do is keep walking. Don’t let your dog dictate when the training session ends. Walk fast so your dog has to work to keep up with you.

It’s especially important to play with your dog outside if he’s nervous. During training, and after training if he continues to be nervous, play with his favorite toy outside and spend as much time as possible out there with him. Give him treats and belly rubs, and even feed him meals outside. That will allow him to feel more secure and use his whole yard.

GENERAL TIPS
Put your dog’s collar on every morning and take it off every night before bed. You don’t want him to know what the collar means. If it’s part of his routine, he won’t associate it with the boundaries outside.

Get your family members and neighbors involved with training. You want to make sure all of his normal distractions are covered so you can trust him once he’s off-leash.

Let your dog get the correction! You may want to save your dog from feeling the correction from his collar, but let him take that step past the flags to feel the correction. If he doesn’t feel the consequence of leaving the yard during training, he won’t stay in.

Call us! We want the training to be successful for you and your dog, so do not hesitate to call us along the way. If you’re having an issue, we’ve definitely heard it before and we can help get things back on track quickly.

August 18, 2017

Dogs and Kids

Dogs are such a great addition to a child’s life. They are good for kids’ health and development. But the combination can sometimes take effort. Here are some tips, whether you’re adding a dog, adding a kid, or already have a full house.

Back to School
It’s that time of year, and when kids head back to school it’s an adjustment. The activity in the house calms down a lot during the day. Give your dog lots of exercise and try to stick to a routine to make her life easier during the transition. When you and the kids come home, greet your dog calmly to keep her anxiety down, and let her outside after a few minutes if she needs to go to the bathroom.

Kids Should Learn Dog Language
All kids, even those without dogs, should know how to read the cues that dogs send. Teach your kids the basics of dog body language, and they’ll be safer at home and out and about.
Have them watch out for ears back, tail down and teeth showing. Show them how to greet a new dog by quietly letting the dog approach and then petting the dog on his sides or back, not his head or face.

Dogs Need Some Time to Adjust to a Baby
When a new baby comes home, a dog’s world turns upside down. But dog and baby can learn to be buddies. When you first bring baby home, let the dog briefly meet the baby and slowly increase the amount of time they spend together. At first, the dog might annoy the baby with kisses and sniffs, but about 6 months later the baby will be bugging the dog. Just try to give your dog as much attention as possible during the transition so he knows you didn’t forget about him.


Kids Can Cause Bad Habits in Puppies

Getting a puppy and training her is always a challenge, but with kids it’s even harder. For one, there’s more chaos in the house. But more importantly, the most important aspect of training is consistency. The adults in the house make the rules, but if the kids don’t enforce them with the puppy, you could run into problems. An example of this is with jumping up. If the dog is allowed to jump up on some family members, they’ll end up doing the same to guests. Teach your children the rules and how to enforce them.

Accidents Happen
Even with the dogs and kids are the best of friends, be prepared for accidents. Kids can accidentally step on dogs’ toes, and vice versa. Handle your dog to get him used to things like touching his tail and ears. That will help him react better if a kid gets grabby. Remind your kids to be gentle and careful around the dog. Beyond that, just be prepared with a first aid kit and the vet’s phone number.