Monday, January 15, 2018

Stay, Step Two: Distance

After getting your dog's duration or time built up on the Stay command (you should be able to get to at least one minute with three treats or less), it is time to start working on adding Distance.  Remember, any time you are working on building up one of the three parts of the Stay cue, the other two should be as low as possible.  So when starting work on adding Distance, there should be short Duration (time), and minimal or no distractions.

3 Parts to the Stay Cue:
1.  Duration (time)
2.  Distance
3.  Distraction

Release Cue:
This means to a dog, you are now free to do what you want.  Common Release Cues include:  Break, Free, & Release.  I highly discourage owners from using “Okay” as a release cue.  This is a very commonly used phrase, and your dog may be randomly released by a passing stranger.  Use commands that are not common in every day speech.

Other helpful Blog articles:
Stay, Step One:  Duration (time).

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Homemade Dog Treats--Applesauce & Carrot


1 cup flour
1 cup grated carrots
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Mix all ingredients together.
3.  Drop medium biscuit balls onto cooking sheet.
4.  Bake until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes (depending on size).
5.  Allow to fully cool before giving to your dog.
--We recommend storing treats in the refrigerator or freezer.

Overall I think this is a good homemade dog treat, but I found it extremely messy to make.  I'd recommend the peanut butter treats from our last cooking YouTube video.

Related Blog articles:
Homemade dog treats

Monday, January 8, 2018


Above is an instructional video on how to teach your dog a proper "Heel."  Below I have included more information on how to teach this.  Remember that Heel means the dog is in a specific position.  Heel is not something that should be used constantly on your every day walks.  Your dog needs the opportunity to explore their surroundings.  For every day walking, use "Loose Leash Walking."

The Heel position is about the dog staying close to the handler and paying close attention.  We will start with the Basic Heel position, the Stationary Heel.
To do this, we will food lure the dog into the Heel position at our left side.  Use your left hand to food lure the dog into the position.  If you need, take a step back with your left leg to encourage the dog to move.  Once the dog is in the Heel position, practice a Sit and Look. 

Moving Heel:  
  1. Food lure the dog several times while backing up.
  2. Food lure the dog, now turn your body so the dog is now on the left side in Heel position (use the treat in your left hand).
Always begin and end every Heel exercise with a Sit in the Heel position.
When you stop moving forward, move your baited hand UP slightly to initiate the Sit position.

As you are moving forward, the treat should be held up slightly from the dog so she is looking for it.  Gradually progress to moving your hand all the way up to the Look position.  

Loose Leash Walking:
Loose leash walking (LLW) means that a dog walks nicely, not pulling on the leash, and not completely all over the place.  LLW is not the same thing as Heel.  To teach a proper Heel, you must first teach LLW.

Consistency is very important when teaching LLW.  Doing this technique is actually very easy, but does require a LOT of patience.  Remember to stay calm.  If you are calm and consistent, your dog will be walking nicely on a leash in about a week.

To begin, go out for a walk with your regular 4-6 foot leash and buckle collar properly fitted to your dog’s neck (so they can’t slip out).  As soon as there is tension on the leash, you have two options:
When the dog pulls:  1)  Stop and wait for the DOG to move in a way that releases the tension.  When s/he does, continue walking.
2)  Say “Let’s Go!” and walk off in the opposite direction.

Related Blog articles:
Trainer Tip Video:  How to Walk on a Leash
Trainer Tip Video:  How to walk a scared or timid dog
Trainer Tip Video:  Having your dog off leash
Teaching Stay, Step One

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Homemade dog treats

Join Such Good Dogs trainer, Athena Angelic, and her helpers Tessa & Josie in making some delicious homemade dog treats.  Recipes below.
--We recommend storing treats in the refrigerator or freezer.--

Carrot Bites:

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 cup flour

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Stir all ingredients together.
3.  Drop small batter balls onto baking sheet.
4.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Peanut Butter Treats:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup water

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Mix together flour, peanut butter & eggs.
3.  Add a little water at a time as mixing.
4.  Roll dough out and cut into shapes.
5.  Bake about 20 minutes.

Chicken & Yogurt Treats:

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
2 cups flour
1 5.3-ounce plain Yogurt
3/4 cup water
1 egg, slightly beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Combine and stir all ingredients in bowl.
3.  Drop small batter balls onto baking sheet.
     (You may need two baking sheets and may want to line them with parchment paper).
4.  Bake 12-14 minutes.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Indoor Game "Go Find"

When the weather gets so bad outside that it's difficult to get your dog the regular exercise they need, it's important to find a way to keep them physically and mentally challenged.  This is a great indoor (or outdoor) game I call "Go Find."

Basically we are teaching our dog to find an object, such as a toy.  To begin this training, your dog will need to have a reliable "Wait," meaning for them to wait in another room while you hide the toy, then you will release them to the room with the hidden toy to "Go Find" it.  If your dog does not have a reliable Wait command, you can have another person hold the dog in the other room until you hide the toy.  When first starting this game, be sure to "hide" the toy in a place that the dog will easily find it.  When they do locate the toy, praise lavishly.  Encourage the dog to bring you the toy and then engage in play with your dog and the toy.  This is a reward for your dog for finding the toy.  Be sure to keep it fun for your dog.

As your dog improves, hide the toy in more and more difficult places to find.  If your dog starts to get confused or lose interest, be sure to take it back a step and make it easier.  If your dog is doing exceptionally well, you may even try and hide the toy in a place the dog will not be able to retrieve it from.  Doing this will encourage the dog to start using their nose to seek out the toy when they can not find it visually.  Once the dog finds the toy that is out of reach, praise, then ask the dog to sit and reward the dog with praise and by giving them the toy they found.  Remember to play some tug of war with the toy as a reward for finding it.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Launiupoko Trail Hike

Join us on our dog adventure hike on the Launiupoko Trail.
Today we have our SGDs family including Caravaggio, Devo, & Ahsoka.  And our friend Tiki, who is the same age as Ahsoka.  They are buddies.

If you are looking for a great winter hike, this is the one.  Because of the area and lack of shade, I recommend this hike during the winter on a cooler, overcast day.  Remember to bring water for both yourself and your dog(s).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Polipoli Hike

Join us on our dog adventure hike at Polipoli in Kula, Maui.

Some of our friends were nice enough to show us this beautiful trail in Kula called Poli Poli.  The worst part of this adventure is actually getting to it.  The roads are switchbacks up the mountain and make many people car sick (including myself).  Once you make it past the paved part, there is still much road to cover in the mud.  A 4-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.  The hike itself is very beautiful.  Because we are so high up on the mountain (6,200 feet), you actually hike in and out of clouds.  It was very interesting.  I would highly recommend this hike if you have the proper vehicle to get there.

You can find more information about the hike here.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Come when called Off Leash

In this video, we are practicing Come when Called off leash with our puppy.  Ahsoka is a lab/ pit mix, currently 5 months old.  We practiced this same activity with a long line leash (for safety) first.  Once she was performing the recall more than 90% of the time.  I started taking her off leash for a few minutes here and there and practicing.

There are many factors to consider when trying to get your dog off leash.  Consider the environment...what's around you, a road, woods, other people, other dogs?  Consider the excitement and mental state of your dog...if your dog is overly excited, it is not a good time to allow them off leash.  Wait until your dog calms down and is paying attention to you.  Reward this state of mind by allowing them off leash at that time.  I chose this particular hike because there are no roads and cars near by, and there are not a lot of people around that can cause distractions.  However, this area is full of smells of other animals, including wild pigs.  If your dog has strong hunting instincts or gets overexcited around these types of smells, this would not be a good place for you to start taking your dog off leash.  Ahsoka enjoys running in the grass but enjoys being with the other dogs above smells.  Therefore this was a good place for us to start her off leash experience.

Related blog articles:

Come when called:  Part 1
Come when called:  Part 2

Monday, October 9, 2017

Maui Paddle for the Cure

My first annual Maui Paddle for the Cure was a lot of fun.  It was held at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali.

My friend, Tina, and I signed up & paddled together.  Since this was my first year doing this event, and I just starting paddle boarding this year, we decided to take the intro class.  I'm glad that they offer such a thing for this event, but if you've already been paddle boarding at all, you probably don't need to take it.  No worries if you're on the fence, it only lasts a few minutes.  If you are new to paddle boarding or unsure about the ocean, I would recommend it.

After the quick little intro class, my friend and I headed out.  We ended up paddling alongside a visitor to the island and made a new friend in the middle of the ocean.  When coming into shore after the paddle, all the paddlers that came in before you start to make a paddle tunnel for you to run to as you exit the water.  That was a lot of fun.

Once everyone has finished the paddle and been accounted for (yes they want to be safe and each paddler gets an ocean tracker), there is a lunch served and after party at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.  The food was good, the music was entertaining although a bit loud for a relaxed event.  There were also vendors with products and a silent auction to help benefit the cause.

All-in-all I really enjoyed the morning and we will be doing it again.  Next year we will have a larger group and try even harder to get more people to join, have a little fun, and help out a great cause at the same time.  Thank you to all the participants this year and we hope to see you all again.

Tina & myself ready to rock.

All the paddle boards lined up and ready.

The introduction class.

An assistant directing us into the water.

Heading out.

myself (left) & Tina (right).

Here we go.

Paddle boarding!

Running the paddle tunnel as I come in.

Athena & Tina.

Related Articles:
Paddle for the Cure Information site

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Helpful Ways to Exercise your puppy

When getting a new puppy, sometimes we forget that they need to be "quarantined" before they get their final Parvo shot.  This means that your vet recommends keeping them only in the area of your personal yard and not taking them out into the world where they could potentially pick up the disease.  Parvo is very serious and highly contagious and cause severe health problems and even death in puppies.  Because of this, vets will usually recommend keeping your puppy to one "safe" area until their shots are complete, which is usually around 16 weeks old.  The problem here is that the prime socialization period for dogs is 6-16 weeks.  This is the most critical time to properly socialize your puppy.  However, the fear of Parvo can make this difficult.  I highly recommend contacting  a trainer in your area to safely socialize your puppy at a young age.

Besides socialization, puppies needs LOTS of exercise.  This can be difficult to do when you are not allowed to take your puppy out into the world.  The video & graphic above illustrate some helpful ways to exercise your pup before you are able to take them out after receiving all their Parvo shots.

Other Helpful articles:

Puppy Supply Check List
Small Dog Puppy Party

Information on Parvo from WebMD