Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trainer Tips--Puppy Potty Pads

Potty training a puppy or new dog in your home can be quite frustrating at times.  Many people forget to use patience.  Remember to stay calm and never punish a dog for going potty in front you.  This will only make them want to go out of sight and potty somewhere else (not exactly what we are trying to teach).  Instead, snap them out of what they are doing (loud clap) and immediately take them outside.  Encourage them to finish going potty outside.  When they do, praise lavishly and reward with a treat.  When you return inside, be sure to clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner.

When potty training, many people tend to use some brand of Puppy Training Pads or Wee-Wee Pads.  There are many variations to choose from.  Unfortunately people use these potty training pads in the wrong way.

IMPROPER USE of potty training pads:
Most people just pull up all their throw rugs throughout the house and randomly put down the wee-wee pads, hoping that the puppy will go there.  Or they figure out where the puppy or dog goes inside most often and put pads there.  This is not really the way this is supposed to work.  First off, when you remove rugs and then use puppy pads, the puppy is learning to go potty on this square or rectangular object on the floor (which is very similar to most throw rugs).  Then the owner decides that the puppy is potty trained, removes all the wee-wee pads, and puts all the rugs back.  Is it really that surprising that the puppy then goes potty on the rug?

PROPER USE of Wee-Wee pads:
First, do NOT remove your regular rugs when getting a puppy or new dog.  Second, the puppy should have to earn his freedom.  Puppies and new dogs brought into your home should be given a very small space when they cannot be constantly supervised.  This is usually a crate, kennel, or play pen area.  This is where your puppy should be when you cannot watch him, or leave the house.  THIS is the area where you put your wee-wee pads down.  Cover the entire area or kennel with wee-wee pads.  Eventually you will see in which spot the dog goes to the bathroom most often.  Start removing the other pads (where the dog does not usually go) slowly, one at a time.

For potty training our new puppy DEVO, I only use Wee-Wee Pads in his kennel.  There are NO pads throughout the rest of the house.  This does not encourage him to go on our rugs.  But again, the puppy must be constantly supervised when not confined.  Even though DEVO's puppy training is going well, he is certainly not trustworthy yet.  So we will continue to keep pads in his kennel and take him outside often, until he has not had any accidents (inside the house or kennel) for at least a month.

Don't forget, this is only half of potty training...
What is more important that the use of wee-wee pads?  Actually TAKING YOUR DOG OUTSIDE TO GO POTTY!  Puppies generally have to go out to go potty every 2-4 hours.  This means a lot of in and out for you, so get used to it!  Also, you should take your puppy out after any of the following:  waking up from a nap, eating or drinking, exciting play time.

When taking your dog outside to potty, add a command word, like "Go potty."  Do not constantly repeat, but say a few times, especially right before you see the signs of the dog about to go potty.  Once the dog begins to potty, remain silent (we don't want to distract them).  Once the dog has finished, loudly praise, "GOOD POTTY! GOOD POTTY!" and give a treat.

IMPORTANT:  Another part of potty training that is very important is to stay outside another 1-4 minutes after your dog has gone potty.  The reason for this is, some dogs learn that once they go potty outside, they go right back in the house.  So when the dog wants to stay outside, they will start to hold their potty, then have an accident when they go back inside.

I hope this has cleared up some things on Potty Training and the proper use of Wee-Wee or Puppy Potty Training Pads.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dogs Playing Poker--Dog Apps/ GameGame

iPhone Apps about dogs/ Dog Game
Released:  April 27, 2010

Dogs Playing Poker

If you enjoy poker, Texas hold-em, and like dogs, you'll love this app.  I enjoy many types of games.  Generally, I'm not super into poker games, but I very much enjoyed this one.

Although being familiar with the game of poker will help, it isn't necessary.  There is a tutorial on this game that explains how Texas hold-em is played, and you are given several hands to practice.

You are given one of the dog players, the free version always starts you with the Dalmatian, and off you go with your game.  Games take place in many places from the pound, to a Chinese kitchen.  The cartoon based game play of the dogs is very pleasing and cute.  It actually makes me think I'm playing with dog characters from some sort of Disney movie.

For an additional fee of only $1.99 you are given the opportunity to play with any of the dog characters and change their name.  I was under the impression you would be able to create your own new dog character with this addition fee, but no such luck.

Overall I'd say that this is a GREAT GAME.  If you enjoy Poker and dogs, you can't really go wrong.  I'd recommend this game to anyone.  It's also quite fun when you win the round and some of the other dogs growl at you because they lost.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Movies with Dogs...The Worst

Movies with Dogs...

As a fun new blog set, I have decided to review some movies that have dogs in them.  I have put them into several categories, and multiple blogs.  I will give you movies that I feel are the Best, the Worst, and a few extra Honorable Mentions that are worth a watch.

Throughout the series on my blog, I will be referencing IMDb, the International Movie Database.  If you enjoy movies or TV, this is a site you should know about.  Every movie ever made is here.  It also includes actors, TV, and the like.  Very helpful.  I'm a movie-buff, and I am often watching a movie when I think "what else do I know this actor from?"  So I whip out my phone, go to IMDb and look up the movie, or actor's name if I already know it.  It's quite a fun little rabbit hole to go down if you are in the mood.

Worst Movies:

#1--I am Legend (2007)
IMDb Description:  "Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure."
Don't get me wrong, this is an EXCELLENT movie.  Very suspenseful and I loved watching it.  However, I am one of those people who can easily see a human die in movies, but get more heartbroken when I see an animal hurt or die in a movie.  SPOILER...the dog dies, and I cried.  I'm not going to lie, I cried my eyes out for that poor man's dog, and the fact that (SPOILERS) he is the one that has to kill his beloved dog, even more tears.  Excellent movie, just heartbreaking in the dog lover's eyes.

#2--Marley & Me (2008)
IMDb Description:  "A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog."
Yes I know, you're saying how can this movie be on my least favorite list.  I realize that this movie (and book) was loved by many, but I dislike this movie for many, many reasons. First off, as a responsible dog owner, and especially a dog trainer, the way they "deal" with the very naughty Marley is simply appalling.  Yes we laugh at unfortunate things we see a dog do to their owner like tip over their table and send everything flying.  But when I witness things like this, I can't help but feel concerned.  I found myself constantly cringing during this movie and yelling out "why don't you find some help?!?"  
Secondly, I am not a big fan of movies that make me cry.  So of course at the very sad end of this movie, I cried.  This makes me not want to watch a movie again.  Whereas the movies on my Favorites side of the list I enjoy watching repeatedly.  But if you enjoy a tear-jerking, gut-renching, heart-breaking type of movie, this one is for you.

#3--Old Yeller (1957)
IMDb Description:  "A boy brings a yellow dog home. The dog loves the family as much as they love him, but can the love last?"
Most of us remember seeing this movie as a child.  If memory serves, we go from a fun time on the farm, to a young child having to shoot his own rabid dog.  Extremely sad.  Ask someone if they've ever seen Old Yeller, the sad look on their face will tell you what you're not missing.

#4--Turner and Hooch (1989)
IMDb Description:  "A detective must adopt the dog of a dead man to help him find the murderer."
I know what you are thinking, this wasn't a bad movie.  Overall, not a bad watch, sure.  But the slap-stick humor used to deal with an unruly dog again makes me cringe to watch.  At one point in the movie the dog attacks Tom Hanks (before they become friends), and holds him down by the throat.  Now as far as dog training goes...bad bad bad.  As far as guard dog training goes, still bad.  Guard dogs should be taught to attack the appendages of an intruder, NEVER to go for the throat.  That's how people die, then you have a lawsuit on your hands.  Bad bad bad.  Again, probably a movie many of us saw as kids, but not a movie I would recommend now.

Also see our "Best Movies" with Dogs, and our Honorable Mentions List.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Movies with Dogs...The Best

Movies with Dogs...

As a fun new blog set, I have decided to review some movies that have dogs in them.  I have put them into several categories, and multiple blogs.  I will give you movies that I feel are the Best, the Worst, and a few extra Honorable Mentions that are worth a watch.

Throughout the series on my blog, I will be referencing IMDb, the International Movie Database.  If you enjoy movies or TV, this is a site you should know about.  Every movie ever made is here.  It also includes actors, TV, and the like.  Very helpful.  I'm a movie-buff, and I am often watching a movie when I think "what else do I know this actor from?"  So I whip out my phone, go to IMDb and look up the movie, or actor's name if I already know it.  It's quite a fun little rabbit hole to go down if you are in the mood.

The Best:

Bolt (2008)
IMDb Description:  "The canine star of a fictional sci-fi/action show that believes his powers are real embarks on a cross country trek to save his co-star from a threat he believes is just as real."
This is my all-time favorite dog movie.  Absolutely hilarious and adorable movie.  This is a movie you can watch over and over (and I have).  Bolt is the star of a show that he thinks is real, along with his real super powers.  Much to his surprise, he has no super powers.  It is a fun-filled adventure with Bolt the dog; and he meet a mysterious cat, and hilarious hamster along his journey.  Great adventure that's fun for audiences of any age.  
An absolute MUST WATCH!

Best in Show (2000)
IMDb Description:  "A colorful array of characters competes at a national dog show."
I actually did not see this movie until a few years after it came out.  "A colorful array of characters" is an understatement.  This movie is completely crazy but so much fun to watch.  I found myself puzzled at every turn but laughing my ass off.  This movie was highly under-rated.  Add this to your watch list today!

Lady and the Tramp (1955)
IMDb Description:  "The romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog and a streetwise downtown Mutt."
This is a must watch for all kids.  A great story for the whole family to watch.  This is one of my favorite Disney movies of all time.

101 Dalmatians (1996)
IMDb Description:  "A woman kidnaps puppies to kill them for their fur, but various animals then gang up against her and get their revenge in slapstick fashion."
This is, of course, a classic children's story.  I have read several versions of the book and have seen the original 1961 version of this movie.  Now there is a new movie for the next generations to enjoy.  With 99 puppies and all kinds of other dogs helping out, what dog lover wouldn't love this movie?

Cats & Dogs (2001)
IMDb Description:  "A look at the top-secret, high-tech espionage war going on between cats and dogs, which their human owners are blissfully unaware of."
This movie I randomly caught on TV after it had come out.  This is actually a pretty cute movie.  Of course the evil cats are trying to take over the world and we must be saved by our beloved dogs.  A fun-filled movie with lots of laughs.

Eight Below (2006)
IMDb Description:  "Brutal cold forces two Antarctic explorers to leave their team of sled dogs behind as they fend for their survival."
I had never seen this movie before, so I decided to rent it.  (Ha ha I get to watch a movie and call it research for work :)  Although I am not normally a fan of sad movies, this is a pretty good one.  A rather heart-breaking, but uplifting story of a team of snow dogs that got accidentally left behind.  The things this man goes through to get back to his dogs...I can relate.  My dogs are my family and I would do anything for them.  This movie is a tear-jerker, but also quite enjoyable.  This pack of dogs is well-trained and a joy to watch (and also heartbreaking to watch).

All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989)
IMDb Description:  "A dog returns from the dead looking for revenge on his killer using an orphan girl who can talk to animals."
This is one of those movies that every young child should see.  With life lessons for the whole family, this movie is a must see for all.

Cujo (1983)
IMDb Description:  "A friendly St. Bernard named "Cujo" contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town."
Now this obviously isn't a movie for the kids.  Suspenseful and scary, this movie will keep you on the edge of your seat, for the most part.  This movie is getting a little older now, and doesn't hold the same excitement it once did.  But this is one of those movies that can also double as a fun time to yell at the TV with your friends for the stupid things the people in the movie are doing.  That's always fun.  Just a friendly movie reminder of why it is SO IMPORTANT to get your dog's rabies shots!

Beethoven (1992)
IMDb Description:  "A slobbering St. Bernard becomes the center of attention for a loving family, but its veterinarian secretly wants to kill him."
This movie isn't really one of my personal favorites, but seems to be very popular, so I felt compelled to include it on the list.  This movie is full of silly dog antics that I'm not overly fond of, but is enjoyed by most.

Homeward Bound--The Incredible Journey (1993)
IMDb Description:  "Three pets escape from a California ranch to find their owners in San Francisco."
This is another movie that we all saw as kids.  Three pets travel against impossible odds to find their family they have lost.  A great adventure film for all audiences, this movie includes excitement and love.  A must see for all.

Stay tuned for more in this series of blogs...including "The Worst" movies with dogs, and some Honorable Mentions that are worth a watch.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Breed of the Month--Beagle


Color:  Any hound color.  No liver or solid colors.
Height:  13-16 inches (2 varieties)
Weight:  22-35 lbs
Life Span:  12-14 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Hypothyroidism, heart problems, epilepsy, glaucoma, Chinese Beagle syndrome, and Beagle Pain Syndrome.

Coat:  Medium length, weatherproof, close, hard, dense coat.
Country of Origin:  Great Britain

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

A British breed, the Beagle dates as far back as the Celts.  Beagles were used in Wales and the British Isles for hunting hares.  As fox hunting popularity rose and rabbit hunting fell, the breed became less popular.  It was saved by small farmers in southern England that still used the breed to help supplement their diets with rabbit.  The breed was brought to the United States around the 1880s and quickly gained popularity.

With his small size, charming personality, and keen nose, the Beagle has ranked in the Top 5 most popular dogs to own for several years in the United States.  The Beagle was even the inspiration for the character Snoopy, by cartoonist Charles Schulz.

Although friendly and a cute size, the Beagle is still a hunting dog.  He was bred to use his voice, as all Hound dog breeds do.  Beagles do not generally like being left alone either.  These are things one should consider if thinking of adding a dog of this breed to your home.

The Beagle is a hunter by nature and loves to use his nose.  Plenty of regular daily exercise is required to keep this breed happy.  A walk around several blocks or a hike in the woods, it does not matter to the Beagle, as long as he gets to explore.

The short hair and small size of the Beagle make him easy to keep clean.  Regular baths will keep him smelling his best (as many hunting breeds like to find stinky dead things).  The eyes and ears must be kept clean and free of debris.

Using positive reinforcement training combined with treat-based rewards is important for training a Beagle.  The Beagle can be quite stubborn at times, but is highly food motivated.  Keep your Beagle engaged in training by using high-value rewards.  Once your Beagle learns a new skill, he will quickly be ready to move onto a more difficult task.