There are many approaches to dog training, and you'll usually find that the right approach varies from dog to dog. You should always strive to establish dominance, making yourself the alpha to your dog's beta or omega. All canines are pack animals, and they thrive having a distinctive structure in the home. These tips will help you connect with your puppy or dog through training, and reach your goals without too much frustration.
Dogs are more likely to listen to someone who they respect, which means you need to be respectful to them, too. Be assertive, but don't challenge them or match their aggression. According to Handicapped Pets, the best thing you can do is bond with your dog in ways that are meaningful to them, such as playing and going for walks. You may also want to explore training techniques such as clicker training, which uses a small device to condition your dog to respond to a sound frequency or series of clicks. Different training objectives work best with their own approach; for example, clicker training may be better teaching standard obedience while mirror training or modeling can be useful when attempting to teach more complex tricks.
Always strive for positive reinforcement when training your dog. Punishment rarely works, and the best thing you can do with non-harmful misbehavior is to ignore it. Rather than focusing attention on what your dog is doing wrong, guide them to perform the desired actions instead, and reward them heavily for it. Remember that they may not perform a trick or do something perfectly the first time. Celebrate their effort, and over time, you'll begin to notice an improvement. Treats are great for rewarding good behavior. However, according to VitaLife, it’s important to mind the ingredients, look for additional benefits the treats may provide, and consider the size and calorie count in order to have a happy and healthy dog.
Set Realistic Standards
Some people expect their dog to become robotic, effortlessly responding to every command. While dogs can certainly be well-trained, they are still living creatures, each with their own unique temperament, personality, and motivations. Sometimes, your dog may be tired or not in the mood to train. Accept this, and don't force them to practice or punish them for not listening to everything. Be flexible and patient with your dog as you would strive to be with another person. As you get closer through training, it will become easier to strike a balance and develop a good rhythm.
Dog training can be a wonderful way to bond with your pup. Sign up for obedience and agility classes, ask your vet for tips, and don't be afraid to reach out to a professional trainer and learn from an expert.
If the thought of training your pet cat seems like a difficult feat, consider the daunting task of training one of nature’s biggest cats. Consider these tips and tricks from professional tiger trainers that you can use to train your cat at home.
How to Train Your Cat
5 tips from a professional tiger trainer
(Family Features) If the thought of training your pet cat seems like a difficult feat, consider the daunting task of training one of nature’s biggest cats.
After welcoming two 4-year-old Sumatran tigers, Frances and Huntley, the keepers at Nashville Zoo are doing just that. The training program, which is sponsored by TEMPTATIONS™ Cat Treats, is on display for the public to learn about how these colossal cats are trained.The trainers offer these tips and tricks from their experiences working with their tigers that you can use to train your cat at home. For more information on cat behavior, visit TemptationsTreats.com.
When beginning the training process, identify your cat’s likes and dislikes. Some cats are motivated by toys while most are motivated by food. When starting the training process, try out a few different treat flavors to identify what gets your cat’s attention. Treats such as TEMPTATIONS™ Cat Treats come in a wide variety of flavors, making it easy to find one that will make your cat come running. For cats with health or weight restrictions, utilize toys or tactile reinforcement like petting for motivation.
Focus on Practicality
Celebrate the Small Victories
Dental care for dogs is important, but it’s an aspect of care that is frequently overlooked by dog owners. Making sure you are aware of what your pet’s mouth typically looks like and talking to your vet if you spot any issues can go a long way toward protecting your furry friend. Also consider this advice to help keep your dog’s teeth healthy and his or her breath fresh.
Make Sense of Doggy Dental Care
(Family Features) Dental care for dogs is important, but it’s an aspect of care that is frequently overlooked by dog owners. One of the few outward signs of dental problems lurking just below the surface is bad breath.
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease is the most common clinical dental condition occurring in adult dogs. However, it is preventable with consistent home dental care and regular vet visits.
Knowing there’s a problem with your pet’s mouth starts by understanding what a healthy dog’s mouth should look like. Teeth should be intact (not jagged or broken) and free of plaque and tartar buildup. Tongues should be moist without any lumps or cuts and gums should be salmon pink, though some dogs naturally have black or black and pink gums.
Making sure you are aware of what your pet’s mouth typically looks like and talking to your vet if you spot any issues can go a long way toward protecting your furry friend. Also consider this advice from veterinarian and host of Animal Planet’s “Evan Goes Wild” Dr. Evan Antin to help keep your dog’s teeth healthy and his or her breath fresh:
“Practicing good dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans,” Antin said, “I recommend DentaLife ActivFresh chews, which are designed with nine ridges and have an active-ingredient blend of honey and natural spirulina that has been scientifically tested to fight bad breath at the source.”
To learn more about protecting your dog’s dental health, visit purina.com/dentalife and consult with your veterinarian.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (veterinarian checking dog’s teeth)SOURCE:
Ever since the day the first feline became a house cat, destructive cat scratching has plagued owners. All the affection and loving care owners shower upon their cats can feel like wasted energy when the thanks they get looks more like hatred: shredded furniture, carpet and curtains.
Your Cat’s Scratch Has Met Its Match
Why cats scratch and how to safely stop it
(Family Features) Ever since the day the first feline became a house cat, destructive cat scratching has plagued owners. All the affection and loving care owners shower upon their cats can feel like wasted energy when the thanks they get looks more like hatred: shredded furniture, carpet and curtains.
It’s a normal human response to be angry or frustrated about damage inflicted by cats’ scratching, but equally normal is a cat’s need to scratch. Cat scratching is a behavior that fulfills both physical and emotional needs. Cats scratch to stretch their bodies, maintain their hunting and climbing skills, groom their claws and mark their territory, showing they’re in a safe space.
However, these behaviors cats exhibit to establish a safe living space can be anything but pleasant for their human companions. This can lead frustrated owners to take drastic measures to modify behavior, but those decisions can be risky, especially when it comes to a permanent and potentially harmful practice like declawing.
Many pet owners believe that declawing their cats is a harmless and quick fix for unwanted scratching, similar to trimming one’s nails. However, if a declawing procedure were performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.
“Not only does the practice cause pain, it removes an important self-defense tool and the surgery itself poses risks related to anesthesia and infection,” said Dr. Valarie V. Tynes, president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, licensed veterinarian and veterinary services specialist at Ceva Animal Health. “All of this can lead to behavioral issues that may be worse than a shredded couch.”
Declawing is an irreversible measure to address a normal behavioral issue in cats. Declawed cats may be less likely to use a litter box, more likely to bite and the disruption of the natural scratching behavior can cause lasting physiological problems.
That sentiment is echoed by national organizations such as the American Association for Feline Practitioners, which deems the practice of declawing an ethically controversial procedure that is not medically necessary in most instances. In fact, declawing cats is now illegal in several U.S. cities.
Find alternatives to declawing, and cat-scratching solutions, at savethecouches.com.
5 Humane Alternatives to Declawing
There are numerous safe and painless alternatives to declawing, including these ideas from the pet behavior experts at Ceva Animal Health:
1. Routinely trim nails. Regular nail care is an important part of general care and hygiene for your cat, but it can also help prevent scratching damage by eliminating the sharp, destructive claw tips. Properly trimmed nails are less likely to snag or split, and cats with well-trimmed nails are less likely to resort to scratching as part of their own self-grooming rituals.
2. Create scratch-friendly zones. Keeping cats from scratching areas you don’t want them to bother is far more likely if you provide areas where they can scratch at will, such as scratching pads and posts. Pair these scratching areas with a product such as Feliscratch by Feliway, which is clinically proven to prevent destructive scratching by redirecting cats to scratch in the right place. Cats are attracted to the drug-free, naturally derived product and will feel compelled to scratch where it’s applied, leaving that chair or couch alone.
“Cat owners can now have damage-free home decor without putting their cats through the stress and potential physical harm of the painful declawing procedure,” Tynes said.
3. Reinforce off-limits areas. Cats are highly tactile, so applying textured materials like double-sided sticky tape or rough, crinkly aluminum foil to areas you don’t want scratched can be an effective deterrent.
4. Consult a behaviorist. Not all cases have easy answers, but an expert with experience in animal behavior can provide guidance based specifically on your cat’s personality and circumstances to help create a custom solution.
5. Eliminate negative reinforcements. Avoid punishing your cat for undesirable behavior. This includes shouting, spraying with water or swatting your cat. Punishment can increase stress and anxiety. It can make the problem worse and may even make your cat afraid of you.
DIY Scratching Post
Designating a spot for your cat to safely scratch is one of the most effective ways to minimize damage to your possessions. A homemade scratching post is a quick and easy project.
1. Cut foot-long length of 4-by-4-inch wood and a 1-foot square piece of plywood. The exact sizes can vary, but these are good starting points that you can adjust up or down, depending on your space.
2. Sand away splinters and rough edges.
3. Add a sturdy fabric wrap or paint to lend aesthetic appeal to the plywood base.
4. Wrap the post tightly with heavy-gauge rope or carpet scraps (or both), securing tightly with glue and reinforcing with a staple gun.
5. Securely attach the post to the base using a long bolt.
6. Place the post in an area your cat enjoys spending time, and consider adding a pheromone therapy spray to attract your cat to the post.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Women on the sofa with black cat)SOURCE:
Ceva Animal Health
The boom of fireworks or the crash of thunder may create a wave of excitement for you. However, for many dogs, these loud noises trigger fear and anxiety similar to a panic attack. This anxiety is a progressive medical condition called canine noise aversion. At least 1 in 3 dogs suffer from noise aversion, but there is a simple solution available for treating noise aversion at home.
Feeling Safe During Fireworks
How to help manage your dog’s noise aversion
(Family Features) The boom of fireworks or the crash of thunder may create a wave of excitement for you. However, for many dogs, these loud noises trigger fear and anxiety similar to a panic attack.
This anxiety is a progressive medical condition called canine noise aversion. You might know it as noise phobia or noise anxiety. At least 1 in 3 dogs suffer from noise aversion, which can leave dog owners and their families feeling helpless during summer fireworks celebrations and rolls of thunder.
A scary struggle
“Harley is my baby, and I hate to see her in any discomfort,” Buell said. “She pants, shakes, tries to hide under furniture or takes cover in the bathtub when she hears thunder or fireworks.”
Harley’s reaction to loud noises is typical of a dog with noise aversion. Other symptoms may include vocalizing fear by barking or whining, seeking extra attention from her owner, destroying furniture or even attempting to escape from home.
Over the years, Buell discussed Harley’s reaction to fireworks and thunder with her veterinarian, Dr. Peter Eeg of Poolesville Veterinary Clinic in Poolesville, Maryland.
“We tried behavior therapy, naturopathic therapies and medications, but nothing helped Harley’s fight-or-flight response to noise,” Dr. Eeg said.
A simple solution
“Harley responded exceptionally well to treatment with SILEO,” Dr. Eeg said. “It also completely resolved my own dogs’ anxiety and fear of loud thunder.”
Clinically proven to be safe and effective without other treatments or training, SILEO is a practical, fast-acting, at-home treatment for noise aversion. It begins working in about 30 minutes to one hour and provides relief for up to 2-3 hours. Your veterinarian should show you how to administer SILEO when it is prescribed.
“We have lots of thunder, fireworks and construction in the neighborhood each summer,” Buell said. “The first time I gave Harley SILEO, she napped through the thunder. It was such a relief to our family to see her relaxed and happy.”
Talk with your veterinarian
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION:
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
As fall settles in, it’s a perfect time to try out new adventures with your four-legged best friend. This fall with your dog, go for a picnic in the park, go for a run or walk, change up mealtime, snuggle up with a good book or learn a new trick.
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