Day 28: Go for a Walk

Nice weather? Take the opportunity to get out of the house. Undesirable behavior can be a result of excess energy. When bad weather—cold, dark, snow, etc.—reduces outside exercise time, these problems can become more pronounced. When you get a chance to enjoy nice weather in the winter, take the opportunity to burn extra energy through outside exercise. ...
Read More

Day 27: Have a Release Cue

If you are asking your dog to stay in one place for a given length of time and she is listening, that's great! Now here is the next step: letting your dog know that she can move around again. Many people instinctively want to use "OK!", but I would caution against doing so. "OK" is such a common phrase and is used so widely in our culture that it becomes very easy to accidentally release your dog with potentially problematic—or event dangerous—results. Instead, choose a word that isn't part of your regular lexicon or used for another training activity. Personally, I use "Let's go!" ...
Read More

Day 26: Interspecies Relationships

Dogs are social creatures. They can form friendships with humans and other dogs, but also with cats, birds, and small animals. Of course, the potential for such friendships varies based on the temperament and socialization of the animals involved. It also varies based on management. Good relationships depend on strong management by the human members of the household who keep everyone safe and reduce stress levels. ...
Read More

Day 24: Practice Something Fun

Sometimes it's important to remember that dog training is also about fun. It's best experienced as an enjoyable way of bonding with your pet. To remember that, make sure to practice things you both enjoy. I love Sirius's turn and he loves it too—as he has been known to express by trying out the turn when I have asked him for something else, although that wasn't the case tonight. ...
Read More

Day 23: Take Your Medicine

As much as we all hope our dogs will stay forever young and healthy, the truth is that sooner or later most will need some type of medication, whether painkillers after surgery or topical medicine to treat an injury or infection. Administering these medications can be difficult, especially if your dog is not used to this type of handling. Start adjusting your dog to potential handling of this type in advance can be helpful. If your dog's breed is prone to certain illnesses, that may also give you an idea what to prepare for....
Read More

Day 22: Watch for Behavior Changes

What is your dog's normal behavior pattern? Do you see a change? Behavior changes can have a multiple causes. They can result from physical illness or injury, and a comprehensive veterinary exam is usually a good place to start if you see significant changes in behavior. Stress and changes in routine can also cause behavior changes, which can also develop over time as a result of specific experience or prolonged exposure to certain stimuli....
Read More

Day 21: Separate dogs from food prep

Dogs like food (who doesn't?), but food preparation areas are not a safe place for your dog. Instead, plan for your dog to be somewhere else, whether confined elsewhere in the house, with another responsible family member, or at their "place" at a safe distance from the food preparation area. Immediately after taking the photo at right, I sent Sirius to his mat in the eating area of our kitchen....
Read More

Day 19: Puppy Pushup

Now that you have brushed up on a lot of different skills, how about combining them? A sit-down-sit combination is fairly simple, but it can be a fun trick to show off if branded as a "puppy pushup." Trying this will also give you an idea of how well your dog has learned sit and down. Many dogs have trouble returning to the sit from the down position if they have primarily learned it from a standing position. ...
Read More