Winter is here and as we stay contained indoors cabin fever takes hold. The
same goes for our dogs. Boredom is one of the biggest contributors
to behavior issues in dogs. Fortunately, there are many easy and fun ways to burn brain calories. As I write this, Zorba Two Feet (featured below) is reminding me that activity is needed in the near future.
Quick tips to survive the rest of winter with our dogs:
-Feed their kibble out of interactive treat toys.
-Play “Go Sniff” by sprinkling their kibble or toys around the home
for them to find. Make sure the rewards are easily accessible for your dog.
-Give them a pre-frozen Kong BEFORE you settle down for the family meal.
-Use a snuffle mat or throw away towel (one that will never be used by
humans again) and sprinkle their kibble with a couple treats in for them to
hunt around and find.
-If your dog loves snow, put “Snowball” on cue. Have a snowball
ready. When your dog looks at you say “Snowball” and toss the
The following game is not only an easy introduction into nose
work, but also builds further bonds between you and your dog.
“Find PERSON”: Find person is one of many games for beginning level
scent work games. Use a toy or treats your dog adores to ensure
their desire to the find the person named.
-The verbal cue is “Find XXXX (fill in person’s name)”
-With your dog looking at you say “Find XXXX”
-Ensure the person’s name being said is within sight and not far away.
-When the person hears their name said they should immediately make fun
noise. Don’t use known verbal cues like “Come.”
-When the dog turns towards the person named, the person can mark the
action with a sound like “ta” or “good” and give a reward upon arrival.
-Repeat 5 times, having the person move around the room but still
-If your dog looks at the person but does not go towards them, decrease
the distance between your dog and the person.
-Repeat 5 times but when the person name is said they keep quiet and
only make a fuss when the dog arrives in front of them.
-When you feel your dog understands the verbal cue “Find XXXX” test it!
-Have the person hide around a corner, but within close distance to your
-Say “Find XXXX”
-If the dog immediately uses their nose to find the person give them a
jackpot of treats on arrival!
-Over time have the person hiding go to further places around your
-By the time spring returns you will be ready to take this game outside!
There are so many activities to engage your dog’s nose and brain, nose
work is just one place to start. This is one of the many reasons why we are
passionate about our nose work and energy outlet group classes, dogs go home
happily tired! Now off to play in the snow with my dogs!
So you’ve decided it’s time for a new dog or puppy. We couldn’t be happier for you. Between myself, Ashley and Kristine we have 10 dogs…yes we love dogs! I’m not only a trainer here at You and Your Dog Training, but I also run a dog rescue. Preparing families for a new furry friend is something I’m passionate about. Let us help you be prepared.
Bringing home a new dog is an exciting time for us humans. Often times we already “love” our new furry friend before we even take them home. This is not always the case for the dog though. The first few days can be the most important. Your dog may experience excitement and stress all at once. New people, new surroundings, new smells, new noises and most likely a whole new routine. Where will I sleep? When will I eat? Where do I go potty? What are the rules? And, WHO do I trust?
Think about how stressful it is to move. That’s how your new dog is feeling. Your dog will need time to decompress and then acclimate to their new environment.
YOUR NEW RESCUE DOG, What to Expect…
Kongs, Kongs and more Kongs 39 Healthy Treats You Can Stuff in a Kong - Puppy Leaks
Bully sticks, deer antlers, nyla bones (never give a dog rawhide)
High value soft treats
Dog Food, Canned Pumpkin (A high quality dog food is recommended. Canned pumpkin is good to have on hand. A spoonful with their meals during their adjustment period and when switching foods will help firm up stool).
Prepare for your new dog in advance. Research the best dog trainers in your area and plan to sign up your new dog a few weeks after adoption. Decide where the dog will be confined when you’re not home and arrange a crate in that area. Decide what particular area outdoors will be the dog’s bathroom.
WHEN YOU GET HOME/THE FIRST DAY:
Walk around outside to go potty and let them sniff around a bit. Crate and secure the dog and let them rest and adjust to their new setting for the first day or two. I usually put a sheet or blanket over the crate so they feel safe in their new “den”. They need time to adjust to their new surroundings and decompress from the stressful environment they just left (shelter/transport/quarantine). We all want to smother our pups with love right away, they’ve been through so much. BUT, give them some time to get their bearings, there will be plenty of time for love, snuggles and dog kisses.
Potty your new dog outside on a leash or in a secured area, always go to the same door and same outside spot. This consistency will help the dog know right where to go to use the bathroom. We recommend always using the same word or words. For example: “go potty”. Say this each time you take them out. Your dog will begin to learn what it means and do their business. Going out several different doors and different outside areas will be confusing. Don’t assume your dog is housetrained — changes in homes and families are stressful for the dog and they may “forget” or need some time to adjust to your routine.
DOGS AND CHILDREN:
Kids are probably the most excited when adopting a new dog. Take it slow and supervise children and your new dog at all times. Key things to remind your children:
Always leave the dog alone when he is eating, chewing or sleeping.
Never climb on, hug or put your face in a dogs face.
Don’t take away a toy or prized possession from the dog.
Don’t tease the dog.
Don’t chase the dog or run quickly around the dog; it may scare him.
Pick up all kids toys. Dogs don’t know the difference between your toys and theirs.
For more information about kids and dogs please check out this link https://livingwithkidsanddogs.com
With Covid and the holidays approaching so many families are deciding that now is the time to add a new dog to the family. We hope the information we provided is helpful. Don’t forget to sign your new furry friend up for training classes. Our class sizes are small and fill up quickly, so don’t wait to enroll. We can’t wait to be part of your journey!
If you have additional questions about adding a new dog to your family and how we can help, please email us.
Parts of this blog are from Granite State Paw Rescuers, “Your new rescue dog…What to Expect.”
Please excuse any grammatical errors and typos. This blog is an informal way for You and Your Dog Training and Services to share information. Consider any typos our gift to you!
Rewarding your dog for calm by your side
Low-pressure exposure to new environments
Don’t let physical distancing get you down!
If you were like many Americans, you may have added a puppy or new dog to your household during the COVID-19 pandemic. Who wouldn’t want a sweet, adorable puppy at home during a time of such uncertainty and stress? Research has shown that petting dogs can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure, so it makes perfect sense to adopt a new canine companion while we are stuck at home with not much else to do. The timing couldn’t be better… right?
It is likely that in preparation for your new furry friend, you did your research on which dog to get, what to feed her, the best ways to exercise her, and which toys come highly recommended. You made a plan about how to best integrate your life with the life of your new dog and found training solutions to help. One of the things that often gets overlooked, especially in a time of social distancing and Stay-at-Home orders, is socialization. You have probably heard the term “socialization” before, but what is it and how do we do it in the time of COVID-19?
What is Socialization?
Close your eyes and try to imagine what socialization looks likes. Is your puppy playing with a bunch of other puppies or dogs? Or maybe your puppy is greeting strangers and being pet? According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, socialization is a special period of time, typically within the first three months of a puppy’s life, where “puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli, and environments as can be achieved safely and without causing overstimulation, manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal, or avoidance behavior.” The important part about this definition is: without causing excessive fear, withdrawal, or avoidance behavior. Positive exposure to new things is essential for all dogs to gain confidence with potential encounters in the world around them. This is true especially for puppies and for new, timid and fearful dogs. The dog personalities that people tend to complain the least about are the ones who want to say “hi” to every creature they meet, but these types also need to learn that they cannot launch at every person they see.
Socialization and Social Distancing
Physical distancing and socialization may seem mutually exclusive, but it actually is the opposite and it can benefit all dog personality types. While observing the COVID-19 etiquette of staying six feet apart, you are able to reward your dog as the world goes by! When you reward your dog for remaining calm at your side, they learn to anticipate new encounters with calm instead of fear or frustration. When people encroach on a dog’s space and pet them without their permission, it can make for a fearful dog. On the flip side, a dog can become frustrated if they are allowed to drag their people over to say hi to strangers and then are not allowed to do so.
Additionally, socialization does not extend to just people and other dogs. It is vitally important that dogs experience a wide variety of novel items, objects, and scenarios, so that when they encounter them in the future, it is no big deal. For example, take a puppy who was raised in a house with wall-to-wall carpet (yes, this is a throwback to when people had carpeting in their bathrooms). Imagine this puppy was brought to a new house that was entirely wood floors and tile. It may seem trivial to us humans, but for a dog who has never experienced this type of flooring, it could be incredibly scary! Some personality types might be able to adapt and become comfortable with the new floor, but for some it could be a fear that they have a really difficult time overcoming.
Why Socialization Matters
The more low pressure, positive experiences your dog or puppy has with the world around them, the better they adapt to new, potentially scary situations in the future. While the personality of the dog absolutely matters, what we find is that dogs and puppies who are on the more timid side, can become more confident with low pressure, positive exposure. The important part is to go slow, at your dog’s pace and to not force them to interact with something they don’t want to. Through this low pressure exposure, we are teaching them that the world around them is full of good things and that novel experiences are something to look forward to, not to fear. By practicing this type of socialization, you are giving your dog skills that will last a lifetime and building a solid, trusting relationship between you and your dog. Your dog will learn to look to you for support in times of uncertainty and for us, that is worth it’s weight in gold.
Putting it into Practice
The following ideas are ways to socialize your dog and practice safety, first and foremost.
Around the house:
- At your main window, reward your dog for watching people go by.
- Have treats at your doorway ready for the increase of deliveries you have being shipped to your home. Mail delivery = Reward
- In your yard, reward for watching people go by and ask for a sit (and reward) when cars go by.
- If you live in a cul-de-sac, or if you have friends or neighbors who frequently drive or walk by your home, ask if you can give them treats to carry to toss to your dog
- For overly friendly dogs, have them sit for the treat to be tossed.
- For timid dogs, have them at a distance where they are comfortable watching for the treat to be tossed.
- Sprinkle treats in a cardboard box with the flaps tucked inside. As your dog is comfortable, you can untuck a flap, so that the box moves slightly when they try to get the treats. “Treat party” for making the box move!
- People: You and anyone who is safe to be in your household. Change your look by adding on different appendages: various Hats, scarves, carrying objects like boxes and brooms, puffy coats, if you have Halloween costumes kicking around this is the time to bring them out, one at a time.
- Objects: Your in home appliances like Dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, microwave, vacuum cleaner, box fan, your phone.
- Places: Use the above objects and place them in a room your dog normally frequents. When your dog walks in there is a novelty object making the place a new experience.
- Sensory (feel): Have your dog walk around on different surfaces. Most of the following can be moved to different rooms of your house to create a new experiences: A flattened cardboard box, a board, tarp or painters plastic, slippery, wooden, carpeted floors.
- Sensory Sounds: Many of your household appliances serve dual purpose as both object and sound. Following is an example of gradual exposure for a Metal Bowl: Pushed on the ground; Dropped (a couple inches) from the ground; Tapped with a wooden spoon; Lightly tapped with a metal spoon.
In your car:
- Go to an urban area, park in an empty parking lot and reward your dog for listening to the city sounds that you may not get in the country, like us here in New Boston, NH.
- Park at the back of the grocery store parking lot and reward your dog for watching people pushing carts and wearing masks.
- Park anywhere safe and appropriate to reward your dog for watching the world go by: think bicycles, canoes, runners, hikers, motorcycles.
- Take a 12x12ft blanket to the park and sit on the outskirts with your dog on a leash. Reward them for watching the activity taking place in the park. If comfortable and able to maintain physical distance, allow your dog to say hi with permission to novelty people.
If you have additional questions about socialization and how we can help, please email us.
Parts of this blog are from Ashley Clark’s article “Physical Distancing Can Help You and Your Dog!” published in the New Boston Beacon in June 2020.