How to Find a Responsible Dog Breeder

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

Republished from The Humane Society of the United States

How to Find a Responsible Dog Breeder

Note: The Humane Society of the United States encourages you to consider adoption from a shelter or rescue. If you choose to purchase a dog from a breeder, the following guidelines will help you make sure your dog comes from a responsible breeder instead of a puppy mill.

5 Helpful Holiday Hints to Safely Celebrate with Your Pups

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Kasey Herrera, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

5 Helpful Hints to Safely Celebrate with Your Pups

1. Pre-Planning

There is always pre-planning when we are getting ready to have a celebration at our home and it’s easy in all the excitement to overlook our furry family members. Any time there is going to be a change in the home (i.e. new people coming to your home to stay or many people coming over for a celebration) we need to up your pups structure a couple of weeks before this excitement begins. We all get a little lax with our pups after awhile of good behavior but now is the time to revisit the obedience training you learned in the past. This way your pups remember you are the host or hostess, not them!

Introducing Your Pup to New Sights & Sounds

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Kasey Herrera, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Introducing Your Pup to New Sights & Sounds

“My pup has issues when we go out and about. She seems to be afraid of the strangest things and people”. Many dogs that seem perfectly fine at home can still have some underlying fear issues that aren’t apparent until we put them in new situations. This can simply be a developmental phase for puppies and can be worked on with exposure, socialization and calming. In adult dogs many people think that this issue is hopeless, and unfortunately, keep their pups at home. You certainly can get them through it.

 

The Importance of a Feeding Ritual

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Tyler Rohm, 2SpeakDog Intern

The Importance of a Feeding Ritual

The feeding ritual is an important aspect of any dog’s training. Whether you have a pup that is respectful around food or not, the feeding ritual is always a useful skill to have in your toolbox.

Weathering the Storm

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Helping Dogs with Storm Fear

Does your dog cower, pace, shake, or cling to you during a storm? Fear in dogs (including fear of storms) can be calmed with clear and concise energy. Most critically, it needs to be treated with a matter of fact approach.  

Rules for the New Furry Family Member

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Bringining Home Doggie

 Congratulations on the new furry member of your household! By following a few guidelines, the integration of your new pup into your family can be a smooth one.  Hopefully you have done your research and found the perfect member for your family. For simplicity, this article will address a dog that has been rescued, but many factors can be applied to a purchased pup (from a responsible breeder) as well.

 

Shopping List before you bring the pup home:

Remember to shop local if possible.

  • Crate
  • Quality dog food
  • Pea size treats
  • Toys
  • Food and water bowls
  • Leash and collar

What About the Crate?

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Smoothing the Transition for Your Pup

Whether you have a young puppy or a new rescue dog, following some basic steps for crate training will help ease the transition.

There are many benefits of properly crate training a dog. Crating provides sanctuary, offering settle time for a dog and giving families a chance to regroup. This downtime also helps prevent destruction. When pups are bored and/or tired, they often look for objects to chew as either entertainment or for comfort. Just like babies, pups need to nap – and nap often. Depending on the breed and energy level, little ones typically have bursts of energy, varying in time, combined with rest times. Use the crate for these rest times as an opportunity to reinforce training while letting the pup rest in a safe environment.

Dog Have the Winter Doldrums?

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

There's Help for Your Bored Pet

If your dog stares at you incessantly, barks at you, or paws and nudges you, he is demanding attention. But more notably, your dog may be bored.

When it comes to your dog’s well-being, the importance of mental stimulation is significant and cannot be understated. You should always initiate interaction with your dog, not the other way around. If your dog is demanding your attention, analyze your schedule, explore the time spent with your dog, and assess the exercise your dog is getting. On these chilly days, it can be challenging to get outside for the normal walks, much less make time for extended playtime. Try not to neglect your dog because of these challenges. Instead, learn some fun, interactive ways to mentally  challenge your dog. Playing games, teaching obedience commands, and taking disciplined walks can help your dog be a well-behaved companion.

Why Puppy Gifting is for the Dogs

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Add to the Family After the Holidays

The warm cuddly feeling of a puppy snuggling up in your lap is one of the best feelings in the world, right? Breathing in the sweet smell of puppy breath can be equally amazing. Having the kids scamper downstairs on Christmas morning and squeal in delight when the puppy jumps out of the box seems idyllic and a perfect memory for years to come.

But along with those wonderful images come many days, weeks, months, and years of caring for another living thing. Puppies (and dogs) are a great responsibility. The decision to bring a puppy into the home should be made with the whole family involved – from realizing the expectations of each family member, to developing a realistic view of caring for a puppy, to the time, money, and energy needed to raise a puppy successfully. Adopting or purchasing a puppy should not be an emotional, spur-of-the-moment decision. It should be well-considered and researched.

Bringing Home Baby

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Making the Most of a Four-Legged Welcome

Just as you and your partner are adjusting to the big changes coming your way with parenthood, your dog will also need to adjust. How you handle this new phase of your life will affect how your dog handles it. Remember that our dogs are very in tune with us energetically – meaning that if we are emotional, they will often be aroused as well. Keeping a familiar routine before and after the baby arrives is also helpful to ease the transition.

Leading up to the birth of the baby:

Make sure your dog has proper daily exercise, both mentally and physically. Depending on your dog’s age, breed, and temperament, knowing the proper amount of required exercise is important. Walking your dog on a loose leash with structure can help to release both mental and physical energy, creating a dog that is working for you and resting in between.

Holiday Safety Tips for Dogs

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

We want the holidays to be a happy time for you and your pet, not a time for an emergency visit to your veterinarian. The food and decorations that make the holidays so much fun for us can be dangerous for your pet. We do not want this article to dampen your holiday spirits, but we do want you to be aware of the dangers and plan carefully to avoid these potential hazards.

Food - Related Items

Holiday foods we enjoy cooking and eating can be a problem for your pet.

Rich, fatty foods, like gravy or grease, can cause problems ranging from stomach upsets to pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas resulting in pain, vomiting, and dehydration. Dogs with this serious condition often require hospitalization for treatment.

Understand, Train, Accept: 3 Ultra-Important Concepts for Dog Owners

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

As a mother, I understand and can sympathize with the frantic phone call from a client that begins, My dog nipped at my granddaughter! Or this concern: My dog got kicked out of daycare! Or this one: My dog can’t get along with my best friend’s dog. I understand how scary it seems when a dog uses his teeth to tell someone they are uncomfortable with something that person is doing. I understand when dog daycare is needed for long work days or the disappointment when we can’t take our dogs everywhere we want to. As a dog trainer, however, I have sympathy for the dog, too. I feel for the dog when all the blame is placed on him, because there can be many contributing factors leading to negative behaviors.

Dogs are animals. They have to communicate to us somehow that they are not okay with something a human is doing. Dogs often communicate with their mouths by barking, growling, or biting. Does this mean the dog should not be around kids, find a new home, or worst-case scenario – be euthanized? Not necessarily. Should this dog learn how to be around kids, what is appropriate and what is not, have supervision around children, and be taught commands to keep everyone, including the dog, safe? Yes. And should we, as parents, take responsibility as well and learn more? Absolutely.

Separation Anxiety

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Whining, barking, drooling, panting, pacing, destroying and overexcitement are all signs of anxiety.  If you have experienced your dog displaying any of the above behaviors, it may be time to address this common, yet unbalanced, behavior.  When dogs are left alone and it causes them to go into a frantic mode, it can lead to anxiety not only for the dog, but for the family as well.   Implementing a new routine, changing the relationship you have with your dog and learning some calming techniques can help ease this behavior.

Many experts agree that separation anxiety is a learned behavior that stems from an unbalanced relationship with your dog.  Knowing this and taking responsibility to balance your dog will lead you to a calmer, more balanced dog and a better, more confident relationship.

Walk the Walk

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

So, it is time to get out and about – the weather is starting to cooperate, and you and your dog need some exercise!  The warmer weather motivates us to get outside with our dogs.  Luckily, in Richmond, there are a lot of choices of activities, parks, festivals and more.  However, your dog is leash reactive, overly excited, or pulls on leash to smell every blade of grass.  If this is the case, you must first master a structured walk.

A structured walk is a walk with your dog by your side on a loose leash.  This walk is for both mental and physical exercise.  A walk with little to no interruptions.  It simply means that you are leading your dog and they are following you.  A structured walk is a key element to achieving a balanced dog.  Teaching your dog requires a calm, confident demeanor and a little skill.

Bored Dog? Give Him Something To Think About

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

If your dog stares at you incessantly, barks at you, or paws and nudges you, he is demanding attention. But more notably, your dog may be bored.

The importance of mental stimulation is significant and cannot be understated. Interaction with your dog should be initiated by you. If your dog is demanding your attention, analyze your schedule, explore the time spent with your dog, and assess the exercise your dog is getting. On these chilly days, it can be challenging to get outside for the normal walks, much less make time for extended play-time. Try not to neglect your dog because of these challenges.Instead, learn some fun, interactive ways to mentally challenge your dog. Playing games, teaching obedience commands, and taking disciplined walks can help your dog be a well-behaved companion.

Relationships: Dogs and Their Kids

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

As parents, we are sometimes frustrated with the behavior of our children, and sometimes exasperated by our dogs. However, when the interaction between them is the issue, it becomes all the more difficult to correct.

Often we need to change the relationship our kids and pup have developed. Pups can easily see children as playmates. Children move a lot, move quickly, and use higher voices than adults. A high level of emotion is considered a weakness to a dog. Children must develop leadership skills in their interaction with the pup to communicate appropriately.

Making sure your child is interacting appropriately with your pup is crucial. With very young children, all interaction with the pup should be supervised. Children need to learn to respect the pup as well. Children should not be allowed to pull, grab, poke or step on the pup. To teach them to properly pet, hold the child’s hand and calmly pet on the back or side with long strokes. In addition, when the child is not around, the adults should gently pull, grab, and poke to help desensitize the pup.

My Dog Won’t Swim!

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

"I want my lab mix to start swimming, but she's terrified of the water! I have tried to get her in a swimming pool, in the river, even taken a trip to the beach and she wants nothing to do with the water beyond lapping at it. I'm afraid that if I push it, she'll never want to swim. Do you have any tips for encouraging her?"

Teaching your pup to swim can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, it can also be frustrating. As with all experiences when fear can be involved, the environment needs to be calm and confident. For your pup to experience something new without fear (under the category of aroused energy), it is best to plan ahead. Some key strategies to succeed at a new experience:

  • be calm
  • move slowly
  • continue forward momentum
  • repeat exercise until it is consistent

I would recommend introducing your pup to water in a lake, pond or pool as opposed to the ocean, due to the waves. The ocean beach setting can be overwhelming and not the safest method of introduction. I would also recommend fitting and familiarizing your pup with a dog life jacket before introducing them to the water. Pair this introduction of the life jacket with another positive activity, such as fetch, obedience with treats, or a game of find it. If you introduce your pup to the life jacket several times over several days, wearing it will become a non-issue.

Tips For Raising Your New Puppy

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

"I recently adopted a young puppy. She is very sweet and playful, and very mischievous! Without constant supervision, she'll chew on everything (shoes, fingers, table legs, even the sofa) and has pottied in the house a number of times. This is my first puppy, and I knew it would be a challenge, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I'd love some suggestions for raising her properly."

Puppies should be treated like toddlers, in the sense that they do need constant supervision, a safe environment, rules and rituals. There are several ways to have a pup under supervision. Utilizing the crate, gating and tethering the pup to you can all be used to help you keep a close eye on your pup. These will also significantly increase success with potty training.

Potty training is an important aspect of puppyhood. Having a consistent routine will speed up this process. At the door, develop a ritual. Start by having the puppy sit and/or ring a bell, praise with a treat, leash the pup and then go out the door. Once you are outside, use the potty command (do it, do your business, potty, etc…) in a higher, fun voice until puppy begins to potty.

To Crate or Not to Crate

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Crate Training: Misconceptions, Introducing it Right and All of the Benefits!

“I can't crate my dog – it’s mean.”
“It is like a jail.”
“He just whines and cries in his crate – it breaks my heart.”

We have all heard the above comments; it’s possible you may have even been the person saying them. As a trainer and behaviorist, I hear these and other similar comments often. However, crating can be a positive, calming, and comforting method of training for most dogs.

Moving Tips / Acclimating Your Dog to a New Environment

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Moving can be a stressful time for the whole family, including your dog. However, by building in the time for a few extra steps to acclimate your dog to his/her new environment can greatly ease some of that stress and anxiety.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Making sure the days before the move are as routine as possible, will help to ease the anxiety your pup may have about things such as moving around the house and packing. Maintaining consistency in your everyday routines with your dog can keep the balance. Continue feeding your dog at the same times and keep walks consistent. Engaging them in some new play such as obedience games you might have learned from a training class can also help to ease any unnecessary anxiety or perturbation by physically AND mentally waring them out.

If possible, it is good to introduce your dog to the new neighborhood before the move. Drive if needed, and walk the neighborhood to let the dog get familiar with the smell of the area. This is also a good time to get a sense of your new environment, other dogs, traffic, etc.

Dogs & Babies - Fostering a Happy Pack

Written by 2SpeakDog. Posted in Articles

By Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist

Just as you and your partner are adjusting to the big changes coming your way with parenthood, your dog will also need to adjust. How you handle this new phase of your life will affect how your dog handles it. Remember that our dogs are very in tune with us energetically – meaning that if we are emotional, they will often be aroused as well. Keeping a familiar routine before and after the baby arrives is also helpful to ease the transition. 

Prior to the birth of the baby: 

Make sure your dog has proper exercise – both mentally and physically daily. Depending on your dog’s age, breed, and temperament, knowing the proper amount of exercise is important. Walking your dog on a loose leash with structure can help to release both mental and physical energy, creating a dog that is working for you and resting in between.

Establish or refresh basic household rules such as establishing boundaries, respecting space, food and general obedience commands.  Having your dog respect rooms, objects, and greeting of people will allow the same behaviors to occur when there is a life change, such as the addition of a baby. Developing general obedience commands and having your dog obey them often in many situations will further the relationship of your dog working for you.