Pets and Parenting: Mom Training Tips For Toddler’s And The Family Dog

Preparing your dog for your child’s toddlerhood is really important! Depending on your dogs age, previous exposure to children, food, toys and chew bones will help determine where you need to focus training and socialization. 

Just because your dog is nice and gentle with you and other adult people doesn’t mean a child can’t become a target, by accident! Some parents unknowingly deem their dog good with kid’s or fine with the baby but with toddlers, I think special a wild card factor can happen. Toddlers can be kind of unpredictable and many parents get in the habit of chanting “be nice to the doggy!” Having foresight and be able to direct or protect your dog and child is the key.  Snaps can happen fast and after that, it matters less who’s fault it was becomes the damage is done.

Paws For A Minute® Quick tip: Preparing Your Dog For Your Child’s Toddlerhood!

1. Dog Tip:  Review all “on leash” commands. This is a great way to tune up your dog. Basic commands like heel, sit, stay and come. Never did that before? Then now is a great opportunity! Leash training is a great way to create eye contact between you and your dog and reinforce the commands with praise! What it does very effectively is creates a bond and an understanding that simply off leash repetition and cookie’s don’t accomplish in the same way, A few minutes a day will help communicate volumes to your dog and create trust between you, especially with a new creature that’s crawling and falling all over there territory now!

2. Dog Tip: Occasionally, hand feed you dog a few servings of his kibble. This helps determine any food bowl issues and get your dog used to being interrupted while eating.

3. Dog Tip: Vet check. Bring your dog to the vet for a check up. Dogs that are 5 years and up should be checked for lumps and bumps. As your Toddler begins to poke and pat you want to make sure all is well with your dog health wise. Some times older dogs don’t feel well and YOU would never know it.

4. Dog Tip: Use a baby gate occasionally for your dog when your child is crawling around. Boundary’s are a great thing. Get your dog used to being baby gated once in a while. This allows you not to go insane and gives your dog some chew bone time in peace, yet still allows him/her to hang out and be apart of things. 

Key: Guide your dog into the gated area on a leash, before your toddler has exploration time. The leash helps create a fun ritual, with the formality of a command. Say the word let’s go and then once in the gates area say “wait” then give a treat close the gate and take of the leash! Gate for a small increment of time in a central area.

5. Dog tip:  Brush your dog for 5 minutes every week. This is a great way to get him used to being touched, everywhere even the tail!



Apartment Dogs: Guidelines To Choosing A Good Dog Walker.

Raising a dog and working to make a living, can have it’s challenges. How do you master raising a puppy and being gone all day? Dog walking services can come in handy to help you on those busy weeks or challenging developmental stages. Getting a dog walker can help you manage developing a schedule with your dog. Here are a few simple things to consider before you hire one. Hiring a big dog walking service can have its pros and cons. For example, there are many individuals that provide a reliable unique experience that can meet your needs too! How do you know what you need? Here are a few thoughts to help you assess what’s best for your lifestyle.

Bigger dog walking companies hire many dog walkers or sometimes have vans servicing many people. Sounds great at first, but your dog may be sitting in a van half of the day, as the service drives around town picking up other clients. Once at the park, puppies usually will play hard with each other, while older dogs often just stand next to the walker waiting for the walk. It’s really up to you to assess your dogs needs and what’s best for your lifestyle, budget and work schedule. Is it to get exercise, go potty, or to be socialized? The main thing you need to note is your dogs age, housebreaking needs, energy level and your hours gone, which will tell you what type of service you really need. Many middle age dogs or senior dogs benefit most by individual one-on-one walks, as opposed to the larger companies that offer park pick-ups. Sometimes, a nice long walk, 10 minute game of fetch and a potty break will do the trick! The best place to find a great dog walker is at your local vet’s office, pet store, or a friends referral. Once you’ve found a great dog walker it is a good idea to interview them properly.

 1. Make sure they are insured or bonded. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to ask. If the person works independently and is not bonded, then always ask for referrals. Use your best judgement. Referrals can come from trainers, vets and other clients they walk. If the dog walking service is a big company, then ask to see their current certificate of insurance, as they often hire many dog walkers to service larger areas. Also, you may not get the same person walking your dog. Discuss your needs, concerns and safety rules with the company and make sure the people they have as walkers, fit your needs and have experience.

2. Give them your cell phone number in case of emergency. If they work for a bigger dog walking service, make sure that you are getting the same person and they have your cell phone number available. 

3. Go on a walk with the walker, once. Observe how they handle your dog, making sure they use the same commands you use, keeping training consistent.

4. Give your dog walker a window of time to arrive. Remember, you aren’t their only client. Two hours is more than fair, they will appreciate the flexibility, and you will get consistent service.

5. If you provide the leashes, training collars etc., it is imperative that YOU regularly inspect them and keep them in working order. Keep them in the same place, and back-ups are always a good idea, especially for specialized gear. Make sure your dog has current tags and information on it’s collar.

6. Provide your walker with your vet’s info in case of emergency. Keep a credit card on file at the vet, along with a signed declaration stating that your walker is allowed to bring the dog in for treatment.

7. Don’t forget your budget. Hiring a dog walking service can add up! However, remember it does not have to be a forever thing. You can cut costs, too. Those of you who own pup’s can use a service for a few months, to get you over the hump of housebreaking issues. Other’s can begin a service with the end goal to-be, to use the service as needed! In other words, eventually, only use the service for your dog during those busy weeks at work. You have options.

Also, remember that your needs may change from needing one type of service to another, over the course of raising your dog!



A Dog Training Tip. Could This Be The New Cookie?

Coming home can mean sloppy kisses, hugs and sometimes the need for a helmet. Occasionally dog owners (especially those of large breed pups) require a defense running strategy through their own front door, after a long day at work.

So how do you get your dog to greet you with a more mellow approach? Sometimes the jumping up behavior is owner induced. The usual chant, walking in the door, is to go nuts with your voice while saying hello, followed by “NO JUMP” or no, get down.” Sound familiar? So how do you get your dog to chill with love other than waiving a cookie at your dog?

When people think of positive reinforcement, they think of treat or verbal good BOY. Don’t get me wrong, treat training has its benefits, but it can become a dog owner crutch. And sometimes it can actually have an opposite effect. Opposite? Yes, opposite. Treats can be an amazing tool communicating a job well done, however, in some circumstances a treat can induce a miscommunication.

Teaching your dog has many facets to it, and praise and reward are most definitely two components that lead to success. However, most when most people think of “praise” they associated it with a high-pitched sound or a food oriented “jack-pot” for their dog being good. 

I always remind my clients that you can show love in many different ways. “Affection training” is a word that I’ve coined to get dog owners to realize that praise can have a more Zen like quality to it.

People can often attribute hyper to happy. It’s not true. Affection training is a tip that teaches owners how to modify their own behavior and get the reaction they want. It’s really about reconditioning, yourself and your dog will follow!  Immediately redirect your dog to sit using a hand signal. Gesture the letter “J” with your right hand, then crouch down and say hello by slowly massaging him in a mellow way, silently. Yes, zip it! Say hello to your dog using no words. The key is to not use your voice at all for this behavior modification tip. I know it’s hard to stay silent when you see your puppy after being gone, but better to redirect the energy come at you than to chant the word NO.

This tip helps to calm down hyper dogs and learn a new way of greeting you.  Passive aggressive no more! Now that’s being smarter than your dog! Bye the way, the massage part it works on people too. That’s my treat to you, sugar free!

New Dog Owners And A Common Mistake

Educating the recycled dog /Paws For A Minute ® Tips For The Adopted Dog!

New dog owners, listen up!  Bringing home your new baby with the big ears and wet nose does not mean seeing how or what he will do. The number one mistake new dog owners do it they tend to “see” how smart their new dog is rather than guide their new dog-a-ish-is family member through a new process of introducing them to into a “new home.”  Sometimes that means bringing them back to puppyhood even if just for a few weeks! I have some awesome tips for people who have just rescued a dog from a shelter.


 People training: 1. Remember that puppies and even adult dogs that are going to a new home need a transitional space before having your entire house to hang out in. This area can be a gated space within your home, which will help a new dog acclimated to their new environment. This space can be introduced slowly for short increments of time.


 2. Why? Dogs need to get used to their owner’s daily patterns of leaving and returning home.


 3. Training your new dog to hang out in your home should actually be done when you are home, first! Using a boundary, such as a baby gate, while your home helps establish a boundary and allows you to correct any separation anxiety behaviors. Doing so, for the first few days and for short increments of time, helps teach your new dog to self-soothe and learn how to be at home alone.



Is Walking Your Dog Becoming A Drag? Tips For A Happy Walk.

Going for a walk with your dog can bring up a variety of feelings. Some people just silently acquiesce to an upper body work out. Others dread being dragged down the street, dreaming “daily” of the the fantasy of a peaceful, leisurely walk.

Is it your dog that’s pulling you or is this some kind of weird metaphor on life? Being dragged down the street can actually have more to do with you, than your dog. I know it sounds like a transfer of blame, but follow me on this one…

You have much more control of a happy outcome, than you think! If your dog is pulling you, it could have something to do with what kind of leash you own and your frame of mind. I know many of you are thinking, what the hell? Now, I need a PHD on what type of leash to get my dog, REALLY? Well, maybe not a PHD, but yes, the type of leash you walk your dog with and your frame of mind matters!

Here we go…

Paws For A Minute® Dog Owner Tip

1. Check to see what kind of car your driving. In other words, is your dog young, old, hyper, big or small. Then look at the type of leash you own.

2. Puppy’s and young energetic dogs are best walked with a flat nylon or leather (regular) 6 foot leash. You are simply water skiing and cursing as your dog pulls you down the street, if you own a retractable leash. and trying to train a young energetic dog all at the same time.

3. My Feng Shui with Fido™ philosophy on this topic is that the tighter you hold the leash, the more your dog is going to pull. Why? The tension on the leash creates a drive. Dogs love to play follow the leader. You need to lead, not pull back on the leash while chanting the word “No” or “stop pulling,” it doesn’t work. Try pivoting suddenly in a different direction while walking. Using a happy voice and your dog will follow. This change in direction helps your dog create a fun game with you as the driver.  It’s a great idea to practice this concept in your house, first, then hit the streets. Using this option along with occasionally asking your dog to sit, during your walk will break up the pattern of your walk. Viola, no pulling.

4. Retractable leashes are great for mellow pups and/or older dogs who have been around the block, once or twice. Get my drift? Trying to train your dog to walk next to you and at the same pace, is not going to happen with this type of leash. It’s great for allowing your dog to sniff, get busy and enjoy the scenery.

Ask Inger: Dogs And Getting into the Trash

Hi Inger,

What’s the best way to combat stubbornness? Roxy, our seven year old pitt bull mix is a great girl, but very stubborn. She does what she wants when she wants. She has even been known to be spiteful, i.e. If we leave the house and she doesn’t like it, she will go through the trash and leave it all over the house.

She’s done this many many times. We now have a gate keeping that area closed off, but we would like to find out how to prevent these kind of actions as well as other stubborn moments.

An additional question I have is about socialization. I regret to say that Roxy wasn’t socialized very much as a puppy (with other dogs that is, with humans she was constantly socialized).

We want to make it possible for her to play with other dogs, how do we go about it? Roxy in general has been good playing with male dogs and puppies, but not really with other female dogs. What should we do if we’d like to socialize her more?

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