Can Dog Food Affect Dog Training? Paws For A Minute Quick TIps

Can the way feed your puppy or what you feed your dog really affect dog training and your dogs ability to learn? The answer is YES, 100% yes. Your pups ability is learned and largely scheduled by you. Rescuing a dog or adopting a new puppy what and how you feed your dog ties into dog training. Potty issues, food drive for treats and territorial behaviors are learned. Here is my people training tips for the day. How, where, when and what you feed your puppy or dog most certainly dog can and does affect training and effects good and bad can be long lasting.  Most behavioral issues begin in the home and issues such as housebreaking and food based aggression can be innocently be triggered by you. 

Paws For A Minute®  Dog food, dog training and daily life with Fido. 

People treats and Fido facts: 7 Tips for creating Muttri-mony. 

  • Time feed your dog. When, how and what you feed your dog is directly tied in to housebreaking issues. Teaching your puppy to go “outside” potty is directly associated with meal time. Put food down for 15 min. only. Do so when you are home so your dog learns to eat in one sitting. 

  • Use correct portions. Puppy needs change as they grow. Many people end up over feeding or guessing on portion size. Hence, often creating a finicky eater or over feeding an adult dog and creating long term potty issues. 

  •  Check-in with your vet as to the amount of food for your size and breed. The back of the dog food bag cannot determine your own dogs exercise level. Growing pups need several meals yet adult dogs do not. 

  • Leaving food out all day for your dog to nibble is not a great idea. Dogs love routine. Leaving food in dog bowls can lead to possible behavioral issues. It can also create a finicky eater. Sort of a self fulfilling prophecy, the people who feel they need to leave food out so that their dog will eat, is actually creating less drive to eat.  If a dog does not eat at the same time of day they will also not go to the bathroom at the same time. 

  • Check dog food ingredients. What makes a dog food good for your dog should not just be judged only by your dog liking it. Some dogs will hover anything down others will not touch steak before they sniff it first. Training your dog and vet bills are tied to long term nutritional of your dogs needs being met. Check the back of the bag. Sugar should not be one of the ingredients in your dog food. Often blueberries and other antioxidants sometimes are the culprit to loose ( you know what) causing vet bills only to finally (through non conclusive tests to rule out other things ) switch brands to a more palatable food. The main protein of the food should be the first ingredient ( such as ) Chicken, Salmon etc.

  • A balanced diet= a less hyper dog and makes potty training easier with other training tips.  Puppy food is generally feed to a puppy until they are 1 years old. Then adult food takes over for maintenance. Senior food begins at age 7. 

  • Changing dog food to different brands. Always do so slowly over a 3 to 4 day span. Slowly add in the new food in small amounts increasing the amounts over several days. This prevents stomach upset.

4 Triggers That Create Bark-a-holism In Dogs. How To Get Your Dog To Zip It!

Definition:  Bark-a-holism- Creates insanity in humans, fights between spouses and neighborhood disputes. A dog’s barking behavior of non-stop machine gun-like barking, yapping at anything and everything. How do you know you need help? If your dog has tuned you out and refuses to listen to the words no, stop, shut up, or zip it. 

photo’s courtesy of Jim Dratfield

Paws For A Minute® Quick Dog Training Helpful Tips: Curbing the Bark-a-holic

Barking is a normal way for a dog to  communicate. Excessive barking is not, and the way to curb this issue quickly becomes a  owner lifestyle issue. Triggers that create bad barking habits are usually lack of boundaries ( no positive training rituals, boredom (listening to endless neighborhood noises all day long), and  territorial-ism (gazing out windows or fences) . The fourth trigger is you. How? A lack of routine, exercise creates the ability to tuning you out!  




  • Create a routine: Exercise ( a must) , leash training ( 10 minutes a day), freedom in the house and hang time with you ( whenever and often), play time ( 1/2 hour, several times a day) along with gating a few hours ( now and then)  will help create a schedule. Especially, if you have a multiple dog household, breaking up the pack helps create a routine and curbs excessive barking at noises. Age related dog chews help curb boredom. Use a baby gate to divide the space and create a bone chewing time for each dog in there own space. Kitchen, hallway or breakfast rooms or good central areas. Occasional gating  takes away the ability to bolt to a window and bark. Dogs LOVE den’s. You just have to create one in your house and reclaim your home to break this pattern.  Hence, the habit of racing to the window to bark slowly dissipates, over time of course. Eventually, no gating is needed. This new ritual helps to desensitize outside noise triggers that creates barking as a pack. It should always be initiated (at first) when your home on the weekend to make sure it’s safe and everyone gets into the groove of denning on your terms.
  • Add Music. Block out daily outdoor or apartment noises when your not home with music. This helps to to set a tone and mutes out car door noises and daily mail delivery.
  • Exercise. Plain and simple, a game of turbo fetch, walk run, or hike on a daily before you leave for the day will help curb barking.
  • Use a fence cover.  If your backyard fence, faces the street and is chain-link or wrought iron cover it with a tarp, tennis netting or bamboo.  Covering your fence will help reduce territorial boredom barking at people, dogs and cars. Use a tarp or fence covering to block the street view. Not seeing people walk by will help barking by 50%.

Does Your Dog Really Know What He’s Done Wrong?

Paws For A Minute® … and think about this…

Some people give lengthy verbal dissertations trying to explain to their dog their extreme displeasure they feel after they’ve discovered their best shoes chewed. Other’s righteously feel their dog totally gets what he’s done wrong. Absolutely, 100 %.. slinking out of the room with their ears back and tail tucked. For sure they know! Right?

 Some people try to punish their dog by using spray bottles, crating or putting your dog outside in the yard to “think about” what he’s done. This may give the person time to cool off after being mad, but really? Does it get the right point across?

Well, the truth is that dogs do respond to voice inflection and body language. So yeah, they get that your mad, but not at what? Dogs associate to things with sense of smell, patterns and triggers. It’s best to explain to them what they’ve done wrong with a sensible process that has a beginning, middle and end to it. Whether your pup has chewed something or gone to the bathroom in the house, get the leash, put it on and guide them over to what they’ve done wrong. Isolating the item or area by guiding your dog to it helps them associate the scent and your voice inflection to the word NO.

Reprimanding your dog this way you’re actually associating the smell of their saliva on the chewed item or urine on the carpet and that identifies to your dog what you’re saying NO for and to what?  After saying no, take your dog “outside” ( in the case of a bathroom mistake) or (in the case of chewing the wrong thing) give them the right chew bone. Then say “okay” in a happy voice indicating that the reprimand is over! Over time he’ll learn the pattern of where to go to the bathroom and what to chew. The days of needing to catch your dog in the act of doing something wrong are over.

Tips To Solve Doggie Demolition/ Destruction Due To Mail Delivery

I read your website this morning with great interest. I have been rescuing dogs for about 20 years, and always managed to work out the issues. Luke, however, remains a challenge. He is about 9 years old, 20 pounds, and mutt that makes breed definition impossible. I have had him for about 2 1/2 years. In that time he has destroyed 3 couches and 3 chairs. The problem occurs when the mail carrier arrives. Luke grabs a cushion or chair arm and goes absolutely nuts. Within minutes the drama is over, as is the furniture.   My friends all say get rid of Luke, but that will not happen. He is an otherwise dear dog.  I’ve looked into Thunder jackets, but reviews aren’t great for this issue.  Any suggestions? Many thanks.
Jeanne

Sierra Madre, CA

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Hi Jeanne, 

Thanks for the question! When dogs respond to sounds, as yours has, such as mail being delivered, it’s usually indicative of a trigger (such as the sound of mail going through an opening) and territorial behavior. To solve the problem of destruction that appears to be outcome of that triggered response, a desensitization to the sound is in order. Barking or in your case, destruction can be the result of a high prey drive ( chase catch and shake) triggered by the sound. In your case, the prey is your couch! There are several ways to solve this problem. Increasing your dogs exercise and your “on-leash obedience training” is always a great idea. A group class is a fantastic way to recreate a new relationship.

 Paws For A Minute® Tips to solve doggie demolition/ destruction due to mail delivery

This is a two person exercise.

1. Put your dog on a leash. Doing so helps reinforce eye contact and the positive command and generally helps guide your dog during the correction.

2. Simulate the sound. You can create the sound of mail coming through the mail slot. The repetition of the sound will also help desensitize him to the sound and his destructive reaction.

3. The use of a penny can. A penny can or ( coffee can emptied with a handful a pennies) makes a sudden sharp sound. A sound that represents that of a police car pulling one over for blowing a red light. It has a similar effect. So get a penny can and make sure it is in the hand opposite side to your dog. Remember, it’s not about your dog seeing the can, just more about the sudden shake.

4. Prepare to correct and praise. As he goes to bite the chair or couch shake the can once, and say no! As a trainer, I prefer a sharp sound to that of water being sprayed in a dogs face. The sharp sound of the pennies in the can is scary and it says to your dog “absolutely not” to destroying your couch! Using a leash helps your dog not misunderstand the correction and take off into another room. If your dog is not on a leash he may misunderstand the sound. Remember, the can is on the other side of you so your dog doesn’t see the action or sound is coming.  The leash only helps redirect him into a positive command such as sit. You can add a treat too. The eye contact between you and your dog created from the praise for doing the “sit” command establishes you as the leader, in a good way. Dogs are usually instantly triggered by movements and sound. Good and bad. This time though, you are there to correct his misguided ways. The simulation of the sound of the mail helps you be in control (because you are creating the sound with the other person) and repeat it. Also it’s good to remember, most importantly, you’ll be able to redirect your dog in a positive way ( on a leash ) to sit and praise him for doing so! This process also says to him, your my dog and it’s my house!

Remember for extreme cases of aggression or destruction, always call your local dog training professional or ask your vet for a referral. You are the best judge of your dog, if you feel this correction is not right or your dog could become more aggressive then do not do it. Your instinct is telling you that you have a bigger problem on your hands and you need to address that with your vet.

Ask Inger: Puppies Peeing In The House. Help! Owning Two Pups = Double Trouble.

Hi Inger,

I have two 3 month-old Chi-weenie’s they are brothers and have never been separated. To potty train them I went and bought a play pen type gate and a big crate so they can sleep together at night or they cry.

I have set this up in my bathroom with the crate in the center and the metal play pen on the outside so they can’t get out and chew my cabinets but only enough room for pee pad and water when they come out of crate.

During the night they get out and use the pee pads and do not waste in the crate. But during the day the sometimes pee/ poop on the pad but a lot of the time pee/ poop around it or down the hall from it. I shampoo my carpets everyday now and have used the enzyme stuff also but it doesn’t matter.

Please help I don’t know what I am doing wrong. We even give them treats when they use the pads. I even have a pad in the hall slowly moving it in the bathroom, and same thing the use it sometimes but most of the time go around it. Please help I am tired of shampooing carpet everyday , and swear my house smells like pee. Help!

Delanee

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Hi Delanee, Very cute pups. Thanks for the great question! There are couple of things you’re doing right. Keeping the crate within the play pen area and the wee-wee pads on the far end is excellent. When training litter mates, though, there is a natural codependence that develops between the pups and as an owner you want to address that issue by teaching idea of separation, to them, slowly.

Here’s what I recommend:

Get 2 crates, one for each puppy and maybe an additional corral. Put both crates within one corral area for now, with the intention of giving each puppy their own space, in a few weeks. Remember, your pup’s are only 3 months-old, and they don’t have their shots, so wee-wee pads at this stage are the way to go. At the age of 16 weeks, your puppies will be able to hold the urge to go potty all night long and therefore be crated in their own crate with the crate door shut. They will also be able to begin going out doors for walks! So, therefore you need to begin preparing for that time. Otherwise, they will become so reliant on each other, you won’t be able to take one and not the other. They also need to learn to bond with you individually. Begin scheduling their time together and apart. The best way to do that is to create a structure introducing a little independence from one another. This is the key to help housebreak them too.

When you say “down the hall”  it’s sounds like you’re giving them too large an area for too long of a time. Have the second corral as an exercise PLAY pen “area” to be given to them to play for short periods of time. Then give a smaller area in your bathroom for chew bone, nap time and or feeding and sleeping. Perhaps getting the additional corral will make the process easier.

The goal is to begin slowly separating them, but only at certain times of the day. Having 2 corrals and 2 crates will enable you to begin creating separate time, as well as, additional play space! Use this individual space for chew bone time and use music to help reduce crying and trigger calmness. This should be done for one hour after play time.

Think about your day and daily routine and begin to think of their routine, and as to when you should create a separated space for each for a short period of time. Yes, they can see each other. Remember, the separation is only by corral and for short periods of time, to start. For instance, nap time, chewing a bone time, feeding time, all within their new separated space. They can have together time and run around time several times a day, in one large space.

Doing so, will help isolate who is going potty where and when?

The great thing about pup’s are that they operate on a clock. So make it work for you. Stop giving them treats for going potty, not necessary and distracting. If you have a patio or yard you can begin to bring one at a time, on a leash, to a wee-wee pad area there too. This will help establish a pattern of formalizing the potty process, until they get a bit older.

Please share this post and stay tuned for more…

Is Your Dog Toddler- Proof? Dog Training Tips For Parents

Toddlerhood can be a hair raising experience for many parents. If you think about it, even your family dog may have to make some quick moves in order to get out of the way of a toddler going through the terrible two’s. Well, there is a way to prepare. Did you know that 70% of all dog bites come from the family dog?

Yup, even the sweet dogs can snap at the unpredictable movements of a toddler. Albeit called an accident, you can prevent this type of mistake from happening. Remember It’s up to you “the parent” not to rely on the sweetness of your dog. Awareness is the key ingredient to a successful integration and bond between you and your family dog.

Paws For A Minute® Quick tip

Toddler proofing your pet / Child and dog safety series. 

 1. Pick up all chew bones when your dog and baby are loose together. Remember, toddlers take naps leaving an ideal time for your dog to have freedom in your home. Always dog proof your home from loose bones, dog food and other possible possessive toys that may create a territorial response when both (your toddler and dog) are together loose in the house.

2. Be aware of whether your dog is seeking cover underneath furniture. Hiding under chairs and tables is a sign that your dog does not want to be messed with by the baby. As the parent, it’s best to see this as a sign and not police your toddler or your dog.

3. Monitor your dogs responses to your child. Redirect your baby or your dog to a new item of fascination. It might be best to create a temporary baby gated space for your dog to be in the house,  while your toddler explores. Give your dog free time during less active moments.

 

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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Dogs And Food. 3 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know.

What does dog food have to do with dog training? The answer is… Everything! I know, it’s a billion dollar industry with an enormously expanding menu of options. It gets very confusing for dog owners to decide which food to buy, and why, when and how to feed it.

 What does that mean in regards to training your dog? How, when, where and what your dog eats can have direct impacts on peeing and pooping in your house. How your dog gets along with other animals in your house is often food oriented, at least may become so over time. And an array of other behavioral issues, health concerns, as well as, potential allergies (leading to medical bills) may become food related over the course of your dogs life. Even how your dog interacts with your children! It all begins with you– No pressure.

O.k. so let’s get to the meat of it: dog training, dog food, how it correlates and why? It can get really confusing to many owners. Many behavioral issues can develop in dogs and stem from how owners feed them. Here is a little Q and A to wet your appetite on the subject matter.

 

When do you stop puppy food and when to start feeding adult food? Generally speaking when your dog is a year old, make the switch to adult food. This can vary according to size and breed. But make the switch slowly over a few days gradually adding in the new food.

Why should I time feed my dog? This is really helpful for finicky eating dogs. Time feeding your dog helps housebreaking issues.

What if my dog is a pig? Dog’s that eat their food as if they were vacuum cleaners also have issues. There is something called bloat to look out for as an owner. This is cause for concern and it has to do with feeding your dog. What is bloat? Please ask your vet for more information on this topic. According to my research and first-hand experience, it is the second leading killer of dogs, after cancer. The technical name is “Gastric Dilatation Volvulus” or (GDV). This is where the dog can swallow too much air while eating rapidly. Drinking water or stress can be a significant factor in swallowing air. As the stomach swells, it can twist and obstruct the veins leading to shock, damaging the internal organs and quickly killing your dog. The breeds of dogs this can affect may surprise you.

Dogs that are at risk for bloat are usually deep rib caged breeds, big and small. German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Dachshunds, Pekingese, and even Miniature Poodles can be at risk! The point is, even if a dog does have a healthy appetite could benefit from training tips. It could save its life.

 

Training your dog to eat slower is a healthier option.  Finicky eaters need to learn to eat in one sitting which will in turn help with housebreaking issues, potty accidents, child safety around dog food bowls, and will ward off potential dog fights in multiple dog households. Just dome food for thought, and a treat from your trainer!

 

Confessions Of A Dog Trainer. Which Is Easier To Train, The Dog Or The Owner?

Paws For A Minute® confessions 

Sometimes my day requires walking through a minefield of personalities with both the dogs and their owners. One specific client became an inspiration to me. I got a call one afternoon from a woman with a beautiful French accent named Sophie. I have a two-year-old little dog, named Maximus, she said.  He’s the world’s worst dog but I love him. He was a VERY mucho Dachshund and she proclaimed to need my help. He will not come to me when I call him! EVER. She explained that he was great as a puppy but now he simply tuned her out. I met with her the next day. As I rang her doorbell, I could hear Sophie shouting “No!” and “Come!”  The shouts were accompanied by the sound of footsteps and it was clear she was chasing the dog in order to catch him.  Maximus was barking which sounded like a rapid-fire machine gun. Sophie said hello and broke down. “I can’t do it.” I said, “you can’t do what?”  “I can’t be an Alpha dog over Maximus, I do not have the time to figure all that out,” she said.

I smiled at the irony. She was a very high paid executive with beautiful Minolo Blanik shoes and whose dog should have been named Barney.  I explained that teaching Maximus to come when called had nothing to do with being alpha dog. I showed her a quick technique that I called hide-and-seek. I said grab a treat and go into the other room and call Maiximus’s name 6 times. I will hold on to him and let go of his collar on the fourth call of his name. When he finds you ask him to sit and then give him the treat. She looked warily at me and went to hide. I know she was thinking, “just train the DOG.” I know, I know I was chanting to myself silently. The big treat for me is when the connection happens between the owner and the dog.  As she repeatedly called his name, I let go of him and he took off like a rocket towards her. Wow, it worked he came! I said, “all you need to do is practice this technique a couple times a week, perhaps on the weekend.” Sophie was elated and agreed to practice this technique with her boyfriend holding Maximus’s collar while she called his name a couple of times every weekend. Maximus’ personality did give Robert Deniro’s character in Raging Bull a run for his money; however, it was Sophie, the dog owner, I taught. I think you get what I mean, there are many ways to teach your dog to come and many different phases to advancing the actually command. Applying it in areas of you daily life is where you need this to happen. This technique is just one of them to try, apply and remember. It’s not always about your dog being smart, it’s about application!