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Keep your dog safe this summer! How?

Keep your dog safe this summer! How? 1600 1200 Sandra Oliveira

• Provide plenty of water. You can also add ice cubes to the water

• Frozen Kongs are an amazing way to keep your dog cool this summer. Stuff the Kong with delicious treats inside such as peanut butter or cheese. Make sure you choose the right peanut butter for your buddy. Keep your dog entertained and cool at the same time. They will thank you for that

• Cool mats are always a good choice

• Paddling pools are a great way to keep your buddy cool. Gradually introduce the paddling pool to your dog and in a positive way. Use some tasty treats to lure your buddy into the paddling pool. Some dogs may jump straight in it, others not so much

• Cool jackets are a great invention to keep your dog cool. Make sure your dog is comfortable wearing it. Build a positive association with the cool jacket. Your buddy may need some time to get used to it

• Never leave your dog alone inside a car

• Go for walks in the morning or late evening

• If possible, keep your dog indoors and give your dog ways to cool off such as a cool mat, frozen Kong, a fan etc

• Avoid hot pavements

• Do some research on signs of a heatstroke in dogs. You may also want to know how to act in case of an emergency

This hot weather is very dangerous and it can kill! Keep your dog safe this summer.

MAKING RECALLS FUN!

MAKING RECALLS FUN! 960 720 Sandra Oliveira

Have you ever been out with your dog and called ‘come, come, COME!’ repeatedly while your dog is too busy sniffing a blade of grass to acknowledge you? Haven’t we all! In this blog you’re going to find out how to make your dog WANT to run back to you instantly.

Firstly, when training recall, ensure you have a high value reward ready. What I mean by that is a treat that is more rewarding than all other treats. If you usually use your dog’s regular food as a treat while on a walk, change it to something more enticing like chicken, sausage or fish (my personal favourite as the smell alone will help).

Secondly, make recalls FUN! There isn’t a trick here, simply make your dog want to engage in recall training because it’s so exciting to come running back to you that they can’t resist. The reward your dog gets after they come back to you should be the high value treat, but also lots of verbal and physical praise, sound excited!

One great game you can play with your dog to enhance their recall is hiding slightly out of sight (although ideally you should still be able to see them) and then give your recall command. Remember how fun it was as a child to play ‘hide and seek’, well that’s the same feeling your dog will have when they find you, their favourite person. This is also fun with two people, if you and a friend/partner are walking, try intensifying this a little by getting the second person to hide immediately after your dog has found you and tag-team! This will keep your dog’s focus on the game of recalling. Always use the same command as to not confuse your dog, so if you use ‘come’ so should the second person.

Another way to excite your dog during a recall is to run the other way, your dog will naturally be intrigued and want to follow you, especially with the change of pace. Reward your dog as soon as they get to you.

Once your dog has learned to recall well, start changing what you want from them when they get to you. You can ask them to sit right in front of you as the default recall and for this no change of command is needed, simply ‘come’. An alternative ending to their recall could be that you ask them to come to heel, by using the ‘heel’ command as they get close to you. One way for your dog to get into the heel position is to walk/run around you and sit next to your leg. The more fun way is to open your legs wide enough for your dog to go through (depending on your dog’s size this may be more challenging) and let them go through your legs and then turn into the heel position from behind you – for this I use the command ‘under’ as they approach. Both ways are easy to train with some treats to lure them into the position you want, rewarding them when they do so. This will keep your dog on their toes!

HOW TO SETTLE YOUR DOG IN THE HOME

HOW TO SETTLE YOUR DOG IN THE HOME 2048 1375 Sandra Oliveira

Does your dog struggle to stay calm in your home? Maybe they follow you everywhere or tend to be running from room to room looking for family members. Teaching your dog to relax is often overlooked, but it is such an important factor in having a happy and calm dog.

Giving your dog a space where they feel safe is paramount. This can be in the form of a crate (canvas ones work really well), a bed in a quiet corner, or a den made of pillows and towels/sheets. This place should be a totally positive place for your dog, so NEVER use it as a punishment by sending them there if they exhibit any unwanted behaviour. To reinforce that this is their safe happy space, feed them meals in the space and give them lots of rewards here.

Dogs can often bark if they sense any form of danger, be that a noise in the home, if someone passes your window or if your neighbours are being loud. This is only natural and if I asked you to sleep at home with the doors/windows unlocked you would be on edge too! Dog’s do not know that your doors are locked and the garden is inaccessible to strangers, so they are always on guard. This isn’t a bad thing, if something did happen in your home (touch wood) you would want them to alert you. However, how you react when they to bark is really important. If you raise your voice or shout at them, you are showing them that anxious behaviour is the right reaction. If, however, you calmly walk into the room your dog is in, say ‘thank you’, look at the ‘threat’ and then leave the room, your dog will feel that they have done their job in alerting you of the potential danger. The reason I suggest you use the word ‘thank you’ is because it’s really hard to say this in a harsh tone. After a few times practicing this method your dog will end up barking just once and then making eye contact with you to check you have made it safe.

On the topic of eye contact, this is a really important communication method, however if overused it could lead to a dog being unsettled in the home. By giving your dog eye contact you are inviting them to interact with you, this is great if you are initiating training, walk or even just a cuddle. But if you are always making eye contact, your dog may be constantly asking itself ‘what do you want now?’ and following you around the home. I’m not saying to stop staring into your gorgeous dog’s puppy eyes, we all know that’s impossible! But try and be mindful that if your dog is looking relaxed, let him/her be.

Finally, to ensure you have a happy calm dog make sure your dog is stimulated each day with exercise and training to enrich their mind and body. If your dog has lots of energy at the end of a day because you missed their routine walk then don’t beat yourself up about it, we all have long days. However, spend some time in the home training with fun games to mentally stimulate them. Sometimes an intensive training session in the garden can tire your dog out just as much as that hour long walk.