Bonuses: Helpful Hints

Let’s Get One Thing Straight!

Today I want to make one simple point that needs clarifying!

And it’s something that lots of people get confused over.
(I can tell by the funny emails I have received over the last few days!)

To explain it, I’m going to use a simple example of me as a parent…


So, in our family, Jenni (my wife) and I are in charge when it comes to big decisions such as…

  • when it’s time for lights out
  • when they can eat chocolate,
  • when they can go around to their friend’s house etc. etc.

If it wasn’t this way we would have carnage!

So we are the parents, the decision-makers, the pack leaders…
(call it what you like…) BUT…

This does not mean we physically dominate our kids. We don’t use force or aggression to get them to listen to us.
(Of course on the odd occasion I end up carrying them into bed at night :)

But we actually aim for a completely hands-off approach where our kids make the right decisions on their own.

So YES… there is a hierarchy – we, as parents, are in charge.
But NO… it’s NOT about physical dominance.

Too many people mistake being a strong parent or leader with dominance or aggression.

The two are not the same.

In fact, many of the greatest leaders use no force or aggression :)

And with my dog training program, it’s a completely hands-off method.

It’s all about winning their little minds and getting them to want to listen.

Point made?

I hope that clarifies things (pack leaders don’t have to dominate physically).

Thanks for reading this to the end!

Have a great day,

Doggie Dan.

The Online Dog Trainer.


Pros and Cons of Using Puppy Pads

If you have a puppy, then you have probably learned that at some point, like most other animals they need to relieve themselves.  With a lack of proper training, they will do it anywhere they please.  More often than not they will do it in a place that they are comfortable.  One of the problems in today’s busy world is that we lack time to do many things and that includes proper potty training.  One way to avoid accidents is to use puppy pads but you will need to learn the pros and cons of using puppy pads before you proceed.

The Pros

A puppy pad is an absorbent piece of paper which the dog will be attracted to and will likely relieve him or herself on.  This goes for both number 1 and number 2.  The biggest advantage to this, of course, is the simple fact that the dog can potty inside the house without bothering you.  This is great for when you are away from home or are simply too busy to notice.

In addition to that, you will find the pads to be absorbent and able to be tossed out with the garbage.  For those who lack time, this is an outstanding potty training solution and can be a substitute for the real thing.


Yes, there are cons to using puppy pads no matter how great we made it sound. First of all, you are teaching the puppy that it is okay to potty inside the house and as a puppy, this training will stick with it into adulthood.  In addition to that no matter how well the puppy pad masks the smell you will still be able to tell that someone has done their business inside the house.

Another issue is that puppy pads do work quite well until you run out and if you are unable to obtain more, your dog may simply begin relieving him or herself in the spot where the pads were rather than asking to go outside.

Though there are plenty of advantages you do run quite a few risks when you use potty pads.  That being said, it would be a good idea to only use these as a temporary measure and stick to good house training techniques.


My Dog Is Afraid of Walking On Certain Surfaces

You are not alone, many dogs are scared of different surfaces, such as Metal or aluminium stairs, shiny, cold floors, moving surfaces/places such as lifts/elevators.

Knowing why your dog is afraid is also very important as this will help you to show them that it is safe to walk over that particular area.

The best way is to make sure the surface is safe for them is for you to be with them and show them it is safe.

Once you can show your dog that an area is safe it pays to walk over that particular surface often and make it fun for you and your best friend.

As your dog gets older you will find that they have more trouble with hard or slippery surfaces, this is an easy fix, you can use rugs, mats or runners to help them, I know a friend who put a carpeted step in front of his dogs favourite chair because the poor old fellow could no longer jump up onto his chair.

I had to lift my Sally my best friend into and out of the car when she was sick, also when she became too old to get in herself. Sally was a Golden Lab.


The best thing is to try to train your dog from a young age on a variety of surfaces, and in as many different areas as possible.

You can do this with older dogs as well put it just takes a little longer but it is worth it to her your best friend safe, healthy and happy.


Is My Dog Really Colorblind?

It used to be generally believed that dogs are colourblind and for a while, this was a widely accepted fact.  However, the information was misinterpreted and misunderstood.  The truth is that dogs do not see the world only in black, white and grey, they do indeed see colour.  However, they don’t have the ability to see the range of colour that humans do. The light-receptor cells in the retina at the back of a dog’s eyes are different in structure, to those of a human.  The retina in humans and dogs performs the function of a movie screen. Light is focused and then translated into shapes and colours, which are then, in turn, translated by the brain, into the images that we perceive.

Dogs have a similar set up in light-sensors to those of humans. These are known as cones and rods.  The misunderstanding regarding dogs seeing the world in shades of black, white and grey, stems from the fact that dogs have many more rods than we do and rods are the sensors that respond to shades of black and white.  These rods, in dogs, are situated right in the middle of the eye.

Cones, on the other hand, are mainly responsible for visual sharpness and clarity.  They detect colour and determine how well we are able to see.  Humans have three different types of cones and they respond best to green, blue and red. This enables people to detect a wide spectrum of hues.

The difference in the eyes of dogs is they are missing the red-responsive cone. So the truth is they are partially colour blind but they are able to see blues, greens, yellowish hues and shades of brown and grey.  The experiments conducted in order to ascertain this information were carried out using different coloured toys.  Dogs were taught to pick out toys that were a different colour to the others.  Researchers discovered that the toys that were of the colour that the dogs were unable to identify were unrecognizable to them.

The colours that are recognizable by dogs do make sense when you consider their ancestry.  Red, yellow and orange are not colours that would have been of any importance for primal canines.  They will only have needed the blues and greens, along with the shades of black and grey and of course, white. It is only now, in modern times that dogs have come across the range of colours and hues we have access to, in the brightly coloured and varied toys and accessories.

It’s interesting to note, if you throw a green ball into the grass, it’s very possible your dog won’t be able to find it, unless, of course, it has a strong scent and he uses his nose.  Our dogs do rely more on their noses anyway, so that sense is much stronger than their ability to see colour.

In a way, their colour blindness is similar to that of some humans. They do see colours but are not able to identify them.


How To Take The Best Care Of Your Dog In The Summertime

The dog days of summer are so-called because these are the days when dogs like to lie around in the shade not doing much of anything.  These days we tend to interpret this to mean that it’s a great time to get out and do active things with your dog. Many towns and cities hold festivals in honour of these dog days. Doubtless, many dogs feel rather disgruntled (or worse) when required to attend.

Summertime is the time to make living easy for your dog.  You should be sure he can always keep cool and take great care to prevent dehydration and heatstroke.  You can do this by providing your dog with a nice shady spot in the yard and a wading pool full of water if he is an outdoor dog.

Indoor dogs also need ample fresh water and a cool place to rest and relax.  Be sure that your pet’s favourite spot or bed is in an area that gets good ventilation. Even though conserving energy and money are both smart habits, be sure to keep your house at a temperature that will keep your dog safe and comfortable when you are away.

You should not neglect your dog’s exercise in the summertime but you should adjust your activities and schedule so as not to overdo it.  Take your walks and make your dog park visits in the early morning or at dusk when it is cooler.  Be sure to take along water and a bowl your dog can drink from.  A collapsible, waterproof fabric bowl is handy and easy to carry.

Your dog may love running alongside your bike in the spring and fall, but avoid this in the summer.  A dog will run along until he collapses from heat exhaustion. Protect your dog from this by gearing your activities down in the summer or substituting water activities.

Never leave your dog in the car at any time of year.  This is doubly true in the summer.  Even if you park in the shade and leave your windows open a bit, it can get extremely hot in a parked car.  Many dogs have died from heat exhaustion caused by this practice.  These days, so many people are aware of the danger, you are very likely to return to your car to find your windows were broken and the police standing by no matter how briefly you were gone.  For all these reasons, if you are going somewhere and your dog cannot accompany you, it’s better to leave him home.

Just like people, dogs may feel even more uncomfortable in the summertime if they are overweight.  Be sure to keep your dog at a proper weight all year round. If he does put on a little weight in the wintertime, switch to light dog food to help him be slim, svelte and cool in time for summer.

Taking good care of your dog in the summer is really just common sense.  Avoid excessive sun exposure and strenuous exercise.  Be sure plenty of clean water is available at all times.  Make the most of the opportunities to cool off by going for a dip and running in the sprinklers.


Dogs For Senior Citizens

We all know that dogs can make us happy and make us live longer.  Because of that quite often you will see senior citizens that really enjoy having their dog and spending time caring for it.  However, I have seen more and more seniors than have gotten dogs that are not appropriate for them and their physical condition.

Just to give you an example recently I had a 74-year-old couple call me that they had a 5-month-old German Shepherd that was biting them, scratching them, and knocking them down.  In fact, it was so bad the lady was now scheduled for hip surgery.

They admitted that because of their physical condition they were both unable to take it for walks or even train it.  They also admitted that they were living on social security and did not have money to afford any type of training or even a dog walker.

What on earth were they doing with a German Shepherd puppy, to begin with?

Another recent example is a lady that called asking about training for a 1-year-old Dachshund that belonged to her 87-year-old mother who was moving into an assisted living facility with beginning dementia.

She wanted me to teach her mother to obedience train the dog as well as help with house training.  It seemed that the dog was able to do its business where ever it wanted at her home but of course that would not be allowed at her new living facility.

The lady actually had 3 children that lived here in town so I suggested that one of them do the training and then we could deliver the trained dog to the mother.  None of her children wanted the responsibility of the training nor were they willing to spend the money for a board and train program.  Did a lady in her condition really need a dog?  Of course, that could be debated both ways.

I have had adult children actually give a dog to a senior parent that actually didn’t want a dog but felt cornered and trapped into the situation.

So seniors pick your new dog wisely.  Pick a breed that you can take care of and that does not need an active lifestyle.  If you are a senior and need help selecting a dog contact a local trainer.  I think that most of us would be very willing to speak with you and help you make the right decision.


Tips On Introducing The Newborn Baby To Your Dog

Bringing your newborn baby home from the hospital, while being an exciting time for the new parents, can be a very stressful time for your dog.  Dogs are extra sensitive and can feel the tension that the parents have when they first bring the baby home, this can cause anxiety for the dog as well.  If you have a well-trained dog, that is attentive to all your voice commands, then you’ll have fewer problems than if you’ve never formally taught him discipline.  Whatever the case may be, there are some things you can do to help get your dog and the newborn baby, accustomed to each other, so they eventually form a long-term, happy relationship.

 When introducing baby, one of the first things you’ll want to do, is get your dog acclimated to all the new smells that are going to be permeating the household for the next few years.  The new baby is going to have a variety of odours that are different from anything that has ever lived in the home before and the dog will need to learn all these new smells, sounds and everything else that’s involved with the baby.  So, before you even bring the new baby into the home, the mother should come in with some articles of baby’s clothing to have the dog smell them and attach that smell to mom as well.  Once the dog has relaxed, only then should dad bring the new baby inside, then both mom and dad should talk in soft calming tones while petting the dog during the introduction.

Now that the original introduction is done, it’s time to let the dog check out all the different parts of the baby, under the strict supervision, of course, continuing with the calming voices and reassuring pats and hugs.  Your dog will intuitively absorb the emotions from you and learn that that’s the way it should act around the baby too.  Have the dog sniff the baby’s hands, feet, diaper and any other part that he’s interested in, except for the face to begin with.  After the first baby inspection, praise the dog profusely and give him a couple of his favourite treats to let them know that he’s still part of the family.

After everything has calmed down in the house and your dog has laid down to relax in his normal spot, it’s time to invite him over to lay down next to the baby.  You or your spouse should remain close, constantly reassuring the dog with praise, combined with whatever command you normally use when you want your dog to be gentle.  It’s important that you spend several sessions in the first couple of days getting your dog to be comfortable around the baby and non-aggressive.  It doesn’t hurt to give your dog a treat for being good when you’re paying special attention to your baby, such as feeding time, playtime or changing a diaper/nappy, that way your dog won’t feel like he’s in competition with the baby but instead will welcome feeding time.

Introducing a new baby to your dog can be a stressful task but if handled correctly in a calm manner, there should be very few problems.  Dogs naturally tend to like children and end up being their best friend after just a short period of time, so it’s important to remain relaxed and share attention anytime you can.


Do Dogs Need A Routine?

If you have a dog or you’re raising a puppy you may have wondered if your dog needs a regular routineThe answer is yes.  Your dog will be much happier if he knows what to expect each day, and even at certain times during the day.  Dogs are very much creatures of habit and you can make your dog’s life much more comfortable and reassuring for him if you give him a routine that he can count on.

In the wild wolves typically structure their lives around the seasons.  They hunt certain territories.  They follow their prey as the fields turn green.  Female wolves are fertile just once a year, in late winter/early spring.  Pups are born two months later and the mother and the pack raise them.  The pack will sleep and hunt at certain hours during the day.  A wolf pack has a very predictable routine from day-to-day and from year to year.

As the descendants of wolves, our dogs share many of these characteristics.  Your dog may not be able to live according to the seasons as much as his wolf ancestors but he still likes to eat and sleep — and play — at certain times during the day.

Since you’re part of your dog’s “pack,” in fact the leader of the pack, it’s up to you to set these times.  Most dogs do well if you feed them two meals per day, spaced about 8-12 hours apart.  They will generally sleep for a lot of the time in between meals, just like wolves.  And, there will also be some time set aside for play.

If you’re house training a puppy then setting up a good routine will make the training go much easier.  Get up at the same time each day.  Take your puppy outside as soon as you wake up.  This helps give your puppy a target time so he will know how long he must wait to relieve himself.  Plan his nap times so you can take him outside as soon as he wakes up.  Feed him his meals at the same time each day since puppies usually need to potty as soon as they eat.  And, make sure you take him outside just before going to bed — always at the same time each night.  If you follow this consistent routine with your puppy then he will be house trained very quickly.

Of course, dogs are our devoted companions.  That means that even if you live your life without any kind of routine at all, your dog will adapt, somehow.  Your dog will find some kind of routine to follow even in the midst of chaos.  But nearly all dogs are happier if there is a specific routine they can live by each day.

If you ever think that your dog is getting bored with some aspect of your routine, try changing some small part of it without changing the overall routine.  For instance, if your dog seems uninterested in his dog food, don’t scrap your entire routine.  Look for ways to make his food more interesting or consider other foods.  Even dogs who love routine can use something new once in a while.

If you need to change your dog’s routine give him some time to adapt.  Your dog may need a few days to get used to the changes.  But, with time, he will probably get used to the new routine.

If you’re trying to create a good routine for your dog follow the suggestions offered here and then tweak them to suit your own routine with your dog. Chances are that you and your dog have already fallen into some kind of routine.  Work to make the routine one that both you and your dog enjoy.

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