New Year’s Resolutions for your Dog

IMG_2444If you’re like many people you’re ready to say farewell to 2009 and ring in 2010 with joy, and the anticipation of new things to come. Most of us have made some kind of resolution for the New Year, but do any of them include your dog? If not, consider some of these Fido inspired ideas.

  • DogFoodFind a quality food for your dog. Feeding a good dog food will help keep your dogs coat shiny, their muscles strong and their weight in check.
  • Schedule regular visits to your veterinarian.
  • Set up a regular grooming schedule that includes brushing, bathing, teeth cleaning and nail trimming.
  • Create a safer environment for your dog. Make sure household chemicals are not accessible to your dog.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing their identification tags. Also consider having them microchipped.
  • Take your dog to an obedience program. If you have a puppy it will help you get started on the right paw. If you have an older dog, it too will benefit from learning or refining some basic manners.
  • _MG_6613Teach your dog at least one new trick a month.
  • Exercise your dog. This might also help you reach one of your personal resolutions. According to a recent study dog owners get more exercise than people who have just a gym membership.
  • Make a donation to your local animal shelter. This could be in the form of money, time or even some of your dogs old toys and leashes.
  • Last but not least, have fun!!

If you need help maintaining Fido’s resolutions please contact us at www.GoodDogCamp.com.

~Woof~

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Bliss

TeddyYesterday while I was shoveling my driveway I paused to watch one of the dogs as he played enthusiastically with a tennis ball. It caused me ponder how frequently we get wrapped up in the stress and chaos of our lives that we forget it’s the simple things that can create bliss. Perhaps, we should take a lesson from our dogs. I’m know you have heard about how dogs live in the moment, but have you REALLY thought about what that means? They don’t think or worry about what happened last month, last year, or even an hour ago. Dogs can be SO incredibly satisfied with the simplest things, a tennis ball, a game of fetch, a walk, or a belly rub. When was the last time you woke up in the morning just happy to be alive and ready for the adventure that today may bring? That’s how my dogs wake up everyday. In many ways I envy them. Today let’s strive to find a little bit of bliss in our own lives. Let’s be thankful for our dogs that are always ecstatic when we come home from work, our family that is there, the roof over our heads and little things in our life the we take for granted.

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The Perfect Santa Paws Picture

RavenSantaSince reading my last post I know that you have all marked your calendars to get your dog’s picture taken with Santa Paws, but HOW do you get your pet to sit a calmly as Raven did? Well, here are a couple of tips that should help you have the perfect picture with Santa.

First of all, exercise your dog before going to your photo session. Take them for a long walk or play a game of fetch. By using up some of its energy your dog will be able to listen better in a new environment full of distractions.

Give your dog a potty break before your photo session. You don’t want Fido to put himself at the top of Santa’s naughty list because he couldn’t hold it any longer.

Allow your dog to sniff and greet before you take the photo. From the dog’s perspective Santa looks a little odd.

The best way to get the perfect puppy picture with Mr. Paws it us utilize your dogs obedience. Put your dog in a ‘sit/stay’ or ‘down/stay’ by Santa so you can easily get out of the picture.

Ask the photographer which way they want your dog to look, then move to that area. Your dog’s head will follow you. You can also use treats or toys to keep their attention.

Once the photo shoot is done, reward your dog!

If you need help getting Fido ready for his picture with Santa Paws, or any other photo session please contact us at Good Dog Camp.

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Santa Paws

RavenSantaAre you looking for something fun to do with you pet this weekend? How about getting their picture taken for a good cause? That’s right! Santa Paws will be visiting the North PetSmart this Sunday between 11-4. Not only will you get a photo of your pet, but you will also receive a cute frame it put it in and $5 of every photo sales goes to Paws and Claws Humane Society.
Please help Paws and Claws continue to help homeless animals in the Rochester area.

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Cold Weather Tips for Your Dog

IzSnowShovelFor those of us in the Midwest we are very aware that Old Man Winter has reared his ugly head. Even though the snow is falling and the mercury is dropping our dogs still need exercise. However, we do need to take precautions against the cold temperatures, icy walkways and salty drives.

If it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s too cold for your dog, so you may need to shorten your walks. If you have a short hair or small dog, you might also consider putting a sweater or jacket on them to help keep in their body heat. Since you walks are shorter, you will need to increase the amount of mental exercise for your dog. Try practicing ‘puppy push-up,’ a increasing the duration and distraction while your dog is on their ‘place’ or hide a treat or toy and play ‘find it.’

Please remember sidewalks and trails may be slippery, so take some of the same precautions with your dog that you would for yourself. They can fall, pull muscles and otherwise injure themselves also.

Snow can also pack in between the pads on your dog’s paws causing discomfort. You can prevent this by having your dog wear boots, using a product like Invisible Boot or applying a olive oil on the bottom of their feet just before you go out.

Salt and deicers, as great as they are for making our walks accident free, can irritate your dog’s paws and cause intestinal problems if ingested. Once again, dog boots prevent salt from even touching their paws. If boots are not an option wipe or rinse their paws off when they come into the house. Also consider applying a product like Paw Rescue to soothe and condition irritated paws.

Have fun and stay safe this winter! Woof!

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Do I Need a Leash on My Dog?

004Well, I did it. I finally went to City Hall and picked up a copy of the ordinances in regards to the leash laws in Rochester MN. Having this information is important to me because a large part of my training is focused on off leash reliability. I don’t want to break any laws and I sure don’t want my clients to do that either, so here it is:

106A.01 Definitions. Subdivision 6 ‘By Command’ means when the owner is walking, jogging or bicycling on public property or private property of another, a dog must be withing six (6) feet of its owner at all times. When on its owners property or fetching and playing on public property, the dog must be visible to the owner and be within thirty (30) feet of the owner or another person responsible for control of the dog. Dog must always return to the owner so that a leash can be attached, on no more than two (2) voice commands. Any dog declared potentially dangerous or dangerous must never be off its leash.

106A.08 (Summary) All dogs and cats must be restrained by being enclosed within a residence, dwelling, business or other structure, within a fence, on a leash or under control by command. Animals that are not restrained are considered “at large” (City of Rochester, MN Ordinance Highlights)

I’m glad Rochester has some rules for dog owners, but also allows us to have fun with them too! A well behaved dog that understands its rules and boundaries earns itself more freedom. Imagine being able to take your canine companion to the park for a game of fetch without worrying that he will run off. If you live in Rochester and want help teaching your dog to be obedient on and off leash around distractions, contact Good Dog Camp and we can make those dreams a reality!

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What I’m Thankful For

IMG_7446I have so much to be thankful for.

I have fantastic friends and family, food on my table and a roof over my head.

I am thankful for the kindness of strangers and the beauty of nature.

But most of all, I am thankful for my dogs.

I am thankful for a wake-up call with a cold, wet nose and for snuggling to keep me warm on chilly nights.

I am blessed by the fur that is permanently embedded in everything I own and the stray dog hairs that make their way into my lunch.

I am grateful for the tails that never stop wagging and the noses that never stop sniffing.

I am grateful for the eyes that stare longingly at my dinner plate when I eat dinner.

I’m reminded that a nail trim is due when I hear the click clack sound of paws on the floor and appreciate the forgiveness that is given after the dreaded task is done

I appreciate the barking that tells me a stranger is at the door or of the potential danger from squirrels and pedestrians

How could I forget the games of fetch, tug-o-war, sloppy kisses and feet that smell like Fritos?

I am grateful they come when called and stay where told.

I love how excited they are when I come in the house, even if I’ve only been gone for a moment.

I am in awe of their affection and unconditional love, no matter the kind of day I’ve had.

To the greatest dogs a girl could ask for…..Thank you!!

What are you thankful for?

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Dog Parks

030The topic of the dog park can be somewhat controversial. Some people love it, while others hate it, but the truth of the matter is that regardless of how you feel about it, people go there with their dogs. I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of dog parks. I think sometimes it can be misused as in dogs that are not properly socialized are there without appropriate leadership from their owners, and that some people use the dog park as the only outlet to exercise their dog. You can, however utilize the dog park as a place to practice social and obedience skills at the same time in a place of very high distractions.
My general protocol when I go to the dog park is to walk, walk, walk, and walk some more. When you walk, your dog will follow you. I don’t expect them to be in a ‘heel’ but I do expect them to check in with me. If I were to enter park and stand there I put my dog in position to make decisions that he may not be equipped to deal with, thus potentially causing a scuffle or fight with another dog.
Here is an example of what I did yesterday when I went to the dog park with a pack of four dogs. Before the dog park adventure could begin we needed to practice some general obedience skills. They all had to ‘wait’ for permission to get out of the car. Once allowed out of the car we practiced ‘heel’, ‘sit’, and ‘down’. I know they were excited to go out and smell the smells, run around and meet new dogs, but I want to reward their calm behavior and reinforce my leadership role. As we entered the park, I had the dogs wait as I opened the gates, and then I turned the direction of the fewest dogs and proceeded to walk the perimeter of the park. As we walked other dogs came over to say ‘hi’ but none of them had opportunity to greet too long. If any of my pack got too far away, or another dog whose body language wasn’t appropriate approached I simply reminded my pack to follow me and we continued to move.
Whether you already take your dog, or if you are considering taking your dog to the dog park please remember to use it as an additional outlet for your dog, not their primary source of exercise. Also keep in mind that movement dissipates energy, so maintain your leadership role and walk with your dog. Also, if your dog is not at all social with other dogs, then the dog park is not for you and you should consider contacting a professional dog trainer.

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Dog Saftey Tips During Halloween

041It’s that time of year again. We get dressed in our most ghoulish costumes to hand out candy or have guests over for the evening. Although Halloween can be lots of fun for us, it can also be stressful on your dog, so here are some tips to help keep your dog calm and safe.

  • Keep dogs out of the candy bowl. Especially keep them away from chocolate and candy containing xylitol, an artificial sweetener. If you dog does either of these, contact your veterinarian.
  • Dispose of candy wrappers and make sure your dog can’t get into the trash. Wrappers can cause choking or intestinal obstruction.
  • If you’re carving Jack-O-Lanterns this year use a battery operated light rather than a candle. Dogs tails can knock items over or even get caught in the flame.
  • Walk your dog before trick-or-treaters or party guests arrive.
  • Make sure your dog’s ID tag is to date and securely attached to his collar.
  • Find a secure place in your home to keep your dog. Dogs can get loose when the door opens, and the presence costumed people can scare them, increasing the chance dog will run away.
  • If you want your dog around when passing out candy, use a baby gate to keep them away from the door.
  • Practice your dogs recall. If you dog does escape from the house, having a solid recall will help keep your dog from running away.
  • Keep your dogs indoors. This eliminates the temptation of ill-minded pranksters to frighten, agitate or even steal your dog.
  • Last, but not least, don’t take your dog Trick or Treating with you. The sights, sounds and scares of Halloween can be overwhelming for your dog.

If you keep these tips in mind you and your dog can both have a Happy Halloween!

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Tips for Moving with Your Dog

Sebassandiztc+006v2Now that I’ve had a chance to settle into my new home I thought it would be appropriate to give you a few tips to help make your next move a little less stressful for your canine friend.

BEFORE you move:

  • Take your time packing. It is less stressful for your dog if you pack your house over the span of a couple of weeks rather than in a panicked hurry. Make sure you leave some of your dog’s favorite toys out and pack them last.
  • Maintain your dogs normal feeding and walking schedule.
  • If possible, take your dog to your new house before you move in. This will help them get used to their new surroundings. Take them on regular walks in the new neighborhood so they can get used to the new sites and smells.
  • Purchase id tags with your new address and license your dog in your new city.
  • If your dog is not accustom to being in a crate (or doggy condo) you will need to get them used to it. This will come in handy for keeping your dog safe on moving day and for giving them boundaries in your new home. Some easy tips to acclimate your dog to their new condo are to feed them in it (with the door open), or give them their favorite toy or stuffed Kong. You can also practice obedience skills such as laying down when they go into their new condo.

If using a crate is not possible, you can always put your dog in a small room with their water dishes and toys. This will also keep them out of your way on moving day. Be sure to let the movers or your friends know that the dogs are in that room. You don’t want them getting out and possibly running away.

AFTER you’ve moved:

  • Unpack your dog’s favorite toys and food and water dishes first. Having familiar things around them will help them be more comfortable in their new surroundings.
  • Once again keep your dog in a doggy condo or small room, and consider giving them a stuffed Kong or their favorite chew toy. This will ensure that they are not underfoot or can get loose and run away. They will also have a positive association with their new environment.
  • Even a dog that is housetrained may have accidents in a new home. Make sure you clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleaner such as Natures Miracle. Also consider putting your dog back on a remedial house training schedule by taking them out frequently and using a leash when you do so.
  • If you need to leave your house, confine your dog to their doggy condo or a small room, this will make them feel more comfortable.
  • And most importantly create a new schedule for your dog by taking them for walks and giving them lots of love and attention.
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