The Rules of Positive Reinforcement

When training your dog and teaching him basic commands, positive reinforcement can be a highly beneficial tactic to use. Dogs love a good treat, so it is an effective way for them to learn behaviors that you want them to know. However, if positive reinforcement is used incorrectly, it can actually confuse your dog and lead him to pick up some bad habits without you even realizing. We’ve laid out a few simple rules for you and your dog to follow, to avoid confusion and have successful training sessions. Timing is everything Dogs have a fairly short attention span, so it’s important to reward them on “dog-time.” Be sure that the positive reinforcement happens immediately following the good action. This ensures that they know exactly which action you are happy with, and they will be likely to do it again in the future. A delayed reward could confuse them into associating the wrong action with the positive reaction. For example, if you tell your dog to sit and you wait to reward him until he stands, he will think that by “sit” you actually want him to stand. It is essential that they are able to understand which actions you are praising. When to give treats When using positive reinforcement, it’s important to know how often you should be treating your pet. After all, the end goal is to get him to do the behavior on his own out of instinct. When your pet is first learning a new behavior, you should use “continuous reinforcement,” rewarding him every time he does the behavior. As your pet starts to understand...

Pet Fire Safety

According to a study by the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 500,000 pets are affected by home fires every year. Not only is it important to keep your pet safe from home fires, it is often overlooked how easy it can be for your pet to accidentally start a fire. As pet owners, it is our job to protect them and take precautionary measures to ensure their safety. These simple preventative actions could make a huge difference some day. Safety Precautions Keep pets near entrances when you’re not home- Since pets cannot escape on their own in the event of a fire, it’s recommended to keep them near an entrance if you’re going to be gone for a while. Keep them near a door with their collar on, and a leash at the ready. This way, a firefighter would easily find them and quickly be able to rescue them. Smoke detectors- In addition to a traditional smoke detector, you may also consider connecting a monitored detector that signals emergency responders. This will allow them to be contacted when you’re not home in the case of an emergency. These systems give an added peace of mind for you and your pets. Pet alert window cling- In the case that your pet is not near an entrance and easily accessible, it is important to have a static cling on your front window listing the number of pets inside. This saves the rescuer time when trying to find your pets, ensuring that no furry friend gets left behind. Extinguish open flames- Our pets can’t help their generally curious nature, so it’s important we are...

Keeping Your Dog Safe & Cool In The Summer Months

The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising, and the summer months are finally upon us! On those warm days, you’re not the only one starting to break a sweat…just imagine how it would feel in a fur coat! Here are a few tips to help keep your dog safe and cool during these hot summer months. Schedule Walks Accordingly The best time to take your dog for a walk during the summertime is early in the morning, or later in the evening. You should always check the temperature of the pavement; if it’s too hot to place your hand on for more than a few seconds, then it is too hot for your dog’s paw pads. Try to find a shady sidewalk or park to take a stroll in. If your dog is going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, consider applying some doggy sunscreen. As always, don’t forget to bring a water for yourself, and for your animal. Collapsible water dishes are a convenient way to keep your dog hydrated on walks!   Never Leave Your Dog In A Car Your pet should never be left in a parked car for any period of time. On a warm summer day, temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees in a car within a matter of minutes. Even if the windows are left open, your car will heat up just as quickly. So if you’re going somewhere that your dog cannot go inside, it’s best to leave him at home! Help Your Dog Cool Off On those 95 degree days where you can hardly...

Best Dog Breeds for Outdoor Enthusiasts

It’s outdoor season and it seems like everyone in the Boston area has come out of the woodwork to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. This past winter was a struggle and you may have found that you put on a few pounds. As a professional dog training and dog boarding company, we believe that the best way to get back in shape and stay active this season is with the help of a canine companion. If you and your family are ready for a dog (or perhaps another dog in addition to the one you have) that’s as active as you are, here are a few breed suggestions to consider. Dog Breeds for Active Individuals and Families Labrador Retriever. Whenever someone thinks of a playful or active dog, the first though is usually a lab. Fun-loving and athletic, these dogs love water as they were originally bred as waterfowl hunting dogs. Keep in mind that labs have an appetite and will eat just about anything, so be sure to feed it a nutritious diet so they have the energy to tackle your running or hiking route. Labs will gain weight if not exercised enough, so don’t forget to talk to your vet about portion control. Siberian Husky. The husky has gained popularity over the past decade — especially in the northeast where winters can be long and cold. If you’re an winter outdoor enthusiast, then why not consider a husky? These dogs were bred to pull sleds in Alaska and throughout Canada but seem to fit right into the Boston climate. They do have difficulty in hot weather, so make sure they...

Tell-Tale Signs Your Dog Has Allergies

Allergy season isn’t just for us humans — many dogs are also prone to developing seasonal allergies that can sometimes make them feel as miserable as we do. Luckily, the signs and symptoms that your dog has allergies are just as obvious as our own. At Canine College, we’re here to help dog owners distinguish the signs of spring allergies in their pups so you can know when to seek out medical treatment. Signs Your Dog is Suffering Spring Allergies Oftentimes allergic reactions can be very uncomfortable for your dog. Symptoms can end up affecting the skin, digestive system and respiratory system. Red, itchy or scabbed skin usually on the face, within the ears or elsewhere on the body such as toes or legs. Increased scratching of the ears or eyes. Oftentimes dogs may rub themselves against an abrasive surface such as grass, shrubs, carpets or other surfaces in order to rid themselves of a constant itch. Itchy or runny eyes that have have green or discolored eye goop. Yes, this sounds gross — but don’t forget to check your dog’s eyes! Bloodshot eyes or eyes that have discolored goop are sure signs of allergies. Sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea and ear infections may also be signs of seasonal allergies. Although vomiting and diarrhea are less common and could be a symptom of another unrelated health issue, it’s nonetheless important to try and rule out allergies first. Either way, any of these symptoms should be addressed by a veterinarian. Constant licking or chewing of the paws is another sign of allergies. Our dogs love being outside –especially when the weather warms...
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