Canine College Blog

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... read more

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... read more

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... read more

Why Choose In-Home Private Dog Training

At Canine College, we love it when our clients bring their dogs to our Holbrook facility for training classes. However, sometimes group dog training just isn’t in the cards for both the owner and their dog. In these instances, we’re here to provide in-home private dog training for Boston area residents. What Does In-Home Dog Training Entail? Glad you asked! In-home dog training from Canine College includes any type of training that we have available here at our Holbrook facility. Whether you have a puppy that needs basic Puppy Kindergarten or Elementary I courses, or a trained dog that’s ready to learn some new tricks. Our professional private dog trainers will come up with a custom-tailored training course for you and your pup — right from the comfort of your home. Why Choose Private Dog Training? Aside from the fact that private in-home dog training works around your schedule, there are a number of added benefits, including: One-on-one, full attention training We focus on the issues you want to focus on Cost effective in that private training courses will lead to quicker results Your dog will be less stressed Great for dogs that have temperament issues or are shy More bonding time with your dog If you are hoping to enroll in specialty dog training courses such as dock diving, show dog training and trick dog training, then these courses can also be provided at our Holbrook facility as a private lesson. Whatever your needs are, we always have a professional trainer on hand to meet you either at your home or in Holbrook for private dog training. Contact us today... read more

Does Grooming Improve My Dog’s Health?

Heading to Canine College for dog grooming services isn’t just to make your pet look presentable; in fact, there are a number of other benefits as to why dog owners should be grooming their pet on a regular basis. No matter whether your dog has short or long hair/fur (although longer does require more frequent grooming), the process is a good habit to pick up. Why Dog Grooming is Beneficial Healthy Hair and Skin. Just as we humans have a ritual in order to improve our skin’s natural glow and our hair’s natural shine, grooming your dog will also do the same for their hair and skin. Routine brushing with a bristle or wire brush will help remove and trapped dead hair, hair clots, dirt and dandruff. Doing this will also help spread your dog’s natural skin oils across their fur, resulting in a brighter and shinier coat. Detecting Health Issues. Regular grooming is a way for you to keep tabs on your dog’s health. During bath time you (or your regular dog groomer here at Canine College) can check for abnormalities such as lumps, rashes, infections and inflammation. Just as we are often checking ourselves as preventative health measures, so too should you be checking your pet. After all, they deserve a long and healthy life. Finding Ticks & Fleas. New England is notorious for ticks and fleas during the warmer months and they have been an increasing issue for dog owners due to the fact that many towns have made an effort to improve and create more outdoor spaces and parks. Bathing your dog as well as brushing them will... read more

What Vaccines Are Mandatory For My Dog?

Owning a dog isn’t just about taking it on long walks or cuddling up on the couch — there are a few “adulting” things you’ll need to take care of before you and the pup can have some fun. One of the most crucial things you’ll need to do (if you haven’t done so already) is head to the vet for vaccinations. Why is Vaccination Important? Vaccines help your dog’s body fight infections, viruses, and other disease-causing organisms. Although their bodies are pretty rugged and can take quite a beating (remember that time they ate that whole chocolate bar?), there are some viruses you don’t want to mess around with. Vaccinations help protect both your dog, other dogs, other animals, and even humans as some viruses can spread from one species to another. These vaccines are equipped with a minuscule amount of antigens which look identical to the original virus but don’t actually cause harm to your dog. Your dog’s immune system then develops it’s own antibodies to “fight” this antigen and stores copies of the antibodies for later in case your dog is exposed to the virus again in the future. If this happens, then the immune system already has a defense against this disease. What Vaccines Are Necessary? The core vaccines your dog needs to have include: Adenovirus (aka Canine Hepatitis) Distemper Parvovirus Rabies These vaccinations should all be given when your dog is still a puppy or — if they are a stray — as soon as possible. Non-Core Vaccines That Are Still Recommended Depending on a number of factors such as the age of your... read more

What is Breed Handling?

Breed handling is a type of show dog style that involves showing your dog in front of a panel of judges while working your way around a ring. Other competitors whose dogs fall under the same class as your own will also be working their way around the ring. The judges will then choose which dogs they believe have exhibited the perfect example of what the breed is all about; this includes appearance, proper stance and gait, expression and other traits. Breed Handling Training at Canine College At Canine College, you and your dog will work on how to look and act presentable while in the show ring. We’ll work with you in order to develop every skill needed to give your dog an advantage over the competition. Our facility is spacious which allows for a large practice ring and has the capability of housing a full training group. Having other handlers and dogs at the breed handling training session is a great way to gauge how well you and your dog will perform on competition day. Skills Acquired at Breed Handling Class Our professional dog show training staff will help your dog develop the following skills: Free stacking which includes walking your dog into a desired position using a leash and bait Baiting using a treat in order for your dog to perform appropriately Standing your dog either on the floor or a judges examination table Hand stacking which involves using your hands to properly place your dog’s feet Presenting your dog to the judge’s panel after showing around the ring Executing desired gaits that a judge calls... read more

The Importance of Winter Grooming for Dogs

Your dog seems irritated, and you’re confused. He’s been fed, walked, played with, and was even offered a sleeping spot on the bed (even though you both know he shouldn’t be up there). It’s freezing outside, but even when he’s indoors with the heat blasting, you can still tell he’s unhappy. So what exactly is wrong? Well, the immediate weather indoors or outdoors probably isn’t the main upset to your canine – it’s what’s happening to his body. There are a number of longstanding myths surrounding pup treatment in the winter, the worst being the immediate protection provided by their fur, or how unaffected they are by indoor heating systems. Let’s debunk these. How Your Dog’s Coat is Affected by Winter Weather Whether your dog has a thick or thin, long or short coat of hair, they are affected by the weather outside. With rain, sleet, snow, or any sort of dampness, the moisture has the tendency to come into direct contact with your dog’s actual skin, as the fur mainly provides warmth – it isn’t exactly a water-shield. This dampness coupled with the intense heat that your dog feels when you return inside from the wet cold is a breeding ground for bacteria, providing the perfect conditions for it to grow and spread if regular grooming doesn’t occur. This has the potential to make your dog itchy and irritable, which could explain his behavior. As if the dampness wasn’t already bad enough, it also creates danger when moist fur sticks together in clumps, which makes it difficult to spot out any lumps, spots, or rashes that are irregular... read more

Tips for Handling Your Dog During Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year where you can catch up with family and friends and show off your baking skills. For your dog however, Thanksgiving can be a bit overwhelming — especially if it’s their first one. At Canine College, our dog training professionals have often been asked what the best approach would be to making sure dogs are safe and happy during the holiday. We’ve included a few crucial tips for you and your family members that won’t detract from meal prep and socializing. How To Handle Your Dog During Thanksgiving Review Commands. If you’ve been training your dog with us at Canine College, then now is the time to practice some of those commands you and your pup have learned. Review sit, stay, heel and other basic commands that will prevent your dog from charging at guests as they enter the door or from bolting out of your home as soon as they get the opportunity. Establish a Safe Zone. Most dogs have a place in the house they go to if they are feeling threatened or scared. Be sure that they have access to this space once your guests start arriving. Dogs who aren’t familiar with a particular person may feel threatened, even if your dog is friendly and lovable. Also don’t forget to discuss with your guests about whether or not they will also be bringing their furry friends with them — as this could end up being an issue. Even the nicest dogs may get territorial. Always have a place where you can separate your dog from other guests’ pets. Reduce Begging. This may be... read more

5 Signs Your Dog Needs Obedience Training

As pet owners, we often believe our pets are perfect just the way they are. Sometimes we may even believe that we can train our dogs ourselves; we’ve made the commitment to create a wonderful house pet on our own. However, not all situations end up as planned when it comes to owning a new puppy. Luckily at Canine College, we’ve got a quick list for you to review that can help you determine whether or not Elementary dog training at our Holbrook facility is right for your dog. Aggression. If your dog is showing aggression to other dogs, pets or humans, then it’s time to reassess your training methods and seek help from a professional trainer. Aggressive behavior includes snarling, biting, charging and barking. The chances are your dog is nervous, confused or scared and showing aggression as a coping mechanism. Jumping. “Down!” just sometimes won’t cut it. If your dog is a hyperactive breed that gets excited whenever a leaf falls or the doorbell rings, then more in-depth training is needed. At Canine College, we use positive reinforcement in order to instill better behavior. Barking. Whether your dog is barking in an aggressive manner, a friendly manner or a territorial manner, excessive barking should not be tolerated. When living in the greater Boston area, it can be quite easy to create unhappy neighbors with a dog that barks constantly. Leash Pulling. It’s important to bring your dog out for daily walks in order for them to release some energy (among other things) and get familiar with their surrounding environment. At our Holbrook dog training facility we specialize in both on and... read more
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