Canine College Blog

How to Train Your Dog to Stop Excessively Barking

Barking is a normal behavior for dogs. Even the most well-behaved, well-trained dogs bark occasionally, and especially when triggered by specific events. It’s unreasonable to expect a dog to never bark; After all, that’s like expecting a child to never talk! However, there is a difference between a normal amount of barking and excessive barking that has become an issue. If you’re concerned about how much your dog is barking, there are steps you can take to help. It’s important to understand that it will take time, practice, and consistency, so having patience will be key. First, let’s look into why dogs bark. Reasons for Barking There are a number of reasons why dogs may bark. It’s their main form of vocal communication, and mean several different things based on the situation. Below are the most common triggers for barking: Being territorial/protective Fear Boredom or loneliness Greetings Playing Attention seeking Separation Anxiety Compulsive Barking Tips for Stopping the Barking Don’t Encourage Barking If your dog is barking for attention such as needing food or water or out of boredom, it’s important that you’re not rewarding him for this behavior by giving him what he wants. Instead, wait until he stops barking to respond. If you give him what he wants while he’s barking, he’ll think he’s being rewarded for barking and continue to do this in the future. Conversely, if you ignore him while he barks, but use positive reinforcement when he is quiet, this will teach him.   Use the “Quiet” Command Instead of yelling at your dog to “stop,” try teaching him the “quiet” command. This way, it’s... read more

How to Make Sure Your Dog is Getting Enough Exercise in the Winter

Did you know that most dogs only get about 20% of the physical activity they need? This is because owners get busy and tired and forget just how important it is to keep their pup moving. In the winter, colder weather makes it even easier to throw your dog’s activity needs to the side. Making sure your dog gets enough exercise is a key part of keeping them healthy, so let’s discuss some of the best ways to do that during the winter! Play Inside Games Exercise doesn’t just have to be done outdoors! Take advantage of your extra time inside, especially this year, to play games with your dog. Tug of war, fetch, and even running up and down the steps are all great forms of exercise for your dog. Not only does it benefit the dog’s health, but it helps you bond closer with them too! Keep Their Mind Active As much as your dog needs physical exercise, they need plenty of mental exercises too. Practice new tricks with your dog to keep their mind active. You can also utilize feeding toys that make your dog work for their food to add a challenge to meal and snack times that will exercise their brain! Feeding toys are available in a variety of sizes and difficulty levels so finding the perfect fit for your pup will be easy! Make the Most of the Cold Getting creative indoors is great, but nothing quite compares to a good walk in the fresh air. Bundle up yourself and your dog and take a trip outside for a walk, run, or to... read more

How to Train Your Dog to Get Along with Your Cat

Being a pet parent is fun and rewarding, but it’s also very challenging too. Getting your animals to get along with one another is almost as hard as asking two human siblings to get along, especially if one is a cat and the other is a dog. Cats and dogs tend to have very different personalities and as a pet parent, it’s your job to help those personalities mesh well. Training your dog to get along with your cat is a never-ending job, but it becomes a whole lot easier with these simple tips! Consider the Individual Animal and Their Needs If you’re welcoming a new furry friend into your house, you have the opportunity to try to find two animals that’ll mix well together. Instead of comparing breeds of dogs and cats to find a good match, compare the personality of the individual animal. A dog who is very jumpy probably won’t mesh well with an overly energetic cat. A dog who’s used to having the house to themselves likely won’t love a clingy kitten that invades their space. Think about your dog’s personality type, and try to find a cat who pairs well with that for a seamless transition. Give Cats and Dogs Their Own Space Establish a different space and items for each pet to reduce fighting over those things. Your dog should have its own food and water bowl separate from the cat. Put some distance between their feeding areas in the beginning to avoid conflict. Assign each pet a bed or other area that is just theirs. This gives your dog or cat somewhere... read more

Tips to Prepare Your Dog for the Holidays

The holiday season is one most of us look forward to – from the parties to the travel to the gifts, the holidays are full of excitement. For a dog, though, the holidays can be nerve-wracking. Lots of sudden movement, changes in eating and sleep schedule, and new people and smells can overwhelm pets that don’t know what’s going on. As you get ready for the festivities, don’t forget that Fido could do with a bit of help himself. Here are a few tips to prepare your dog for the holidays. Find a Sitter or Kennel If it’s not feasible to bring your pet along on your holiday travels, take the time to look into a great pet sitter or kennel. Professional pet sitters can be hired to feed and walk your dog during the day and even stay overnight if needed. Kennels might be more expensive, but they’ll have 24/7 access to your pet, and you can be assured that employees are experienced in taking care of all sorts of pets. Make Travel Easy If your furry friend is joining you on your holiday travels, make it easy on them by planning ahead. A holiday road trip to visit family can be fun, but make sure your dog is ready for it. If your pup isn’t comfortable in the car, take the time to train him well before the trip. Get him used to being in the car for short drives first. When you do head out on the trip, bring along toys, treats, or any vet-recommended motion sickness medication to ensure an anxiety-free ride. Give Him a... read more

How Can I Teach My Dog His/Her Name?

One of the first things you should teach a new four-legged family member is their own name. Making sure your dog knows his or her own name is a crucial step in building a bond and beginning obedience training. That said, the process can be quite challenging. Here are a few things to know about teaching your dog her name. Limit Distractions Your dog is learning a new sound and doesn’t know what it means yet. Your end goal is to get her to recognize her name and pay attention when called. To begin, get your dog used to hearing her name. Start in a room with no distractions so she can focus. Keep away any toys she might have and limit interactions with other household members during training. Be Happy Dogs respond more to the way we say things rather than what we say. To take advantage of their ear for tone, begin by saying your dog’s name in a happy tone of voice or with excitement. Your dog will then associate the fun and excitement you seem to be having with their name. Give her a few pets or cuddles while saying her name, too. Give Treats Treats are the best way to encourage good behavior and discipline in your new furry friend. You should have ready a bag or pouch with several small treat bites. Look for training treats that are already bite-size, or break larger treats into small pieces. You may have to give less food at dinner to make up for these calories. When your pup looks at you, say her name with excitement,... read more

Should I Let My Dog Sleep All Day?

When you’ve just added a new canine member to the family, it can be challenging to know what they need right away. You’ll probably have to experiment when it comes to toys, playtime, eating, and walking routines. When it comes to sleep, it’s hard to know just what each dog needs. Some puppies seem like they sleep all day, while others hardly get any shut-eye at all. If you’re concerned about your pup’s sleep schedule and are wondering if you should let your dog sleep all day, read on for more information. Why Do I Need to Worry About My Dog’s Sleep? A dog will get his best rest when he is comfortable and relaxed. Your dog’s sleep habits could clue you in on a few things that your dog might need. As you pay careful attention to any changes in their nighttime behavior, you’ll likely see a few changes that would benefit your dog’s sleep. We’ll talk more about those changes in feeding and bathroom breaks that could help you and your dog get better sleep. Does My Dog Need a Sleep Schedule? Experts agree that many dogs don’t need a sleep schedule if they can self-regulate reasonably well. Some dogs prefer to sleep late and can go up to twelve hours without needing to relieve themselves or eat breakfast. Other dogs may start misbehaving if they don’t have a regular schedule. When in doubt, putting your dog on a sleep schedule that you’ll stick to is a good choice. How Much Sleep Does My Dog Need? In general, dogs sleep a lot more than humans. They can... read more

Why is My Dog Not Eating?

When it comes to dogs, it can be challenging to know when something is wrong or if they are sick. One of the most obvious signs that something might be up is if your pet stops eating. Even then, it can be difficult to know just what the issue is. If you’ve noticed your dog not eating as much as usual or not eating at all, here are a few common reasons that might be causing the loss of appetite.  Recent Vaccinations If you’ve visited the vet recently to get your pup all caught up on his vaccinations, this could be a reason why he’s not eating. Some of our furry friends can have adverse reactions to the injection, including lethargy and appetite loss. Don’t worry, though, these effects are usually relatively mild and short-lived, so your dog can get back to normal in just a couple of days.  Nerves Dogs usually have to feel pretty comfortable to have a good appetite. Just like humans, some of them can lose their appetite if they are feeling nervous. If you’ve recently moved, your pup might just be wary of being in a new location with unfamiliar surroundings. Give him a couple days to adjust to the new place, and he’ll be eating normally soon.  Another cause for nerves could be an event that shook him up a bit. Sometimes interacting with new dogs or people can set your pet a little on edge, making it hard for him to be comfortable enough to eat. If he’s recently had a strange encounter with strangers, make sure to give him lots of... read more

Understanding Normal Puppy Behaviors

So you just got your first puppy… Congratulations! You’re in for an exciting adventure as you get to know your new furry friend. However, it’s not all fun and games right away – First you’ll need to ensure you have all the necessary items your puppy will need to get comfortable in your home. Next, it’s your responsibility to start teaching your pup good behaviors from the start. Training a new puppy can be a challenging task that involves a great deal of patience and a good attitude. Since puppies can exhibit some frustrating behaviors, it’s crucial that you know how to deal with them. If you’re a new pet owner or haven’t trained a puppy in a while, it can be challenging to know what’s normal and what you can expect of them. Here are a few very ordinary things that puppies do and how you can train them to master those behaviors.  Biting and Chewing If you’ve ever been bitten by a very young pup, you know that their tiny teeth can be quite sharp! They can also do a bit of damage to furniture, shoes, and books if left alone. But chewing on things isn’t really a problem behavior – just as human babies go through a teething period, puppies also are working on bringing their teeth out. Instead of scolding him for chewing, redirect his chewing to proper items like toys and treats. If the puppy starts nibbling your fingers while you’re petting him, say “ouch” or “no” loudly and stop giving him attention. He’ll quickly learn to play nice if he wants to play... read more

How to Teach Your Dog to “Stay”

“Stay” is one of the most difficult commands to teach because most dogs hate being still.  Teaching your dog to stay is essential for their safety and for your peace of mind. “Stay” is very useful in many different situations, from being able to look both ways before crossing a street while on a walk to preventing the dog from dashing out the door when you have guests over.  It is a great cue to practice your dog’s impulse control and encourages calm and relaxation. Define Your Stay Criteria It is very important that both you and your dog understand what exactly it means when you are telling your dog to “stay.” The general meaning of stay in dog training is that the dog will hold a motionless position. This position is typically the sit, down, or stand position. The general meaning of the word is that they hold the position until they are asked to do something else or given permission to move with a release word like “okay” or “all done.” Simply meaning that you are extending the length of their sit, down, or standing training cue.  Having your dog stay beside you begins with building confidence in your dog. Your dog loves to make you happy, so they will work very hard to prove themselves to you. Since you are your dog’s favorite person, they want to be near you. Setting real boundaries helps your dog thrive. Not allowing your dog to leave your side when you are out and about or when you are walking together will give your dog the confidence to be your... read more

5 Tips for Leash Training a Puppy

Teaching your puppy to walk with you on a leash is a critical skill that they must learn. Walks will be more fun for both of you when you aren’t being pulled around by a dog or dragging one after you. But getting a dog to walk calmly next to you can be very challenging. This article will unlock the secrets of teaching your puppy to walk correctly on a leash. Start Right Away  The earlier you can introduce your pup to a leash, the better. Some trainers even recommend letting your puppy drag the leash around the house, just so they can get used to the feeling. However, if you do decide to do that, you’ll want to keep a very close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get caught on something or tangled up.  When you’re first beginning (the first few days), don’t worry so much about how your dog is walking on the leash. Just get them used to the feel and help them understand that they’re attached to you.  Focus on the Basics After your dog has adjusted to being on the leash, you’ll want to focus on the basics. Make your dog sit before your walk. Then, give a walk command. Walk slowly and keep your dog on a short leash. If your dog doesn’t want to move, try holding a treat in front of their nose to get them in the spirit.  If your dog is walking well and not pulling much on the leash, stop every 5 to 10 steps to praise your dog and give them a treat. Once... read more
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