Canine College Blog

Why You Should Adopt vs. Shop for Your Dog

Adding a new member to the family is an exciting thing. Dogs bring fun, companionship, and joy to our lives for many years. Before you head off to the pet store to make this commitment, though, check out this list of reasons why you should adopt vs. shop for your dog. Adopting Saves Lives The biggest reason why you should adopt is the most obvious: when you adopt an animal from a shelter, you just might save that animal’s life. Shelters work hard to protect all types of animals but, sometimes, there are just too many dogs to take care of. Dogs are often euthanized if they don’t get adopted – you can help prevent this tragedy and give a loving home to an animal in need. It Costs Less When you go to a pet store or shop online for a designer dog, you might pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Adopting costs a fraction of the price – and you’ll still get the perfect pooch! Not only is adopting cheaper but shelters usually cover the cost of a bunch of services like vaccinations, microchipping, and spaying or neutering, too. Shelter Dogs Have History – and That’s Good! Shelter dogs get a bad rap, but their reputation couldn’t be further from the truth. Dogs are often brought to the shelter from a previous home where they learned how to interact with adults, kids, and other animals. Shelter dogs have all sorts of personalities – playful, cuddly, hard-working, sensitive – and many of them are already house trained! If you need assistance training your dog, the experts at... read more

Baby Steps to Socializing Your Puppy

While new puppy owners are told that socializing their puppies is important, and it is, this can often lead to distressing situations for your new family member – which is the opposite of the point. Here are some steps to take to start socializing your puppy in a way that will make him feel safe as well as provide you with the desired response: Shadow a Puppy Class If you think a puppy class might be the best route for your pup, shadow the class first. Do not bring your dog with you. You want to look at the size of the class, the size of the other dogs, as well as the location, noise levels, and types of instruction. Pay special attention to any signs of stress for dogs (or other owners), as you definitely don’t want to put your pup in a stressful situation. Learn Your Pup’s Body Language Before you start socializing your pup regularly, you’ll want to make sure you can identify when he feels unsafe. If he has a wagging tail and a soft eye expression, he probably feels good. If he plants his feet and refuses to walk, respect his reluctance. Pushing him into an experience that makes him feel scared or unsafe will have the opposite effect from teaching him to be outgoing and accepting of new situations. Avoid Other Dogs – At First Unless it is a dog that you know, keep your pup at bay. You don’t know anything about the other dog’s temperament or vaccination history, and the last thing you want is for a strange dog to attack... read more

Why Crate Training Your Dog is Important

Many people believe that crates are cruel and that it is inhumane to leave a dog in a crate. However, when used properly, crates are not cruel and can become a great tool for pet owners. Positive crate training will provide many benefits for you and your dog, such as the following. Creating a Safe Space A crate can become a “den” for your dog. It will become his space for when he is feeling stressed, tired, or just needs downtime. If you have children, it is a good idea to teach them that when the dog is in his crate, he is out of bounds and needs to be left alone. Potty Training A properly-sized crate will help your puppy learn bladder and bowel control. Dogs and puppies do not like a soiled bed, so the crate will help your puppy learn this more quickly. Household Safety Letting your dog rest comfortably in his crate while you are not able to supervise is a huge plus. It will keep him safe, as well as you if you are moving around and having him underfoot could cause you to trip and fall. It also protects any objects that he may want to play with from getting destroyed while you are unable to watch him. Additionally, when you are away from home, your dog can relax comfortably in his crate where he cannot destroy or damage things in the home. Easier Vet Visits While many dogs learn to be uneasy at the vet pretty quickly, having a crate that your dog loves will make it easier to convince him to... read more

5 Fall Activities Your Dog Will Love

Dog owners love their pets like children and that includes wanting them to have fun all year round! There’s no shortage of fun fall activities for humans, but what about for your dog? There are plenty of fall-themed activities your dog will love that you haven’t thought of yet but don’t worry, we’re here to help!  An Autumn Hike There’s nothing better than going out for a hike to admire the changing leaves and cooler temperatures. Just as much as you love an autumn hike, your dog will love it even more! Find a trail that has plenty of beautiful scenery, grab the leash, and let nature lead the way. Your pet will get to sniff, run, and play in a space much bigger than the backyard.  Apple Picking Apple picking is an essential fall activity for people of all ages, but your dog shouldn’t be left out of the fun! Apple orchards are an outdoor activity so bringing the dog along will be as easy as ever. Make sure to keep your dog on the leash so they don’t disturb other apple pickers. You can even use some of the apples you pick to make homemade dog treats!  Hayrides If your dog loves car rides then they’re sure to love hayrides even more. Look for a fall farm near you that’s pet-friendly and bring your dog along while you take a ride around on some hay bales! They’ll be able to enjoy fresh air on the ride much more than they can just by sticking their head out a car window.  A Fall Photoshoot Dogs love to play... read more

House Training Your Puppy 

Getting a puppy is an exciting event, but one not so exciting part is house training the puppy. House training is something most pet owners want to achieve as soon as possible to avoid damage to their home and some very smelly messes, but it’s not always an easy task. If you’ve recently gotten a puppy or you’re thinking about getting a puppy, these house-training tips are for you!  The Basics Before you can learn how to house train, you have to have a better understanding of it as a whole. Dogs can’t be house trained until they’re in tune with what their bladder and bowels feel like when they need to know so that they’re able to hold it. Typically, that’s around 12-16 weeks of age but every dog is different. You can expect 4-6 months of house training before your dog is fully house broken. Remember to be patient, have a positive attitude, and spend more time praising the good than punishing the bad while you house train your dog.  House Training Methods There is no easy method of house training. It’s recommended that you take your dog outside first thing in the morning, last thing before bed, after naps, and after meals. Even if they don’t go, at least you’re making outdoors available to them just in case. The rest of the time during the day you’ll need to watch your dog and take them outside whenever it appears, they might need to go. Some people find it’s easier to keep their dog in a crate during this part of the training process.  Knowing When Your... read more

5 Common Training Mistakes That Lead to Bad Behavior

Training your dog is an enduring experience, requiring patience from you and discipline from your dog. We all make mistakes, but when you’re training your dog, there are common mistakes that can make the process harder than it already is. We’re going to tell you about five common mistakes that every owner may do that leads to bad behaviors. Not Practicing Enough If you don’t practice enough, your dog’s performance will suffer. For some, they take obedience classes, and it goes well. The dog learns, and everyone’s happy. Except, as the days go by, you forget to continually practice with your dog, wondering why it won’t respond to certain commands. Just like how we can get rusty with certain skills or learning material, your dog can too. Don’t make the mistake of not practicing for a few minutes a day until it becomes natural.   Nagging Your Commands In hindsight, it may sound great. Keep repeating your commands, and your dog will listen. Except, your dog will start to take those nagging commands and expect it to be the whole command. For example, telling your dog to sit. If it doesn’t the first time, and you keep saying “sit,” your dog will look for you saying “sit” multiple times before it actually sits. What you should do is say the command once, and if your dog doesn’t respond, either wait or do it again in a different setting.  Mixed Signals Positive reinforcement works unless you mix it with correction-based training. Be careful to not accidentally combine the two, as it can become a confusing atmosphere for your dog. This will cause your dog to... read more

Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called 

If your dog knows one command, it should be “come.” Bringing your dog in public and letting him off the leash somewhere such as the park can be scary, but trusting that your dog will come to you when called, will help put you at ease. It is crucial for both of your safety that he knows this command. Dogs are notorious for chasing squirrels, running after a noise they hear in the woods, etc. However, what if that noise happened to be a bigger animal than he thought? Once you recognize that he may be in danger and you yell for him to come, it’s crucial that you’re confident that he will come immediately. This is a command that could potentially save his life. So how can you teach him this important skill? Check out some of our tips below to get started!  Start Inside Keep it simple at first; Start indoors, where there are minimal distractions, and not far for your dog to go. It’s important to take baby steps with your puppy and remember that he can’t go from a kindergarten level to high school overnight. Build up the confidence in your dog indoors, before bringing it outside to practice.  Make it Positive This is an important tip, no matter what skill you’re teaching. When you call your dog to come, he’s more likely to do so if he knows he’ll be rewarded when he gets to you. If you scold him, punish him, or do anything he perceives as negative when he comes to you, he’s going to start associating that with the word “come.”... read more

4 Most Common Health Problems in Dogs

Dogs are one of the most loyal and loving additions you can add to your family. A new furry friend is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of responsibility. Your dog depends on you to recognize and treat health problems they may be suffering from. They can’t use words to express pain or symptoms they’re feeling, so it’s up to you to be aware of the warning signs. Ear Infections Ear infections in dogs are extremely common and have many potential causes. Allergies, bacteria build-up, and hair growth deep in the ear are a few of the most common culprits for canine ear infections. Luckily, ear infections in dogs can be easily treated with antibiotic drops if it’s caught early. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s time to schedule an appointment with the vet. Head shaking Lack of balance Ear scratching Discharge from the ear Worms Worms are something that can be easily prevented in dogs, but many dog owners fail to take those preventative measures until it’s too late. Worms are an internal parasite that lives in the digestive tract of your pooch. Treatment methods will vary slightly depending on the severity of the condition, but it’s typically a quick and easy fix with a trip to the vet. Signs of worms in your dog include: Vomiting Diarrhea Lack of appetite Scooting bottom against the floor Fleas Fleas are something that every pet owner is familiar with. They multiply and spread very quickly, so catching a flea problem early is the key to protecting your pup. Fleas are commonly picked... read more

Teaching Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

When you’re first training your puppy, there are many important commands and skills you’ll want to teach him. As always, it’s best to start with the basics; Sit, stay, come, etc. Once he’s mastered these, teaching him to properly walk on a leash is an important skill that you’ll want him to have as soon as possible. After all, it’s something he’ll use almost daily! The earlier he learns it as a puppy, the easier it’ll be. Here are a few tips to get started!  Introduce the Collar and Leash First, it may take some time for him to get used to wearing the collar. Start by putting it on for short periods of time around the house. If you introduce the collar and leash during playtimes or while giving treats, he’ll start to associate the leash with positive and fun things, rather than developing negative feelings towards it.  Use a Cue Once you’ve got the collar and leash on him, you’ll want to teach him a cue that signifies food or a treat is coming. Some people use a sound, such as the clicking of their tongue, or one word to get their attention. Whatever you use, stay consistent so your dog knows what to expect. Once he catches on and starts coming to you for the treat, reward him to encourage that behavior.  Teach him to Come During the session, as he’s on his way to you, you can gradually start walking back a few steps at a time, to encourage him walking further on the leash. The goal is that with the cue noise, he’ll automatically... read more

Why Should I Train My Dog?

Dog training now is a lot more than teaching your dog cool tricks to do, there are actually rewards for both you and your dog to benefit from! Dogs are sharing our homes and lives in closer ways than ever now and it’s important to train them for their safety and enjoyment. Training Benefits Both Dog and Owner When it comes to training, your dog isn’t the only one reaping the rewards; you benefit too! Training your dog can help you better understand his needs, making you a better owner and companion to your dog. Using positive reinforcement, or using constructive guidance, instead of disciplining misbehavior while training your dog will help him understand what wants/needs for a happy life with you, his owner. Training increases the bond of loyalty and companionship between both of you! For Their Own Safety The better you can control your dog, the safer he will be. Teaching voice commands like “stay,” “sit,” or “come” will keep your dog out of harm’s way, whether they are leashed or not. A dog that bolts off the leash is more likely to run in front of a car or sneak out the front door when you’re trying to leave. Training your dog to be well-behaved and listen to commands is beneficial to their own safety, so you don’t have to worry about his every move.  Helps Your Dog Be More Sociable This not only helps your dog but other dogs and people too. The more friendly your dog becomes, the more equipped he will be to deal with the pressures of his everyday life. Expanding your... read more
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