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Summer Sounds: How to Help Your Dog Cope with Loud Noises

June 27, 2018

Boom! Summer brings longer days, garden-fresh produce, ice cream treats, vacations, and "staycations." For the most part, it is a time of fun and relaxation. But summer also brings an increased chance of thunderstorms and fireworks—events that can be scary for your dog. While some breeds of dogs may be more prone to fear of loud noises than others, it is more likely that temperament and past experience will influence a dog's sensitivity and reactivity. Dogs that have not been exposed to a variety of sounds or experiences—or rescue, shelter, and/or abused dogs with tough times in their pasts—are vulnerable to the fear of thunderstorms and fireworks, and are at risk for other scares, too! If your pet is frightened...

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Choosing the Right Treats

April 05, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is adapted from information in Karen Pryor Academy’s Dog Trainer Foundations course. A crucial choice Choosing the right training treats is so important that it can mean the difference between a successful training session and an unsuccessful one. Clicker trainers often use food treats for training new behaviors because they allow for lots of quick reinforcers. But how do you know what food to choose? Animals learn much faster if the rate of reinforcement is high. It’s easier and faster to deliver a small, soft food treat than, say, a thrown tennis ball. This makes small, soft food treats ideal for teaching new behaviors. Make sure the dog considers the food valuable  Your dog must like...

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How to Teach Your Pet to Target

February 04, 2018

Picture the possibilities Imagine teaching your dog to put his hind feet—just his hind feet—on a mat. Or, imagine teaching your cat to give a high-five. What if you could teach your dog to use his nose to ring a bell to go outside? These fun and useful behaviors are all examples of targeting a body part to a specific object. Training your pet to touch a target is not only a fun game to play, but it is easy to teach and can extend to even more complicated behaviors or to tools in administering veterinary care. Targets can be almost anything. Use a kitchen rug as a settle mat for your dog; the dog targets his whole body onto...

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