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WELLNESS

DOG TRAINING: HOW TO TEACH A DOG TO BALANCE THINGS ON ITS NOSE

Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-1Today we have a special treat! Jess Bell, a Toronto-based dog trick trainer, and her adorable Aussie friend, Cohen, are here to tell us all how to train a dog to balance objects on its nose. Keep reading to master this impressive trick in a simple step-by-step manner! Take it away Jess!

This trick requires a fair amount of impulse control on behalf of the dog, so mastering ‘stays’ and ‘leave-its’ prior to starting work on this trick is a good idea and highly recommended.

STEP 1: HANDLING
Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-2 The first step is getting the dog used to being handled. Get your treats ready, set the dog up so she’s comfortable in a ‘sit’ or a ‘down’ on a rug and then extend your hand to touch her muzzle. Mark with a “yes” or a click and then reward with food.

Repeat this until your dog understands that handling her muzzle means a treat is coming, and she even looks forward to it! This may take a few days or more. Go at the pace your dog sets and don’t rush it.

STEP 2: INTRODUCE AN OBJECT
Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-3 The next step is introducing the object. It helps if you have a jackpot (aka super yummy!) treat visible to the dog on a coffee table so they can see it. Steady their muzzle with your hand and place the object on their nose for a split second. Mark with a “yes!” or a click, remove the object while saying “okay!” then give your dog the jackpot treat she was probably staring at the whole time.

STEP 3: BE SHORT AND SWEET
Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-4Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-6It’s important that in the early stages you have the object on the dog’s nose for tiny, tiny increments of time because this can be HARD for your pup. Gradually ask for the dog to hold the object for longer and without your hand to support her nose.

It’s best to keep the number of repetitions low — no more than 1-3 practices at a time. If you’re having trouble, back up a step or two. The most common mistake I see people make is asking for too much too fast. Split seconds can feel like a dog’s age to your pup — so keep it brief. Short and sweet is best!

To start with you probably don’t want to ask for more than 0.25 seconds. That’s, like, really short. Then move up to 0.5 seconds, then 0.75 seconds. It will probably take you a few sessions before you can ask for her to balance something for longer than a second.

Once she knows the trick, you can ask the dog to balance something for quite a while. Use your best judgement. Normally 5-10 seconds is all you’ll need to impress your friends and snap a quick photo.

WHAT ARE SOME GOOD OBJECTS TO BALANCE?Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-5Take an object and try to balance it on the tip of your finger. If it’s easy for you, it’ll be easy for your dog. Stuffed toys or other small objects that won’t roll about are a good thing to start on.

A lot of people start with treats. Just remember that if you want your dog to balance a treat on her nose, reward with something BETTER or else your dog may opt to cut out the middleman and eat the treat at her leisure.

WHAT COMMANDS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS TRICK?  Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-7Generally this trick is just a fancy ‘stay’ command; when you say, your dog should, ideally, not move a muscle. You can also create a new cue like “hold it” if it’s easier for you and your dog to work with.

Always remember your release cue! Say “okay” to let your dog know she can move again. You don’t want her releasing herself — you want her waiting for your say-so.

KEEP IN MIND…
Sometimes dogs find this trick unpleasant to learn. If your dog is exhibiting any stress signs, stop! Tricks are meant to be fun for both of you! If you have to stop, don’t worry. Give the trick a rest for a few weeks then come back to it.

Sometimes you need to shelve things like this and come back to it later. If your dog can’t do this now it doesn’t mean she’ll never do it. Try teaching another trick in the meantime. Remember, the goal is to have fun, fun, fun!

PAWSH PERK: Be sure to visit on Monday for our dog-friendly ‘Timbit’ recipe!

{Photography by Pawsh Studio}

{Special thanks to Jess Bell for her wonderful insights, to Cohen for being such a good model and to my fantastic photo assistant Sondra! xo}

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PET WELLNESS: HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG

Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-4We humans are very lucky, because dogs love us unconditionally. It’s in their DNA to give affection, which is a truly incredible quality. Of course, however, as with any relationship, there are two sides to the dog and human bond and there are a few things we can do to continually strengthen the bonds we have with our dogs.

While it is sometimes easy to get caught up with our hectic work schedules and social lives, here are some simple ways to improve your bond with your dog.

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #1:  THE FIVE MINUTE SNUGGLE
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-1Mornings are sometimes the most chaotic part of the day. The whole family is up and groggy, people are trying to make breakfast and shower (not at the same time!), do their hair, pack the kiddos off to school and shovel the driveway before work.

Don’t let your dog get lost in the hustle and bustle — take time for a quiet five minute snuggle. Snuggle in bed, on the couch with coffee or even in the backyard after their morning outing. This serene ritual will soon become something your dog looks forward to, especially if they are left home alone during the 9-5 hours. Plus it will help to calm your morning craziness.

(TIP: Employ the five minute snuggle at the end of the day as well, when you walk through the door. Before you check the mail, change into comfy clothes, make a snack or throw the tv on, take five and snuggle with your dog. After all, they’ve been waiting all day for you!)

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #2: PLAY OUTSIDE WITH YOUR DOG
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-6While dogs are very content indoors with their toys, beds and blankets, almost all pooches get extremely excited by the prospect of going outside! But don’t let your dog have all the fun running around — join in! Not only will joining in on their great outdoor antics be a lot of fun for you, but it will further associate you as a highly joyful presence in their lives and further bond you together through a happy state.

(Suggested outdoor dog activities: fetch, chase, rough house, throwing snowballs, playing with the garden hose spray.)

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #3: COOK WITH YOUR DOG
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-5We all have to make something for dinner, but did you know this daily chore can be a great way to spend extra time with your pupster? As you slice and dice away, being the culinary genius that you are, have a few dog-friendly fresh goodies on hand, such as tomatoes, carrots or other dog-friendly human foods.

Between stirring and sauteing, ask your dog to do tricks in return for pieces of chopped green pepper, carrots etc. Suddenly cooking supper is an extra hour your dog can look forward to spending with you!

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #4:  ENROLL IN AN OBEDIENCE CLASS
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-3Obedience classes aren’t just for puppies! Dogs of all ages can enroll at various dog training schools, providing a wonderful and educational opportunity to spend more time together.

Training a puppy is a classic way to create a bond, so why not repeat it once in a while as your dog matures? A brush up on basic obedience skills is never a bad thing — or, if you’re feeling ambitious, progress to advanced obedience classes!

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #5: CREATE YOUR OWN DOG GAMES
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-2Every dog has a different personality and as you know their sweet disposition the best, take some time to create a dog-friendly game that they will love! Make your own DIY dog toys, invent a game for when tv commercials are on, combine training with play — in other words use your imagination to invent a new stimulating activity that your dog will go bananas for!

PAWSH PERK: Been extra busy lately? Here are 5 more ways to reconnect with your dog!

{Huge thanks to my incredible friend and talented artist Tonya Pet Photography for photographing this vibrant installment of the “Pet Wellness” column. Be sure to visit her fantastic website for all sorts of other fun pet shoots!}

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This article was made possible by DogTrot Fitness — Canada’s exclusive distributor of the PetRun line of dog treadmills — the ideal solution if your dog doesn’t love dog parks.
dog-treadmills-dogtrot-fitness-pawsh-magazineAdequate exercise is equally important to your dog’s wellness as a healthy diet. Even if you can’t run WITH your dog, we can help you meet his exercise needs, regardless of weather. With running decks scaled to suit any stride, there’s a PetRun treadmill for every size of dog! WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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DOG HEALTH: 6 SIGNS YOUR DOG MAY BE IN PAIN

Pawsh-Magazine-Dog-Wellness-1It is never easy to learn that your dog is unwell. In fact it is one of the hardest things pet parents have to deal with. But how do you know when to take your dog to the vet? The answer is, of course, whenever you are unsure about your pet’s well being (it is always better to be safe than sorry). Yet there are some tell-tale things you can watch out for to help you make the call. Here are six simple signs you should constantly watch out for to tell if your dog is in pain…

1) Unusual movement
If you dog starts to limp, has trouble getting up or lags on their walks it may be cause for concern. Monitor your dog’s actions closely at all times, even when they are as fit as a fiddle, so that you can recognize if and when their abilities change.

2) Vocalizing
No, no, we don’t mean barking per se. If your dog starts to whimper or whine for no apparent reason, chances are they are trying to tell you something. So don’t brush their little voices off right away without paying true attention what might be bothering them. A trip to the vet may not be a bad idea.
Pawsh-Magazine-Dog-Wellness-23) Altered breathing
Heavy breathing, excessive panting or sudden snorting may be indications that something is not quite right internally. Just as though you came across a person having difficulty breathing, treat this symptom with caution and immediate medical attention.

4) Extreme sensitivity
If your dog begins to cringe when approached, touched or in any way handled, it’s probably safe to say that they are hurting in some way. Dogs with injured paws, for example, may try to bite if touched, not out of meanness, but as a way to try and protect their injury. If your dog acts out in this manner, completely out of character, don’t immediately scold them. Again, they may be trying to communicate something.
Pawsh-Magazine-Dog-Wellness-45) Change in appetite
All dogs love food, but if you notice that they are suddenly eating much more or far less than they’re usual serving of kibble, you may have reason to be alarmed. Monitor their eating habits closely so you can better inform the vet of any changes.
Pawsh-Magazine-Dog-Wellness-36) Change in coat condition
Sudden malting, excessive licking of a specific area or change in coat condition can all be earlier indications that something is wrong. It is a good idea to also keep an eye on your dog’s skin condition whenever grooming in case changes appear there also.

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DOG TREAT RECIPE: PEANUT BUTTER POPPERS!

No-Bake-Dog-treat-recipe-Pawsh-MagazineTeach your dog good habits by rewarding them with these easy, ooey-gooey 3-ingredient Peanut Butter Poppers! They’re a breeze to make and will be gobbled up in no time at all! Be warned, these tasty morsels are a little messy to make, but their no-bake composition totally makes up for it1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup natural stovetop popcorn
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a 1/2 tsp of all natural honey (optional)


Directions

1.  Pop popcorn in oil on stovetop and combine ingredients until popcorn is fully coated.

WHY POPCORN IS GOOD FOR DOGS

2.  Use a tablespoon to gently ball into small little clusters on wax paper. Don’t worry if the kernels get crushed. Add a touch of honey if your peanut butter isn’t sticky enough to hold everything together.

3.  Allow to set and serve (after good doggie behaviour, of course!)

PAWSH PERK: Pssst! The Pawsh newsletter comes out tomorrow and there is a brand new, exclusive dog-treat recipe in it, plus a sneak peek at our upcoming edition, super awesome Pawsh Studio promotions and so much more!
Sign up here to receive your copy!

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DOG TRAINING TIPS: HOW TO TEACH DOGS GOOD LEASH MANNERS

Pawsh-Magazine-Dog-leash-mannersTaking your dog for a walk seems like a no-brainer — it’s a good thing to do. But did you know that teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash benefits them physically, mentally and emotionally? Here’s the scoop…Pawsh-magazine-dog-leash-manners-2 Physical benefits of dog leash manners
The physical benefits of indulging in a lovely leashed walk are pretty straight forward; your dog gets to go out and about in the world in a safe manner, they burn some calories, they sniff a few intriguing smells and their little bodies get a workout.

Walking politely on a leash, however, also keeps your dog safe. If a dog is pulling wildly on leash, he runs the risk of injuring his neck or spine, eating things he shouldn’t off the street before you can get to him, tangling up other pedestrians and potentially getting stepped on. Not to mention as well that dogs who bolt like crazy to the end of their leashes and pull forcefully can run a higher risk of darting off a sidewalk and into a busy street.

All of these, of course, are very dangerous behaviours. Thus, teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash is overall better for their well-being.
Pawsh-Magazine-Dog-Leash-Manners-3 Pawsh-Magazine-dog-leash-manners-4Mental benefits of dog leash manners
Walking nicely on a leash takes a lot of training for a dog to master, which means this exercise requires a great deal of focus. Essentially, it is a regular workout for their doggy brains! Learning how to sit at crosswalks before proceeding, keeping to their walkers’ side and not straining on the leash requires that your dog pay close attention and practice their command recalls. In other words, leash manners provide a mental workout!

Being out for a leashed walk also offers regular socializing opportunities for your pupster, which is another important aspect of mental well being for them.
Pawsh-magazine-dog-leash-manners-5Emotional benefits of dog leash manners
Walking with your dog is a wonderful bonding activity for you and your canine sidekick. Dogs crave leadership and teaching your dog how to walk politely on their leash with you helps to establish a loving hierarchy between dog and person that your dog will look up to. This activity teaches respect and good manners.

Walking your dog regularly on leash also creates more time that you can spend together, thus naturally improving your relationship. Pawsh-magazine-dog-leash-manners-6While you are bound to get a little tangled from time to time while teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash, the physical, mental and emotional benefits of good leash manners are more than worth the training time.

{Huge thanks to my incredible friend and talented artist Tonya Pet Photography for photographing this vibrant installment of the “Pet Wellness” column. Be sure to visit her fantastic website for all sorts of other fun pet shoots!}

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This article was made possible by DogTrot Fitness — Canada’s exclusive distributor of the PetRun line of dog treadmills — the ideal solution if your dog doesn’t love dog parks.
PAWSH Banner 201311
Adequate exercise is equally important to your dog’s wellness as a healthy diet. Even if you can’t run WITH your dog, we can help you meet his exercise needs, regardless of weather. With running decks scaled to suit any stride, there’s a PetRun treadmill for every size of dog! WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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