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  • Separation Anxiety: 5 Steps/Ideas to Consider

    Separation Anxiety: 5 Steps/Ideas to Consider Separation anxiety is a popular topic when it comes to dog training, or raising a dog in general. I would be lying if I said that it's a behaviour that I find easy to tackle, especially as each case is different from the one before it. Whether it's due to the dog's age and for long the behaviour has been going on, or sometimes purely due to the dog's natural demeanour and personality. But before worrying about the possibility of separation anxiety in your new dog, or addressing it in your current dog, here are a few things to consider. To help prevent separation anxiety: 1. Make sure you're consistent with your dog's physical, mental and social enrichment outlets. A change, decrease or lack of consistency in these outlets can trigger different behavioural concerns, including anxiety as a whole. A dog who feels fulfilled, happy and mellow due to activities you do together is one that's more likely to react relatively calmly, to different situations. Has your dog practiced showing independence? 2. If your dog often feels the need to be really close to you, even when tired, you will want to go out of your way to slowly build and reinforce instances where your dog happens to give you space. Even if it's something as small as being in another room for a few minutes, to start. If your dog has a really tough time taking time and space apart from you when you're both home, try a different setting where doing so is a little easier for him, like during group play sessions or playdates. "The first step to correcting a mistake is patience." Are you using a crate or another small/restrictive area? 3. I am all in for crate training, however, crate training is the most successful with a dog that is already okay with being apart from you to some extent. Each dog is different but for a lot of them, being asked to be away from you AND in a small confined space can be a lot to handle at once. Work your way up, and until you're both ready, consider alternatives like dog sitting/boarding. Slow and steady always wins the race. 4. Whether you've worked your way up to having your dog stay comfortable on the crate, or free inside your home, if you want to leave you will need to start doing so gradually. Walk in and out randomly and for a few moments. Head out and come back in without saying or doing anything out of the ordinary. The less your dog feels a difference with you there vs away, the easier it'll be for him to adjust to the change. If your dog cries after you've walked out for 2 minutes, practice walking out and back in after 1 minute, and then 1 minute and 10 seconds, and 20 seconds, etc. Only practice makes perfect. 5. Continue practicing the slow increase in time apart, so that your dog can continue letting you know what he can handle. Separation is something that's not natural for most dogs, being as social as they are. But this doesn't mean it can't be trained, and at any age. In instances where you have no choice but to head out for a long period of time that you know your dog can't handle your best option is to have someone else be with your dog at your home or theirs. Separation Anxiety isn't easy. Tackling anxiety in general takes a lot of work. The important thing to remember is that our dogs need guidance, patience and understanding while they do their very best to make us happy and figure out the world around them!

  • (Podcast) #PetParentsAsk Ep. 9: Why Does My Puppy Pee So Often?

    "Why Does My Puppy Pee So Often?" Only had the new puppy for less than a week, and I am exhausted. She's five months old and as sweet as can be but needs to potty about every 30 minutes. Going to a vet for a checkup in the morning. I know it's a long process, but I need to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is a very common question, a very common concern. The main thing that stands out to me is that she's only had the puppy for a week, but the puppy's already five months. So this let me know that either the puppy has been, separated from the mother just recently, or, the puppy was home. Buy another family first and then rehome. Which could mean anything as far as the learned behavior. It's what's been practiced, what's been allowed, what's been encouraged. And, pottery training of course is, primary when puppies are this young and still very much learning. So if a puppy, whether they've lived with someone else or with me or regardless really, of their age, unless we're dealing with an adult dog, a puppy going to the bathroom every 30 minutes will really have me. Start by looking at the routine. And I don't mean so much their schedule or when they're being asked to go outside, but rather the routine as far as how often they drink water, how much water do they drink? Do they go, do they have accidents every 30 minutes? And how do we respond to that? That's what I mean by routine. But yes, more than anything. How are they getting their water and how much? That's where that's what I would start looking at. If my puppy is drinking, two litres of water, then it's pretty normal that they're going every 30 minutes. I don't want to, by any means restrict the amount of water that my puppy needs, but if I can reach out to my vet and say, I have a five-month-old. This pre, this energy level, this is the weather outside, it's really hot, it's really cold. This is how much, physical activity she does. This is how much food she eats. Potentially the vet can give you a bit of an idea as to how much water she should be drinking, but regardless of the amount, regardless of how you decide that amount, I would then correlate that to how often bathroom breaks are happening or even accidents as well, to get an idea of where the bladder is at right now. Cuz it could be that this puppy doesn't. Drink anymore, than they should. But yeah, for some reason is having to pee that often. So unless there's a UTI, which, it's a good thing that they're gonna go to the vet for the checkup. But if it's not a UTI, I would look as to how much water they're drinking and how often. I personally would rather have a dog water bottle. With a sticker that shows the daily intake. That way, if there are multiple people in your household, what you can do is have that sticker indicate that the daily amount is that. And so if people or family's providing a puppy with water, they're gonna make sure that they provide that daily amount. That's within that, sticker marker. And then, we make sure that one, the puppy gets enough water. Two, we know just how much. And if it's been a warm day, if the puppy's been doing a lot of things throughout the day and we know, she should be drinking more, then we also know, we may need to take her out an extra time today because she's had some, additional water. But if we don't know what that looks like, if we, don't actually have an idea of how much water a puppy is drinking, then it's really tough to work from that and to get a bit of a routine or a bit of an idea of what the bladder actually can handle in a more regulated environment.

  • (Quick Answer) Why Won’t My Dog Share His Toys With Me?

    Aside from it possibly being an object that is particularly special for them, your dog may be trying to get a game started that way (or think that by keeping something from you, something good will happen) and/or trying to let you know that they'd like to be provided with fun activities for their brain & body to focus on instead. What you should do if your dog isn't big on sharing his toys with you is practice sharing other, less valuable toys or objects, especially when your dog is feeling mellow or tired, and reinforce that with treats, to more easily create a relaxed and positive association with sharing.

  • (Podcast) #PetParentsAsk Ep. 8: Why Does My Puppy Only Pee in One Spot?

    "Why Does My Puppy Only Pee in One Spot?" Question about potty training. I often see advice from trainers to take the puppy to the same spot outside. But won't this teach them to go to only in that one spot? I understand that having a dedicated spot is very convenient, especially in bad weather when business needs to be done quickly. I'd like for the puppy to be able to potty outside in general, on walks, and not hold everything in until he gets the dedicated spot. Thank you in advance for your input. That's a very good question. Very, uh, specific. But when it comes to potty training, what I would recommend is, really taking a look at your puppy's demeanour. And I know that's not where a lot of trainers go when, asked about potty training, but if your puppy is needing to use one specific. Spot then it's not so much about the spot, it's about their comfort level. And so if I have a puppy that's a little bit more happy-go-lucky, a little bit more confident, a little bit more playful, more eager, more sure of himself, then I will likely have a much easier time going to new places, going to new areas, going to new locations, and having them do, or having them feel relaxed and at ease, comfortable enough to just potty there. And so what I'd recommend again is really look at the demeanour. If your puppies one that is rather shy, timid, unsure, then having that same spot can be very reassuring for them, can be very clear, indicator to them that they know what to do, where to do it, when to do it, and I would slowly start to transition my way out of that. I wouldn't rush it. If again, my puppy is one that's more eager, a lot more, confident, then you can likely push the boundaries a little bit more and go further out. Try new places, new locations, and you won't have much of an issue. But if yours is more of a. Shy pup, inexperienced, a little bit more nervous, and having that one spot maybe turn into two spots, and then eventually three without rushing would really be the key here, so that eventually your puppy does learn to generalize. Does learn to use multiple places and eventually just anywhere or grass in general. Of course, have it be the place for them to go potty.

  • (Quick Answer) Why Does My Dog Bury Things?

    Dogs love to! It's a common dog method to save an item for later use and a great way to burn some mental and physical energy. The best thing you can do about this is to provide your dog with digging outlets. You can allot them a specific digging zone in your backyard. Or you can encourage them to do it at a playground where there's sand, or at a park if there's an area where it's okay to dig the dirt there. Additionally, you can also try some of my DIY indoor enrichment activities, not only to help your dog burn energy in general but also because some of these activities will encourage your dog to dig indoors (mostly inside a cardboard box with towels/snuffling items).

  • (Quick Steps) How do you potty train a puppy?

    1. Make sure that you monitor their daily water intake to see to it that they're not drinking too much/out of boredom. 2. Log the amount of time between pees, even if it was an accident. This way you will know how much time your puppy's bladder can hold, in correlation to the amount of water he/she gets to drink daily 3. Slowly work on increasing the amount of time in between outdoor bathroom breaks. 4. After playing, sleeping, and eating provide your pup with a quick opportunity to pee & poo outside. 5. Really important one! Avoid using bells or other means to allow your puppy to let you know when he/she needs to go outside for a bathroom break. It's far better, for you and your dog's relationship, if your puppy learns that they don't need to prompt you to let them outside. Not only can this be something they use when they're bored, want attention, or want to do something outside that might not be a bathroom break, but it's a prompt-like behaviour that can then be carried to other scenarios, where your dog might feel like he has to do something, in order for you to react, like barking, pulling, jumping, etc. And so it's best if your pup learns that all they have to do is wait and that you know exactly when they need what.

  • (Podcast) #PetParentsAsk Ep. 7: How Do I Reward My Puppy Without Getting Them Excited?

    "How Do I Reward My Puppy Without Getting Them Excited?" New puppy mom as of a few weeks ago and saying that it's been hard is an understatement. I understand the concept of praising good behavior when it happens, and we're getting better at it. Fantastic. If the good behavior is going to create downtime on her own or to go sit on her dog bed and wait for me, how do I praise her without making her move? How do I praise her without getting her excited? A very good question. And, a bit of a catch-22, right? If you are seeing your puppy do something that like, so like a sit a down, they're walking with you nicely. They're greeting people nicely. Whatever it is, anything that you love doing, you wanna of course reward And an easy way is with food, with, a little. Piece of a treat that they like. And obviously, that gets your puppy feeling good, feeling potentially excited. But what do you do when, what they're choosing to do and you want to praise is them going to their crate, them resting them laying down? Especially for a young puppy, it doesn't take a lot to get them very excited. And so how do you reward that? And my answer to that would be the reward is the rest. If your puppy is choosing. To go to their crate for downtime or to go to their dog bed, is not something that a lot of puppies can do, and that could be for different reasons. Some puppies really just have a lot of energy. Some puppies are potentially not getting much engagement and enrichment outlets, and so it's hard for them to just want to have any downtime period. But if your puppy is choosing downtime, Chances are you've done things very well and or they're a low energy pup, and because you provided outlets, physical, mental enrichment, socialization, They're then much more likely to choose downtime to go and sit down, rest somewhere, relax. And so if you want to reward that, the reward is that they get to relax. The reward is that they're happy to choose downtime they're happy to go on their bed. That is a huge reward. We all go to bed at night. being happy that we had a good day. And the reward is that we get to rest and get ready for the next day. So what you can do because it's still good to reward a puppy, definitely, a young puppy's likely going to lay down to sleep. So just let them rest. But as they get a little bit older, you'll notice that they go and rest or lay down and not necessarily. Fall asleep as much right away. And so if you want to reward something, reward that. If they're choosing to just lay down or if they're just. Relaxing somewhere. Whether or not you've done activities prior. Give them a little snack. Give them a little something as they get a little bit older to still let them know, Hey, I like that you lay down. I like that you are choosing to spend time alone. I like that you're giving me space. I like that you are not doing things that I dislike. And so as the puppy gets a bit older and they're choosing to do things that you like, Then be a little bit more interactive in your reward, your praise, your voice, the snacks, food, water, is a great reward as well. Until then, the reward is that they're getting to rest, and you should feel proud that your puppy is looking to rest, looking to have some downtime as a result of everything you've done well.

  • (✅ Step by Step) Do This When Your Dog Barks at the Door

    Welcome to one of our Step by Step articles! In these articles, we do our best to avoid lengthy explanations and jump straight into the actions you need to take, to tackle different concerns you may have. Please note: To gain access to this and all of my premium blog posts, you will need to use the Subscribe Now button below. The next time your dog barks at the door, try the following steps: 1. "Bark bark bark!" As your dog starts to bark at random sounds or noise from outside and goes towards the door, start calmly walking in that direction, without saying anything. 2. Once you get to the door, wait for your dog to stop barking (and maybe even a bit of eye contact from them to you) and say "Thank you for letting me know!" 3. Once your dog has stopped barking and you feel as though they're communicating with you through their eye contact/more of their attention, start guiding him back towards the area of your home where you both were before. You can either gesture your dog to walk with you or you can use a leash to help them. (Using a leash can be useful especially if you feel as though Step 2 will be very difficult and lengthy for your dog to go through. If your dog has a tough time barking and communicating with you, you can still try waiting a little for that moment where you feel like he's talking to you, before using the leash to help him walk indoors. Walking indoors can effectively help your dog regulate his emotions and reconnect you both.) 4. After you've guided your dog back to where you were and the noise has ceased, he will likely still feel a little agitated from the door noise, but if he's no longer barking, take this opportunity to tell him "Ok! Let's go check it out.", as a way to let him know that because he chose to stop barking and came back with you, that this all results in you both checking out what the concern might be (dogs bark mostly out of concern/feeling alert) without needing to bark. Once you get to the door, you can put a leash on your dog, slightly open the door, no more than 1-2cm and let your dog sniff the air and see that nothing to be worried about is there anymore. If your dog barks, repeat steps 1-2 again. If your dog doesn't bark, you can thank them once more. 5. After you've checked things out, guide your dog towards doing something else like an enrichment game or any fun game you both enjoy, to help your dog shake off any uneasy feelings. Bonus step! 6. Practice checking out the door together as often as possible, indoors, even and ESPECIALLY when your dog isn't barking or caring about what's going on outside. This will help show your dog that it's okay to check out the door, but that there's no need to do it in an agitated and barking manner.

  • What Is the Right Dog Breed for Me?

    The best way to find out what breed is the ideal one for you is to read about as many dog breeds as you can, their breed origins, and what they're bred for. If you're considering a mix, make sure that you learn about each breed included in the mix. A great place to do so is the American Kennel Club website. You will find on there that each breed is displayed with its history and traits but also categorized into different types of groups (Sporting, Working, etc). All of which are key details to take into account. In a way, these overall but important details may prepare you for the type of dog you might get but don't forget that dogs are also individuals, and it's very well possible that you might end up with a dog whose personality completely contradicts everything you've learned! This is all simply part of the fun when bringing a dog home. Another place to learn even more about a particular dog breed is breed-specific Facebook groups, as you will be able to ask questions directly to pet parents that live (and sometimes breed) the breed you're interested in! Lastly, take into strong consideration what your lifestyle is, as well as the mental and physical requirements of each breed. The common mistake I see pet parents make is they primarily focus on the aesthetics of the dog (including whether they are or aren't hypoallergenic) or if they're considered family/child-friendly, when they should first and foremost be focusing on everyone's interest to match the potential and drive the dog or puppy their bringing home might come with. Whether you're considering a small or large breed, a puppy, or a rescue, each breed has its own traits. And these are traits that you will not be able to train out of them, but that you will rather want to make sure you provide outlets and encouragement for, in order to best fulfill your dog's needs so that they can then have a happier time giving you everything you want.

  • How Can I Make It So My Dog Likes His Crate?

    When it comes to crate training, and the overall association with dogs, there’s a common misconception that a create is meant to provide your dog with timeouts or help them understand that they’ve done something wrong or that you’re not happy with. And so if you’re hoping to make it so your dog enjoys spending time in his or her crate, you want to make sure you begin with the understanding that your dog or puppy’s crate needs to mean the same thing that your home and bedroom mean to you. Sure, you can go to your home to take a break from the outside world or life in general, and sure you can go to your room when things aren’t going well and take a break there too. But the difference with that and the misconception about dog’s crates is that it’s nearly impossible for your dog to fully understand why they got placed in their crate. Rather, what is most likely to happen is that your dog is associating going inside their crate with a not-so-positive experience. This is ultimately what makes dogs not want to spend time inside of it. Another reason can be their personality, energy level/drive, and other, more individual reasons that are best explored with a private dog trainer. But let’s dive in and take a look at some things you can do today to help your dog enjoy the idea of their crate: 1. This is the most important one! Make your dog's crate available to them when they feel relaxed, mellow, and tired from activities they've done. This way, you can associate how they feel (rest, mellow, relaxed) with being inside the crate. 2. After your dog has burned some physical energy with a game like fetch or tug and pull, help them settle and relax by hiding small pieces of their kibble and/or treats inside their crate with towels, for them to go in and snuffle. This will help slow their brain down and encourage them to spend time there, in a calm mindset. 3. Get a crate cover, and make sure that your dog's bed doesn't cover the entire area. The crate cover will help give your dog's crate more of a den-like feel. And ensuring that your dog's crate has uncovered sections will be helpful so that if he is feeling to warm, he can lay down directly on the crate tray, as opposed to his bed.

Photo of me talking to a pet parent while holding their dog on a leash.

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