ConsumersAdvocate.org released a new thorough guide to understanding the current state of the dog food industry. In the guide, they explain how everything you read in the ingredients and nutrition facts sections on dog food packaging is regulated by the FDA. To better explain, they even included this helpful infographic on how to read dog food packaging.
The dog food industry is a mess. Frequent recalls over the last decade and a half have eroded public trust in a business long plagued by accusations of unsavory fillers and mystery meats. In a desperate search for safer formulas, consumers have turned to alternative diets, some of which could inadvertently put dogs at risk for significant health issues. Read the full article here:
How to get attentive, enthusiastic responses from your pup in training exercises and everyday life:
Build your relationship with your puppy through fun, structured play, and training sessions. If you and your pup enjoy learning and exploring new things together every day, you will see amazing results in your training.
Exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization are keys to raising a happy, well-behaved puppy. Regular play and new experiences should be a part of every pup’s routine. Under-stimulated dogs get into a lot more trouble and can’t seem to relax.
Practice training once or twice a day for 5-15 minutes each session. Make this your average. If you prefer more, go for it! Integrating training exercises into your everyday activities will make a big difference (see #5 below for examples of this).
Practice in different environments.Start with success in a non-distracting place (e.g., a quiet bedroom) and gradually work your way up to more challenging situations (e.g., the park).
Vary your rewards. Dogs get bored just like we do. Use a variety of toys, touch, praise, food and real-life rewards. For example, request that your pup Sit before you: play a game with a toy, open a door for her, invite her into your lap for petting, deliver a meal, give her attention when you come home, or let her out of the crate/pen.
Here is a basic way to teach your dog to play fetch.
Retrieve often works best after you have established the first 2 games of stalk/chase and tug.
Choose a toy that your puppy likes, but it shouldn’t be so exciting that she just wants to keep it to herself. She should think that the toy is more fun when you play with it, too!
Start your Retrieve from a place where your pup normally loves to bring her toys (e.g., her bed).
Get her really excited about the toy, then toss it a few feet away. When she grabs it, praise and entice her to come back to you by making fun sounds such as kisses or a drum roll on the floor. Hint: Gently pulling on a leash often helps to get a puppy coming in your direction.
If your pup comes to you without the toy, praise lavishly anyway. Then, grab the toy yourself and repeat step 4, more enthusiastically.
When your pup brings toys to you, don’t grab for the toy right away; instead, praise and touch her in a way she loves. This will make her want to keep “sharing” toys with you and bring them to you as a “safe” place to enjoy them, rather than run away from you with them.
Once your pup is comfortable bringing toys back to you, reward her not only with praise, but by immediately engaging in more play!
Tug: Once your dog starts grabbing at a toy, starting a game of tug is easy. Just gently pull the toy and your pup is likely to pull back! Soft toys are best for this. Below we will teach you how to play tug with rules so that your dog learns how to control their biting and jumping, and “say please” in order to continue the game.
The games we teach are super-fun and great for releasing energy, but they must also teach communication and rules. For example, never allow your pup to grab your hands or clothing. Whenever he does this, immediately fold your arms and turn away from the game as if you are completely turned off. For an instant, your pup will be surprised, stop mouthing you, and look up as if to say, “What did I do?” In that instant, you can praise and re-engage the game.
Your pup should always be supervised or confined. Supervise your pup closely or have him in the crate (or pen if you are using wee-wee pads). Supervised means if your pup has an accident, you will see it taking place. The only exception to this rule is if you know your pup has just “done all of his business” and now has an “empty tank.” Then, you may be able to get away with a brief period of less intense supervision, but never no supervision.
Take your pup to the right place as often as he needs to go. Learn your pup’s patterns and set up your routine accordingly. Watch for sniffing, whining, circling, panting, or suddenly wandering away from you. These are signs that he needs to “go.” Take him to his place to go! Also, take him after he: chews heavily on a toy, plays hard, or wakes from a nap.
Give your pup a treat *immediately* after he “goes” in the right place. The right place is going to be outside or the wee-wee pad, depending on what you are training for at any particular time. Choose one high-value food treat that you will only use for going to the bathroom in the right place. This makes it more memorable. Hint: If you are using wee-wee pads, and you eventually want your pup to “go” outside only – do not offer a food reward for going on the pads. Save that for outside. For now, offer lots of verbal praise instead.
If you catch your puppy “going” in the wrong place, interrupt him with “eh! eh!” or one sharp clap, then:
If you think he will relieve himself further, immediately take him outside or to the wee-wee pad. If/when he finishes in the right place, praise him warmly and give him that special food treat. Or…
If you think he has already relieved himself enough that he is not going to “finish” outside or on the wee-wee pad (this is the most likely scenario), then be sure to confine him immediately after you catch him in the act. This is so that he does not run over to play with your towel while you clean up the mess.
Remember, when you catch him in the act, DO NOT yell harshly – you only need to interrupt the unwanted behavior – you never want to frighten your pup to the point where he thinks he should hidefrom you.
NEVER scold your pup if you find a mess AFTER he has had an accident in the wrong place. He will NOT learn anything from this after-the-fact correction, and it will make him nervous, which makes training far more difficult.
Always clean up accidents as quick as you can with an odor neutralizer, such as Nature’s Miracle or equivalent. Household cleaners are not the same as pet odor neutralizers!