Quick Training Tip #4

August 1, 2009

Hula, up for adoption, runs in our play yard.

Proper exercise is vital to a dog’s physical and mental health.  Dogs can learn better and even behave better when they’ve been getting routine work-outs.  (Ever notice your dog getting a little rowdy if he doesn’t get his usual walks for even a day or two?)

What’s surprising to most people is that walking a mile a day is not sufficient exercise for most dogs.  Dogs need to run, to jump, to play,  really get some aerobics in!

4 Fun Ways to Really Exercise Your Dog!

1.  Get your dog jog on!
Jogging is great aerobic exercise for both people and dogs, and all that’s needed is a good pair of shoes!  If jogging isn’t something you and your dog already do, be sure to slowly work up your stamina over several weeks, don’t push it too much!  (Jogging is also great motivation for you and your dog to work on “heel”.)

2.  Take a long-line walk on the wild side!
Berkshire County is a great place to find hiking and walking trails of all kinds!  Woods, fields, streams, mountains, you name it, we got it.  Hitch your pup up on a long training lead and get out there to explore.  The long lead will give them room to safely romp and run, even if you are walking.  Training leads come in lengths as long as 50 feet, but we think the 20 or 30 foot ones are more practical and easier to use.

3.  Find some pup pals!
Got a dog who just loves other dogs and plays well with others?  Does your friend?  How about your neighbor?  Consider getting together for regular play-dates.  These can keep your canine friend well-exercised and well-socialized!

4.  Go Fetch!
Got a dog that loves to fetch?  Do you always play in the same part of your yard, with the same ol’ slobbery tennis ball?  Mix it up!  You can play fetch on land, in the water, or in the snow!  Trade in that ball for a plush toy, a squeaky, a Kong, or you could even splurge on a retrieving dummy!

The proper amount of exercise for a dog depends on their age, size, body condition, and health.  Always pay attention to your dog’s body, and when in doubt, don’t over-do it!  Also, summertime can get awfully hot here in the Berkshires!  Help your pup keep cool and safe from the heat by exercising early in the morning or later in the evening.

If you feel like you can’t provide your dog with enough exercise by yourself, you’re not alone!  Consider hiring a dog walker or enlisting your friends or relatives as your dog’s personal trainers!


Quick Training Tip #2

March 24, 2009

Down!  Down!

Are you asking your dog to lay down or to stop jumping up on something?

It can be hard for dogs to understand commands that sound the same but mean different things.

If your dog learns that “down” means to lay down on the ground, he may think you’re asking a bit much when he’s in the middle of counter-cruising for a bite of your lonely sandwich or clambering to reach Aunt Flo’s face for a kiss.

Make your desires very clear to your pup by teaching him different command words for laying down and for putting all four feet on the floor.

We use “DOWN” to ask for the dog to lay down and “OFF” to ask the dog to put all four of his feet on the ground.


Daisy demonstrates "down".

Maxx demonstrates a moment when "off" is handy.

Maxx shows us a moment when "off" comes in handy.

Happy training!

Quick Training Tip

February 5, 2009

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“Puppy, sit!  Sit!  Sit down! Siiiiit! Sit!!!”

Does this sound familiar?

What was that?  Down?  Maybe next time.

What was that? Down? Maybe next time.

If you’d like your dog to listen to you the first time you ask him to perform a behavior…

Say each command only once!

Wait a bit for your dog to do it.  If, after a few seconds (Maybe up to 5), he doesn’t perform the behavior, stay silent, and gently guide him into position using a treat.  Once he does it, let him have the treat and praise like crazy! 

Why not repeat yourself? 
Every time you say a command and your dog doesn’t listen, he learns that he doesn’t have to listen when you ask him something!  Ensure that he performs a behavior after every command, and he’ll catch on.


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