Dog Walking Etiquette

Have you ever considered there is a certain way you, as a pup parent, should behave when walking your furry child? Often, a heavy focus is placed on the way a pooch behaves (or should behave when properly trained). However, with something like dog-walking which requires two to tango, there is a certain etiquette that the puppy parent should follow as well. Here’s a helpful list of do’s and don’ts to help you master dog-walking, prevent potential problems with other dogs and people you encounter on your walks, and make it an overall enjoyable experience for both you and your pup!

DO…

Always make sure you have bags with you to pick up after your dog. It’s impolite to leave your dog’s waste somewhere that others might step in it, not to mention it’s unsightly and doesn’t exactly smell pleasant! Always pick up after your dog and dispose of his poop in a public trash can or your own. Every time.

  • Use a leash. Even if you believe your dog will listen to you and immediately return to your side when you call, you can’t always predict what you might encounter on your walks. A squirrel, cat or another dog might catch your dog’s attention and distract him from your commands, a car could come around the corner suddenly, or your dog might startle someone else as he bounds up to greet them. Keep your dog safely by your side so you can control his movements, and potentially remove him from any dangers that come his way.
  • Respect other pedestrians. And remember, not everyone loves your dog as much as you do! Although you might be used to certain behaviors of your pooch at home, everyone raises their puppies differently, and may not approve of your dog’s behavior. For example, even if you allow jumping up at home, others you encounter may not want your dog jumping on them. Even the biggest dog lover may take issue with your pup charging, jumping or slobbering all over them. The strangers you encounter probably have no idea what your dog is like, so respect them by keeping your pup on a close leash.
  • Change course when necessary. Keep an eye on other dog walkers and assess if they have control of their dogs. Is that dog walking politely beside his owner, or is he dragging his owner down the street, ignoring all commands? Or, do you see another potential source of trouble up ahead? Sometimes you might see something you’d rather avoid. Use your best judgment and remove yourself and your dog from a potentially dangerous situation when you feel it’s necessary by crossing the street or making a turn. It’s also a good idea to explain yourself if you get close enough to another person you’re trying to avoid. Simply smile and say “He’s jumpy with other dogs,” or, “She gets loud when she meets new pups.” With open communication, the other party should understand kindly.

DON’T…

  •  Escalate a situation if one arises. Dogs will naturally sense your mood and anxiety level, so stay calm and lead by example. If an encounter with another person or dog starts to go south, the best idea is to pull your dog away and walk in the opposite direction. Getting involved in a heated argument with someone will only serve to rile up your dog and make things worse.
  • Be careless when holding your dog’s leash. Simply having your dog on a leash isn’t always enough; controlling the leash and using it to lead the way can prove to be crucial. Take a break from texting or being glued to your phone as awareness of your surroundings, including people, dogs, cars and anything else in your vicinity is paramount to you and your dog’s safety. The last thing you want is for your dog to wrap his leash around someone’s legs, or for him to get tangled up with another dog’s leash (especially if that other dog isn’t very keen on sharing his personal space). Keep your dog’s leash short when in a busy area to give you more control and to keep him out of trouble.
  • Punish your dog. Stay in control of your dog and you likely won’t have to discipline him. Even when you are changing course or preventing your dog from doing something wrong, a simple firm grip on the leash will do. By staying calm with a firm tone, you will communicate successfully with your dog and lead him in another direction.

Remember, being consistent is the best way to master any training-required skill, including dog walking. Start leash training your dog at a young age so that they have these skills down pat by the time they are ready to go on adventures with you! Following these tips will ensure that you and your pooch stay safe and have fun.

Reining in Dogs with Wanderlust

We’ve all seen the infamous “Lost Dog” posters from distraught owners longing to see their furry loved one again. Unfortunately, having a dog run away is a reality many dog-owners face at one point or another. But if your dog bolts from the home, then it might take some extra training to keep him from getting hurt, stolen or worse. Your pup belongs home and safe in your loving arms.

Understanding the Behavior
We all know that dogs like to run. But, why? Is your warm, loving home not good enough? On the contrary, the problem typically has nothing to do with the owner, but rather with the dog’s own natural instincts. Dogs may run away for a number of reasons including boredom, predatory drive or distraction. For example, a dog left alone in the yard for hours without anyone to play with might escape out of boredom, curious of what the outside world has to offer. Like humans, dogs are creatures with social needs, and thus might seek out social stimulation if that need cannot be fulfilled at home. A dog ready to mate, especially a male, un-neutered dog, is prone to roaming as well. After all, he’s got to spread those doggy genes somehow! Lastly, another common reason dogs run away is they have too much energy to contain. Oftentimes owners leave their dogs alone in the yard thinking that they’re doing them a favor, but really, without a companion, dogs will soon grow bored. Especially for dogs who require exercise, being alone in the yard can be frustrating and therefore, a jog around the block can be a much more attractive option. Keep a watchful eye on breeds that are especially prone to wanderlust, including the Siberian Husky, Afghan Hound, terriers, Basset Hound, Great Pyrenees, Puggle, Weimaraner, Schnauzer, Vizsla, shepherds, Alaskan Malamute, Dachshund, Samoyed and Beagle.

Corrective Training
For the owners whose dogs have a taste for wanderlust, there is hope and help. One of the easiest ways to stop your dog from running away is to identify the cause of the behavior. Is he bored or lonely? Then, schedule plenty of playtime every day (the duration depends on the breed, individual personality and physical needs of the dog) and give him tasks to keep mentally and physically alert. Hormonal? Have him neutered to reduce the urge to roam for mating. Or, if your dog is female, have her spayed so that she doesn’t attract male dogs while in heat. Too much energy? Make sure your dog gets the appropriate amount of daily exercise for his type. The following tips can further help your dog stay safe:

• Train your dog to not leave without permission by holding him on a leash and repeatedly giving him the “sit-stay” command when you open the gate or door.
• Take your dog on visits to a local dog park to give him the socialization he needs, both with dogs and other humans.
• Secure your yard with a high fence or gate (ensure the fence extends a few feet underground if you have a digger such as a Husky).
• Make home an ideal place for your dog to be, with his own designated comfort spots and a bowl of clean water throughout the day.
• If you must leave him alone, give your dog a few toys to keep him busy, rotating them periodically to give the impression of something new and exciting every time. Or even better, drop him off at a trusted friend’s house or doggy daycare if you’re away from the house for extended periods of time.
• Finally, do not punish your dog once he returns from his excursion. This will only teach him to dread rather than look forward to his return home.

Having a dog that constantly runs away can be a real cause for anxiety in owners, and it’s not something that can be changed overnight. But, rest assured that with consistent training and positive reinforcement, your dog will see you as a loving parent and his home as a comfort zone, from whom he wouldn’t want to stray.

What is The Smartest Dog Breed?

If you’re looking for a new best friend with an intellect to match your own, perhaps you want to consider bringing home one of the smartest dog breeds. These brainy breeds have excelled in all kinds of different roles, from herding livestock to search and rescue duties. Some have even been movie stars!

Fans of these breeds are often drawn to them because they each have strong personalities and seemingly human-like expressions. However, sharing your life with an intelligent creature does have some hangups. Namely, they like to think for themselves!

That said, if you’re looking for a versatile pet with the potential to learn just about anything you’re willing to teach her, one of these breeds may be right for you!

1. Border Collie

Border Collie
The Border Collie’s intelligence makes her highly-trainable, and quick to learn.

Originally bred to herd sheep, the Border Collie consistently ranks as one of the world’s smartest dog breeds. She has an inquisitive facial expression and will often cock her had to the side when you speak to her, leaving the impression that she truly understands what you’re saying. In fact, Chaser the Border Collie has learned over 1000 different words!

The Border Collie’s intelligence makes her highly-trainable, and quick to learn. With their lightning reflexes and eagerness to please, BCs excel at obedience and agility trials.

The BC’s smarts can also get her into trouble. She has workaholic tendencies, and if you don’t give her a job to do, she’ll find one on her own… it just might not be one you approve of. She may take it upon herself to escape your yard and herd the neighborhood children!

A tired Border Collie is a dream come true. As long as she gets enough exercise, your BC will be the most affectionate and obedient companion you could ask for!

2. German Shepherd

German Shepherd
The courageous German Shepherd is known for a variety of roles such as livestock herder, drug and bomb sniffer, and search and rescue assistant.

The German Shepherd may not be quite as energetic as the Border Collie, but she has a resume that would make most working dogs jealous! These courageous canines have filled roles as livestock herders, drug and bomb sniffers, search and rescue assistants, and more! In fact, the German Shepherd known as Rin Tin Tin was a famous Hollywood actor!

Even though she’s had all kinds of high-profile jobs in the past, the German Shepherd still makes an exceptional family pet.

The German Shepherd is a noble breed who is intensely loyal to her family. She is athletic and energetic as well as brainy, and particularly enjoys interactive tasks. Training your GSD will be easy, as she would do anything to make you happy.

3. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever’s even temperament has earned her all kinds of important jobs including therapy dog, seeing eye dog, and police dog.

The Labrador is one of the world’s most versatile breeds, and also one of the smartest! She is intelligent and easy to train, but usually not as high strung as some of the other smartest dog breeds!

The Lab’s reliable, even temperament has earned her all kinds of important jobs including therapy dog, seeing eye dog, or police dog!

Of course, like any brainy dog, she may become destructive or mischievous if she doesn’t have enough to keep her mind busy. That said, the Labrador Retriever makes a wonderful, reliable companion because of her ability to adapt to just about any situation.

4. Poodle

Poodle
The Poodle learns exceptionally fast and loves to show off her skills.

The Poodle truly has it all: athleticism, beauty, and intellect! She has a fantastic personality too. Where other brainy breeds occasionally have stubborn streaks, the Poodle’s main priority is making you happy. She learns exceptionally fast and loves to show off her skills.

The fact that she is a people pleaser means the Poodle is well suited to working as a therapy or service dog, though, she’s just as content to be a family pet! Your Poodle will bond to you quickly, and may even suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. She makes a devoted bestie who will never leave your side!

5. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

pembroke welsh corgi
The Corgi is a free thinker and tends to have a stubborn streak.

Corgi puppies are often adored across social media for their fox-like faces and alert expressions, but it may surprise you to learn that Corgis are one of the smartest dogs out there!

Because she’s so bright, training your Corgi should be an easy task. However, just because she knows the commands doesn’t mean she will obey them. She is a free thinker and tends to have a stubborn streak.

Like many herding dogs, the Corgi has workaholic tendencies and is happiest when she has a job to do. If you don’t have any livestock for her to corral she will try to round up your children or other pets. Despite her compact size, your Corgi needs plenty of exercise to entertain her active mind (and body).

As long as you provide her with an outlet for her energy and spend plenty of quality time with her, your Corgi will make an affectionate and devoted pal.

Quiet Dog Breeds: 5 Canines Who Won’t Disturb The Peace

Dogs may bark for all kinds of different reasons. Some pups are natural watchdogs and take it upon themselves to alert you whenever they sense a disturbance in their environment. It may be annoying, but just know they’re only trying to help! Other breeds have active minds and may be prone to bark if they don’t get enough mental stimulation or exercise. Their barks are merely a reminder that they need more one on one time with you! Some pups are deeply sensitive and may bark out of anxiety or fear, particularly when they are left alone for long periods of time.

While just about any dog breed may bark for one or more of the reasons above, certain breeds are naturally calm and quiet. Remember, it’s always important to consider the needs of your dog in order to bring out the best in her. Even a quiet breed may begin to bark if she doesn’t get enough exercise or attention!

That said, if you live in an apartment building or have young children that need frequent naps, you can count on the breeds below not to disturb the peace.

1. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog
The even-tempered Bernese Mountain Dog has an imposing bark, but you aren’t likely to hear it on a regular basis.

The even-tempered Bernese Mountain Dog has an imposing bark, but you aren’t likely to hear it on a regular basis. These gentle giants are goofy and animated when with their families. They may be aloof with strangers, but their calm and easygoing nature makes them unreliable watchdogs. Though, their size may be enough to deter anyone with bad intentions. If you’re looking for a quiet and fun-loving family pet, the Berner is happy to be a lapdog, even at 120 pounds!

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Many small dogs are said to be “yappy,” but in the case of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Many small dogs are said to be “yappy,” but in the case of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, this couldn’t be further from the truth. These Spaniels may have a Royal name, but they aren’t high maintenance; they are cheerful, adaptable pups who thrive on human attention. Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will be just as happy to read a book with you as she is to go for a  walk. She may bark when a stranger comes to the door, but will quickly make friends with anyone who comes to visit.

3. French Bulldog

French Bulldog
She’ll raise the alarm when someone comes to the door, but otherwise, the Frenchie doesn’t bark much.

The playful and energetic French Bulldog is well loved for her adaptability. She’s just as happy as a house dog as she is living on a rural acreage, just as long as she gets to be by your side! She’ll raise the alarm when someone comes to the door, but otherwise, the Frenchie doesn’t bark much. Because they are so versatile, French Bulldog puppies make great pets for inexperienced dog owners. They’re a resilient, tolerant breed who will forgive you quickly. This quality also makes them a popular choice for families with young children; they’ll put up with ear pulling, and won’t bark while the baby is napping!

4. Australian Shepherd

australian shepherd
The brainy Australian Shepherd is a devoted, trainable companion, but doesn’t excel at being a watchdog.

The brainy Australian Shepherd is renowned for being a devoted, trainable companion. The only thing this breed doesn’t excel at is being a watchdog. Aussies are typically upbeat and playful companions. They may bark when bored, frustrated, or anxious. Taking your Aussie for plenty of walks and engaging her in playtime will ensure that she doesn’t annoy your neighbors.

5. Shih Tzu

shih tzu
After a couple of obligatory barks, Shih Tzus are sure to quickly befriend whoever has come to the door.

Shih Tzus have been bred as companion dogs for thousands of years. They may be petite, but these lively pups can easily fill a room with their bold personalities. Shih Tzu puppies thrive on human attention, and bond quickly with their people. They are alert and may take on the role of watchdog. Though, after a couple of obligatory barks, they are sure to quickly befriend whoever has come to the door. These pups have historically been companions to royal families, but they aren’t a pretentious breed. Shih Tzus are known for being highly adaptable to just about any lifestyle. The only thing this breed really can’t tolerate is being left alone for extended periods of time.

How to Help Your Puppy Learn Its Name

The first thing that you want to teach your puppy is his or her name. Understanding his or her name will be the basis for all the commands and lessons that come later.  However, teaching your puppy its name is not as simple as repeating their name. Many owners make the mistake of repeating the puppy’s name in too many different situations.

Calling the puppy’s name when scalding, praising, and teaching will confuse the puppy rather than teach it. Today we’re going to talk about how to help your puppy learn its name — in addition, working to discuss how to pick the right name and when you should use his or her name to begin with.

Picking the Right Name

Our dog’s names say a lot about who we are. That’s why we take so much time when choosing a name. Websites online are devoted to helping you pick your dog’s name, whether popular or unique. So, how do you stand out, and how do you pick the perfect name?

teach a puppy their name

The most obvious part is your personal preference. However, there’s more to it than that. To pick a dog’s name, you must think a little scientifically. Dogs respond to certain sounds more than others, for example. You must also think about who you know and if that impacts your decision.

Short & Choppy Sounds

When choosing your puppy’s name, you should first think about the length and sound. Dogs prefer short and choppy names over long soothing ones. Remember, your dog’s name serves as an attention cue. Their name is something that they should always respond to by looking at you, and longer names can make hearing and distinguishing that cue more difficult.

Long Name Better Short Option
Sebastian Bast
Huckleberry Huck
Santiago Saint

Hard Consonants

In addition to short and choppy names, you should also think about adding hard consonants to your puppy’s name. Hard consonant sounds such as “C” or “T”  can help your dog distinguish their name from the surrounding noise. Try to make sure that the name ends with hard sounds as well. This will make it much easier to distinguish when yelled in a dog park or public space.

Soft Name Better Hard Option
Peter Pete
Chuckles Chuck
Buddy Bud

Unique Names

The final consideration for choosing your dog’s name is the uniqueness of the name. While you don’t want the name to be hard to remember, you don’t want it to blend in with commands or family names.

teach a puppy their name

Some people think that you shouldn’t choose human names for your pet. This can lead you to assign too many human qualities to a dog. However, many people still pick up the Strand, and a good compromise can be using a grandparent name like “Marv.” This will also help to ensure that your dog won’t later share a name with a family friend.

When to Use Their Name

The biggest mistake that dog owners make when teaching a puppy its name is to use it at the wrong times. Using your puppy’s name should be an attention-grabbing command. When you say his or her name, it should only mean, “I’m talking to you. Look and listen.” Having this understanding with your pet will build a solid foundation for safety and further teaching.

For example, if you throw the ball and it bounces into the road. An untrained dog might run into the road and get harmed. However, if you train your dog to stop, look, and listen when you say their name, then your dog can be spared from harm.  Furthermore, if you can teach your dog to love when their name is called, then you will have a much easier time training them further.

Yes List:

  • When you need their attention
  • Positively and encouraging.
  • Before issuing a separate command.

When Not to Use Their Name

Many people use their pet’s name as a correction tool. Shouting angrily in punishment or calling the dog back using their name. During these situations, your pet will learn to associate their name with punishment and negative actions. You do not want this to happen. Should this happen, your pet will ignore your calls and won’t turn to give you his or her attention.

Once your dog learns that their name can often mean a punishment then they have no incentive to come back. For the best results, you should only use your dog’s name positively and calmly. His or her name should not be a “come” command or a punishment. Always have another word for that. For example, “Bast … [pause] … Come!”

No List:

  • Never as a punishment.
  • Not as a recall mechanism.
  • Never use negatively.

How to Teach a Puppy Their Name

Teaching a puppy his or her name is a very simple task. In reality, they will learn their name so long as you use it often enough. The important factor is making sure they learn it in the right context. Setting goals and having a clear understanding of what they need to get from their name will ensure the proper outcome.

Get Their Attention

Start-process by sitting in a quiet room in your home alone with your puppy. You should have no distractions, and a big bag of treats by your side. Make sure that your puppy is rested and calm before beginning a training session. You don’t want an overly tired, hyper, or distracted puppy when you begin.

First, say your puppy’s name just once, in a happy tone. You want your voice to convey the need for their attention. If your puppy doesn’t respond, that’s okay; they do not know their name yet. Take a pause, then clap and say their name again in a positive and happy tone. This will help to get their attention period

Mark & Reward

As soon as your new puppy looks to you with his or her full attention, you need to take action immediately. Mark the behavior with a positive word such as “yes!” or “good!” and click if you’re using a clicker. Next, give a small food reward and a heavy amount of praise. Though you might not always give food when you call their name, puppies are often very food motivated, and the food will help them respond to their name initially.

Loose Their Attention & Repeat

Now, you need to lose their attention. Wait until they turn their attention away from you and repeat their name again. As soon as they look back to you and you have their full attention, repeat the reward and marking process. Initially, you might have to clap and use extra encouragement to obtain their attention. However, you should work on limiting this and reducing the need for more than their name.

Keep Repeating

During your first session, you’re going to want to repeat the first few steps about a dozen times over the next few minutes. The more you do this, the more boring it will get, and the training would become ineffective. Use the best judgement when determining your dog’s attention span.

Repeat this training every couple of hours for a few days. After a week, your puppy should learn that his or her name means that he will get a treat and praise. He will learn to turn around and give you his attention when you call his or her name.

Train in New Locations

After you have formed a solid foundation in a quiet and secluded space, it’s time to expand your training. Try training in the living room, kitchen, or bedroom. Once you can obtain your puppy’s attention with their name anywhere in the house, try training outside. You should repeat all the steps above until you can get your puppy’s attention anywhere in your home and yard.

Remember, your puppy is still young. They have very short attention spans and can be easily distracted. Practice in different rooms and accept the small wins as you get them. Continue praising your dog heavily, and with time, success will come.

Increase Attention Time

In the beginning, you should be marking and praising the second that your puppy gives you their attention. However, after a few sessions, you should be waiting two seconds before giving them attention. Then, three seconds, then four seconds. Eventually, you want to try to get your puppy to pay attention to you for at least five seconds before you reward them.

If at any point during the session, your puppy is having a hard time hitting five seconds, don’t worry. Simply go back to a one or two-second reward for the remainder of the session. There is a high chance that you may have increased the time they needed to pay attention to you to quickly. Ensure that they have proved they’re good at paying attention to you for two seconds before leveling up to three seconds or more.

Add Distractions

Once your puppy is good at giving you their attention reliably for five seconds at a time anywhere in your home, it’s time to add distractions. Start back in a quiet room and add one simple distraction. This could be a person playing with a toy or a child playing. Once your puppy is fully distracted, repeat the steps above.

This will be much harder as you’re asking your puppy to turn away from something fun and rewarding to pay attention to you. If they do this, immediately praise and do not ask for extended attention. You have to build up to five seconds once more. At this point, you’re going to want to use something more appetizing than what they’re currently paying attention to. You might have to use a cooked piece of chicken rather than dry kibble for the treat. This higher level reward will ensure that they want to look at you rather than the toy.

Increase Both Simultaneously

As your puppy becomes able to look at you for extended periods of time with a simple distraction, then you need to ramp up both the distractions and the attention time. Make sure that they can pay attention to you with a single distraction for two seconds, three seconds, and eventually five seconds. Once they’re able to do that, add a second distraction and repeat the process. Eventually, your puppy should be able to turn and look at you for five seconds, no matter how many distractions are in your home.

Go Public

Now, you should be able to get your puppy’s attention anywhere in your home no matter how many distractions for up to five seconds. It’s time to take your puppy into the public and practice. Start somewhere quiet, perhaps a public park. Repeat the very first step again. Little to no distractions and the smallest attention earning a reward.

Since your puppy is in a new place for the first time, there’s a chance to go back to square one; that’s okay and expected. Simply practice all of the steps in public until your puppy can reliably look at you for five seconds, no matter how many distractions at any location.

Don’t Stop

Now that your puppy is looking at you quite easily, you might think that you’re done. However, you’re not! Though your puppy has been conditioned to associate their name with rewards, it doesn’t stop there. You must continually give them attention and show them that their name is always exciting, rewarding, and fun.

As your puppy grows, go through these exercises in multiple locations in situations. You need to make sure that they look at you in any type of distraction no matter the surrounding, environment, or situation. Repetition is the key. Incorporate this training exercise into walks, play dates, and visits. This is the foundation for your puppy’s future. Always remember to end training on a positive note. Also, ensure that you don’t go too long as to lose their attention. Finally, have fun and show them how rewarding training can be!