Posts Tagged ‘dog treats’

Who’s a Good Dog? Positive Reinforcement Training

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Dog training is today’s hot topic! Whether you’re working with a puppy or teaching your older dog new tricks, positive reinforcement is key in any successful program. Positive reinforcement is a method that focuses on rewarding the behavior you want instead of only pointing out what they’re doing wrong (because who really succeeds in that environment!?). Like humans, dogs love being praised and getting special treats. When you do an especially great job at work, you may be rewarded with a pat on the back, a bonus or even a promotion. This makes you feel accomplished, appreciated, and ready to take on new challenges. The same is true for your dog when he’s learning basic obedience, agility or fun tricks. The more you consistently praise and reward your dog, the more excited he will be to learn!

Positive reinforcement training should always include one of your dog’s favorite things…treats! When selecting the best training treats for your pooch, there are several things to consider. First and foremost, avoid anything with ingredients your dog may be sensitive or allergic to. Second, go for small treats – you will be doling a lot of them out during your training sessions!  You can try using peas, small pieces of carrots, or blueberries as training treats for a healthier option or for dogs who will eat anything (we’re talking to you Labradors!). The most important thing to consider is palatability; you want to pick a high value treat that your dog goes bonkers for to encourage him to do his best.

During training, a dog’s attention span averages about 10-15 minutes, so it’s important you keep sessions short and sweet. We recommend using a mark to help communicate with your pet quickly and clearly.  A mark can be a clicker, a verbal cue such as “Yes!” or a hand signal. Right after you mark the behavior, verbally praise your dog and give him a treat. If the behavior was an especially tough one to learn, throw your pup a “mini party” by rewarding him with several treats, pets, and tons of praise. When first starting to train your pet, it’s best to work on the same command throughout each training session. As your dog gets more experienced with the process, you can add other desired behaviors or tricks in as well.

Patience is key to positive reinforcement training. Your best friend genuinely wants to make you happy and of course get a treat! There will be times when more challenging commands may take longer for Fido to get the hang of. Never shame, scold, or punish your dog for not understanding right away. The best part of positive reinforcement is that it strengthens our relationship with our dogs by fostering mutual trust, affection, and encouraging cooperation. With time, consistency patience and treats, your dog will impress your friends and family with all his new skills!

Office Dogs: Pet-Friendly Survival Tips

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Truth: It’s hard to leave your best friend at home while you go to work. Saying goodbye each morning to those sad eyes can be the hardest part of the day. Thankfully, more and more companies (like us!) are pet-friendly. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself working for a company that lets your four-legged friend share your space, here are some office dog survival tips to help make life easier on you, your pooch and your coworkers.

Office dogs Otto & Gozer

     Must-Have Supplies

Being with you all day will make your dog’s tail wag with happiness, but there are several key items that will keep Fido healthy and comfortable. Create a cozy spot for your pup by bringing in a dog bed or fluffy blanket – even better if they smell like home. If they have a favorite toy, make sure to have it on hand along with poop bags and a pet safe disinfectant in case an accident does happen. Accessible food and water is a must, as well as any medication they may take during the day. Toys and bully sticks (tip: go for the odor-free ones!) are a great outlet for your dog to help pass the time while you work. For nervous dogs, plugging in a hormone releasing diffuser can calm them down and make them feel more at ease. Puzzle games are particularly fun for dogs and will keep their minds engaged all day.  And don’t forget the treats!

   Introductions Matter

Can’t we all just get along? Unless you work in office Babylon, there’s a good chance that a few of your co-workers might rub you the wrong way – just like Jim & Dwight from The Office. The same can be said about dogs. Fluffy and Muffins may never be best friends, but if you introduce them properly, they may be able to tolerate each other. To help prevent doggy drama, it’s important that dogs meet in a neutral place so nobody gets territorial. The office parking lot or a nearby park are both good choices; take several minutes for them to check each other out, do a few sniff tests and become familiar with each other. Then, walk them back into the office together. This can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping the puppy peace.

Doggy Proof Your Office

Things that seem boring to you at work can seem like a lot of fun to dogs! It’s a good idea to hide any electrical cords they might chew on, as well as secure any toxic materials that they could get into. Items like permanent markers, pesticides, office snacks, and poisonous plants are best kept away from your furry friend.

   Stay in Tune with Your Dog

Just like there is no “I” in “Team,” there is no “Pee” in “Office, so it’s important to know your dog’s bathroom schedule. Make sure that your pup has enough opportunities to relieve himself outside rather than in Barb from accounting’s office. And of course, keep lots of poop bags on hand to clean up after a potty break.

Office life agrees with some dogs, and stresses others out. You know your pooch best, so watch out for signs of agitation or stress at work. Additionally, if your dog is aggressive, excessively shy, or very excitable, the corporate world may not be right for him.

 Respect Your Coworkers

Although you love your dog with a capital L, some of your coworkers may not feel the same way.  Even if your pet-friendly office feels more like a zoo than not, it’s best to check and ask if anyone is allergic to dogs or doesn’t feel comfortable around them before bringing Spot in. There may be workarounds for these situations, and you’ll also know to keep him away from these particular colleagues.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram for more pet-friendly tips and tricks!

Home for the Howlidays: Survival tips, treat recipes and more

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

There’s no place like home for the howlidays…until it gets crazy, that is.  If you’re like us, one of your favorite things to do this time of year is throw on some warm PJ’s, settle in with a good book or movie, and pretend like your shopping expedition to the mall never happened.  If we get stressed, it’s no surprise that the holiday season is stressful for our pets too.  From a house full of guests, new and potentially unhealthy foods to be tempted by, and generally being a little off their game, here are some tips on keeping Fido calm and collected this Christmas.

Crate Training 

A dog’s crate can be its best friend and a much needed safe haven from all the hustle and bustle.  Crate training is actually quite easy if broken down into easy to manage steps (and be sure to use lots of positive reinforcement and treats!).  Unlike the crates of yesteryear, there are some cool ways you can incorporate these pet-friendly spaces into your home without it screaming “crazy dog person”.  The Humane Society of the United States has some helpful tips on training here, but this is the gist:

  • Keep the training short and sweet to start off.  Lure Fido in by dropping some high value treats inside, give them tons of praise if he goes in and allow him to come right back out.  We shouldn’t have to say this, but we will: People, do not force your dog into the crate, use it as punishment or leave them in there all day.
  • Transition to feeding meals in the crate and close the door while they eat.
  • Gradually increase the time spent in their crate and continue to give praise and biscuits.  The crate is a happy place, right?

If you notice your dog getting stressed, check out some of the most common signs here, make sure their crate is in a quiet location and tuck them in.  Caveat: Some dogs don’t like crates.  At all.  A bathroom, bedroom or some other confined, secure space can make a huge difference though.  Make sure they have a cozy bed to curl up in, and some classical music can help too – there are even dog specific soundtracks on Spotify you can play.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland 

Daily exercise – good for us and good for our pets.  Studies show that having a pet helps to lower blood pressure, manage anxiety and depression, and when you add walking or running into the equation, it’s a win-win! According to PetMD, most dogs should get 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day.  This of course varies by breed, age, health concerns, etc and can be anything from chasing a ball, nosework, playing with a flirt pole (our Great Dane LOVES this), or an indoor game of hide & seek – you’re looking to get the heart rate up a bit and also some mental stimulation.

For regions that see snow and ice, please keep in mind that it’s really important to protect those sweet feet.  Grooming the fur in and around the pads will help prevent ice from forming which can lead to chapping and even cracking.  You can make or purchase paw balm to prevent and heal those cracks, or go all out and buy a snazzy pair of booties.

We love the Freedom No-Pull Harness for our office dogs; it has the traditional loop on the back and also one on the front which is helpful when walking a dog who would prefer to be dragging you.  The additional pressure (safely distributed) across the front of the chest slows them down significantly.  It also features a velvety soft lining on the inside to help prevent chafing on their delicate undercarriages.

Scooby Snacks 

‘Tis the season for counter surfing! Unfortunately, this is a busy time of year at emergency vet clinics.  Pancreatitis from overindulging, choking from a bone, eating poisonous plants or chocolate – the holidays can be downright dangerous.

You can help keep your pet satiated with some healthy, easy-to-make treats and dog food toppers.  Here are a few favorites:

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream (you could eat it too!)

Slow Cooker Dog Food

Bacon & Peanut Butter Glazed Biscuits 

Turmeric & Fish Treats 

And some breath fresheners after indulging in those fish treats…Frosty Breath Dog Treats

 

Here’s to a healthy, happy, stress-free (or at least manageable) holiday season! Woof woof! 

 

Featured Office Dog: Rory

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Lumina copy

Meet office dog Rory!  She joined the Dog-ON-It-Parks team in June of 2011.  Her humans, Sales/Marketing Manager Nora and husband Ben, saw her profile on Petfinder and being a sucker for puppy dog eyes couldn’t resist. Because Rory came from AARF, one of Seattle’s fantastic rescue organizations, there was a lengthy application process (other folks wanted her too!) as well as a home inspection, and playdate with Gus and Quincy, her Labrador doggy siblings to be.

three musketeers

It was thought she was a Mastiff/Malamute mix, and as it turned out thanks to the Wisdom Panel doggy DNA test, she is GSD/Malamute/Am Staff with a dash of gremlin. Not an official dog breed we know, but this girl is a big fan of mischief.  Rory gets complimented all the time on her unique looks especially when she’s feeling spunky and confident in her octopus costume and goes by Superhero/Code name: Octopitty.

Octopitty

Now a little about Rory; she and her littermates were all rescued at about four months old.  Her foster family did a wonderful job with her after she made it here to the Pacific NW.  However, she did miss a lot of the early socialization that makes all the difference for a stable, confident dog.  She was afraid of just about everything; shiny things like her food bowl, hardwood floors, new people – especially if they’re tall, loud noises, etc.  Her humans worked with her to help boost her confidence by taking her to training classes designed specifically for shy/fearful dogs, as well as private agility classes – the group classes ended up being too loud and stressful for her.

little red

She’s still a sensitive little gal, but all of the additional work and positive reinforcement has helped tremendously.  She lets her people know when she feels overwhelmed or needs some alone time by putting herself to bed in a quiet room (which she does a lot during football season.  Go Hawks!). Sensitive dogs like Rory can often benefit from a Thundershirt to help them feel more comforted and secure.  We discovered that Rory’s octopus costume also does the trick!

Rory loves napping in the sunshine, chasing squirrels, going for walks where she can meet new people (high value treats are helpful here!), playing with her best friend Hamlet and particularly going for rides in the car.

Thanks for reading about Rory and when possible, support your local rescue organizations by adopting or donating.  Woof!

Sunbathing

Time to Be Positive: Dog Training Tips & Tricks

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Pawsitive Reinforcement:

When it comes to dog training, there are many options and opinions as to the best method, however we believe that positivity breeds more positivity! Positive-reinforcement training techniques use non-confrontational methods to engage your dog’s brain. This is done by rewarding positive behavior, and establishing rituals and training actions that are incompatible with negative behavior. Essentially, you reward the positive and either ignore the negative, or direct them to a behavior you do want.  Easy, right?  Doing this can help to lessen your dog’s frustration with the learning process, while still allowing the dog to feel good. There should be no forceful actions as this can damage your pup’s trust. Think about you it…how fast would you sit down for a cookie, some praise or a nice pat on the back? To a dog, those actions are not only treasured but an important part of their lives. Here are some tips on how to incorporate positivity in your dog’s training.

Treat Generously: 

First of all, when using positive reinforcement timing is key; the reward must be given within seconds or your pet might not connect the dots.  An example is when you give your dog a treat for sitting down at your command. You don’t give them the cookie after they’ve sat back up and their attention is on something else, you reward them when all of their attention is focused on you and what they are doing. There are several types of positive reinforcement, it can encompass treats, praise, petting, or even a favorite game. Although most dogs (including our office crew!) are highly food-motivated, and this type of reinforcement can often yield the best results.

Sit. Stay. Play: 

You also want to pay attention to the type of commands you are using with your pet. Keep them short! Use simple one-word commands which are easier for your dog to understand. Some examples are: Come, Sit, Stay, Down, Heel, Off, etc… You might also want to inform your family or those you live with of these to help avoid confusion for your dog later – consistency is key! Your training sessions should also be short and fun, and the goal is to have your dog associate good things while training.

More How To’s:

As time goes on and your pet becomes more skilled (and hopefully better behaved!), it is a good idea to gradually back off the treats and use them only on occasion. Eventually, the treats should no longer be necessary, however you should always reward Fido with verbal praise and a pet. It is important that you continue to use these techniques to maintain the behaviors you want from your dog.

Reward-based dog training helps create a range of desirable behaviors, which builds mutual feelings of trust and confidence, and a bond that will last for years to come. If you’d like more info on positive reinforcement and dog training, we highly recommend Victoria Stilwell’s website.  It’s a wonderful resource for all things dog. Good luck and woof woof!

A-Frame: A Dog Agility Classic

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

A-Frame Storey Bark Park

The A-Frame is a traditional piece of agility equipment; it’s fun for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Now, not all dogs are natural climbers so it is important not to push them past their comfort level. Using treats, praise and positive reinforcement to encourage your dog can also be helpful! According to Pet Expertise there are four types of treats that work best and are healthy options for your dog. They recommend using regular dog kibble, cheese, chicken, and chopped veggies as healthy alternatives to dog biscuits or cookies.

dog-loves-cheese

There are several important differences between our A-Frame and others. First of all, ours is not as steep. We think all dogs should be able to safely and comfortably play on our equipment! When an A-Frame is too steep and/or too narrow, it’s not only unsafe, it will discourage dogs from using the equipment again if they lose their footing or feel they need to jump off the side. With that in mind, our A-Frame is only three feet high at the peak with an extra wide width of 38”. Another important consideration is the angle of the ramp; traditional (professional) dog agility requires it to be a very steep 98 degrees for large dogs and 104 degrees for the smaller pups. By design, our A-Frame is only 43 degrees, so about half as steep. This helps to ensure that any pooch, whether an agility champ or a novice, can feel like a top dog once they conquer the ramp. One last word of warning, if a dog park company says they are using AKC or USDAA standards for their equipment, be careful! It’s always a much safer bet to install recreation level equipment in a public park.

Our A-Frame is also coated with PawsGrip™, our exclusive highly textured material designed for maximum slip resistance. Other products may have rubber or textured polyethylene. Neither of these are really suited for the use a dog park sees, and the surface can crumble, degrade or crack quite easily. However, PawsGrip™ is made from the same materials used in truck bed liners, and provides a more stable and sturdy texturized surface that is super durable and holds up under frequent use and all weather conditions.

dog_on_it-189

So remember when comparing dog park agility equipment, we don’t just offer the widest range of products you will find, but also the safest and highest quality. Dog parks are essential in bringing your community together and sourcing safe equipment with a lifetime warranty will guarantee a long lived (and loved!) place for all the pooches and their people to play!

6401 - Greenwood Urban Wetland Park

Minty Fresh! Tips and tricks for cleaning your dog’s teeth

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Does your dog suffer from bad breath? And do their sweet doggy kisses make you want to plug your nose? The solution is simple. Dogs need clean teeth just like you and me! They are at risk for gum disease and tooth decay, as well as infections which can spread and cause life threatening conditions.

dog toothbrush

Here are some tips on how to set a healthy dental routine with your furry loved ones. Brushing just three days a week can make a huge difference. First, pick a time of day when your dog is calm and relaxed, maybe after a nice long walk or in the evening when things are winding down. It doesn’t matter what time as along as your dog is calm enough for you to stick a toothbrush in their mouth without an impromptu game of tug ‘o war. Using a toothbrush made for dogs can be helpful because the bristles are softer and special angled. Also be sure to use dog friendly toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth because it contains ingredients that are potentially dangerous for your pet. Many major brands contain additives such as sudsing agents which can lead to liver damage if enough is ingested.

Two other toxic additives are xylitol and fluoride. Xylitol is commonly used as a sweetener, and dogs who ingest it are at risk of a surge in insulin followed quickly by a precipitous drop in blood sugar. It can also cause severe liver disease. Fluoride can cause a multitude of problems from digestive upset to irregular heartbeat, so please be safe and make sure to purchase pet toothpaste at your local pet supplies store.

blacklab

Comfort is key, so make sure your dog feels safe and relaxed – it’s always a good idea to kneel instead of standing over/above your dog. You don’t want your stance to be at all intimidating and if your dog seems too upset or anxious, just stop and try again later!

When it comes to your dog’s oral health, gums are just as important as teeth. You might want to start by gently using your finger to massage along your dog’s upper gums to help them get comfortable with the sensation. Next, try putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger to and let your dog taste it so they can get used to the smell, flavor and texture. Then, put these two steps together and try this in combination with the toothbrush. Lift the upper lip and angle the bristles to reach the gum line, then gently brush in small circles.

If you’re just getting started with regular brushing routine, some slight bleeding may occur. However, if your dog’s gums bleed every time you brush their teeth, it may be a sign that you are brushing too hard or they have a pre-existing condition that may need attention. If so, contact your vet!

Last, but not least make sure you are reassuring during this process by patting your dog’s head and whispering sweet nothings into their ears and please end on a positive note. Give your dog a healthy teeth-cleaning treat (We love treats from The Honest Kitchen) and tell them they did a good job!

dog-smiling

Fact: Dog People Make Better Dog Park Equipment

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Let’s just start off by saying we’re dog people. You know, the kind of folks who have dogs running around the office (see Exhibit A below), make their own dog treats, cross the street just to say hello to another dog, go to 4-H/agility/drafting events on the weekends, belong to a raw food co-op…the list goes on and on.

Quincy

When it comes to designing dog parks and dog park equipment, we think this makes all the difference in the world. Why, you might ask?

Would a restaurant hire a chef who didn’t actually enjoy eating? Because you can surely “cook” something, but it makes a huge difference when made by someone who truly loves food and has the knowledge to make something amazing. Would you trust hopping into an airplane if the engineer didn’t have a basic knowledge (and more would be better here, right?) of physics and how to get a giant piece of metal with wings to fly at 30,000 feet?

dog pilot

We believe the same school of thought applies to dog park equipment. Our office and design team have collectively 30+ years of experience in dog agility, metal fabrication, playground design and dog behavior.

What that means for our customers is that they get the best everything. All of our dog agility components are tested for safety and durability with our office pups who range in size from 15 pounds (Hello Sprocket!) up to our large breed mob of Bernese Mountain Dogs and Labradors, so we know what works for the little guys, the big dogs and every size in between.
6405 with dogs

Design questions? Yep, we got you covered. As the first company in the US to specialize exclusively in dog parks and dog park amenities, our customer service can’t be beat. We can guide you through surfacing options, whether it’s feasible to include a pet fountain or water feature, irrigation considerations, fencing and best of all, respect your budget.

So when you’re looking for a company to help you with your dog park, consider the following points:
1. Do they offer a lifetime warranty against rust on the agility equipment? Hint: We’re the only company in the US that does and believe us, you want this. Between environmental factors such as rain, mud, salt air and male dogs who, ahem, like to water everything in sight, rust is a huge problem in dog parks.

2. How long have they been in business? Dog parks, and dog park businesses are a hot commodity nowadays which means a lot of new companies have dipped their toes into the water. Sure, it gives people more options but they’re not experts like we are. So make sure you’re working with someone who knows what they’re doing and isn’t trying to sell you more equipment than your park has the space for or equipment that is potentially unsafe.

3. Customization: Does the company offer color and text customization? We know that some customers want bright, playful colors and others prefer more muted, natural options. That’s why we offer agility components in two color palettes and have the option for many other colors including blue, gray, black, yellow and more. Also, nothing screams “This is our dog park!” like custom benches and equipment with the park name. We offer that too!

Tire Jump

So whether you’re just getting started and are looking for a turnkey dog park or have an existing park that could use some perking up, make sure you’re getting the best advice. From us, of course!

A Holiday Feast for the Hounds

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

dog-thanksgiving-turkey-480x320

As the holiday season starts to wind down (can you believe Christmas is next week??), we wanted to send out a friendly reminder to make sure and include your furry family members in the celebration!  From pet stockings filled with toys, to a new leash, a fuzzy sweater and much more, there are a million ways to spoil your pooch.  BUT, if your dogs are like ours, the way to their heart is through their stomach!

Here are some healthy (and tasty!) treat ideas:

*Squash and Sweet Potato Mash:

This is not only yummy (for both humans and dogs) but is easy for your pooch to digest and is full of beta carotene. Either roast or microwave the potatoes and squash (we love Kabocha & Acorn), then mix together in a large bowl.  Be sure to set aside a portion for Fido before you add all of the extra goodies like butter, cream and seasoning.

*Poultry/Ham/Lamb Treats:

Once you’ve roasted your main course to perfection, carve a few small pieces (minus the seasonings, fat and/or skin) for your dog’s enjoyment. Just remember to feed snacks like this in moderation!

*Veggies:

It isn’t a proper holiday meal unless all food groups are represented. Some of our office dog’s favorite treats include fresh, crunchy carrots.  They also enjoy green beans, peas and asparagus all of which are packed with healthy vitamins and antioxidants.

*Peanut Butter & Yogurt Pupsicles: If you’re having dessert, don’t leave out the dog! Just mix one 32 oz container of low-fat vanilla yogurt with a cup of melted peanut butter.  Pour into small, lined muffin tins or these cute paw shaped molds and freeze.

And finally, no matter how hard your pooch begs, there are a few things to avoid: 

*Onions & Garlic: Bad breath aside, both of these can lead to anemia in dogs if given in large quantities or over an extended period of time.

*Cooked bones: Although most dogs love a meaty raw bone, once they’ve been cooked the bones become brittle and can shatter causing painful splinters or something even more serious such as an obstruction.   Please note: Supervision is a good thing here!

*Yeast/Bread Dough:  ‘Tis the season for baking…and dogs whose sense of smell gets them into trouble.  If you are going to be baking with yeast, be sure to keep the dough well out of reach so it can rise safely on the counter (or up on top of the fridge for hungry giant breeds), and not in their bellies.

*Gravy, and other items with a high fat content:  High fat intake can lead to pancreatitis, a painful and sometimes fatal inflammation of the pancreas.  If you’d like to treat your dog to some gravy, a good principle is to keep the quantity small. A tablespoon or so watered down before adding it to their kibble can be a tasty and much healthier option, as can some low sodium stock or broth.  Less is more…and their noses are so good, they won’t know the difference!

From all of us at Dog-ON-It, have a wonderful holiday and be sure to support your local dog parks!


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