Monthly Archives: January 2014

What Are the Best Dog Treats?

All Natural Dog Treats

At our dog training program in Northern Virginia, we always get asked about which treats they should give their dogs.

First, we generally recommend all-natural treats, like Unleashed Treats. Just like people, the less the ingredients, the healthier the food.

When providing treats for your dog, there are some things to consider if you want it to benefit him. A treat from time to time is suitable for rewards, especially during training. There are certain kinds of foods which may seem like something special to you, but will harm your pet. Here are some guidelines about giving your canine pet a special item.

You should avoid certain foods as they are toxic to dogs. These include chocolate, raisins, grapes and onions. Poultry bones can splinter and do real damage to the intestines of your pet. If you don’t want your dog to be a pest at mealtime, don’t sneak a treat from your plate. Avoid giving pooch a treat if he is on a weight management diet. Finally, avoid giving treats in place of meals.

Instead of food treats all the time, think about alternatives. A chew product is one example, Rawhide strips can be provided for hours of chewing. Dogs also like hooves and ears to chew on. Beef knuckles and oxtails can be another treat for your pet. If you choose fresh meat products, you may want to have a specific place where they are enjoyed.

Regardless of the type of treat, pay attention to the size of the object. If your dog is a gulper, care must be taken to avoid choking on a large chunk of rawhide. Remove fragments of this type of treat before the pet tries to swallow it whole. The old standby, of course is milk bones. They have been marketed for many years and are still widely sold. Some people are conscientious enough about what is consumed by their dogs that they mix and bake their own doggy treats.

The main principles that you should abide by when giving the dog a special treat is to do so as a treat, Moderation is the basis for any dietary component. You can read more about this in my blog on Managing Your Dog’s Weight. Avoid foods that are toxic to canines and avoid feeding your pet from the table unless you plan to make a habit of it. Regulate the size of the treats and when they are given.

The Purpose of Exercise with Your Dog! Dog Training in Northern Virginia

Dog Exercise Northern Virginia

The Purpose of Exercise with Your Dog

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we talk about the importance of exercise with your dog on a daily basis. Some people get a dog, thinking that walking the dog will provide good exercise. If you are a couch potato, taking your pet for a short walk twice daily will be good for both of you. However, it is important to note that a 20 minute leisurely stroll doesn’t count as exercise. Just as humans need to increase the heart rate to count as exercise, your canine friend will do better if the exercise is at the cardio level.

Just as you would for a person not used to exercise, you need to start slow with your pet. If you are not accustomed to walking with him twice daily, start with that. You can move up the level to chasing a ball or a Frisbee which gives the dog more activity and may even challenge you to extend your range of movement.

Your veterinarian may be able to give you some ideas about exercising the canine companion. Some people participate in steeplechase-type activities where the dog is required to complete an obstacle course of challenges. Regardless of the activities you choose, participate in them with your pet. Look for activities that will challenge him in various ways. Include all the major muscle groups and activities, such as jumping, running, and even swimming if that is an option.

Challenge the mind as well as the body. Intersperse basically physical activities with games such as hide the food. There are a number of toys on the market that challenge the dog to figure out how to get his kibbles by moving puzzle pieces, or other brain stimulating activities.

Exercise for your dog helps to manage weight. Every excess pound on a small dog can shorten his or her life. Exercise improves digestion so that he feels better and gets more benefit from the food that he eats. A dog that isn’t getting enough activity may become lazy and sluggish, further deteriorating its health. Challenging activity often prevent behavior problems such as excessive barking, chewing and jumping on people. The goal in exercise should be to have a canine pet that is happily tired at the end of each day.

You can read more about this on my blog “The importance of physical and mental stimulation.”

Dealing with Dog Skin Allergies

Dealing with Dog Skin Ailments Naturally

Dogs get skin ailments just as humans do. You can’t ask your pet how it feels; you can only observe his behavior and treat the outward symptoms. If you are accustomed to seeking out natural remedies for yourself, it won’t surprise you to know that pet skin disorders can also be alleviated with the use of natural products. Here are some of the common problems found in dogs and how you can use natural remedies to deal with them.

Rashes can be caused by poison ivy and poison oak, as well as by insect bites. Your dog’s incessant scratching is annoying to watch and can lead to infection as well as open sores if it continues. While there are pharmaceuticals that address the problem, owners worry that they may have long term detrimental effects. Instead soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, aloe Vera or milk of magnesium and dab it on the pretentious areas.

Dry skin on a dog can indicate problems with a diet or can be allergies to environmental factors. One solution that has been shown to help is using Vitamin E oil on the dry areas. An Epsom salts bath is more of an undertaking, but also is helpful. To do this, mix (two cups of Epsom salt and half cup of any baby oil to a tub of hot water). Place the dog in the water for ten minutes, followed by a thorough rinse.

A healthy mix of supplements such as (Omega-3 fatty acids, garlic and brewer’s yeast) is beneficial. Daily a half-teaspoon and a clove of garlic, crushed into the dog’s food provide zinc, protein and biotin. Omega-3 provides fatty acids and is found in powdered seaweed, powdered kelp, flax seed oil, safflower oil and linseed oil. A teaspoon of oil and a seaweed daily or teaspoon of kelp is enough to help your pet’s skin stay moist and supple.

There are mild herbal antibiotics that can be used on any broken skin. Offering healing potions, salves and lotions that benefit your pet will make them more comfortable and less likely to get infections in areas that are scraped or scratched.




The Importance and Benefit Of Different Positions in Dog Training: Sit, Down, and Stand


Video of Dog Transitioning Through The Commands

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we are big advocates for teaching as many different positions to the dog as possible.  This is done in order to have a useful command based off of the scenario that you are currently in.

The sit command has many great benefits! For example, we use this daily for door manners.  Additionally, we use the sit for every day obedience training while working the dogs when we only plan to leave the dog in a command for a short amount of time. You will see this done in literally hundreds of our YouTube videos.  Also, we often times use the sit command for allowing people to calmly and controllably greet the dog, as well as using it for food manners (making them wait for their food until we release them).

The most advantageous purpose of the down command is the ability to leave the dog in a position for a prolonged period of time and the dog can relax and be comfortable. Anytime I plan to leave a dog in a specific position/spot for more than a minute or two, I will always down them.

Stand is one of the most underutilized and least thought of command; however, we use it on a daily basis! The great thing about the stand command is that it makes grooming your dog so much better and easy! You just tell them to “stand” and then you can groom them, brush them, give them flea medicine, etc. It’s a command that every groomer in America wished every dog they worked with knew!

Also, I am big on teaching the dog to “transition” through all of these commands; meaning, telling them to down, pop them up into a sit, then to a stand, to a down, etc. So, they learn to transition among the commands.

Many trainers and owners teach the commands independently; however, they do not teach the dog how to actually “transition” through the commands.