Forget the food bowl: Interactive toys for dogs and how to use them

Green Feeder - interactive toys for dogs Whenever someone asks me how to change “nuisance” (nuisance to humans – normal to dogs) behaviors such as chewing, digging, barking, trash raiding, and counter surfing, one of my first recommendations is to replace the dog’s food bowl with a variety of interactive toys.

Interactive toys are those that dogs play with by extracting something from the toy over a period of time. These toys are usually food-based, but not always. When dogs are taught to play with interactive toys as part of their mealtime routine, their meals become an opportunity for mental stimulation. The best part: this doesn’t take much extra effort on the part of the human!  [Read more…]

Five second rule for petting dogs

Woof! Dog Training - petting a dogI attended Grisha Stewart’s seminar on BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training) this past weekend, and she shared with us a great idea called the “5 Second Rule”. The 5 Second Rule says that we should pet dogs for a maximum of five seconds at a time, in order to give them a chance to tell us when they’d no longer like to be pet.

It’s amazing how much we bulldoze dogs when it comes to their body language. Often times, even our own dogs, are not particularly fond of the things we do – petting them rudely on the head, hugging them, pulling on their fur, or sometimes just petting them in general when they’d rather not be touched. If we pay attention to their body language – and give them choices – they will clearly answer the questions, “Would you like to be pet right now?” and “Would you like me to pet you some more?”  [Read more…]

What does that yellow ribbon mean? The Yellow Dog Project!

The Yellow Dog Project, as their Facebook page explains, “is a global movement for parents of dogs that need space (aka DINOS, Dogs In Need Of Space).”

The Yellow Dog Project helps dog owners identify dogs who are uncomfortable around other dogs and need space in order to keep their cool and stay healthy and safe. Many times, dogs who are hurt, scared, nervous, reactive, elderly, or in training are forced to deal with daily incidents of off-leash or out of control dogs, rushing up to greet them while they’re out on a walk. The Yellow Dog Project is a way to identify these dogs so that other owners know to keep their dogs closer, or give the Yellow Dog and his human time to get out of the way, when passing them in public. [Read more…]