Breed snob, why it takes more than owning a breed to make a good owner.

Shelter workers know the line all too well, ” I am here to adopt a “insert breed here.” They don’t care about meeting the dog, or making sure the dog as an individual is a good fit, they are there and ready to adopt that dog based on breed.

When you ask them why they want the dog they simply state, “I’ve owned insert breed here all my life.”

While some of them make experienced and amazing homes, many are referencing the dogs they had growing up that their parents trained. They may not have experience in fixing preexisting challenges or have never really done much with the dogs they had.

As much as I hate to admit it I am guilty of being a breed snob.

I love the NEOs and the DDBs. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the dogs I work with. I find that a lot of my favorite shelter dogs or actually the chihuahuas and poms, but my whole life I’ve been drawn to Neos.

Like all breed snobs I feel that my breed special, and I feel that we only a certain type of person should own them. When we get them in to the shelter I can’t help but be a little bit more selective on who they go to.

Over the years I’ve begun to wonder does being a breed snob make you a better dog owner? Training professionally, has made me think the answer is” no”.

Hearing dog owners refer to their Cane Corsos as King Corsos makes me want to turn around and walk out of the house. How is it possible that you spent more than $1,000 on a dog without Googling how do at least pronounce the breed? I’m sorry, but the breeder you purchased the puppy from should have at least educated you on how to say the breed name properly.

I also frequently go to a home that’s complaining about typical breed problems.

Great Pyrenees owners complaining about their dogs barking at night and dashound people complaining about their dogs digging, what do you think they were bred for? My favorite is when the owner of a Cane Corso is guarding is complaining about their dog guarding the house and you ask them why they got a cane corso and they say they wanted a guardian. Hum🤔

It’s not so bad when it’s little irritating behaviors, but when you get into the more difficult breeds like the Cane Corsos, the presas and the NEOS you really need to know your stuff.

I have a client that purchased a really nice Neo from a breeder that is beyond amazing. She did her research, she’s had a history of owning giant breeds she has English Mastiff, NEOS, and Cane Corsos.

So, she goes to adopt a new Neo. They ask her, “what do you know about the breed? ”

She gives us that resume it looks really good on paper. History of owning giant breeds. What does she actually know about the breed? Has she brought ANY of these dogs to their full potential?

Since I know her as I client, I believe that she really shouldn’t be owning these dogs.

She didn’t have the time to commit to training she didn’t have the energy for socialization or exercise.

She might have owned multiple English Mastiffs and multiple Neapolitan Mastiffs, but SHE HAD FAILED ALL OF THEM.

Why did she keep going back for the same breed? Why do people keep giving her these dogs?

Her English Mastiffs did pretty well in her home with the exception of some aggression between the dogs in the home.

After her English Mastiff she decided to get her first Neo she did some research she found a pretty good breeder, but let’s face it it’s hard to find a healthy Neo. She brought one home and after a couple years learned he had medical issues and had to be put down. This neo was nice with people, but once again there was dog aggression.

She decided to get another Neo, she starts her research and finds a breeder who really goes through the health testing. She brings him home and does some basic in the house training.

She teaches them not to jump takes him a couple places when he’s young and then around the time he’s 6 months old she decides to get another dog, she brings another Neo into the home. The dogs are getting along famously and they’re getting along along with the kids in the home too. She no longer needs feels the need to take him out to socialize it. He’s socializing with their family dog after all just fine. He’s great with the people in the house. The second neo turns 1, and bites the husband causing 12 stitches. Three months later bites the youngest kid in the face while out in the backyard together. Then bites the husband again. They decided then to have a bbq and not put the dog away, he mauls a child that doesn’t live in the home.

So they ship him off to California and decide to get a cane corso, but their first neo never got socialization or training. That dog attacks the new puppy pretty badly, they get rid of the older dog and then APPROVED by a large breed specific rescue for a neo puppy, so now their two puppies can socialize and exercise each other.

Fast forward they are two years and she can’t control them enough to go for a walk together and they routinely redirect on each other when somebody’s walking by the house.

Just because she is on the breed does not make her a breed expert.

My question is what have done with your dogs? Have you help them reach their full potential? Or they simply yard ornaments?

I’ve owned “insert breed here” all my life.

What does that actually mean?

Have you owned “instert breed here” all of your lifetime and the dogs did nothing but sit in the backyard, go for an occasional walk and jump up on guests OR did you have a companion who you spent time training, taking places, maybe did a Canine Good Citizen with and took on adventures with you?

It is not about how many you have owned, it’s about the time and the energy you wish to invest in the relationship with your dog.

It is about seeking knowledge to develop an even stronger relationship with your dog and meeting your dog’s breed’s needs.

You may have owned 10 German shepherds, but you may have never learned to help them succeed.

Just because you have kids doesn’t make you a good parent and just because you’ve owned a certain breed doesn’t make you an expert.

Before Behavior Modification Starts: Prepping your dog to learn

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Week one: NO TREATS

FEEDING, put your dog’s breakfast lunch and dinner portions in a zip lock bag or tuber ware container. You and the whole family hand feed the dog in different rooms throughout the day.  The two days give your dog 1 handful at a time for simple cues like sit. The rest of the week mix up what you are asking your dog for; sit, down, stay, eye contact.   Food has monitary value to dogs so this builds their work ethic, so that when we challange them slightly they don’t stop working for us.

WALKING, even if you have a yard up your dogs walks to 15 extra minutes each day… so if you don’t normally go for walks you would take a 15 minute walk.

PLAY, play is a great tool for training.  Encorage your dog to play with you for 10 minutes twice a day.  Tug and fetch are ideal.  Even if your dog is staring at you continue to try and teach them to play with you.

COMMUNICATION, “yes” will bridge the gap betwen what they did right and their reward.  “Yes” should mark the correct behavior and should predict food or something that they like MORE then food.

Week two: NO TREATS

FEEDING, invite people outside of the family over to handfeed your dog and handfeed your dog in different places like outside in the yard or on walks. This will prep your dog to accept treats in new places from new people which will make training easier.

WALKING, add an extra 10 minutes to their existing 15 minutes of walking. If you don’t have a yard walking should be at least 1.5 miles a day.

DAILY LIFE, nothing in life is free have your dog train for dog food, sit before each door and down or sit before each time being leashed up. Sitting before attention and accessing favorite toys are a must.

PLAY, up your play sessions to either 3 ten minute sessions or add five minutes to your exsisting sessions.  This allows goes a long way in relationship building.

COMMUNICATION, continue teaching your dog that “yes” predicts either a treat or something that they like more then a treat.

Please read:

https://bk9training.com/2017/10/26/benefits-of-hand-feeding/

https://howtotrainadreamdog.com/nothing-life-free-dog-training/

Please watch:

 

 

 

Top Nutritious Dog Treats

I really like to keep things nutritious and I encourage students to train as much as possible with their dog’s regular dog food.

In certain situations like new places, bigger distractions and with harder work using special treats is appropriate.

#6 I like this one, but it’s big chunks of crumbly-ness. It’s good for dogs that are very picky!

#5 Tried and True. A little crumbly, but not too bad. Stinky for picky dogs, but you have to take the time to precut and properly store.

#4 Less crumbly than the Nature’s Balance rolls, but I’m lazy and this one still has to be cut up and stored.

# 3 Precut pieces, not to crumbly. Strong smell that dogs love, even very picky ones. The down side… a little expensive and there are always small crumbs in the bottom.

#2 Love these! Perfect size, several flavors dogs love and very healthy! The down side… baby puppy teeth have a hard time chewing this so it is better for dogs and puppies with adult teeth.

# 1 Freeze dried, yet not to crumbly. Good for dogs with sensitive tummies and food allergies. Healthy and you don’t have to cut it up ahead of time. Stores easily.

How board and trains renewed my perspective on training.

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After loosing my two beloved demo dogs, Boss and Charlie just two months apart I decided to open my home to board and train dogs. I decided I would have one dog at my house at a time for a week-3 weeks and work on behaviors that owners found to challenging to address in their home.

Having a fully trained dog that fetches the remote, heel backwards and could down stay all day can allow you to forget what it’s like to struggle with loose leash walking, barking at the window, bolting through doors, stealing socks, jumping fences and biting your friends. I worked with dogs like these everyday for the last 12 years, but an hour once a week is far different then sharing your life and home with them.

When I didn’t have a board and train clients I would foster a dog from the shelter. All of my fosters had a bite history and my very patient boyfriend never complained, even when a chihuahua held him hostage while I was away. I did this for about a year and six months.  It was an incredible experience and me to truly empathize and better understand my clients and their needs.

Here are somethings that my experiences taught me;

Tethering to you, learn to earn and hand feeding are an absolute pain in the butt. I did it with my mastiffs.  They were so far along it was second nature to them, they didn’t think about bolting through a door and if you forgot to release them they wouldn’t budge.  It wasn’t 10 minutes of waiting at the door for a sit, like a dog that was new to the program.  One of my board and trains I had to leave for every appointment like 20 minutes early to work on door manners at every single door we got to.  She would have rather just pushed me out of the way instead of sitting politely and waiting, but by the end of the first week she WOULD politely sit and wait.  She would also ask to go out by sitting politely at the leash instead of body slamming the door while barking.

I got attached to a lot of the dogs; actually all of the dogs I worked with. I got one board and train with a multiple human bite history.  When I first met with the owners they had labeled him as “Protective” and “Aggressive”. After less than a day and watching the 145 pound dog hiding behind my parking at a parked motorcycle, bolting for his life away from a little lawn marker flag and watching him literally spook at his own shadow I realized just how misunderstood the dog was in his own home.  I became so attached I checked up on him more then normal once he was back home, kind of hoping that it wasn’t working out and they would want to rehome him.  Unfortunately, he was doing great and they report only the most positive feedback.

Board and trains absolutely translate to the dog owner’s home, but their management of the behaviors don’t always. I would come up with a training plan that addressed the owners top three goals and then teach new behaviors.  I would practice the behaviors at home, at the park, at the store and then have other people practice, by the time they got home they could do the behaviors easily even if the owner was royally messing it up.   The biggest challenge I saw was them forgetting that they had behavior dogs all together.  An example would be a dog with two prior bites to the family and they decided to have a children’s birthday party at their house without putting the dog away.  Even though they were sent home with a detailed plan that explicated said that when kids come over put the dog away and when adults come over leash the dog.  When I talked further, she explained, but she’s been doing so good with guests.  It’s hard for owners to keep cautious when their dogs aren’t being naughty.

The best part about doing board and trains was it helped me heal from loosing my two mastiffs. I remember the first time I fostered a dog after loosing my last dog.  My dog’s favorite trick was picking up dropped objects for you, especially car keys.  I was walking the foster dog and dropped my keys, momentarily I looked expectantly at him, forgetting this isn’t something all dogs do and he stared back up at me like. “What?”.  Fostering and board and trains allowed me the ability to regain realistic expectations of owning a dog.

 

Why you should consider training with a long-line leash

20181208_1352265739791149893030729.jpgLong-line leashes are a very under valued training tool.  I encourage all my students to try to use them.
Why should you consider a long-line leash?
• Helps work on loose leash walking-  If we go with the notion that loose leash walking means keeping slack in the leash; while “Heel” means the dogs shoulder to your legs than a long-line gives your dog more freedom to walk without pulling.  Therefore your dog doesn’t get to practice pulling as frequently.

Here is a link if you want to learn more on teaching loose leash walking.
• You can practice teaching your dog to come to you.  Long-lines are excellent way to build a reliable recall safely.  They are light enough your dog doesn’t know he is on leash, but it ensures that you can get your dog to come back to you 100 percent of the time you are using it.

Here is a link to teaching dogs to come when called.
• This is a great way to let your dog go for a run while following the leash laws.  Your dog can run all around you while you take your daily walk getting loads more exercise.  Plus, a tired dog will also pull less.
• Great way to help your dog practice stay-  You can safely add distance and your dog has less chance of self-rewarding if they break a stay.

Here is how to teach stay.
What is a long-line leash? 
Well, it should be a light cotton line between 10-30 feet.  It is different from a retractable leash in that retractable leashes require pressure in order to extend; which means that your dog is being rewarded for pulling.  They pull and receive more length in their leash.  Where as in a long line leash your dog has a given amount of space to go.
Long-line leash tips: Sometimes getting started with a long-line can make you feel like a tangled mess.  Try getting a 10-15 foot leash until you get comfortable using your long-line leash.  Also, don’t feel like you have to hold the full leash in your hand.  Just hold the slack and one hand and use the others to collect the slack enough, so your dog doesn’t get tangled.  If your in open space you only have to hold the end.

 

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Puppy Grooming

Every puppy regardless of length of adult coat will need to be comfortable with nail trims, having their teeth looked at and being bathed.  Long coated breeds like poodle mixes have special challenges, because they have to learn how to be comfortable with these types of things on top of also having to learn how to be comfortable with clippers, brushing, and going to the groomers.

Here are some tips to help your puppy learn to not just tolerate these things, but learn to truly LOVE these things.

Brushing tips:

  • Brush your puppy for short sessions every night when he is tired.  This will be easier than trying to brush a wild puppy that just woke up.
  • Offer your puppy a greenie, bully stick or peanut butter stuffed kong while you are brushing him to keep the biting end occupied.
    • You can also do three brush strokes then give a treat.
  • Your breeder or puppy foster should have started this before you brought your puppy home, but if they didn’t … don’t worry it isn’t to late.

Nail Trim Tips:

  • Play with your puppies nails every night for five minutes. (Set a timer)
  • Fake clip one nail, then give your puppy a treat.  Repeat this doing one nail at a time throughout puppy hood for five minute increments.
  • If your puppy is struggling ask your self is it truely the nail trims that are upsetting them or is it the restraint?  If it is the restraint, practice training your puppy to CHOOSE to stay while you touch his paws.

Grooming Tips:

  • The ideal age for puppy to go to the groomer for the first time is between 4 and 5 months.
  • Before going to the groomer for your appointment bring your puppy to meet the groomer.  Let them meet the groomer, check out the place and get treats from everyone.
  • Choose a groomer who is gental and uses treats, so that your puppy has a positive first grooming experience.
  • The first time a puppy goes to the groomer he should already be comfortable with all of the above.  If he is not, hold off on your trip until you have had a few weeks of practice under his belt.

Bath time tips:

  • Prefill the bath tub with only a little water.  The rushing running water can be scary.
  • Put on shorts and get in the tub with them.
  • Add toys to the bath tub make it a play session.
  • Put peanut butter on the wall to distract them.

For more tips and tricks for helping your puppies with this check out these links below!

how to give your puppy his first bath

Before your first vet trip to Participate in Procedures

Train The Love Of Nail Trims

 

 

 

New puppy- When to start socializing

Did you know a puppies brain chemistry actually changes around 12 weeks old?

While you can teach dogs or puppies older missing this window is a huge mistake. I often here people say things like, my vet said not to take my puppy anywhere until he:
a. has all of his vaccinations

b. is six months old

But this is no longer supported by the AVMA!

What about risks of parvo?

Good breeders or puppy fosters for rescues/shelters will have the puppies in a clean environment and start the socialization before 8 weeks old. The mothers will be vaccinated; which means they will pass down some antibodies to the puppies through their colostrum in their milk. Puppies from good breeders and good rescues/shelters will additionally have their first round of parvo and distemper vaccines to boost their immunity even further.

Puppies should never be taken to the dog park, but good puppy classes use special parvocidal cleaning agents that kill parvo (not all cleaners do.) and they ensure other puppies in the class are vaccinated also.

Doing this allows puppies to socialize safely with a very small risk of illness.

The number 1 leading causes of behavior problems is lack of proper early socialization. Poorly socialized puppies turn into dogs who are afraid of everything new. Some dogs end up shy, others react with aggressive displays towards new people and dogs.

Poorly socialized puppies turn into dogs who are afraid of everything new. Some dogs end up shy, others react with aggressive displays towards new people and dogs.

Unfortunately, some veterinarians, shelter staff and breeders are still behind the times regarding the risks of early socialization vs. the risk of disease. It’s easy not to keep up with all the new information coming out.

When the critical window of socialization is missed it is SO much harder to go back and work to desensitize your dog to people, dogs or the world. You can never make such a big impact on your dog as you can in puppyhood, and some dogs that missed socialization, may never fully recover.

You can never make such a big impact on your dog as you can in puppyhood, and some dogs that missed socialization, may never fully recover. These days, dogs are at greater risk of euthanasia for behavior problems than of communicable diseases.

As a puppy parent its your job to stay current on information about your puppy’s future.

Here are some great links to help you with your research!

Please do your own research and don’t wait a day longer than you have too.

http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/early-puppy-socializat…

http://4pawsu.com/vaccination.htm

http://www.dogster.com/…/the-vaccination-vs-socialization-d…

http://m.petmd.com/…/waiting-until-after-vaccinations-too-l…

http://www.simplybehaviour.com/the-neuroscience-of-critical…

fearful dog

Bringing Home A Fearful Dog

fearful dog

What you need to know about caring for your fearful dog?

  • Fearful dogs are a huge escape risk and if they escape they can be really hard to catch. Make sure you have current tags and microchip information on your dog at all times.
  • You will also want to make sure your fence is free of holes and possibly add a baby gate to the front door if you don’t have a backup fence.
  • Your fearful dog will need to have a calm environment to decompress from shelter life. For some dogs this could be a few days for others; especially dogs coming from puppy mills or hoarding situations, this could be months.
  • You should set up safe places around the house where your dog can escape from kids in the home or guests. These should be treated as no entry areas for children. Examples of these could be mudrooms, bathrooms, a dog bed in the corner or under a table.
  • Make notes as you discover things that trigger your dog’s fear. Keep a written list.

If you know your dog struggles with fear it is important to understand that you should have a physical and behavioral evaluation done on your dog. You may want to ask your vet about prescription anti-anxiety meds to help your dog cope with daily life.

Rules for living with an extremely fearful dog:

  • Your dog should have a routine; small changes can cause your new dog stress.
  • Long walks same time every day, guided away from stress producing stimuli. Avoid places like playgrounds, groups of people and busy streets. You may choose odd hours to walk if you live in a busy city. If your dog is too scared to go on walks relaxation time in a fenced yard is another option.
  • Continue to make notes about your dog’s progress and setbacks.
  • Plan on doing a behavior assessment with a trainer about every 6 months to make sure you are on the right track.
  • One handler, sorry I would love to say this isn’t true and encourage everyone to be on board, but that isn’t what is best for your dog. Fearful dogs NEED to bond with a person, and being the center of attention may set this back. Bonding helps combat the stress hormones.
  • Time is key, it is better to take too much time than not enough. The biggest mistake you can make is to push to fast or force your dog.
  • Provide your dog with escape routes such as dog doors to a secure yard or garage for times of stress. Since successful fear aggression will become a self-reinforcing behavior. Dogs with escape routes typically try escaping first.
  • Always remember that no dog can learn while his brain is flooded with stress hormones. Stress hormones cause “brain freeze”.

Helping your fearful dog heal

Fear can be managed and healed, but not trained away. There are skills that you can use to help your dog when scared, but fear will continue to lurk deep inside your dog’s amygdala. Your job is to help your dog recover from fearful events quicker and experience fearful events less frequently.

Work to build your dog’s self-confidence through positive training and gentle encouragement. When it is time to start trying to teach obedience start with come, touch and eye contact these can all be useful skills for a fearful dog to learn.

Be your fearful dog’s advocate. If you feel your trainer, vet, friend or spouse is being to forceful have the courage to care and be your dog’s advocate.

Another dog

Fearful dogs often bond quicker to another dog and adding another dog to the home may help your dog with the process. Be picky if you choose to go this route. You want to make sure that the dog you choose is gentle, non-reactive, confident and friendly. It should also be a balance of good with your dog and respectful of your dogs space. Set up several meet and greets before firmly deciding on a dog.

Puppy Biting Solutions

If shortly after bringing your new puppy home it feels like there’s no safe place to hide your hands and feet from sharp puppy teeth you are not alone.

Yes, puppies are attracted to feet because they are at their level and feet move so they have to be caught. 🙂

I hope this will help you teach your puppy how to be gentle with his teeth and stop the biting.

Here are some stuff you’ll need to pick up from the store to make the process go a little smoother:

  • At least two puppy kongs
  • Peanut butter or if there are allergies try honey
  • A toy on a string such as a rope toy, or squeaky toy tied to a long rope. (This is a special training toy so don’t leave it out) only use it when it is time to train.

Examples of toys on strings

Before we can teach our puppies not to bite we need to teach them that human skin is very fragile. This works towards teaching bite inhibition.

Why shouldn’t we just skip to training our puppy not to bite?

Well, as tempting as that is bite inhibition is very important for puppies to learn.

At some point in your dog’s life time he may feel uncomfortable or painful.  Bite inhibition has to be taught so that in cases such as a vet examination when a dog may feel the need to bite they understand how hard they can bite without actually hurting somebody. This could be the difference between a vet tech receiving stitches or just a wet arm.

Training Step 1

Teaching your puppy to be gentle.

1.Grab your supplies for this you’re going to need to have either peanut butter or honey.

2.Put a little bit of honey or peanut butter on the back of your hand.

3. Then sit on your puppies level which could be on the ground or if you allow your puppy on the couch on the couch.

4. Show your puppy the tasty treat on the back of your hand. As your puppy starts to lick the back of your hand repeat gentle over and over as your puppy licks.

If at any point in time you feel your puppy’s teeth.

Say “YIKE” as high pitched as you can.

“Yike” is not a cue word, because it doesn’t tell your puppy what to do. “Yike” is also not a replacement for the word no.

We are using “Yike” simply to distract your puppy for a millisecond. Once your puppy moves away from your hand with his mouth stand up and wash your hands.

This ends the session.

Doing this will teach your puppy that if he’s rough he misses out on a reward.

Do this 1-2 times a day.

When puppies are together with their littermates they learn the same way. When puppies are playing and one gets too rough the puppy getting bitten will yelp. Then no longer want to play with the rough sibling…. at least for a few minutes.

Training Step 2

Stopping biting in the act when biting feet or kids.

If you drop a treat can you have your puppy “leave it” on request?

Teaching leave it is really easy and will go a long way in curbing puppy biting.

If you still need to teach a good “Leave it” then click here and teach your puppy “leave it” first.

The next time your puppy gets nippy when your walking try this:

1. Freeze and stop walking.   Movement excites puppies and can be very rewarding so if you continue walking while your puppy attacks your feet you ARE rewarding the behavior.

2. Stay frozen and say “Leave it” and the second your puppy complies reward your puppy by allowing him to chase his toy on a string… a much more appropriate outlet for chase. Then ask for a sit and continue this play session for at least five minutes.

3. Then after a fun session of chase the actual toy provide your puppy with a stuffed and frozen kong. This will help bring your puppy back down to a calmer state of mind.

Training Step 3

Stopping biting during down time.

The next time you’re relaxing trying to watching television and your puppy tries to chew on you try this exercise:

1. Freeze with your arms crossed and no excessive movement. The more you move the more you are rewarding the puppy for nipping.

2. Say “leave it” in a calm clear tone. The second your puppy complies reward your puppy with a fun chase session with his toy on a string. After a good 1-2 minute chase session encourage your puppy to chew on stuffed and frozen kong toy.

When you know you plan on relaxing try to be proactive and exercise your puppy before sitting down to relax. Provide your puppy with a Kong stuffed with peanut butter and frozen or a puppy safe chew toy.

Training Step 3

Teach your puppy that biting loose friends.

Set up a training station somewhere like the living room floor.

Use a a tether attached to the leg of a coffee table. Put a dog bed and a kong within reach of your puppy and sit close. You can watch TV or play on your phone while you do this.

When your puppy starts nipping say “Yike” as high as you can and go sit on the couch. 5-10 minutes later comeback and repeat.

Still having trouble? You might have a management problem.

Here are some rules to follow that will make training your puppy not to bite go even more smoothly:

1. Don’t allow anyone in the home to use their hands as a toy for the puppy to chase or bite. Consistency is very important so your puppy has a clear understanding of what’s allowed.

2. Exercise your dog before you plan on sitting down to relax.

3. Keep a leash on the puppy if the puppy is nipping small kids so you can easily cut in if needed. Teach the kids to freeze or be a tree if the puppy jumps or nips. You can also play red light green light.

If your still having trouble try consulting with a professional trainer in your area.

Hyper Dogs

Let’s think about the dogs that we share our homes with.

Huskies are bred to pull a heavy load over rough terrain day in and day out. Boarder collies were bred to be physically and mentally active working along side their handlers day in and day out. The Cane Corso (KAH-neh-KOR-soh) was adapted as wild boar hunting, farming, livestock droving, and most famously guarding farmsteads. Beagles were bred to be enthusiastic and vocal rabbit hunters… so how do we meet the basic needs of our beloved canine counter parts?

It’s your job to provide your dog with his own little job, even if it is just doing tricks.

We must begin by recognizing that a yard… even a big one is not enough for even our lazier breeds such as pugs and bassets.

Yes, some dogs of even active breeds manage to acclimate to living the mundane resistance of being a house/yard dog… but for how long were we able to accept dogs being fed “kibble and bits” or “Ol’ Roy” as being good enough?

So, how do we ensure we are meeting our dogs needs?

*New Places, New Things– Your dog should get exposed to at least three new place, training exercises, or things every week. Things like climbing wood piles to earn a toy, going to agility classes, or going to a new lake or brewery keeps your dog mentally stimulated. Teach them a new trick or ask for a new behavior like climbing into a box.

Puppy Note: puppies should be exposed to at least 6 new things a week.

This will keep your dog socializing too!

*Mental Stimulation– Dogs should be provided with a minimum of 1 hour minutes of mental stimulation each and every day. This could include obedience training, trick training, hiding toys for your dog to find in the yard or kong toys. This should be a little longer for breeds like chihuahuas, border collies or shepherds.

Puppy note: Keep your training sessions short with puppies and remember you can do more frequent shorter sessions.

*Physical Exercise: This one varies more while some breeds like Dogue De Bordeauxs should have a minimum of an hour of physical enrichment every day such as two long walks or a short jog, other breeds like Boston Terriers or Labradors may need closer to three hours of very active physical exercise like swimming, running or agility. Dont let the idea of this must exercise overwhelm you. I did compile a list of ways that you can cheat on this if you don’t feel like it’s practical.Here is a link for ways to cheat if your too busy or not active enough to meet your dog’s needs:busy life & a board dog.

*Challenge Your Dog: Challenge your dog at least once a day. You can challenge your dog to swim out a little farther to get the ball, hid a toy in a hard spot, stay a little longer or climb a big rock or leave his favorite toy. Challenging your dog in this way builds a stronger bond and creates trust. It also helps your dog become confident and stay confident.

When dogs don’t have their basic needs met they begin to develop behavior issues. Most of the time when these behaviors are brought to my attention the behaviors are not surprising. Beagles barking and digging, Huskies climbing the fence and escaping and Border Collies herding the children around the yard it’s to be expected when their basic needs aren’t being satisfied. All too frequently very common behavior issues can often be solved by meeting your dog’s need.

Keep in mind that your dog is an individual. Senior Dogs may have special needs as do puppies. More so you can never physically tire out a border collie. However you can Tire them out mentally. Create your dogs stimulation plan by keeping your dog’s breed in mind. If you have a mix breed just use your best guess.

Be creative and use the world around you!