Dog Blog

2 To Try: Dock Diving and Flyball


Full Life For Pets wishes to thank Steven Appelbaum, president of Animal Behavior College, a vocational college that specializes in pet related careers, for contributing to this blog post. Appelbaum is also a professional dog trainer himself with over 30 years’ experience. www.animalbehaviorcollege.com

One of the joys of summer for pet parents is getting to spend more time outdoors playing with our furry best friends. This year, why not go beyond the usual game of Frisbee in the park and get your pup (and yourself) involved in a more structured canine sport.

Competitive dog sports are becoming increasingly popular and it’s easy to see why. They’re fun and challenging from both a training and athletic standpoint, they provide healthy exercise for you and your pet, and they’re a great bonding experience. Here’s a look at two of today’s fastest growing canine sports: Dock Diving and Flyball.

DOCK DIVING

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Summer is the perfect time to treat your dog to a seafood snack, and Full Life For Pets Omega Salmon Sticks are the ideal choice! Made with real Salmon and other healthy ingredients, these unique 5-layer chews are not only delicious, they’re a great alternative to “artificial” dog treats.

Layers Of Flavor

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Now pet parents can give their dogs the best of both worlds: the irresistible taste of our popular Full Life Trainer’s Choice Treats, and the health benefits of wholesome organic ingredients. Our new Full Life Organic Trainer’s Choice Treats are made with real organic chicken, along with a variety of organic fruits, veggies and grains for a delicious and nutritious training treat. Plus, they’re Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth, so you can be confident you’re getting a product that’s truly organic!

Real Organic Chicken

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Full Life For Pets wishes to thank Steven Appelbaum, president of Animal Behavior College, a vocational school for professional dog trainers, for contributing to this blog post. www.animalbehaviorcollege.com

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You’ve probably seen the incredibly athletic dogs at Agility competitions, flying over jumps, crawling through tunnels and weaving in and out of poles at breakneck speeds. Maybe you thought this looked like a fun activity to get involved in, but didn’t know if your dog (or you!) could handle the extreme physical and training challenges that Agility presents.

The good news is that the sport of Agility can be enjoyed on many different levels. Even if you never reach the Westminster trials, setting up some jumps and other Agility obstacles in your backyard, and training your dog to negotiate them, can be great fun and provide healthy exercise and a bonding experience for both of you. Here are some pointers on getting started.

Be...

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Users of Bumble got a surprise when they logged onto the popular dating/networking app recently. Along with people seeking human contacts, they saw profiles of adorable puppies and dogs looking for safe, loving homes!

These "available" furry companions were being featured on Bumble as part of the ASPCA's (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) national #FindYourFido campaign, which ran during October, Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. Shelters in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Austin participated in the Bumble promotion, which was focused on finding homes for adoptable dogs by gaining exposure for them through social media.

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Swipe Right...Or Left

Bumble isn't the only dating app that's been used to connect homeless dogs with their human soulmates. There are now a number of Tinder-style sites devoted solely to pairing two- and four-legged partners, like Bark Buddy, which invites users to "Find Fluffy Singles Near You" from its pool of 125,000 posted pups.

Like human dating sites, pet matchmaking apps have gotten popular because they make it easy to view a large number of candidates in a short time, all from the palm of your hand. As with dating apps, you simply swipe right if interested, and left to pass.

Most of these apps allow you to narrow your search for a furry friend by location, breed, age and gender. You can even break it down to a specific color and texture of coat, or whether the dog is good with children or cats on apps like Petfinder, the granddoggy of online pet pairing, which features some 315,000 adoptable pets from nearly 14,000 animal shelters and rescue groups.

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A new trend in professional dog training is choice training. As its name suggests, choice training empowers dogs to make their own choices during the training process. Canine students are given the freedom to control everything from whether to participate in a training exercise, to when the session should end. Many canine behaviorists favor extending this to other life activities, such as allowing the dog to choose whether to get his nails clipped or which path to take on a walk.

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Why Give Dogs Choices

Advocates of choice training say that when dogs have greater control over their environment, it reduces stress and bad behavior, leads to a better relationship with their parent/trainer, and actually speeds up the training process. "Life today is strictly regimented for many of our canine companions," notes author/dog trainer Pat Miller (CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA). "Dogs are told what to do from the moment they are allowed to get up in the morning until they are put to bed at night. They have virtually no control over what happens in their world . . . this strict regimentation is a significant contributor to the stress and arousal levels of today's family dog."

"Forcing a dog to comply gets you nowhere and actually stops the learning process," agrees trainer Fanna Easter (CPDT-KA, KPA CTP) in her blog for the Animal Behavior College (ABC), a leading national education/certification institute for professional dog trainers. On the other hand, Easter adds, giving dogs the ability to make their own choices "teaches them to trust their pet owners completely."

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Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a dog. But all those food rewards can add up and cause pups to gain excess weight during training. How can you keep your dog from packing on the pounds while still giving her the repetitive rewarding that successful training demands? Read on.

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The 10% Rule

Canine nutritionists recommend that dogs get no more than 10% of their daily caloric intake from treats, with the other 90% coming from a well-balanced nutritional food. A look at a 30-pound dog's daily caloric requirements shows how easy it is to go over this 10% limit when repetitive rewarding is used in training.

A popular formula for calculating a dog's total daily caloric Resting Energy Requirement (RER) is: the dog's weight in kilograms x 30 + 70. This would give our 30-pound (13.6-kilogram) dog a total daily requirement of 478 calories, with about 48 calories (10%) allowed to come from treats. (Keep in mind this is the basic "resting" requirement. The RER formula may be adjusted based on factors like age, activity level and reproductive status, so always consult a veterinarian to find out how many calories any specific dog needs daily.)

Unfortunately, our 30-pound pup can easily be given well over her entire 48-calorie treat allotment in just one training session. Too often, high-fat foods such as cheese are used as training reinforcers. A one-inch cube of cheese may contain 60-110 calories, depending on the type. Even if this cube were to be cut into 8 very tiny pieces (not so easy to do), our example dog could be given only 6 treats a day at most --and a mere 3.5 treats if the highest-fat cheese were used-- without going over the 48-calorie limit. That's not going to go very far in teaching training commands!

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With the crisper air and bustle of activity, fall is an energizing time for humans. But autumn's arrival often has a less desirable effect on dogs. Pets may find themselves spending more time alone in an empty house as kids go back to school and family members resume social events, clubs and other activities that have paused for the summer. Some animal behaviorists say summer-to-fall is the most stressful seasonal transition for pets. Here's how you can help your dog get through this difficult period.

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Make Leaving Fun

Train your dog to associate your leaving with a good experience. Each time he's left alone give him a special puzzle toy stuffed with tasty treats (we recommend Full Life Trainer's Choice Bacon Recipe Treats.). Extracting the treats from the toy will keep him mentally occupied and reward him with delicious goodies for his efforts. Remove the puzzle toy when you return, so he'll regard it as an extra-special indulgence he gets only when you go away.

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The hearty aroma and flavor of bacon - your dog loves it as much as you do. That's why we came out with a Bacon Recipe variety of our Full Life Trainer's Choice Treats, featuring the taste of sizzling bacon fresh off the grill. But these bacon-flavored morsels are more than just delicious treats. They were also designed with professional-trainer-recommended features that make them a highly effective training tool. Treat or training reward? How you use Full Life Trainer's Choice Bacon Recipe Treats is strictly up to you!

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Real Meat #1 Ingredient

Whether you need a reward for training purposes or just want to give your furry friend a special goodie, there's no better choice than Full Life Trainer's Choice Bacon Recipe Treats. Their #1 ingredient is real meat (pork liver), the taste dogs love best. Their irresistible bacon flavor will immediately capture dogs' attention during training and motivate them to perform, shortening the learning curve.

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