The DogSmith Pet Care Program

“To be A DogSmith, passion and caring for animals are just not enough.  To provide the level of pet care we at The DogSmith expect, pet care providers must be properly trained, and certified”.

Niki Tudge, DogSmith Founder & President

At The DogSmith, our pet care program was specifically designed to give you the peace of mind that comes from having the best of all worlds. Our Pet Care Program guarantees that your furry family members are cared for by trained and certified animal experts while you are away from home. Services range from “Daily Breaks” to “Home Alone Visits”, “Canine Slumber Parties” and “Dog Romps”.

The DogSmith In-Home-Pet Care Program has several key advantages over boarding a pet because we include:

  • Walks, play and individual attention lavished on the pet
  • Customized service for the individual pet
  • Home security
  • A stable, known environment for your pet
  • Pet Safety & Security

The DogSmith Pet Care Program provides professional, affordable, reliable, friendly In-Home-Pet Care and Dog Walking services as a positive, stress free alternative for customers when they have to travel without their pets. All of our pet care providers are certified Pet Care Technicians and they are insured and bonded.

The following are included in any “DogSmith Daily Break” or “DogSmith Home Alone Visit”

  • 30 minute visit to the property
  • Collect and deposit mail inside from an on-site mail box
  • Check windows and doors are secure
  • Open and/or close drapes
  • Collect and deposit inside – the daily newspaper from the front yard or mail box.
  • Water up to 8 house plants placed in up to two locations

For those of you who do not have time to train your dogs, but have the best of intentions.Try one of our new services

DogSmith Dog Training Board & Train Packages – Your dog can stay in the home of a Certified Dog Trainer and will receive a minimum of 2 hours training each day. The remainder of the dog’s time will be spent with the Dog Trainer managing their new and unwanted behaviors through interaction and play and enjoying a family environment.

Latch Key Dog Training – While you are on vacation a DogSmith Certified Dog Trainer can care for your dog in your home and train your dog. Alternatively a DogSmith Certified Dog Trainer can visit your home daily or on an agreed schedule to train your dog.

At The DogSmith Dog Training Center our methods are revolutionizing the dog training world by systematically studying the most current scientific breakthroughs from the field of Learning Theory and specifically applying them to Pet Dog Training. ARRF was developed to ensure that your dog’s learning (and your learning too!) will be humane, effective, reliable, fun and easy.

A Message From a Humble Responsible Dog Owner

I just concluded a 30 minute romp with my dogs and Lilly. I watched with pleasure and enjoyment as they chased each other, romping in and out and through the stream, and then jumping into the pond for a clean off swim.
They rolled in duck poop, wrestled in donkey droppings and enjoyed the simple pleasures in life, freedom and carefree fun with their guardian.
I am so thankful for all that they teach me. They make me humble; teach me patience and the recognition that they are so vulnerable without our proper care.
I am conscious each and every day of the huge responsibility I have towards making sure they are well cared for and I shoulder this responsibility proudly. I am a responsible dog owner.
Think carefully before you bring an animal into your home, plan and prepare and recognize it is a decision for life. Don’t breed or buy, adopt or rescue a dog and give more of our canine companions the life they so surely deserve.

Happy Turkey Day!

Is Crate Training A Dog Humane?

Crate training a dog can help ensure the dog has a humane life, what do I mean? Well when dogs are not crate trained, the odds are they will not be 100% reliably housetrained. As they get older their freedom is restricted and they are often banished to a life as a yard dog. If crate trained when small as they grow without the accumulation of bad habits their freedom increase and they tend to become stable, reliable house pets, enjoying many years sharing our home.

When I discuss the concept of crate training with pet dog owners they often look a little befuddled. I know exactly what they are thinking in most cases before they even open their mouths. Pet owners think of their dogs as family members, loved ones in some cases even our furry kids. Why would we want to put them in a crate?

There are many benefits to crate training a dog, especially if you have a puppy or a young dog and you are in the process of house training. I often ask people, especially those with small children, if they ever used the baby pens. “Of course they reply, I would have never had any peace or quiet”. Well a crate for a puppy is the same concept as a baby pen. You would never leave your baby or child unsupervised, free to wander the rooms of your house where they could injure themselves. Puppies, like small children need a place they can go when you are not available to watch every move they make, a safe place where they can hear, see and smell you without being underfoot. A crate is a safe, quiet place your dog can go when they want peace and quiet, to snooze or just to withdraw into their own sanctuary. I have never met a dog that does not enjoy their crate if the crate is introduced into their world correctly.

There are many benefits of crate training your dog not just for housebreaking but also to prevent destructive behaviors such as chewing, counter surfing and trash exploring, especially while you are away. When a pet is injured or sick a crate is an ideal location for them to rest and, should you ever need to evacuate your dog you will be grateful if you can safely contain your dog on a long journey, in a shelter or in compliance with a hotel’s pet policy.
Contrary to what many may think, a crate is not a tool for punishment, or a long term confinement tool. With training, an adult dog can remain in a crate for up to 8 hours but will need plentiful amounts of exercise before and after crating and an assortment of toys for mental stimulation during its time in the crate.

There are many different sizes, models and varieties of crates. The more durable crates designed for airline travel, in my opinion, do not make the best crate for home use as they tend to be bulky and restrict the dog’s view of their environment. For my dogs, I use the canvas/mesh style of crates for their daily use and that is where they often disappear to be alone while we read or watch television. This design provides for shaded visibility, they fold easily, are durable and can be moved or stored with little problem. Many pet stores provide the metal wire crates that collapse and can be easily moved around the house. These are good crates for large dogs and dogs that may chew. They also come with accessories such as water bowls, fans to keep your pooch cool, and fabric covers to blend them into your home décor.

To start the crate training process make going into the crate a game. Dogs should be encouraged, not forced, into their crates. To generate interest feed them in the crate with the door left open, throw in the odd treat or toy and within a short period of time you will find them happily exploring the inside of their new place delighted to find a surprise. As time goes by gently close the door giving them treats for staying quietly inside, progress on to actually fastening the door and then extend the period of time you leave them in their crate. Remember, offer treats and toys to go in and do not let them out if they are barking or pawing at the door. You want to let them out when they are calm and quiet or they will learn very quickly that if they bark or paw the door opens. If you work on this and make it a fun happy place for your dog you will soon find them choosing to snooze in their crate as happy as can be.

Download a FREE Crate Training  E-Book. Visit http://www.888DogSmith.com and look under the resources tab

Canine Seperation Anxiety or Something Else?

Does your dog demonstrate signs of fear and nervousness when left alone?  Separation anxiety has become a bit of a “catch-all” phrase in the dog world but dog’s can experience varying levels of anxiety, fear and nervousness when left on their own.  For serious cases with complex causes, especially if your dog has become self destructive, consulting a Dog Trainer who is a qualified Behavior Analyst is recommended.

Doginglasses

When trying to help your pooch become relaxed and calm when left alone the first thing you should do is take it to your vet so you can be sure its nervous behavior isn’t caused by a medical condition. 

Once your vet has determined your dog is physically fit the next step is to make sure your pooch is getting adequate exercise and mental stimulation.  And however much physical and mental exercise Fido may be getting now, increase it. Just like humans, exercise will help your dog’s brain regulate mood and reduce nervous behavior.  Exercise alone will often reduce your pooches anxiety and nervousness. A dog that is well exercised will be more relaxed and less likely to display destructive behaviors.  A tired dog is a happy dog.

Diet can also be a factor.  Poor quality foods use ingredients like corn which can alter the brain’s ability to moderate mood by causing an imbalance in amino acids and brain functioning.  The result of these imbalances can be an animal that becomes agitated, impulsive, obsessive and over-reactive. Always ensure your pet is fed a high quality diet free of corn, wheat, soy, hormones/steroids, by-products, artificial colors/flavors, or chemical preservatives.

Dogs often display anxiety, (pacing, whining, barking, inappropriate chewing, etc.) out of pure loneliness and boredom.  If you suspect that boredom may contribute to your dog’s anxiety look into some of the excellent interactive toys now available for pets.  You can even use toys that will dispense your dog’s meals keeping it mentally stimulated figuring out how to get its breakfast.  Your pooch may not even notice you’ve gone to work.

Another important technique for your dog’s general well being is to make sure your dog is getting quality “face” time with you and your family.  They are pack animals and we are their pack.  And there is nothing like enrolling your dog in an obedience or agility course, using strictly positive methods, to help build a strong relationship between you and your dog.  Also, consider putting your pooch into daycare or hiring a dog walker.  Your dog will greatly benefit from the additional exercise and companionship. 

Finally, one of the most effective methods of ensuring a happy, confident and well-mannered dog in general is to ‘crate-train’ it.  A properly crate-trained dog feels relaxed, safe and secure in its crate (download our free e-book on crate-training).

Whichever of these techniques you use, success will come with time, patience and consistency.  And under no circumstance should you punish your dog for anxious behaviors as that tends to make the condition worse.  Remember, if your dog’s condition seems severe, especially where it may harm itself, consult a Canine Behavior Analyst.   A Behavior Analyst is equipped to identify the root cause of your dog’s destructive behaviors and can guide you through a customized program of training tailored for your particular situation. 

 

Dog Training Articles, FREE Dog Training E-Books and Monthly Newsletter

The DogSmith website has a great collection of Dog Training and Pet Care articles. Articles range from simple training tricks for pet dog owners to more academic articles written for those wanting to become dog trainers.  Check out this link to the article section.

The DogSmith also offers a selection of FREE E-Book downloads, crate training, house training, pet nutrition and more. To download a FREE E-Book visit this link

Sign up for The DogSmith monthly newsletter where The DogSmith has a recommended featured product each month, training advise and tips for pet care.

Choosing A Dog Is For Life

I find it fascinating to consider a person’s choice of breed for a family pet.  It seems that with some owners, there has clearly been careful consideration choosing the “right dog.”  With other owners, less thought appears to have gone into choosing their pet than in deciding where to vacation for a weekend. This has always seemed a little strange to me as the latter they will experience for a few days and the former will be a companion for many years.

 labpuppies

When I am asked for advice on how to choose a breed, I encourage families to carefully choose a dog whose temperament and needs will be compatible with the family’s lifestyles and I caution them not to make the mistake of choosing a dog based on an advertising image or one made popular by Hollywood.  When deciding whether to adopt a dog there are some important points to consider prior to even exploring breed choices. These include:

1. How much time does your family have to commit to raising a well-socialized, happy dog?  Your new family member will need to be cared for and exercised. With busy families, I often advise against bringing a puppy into the home as puppies are a tremendous responsibility initially and need a significant commitment to ensure the pup is properly trained and socialized.  An older more mature dog may already be trained.

 

2. Who is the dog for and what role in the family will the dog play.  General  companion, running partner, recreation, etc.   Into which category does your dog breed choice fall? Is it a sporting dog, a herding dog or a working dog? Dog’s that are bred to perform a specific purpose may need more mental and physical stimulation than your lifestyle permits. In choosing a dog, you want a breed best suited to your family and lifestyle or you may find your new shepherd herding your children around your backyard.

3. Most importantly for me, are all members of the family prepared to welcome a dog as part of the family and is there a genuine commitment to doing right by the dog?

4.  And finally, does the family have the necessary disposable income to care for a dog over its lifespan? One does not have to be extravagant when it comes to caring for a family pet, but there are some basic necessary expenses.

 

Once these questions have been considered, the next important question is whether to buy a dog from a reputable breeder or to rescue a dog.  Also consider whether a puppy or an older dog would be more suitable.   There are pros and cons to each. Buying a puppy from a reputable breeder does give you greater assurance of the dog’s pedigree and you will have more accurate knowledge of the dog’s eventual size and breed characteristics.

However, rescuing a dog can be very rewarding and there is always a wide variety available for adoption from the Humane Society, City and County shelters and private rescue groups. 

Once you have decided between a puppy or adult and whether to use a breeder or a rescue organization, you are ready to choose your dog.  Wherever you decide to get your four-legged friend, do some research on the breed and the individual dog’s history (if possible) to assess the dog’s compatibility and suitability for your family and lifestyle.  Spend some time with the dog to understand its individual personality and characteristics. 

I recommend choosing a breed and then, considering the breed characteristics, needs and attributes, find every reason why the breed would not fit into your lifestyle. It is very easy for us to justify our initial decision after falling in love with a particular dog and then come to regret that decision when your dog begins to exhibit natural breed characteristics that do not fit into your lifestyle.  If, after identifying reasons why your potential pet would be unsuitable, you find your lifestyle and your dog’s needs are still compatible, then it is time to adopt. If not, then keep looking until you find a more suitable breed.  Do not be afraid to enlist the advice of a professional to help guide you in this decision.

Be an informed dog adopter, research, explore and make the right choice for your family and your future dog.

How To Reduce Your Dog’s Barking

Dog barking is a natural behavior and dogs bark for as many reasons as we speak, grumble, scream, and cry. Short of a radical, and dangerous, approach, you will never eliminate a dog’s bark entirely. That would be like you taking a lifelong vow of silence. So our goal is to manage our dog’s barking so that it isn’t a nuisance. In order to properly do this we need to set reasonable goals so rather than try to eliminate all barking let’s start with an achievable goal such as reducing the frequency of the barking or shorten the duration of the barking.

A DogSmith Dog
Our first step will be to determine what triggers the undesirable barking. In many cases what triggers a dog’s bark can be quite complex and difficult to determine. In these situations you are far better off consulting with a professional dog trainer who is an accredited behavior analyst. If you suspect the barking is caused by fear or anxiety then you will definitely need the help of a professional. Both fear and anxiety are incredibly complex emotions in a dog which will require a detailed plan to resolve.
But if the cause of your dog’s barking is straightforward (the doorbell, passing pedestrians, other dogs, children etc.) then you may be able to simply manage the situation. If management techniques do resolve the problem and you can easily maintain them then this approach may be the most effective for you.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure your pooch is getting adequate exercise. And however much they may be getting now, increase it. Much like humans, exercise will help the dog’s brain regulate mood and reduce impulsive behavior. Exercise alone will often reduce excessive barking. A dog that is well exercised will be more relaxed and less likely to react to whatever may normally trigger their barking. A tired dog is a happy dog.
The next step is to make sure your dog is getting quality “face” time with you and your family. Dogs often bark out of pure loneliness and boredom. They are pack animals and we are their pack. If it is boredom that you suspect is the primary trigger for your dog’s barking then look into some of the excellent interactive toys now available for pets. You can even use toys that will dispense your dog’s meals keeping it mentally stimulated figuring out how to get its dinner. Consider putting your pooch into daycare or hiring a dog walker. They will greatly benefit from the additional exercise and companionship.
Another very effective ‘management’ technique is to ‘crate-train’ your dog and limit the access your pooch has to certain areas of the house. For example, if your neighbor complains that your dog barks while you are away, you can keep your dog in its crate in a quiet part of your house to minimize the chance of outside noises causing the barking. And a properly crate-trained dog feels safe and secure in its crate (download our free e-book on crate-training).
When problem barking is caused by a specific trigger like a doorbell, then you will need to concentrate on 1) not rewarding them for the barking when the bell rings and 2) replacing the barking with a different behavior when the door bell rings.We often unconsciously reward our dogs for undesirable behavior. For example; if our dog reacts to the doorbell by barking and then jumps on guests we often try to control their behavior by holding them and talking to them. This attention is just what your dog was looking for.Instead, if you teach your dog an alternate behavior, such as finding its favorite toy whenever the doorbell rings, then it will be distracted and physically unable to bark at the doorbell as it holds its favorite toy in its mouth. So first teach your dog to find its favorite toy using plenty of rewards. Once your pooch is reliably and enthusiastically finding its toy when you tell it to “get your toy” then you are ready to practice the new behavior (getting the toy) when the doorbell rings.
Have a friend or family member ring the doorbell. Just when your dog starts to react send it to find its toy. When it returns to you with the toy, reward it generously. Do this repeatedly over a period of days. And don’t forget the rewards. Don’t be surprised if your pooch looks for its favorite toy at the sound of the doorbell without any prompting from you. If you successfully master this behavior you can then apply it to a number of situations where you want your dog to “get your toy” rather than do whatever it is doing. Remember, even after your dog has mastered this behavior you will need to occasionally reward it with treats or lots of love to remind it of the value of “get your toy.”