Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Gifts Ideas for Pet Lovers

Do you need to give a gift for an animal lover?  Want to give something meaningful for the holidays?  Here are some ideas and suggestions:


Here are some books that make nice gifts or are good holiday reading:

  • The Dog Whisperer Presents - Good Habits for Great Dogs: A Positive Approach to Solving Problems for Puppies and Dogs by Paul Owens.  This book covers positive approaches to solving problems for puppies and adult dogs.  It tackles modifying dog behavior from the perspective of changing habits.  This book also has a unique approach to dog training called “Take a Vacation from Canine Education.”  Those of you who have taken my classes might recognize this approach as a comprehensive version of the “Magnet Game” we play in class.  Not only is this approach easy to follow but it takes the stress and pressure out of dog training.  Small brag:  my Akita and Shiba Inu are in some of the pics.

  • Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us About All Animals.  This book explains why clicker training is such an effective training tool.  Karen Pryor is a former marine mammal trainer that popularized the use of clicker training with dogs.  Her book has many entertaining anecdotes that demonstrate the theories involved with training animals whether it be a dog, a dolphin or even a hermit crab!

  • The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World.  Here is one that is on my reading list this holiday season.  Featuring illustrative human, pet, and wild-animal anecdotes, this book is a unique and fascinating introduction to a science that is truly epic in scope. Children quickly learn that actions have consequences. This elementary lesson is repeated again and again throughout adulthood as we adjust our behaviors according to the reactions they produce in the social and natural environment.

Donate to an Animal Rescue

During this time of year, animal rescues are in need.  Consider donating money or even your time to an animal rescue.  With the cold weather, many shelters and rescues need blankets and old towels to help keep the animals warm.  If you are no longer using your dog’s crate, x-pen or leash, consider donating it to a rescue.  Call first, to see if they have a need for your equipment.

Pet Portrait

There are many talented animal photographers in town who specialize in pet portraitures.  An animal lover would love to have a professional portrait of their pet as a keepsake.  A couple of people in town are: - the photos on my website were taken by Erin Tomanek. – I have used this company as well for pet portraits.

Gift Certificates

Many pet boutiques, pet stores, pet groomers and even certain dog trainers offer gift certificates you can give your friends. Recently, a client purchased some private training lessons for her mom to help with a newly adopted dog and another client purchased group lessons for her son and daughter-in-law.  These make great gifts for someone who has a new dog or a dog that needs a bit of training.

Gift Baskets

Many companies can make dog-themed gift baskets.  You can build a gift basket with dog treats and bowls or doggie toys.  Here are some fun ideas for interactive dog toys that they will be sure to love:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Peeing in the Rain

A common complaint from dog owners is that their dog does not like to go outside to pee in the rain. My dogs are the same way.  I open that back door, my dogs take a peek outside, see and smell the wetness and in the house.  So what do I do on rainy days?

Wait for a break or light rain - most dogs don't like to go outside during torrential downpours so wait for a break in the rain or at least when it is a light drizzle.

Misery Loves Company - the simplest solution is to put on my raincoat and boots, leash up my dogs and walk around the neighborhood.  My dogs are willing to go out on a walk in the rain because, well, their walks are a positive experience and walking out in the neighborhood is always fun and exciting for them.  I also believe that dogs are more willing to walk on wet sidewalks than wet grass.  So, while it is not so fun for you to walk out in the rain, I find that this is the easiest way to coax your dog outside.

Put Peeing on Cue - the other thing I did when my dog Kiku was a puppy was to put peeing on cue by teaching her to pee when I said the words "go pee pee."  On rainy days this helps keep your excursions outside short and efficient. Even if your dog is an adult, it is not too late to teach your dog this verbal cue.  So this is how I taught my dog to pee on cue:
1) When you go on a walk, watch for signs that your dog is about to pee.  For female dogs, it is when they begin to squat and for male dogs leg lifting is a good sign.  When you see your dog begin these behaviors, say your cue (e.g. go pee pee, go potty, etc). Some people say "hurry up"  or "go now" but I never liked that phrase because people have a hard time saying it in a positive tone.  It tends to come out anxiety-ridden or impatient
2) When your dog finishes eliminating, say "yes" and reward my dog with a treat.
3) You will need to do this for a few weeks so your dog makes the association between the words, "go pee pee" and the actual act of urinating.
4) After a few weeks, test your dog to see if they understand what the verbal cue means. When you get close to a spot your dog likes to pee at, say the words, "go pee pee," wait 10-15 seconds and see if your dog begins to eliminate.  If your dog eliminates, say "yes" and give a treat. If not, you may need to repeat steps 1-3 for a few more weeks before attempting step 4 again.  Eventually, you will be able to tell your dog "go pee pee" and your dog will know that it is time to go.
The above tips have been tried and true for me however, the following tips may also work for your dog:
Raincoats - some dogs do not like being rained on and a raincoat may help.  

Wee wee pads - on very rare occasions where I had to leave the house for extended periods of time on a rainy day, I may leave a wee wee pad by the back door where they normally exit into the backyard.

Covered balconies and outdoor areas - for apartment and condo dwellers, sometimes it is helpful to teach your dog to go out on a balcony.  Putting wee wee pads or boxes of sod can help encourage the dog to use this as an alternate elimination area but it helps if the dog is introduced to these areas early on when it is not raining.