Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Clicker Training

The Basics of Clicker Training your Dog

Clicker training is a form of operant conditioning; this method uses positive reinforcement as stimuli to train dogs. Clicker training is not only limited to dogs, but can be used for training other pets and also small children.
The idea revolves around the use of a noise, a clicking stimulant, which is used to validate the good behavior of a dog often accompanied by a treat or a ‘pat on the head’. This method not only helps with obedience training, but also helps build a bond with all the family members alike. Despite various trainers believing in other methods, this is one of the most effective methods that bear the most fruit.
Here is what you need to do when deciding on clicker train your dog:

1.    Proper use of the clicker

You can easily get one at the pet store; remember that perfecting the time on the clicker takes practice. It should be clicked the exact moment when your dog is doing the right thing and not before or after. The click itself is not the treat rather it is associated with the treat. This will relate the dog’s training period with good things and both of you will actually have fun doing it.

2.    Accustom your dog to the clicker

 Your dog might want to go on an adventure when it hears something click and is not sure where the noise came from or what it is for. The first step is to acquaint the clicker with the dog. Use a quiet space and click the clicker while immediately giving your dog a treat. You have to acclimatize his memory with the sound the clicker produces.

3.    How is your dog responding to it?

Observation is key here, your dog’s response will determine whether this method will be useful or not. If your dog runs through the noise, maybe the sound is too harsh for your dog; you can always soften the sound by wrapping a cling film around it. If your dog is still afraid then this is not the method for you.

4.    Reward their natural behavior

Your dog surely does have certain habits that you love, such as lying down on their own or drinking from their water bowl without toppling it over. This can be very useful in clicker training as each time your dog does something good on its own you can click and appreciate his good habits. This will significantly encourage your dog to obey you and to always be at his best behavior.

5.    Verbal Cue

When trying to associate your dog with the clicker, try to use a verbal cue such as “good girl” or “good boy” to incorporate the sound of the clicker with giving a treat to your canine companion.  


Training your dog requires patience and practice, observe your dog and work according to their learning pace. This is a tried and tested method and is considered as one of best strategies when it comes to obedience training puppies or adult dogs.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Proper, Postive Crate Training

Why Crate Train Your Pup

Dog crates can serve many purposes, but two stand above all others- potty training and safety.
Anyone who has raised a puppy knows they are like small human children, and must be watched constantly. If not, the puppy could chew up electrical cables, bedding, furniture, the paint off walls (yes- that too), or swallow small objects that can pose a choking hazard. It is in the puppy’s best interest (and yours) to keep them crated when they can’t be monitored, if only to keep the puppy safe.

How to Choose a Good Dog Crate

Consider a well ventilated crate large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around in easily. Bear in mind as your puppy grows (and they do grow fast), they will need more room. It’s usually a good idea to invest in a full size crate adjusted for their expected adult growth! If your dog is a mixed breed, consider the expected size of the larger breed in the mix.
Also, try to avoid purchasing an overly large crate. Too much room might allow for your puppy to make a mess without disturbing his immediate bedding.

Be Patient

Crate Training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog’s past experiences. In the case of shelter dogs, workers sometimes can’t get to the puppy in time; proper training may take longer because the dog is used to eliminating in his enclosure.


Crating and Potty Training

Dogs prefer not to relieve themselves in small confined areas or where they sleep. In the crate, your puppy will hold his bladder as long as he can. Bear in mind- that is a very small and underdeveloped bladder; your puppy will need frequent potty breaks. Crate training a puppy is different from crate training an adult dog. Even if you have to work, expect to come home to soiled bedding if you leave your puppy crated all day. Small puppies are still growing and developing, and need frequent potty breaks.
On the other hand, it is a good idea to begin crating your puppy overnight. They will probably whine at first, and you probably won’t get a full night’s rest (but that is to be expected for any young puppy owner). Most puppies should be able to sleep the entire night without a potty break by 4 months of age.
·       Barring sleep, puppies under 6 months of age shouldn’t stay crated for more than 3-4 hours at a time (Humane Society)
·       It is said puppies can be crated without potty breaks for their age (months) in hours plus one. Ex.- 3 months = 4 hours
·       In order to properly develop social skills, puppies shouldn’t be separated from litter mates prior to four weeks. Many experts recommend no less than eight weeks.

Make it Comfortable

Don’t think of your puppy’s crate as a cage, but more of a comfy doggy den! Make sure the bottom is lined with soft blankets or other comfortable material. Leave a favorite toy or two in your dog crate. Comfortability ranks right up there with familiarity and patience. You always want your puppy to form positive associations with his crate at all times! If you crate your puppy directly after chastisement, he will learn ‘crate means my parent is upset; I don’t like the crate because I don’t want the parent to be upset’. Never associate your crate with punishment. In order for your training to run smoothly, you’ll want your little one to enjoy his little den and associate it with a positive place!

Start Small & Familiarize

This is possibly both the most important step to the training process and the most neglected. In order to avoid anxiety from developing, you absolutely must be patient and let your puppy become accustomed to his or her crate. In other words, don’t start off the bat crating for hours at a time unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
Begin by letting your puppy inspect the crate with the door open. After you do this once or twice, start out by creating your pup for short 5, 10 or 20 minute intervals while you are in the room. After you’ve done this a few times, you can begin crating and leaving the room for short durations.
If you have to work on a Monday, try starting out Friday after you return home. In order to create further pleasant associations, begin feeding your dog in his crate at feeding time.
Be sure to set a potty training/crating schedule for your puppy to help familiarize them to the process!

Your Puppy’s Perspective

Dogs all too often develop separation anxiety, sometimes to an extreme, potentially causing injury to themselves in an attempt to escape or tearing up blanketing to confetti. This can be because owners start out by caging them for day long periods rather than slowly introducing them to crating. Remember, dogs do not understand why they are being crated, and often think their pack- family member and parent has left them, never to return.
The entire idea behind this gradual process is to give your puppy time to adjust, showing him or her you will always return and he doesn’t need to worry. Remember to crate various times throughout the day to help your puppy familiarize themselves to the process!


-Introduce your dog to the crate.
-Begin crating while you are in the room.
-Feed your dog meals in the crate.
-Start leaving the room.
-Slowly lengthen crating periods (with appropriate bathroom breaks).
-Begin crating your puppy when you leave.
-Crate your puppy at night.

Please visit our website or call us today 
for information on our training packages and classes!
Napoleon:  (419) 592-7387
Fort Wayne:  (260) 489-7387

Monday, February 1, 2016

Keep Your Dog (and Yourself) from Going Stir Crazy this Winter!

1. Practice Your Training
Frigid winter days are a great time to practice training with your pup. Getting your dog thinking can be just as tiring as a romp at the park. If your dog has mastered the basics, such as sit, down, stay, etc., you can chain them together so that your dog has to do more for his reward. Don’t get too crazy at first – start with two or three commands and build up. For example, try a puppy push-up – ask your dog to sit, lay down, and sit again for a treat. You can also try training your pup a few tricks!
2. Stuff a Kong
This is a good one for when your dog goes into his crate, or when you are leaving the house, and is probably the easiest one to do. Get a Kong, put some treats or kibble in it, seal it with peanut butter, and put it in the freezer until you need it. If you only have one dog, you can give it to her before you leave in the morning, and she can eat through the peanut butter to her breakfast! This is not a good idea if you have two dogs, no matter how well they share and get along when you are there. All bets are off with a high value treat like a peanut butter Kong!

3. Get or make some puzzle toys

Ranging from somewhat easy to difficult, you can find puzzle toys in just about any pet store. You can also make some really fun (and easy) toys if you are the DIY-type. Use your old t-shirts tomake a toy for your pup.

Perfect for strong chewers or tug-of-war fans.

Really easy treat dispenser you can make from a tennis ball.

This puzzle toy is great for rainy days or high energy dogs.

All you need is a water bottle, treats, and a sock.

4. Play “Find it”
Hide your dog’s favorite toys or bone around the house and tell them to “find it.” You might have to help them out at first and lead them to the toy/bone.

5. Play “Hide-n-Seek”

You can also play “hide-n-seek” with people – have one person hide and then have your dog find the person. This is also great practice for the command “come”. After the person hides, they tell the dog to “come” and then the dog gets to go find them! This is especially fun if you have a bigger house with lots of rooms or multiple levels.

6. Go to an indoor agility class

Check out places near you that offer dog training and see if they have an indoor agility class or open gym. Zoom Room is a franchise that has a few locations around the United States, but if one isn’t near you, look around for local trainers with facilities.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Common Behavioral Problems and How to Avoid Them

According to the National Council of Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), over 95 percent of pets surrendered to shelters have had little to no manners training. Many of the common behavior issues that attribute to the owner's decision to give up the pet are easily preventable. It's important to start training early and continue with consistency. The best thing to give a new pet is consistency and boundaries.

Not to worry! We know you want to love on your new pup and give them everything they could ever want! Love and affection is not mutually exclusive from boundaries. There is a proper time and place for each one, so before you snuggle your new pooch try politely but firmly telling them to sit. At the end of the day you both want the same thing anyway: to make one another happy. Here are 3 of the most common behavioral issues and ways that will help you communicate house rules to your new family addition and keep them in their furever homes!

1. Pottying where they shouldn't
Causes: Proper training methods not followed, separation anxiety, or medical issues

How to steer clear
Rule out urinary tract infection (UTI) or other bladder issues, then video record your dog when left alone to rule out accidents due to anxiety.
-Don't give your pet the chance to go in the wrong place! Cut off access to areas where the dog is having accidents. Close doors, leash dogs in the house and/or crate your pup in a correctly-sized space. Crates/pens should be big enough for the pet to turn around, but not too big that the dog can potty on one side and sleep on the other.
-Learn when your pet needs to "go" by logging accidents. Calculate how long the dog can hold it by using this formula: dog's age in months + 1. So, a 3 month old puppy should be able to hold it for 4 hours. Eating, drinking, just waking up, and being active are all things that will increase a dog's need to potty.
-Take the dog to the same spot every time and stand there for a few minutes. Be boring and non-engaging. When the pup has done its business, get excited! Give your dog lots of praise, treats, or go for a walk!

Breaking misconceptions
Rubbing a dog's nose in an accident is the worst correction for many reasons. First, the dog can't connect the accident to the punishment because of the time between the two. Secondly, because the dog doesn't understand the connection, they will only learn to fear you, and no one wants that!
-Use positive reinforcement instead!
-Don't use walks to get your pet to do their business, use them as rewards. Once they potty on your terms, then they can go for a walk!

2. Jumping and excessive excitement
Causes: lack of mental stimulation, boredom, failure to teach dog to settle and earn attention by being polite

How to steer clear
-Exercise, exercise, exercise! Use exercise time to remove excess energy.
-Teach your dog to be polite with tricks like "sit."
-Workout your pet's brain with pet puzzle toys!
-Have your pup do their tricks for non-edible rewards. It's a great habit to make your fur-riend "earn their keep" by doing simple and polite tricks, like sit. So before you let them outside, give them their food, or toss their favorite fetch toy, try asking your pup to sit first.

Breaking misconceptions
-The truth is, dogs love attention. Any attention is attention! Yelling "bad dog!" is even attention that a bored dog may be happy to receive. Attention can reinforce bad behavior, which we call negative reinforcement.
-The key to preventing bad behavior is management while training an alternative, more desired behavior.

3. Excessive barking
Causes: Dog's desire for attention, boredom, fear, anxiety, or instinct to alert owners

How to steer clear
-Socialization classes! Take your pup to socialization classes and groups regularly to help prevent anxiety and fear.
-Politely exclaim "thank you!" after just a few barks and reward with a treat, chew, or toy if the dog stops barking.
-Reward calm and quiet behavior with praise, treats, and playtime.
-Provide lots of positive stimulation, both physically and mentally so your pup doesn't get bored, Keep toys out of reach and rotate them so they are new and exciting.

With discipline from both you and your pet, you can succeed in cutting out these bad behaviors! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Safety Tips for Thanksgiving

‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.

Check out the following tips from ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Talkin’ Turkey 
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don't offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice 
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delicious, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough 
Don't spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don't Let Them Eat Cake 
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing 
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don't allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong 
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

7 Signs of Pain in Dogs

When it comes to dogs, pain can be hard to detect. For dog's wolf ancestors, showing signs of weakness made a wold vulnerable, which resulted in danger. Because of this heritage, it is in a dog's nature not to purposefully reveal when it feels pain, sick, or is injured. It's important for dog owners to be aware of these seven signs that signify their pooch is in pain.

1. Gait
A gait is a change in the way your dog walks, like limping, hobbling, or favoring a leg over another. 

2. Energy
If your dog is more lethargic than usual it may mean she or he is feeling a little under the weather.

3. Appetite 
Disinterest in food is a clear indication of ailment.

4. Eyes
Those puppy dog eyes we all love so much can do more than just get a few treats out of the owner. Bloodshot and dilated or constricted pupils can be a sign that something is awry. A dog in pain also tends to squint frequently.

5. Demeanor 
If your sweet pooch has turned from lover into Cujo all of a sudden, it may be an indication that she or he is hurting. 

6. Breath
Shallow, fast breaths or excessive panting for no discernible reason could be a sign that your dog isn't feeling well.

7. Posture
If a dog is hunching over, fidgety, or particularly rigid it may mean they are injured or sick.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Keep Your Pets Safe this Labor Day

Keep Your Pets Safe this Labor Day

Labor Day; it's the last big hurrah of the summer. Everyone will be packing their cars and dashing to the lakes and firing up their grills. Like any other big holiday, we're here to give you a few friendly tips to keep your pet safe for the long weekend ahead.

Beware of Table Scraps and Other Food Dangers
If your dog is a stealth master at swiping food off the table, or has food sensitivities, it's best to warn your guests and politely ask them not to feed your pup anything without your permission. If kids are around keep an eye on any food that they may drop. You'll also want to be aware of the trash, get a trash bin with a lid, or put the trash in an area the dog can't get to. Leftover fat from meat, juice-soaked strings from roasts, bones, and even corn cobs can result in a trip to the veterinary hospital E.R.

Food isn't the only thing to worry about! If you intend on hosting weekend guests, ensure that any medications they bring are kept out of reach of your pets. Keeping bags and purses away from pets is also a good idea to prevent your pets from rummaging for tasty candies that may be packed with Xylitol (which is toxic to pets). Also, while preparing your yard for a big shindig be aware that all herbicides or pesticides are stored safely in a place that pets (and children!) can't get them.

Beat the Heat
Because it's the last big summer party, you will likely spend as much time as possible outdoors this weekend! If your pet is spending that time with you be sure to keep them cool. Never leave your dog in a hot car, even if you just need to "run into the store for just a second." Leaving a dog in a car during warm days can still be a fatal mistake. Elderly dogs and short-snout dogs, such as Shar Peis and Pugs, have difficulty breathing in hot weather. Be sure to watch for signs of overheating, such as rapid panting and glazed eyes. If you notice your dog might be overheating, apply cool water (not ice cold water, as it can lock in body heat) to the belly and groin and take them to a vet immediately.

 Prevent Escape
Labor Day is no Fourth of July, but fireworks are still something to keep in mind. Guests, especially children, may not be as diligent about closing gates or doors as you are. When you're busy entertaining guests it is easy to overlook that your pet may have gotten out, so check on them often. Be sure your pet is wearing their collar with clear identification tags and have them microchipped.

When in Doubt, Call Pampered Pets!
Another great solution to keeping your pet safe is lodging them with us! Our facilities are closed to the public on Labor Day, but we still have staff with the dogs from 6:45am to 7pm every day! Hurry, because we fill up FAST on holiday weekends.
Fort Wayne: 260.489.7387
Napoleon: 419.592.7387