The Secret To Making your Dog Come EVERY Time You Call!

The Secret To Making your Dog Come EVERY Time You Call!

Teaching a dog to come is very important. It can save you time and frustration when you need your dog to come inside so you can leave for work and they just don’t want to. It can also save their life, like if they are running toward the street, for example.

But “come” is a very boring cue for your dog. In most cases it means the end of the fun they were having. Maybe it’s time to leave the dog park or come in from the yard. Maybe you are calling them to come because they are getting into something they shouldn’t, like digging under the fence. These are just a few reasons why many dogs do not come when their owners call.

Common Owner Mistakes That Ruin a Dog’s Recall

Of course, your wandering hound is not solely to blame if he decides not to come. There are many mistakes we humans make that poison our come cue. Here are a few of the big ones:

Calling them to us and then punishing. If someone called you to them and then scolded you, would you run to them happily? No, and neither will a dog. No matter how mad you are, never call your dog and then scold them.

Repeating the cue. Do you sit there and say “Come” (or your dog’s name, “Here”, whatever word you use) over and over until your dog decides to finally saunter over? You are teaching your dog that he doesn’t have to come to that first word. In fact, for many dogs what ends up happening is they see the cue as “come, come, come,” and won’t respond until you have said it that many times (or however many times you have gotten in the habit of calling out). From now on, you will need to say it that many times before he responds.

Calling them for something they hate. It’s easy to want to call our dog to us and then give them a bath, groom them or trim their nails. But if your dog hates those things, all you are really doing – in their mind – is punishing them for responding to your cue. For things your dog dislikes, it’s best to just go get them rather than risk ruining your cue.

Now that you know what NOT to do, here are a few games that will strengthen your dog’s Come cue.

Some Great Games To Teach a Good Recall!

The key to these games is to make running to you the best thing ever. So, that means you should act excited and happy every time your dog comes to you during these games and give them lots of praise and attention when they respond promptly to your cue. Start with no distractions and then as your dog gets better start including new smells and people in the area.

Note: If you have already made some or all of them mistakes listed above, you may find it’s easier to just start over teaching your come using a NEW CUE, rather than try to fix the old one.

Puppy Ping Pong- This requires two or more people. Stand facing each other like you would to play catch. Start out fairly close together, maybe just a few feet depending on the level the dog is at. With an easily distracted puppy, definitely start close. Take turns calling the dog to you. Be sure to have a “party” when the dog comes. You can use verbal praise, petting, treats or toys. After a few second “party” the other person calls the dog back. Most dogs really love this game! You can add more people as your dog gets better at it.

Hide ‘n’ Seek. This is just like the game you used to play when you were young. Distract your dog with some kibble or a toy on the floor and then hide. At first, make it fairly easy for your dog to find you by staying in the same room or hiding behind a nearby tree. Then call your dog. For most dogs, suddenly realizing you have disappeared will make them wonder “where did she go?” and they will quickly seek you out. Remember, big party when they find you. Choose trickier hiding spots as the dog gets better at finding you. You can also add people and have him find each in turn as they call him.

Catch and Release. This is for those dogs who have learned that Come means all the fun is stopping. Maybe you try and call your dog at the dog park or the beach when it’s time to leave and they run in the opposite direction, knowing you are calling them to go home. This game is going to fix that. Call your dog to you and then reward them for coming. Be sure you physically catch your dog. Put your hand on their collar, leash them up, etc. Then, release them to go play again. You should use a cue to do this, so they understand that you are giving them permission to leave you again. You can use the cue you must release your dog from his stay, or another one such as “go play.” If you do not use a release cue, your dog may learn that Come means “run to my owner, get a reward and sprint off again.” That is definitely not what you want.

Note: How to encourage a dog that won’t come

· Get down closer to the ground in an inviting stance, arms open, crouched or kneeling

· Turn slightly away from the dog, avoiding eye contact (especially for shier dogs)

· Make silly noises (some dogs get their interest peeked and want to investigate)

· Pat your legs

· Turn and run away (many dogs love to chase, and I find this works best for me)

· Squeak a toy (this is a tool that will have to eventually be faded away, but sometimes necessary at the beginning for dogs who only care about toys)

Avoid the above mistakes, play these games and your dog will have a solid recall in no time that will make life much more pleasant, not to mention safer, for both you and your dog.

The Importance of Vitamin D in Your Dog’s Diet

The Importance of Vitamin D in Your Dog’s Diet

We all know vitamins are important for us to be healthy. Well it’s the same for our dogs. And while you may think your dog food must have all the right nutrients in the right amounts because their marketing tells you so, that’s not always true. In fact, research is telling us that

75% of dogs don’t have enough vitamin D

Even more concerning, is what this could mean for your dog’s health. According to Veterinary Diagnostics Institute (VDI), vitamin D deficiency in dogs puts them more at risk for:

· Cancer

· Heart Disease

· Renal Disease

· Hyperparathyroidism

· Infections

· Inflammatory bowel disease

· Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

VDI has completed more than a dozen studies in partnership with various universities, all pointing to low vitamin D stores as being a risk factor in these issues in dogs. (And cats, in case you have those too!)

Recently, it’s been discovered that Vitamin D is essential for gene regulation and maintaining cell health. It is also important for the heart: it supports heart muscle electrical activity. Another study, in 2014 from Cornell University found that older dogs with CHF had lower blood levels of Vitamin D than dogs without heart disease.

SUNSHINE… MYTH BUSTED!

Sunshine is an important part of vitamin D absorption for humans. It’s one of the reasons people are told to get outside and why many take supplements during the winter months. Up until recently, we have always told people this was the same for dogs. VDI BUSTED THIS MYTH! Dogs (and cats) do not get their Vitamin D through sunshine. Only through diet. So what you feed your pet becomes vitally important for Vitamin D levels.

Not only this, but there are things that block the absorption of Vitamin D, including low magnesium levels in food, certain medical drugs, mineral oil, Fluoride (in tap water), polyunsaturated fats, and toxins including RoundUp, flame retardants, DDT and other pesticides.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Please! Do not start giving your dog huge amounts of Vitamin D! Like many vitamins, too much Vitamin D can also cause issues. Vitamin D toxicity can be life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary treatment.

SO HOW MUCH SHOULD YOUR DOG GET???

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as “take one of these pills a day” kind of thing. VDI has come up with a new formula for Vitamin D, one that they say should cause commercial food manufacturers to change their ingredients – as most do not have enough vitamin D.

VDI’s recommended reference ranges are:

Deficiency – anything less than 30ng/mL

Insufficiency – between 30-100 ng/mL

Sufficiency – between 100-120 ng/mL

The kicker is these numbers are the amount of Vitamin D in your dog’s blood. Not the amount in the food. Since each dog is going to absorb Vitamin D differently, the amount a food needs in order for your dog to be sufficient is going to vary. For example, in their study they found that spayed females absorbed Vitamin D 9% less than intact females. Neutered males absorbed a whopping 27% less than intact males. Age and health also play a role, as does exposure to the items listed above that affects D absorption.

Your vet can check your dog’s Vitamin D levels to make sure they are at the appropriate levels. If your dog needs more, VDI found that Salmon Oil was the only supplement that seemed to positively impact D levels – fortified dog biscuits was far less, and so were other fish oils.

An interesting note: VDI found Dogs being fed purely homemade diets had the lowest levels of Vitamin D.

So you can take your dog to the vet and have a simple blood test done. If they are too low, changing foods to a more complete diet is probably the easiest solution.

In case you are wondering all of Stay Loyal’s grain-free formulas have double the vitamin D of the minimum levels recommended by AAFCO.

The more we learn, the better we can care for our pets and hopefully keep them with us longer

Top Theories on Why Your Dog Eats Poop

Top Theories on Why Your Dog Eats Poop

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

Poop eating. It’s not something that is pleasant for us, that’s for sure. Especially if your dog then wants to lick you in the face. YUCK! But why do dogs do it in the first place? There must be a reason, right? And if you know the reasons, curbing your dog’s desire to eat feces should be easy, right?

THE PROBLEM? No One Really Knows!

There are many theories, speculations and even just good ol- fashioned guesses when it comes to why dogs eat poop.

Let’s Start With Dogs That Eat Their Own Poop

This is called autocoprophagia and it’s pretty common in the dog world. And while we cannot say for certain why some dogs do this, there are a couple theories that have more backing than others. They are:

A Bad Habit. Mother dogs eat the poop of their young to keep the “den area” (i.e. wherever you have placed your bitch and her litter) clean. Since puppies will often do this in imitation of their mother, it’s possible one or two of the puppies picked up this habit and just kept doing it.

Instinct. Wild dogs eat their own feces and there have been studies/research into the possible reasons why. One study from the University of California done by Dr. Benjamin Hart concluded that dogs may have this instinct in them because wild dogs eat feces around their den area to prevent intestinal parasites present in the poop from being spread to other pack members. Other researchers believe that wild dogs sometimes eat poop to keep from starving, since they are largely scavengers. They believe that some domestic dogs have retained this survival instinct.

House Training Anxiety. If it’s a puppy that has started to eat its own poop, this can be linked to housetraining. If the puppy has been physically punished (in particular, sticking a dog’s nose in its feces was found to be a main culprit in studies) for going in the house, some learn to eat their own poop so the owner doesn’t find it. Smart dogs, really. But, this is a good case for using positive rewards while housetraining rather than correction so you don’t cause another nasty problem.

Dogs That Eat Their Own Poop and/or Other Animals’ Poop

Then there are the dogs that eat their own poop and/or other animals, called allocoprophagia. Cat, horse, duck, goose and other dog droppings are very popular, but some dogs will eat any type of poop they come across. But why? Here are some leading theories:

Isolation. Studies have shown that dogs kept in isolation FROM HUMANS are more likely to eat their own or other animals’ poop. This may be linked to survival instinct, but they are not really sure.

Medical Problems. There are actually a few medical issues that can cause a dog to want to eat its own poop, or that of other animals. These include: diabetes, Cushing’s, and thyroid disease. If your dog has suddenly picked up this habit, taken him to the vet to have him checked out. Steroids from the vet can also cause dogs to eat poop.

Imbalanced Diet. A dog that is malnourished or deficient in certain nutrients may turn to eating poop to try and get the nourishment he lacks. Again, this most likely stems from the survival instinct. Interestingly, there are two possibilities when this happens.

1. If your dog seems to be targeting another dog, that dog should be tested for diseases that may be causing him to not digest/absorb nutrients properly, which are then being passed into his feces making them more appealing to the dog that’s lacking them!

2. Or…the targeted dog may have a more diverse microbiome and the dog eating it may be trying to replenish gut microorganism levels.

Diet is probably the only one of these reasons that has a “simple” fix. If your dog is eating poop because his current dog food is not satisfying him, it’s time to switch! If you think that is the case, you should check our dog food. Stay Loyal has a carefully researched ingredient list that is full of the nutrients your dog needs. Check it out here. https://stayloyal.com.au/ingredients

To stop coprophagia the process should be- have you dog checked out by the vet to rule out medical issues. Think about a diet change- Barring those, it’s time to talk with a dog trainer that can help you develop a management and training plan to curb your dog’s gross appetite. Failing all that maybe we should understand that what is grose to us is normal for them, and just let this one be.