Archive for Daniel Varena

The Come Command – How To Make Your Dog Respond

Why my dog wouldn’t respond to the come command was a mystery to me for about a year. I didn’t enjoy our walks together as he ignored me when checking out other dogs. I knew that sooner or later I would give him in adoption if I couldn’t make him listen to me. I know it wasn’t very smart of me to unleash him during our walks, but I didn’t know any other way to practice the command and test his progress.

I looked for advice online and found many methods that should have worked very well… on a normal dog.

I tried the trick where you lie down on the ground when he refuses to come. I can tell you from experience that this is not a cool trick, especially when it rains or on really cold days. Besides that, it only worked once. Pretty soon he lost interest and got back to his old behavior.

I tried other things as well. Another advice was to run away from your dog, calling him like you’re having a really good time and hoping he’ll want to join you. I did this in broad daylight four days in a row. At first, it worked pretty well. Yet by day three he started to lose interest. Unfortunately, my neighbors got all the more interested. They were actually making fun of me saying that my dog was smarter than me.

I used to get furious when my dog wouldn’t come when called. At times I was so frustrated that I would punish him when he finally arrived, which is the worst thing one can do.

I recently have invested time into a proper dog training method, using confined space and treats. I finally see some progress and it’s far more effective that all the tricks I tried. I don’t have to fall on the ground nor do I have to run like a madman. My dog actually starts to respond in real life situations.

Treats are very powerful rewards and I give him one every other time he comes to me. So now he even comes over when I don’t call him. I don’t leash him every time he comes, so he is learning that the best place to be is at my side.

Dog expert Daniel Varena writes articles on dog behavior and dog training in general. You can also get dog products in his shop like alimento para perros and pienso para perros.

Common Traits Between Dog Breeds

Dogs are surprisingly variable between breeds, but still they have many things in common.

In western countries over eight hundred breeds are recognized officially. Although at times it is difficult to distinguish between them, more often than not they are very different. A tremendous variety especially compared to us humans.

The domestication of the dog began ten thousand years ago. It is widely acknowledged that the dog descends from the wolf. The dog is a relative young species and it is not surprising that they still display common behavior, as seen in wolves.

Dogs like to explore:

Dogs learn by exploring their environment, just like two-year-old children. They are at roughly the same mental level. And like children, they can display destructive behavior. Dogs by nature will not respect your property. Training, the right toys together with a dedicated area for the dog will channel his behavior into acceptable behavior for humans and at same time healthy behavior for the dog.

Toys should preferable be distinct from other interesting objects in the house. I’d rather give him a bone than a tennis ball. If you play tennis he might chew up you good balls too. However thanks to his great capacity to smell he can also distinguish toys on scent, which normally does the trick.

When exploring outside you can bet that your dog will do some digging. If you don’t watch your dog when he is out in your garden he’ll surely start digging. If you don’t want that to happen supervise your dog, especially in the first months of his life. To avoid him destructing your plants you can use bitter apple or cayenne pepper paste.

Dogs are scavengers

Dogs will eat deer droppings, even when they are on a perfect diet. They’ll chew on dead rats, eat grass and ingest a wide variety of things that can even do harm to their stomachs. And they’ll repeat the behavior again and again.

As they are incapable of learning from past eating mistakes, you should take care he doesn’t eat anything poisoned from the street.

Recognize your dog’s nature, and work with it rather than against it. Enjoy all their positive things, such as spontaneous dog hugs, paw shaking or when he lays his head down on your lap. Those are just a few of the rewards for being a responsible owner.

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All Dog Breeds Are Made Equal?

Dogs can be very different between breeds.

In the Western world over 800 different breeds are registered. While some breeds are very distinct from others, some do look more alike. The variety is enormous, especially if you compare it to the ‘human breeds’.

Dogs have descended from wolves and began domestic interaction with humans only 10,000 years ago. As a consequence, some dog behaviors will develop regardless of the breed. A few common traits stand out and I’d like to discuss 2 of them today.

A Dog is a predator:

Although your dog is not out there hunting all time, still he is very much a hunter. They have extremely well developed ears, eyes and noses. They can hear very well (much better than us of course) and can perceive a much wider range of sound frequencies.

A dog’s field of vision is wider than that of humans. Their field of view has been estimated from 180 to 270 degrees, by comparison humans see from 100 to 150 degrees, allowing dogs to oversee the hunting grounds better.

And, of course, they’re famous for their sense of smell. They have 25 times more scent-receptor cells and they are able to perceive scents a 100 million times smaller than humans.

Take the Golden Retriever for instance. This breed can perceive a gopher 1 meter under the ground through a thick layer of snow and frozen earth. When they have located the gopher they’ll try to catch him, which is what any predator would do.

Another thing they have in common is that they are social animals.

Dogs need to be around other dogs and humans. That is the reason we like them so much in the first place. However still many owners think that dogs can be on their own for longer periods of time. Many a dog is on it his own for the whole day when everybody is out working. These long periods of social isolation can lead to alterations in his behavior, like aggression and anxiety. If you can’t be with your dog, think about how he can stay in contact with others, like hiring a dog walker for example.

Isolation your dog for short periods of time can be beneficial when training your dog. The fear of exclusion can be very effective for correcting bad behavior like biting. You should only exclude the dog for like 5 minutes. Never more.

Excessive time extent of social interaction with another dog, human, or even a friendly cat harms the dog’s psychology and leads to unwanted behavior. Even guard dogs should be able to distinguish between external ‘threats’ and members of their own ‘pack’.

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Dog Training – Crate Training Pros and Cons

There is an ongoing debate about whether or not crate training dogs is beneficial.

With crate training the dog is put in a cage, usually made out of plastic or metal that?s about the size of your dog, for shorter periods of time over the day.

Advocates of crate training think that the crate will offer the dog a little home for himself where he can rest and feel at ease. This little room for him makes him feel save. He?ll have a blanket for a familiar smell and comfort and his toys for entertainment.

Supporters of crate training will tell you that it is much easier to potty train your puppy. As dogs don?t like to soil their nest they will wait until they?re set lose before doing a pee or a pooh.

On the contrary some people say that it isn?t normal to lock up a dog in a small cage. A dog should have his freedom to explore, sniff and chew when growing up.

They will also state that too many animals will be too long in their crates, which in the end means that the whole idea of potty training won?t work. They give the typical example of pet shops where you can see how sometimes puppies are playing in their own pooh.

No doubt both sides have some good and some bad points. Objective studies on the issue are scarce and equally divided. Provided certain ‘rules’ are respected, there’s probably no harm, and possibly some good, in crate training.

Make sure that your dog is never longer than 2 hours in his crate. Whenever you let him out of his crate, take him immediately to the place where you want him to evacuate. And after that take him for a walk and let him do all the exploration he can.

Opponents state sometimes (out of boredom) dogs start moving around a lot in their crates and they can harm themselves. You should use a good and safe crate, made especially for dogs. You can consider a plastic crate that also can be used for transportation. Make sure that the crate cannot fall on its side.

Advocates believe that once your dog is crate trained, car, train and plain travel is much easier, because he is used to the crate. They feel at home in the crate, especially if you give him something that smells familiar. This is especially interesting for owners that travel regularly with their dog.

People against crate training simply say that you shouldn’t travel with your dog, besides the trips around the neighborhood, because a dog feels at home on its own turf.

But you must be the judge. You should give crate training a try and decide if crate training is beneficial for you and your dog.

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How To Socialize Your Dog

Dogs, like humans, can both be more or less tolerant to other dogs. Some dogs get easily acquainted to a new dog, cat or other animal. Others even have problems with the opposite sex of their own breed. Considering that dogs are social animals by nature this is strange, but still we have to deal with it.

Dog owners often have other dogs and pets visiting or living with them. To make sure all animals live peacefully together is not something that happens on its own. When on top of that your neighbours’ dog visits your premises every now and again and the ocasional cat wandering through the garden, you better be prepared.

You should start the process of socializing your dog as early as possible. Like children, puppies are much more open to accept strangers. They don?t distinguish yet between friend and foe and everything is a new experience to be explored rather than feared or chased.

Your vet will tell you when you can start socializing your puppy (usually at 13-15 weeks of age). Let him meet as many other dogs, animals and people as possible. Also explore his sensitive zones like the ears, paws and eyes regularly. This way you get a well behaved dog, not only when meeting other dogs, but also when going to the vet or when you receive human friends at home.

Dogs like to sniff each other. When they’re about to meet another dog you should control the set until you’re confident that both dogs won’t start fighting. Only after that you can let them explore the other dog.

If your puppy likes to jump on or bite other dogs, see if the other dog corrects him in a gentle dog manner. You should only interfere when one of the dogs is at the point of getting injured. Just stay near your puppy for an emergency intervention, just in case. You might want to bring a pair of gloves if you expect fighting.

Sometimes they start barking which can be annoying. You can try to make him stop by giving him a treat or give him his favorite squeeky toy. If that doesn’t help, just go home and come back the following day. You’ll have to learn what works best for your dog, because each dog is different when it comes to behaving around other dogs. Just take your time and learn how your dogs socializes best.

If you have a (adult) dog that comes from a rescue shelter and you don’t know his past you might need more time to teach him proper dog behavior. Many of these type of dogs have had bad experiences in the past and it might take them some more time to trust other dogs and humans again. They might be violent or shy, but whatever the way they react, bear in mind that many of these dogs turn in to wonderfully adapted animals with a little bit of love from their owners.

Start socializing your dog at the earliest moment possible. Have your puppy meet as many children, men, dogs, cats and other animals as you can. As a result you’ll have a wonderful dog that you can take with you anywhere you like.

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The Optimum Training Diet

You might want to consider a premium diet when training your dog. A healthy dog will be much quicker in understanding you in training sessions than a less healthier one. And the basis for good health lays in premium food.

It depends on the money you can spend whether you can give your dog fresh meat. However I believe it is essential you invest in a good dry food brand. When you look for a good brand this is what you should keep in mind…

When checking the label you’ll find the ingredients are in a specific order. The more of an ingredient in the food contains the higher it is on the list. If corn is on top of the list it means that the food contains corn more than anything else.

One of the ingredients that makes cheap dog food less preferable is the high percentage of ‘waste’ animal parts. When you see ‘by products’ on the label, it’s better to avoid these brands. If it does appear on higher quality dog food, which is rare, it will be listed near the bottom indicating a small proportion.

By-Products Meals are animal parts like feathers, claws, blood that are not good for human consumption. You can find them in animal food, because it is legal to use them for animals, but they don’t provide high quality energy and they don’t attribute to a good health of your dog.

Just as one indicator, dogs with healthy coats (particularly, long-haired breeds) will look shinier and shed less. Assuming proper bathing and brushing habits, of course.

Professionals usually recommend the following proportion between meat, vegetables and starch: about 40%, 30%, 30%.

The bigger brands use chicken meat, beef or lamb as a source of protein. All three types of meat are exellent for a vital dog with a shiny coat and a good general health.

The vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that produce hormones and enzymes, which is important for strong bones among others. For example carrots and squash are extremely good vegetables for dogs.

The best starch comes from brown or integral rice. Rice is an terrific carbohydrate, unlike other cereals like corn. Starch is broken down by the dogs stomach and provides energy and aids in cell repair.

Not all dogs are made alike and thus dietary needs can vary between breeds. Take the Golden Retriever for instance. This breed is quite sensitive to wheat based foods. But what you want to avoid especially are corn based feed, because that’s the hardest to digest for any dog.

Always look for good quality ingredients in a dog food. If you need more information consult your vet, because he can recommend the right diet for your dog. When you feel your dog is in bad shape, scratches, or has soft stool, talk to your vet.

Some dogs will find dry dog food more enjoyable if prepared with a little water and microwaved for about 30 seconds. Feed dry is thought to add to teeth and gum hygiene.

Be carefull with treats. Even quality treats tend to have a high fat content. This is one of the reasons dogs enjoy them so much. One or two per day isn’t harmful, but go for the quality brands.

The price differential for good food is sometimes considerable. Higher quality dog food often costs two to three times as much. But considering the effects on hour dogs health you’ll likely make up for it in lower vet bills, or at least in a healthier dog.

You’ll have a happier, healthier and more energetic dog. But most of all, the training sessions will be more efficient and he’ll learn a lot faster. And that is a good investment.

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