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  • This is the final Perfect Pup Episode (at least for the foreseeable future). Thank you SO much for all of your support over the years!

    The world is full of conflicting information and methods for obtaining “success and happiness”.

    And in terms of dog training and behavior “success”, the conflicts and arguments of how to get there will make your head spin.

    The term and ideology to “train the dog in front of you” can be a grounding principle to help you make the best, most informed decisions for how to raise and train your dog!

    In today’s episode, we’ll dive into what this phrase means, and how it can improve your outlook on your dog’s behavior to ultimately lead you to the strongest bond and connection with your dog as possible!

    The term ‘train the dog in front of you’ can mean different things for different people (that’s kind of the point in and of itself).

    In its broadest sense, this term/theory is meant to remind us as pup parents to drown out all the noise, competing opinions, and varying techniques out there and focus on what our specific dog needs at any given moment.

    In other words, just because something works for one dog, doesn’t mean it will work for your dog.

    Our dogs are unique individuals with varying strengths and weaknesses. Effectively raising a well-mannered pup is less about teaching specific behaviors, and more about adapting principles of learning to meet your dog’s needs.

    When we learn about dog training techniques and tactics, it’s important to reframe them through the lens of what your specific dog needs at that moment in their behavioral journey!

    No matter how many competing opinions or ideas you’ll hear from people, you ultimately have the make the best decision for your dog and your current situation.

    As we strive to not just train, but LOVE the dog in front of us we can better meet their needs and help them live more enriched and healthy lives.

    My hope is that you can focus on your dog’s individual needs on a daily basis and find training tactics, games, and methods that will help you unlock your dog’s best version!

    If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup. It’s a 100% free online course that can help you better tune into your dog’s needs, make a training plan, and help improve your pup’s behavior and manners. Sign up for free here!

    What’s a unique trait or strength your dog has that you’ve incorporated into their training? Tell me in the comments!

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  • The caliber and talent of dogs competing at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is top-notch.Most of these dogs (and their humans) practice, compete, and work for months (and indeed, years) to get to this pinnacle of dog competition.On a warm spring day in Queens, I learned firsthand just how important our relationship with our dogs can be. Especially when times get tough.Surprisingly, these lessons were taught by the “slowest” timed dog at the agility trials… And I want to share these lessons with you because we all need some reminders about what really matters with our four-legged friends. 👇Our group of friends decided to attend the WKC Dog Show, the first dog show of any kind for our entire group.We entered with zero expectations, except that we would hopefully be able to pet some pups.As we explored the grounds at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, we were in awe. From start to finish.Dogs of every size, shape, and breed trotted around the grounds, of which many breeds I’d never personally seen (besides on the internet).The dock diving was unparalleled. Happy pups leaping to their fullest ability, just to get their favorite toy.The obedience trials were jaw-dropping. Dog and handler communicating with ease to follow the exact cues and directions at each step.The breed meet and greet lived far beyond our expectations. Giving belly rubs to the biggest Great Danes & Newfoundlands we’d ever seen, then scratching the chins of the tiniest Papillons & English Toy Spaniels just a few feet away.It was a dog enthusiast’s dream come true.Read the full recap and lessons learned on the Pupford blog (will be published on 5/31): https://pupford.com/lessons-slowest-dog-wkc-agility/And sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup for free here!

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  • There are many instances where you need to learn how to clean a puppy without bathing!

    Maybe they’re scared of water, they have a wound that can’t go underwater, or you just aren’t in a location with a good bath option.

    No matter the reason, we’re going to dive into how to clean a dog without a bath. And, these tips will even help you keep your pup smelling clean between baths! These tips are for dogs of all ages.

    And at the end of the article, we’ll also let you in on a little-known secret for helping your puppy enjoy grooming!

    Let’s dive into it. 👇

    Note: Puppies generally shouldn’t be bathed before 8 weeks old due to their inability to regulate body temperature.

    When you’re in a pinch and need to clean your dog without a full bath, it can feel daunting…

    Kind of like when you realize you need to leave the house but don’t have time for a shower and find yourself spraying body spray or Febreze on yourself, or maybe even rubbing your car’s air freshener on your clothes for a quick smell boost. 😜

    No rubbing air fresheners on your puppy, so let’s look at some real solutions.

    Generally speaking, you have a few main options for cleaning your puppy without bathing:

    1- Dog wipes

    2- Bucket/spray/spot cleaning with a rag

    3- Dry shampoo

    Trying to clean a puppy (or older dog) without bathing can feel complex at times.

    Hopefully this article has helped you learn new ways to keep your puppy clean and smelling fresh, even between baths.

    As a recap, here are 3 main ways to clean your puppy without bathing them:

    1- Dog wipes

    2- Bucket/spray/spot cleaning with a rag

    3- Dry shampoo

    Be sure to snag a bottle of our Dry Shampoo today. It’s made with unique ingredients formulated to remove excess oil and dirt, freshen your dog’s coat, and leave them smelling AMAZING!

    Shop Dog Dry Shampoo here!

    How else do you clean your dog without a bath? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Learning ways to train a dog faster is advantageous for you AND your pup!As you improve your skills as the teacher, it will in turn improve your dog’s ability to more quickly understand and generalize new behaviors.In this article, I’m going to break down 5 daily hacks to speed up your dog’s learning process and ultimately help you raise a well-mannered pup. Because who doesn’t want that?!Here’s a quick overview of the 5 daily hacks for training a dog faster:1- Use mealtime for training2- Try mini training sessions, every day3- Routine-based training behaviors4- Incorporate training into playtime5- Use strong reinforcers & avoid mixed signalsTraining a dog takes time, patience, and consistency. And while your dog’s training progress might feel slow, it’s probably going better than you think!And while we didn’t dive deep into specific techniques in this article, I’d recommend signing up for 30 Day Perfect Pup if you’re needing specific training techniques and advice.This free course has guided videos (and an eBook) covering behaviors like leash walking, biting, potty training, and even recall! Sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup here!How have you helped your dog learn faster? Tell me in the comments below.

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  • The most important way I’ve kept my house clean (with multiple dogs) is by cleaning my dog’s paws after each walk.

    While it may sound like a lot of work, it takes just a couple of minutes and can significantly reduce the amount of dirt, germs, and bacteria that enter your home!

    Plus, by handling your dog’s paws after each walk you get the chance to check for any issues like thorns, cracking, or other paw concerns.

    Here’s what we will cover in this video:

    -Why cleaning your dog’s paws is important

    -5 ways to clean your dog’s paws

    -Extra paw care ideas & tips

    Here are 5 ways to clean a dog’s paws:

    -MudBuster

    -A wet rag with soap

    -Dog cleaning wipes

    -Teaching your dog to wipe paws

    -Using the bath (not a full bath)

    My recommendation is to read the article, try out different methods with your dog and see what works best. Remember to raise, train, and love the individual dog in front of you. Every dog is unique!

    Our dogs' paws can get seriously gross after walks, hiking, and exploring the world around them.

    By washing your dog’s paws you can reduce dirt in your home, protect their paws, and have an overall happier pup (and home).

    Here’s a recap of 5 ways to clean your dog’s paws:

    -MudBuster

    -A wet rag with soap

    -Dog cleaning wipes

    -Teaching your dog to wipe paws

    -Using the bath (not a full bath)

    By far, the most effective way is the MudBuster. Be sure to check it out here!

    And don’t forget to proactively moisturize and protect your dog’s paws with Butter Up. Shop here!

    Do you clean your dog’s paws after walks? How do you do it? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Focusing on a dog’s recall training should be at the top of every pup parent’s to-do list!

    Not only can it keep your dog safe and give you peace of mind, but it ultimately gives you and your dog greater freedom and adventure in the long run.

    Whether training a puppy or an older dog, this article is going to break down everything (seriously) you need to know about recall training. And it’s not gonna be a boring “call your dog back and reward” type article, we’re gonna dive into some pro tips, necessary tools, and even fun recall games to play with your pup!

    Here’s what we will cover:

    -What is recall?

    -Why does recall matter?

    -How to teach a dog recall

    -7 tips, techniques & games for teaching a strong recall

    -Additional FAQs about recall training

    Alright… come! Let’s dive into recall. 👇

    I want to dive into 7 tips that have helped me secure a solid recall with my dogs. And of course, we will look at some things not to do!

    Here are 7 tips, games, and techniques to keep in mind when teaching a dog or puppy recall:

    -Use a long lead

    -Start inside with no distractions

    -Use varying reinforcers

    -Don’t ask too much of your dog

    -Every recall should be a positive experience

    -Play fun recall games

    -Find the right “recall word” or cue for your pup

    Recall training is one of the most important behaviors you will teach your dog. If you have a puppy, I recommend devoting time to teaching recall every single day.

    If you’re looking for a basic introduction to training recall, sign up for the 100% free online class 30 Day Perfect Pup! It covers behaviors like recall, stay, leash walking, and more. Sign up here!

    If you're ready to take your dog’s recall to the next level, including transitioning to off-leash behavior then sign up for the Recall Mastery Course. It breaks recall training down into 11 different “levels” and even includes bonus recall games. Get access here!

    What was the most effective way you found to teach your dog recall? Tell us in the comments below!

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  • This is truly the last topic I want to write about, but I know how important it is and hopefully, it can help at least one person in this painful process. I want to provide my complete experience and answer common questions/concerns about dog euthanasia at home.

    The passing of a dog is extremely painful. I’d argue it’s personally one of the most challenging experiences of my life.

    In this article, I want to dive into all things in-home euthanasia because choosing this route for the passing of my dog, Buddy, was the best choice I could have made. I hope that if you’re nearing this part of your dog’s life you can find solace, comfort, and a small sense of hope by understanding what in-home euthanasia entails.

    This will be a long article because there are SO many questions and concerns around this topic and I want to help you make an informed decision for your dog.

    Here’s what we will cover in this article:

    What is at-home euthanasia

    -How do you know if it’s time to put your dog to sleep

    -At-home euthanasia pros & cons (there are many)

    -How does in-home euthanasia work, what is the process like

    -Ways to memorialize a dog

    I’ll also let you know about one of the most challenging parts of the experience that NO one told me about beforehand.

    While I will only choose at-home euthanasia in the future, I want to dive into the pros and cons of in-home euthanasia for your dog.

    Before we dive into each benefit or drawback, a quick overview.

    Here are some pros & benefits of at-home euthanasia:

    -Around your other dogs for closure

    -Familiar & comfortable environment, just like someone coming over

    -NOT the vet office, some dogs have real fears

    -Feels more like a beautiful send-off

    -You have control over the situation

    And of course, here are some cons and disadvantages of at-home euthanasia:

    -Cost

    -A lasting memory/visual reminder of where your dog passed away

    -It can be painful to be in the room as it happens

    HOW TO MEMORIALIZE A DOG

    Nothing will replace your dog, it’s that simple. But, there are some creative ways you can choose to memorialize your four-legged friend.

    Here are some dog memorial ideas:

    -Keeping ashes to spread at favorite places and keep in a decorative urn

    -Shadow box with a paw print, fur clipping, picture, etc.

    -Artwork, mugs, clothes, etc.

    -Tattoo

    -Photo album

    -Necklace or other jewelry

    The passing of a dog is a terribly challenging and painful experience. I hope that this article gave you some insight as to why choosing in-home euthanasia can be a great option for your dog’s end-of-life care.

    While the cost can be higher than euthanasia at a vet’s office, the peace of having your pup’s final moments take place in the comfort of your home is priceless.

    Whatever decision you make, do your best to build a support system around you during a challenging time like this. Losing a pet is a dark time and having friends and family (and mental health professionals) in your corner can give you light and hope on the dimmest days.

    Time makes the pain more manageable, but our dogs stay forever in our hearts.

    Have questions about dog euthanasia at home? Please leave a comment (on the blog) and I’ll do my best to help!

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  • Stumble into any community or group of pup parents (online or in person) and you’ll likely hear the debate about whether you should let your dog sleep in your bed!

    Some of us LOVE having our dogs sleep in the bed.

    Some of us HATE the idea of our pup potentially disturbing our sleep.

    While we won’t come to a complete resolution, because it’s a personal decision, my hope in this article is to clearly explain 3 pros and cons of letting your pup sleep in your bed. After that, it’s your life (and your bed). 😀

    Oh, and of course, we’ll cover what the research and data have to say about this co-sleeping dilemma!

    Here’s what this article will break down:

    -3 pros of letting your dog sleep in your bed

    -3 cons or drawbacks of letting dogs sleep in the bed

    -Tips for safe co-sleeping with your dog if you decide to do so

    Before we dive into all the pros, cons, and data about having your dog sleep in your bed, let’s look at some fun survey results we got back from our Instagram!

    Of course, this is self-reported and our followers on Instagram surely skew toward the ‘dog lovers’ type of pet parents.

    We asked, “Do you let your dog sleep in your bed?” and got 312 votes. 

    30% of people said their dogs sleep in their beds.

    We also asked, “Does your dog sleep in your room?” and got 310 votes.

    76% said their dogs sleep in their bedroom.

    I truly found these statistics interesting, I thought more of our Instagram followers would let their dog sleep in their bed.

    Beyond “I just like having my dog in my bed”, there are some strong arguments for having your pup sleep in bed with you.

    Some of these arguments have data to back them up. Here are 3 main reasons you may want your dog to sleep in your bed:

    -Comfort, relaxation, and strengthening your bond

    -Warmth

    -Protection and security

    I personally love sleep. I recognize it as something that can play a huge role in how I feel, think, and act on a daily basis (research does as well).

    The thought of “bad” sleep scares me.

    Here are some of the main drawbacks of co-sleeping with your dog:

    -Noise & movement can negatively impact sleep

    -Disrupting intimacy

    -Diseases, cleanliness and potty accidents

    If you decide you want your dog to sleep in the bed with you, there are some tips to follow! These will not only help keep your dog safe but also keep you and your bed protected!

    Here are 7 tips for safe co-sleeping with your dog:

    -Potty & crate training first

    -Wash your sheets and pillowcases frequently

    -Invest in a waterproof mattress cover

    -Practice proper dog hygiene

    -Teach your dog boundaries, an invitation should be required

    -Provide a dog bed or crate near your bed

    -If you have a really small dog, consider not co-sleeping

    There is no perfect answer to whether you should let your dog sleep in your bed.

    Some studies show almost no change in sleep quality between co-sleeping vs not.

    Other studies show an increase in night wakings when co-sleeping with a dog.

    Overall, we need more data and research to understand the effects of sleeping with dogs in our beds! There is a swath of data for human co-sleeping, but not so much for dogs. 

    With the large increase in the number of households with dogs, we should look to improve our understanding of the human-dog co-sleeping arrangement.

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  • When wondering how much freedom a puppy should have, remember this…

    The more freedom you give, the more opportunities you give a puppy to make mistakes.

    Mistakes?

    That’s things that aren’t really your pup’s fault (more on that later), but things we would see as problem behaviors. Things like destructive chewing, potty accidents, biting and nipping at kids, you name it!

    So to put it another way, your puppy should only have as much freedom as you’re willing to allow destruction and other problem behaviors to occur.

    I’d argue that the single biggest mistake pup parents make is giving too much freedom to their puppies!

    So your next question is probably when you can give your puppy freedom. At what age can you start to let your pup explore a bit more?!

    The simple answer, is probably later/older than you think! Here’s why. ⏬

    When you can let your puppy have more freedom is a 100% case-by-case situation. There are many factors to consider when making this decision. Here are some:

    -How much trouble/problem behaviors could the specific situation allow for if I decide to give more freedom than I usually do?

    -Does my dog understand proper behavior when it comes to where and when to go potty?

    -Is my puppy teething? If so, this can lead to even more destruction!

    -Has my dog shown, for a consistent period of time, an understanding of what items should and should not be chewed?

    See how complex each answer might be… That’s why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for when you can give a puppy more freedom!

    Some puppies catch on very quickly and can be afforded more freedoms as young as 6 months or so.

    Other puppies frankly haven’t had enough training and may not be ready for a heavy helping of freedom until they’re about 18 months old.

    And further, some dogs just can’t handle freedom. While that can be from a combination of a lack of training, breed tendencies, or even a history of problem behaviors, the fact remains that some dogs can’t handle freedom.

    Some dogs may never be able to have the full freedom of being off-leash in a non-fenced area. And that can be okay!

    What’s more important is that as pup parents we are aware of our dog’s individual strengths and weaknesses and raise them accordingly. And of course, work to provide proper training and teaching so that the “weak” behaviors can become the strong ones. 💪

    As a general rule, it takes most puppies about 12-24 months of age, paired with consistent learning and training, to be ready for more freedom. But again, each dog is unique and you shouldn’t rush it!

    If you’re unsure, I’d recommend finding a local dog trainer in your area who follows LIMA protocol and abides by positive reinforcement-based methods to give you specific advice.

    Important note: I want to be clear, it is not okay to not train your dog and then completely limit their freedom because they haven’t been taught how to behave. We have a responsibility as pup parents to teach our dogs how we want them to behave and to do it in a humane and effective manner!

    If you need extra help with training, please sign up for the 100% free class 30 Day Perfect Pup. It covers topics like leash training, recall, potty training, and even limiting your puppy’s freedom. Sign up free here: https://pfrd.site/classsignup-clickhere

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  • There are two principles and concepts that completely changed my understanding of training and raising a well-mannered dog. LIMA dog training and The Humane Hierarchy.

    The two are very interconnected and provide a framework for changing dog behavior in a thoughtful, humane, and effective manner.

    While these principles stand as an ethos and methodology for professional trainers and behaviorists, familiarity with the concepts will help you, the pup parent, feel vastly more confident and comfortable training your puppy.

    Plus, these principles can guide you in choosing the right trainer for your dog!

    To understand LIMA, we need to first understand animal welfare.

    Animal welfare is the physical and psychological state of nonhuman animals. The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights.

    Basically, animal welfare means concern for the overall well-being of an animal, including our dogs.

    LIMA was first introduced around 2005 by Steven R. Lindsay. 

    So, what is LIMA? LIMA stands for Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive. It generally refers to a trainer or behavior consultant who sets out to change behaviors through the least intrusive minimally aversive methods possible.

    Let’s define the two pieces.

    #1- Least Intrusive. 

    Intrusive, in a dog context, can be seen as something that limits a dog’s ability to choose and act freely or comfortably. Certain techniques can intrude on a dog’s safety, well-being, and freedom to choose.

    And on that note, LIMA methodology lends itself to relying primarily on positive reinforcement techniques as the initial behavior-changing route.

    Allowing a dog to make choices (non-intrusive) and then rewarding when the desired behavior is performed is about as “least intrusive” as it gets.

    #2- Minimally Aversive.

    It’s important to define the term aversive. The dictionary definition reads: “ending to avoid or causing avoidance of a noxious or punishing stimulus”.

    In simple terms, a stimulus (could be a shock, harsh sound, bad-tasting anti-chew spray) that is provided to try and make your dog stop doing a certain behavior.

    We’ll cover this more later, but aversives have been shown to cause more stress and anxiety often leading to more problem behaviors. 

    Is the science 100% perfect? Nope. But the vast majority of research, studies, and evidence show that aversives negatively impact the welfare of animals (see the beginning of this section).

    So bringing it back to LIMA, the methodology requires a trainer to implement the most minimally aversive methods possible.

    To sum it all up… LIMA boils down to finding strategies and methods that put the learner (the dog) first. That means understanding the dog’s history, challenging behaviors, preferences, and learning styles. And then following a humane hierarchy approach to resolve problem behaviors in the least intrusive (think freedom) and minimally aversive (think harsh punishment) way as possible.

    Be sure to read the full article on the Pupford blog! https://pfrd.site/readnow

    And sign up for the 100% free online dog training class to train a well-mannered pup: https://pfrd.site/class-signup-noww

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  • All dogs have butts. And similarly, many dogs will at one point or another scoot on their butt across the floor, grass, or even sidewalk (yep, it happens).

    While this behavior can be a bit embarrassing if guests are over, it’s actually something you should try to diagnose and resolve sooner rather than later.

    In most cases scooting is just a sign of full or irritated anal glands. But, in some cases, it can actually be a more serious sign of health problems!

    So, let’s learn all about scooting. Here’s what we will cover:

    -The main reason dogs scoot, full anal glands

    -What are anal glands

    -Other behaviors/signs you may see associated with scooting

    -Other (less likely) reasons your dog is scooting across the floor

    -What you should do if your dog is scooting

    -What you should NOT do when your dog scoots

    -How to prevent anal gland issues and scooting

    Trust me when I tell you that you’re gonna run into this throughout your dog’s life, so it’s important to learn the ins and outs of the scoot. 

    If you just want the simple answer, this is it…

    The main reason dogs scoot on their butts is that their anal glands/sacs are itchy and/or full.

    So, you might be wondering what in the world anal glands are. Let’s cover that. ⤵️

    While you’ll more commonly hear the term anal glands, it’s actually the anal sacs that get filled and irritated for your dog.

    Let’s break this down as simply as possible.

    All dogs, male and female, have anal sacs (inside their anus) that are filled with foul-smelling fluid. The purpose of this fluid is essentially a “calling card” with their information. 

    PS- That’s part of why dogs like to sniff each other’s butts and feces.

    The fluid passes out of the sacs, through a duct, and then out of the anus, typically at the end of a bowel movement.

    But sometimes the fluid doesn’t make it out as it should.

    When that happens, you get a build-up in the sacs (often stemming from the ducts being clogged or irritated) that causes pain, inflammation, and general discomfort for your dog. This can also turn into Anal Sac Disease, especially if left untreated.

    This leads us to why anal glands are often the root cause of a scooting dog… 👇

    When your dog’s anal glands are full it can be quite uncomfortable for them. Think of how you’d feel if you constantly felt snot in your nose but were unable to blow it out… 

    Fun topics, right? 😉

    Scooting can do two things for your dog: 

    -Comfort and itch relief

    -Hopefully, it encourages the anal glands to discharge the liquid

    Dogs scooting on their butt across the floor is common. Dogs typically scoot because their anal glands are full, irritated, and/or itchy.

    Again, if you suspect this to be the case then please consult your vet. If anal gland issues go untreated they can become increasingly worse for your dog’s health!

    And don’t stop your dog mid-scoot. Let them scoot and then work on finding a solution and remedy for the root problem.

    As part of a healthy gut, be sure to check out our Gut Health + Immunity Supplement. Since a puppy's gut makes up a large majority of their immune system it's so important to properly care for their microbiome. This supplement has been formulated with optimal ingredients to support a healthy gut! 

    Shop the Gut Health + Immunity Supplement here! https://pfrd.site/gutsupplement

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  • While many people know grapes and chocolate are dangerous for dogs, did you know xylitol is poisonous for dogs too?!

    The artificial sweetener xylitol can cause major health problems, including death if ingested by a dog.

    So, in this article, we’re gonna dive into all things xylitol and pups so you can keep your good boy or girl safe!

    DISCLAIMER: If you believe your dog has ingested something with xylitol, call your vet or a pet poison control hotline immediately.

    Here’s what we will cover:

    -What is xylitol

    -Why is xylitol poisonous and toxic for dogs

    -Symptoms of xylitol poisoning

    -What foods contain xylitol

    -How to keep your dog safe from xylitol

    While xylitol is touted for its oral benefits and low-calorie sweetness for humans, it is extremely dangerous for dogs.

    Xylitol causes a sharp increase in insulin that can lead to hypoglycemia (too low blood sugar). If left untreated hypoglycemia can become fatal to a dog.

    Recently, researchers and professionals have found that xylitol can also cause liver failure (hepatic failure).

    In dogs, other complications that can arise from xylitol ingestion are hypokalemia (low potassium levels) and hypophosphatemia (low phosphorous levels).

    Based on experience at the ASPCA APCC, dogs ingesting greater than 0.1 g/kg of xylitol should be considered at risk for developing hypoglycemia. In comparison, doses greater than 0.5 g/kg may be hepatotoxic (toxic to the liver) and more than likely cause death. 

    So of course you are probably wondering how to calculate those numbers…

    Well, it can be difficult. Many products do not explicitly list the amount of xylitol in their product, but let’s show a rough example.

    Chewing gum typically contains about 0.22-1.0 grams of xylitol per piece!

    In this sample calculation, I’ll use my Labrador Retriever Scout. She weighs about 65 lbs or about 30 kg.

    So 0.1 g/kg would be about 3 grams of xylitol. To find the g/kg level that can lead to hypoglycemia, just take your dog’s weight in kilograms and multiply by 0.1

    If 1 stick of gum is anywhere from 0.22-1 gram, just 3 sticks of gum could cause our very large dog to develop severe complications.

    And anything above that could quickly lead to liver failure and death.

    Here are some symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs:

    -Decreased movement

    -Lethargy

    -Vomiting

    -Weakness

    -Staggering

    -Incoordination

    -Collapsing

    -Seizures

    COMMON FOODS THAT CONTAIN XYLITOL

    -Sugar-free gum, Ice Breakers have been said to contain more xylitol than others.

    -Peanut butter

    -Nut butter

    -Mouthwash

    -Toothpaste

    -Pudding

    -Syrups

    -Jams

    -Chocolate

    -Chewable multivitamins

    -Nasal sprays

    -Personal lubricants

    -Sugar-free mints

    -Sugar-free candy

    Above all, keep xylitol-type products out of reach of your dog. If your dog ingests anything with xylitol immediately call your vet and/or pet poison hotline.

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  • Feeling sluggish? Not feeling mentally alert? Struggling to make decisions?

    You may just need to pet a dog…

    At least, that’s what the initial findings from a group of researchers have to say!

    While all research can have limitations, the findings of the effects of contact with a dog on prefrontal brain activity study are quite eye-opening.

    Let’s dive right into it. ⬇️

    Each participant took part in 6 sessions, 3 that included a dog and 3 that included the plush toy. Every session followed the same format.

    With the participant sitting on a couch, they did the following for 2 minutes while their brain activity was monitored with the fNIRS machine. Additionally, their heart rate and electrodermal activity (essentially sweat levels) were monitored.

    Staring at a blank wall (neutral)

    Only looking at the dog or toy from about 3 feet away (watching)

    Having the dog lay near them or the toy placed on their thigh (feeling)

    Actively petting the dog or toy (petting)

    Staring at a blank wall (neutral)

    This was repeated 6 total times (3 with a dog and 3 with a toy).

    The data found through these sessions was astounding! 

    REAL DOG VS PLUSH TOY

    While there was actually increased brain activity when interacting with the plush toy, the gains in activity were significantly higher when interacting with the dog.

    As the dog or toy entered the room, was next to, and then was interacted with by the participant, brain activity increased. 

    And while this is true, the gains in prefrontal brain activity were significantly higher when the participant interacted with a real dog compared to a toy!

    Simply put, a real dog was more effective at activating brain activity than a plush toy. Not much of a surprise there.

    WATCHING VS FEELING VS PETTING

    What I found most interesting was the significant jump in brain activity when participants were actively petting the dog!

    One of the largest jumps in brain activity occurred when the participant when from being near the dog (feeling) to actively petting the dog (petting).

    It seems as if there is some scientific evidence as to why we (or at least I) always want to go pet dogs that we see on the street. That petting of a good boy or girl can actually increase our brain activity.

    WHAT ABOUT WHEN THE DOG LEFT THE ROOM?

    Another piece of data that the researchers uncovered was that even after the dogs left and the participants went back to staring at a wall (neutral phase), brain activity stayed measurably higher than compared to the first neutral phase.

    So, not only can petting a dog get our brain moving at that specific moment, but it can even help once the dog is gone!

    No study is perfect and no study can give us complete answers, but this study did show statistically significant evidence that petting and closely interacting with a dog can have positive effects on our brains.

    This type of hard data and evidence can ideally provide therapy dog groups with a better ability to secure funding, expand operations, and overall better serve people worldwide.

    The bottom line is that dogs are amazing creatures that we are truly lucky to have in our lives and further research is certainly needed to better understand our relationship with them. 

    And we should treat, raise, and train dogs with that level of respect in mind. 🙂

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  • While you may be wanting to know how many times a day you should walk your dog, I want to convince you in this article to think about this question differently!

    Before you close this tab, stick with me for a few minutes. I promise by the end of this article you’ll feel more confident in assessing your dog’s exercise needs each day. 

    And I know the sentiment of this question comes from a desire to make sure you’re meeting your dog’s needs, which is a fantastic thing! So I want to dig into that a little bit more, and help us all improve our dog’s lives (and ours as well in the process).

    If you’re really dying for a number, I’d say at least one walk a day. Or at least 60 minutes of total walking time. Preferably you’d give two walks per day, too!

    BUT…

    Let’s flip the script on this question and find a better way to think about our dogs’ exercise and stimulation needs.

    Where I previously lived I almost never walked my dogs.

    Yup, you read that right.

    But you know what I did do a lot of?  Fetch, tug of war, playing at the park, snuffle mats, hikes, lick mats, hide and seek, and doggy play dates.

    While we rarely went on a standard “walk” around our neighborhood, my dogs still had plenty of exercise, bonding, and enrichment time throughout the day.

    The trap of thinking about how many times you need to walk your dog is that walks aren’t the only measure of a happy, healthy, and well-exercised dog.

    And every dog is different (you’re gonna be sick of hearing that by the end).

    Some dogs absolutely love walks. They love the bonding time, they love the sniffs, and they love the leisurely exercise.

    Some dogs just don’t really care for walks but enjoy the experience and get enough enrichment out of it.

    Some dogs need loads more than just a walk… 👇

    I could walk my dog Scout for 2 hours straight and she wouldn’t be tired… at all. She would actually probably end up a little bit bored.

    But let her play fetch for 30 minutes and she will be visibly enjoying herself and come home more tired than the 2-hour walk scenario.

    Certain breeds have been bred for 100s (if not 1,000s) of years to perform specific tasks.

    My Labrador Retrievers were literally bred to help retrieve items. That is their “life calling” if you want to give it a name.

    So ask yourself, what was your dog bred to do?

    If the answer is to be a lap dog, then walks might be perfectly suitable for meeting his or her exercise needs.

    But if the answer is to help with hunting, walks might not be enough.

    Or if the answer is to herd livestock, walks might not be enough.

    Possibly the answer is to protect, and walks might not be enough.

    Do you see what I mean?! Every single dog is different!

    The key is to find what type of exercise your dog derives the most enjoyment and physical exertion from, and do that.

    And if you find yourself coming home from a long walk and your dog is still hyper, it might be time to reassess your exercise routine.

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  • You come home to a chewed-up shoe, see your dog avoiding eye contact or making themself look small, and wonder… do dogs feel guilt? 🤔

    The vast majority of pup parents believe that dogs feel guilt.

    But what does scientific research say?

    Alexandra Horowitz, a writer, professor, and researcher of dog cognition, conducted a study in 2009 to find out if our pups really can feel guilty!

    So let’s break down her study and find out for ourselves if your pup really feels guilty after they have an accident on the carpet.

    Let’s do it! ⤵️

    This study consisted of 14 dogs of varying ages and breeds. The main criteria were that the dog was at least 6 months old and had lived in their current home for at least 3 months.

    So as to get the most realistic results, the study was performed in the respective living rooms of these 14 dogs and their humans.

    Here is how the study was carried out.

    The dog and their human were in the living room a treat was placed in a place accessible by the dog The human told their dog to not take the treat (ie saying leave it, or no, etc.) The human left the room while the dog (and treat) remained in the room

    And this is where the real study kicks in…

    The study had two main “elements” that varied:

    Obedience: Essentially, did the dog follow the cue given by the human, aka obedience or did they “break” the cue, aka disobedience Owner response: The pet parents were given two ways to behave when reentering the room, scolding the dog (not hitting or hurting, just scolding with their voice) or greeting the dog in a friendly way

    So once the pet parent left the room, sometimes the treat was immediately taken away thus guaranteeing “obedience” to the human’s cue.

    In other instances, the dog was prompted by the experimenter (although it was done in a way not to undermine the pet parent’s request to leave the treat) to eat the treat.

    Two outcomes occurred for each dog:

    The dog consumes the treat The dog does not consume the treat

    Before returning to the room the pet parent is told to act in one of two ways (see “owner response” above):

    Scold the dog if told by the experimenter that their pup had consumed the treat Note: The scolding was verbal, not physical. Think of it as a verbal chastisement like “did you do something bad?” or “what did you do?” or “oh bad dog” etc. Happily greet the dog if told by the experimenter that their pup had NOT consumed the treat

    “Obedience” = happy greeting.

    “Disobedience” = scolding.

    Here’s the twist though!

    Some pet parents were told their dog had NOT eaten the treat when the dog actually had.

    Others were told the dog DID eat the treat when the dog actually had not.

    But the pet parent completely believed the experimenter was being honest. Their behavior returning to the room was equal to what decision the pet parent had been told their dog had done.

    So now for the most important part, the results of the study.👇

    There was no significant effect on the dog’s obedience to the number of ABs. Meaning whether or not the dog “disobeyed” their human’s “command” had no major role in whether or not the dog acted guilty…

    Want to know what did have a significant effect on the number of ABs?

    The pet parents’ response!

    The study found that the pet parent’s reaction had a MUCH greater impact on the amount of “guilty looks” than the dog’s actual behavior.

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  • Running with your dog can be a very effective way to improve the health and happiness of your pup and you, the human!

    While jogging can be relatively straightforward, adding a dog to the mix will change how you approach this activity.

    I’ve been running with my dogs on an almost daily basis for the past few years and want to pass along 9 essential tips that will make running with your dog much easier and more enjoyable.

    Here is what we will cover:

    Assess your dog’s running capabilities Don’t start too young Essential training behaviors and skills Get the right gear (this can make all the difference) Start slow Pay attention to your dog’s signs of being tired Be aware of pace and distance Weather & terrain are important factors Keep it fun and use it as a time to bond

    I have two Labrador Retrievers and they have been my running mates since they were old enough to safely run with me.

    We’ve run all over Utah, New York City, and California on a wide variety of landscapes and terrains. I made plenty of mistakes in the early stages, and hope that his article will help you avoid my mistakes!

    I typically run anywhere from 3-6 miles per session about 3-6 times per week with them. While this may sound high, it took a lot of progression and practice to safely get to those numbers (more on that later). My pups even recently helped me train for the New York City Marathon and were integral to my success!

    While we mostly do our runs while they can be off-leash, I have logged hundreds of miles with them attached to my waist (more on that later as well).

    All that to say, I have a high level of experience running with dogs! So, let’s dive into all the ways to make jogging with your dog a successful experience.

    Quick note: I am only going to discuss casual running/jogging and not Canicross. I have no experience with Canicross, but many people (and their dogs) love it!

    AND here's the hands-free leash I've used for years and LOVED! https://amzn.to/3G0EerB

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  • The choice to relinquish a dog to a shelter is often one that weighs heavily on the pup parent. It is in most cases seen as a last resort, and often one they’d rather not have to make.

    While I want to remain sensitive to anyone who has had to make that decision, it’s important to discuss the main reason why so many dogs are relinquished to shelters. Understanding the “why” behind relinquishment can hopefully help reduce the frequency!

    Some estimates put the number of dogs relinquished to shelters at around 1 million per year (roughly 3 million end up in shelters overall, but I want to focus on relinquished dogs).

    Let that sink in for a moment…

    Roughly 2,700 dogs PER DAY are being relinquished to shelters.

    In this video, we’ll dive into the data from two different studies that aimed to pinpoint why dogs are relinquished. My hope is that understanding this data can help us individually and as a society make more informed and healthy decisions with our pets.

    Here is what we will cover:

    -The #1 problem behavior reported during a relinquishment

    -How many surrendered dogs received training? Both formal & informal

    -Additional statistics about dogs ending up in shelters

    -What we can do to reduce the number of dogs being relinquished to shelters

    If you're needing help with your dog's behavior, please sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup! It is 100% free (no credit card required) and covers topics like potty training, biting, leash walking, and more! Sign up free here: https://pfrd.site/signupfree-heree

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  • While most of us know the damage stereotypes can do to us humans, what role do they play for our pups?!

    We often put “labels” and stereotypes on our dogs that ultimately end up causing harm to them and specifically to their training.

    In this article, we’ll discuss how you can avoid these stereotypes and find more positive ways to look at your pup, regardless of breed!

    Here’s some of what we will cover:

    How “all dog”-style stereotypes don’t hold true Why you shouldn't get hung up on breed-specific stereotypes How stereotypes generally hurt training progress

    Need more training help?? Sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup here! https://pfrd.site/classhere-signupp

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  • While most of our homes or apartments have the dog staples like a bed, water bowl, and toys, there are some truly unique dog household items that’ll make your life about 100x easier!

    And with how challenging raising a pup can be, I’ll take “easy” any chance I get!

    Here’s a quick overview of the 5 items + a bonus item:

    1- Automatic/robotic vacuum: https://amzn.to/3yoK4ym

    2- Enzymatic cleaner: https://pfrd.site/cleaner-enzymatic

    3- Airtight dog food container: https://amzn.to/3ecOMbA

    4- Portable paw cleaner: https://amzn.to/3T5wub3

    5- Magnetic screen door: https://amzn.to/3rF7aNC

    6- Dog blow dryer (if you bathe your dog at home): https://amzn.to/3RKaqla

    #1- AUTOMATIC VACUUM (ie ROOMBA)

    Whether your dog sheds or not, having an automatic vacuum will decrease the dust, pet dander, and general messes throughout your home.

    And if your dog does shed, a robotic vacuum is almost non-negotiable.

    Most robot vacuums can be set to automatically clean at certain times of the day so you almost never even have to think about it!

    #2- ENZYMATIC CLEANER

    Sticking with the whole “dogs are dirty” theme, a high-quality enzymatic cleaner will save your floors, rugs, and carpet.

    Even if your dog is potty trained, accidents of all kinds will happen. Dogs throw up, excited pee, accidentally poop on your favorite rug, you name it. 

    Sh*t literally happens.

    #3- AIRTIGHT DOG FOOD (& TREATS) CONTAINER

    There’s something oddly unsettling about opening a pantry door, laundry room, or cabinet and a stiff stank of dog food hitting you in the face.

    The vast majority of dog food, whether kibble or dehydrated food, doesn’t have the best packaging when it comes to closing it back up! And that causes two things to happen. ⤵️

    The food doesn’t stay as fresh as possible

    The smell of dog food permeates throughout your home (or at least the room you’re keeping the food in)

    The solution?

    Get a nice air-tight dog food container! Not only will your pup thank you (for the fresher food), but your home will smell better.

    #4- PORTABLE PAW CLEANER

    I don’t care if you live in a big city or the wide-open countryside, your dog’s paws can get quite gross on walks and other adventures.

    While most of us will towel off paws if they’re muddy or visibly dirty, what about when they aren’t?

    I can assure you that there is still plenty of dirt and grime on your pup’s paws, even if you don’t see it!

    #5- MAGNETIC SCREEN DOOR

    If you enjoy having bugs and flies in your home, then skip this section.

    If you don’t, then you need a magnetic screen door!

    Keeping a back door or patio door open is a great way to welcome fresh air into your home, but what if you don’t have a screen door..?

    And don’t even get me started on the number of times you end up opening and closing your door to let your dog out to use the bathroom! 😅

    With a magnetic screen door, you can keep the door open AND not have to worry about your pup being able to get out.

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  • While most of us have heard the term ‘therapy dog’, what therapy dogs actually do remains a bit of a mystery to many!

    In this episode, I’ll be interviewing Monica Callahan to help us all gain a true understanding of what therapy dogs really do and how they improve lives everywhere!

    MEET MONICA CALLAHAN

    Monica Callahan has been a professional dog trainer for over 10 years and graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy in 2012. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. She is a current rally judge for the C-WAGS organization. In 2021, she graduated from the prestigious licensing program, Family Paws. Family Paws is geared toward working with families who are welcoming babies into families with dogs or continuing to keep toddlers and children safe and dog aware.

    Monica also runs her own dog training business, Family Fido Dog Training. Monica helped start the MYR Airport P.E.T.S. therapy dog program in December of 2021. On top of all of that, The Hero Dogs was started by Monica and her husband to showcase the therapy work they do for first responders and crisis response.

    Learn more about Monica and her work here: https://familyfidotraining.com/

    WHAT DOES THE THERAPY DOG CERTIFICATION PROCESS LOOK LIKE?

    Monica stressed that one reason she loves and believes so strongly in the Alliance of Therapy Dogs is because of their testing and certification process!

    Many other tests and certifications are strictly behavior based, but ATD’s certification process chooses to focus on handler and dog relationship and temperament.

    Monica emphasized that this type of certification process helps to more effectively approve only the dogs that can truly handle therapy dog work.

    Of course, there are behaviors your dog should have a solid understanding of to become a therapy dog. Here are some things your dog should be able to do:

    -Loose leash walking

    -Responsiveness to handler, even in distracting situations

    -Not jumping when greeted

    -Not jumping when greeting someone sitting down (as is common in a therapy work situation)

    -Not being startled by people rushing by (ie, nurses down a busy hospital hall)

    Monica recommends ensuring that your dog could pass the Canine Good Citizen test as part of their therapy dog training!

    As part of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs’ certification process, dogs are required to go through three different on-site (ie, senior citizens home, hospital, etc.) observations to ensure their capabilities.

    WHAT DOES A THERAPY DOG DO & WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

    While there isn’t one specific task a therapy dog does, their general role is to provide affection, comfort, and support to people in need.

    This can be done in a variety of ways and in a variety of scenarios.

    Here are some places where therapy dogs often do their work. ⬇️

    -Hospitals

    -Schools

    -Offices

    -Nursing homes

    -Disaster areas

    -Police & fire stations (more on that later)

    -Libraries and more

    Here are some of the specific things a therapy dog might do during their work. ⏬

    -Be pet by people

    -Play simple games with people

    -Snuggle & cuddle with people

    -Be groomed by people (especially those in rehabilitative situations working to improve or re-learn motor skills)

    -Simply, be near people needing support and comfort

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