Dogs in Blankets Being Warm and Cozy

Get Someone To Look At You The Way These Dogs in Blankets Look

Sure, you may love that cozy feel of a soft blanket, but these pups love it more. Here is a compilation of dogs in blankets!

1. “There are cozy goals and then there are ~COZY GOALS~”

2. “Snoopy has done this since day 1 too 😍”

Dog does a sleep under a pink blanket
Dogs in Blankets

Image Credit: @JenniferDohert4 via Twitter

3. “Duke finds this relatable as heck !!”

Beagle naps under covers

Image Credit: @_P0sthuman via Twitter

4. “[Same] But I’ve never caught him with the camera, doing it! #beagle”

Sleeping dog dozes under blanket
Dogs in blankets

Image Credit: @MichaelGShryane via Twitter

5. “Our beagle does this too! They know exactly how to manipulate blankets and pillows for ultimate comfort! ❤️”

Beagle doin a blanket snug

Image Credit: @HayleyBCooper via Twitter

6. “My weenie dog Baxter does this same thing 😁 He thinks anything made of cloth is his blankie.”

Dog sleeps under blanket

Image Credit: @jaffobsession via Twitter

7. “My niece thought it was odd when she came home and found that after I tucked the kids in I tucked Maggie & Lulu in under the Christmas tree. I am now the dogs favorite aunt.❤️🎄🐶”

Because the only thing better than one dog under a blanket is two!

Image Credit: @IrishPatty54 via Twitter

8. “My pup loves to sleep this way. But insists we do it for her.”

Dog wrapped in a blanket

Image Credit: @Dr_Koraly via Twitter

9. “Eddy’s got it down too”

boxer dog sleeps under blanket on couch

Image Credit: @Stu_FX via Twitter

10. “Barkis didn’t even know it was a thing. 😉”

Dog cloaked in blanket like Jedi

“At last we will reveal ourselves to the jedi … “Image Credit: @susanwiggs via Twitter

11. “My Jasper does [it] too!”

dog rests under reindeer blanket

Image Credit: @LeStripe via Twitter

12. “Here’s Rudy , waking up this morning.”

dog sits upright after sleeping under blankets

Image Credit: @dreamrose59 via Twitter

13. “Can confirm this is Big Beagle Energy.”

beagle rests head against pillow

Image Credit: @nicolemhill via Twitter

14. “My good beagle is also a covers enthusiast”

dog sleeps under fuzzy blanket

Image Credit: @DicconHyatt via Twitter

15. “My boy Kai does this crazy thing with his bed. He tosses it over himself and gets a toy or a snack. 🤣”

dog throws blanket over shoulder

Image Credit: @j_pineo via Twitter

16. “McDuff loves to snuggle in a blanket too”

white dog sleeping under blanket

Image Credit: @Gina18306341 via Twitter

17. “She’s not talented to pull her own blankets up on her, but she does love fluffing her nest up lol”

dogs likes to be tucked in at night

Image Credit: @madshaw via Twitter

18. “Here’s one of our ‘golden oldies’ snuggling in a recently donated blanket to keep warm & cosy away from the horrid monsoon rains that are flooding our hospital & sanctuary in India!”

rescued dog sleeps under blanket

Image Credit: @TOLFAcharity via Twitter

19. “My #Gizzy steals my spot in the morning when I have to get up for work She goes right in my warm spot, gets under the covers & puts her head on my pillow #SpoiledRottenLittleGirl”

dogs slides into warm spot after human gets up

Image Credit: @MichelleDelNigr via Twitter

20. “Daisy always likes to be Uber something”

dog sleeps on other dog sandwiched between blankets

Image Credit: @StuCol101 via Twitter

21. “Ricky my Rat Terrier prefers the electric mattress pad underneath it all.”

cozy dog sleeps on electric mattress pad

Image Credit: @6310865 via Twitter

22. “Here’s my BoBo”

dog enveloped in comfort of blanket

23. Frankie and Chloe love being under a blanket!

Dog Game Night With The Family

7 Games Your Dog Can Learn From

When it comes to dogs, it’s time to reject the idea that work is work and fun is fun. School is in session every time we interact with our dogs— even during lighthearted play, they are always learning.

Dogs Playing Games by Lili Chin for dog game night

Here are seven fun games that teach dogs practical lessons that will help them be upstanding members of society. (These descriptions highlight the benefits rather than provide step-by-step instructions for each game.)

1. Chase.

9 Fun Games to Play with Your Dog

Consider this game if you’re convinced that your dog doesn’t like to play; once they’ve been enticed into a game of chase, you may see their fun side come alive. Another plus: when you want to reinforce your dog but have no treats or toys handy. Chase can be a go-to way to make your dog glad they listened to you. And, because it teaches your dog to move toward rather than away from you, it can help with recall training.

For it to work, your dog must always chase you, not the other way around.

“Chase” can easily turn into the not-so-wise-or-fun game of “let’s nip the human’s ankles, legs or behind”. For the right dog played the right way, it can be a fantastic way to teach. Your dog to pay attention to you because you’re fun, and lays excellent groundwork for a reliable recall. Change directions often. To avoid trouble with an aroused dog becoming mouthy, stop running before your dog gets to you.

I advise against children playing this game unless the dog has a proven record of being able to handle it without becoming overstimulated. Even then, only with adult supervision.

2. Fetch.

action adorable animal beautiful

When we think about playing with dogs, this is the game that most often comes to mind. Fetch is a cooperative activity, and each player has a role that must be fulfilled for it to work. (Many people tell me that their dog loves to play fetch. Then go on to say that the dog chases the ball but won’t bring it back, or won’t drop it. That’s not fetch—that’s running after a ball and hoarding it.)

Read more: Learn how to teach your dog to play fetch.

Fetch has a lot to offer, including the skill of dropping an item upon request. It also provides opportunities to work on high-level obedience. After a few throws, during which the dog has retrieved an item, brought it back to you and dropped it at your feet. Take a short break and ask them to do something specific. Sit, down, high-five or any behavior they can do on cue. Then resume play. Adding this training into a game of fetch can be done sporadically so that most sessions are pure fun and games for your dog.

By switching between the excitement of running and the discipline of responding to a cue, the dog learns to transition between high arousal and being calm. Teaching dogs to have an on/off switch develops emotional control that will serve them well throughout life. (Another perk: Your dog gets exercise without much effort on your part. It’s particularly appealing when you just want to enjoy your morning coffee while your dog burns up some energy.)

3. Find Your Treats.

Dogs have a lot of fun with this deceptively simple treasure hunt. But the “treasure” must be something your dog cares enough about to search for. It gives your dog mental exercise. This game keeps them occupied for a while and is a great party trick that allows your dog to show off.

Begin by putting some treats on the floor or furniture without your dog seeing you do it. Say the cue (“find it” or “find your treat” are frequently used) and tap or point to the treats. Repeat … a lot … over many days or weeks. When your dog starts to look for the treats upon hearing the cue, drop the tap or point. Once your dog is familiar with the game, have them stay, then release them to find the treats. At first, hide the treats before you ask them to stay. After your dog’s stay is solid, you can have them do so while you hide the treats. Either within sight or even in another room.

Read more: Teach your dog nose work.

If your dog is a food-guarder, skip this game. Also, it may teach your dog to sniff around and get into stuff.

4. Hide-And-Seek.

The Simple Joy of This Woman Playing Hide and Seek with Her Dog Is so  Infectious | The Dog People by Rover.com

Here’s another game that teaches your dog to go on a search, but with you as the focus of the quest. It’s a great way to practice and improve a dog’s ability to come when called. To play, they must already know what “come” means.

Begin indoors.

Call your dog when you are partially out of sight. Perhaps crouched down next to a piece of furniture or behind a plant that doesn’t entirely conceal you. When your dog finds you, reinforce them with top-quality stuff . Treats, a toy, a bone, a chew, play time or a walk. Gradually work up to more obscure hiding spots, until you can be completely hidden from sight when you call them.

Add in “stay” practice by putting your dog on a stay, hiding, then releasing them and calling their name to come. For many dogs, the anticipation of being released makes them respond even more enthusiastically when called.

Expect your dog’s recall to improve dramatically if you play this game on a regular basis. You are teaching your dog that “come” means to do it even if you are not in plain view. Because it’s a game with reinforcements, dogs find it fun and worthwhile.

Playing this game when you are out in a (safe) off-leash area teaches your dog to keep an eye on you, and helps them understand that if the two of you become separated, they should look for you. And vice-versa—it’s not one-sided.

Disappearing around an aloof dog outside may not prompt any concern at all, and disappearing from view around a clingy dog anywhere may be upsetting.

5. Family Circle.

All Aboard: Why Getting the Whole Family Involved… | How I Met My Dog

This is a special kind of hide-and-seek in which dogs are told to find a specific person. To play, the dog needs to understand and respond to the “come” cue.

I’ll use a scenario with Chloe as an example. First, one person says, “Where’s Erin?” and then I call Chloe. If she comes to me, she gets reinforced, but if she goes to somebody else, she gets ignored. Once I have reinforced the dog, I say, “Where’s Ben?” and then my husband calls the dog to come.

Most dogs learn people’s names quickly and begin to head to the right person once they hear the name, even before the cue. At that point, you can mix it up— sometimes calling them to come (to maintain a strong recall), sometimes saying only “Where’s [name]?” Once the dog can succeed in that context, up the stakes by having people stay out of sight, perhaps in other rooms, so the dog needs to search.

Learning the names of everyone in the family is more than just a cool party trick or a practical way to locate someone. It’s also another way to give the dog exercise without a lot of work on our part.

6. Tug.

dog biting rope of person holding rope

There are many reasons to play tug with dogs. One of the most obvious is that so many of them love it.

More reasons:

  • it’s interactive
  • a way to provide a dog with exercise in a relatively small space
  • help them stretch before another activity or rev them up before a competition (if that leads to a better performance).

The game requires that a dog knows (or learns) how to respond to cues to take a toy and to drop it, which are related skills. Incorporated into the game itself, they are easier to teach. The game is the reward for taking an object, and dropping it can be reinforced with a treat and then resuming the tugging.

These skills can be useful in real life as well. Use “take it” when you want your dog to carry something small for you, or “drop it” when they’ve gotten hold of, say, the title to your car!

With tug, many dogs also learn to control their mouths and the emotions that can cause their mouths (and the rest of them!) to spiral out of control. Contrary to once-popular opinion, it will not make a behaviorally stable dog “turn aggressive.”

This game can be problematic for dogs who guard objects or those who become aggressive when highly aroused. It’s best for dogs who do not struggle with impulse control or bite inhibition.

7. Red Light, Green Light.

Red Light Green Light | Training Game - YouTube

This one, borrowed from a game enjoyed by human children, teaches dogs to listen to cues even when excited. The impulse control involved in repeatedly stopping and starting is a great life skill that often spreads to other contexts. Sometimes, a dog who is having trouble with self-control will be able to pull it together after several of the transitions between the excited running and stopping that make up the core of this game. Other dogs calm down if you play it in a very tranquil, slow manner. Different styles of the game work best for different dogs.

It can be played one-on-one in the living room or during a walk, or in teams in a class setting, with multiple dogs competing to reach a finish line. In order to play, the dog needs to be able to watch the human member of the team and respond to a “sit” or “down” cue.

When they hear “green light,” dogs walk or run next to their human. Then when they hear “red light,” they must stop and lie down or sit (depending on the skill being worked on and which cue the dog is capable of responding to).

If the game is played in class, the dog is unable to lie down or sit on cue within three to five seconds, the team pays a penalty —taking three steps backward or returning to the start line, for example.

There is more to playing with our dogs than just having a good time, though that’s certainly enough to make it worthwhile. While you and your best friend are having fun, the game serves double duty as a practical way to teach important skills.


Training With Your Dog Is FUN!!

Think of it this way: in the name of training your dog, you’re totally justified in putting aside housework to play with them. Three cheers for being practical!

Dog Sleep: “Go to Sleep Little Puppy”

6 Ideas To Help Your Dog Sleep Through The Night

person in brown cable knife sweater holding white and black puppy while they are sleeping

Parents of small children know sleepless nights are bound to happen, but what about pup parents with dog sleep? Many dog owners learn the hard way that like babies, dogs don’t always respect your desired sleep schedule. You love them, but that doesn’t mean you love waking up multiple times a night to deal with their crying and acting out. All you want is to help your dog sleep through the night.

Puppies don’t sleep through the night because they’re still working on house training, but it’s also a common problem for adult and senior dogs. No one can be happy when they’re forced out of bed still exhausted, and solving the problem of your dog’s sleep schedule will help everyone in the household. Before you get started with a plan, first figure out what’s causing your dog’s sleepless nights.

Reasons Your Dog Doesn’t Sleep at Night

They need to go to the bathroom.

Owners of new puppies need to accept the fact their sleep schedule will be interrupted for at least the next few weeks. Like babies, puppies are still growing, and that includes developing the muscles and self control needed to hold their pee.

Signs Your Puppy Needs to Go Potty. Pups need to potty before their dog sleep.

According to the Humane Society, puppies can control their bladder for about one hour for every month of age. That means a four-month-old puppy can go four hours before needing to go to the bathroom. With consistent house training and time, they’ll be able to wait longer between bathroom breaks and won’t need to wake up at night.

They’re not tired.

Dog spinning around with their toy. Dog's need to get their energy out before it's dog sleep time.

This one seems obvious, but it’s also one of the most common reasons why dogs don’t sleep through the night. Dogs that spend the majority of the day alone do a good amount of daytime snoozing. There’s nothing else for them to do, and it’s either sleep or find ways to get into trouble. Without the chance to exercise, all their energy continues to build. Sleep Advisor tells dog owners,

“Lack of activity is going to cause anxiousness and severe buildup of unused energy – this will undoubtedly result in the absence of sleep amongst other conditions of the kind.”

What’s more, older dogs showing signs of dementia may be experiencing disruptions in their sleep-wake cycles as a side effect of the condition. Learn more about dementia in dogs here.

They’re lonely.

Separation anxiety can affect dogs of all ages. New puppies sometimes cry if they’re forced to sleep away from their owners, and older dogs develop anxiety issues that lead to behaviors like whining, barking, and destroying things.

dog sleep: french bulldog looking sad that he cant sleep with his owners
“Why can I not sleep with you?”

They’re in pain.

It’s hard for people to fall asleep when they aren’t feeling well, and dogs have the same problem. Stomach aches, joint pain, skin issues, and other side effects of injury or illness are more than enough to keep a dog from a good night’s rest.

How to Help

Once you figure out what the underlying problem is, you can move forward with a solution. For some dogs, a simple change to their routine will be all the help you need. For others, you’ll need to try different ideas to find what works best. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

1. Provide more mental and physical stimulation.

If your puppy or high-energy dog is roaming the house at night or doesn’t want to settle down once bedtime comes around, filling their day with more exercise will help. Dogs need a minimum of one hour a day of exercise, and they benefit from all the extra enrichment and stimulation you can give them.

15 Minute Games to Play with Dogs before it's time for them to go to bed for their dog sleep.

If you work all day, consider hiring a dog walker to interrupt your pup’s lazy day of napping. That extra activity will help tire them out in preparation for bedtime. The amount of exercise a dog needs to reach the right level of tiredness will depend on their age, breed, health, and personality. You don’t want to force them into too much exercise, but it’s important to find the right balance. Brain games like puzzle toys and snuffle mats also help by engaging their minds.

2. Take bathroom breaks before bed.

Little lab puppy going potting in green grass before getting their pretty dog sleep.
“I’m so sleepy, but you’re making me go potty.”

When your pup is getting up every night to go to the bathroom, make sure their tank is empty before they hit the hay. Eating shortly before bedtime can help them fall comfortably asleep with a full tummy, but drinking too much water at night won’t help them sleep until morning. Make it a part of your daily routine to go out for a bathroom break right before bed.

3. Keep evenings calm

Before you take your dog out for their last-chance bathroom break, gradually lull them into a peaceful night. Dogs base their emotions and actions largely on what their owners are doing and feeling. If you’re agitated, for example, your dog will pick up on those vibes and act similarly. If you’re calm, they’ll take the hint and begin to relax alongside you.

People laying inside their home on a rug with their dog. Keeping it peaceful before it's dog sleep time.
“I love it when my people cuddle with me on the floor.”

You can’t expect your pup to flip their switch the moment you’re ready for bed. The hour or two before you usually go to bed should be deemed quiet hours to help your dog adjust to the end of the day.

4. Start crate training

Training a dog to sleep comfortably in their crate will deter them from getting up and wandering the house. Many pet parents prefer to have their dogs sleep in bed with them, but crate training can help stop bad habits like waking up in the middle of the night. The key is to make being in the crate a positive experience for the dog. It should never be used as punishment, and instead, it’s the place your pup feels safest.

Crate Training Your Puppy at Night
Dreaming of running through an island of treats!

With time, your dog will be content to stay in the crate as part of their nightly routine. Once they’re sleeping soundly through the night without getting up, you can try having them sleep in bed with you.

5. Make them comfy

Whether you choose to have your dog sleep in a crate, on a doggy bed, or somewhere else, they need to have a designated spot that is nice and comfy. Give them soft blankets to snuggle with, and if they have an emotional attachment to a particular toy, make sure they have it before you fall asleep.

Dog sleep time for Frankie in his comfy bed and hugging his bunny.
“I have my bunny and cozy in my bed.”

Different dogs like different things, so experiment with your dog’s sleeping arrangements to find what they like. Test having the lights off versus having a night-light and determine whether they like cool surfaces or something with extra warmth.

6. Address medical issues

Puppy boston terrier at the vet's office.
“Do they think something is wrong with me? I just like hearing my voice at night!”

If you suspect an injury or illness is keeping your dog up at night, it’s time to visit the vet. In some cases, pain medication can be used to help ease soreness and help the dog relax. Restless nights could be your hint that your dog is suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition and needs your help. There’s also the chance biting pests like fleas or mites are irritating them. Either way, your pup won’t sleep soundly until you find and treat the root problem. 


Stay Consistent

Sometimes not sleeping through the night is a phase your dog will grow out of. Other times, some new habits need to be made or broken in order to get you and your pup on a healthy sleep schedule. It will take more than a few days, but consistent training and effort will make a difference. Once you determine the reason behind your dog’s wakefulness, experiment with these different methods to help you both start snoozing all night long.

dog cute sleeping puppy

It’s Funny Dog Friday! See How Dogs Make Us Laugh!

I’ve picked the funnies dogs for funny dog Friday with dogs doing what they do best! Making us humans laugh and forget about our worries. Dogs know how to cheer us up whether we are sad or angry. They are definitely the best animals on the planet!

Hina Is Doing This On Purpose… Just Trying To Cheer You All Up!

Hina Is Doing This On Purpose... Just Trying To Cheer You All Up!
“Come on Hina, just act normal!”

My Dog Is 16, So I Figured It’s Time For Some Driving Lessons

My Dog Is 16, So I Figured It’s Time For Some Driving Lessons
“I’m not so sure about this. I can’t even reach the pedals.”

This Is Billie. She Never Understood Why I Had A Set Of Keys To Bring In The Car And She Didn’t. I Got Her A Set Of Her Own And Now She Insists On Bringing Them Anytime We Go For A Drive!

This Is Billie. She Never Understood Why I Had A Set Of Keys To Bring In The Car And She Didn't. I Got Her A Set Of Her Own And Now She Insists On Bringing Them Anytime We Go For A Drive!
“One of these days, I’m going to find the car that goes with these keys.”

Waldo

Waldo
“I see you, but can you see me?”

The Perfect Spot

The Perfect Spot
“As the sun moves, I flip to my other side!”

That’s A Lotta Derps

That's A Lotta Derps
Mom: “Being a mom is exhausting!”
Puppies: “Being a kid is hart!”

The Perfect Tattoo Doesn’t Exi…

The Perfect Tattoo Doesn’t Exi...
“I know I’m handsome with my derpy face!”

Double Boop

Double Boop
“Mom, I picked up a new friend.”

And With The Melting Snow, The Mystery Of The Missing Socks Was Solved

And With The Melting Snow, The Mystery Of The Missing Socks Was Solved
“Don’t look at me like that! I was keeping them fresh and stink free!”

His Royal Woofness

His Royal Woofness
“I’m trying out a new wig!”

Still Fits!

Still Fits!
“I wish we could remodel my sleeping hole!”

My 15 Year Old Chihuahua Has Very Sensitive Eyes Due To Iris Atrophy. Here She Is In Her “Doggles.” I Smile At This Photo On An Hourly Basis. Hope It Has The Same Effect For Others.

My 15 Year Old Chihuahua Has Very Sensitive Eyes Due To Iris Atrophy. Here She Is In Her "Doggles." I Smile At This Photo On An Hourly Basis. Hope It Has The Same Effect For Others.
“Don’t tell mom, but I just like looking cool!”

Just Want To Apologize To Any Of Our Neighboors Who Are Missing A Full Rack Of Ribs. Our Dog Escaped Through The Fence And Came Back An Hour Later With This

Just Want To Apologize To Any Of Our Neighboors Who Are Missing A Full Rack Of Ribs. Our Dog Escaped Through The Fence And Came Back An Hour Later With This
“I went to what I think was the store. You would not believe how easy it was to shop!”

Attack Funny Dog

Attack Dog
“I warned you! Now you get my teethers!”

What? You’re Not Going To Include Me?

What? You're Not Going To Include Me?
“I should be front and center!”

Same Same. You Guys Are Funny Dog

Same Same
“Is this my family?”

Funny Dog Doga

Doga
“What? I’m not going to have COVID body when this is done!”

My Friend Made Holes In His Gate So Gus The Labrador Can See And Sniff

My Friend Made Holes In His Gate So Gus The Labrador Can See And Sniff
“Peek-a-boo! I see all.”

Just Taking A Nap After Eating All The Strawberry Jam

Just Taking A Nap After Eating All The Strawberry Jam
Owner: “Oh My God! Our baby bled to death!!!” Puppy: “I just ate some some strawberry jam. What’s the big deal?”

My Funny Dog Stole The Head Of A Dish Brush

My Dog Stole The Head Of A Dish Brush
“You’re always telling me to brush my teeth!”

Im A Monsterr!!!! Not A Funny Dog!!

Im A Monsterr!!!!
“I don’t like the way you scuttle. Walk like a real dog!”

Just Act Natural. They Can’t Tell If I’m A Funny Dog

Just Act Natural
“I do everything just like my little human.”

My Pup A Year Ago

My Pup A Year Ago
“I’m feeling a little like Inception.”

When You Didn’t Expect Your Owner To Come Right Back Cause They Forgot Something. Funny Dog!

When You Didn't Expect Your Owner To Come Right Back Cause They Forgot Something
“I thought I would take a short cut!”

This Is My New Dad? Funny Dog Reaction

This Is My New Dad ?
“OMG!! They are kissing!! Now I’ll have two humans to give me treats!!!”

It Fits. Funny Dog Frenchie

It Fits
“Mama always said I had a big mouth.”

My Dog Showing My Girlfriend That I’m His…

My Dog Showing My Girlfriend That I’m His...
“Lady, this is MY bro. Don’t you even think of getting in between this bro-mance.”

Uh-Oh! I Can Explain

Uh-Oh
“Sir, those aren’t mine. I was holding on to those for another dog.”

I Am Batman

I Am Batman
“Damn Jokers think they can get away with this?”

My New Fur Scarf, Isn’t It Fabulous?!?! You’re Such A Funny Dog

My New Fur Scarf, Isn’t It Fabulous?!?!
“When it’s cold outside, you make due of what you have!”

Doggo Hat. Funny Dog Sitting On Human’s Head

Doggo Hat
“Is there something on my butt?”

Every Time I Call Williams Name. Funny Dog Head Throwback

Every Time I Call Williams Name
“Whatcha want?”

When You Hear The Dog Park Is Closed. Such a Funny Dog Position

When You Hear The Dog Park Is Closed
“I spent all that time getting ready for the park. Now all I have now is to pout.”

This Rottweiler Is A Real Special One

This Rottweiler Is A Real Special One
“Dah, I don’t know how I’m suppose to act.”

Quack

Quack. funny dog acting like a duck
“Bark, I mean, Quack, Quack!”

Dog Looks Like It Could Be A Crash Bandicoot Villain

Dog Looks Like It Could Be A Crash Bandicoot Villain. funny dog
“They say there’s a lot of treats somewhere. But I forgot where they said.”

Cheez-Wiz

Cheez-Wiz on a bald guy's head while he trims nails
“I like my cheez-wiz with a little human scalp salt.”

Poor Coin Slot Pupper

Poor Coin Slot Pupper. funny dog with poor shaven head.
“Mom, I think that’s to put extra treats into.”

Uhhh… I Don’t Think That’s How You Do That

Uhhh... I Don't Think That's How You Do That. funny dog forget how to dog
“HELP! I FORGOT HOW TO DOG!”

Husky Encounters The Wind

Funny dog Husky Encounters The Wind
“I don’t want to mess up my fur. AAAAHHHHHHHH!”

Dog in Apartment Potty Training: Let’s See How

How to Potty Train a Dog When You Live in an Apartment

Terrier going potting on sod in an apartment balcony.
“I like my potty with a view!”

When you get a new puppy, potty training is often at the top of the to-do list. If you have a yard or outdoor space, it can be a little easier, but when you live in an apartment or high-rise, the logistics of getting a puppy outside when they have to go RIGHT NOW gets more difficult.

The Potty Training Basics

Before we get to the logistics of potty training your dog in a high-rise, let’s review some of the basics of house training in general.

How long they can hold it

First, a good rule of thumb is that your puppy can hold their bladder for one hour for every month old they are. For example, if your puppy is 8 weeks old, they probably can’t hold it for longer than 2 hours. When they hit 12 weeks, it’s around 3 hours. Puppies can usually hold their bladder for a little bit longer when they’re sleeping (until they wake up) and will need to go very soon after eating or playing.

peepads | Shakespeare By Dogs
“I don’t know if I can hold it much longer!”

Supervision

It’s also important to supervise your puppy at all times to catch any accidents and keep them out of trouble until they get older. When you’re home, use an x-pen or baby gate to keep your furry friend contained, but at night and when you have to leave the house for work or errands, consider crate training.

House Training Your Puppy | VCA Animal Hospital
“Oh no. You caught me peeing!”

Crates

Crates are supposed to be spaces that keep your puppy cozy, so they shouldn’t have a lot of extra room, but your pup should be able to stand up and turn around. When used properly, it becomes a safe place they enjoy being, so never use the crate as a punishment. It’s okay to give your puppy breaks or time outs in there, just make it a positive experience and reward them for going in.

10 Best Recommended Dog Crates and Carriers for German Shepherds

Frankie and Chloe are both crate trained. Most of the time, dogs won’t go in confined areas, but there are accidents that happen. As a puppy, Frankie would have A LOT of accidents in his crate.

Remember that the puppy needs to adjust to your lifestyle.

No Punishment

Speaking of punishment, never punish your puppy for having an accident. Even if you think they’ve got it down, mistakes happen. When you yell at them or push their nose in it, your puppy will either learn that they can’t eliminate in front of you without getting in trouble (so they’ll try to be sneaky about it) or have no idea why you’re upset and just get scared. Keep it positive, reward them for doing it right (treat/praise/favorite toy), and simply clean up and move on if they have an accident.

Using 'Negative Punishment' with Your Dog
“I don’t know why are mad. Am I a bad dog?”

I can understand that his part of training can be exhausting. Having a puppy is very fun, but there’s work and training with a puppy and any new dog you bring into your home.

Signs Puppy Has To Go Potty

If you learn to watch carefully for their signs — sniffing around more than usual, circling, suddenly running over to the corner or another room, etc. — you’ll be able to catch your puppy before an accident happens.

Signs Your Puppy Needs to Go Potty - PetHelpful - By fellow animal lovers  and experts

House Training in a High-Rise

Okay, you’ve got your crate or x-pen set up for when you leave, but how do you potty train your puppy when you can’t get them outside quickly? Luckily, there are a few solutions and tricks to make your life — and your puppy’s life — easier.

Use pee pads

How to Train Your Puppy to Go on Potty Pads
“Did I go in the right spot?”

Pee pads are great because they are easy to move around, pick up, and take with you if you’re heading to a friend’s house or taking a trip and will be in a hotel. Put the pee pad in one place in the house (near the door is your best bet for when your dog gets older and will go to the door when they need to go out anyway) and if you see your puppy start to eliminate in the house, simply pick them up and move them onto the pee pad. It’s also easy to situate a pee pad in an x-pen if you want to give your puppy a little space when you’re gone.

When I was training Frankie to potty, I used pee pads. Frankie thought they were something to chew on! He would sniff around and act like he was going to potty on the pad. Then all of a sudden, he would run with it in his mouth around the house.

Make sure your puppy isn’t just chewing on the pad!

Put a grass patch on your patio or terrace

There are several companies that will mail you a patch of sod for your dog to do their business on. Some are just patches of grass and others have containers to put the sod in so you can empty any waste that might drain out. There are also fake grass pads that you can wash off. Get a dog waste container to put any poop bags in so it doesn’t linger and smell, then just empty the container when it’s full.

Which Type of Dog Grass Pad is Best for Your Balcony. Dog in apartment living.
Fake grass to put on your balcony for you dog in apartment living.

Get your puppy on a schedule

Eventually, your dog will be able to hold it long enough to get them down the stairs or elevator and outside. While you may want to keep pee pads or your grass patch around for times when you can’t (or don’t want to) go out, it can help your dog to get on a schedule for when they are supposed to eliminate. When you get a young puppy, try to take them out as often as possible: In the morning when they get up, after breakfast/before you leave for work, at lunchtime, after work, after dinner, before bed, etc. As they get older, you may be able to get away with a schedule such as before and after work and before bed.

Puppy Training Chart. Keep track of potty times.

While it may initially feel like a daunting task, with a little preparation and consistency, house training your dog in apartment life isn’t that much different than anywhere else.

Puppy for Christmas: Are You Wanting To Get A Puppy?

Is A Puppy for Christmas Right For You?

Some things to consider if you are hoping to bring a puppy home this Christmas

A puppy for Christmas? Your very own Christmas puppy?

It’s that time of year again!

What an amazing Christmas present a puppy would make.

Wouldn’t it?

Happy christmas dog, husky newborn puppy.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to pour ten gallons of cold water over all your plans. Because sometimes, a Christmas puppy can work out brilliantly. Both for the family and for the dog.

But hey, you’ve all seen the stickers – “A dog is for life and not for Christmas”

And they are there for a reason.

I know what you are thinking – those stickers don’t apply to you, because you are committed to a lifetime with your Christmas puppy. 

That’s great! But even in committed, loving, families, things often don’t work out so well for Christmas puppies.

So bear with me for a moment. And let’s go through the Christmas puppy idea, and make sure it’s the right thing to for youand for your new friend.

My Puppy Will Be Ready To Bring Home At Christmas

If the puppy you are considering has just been born, it might seem too good to be true. 

Puppies born on or around the last few days in October will, in theory, be ready for their new homes at Christmas time.

If you have spent a lot of time carefully choosing this litter from a breeder you like and respect, then the timing may be something that you’ve thought hard about.

Responsible Breeders

But the truth is, most breeders don’t produce litters that will need to go home over Christmas period.

And if there is some unusual reason that they have done this, most responsible breeders will prefer to hang on to those puppies until after the celebrations. Rather than send puppies to their new homes at such a turbulent time.

If you are buying this puppy on impulse, this is something you might want to consider.

You see, if your breeder by some chance is not a responsible breeder, there might be a whole raft of other duties that they have neglected.

How To Spot A Responsible Breeder

Here are a couple of articles for you to read:

It’s disappointing to acknowledge, especially if you’ve just found your dream puppy. But there are good reasons why most responsible breeders won’t let puppies go to their new home just before Christmas.

Puppy Routines

Moving home is very stressful for a new puppy.

One of the things they need above all else is for their new life, at least at first, to be predictable.

Pit Bull puppy sitting on a soft white blanket in front of a Christmas tree with presents.

They need to know where their den or bed is.

They need to know where they are allowed to go to the toilet.

And how to find their way around in this new and strange home.

Also, they need to get to know their family, at their own pace.

Upset Tummies

Filling the home with a sea of strange legs, and the inevitable disruptions in routine that accompany an extraordinary day like Christmas, could add immensely to the stress of leaving home.

In puppies, stress often results in diarrhea. Mopping up vile smelling liquid with a house full of guests is not fun for you at all. It is probably not much fun for the puppy either.

Pug puppy deficating.
“I’m sorry, but I couldn’t hold it any longer.”

Feeling Poorly

Puppies have immature immune systems. Moving the puppy to a new home exposes him to germs he may not have met before. This can exacerbate any sickness and diarrhea.

Visiting relatives or having them visit you increases this risk still further. In other words there is a good chance your tiny puppy will be a little unwell over Christmas.

This could put a bit of a damper on your celebrations!

Puppies Need Time And Attention

Tiny puppies need a lot of attention.

Puppy going pee on the floor.
“I really need to go pee. I guess I’ll just go right now.”

Some puppies (not all) need to empty their bladders every 15 to 30 minutes throughout the day. This ‘frequency’ can last a week or more! It is a full time job just watching and making sure the puppy toilets in the right place.

You will have less time available over Christmas than you think. You might not be at work but it is amazing how much time cooking, wrapping, entertaining and visiting take up.

Puppies and Christmas Visits

Not so long ago I read a forum thread by a prospective new puppy owner who was planning to spend Christmas away with relatives. And to take her new 8 week old puppy with her.

Various family members would be camping around the house. And there would be no room for a crate.

Not even a small one.

These are the sorts of scenarios that commonly arise over the Christmas period. As we cram relatives into small spaces in our homes or pile ourselves into theirs.

Pit bull puppy chewing on Christmas lights next to the Christmas tree.

The Trouble With Puppy Stays

I would never consider taking a young puppy to stay in someone else’s house at such a frantic time of year. Crate or no crate.

And I want to explain why.

Even if a puppy has had two or three weeks to settle in before Christmas, moving them again may well cause upset tummies.

They will have to learn a whole new toilet routine, and be exposed again to all sorts of new challenges to his immature immune system. A puppy with an upset stomach in someone else’s home, could well ruin Christmas for you and everyone else.

Puppy hiding under the Christmas tree scared.
“I’ll just hide here so nobody notices me.”

Seasonal Disputes!

For those that go ahead with such a challenge, a crate is not optional, it is essential. Yet when many people are packed into a normal sized house, room for a crate is unlikely to be a priority.

Puppy in crate during Christmas.

Relatives may not agree with you on the best location for this large piece of metal in their home.

Seasonal disputes are common over the Christmas break as we all adjust to spending more time together than normal.

Adding a fight about where to put a crate is not going to help. And you could well end up with your brand new puppy shut away and neglected. At which point they may learn to howl the house down until one of the other guests picks them up and cuddles them (which they will).

You will then have a puppy that has learned that screaming for attention works wonders. And he will be only to happy to scream even louder next time he is left alone.

What About Night Times?

Puppy crying in their crate.
“GET ME OUT OF HERE!! I NEED LOVE!”

A puppy may well yell and protest at night too if crated.

How will your fellow housemates feel about that on Christmas Eve?

Many new puppy owners think that they can simply pop their tiny puppy into bed with them at night. But this isn’t necessarily a good idea. At eight weeks, they are quite capable of climbing/falling into and out of your bed.

They may have little or no interest in remaining ‘tucked in’ for the duration of the night. And once you fall asleep you will have no chance of intervening when they chew through the cable on your bedside lamp or demolish your mobile phone.

Without a crate or something very similar, you will have no control over where your puppy goes. Or what they do in the room you sleep in once you have dropped off to sleep.

If indeed you are able to go to sleep at all.

Christmas Puppy

A puppy that has tipped over the Christmas tree.

For those that go ahead with their Christmas puppy there are other concerns.

If you are lucky your puppy will probably only destroy the Christmas tree and any presents beneath it, and won’t swallow anything too toxic.

But by the time you and the other house guests have trodden in a few poos in their bare feet, the novelty of the puppy will have worn off.

The first days with a brand new puppy, though stressful, should be a joyous time. A time of bonding with and learning all about this tiny new life that has joined your family.

Bringing your puppy home during the strains and stresses of Christmas risks sucking away all this joy and excitement. And could cause you to miss out on enjoying a time in your dog’s life that you will never get to experience again.

The Positive Side To A Christmas Puppy

Okay, I said I wouldn’t pour cold water all over your plans.

So we must emphasize that there can be times, when bringing a puppy home at Christmas is a joyful event that works out perfectly.

Let’s look at that now.

When Is It OK To Bring A Puppy Home At Christmas?

Are You Ready for a Puppy this Christmas? French Bulldog in a Christmas stocking with presents in the background.
“Are you my Christmas family?”

If Christmas is a very low key affair in your home, with little in the way of entertaining or overnight stays. And if you can ensure a predictable routine for your new friend, then a Christmas puppy could work out for you.

If you are a very experienced dog owner, and have raised several puppies in the past, and are convinced you will be able to put your puppy’s needs first this year, then a Christmas puppy might work out well for you too.

Basically, if Christmas is pretty much like any other day of the year in your house – then getting a puppy at Christmas is not going to be any more of a big deal than at any other time of year.

For anyone else, this is just not the case.

So, if you are planning a puppy for Christmas, please consider waiting until January.

Christmas Is Stressful For Everyone

Cartoon saying that dog needs to buy his fleas Christmas gifts to the owner sitting on a couch with a computer.

Christmas is one of the biggest causes of family fights and upsets for the entire year.

So is sleep deprivation, and very few puppy owners escape that.

By doing the two together, you are setting yourself up for a really tough time.

Wait For Your Puppy Until After Christmas

Any responsible breeder will be only too happy to keep your puppy until the festivities are over and you can give him your full attention.

You can wait, you really can.

And January will roll around soon enough.

You know it makes sense!

Choose Your Puppy Wisely

Mommy pug with 5 puppies getting ready for Christmas.

Many of these puppies are born to health tested parents. And are raised responsibly by knowledgeable caring breeders.

Do make sure one of these breeders is where your puppy is coming from.

The consequences of failing to get the right breeder are serious ones.

Meanwhile, enjoy your Christmas shopping, and the festive season!


If you’ve had a puppy at home at Christmas, why not share your experience in the comments below!

Merry Christmas!

Did Your Puppy Come From A Puppy Mill?

10 Signs That A Puppy Is From a Puppy Mill

So you are looking for a puppy, maybe you’re a first time dog owner. You have heard about puppy mills and know they are bad. But what you don’t know is how to make sure you don’t accidentally buy from one. Puppy mill breeders can be deceptive.

Here are 10 signs to help you determine if the puppy you are looking at is from a puppy mill or not.

#1 – Out-of-State

You really should just stay away from pet stores when buying a puppy. Be especially worried if those puppies are coming from out-of-state, particularly Midwest states (Missouri and Illinois are two of the biggest).

Puppies in a pet shop are cute, but they are probably from a puppy mill.
Just pass from shopping at pet stores that ‘sell’ puppies. They are probably mostly from puppy mills.

#2 – No Parents

If the breeder cannot let you meet the parents, you should walk away. Not meeting the parents is like buying a car without knowing the make. Don’t do it. For all you know, these people did not even breed the puppy, but are selling him secondhand for unknown reasons.

Adorable puppies on top while their parents' pictures on bottom are of uncared for dogs.

#3 – Let’s Meet

Puppy mill puppies are usually sold in parking lots and away from the home and parents.

If you call a breeder and they say “let’s meet somewhere” when you ask to visit their kennel, it’s a puppy mill. Usually they will try to get you to meet in a store parking lot or a park. Unless there are extreme circumstances, there is no reason why you should not see where your puppy was born.

#4 – Several Breeds

The puppy mill's back yard with many different breeds in small cages.

Reputable breeders focus on one breed, maybe two, MAX. If you find a site offering five different breeds (and their mixes!), it’s a puppy mill.

#5 – Multiple Litters

Multiple puppies in small cages stacked up four high and five across.

When you call the breeder and ask if they have puppies, do they respond with “I have one litter coming, but there is already a waiting list” or “oh yes, I have 3 litters on the ground and 2 more on the way”? If the breeder has 30 puppies, that is definitely a puppy mill.

#6 – Vaccinations

Puppy mills like to get rid of puppies before they are eligible for vaccines.

Puppy mills don’t like to spend money, it deters from profits. So the parents may not be vaccinated (you should ask!) and the puppies probably are not. Or, conversely, they have so many puppies they lost track and your pup got vaccinated twice.

#7 – Extreme Promises

German Shepard on the left that was promised and a chihuahua on the right that the puppy turned out to be.
Puppy Mill person: “Sure, it’s a German Shepard that will get up to 90lbs.” Owner: “Well, my German Shepard turned out to be 30lbs and a chihuahua mix.”

Be wary about the breeder promising a certain size, temperament, or characteristic that seems extreme. For example, a dog came into her clinic that was supposed to be a Pomeranian and Husky mix that the breeder had promised would never grow over than 7 pounds. She was 42 pounds.

#8 – Cleanliness

About Reputable Breeders, Backyard Breeders, Puppy Mills/Commercial Pet  Stores
Go with your gut feeling about how the puppies look like.

This goes for the dog and the breeder’s home or kennel. Puppies from puppy mills are more likely to smell like a kennel and have poor coat quality.

#9 – Contract

Puppy Paperwork: Contracts, Certificates & Microchipping.

Your breeder should care enough about what happens to the puppy that they have a contract protecting both you and them. Reputable breeders have a spay/neuter agreement, breed papers, health contract, and a request that you return the dog to them if it doesn’t work out (rather than dumping him at the shelter).

#10 – Too Young

6 Week Old Pitbull Puppies on a blanket.
These little pit bull puppies are only 6 weeks old. Puppy mills sell them before they are able to get vaccines.

Another way they can cut their costs is by giving you the puppy early, because they do not have to feed them, give them shots, etc. Question any breeder wanting to give you the puppy before they are eight weeks old. This is the minimum age you should be taking a puppy from their mother and litter-mates.

10 Funny Dog Breeds In The World!

Looking for a Funny Dog?

Have you ever met a really funny dog? A dog that just seems to know how to make people laugh and tends to get joy from that, so it just keep doing it? Sometimes, a dog has funny mannerisms. Sometimes, a dog just has a lot of character and knows how to show that. With some funny dog breeds, it can just mean being energetic and always happy that makes people laugh but with others they can be funny or strange looking as well!

Here are the 10 funny dog breeds in the world! 

1. Xoloitzcuintli

Mexican Hairless dog is a funny dog with no hair so all you see is skin.
“I am magnificent. Bow down to me!”

This Mexican hairless breed is not only funny looking; it’s also quite rare! These lovable pups were considered sacred by the Aztecs, Toltecs and Mayans and were thought to have healing properties. This breed is really funny, but it’s even funnier when people try to pronounce the breed’s name!

This hairless breed is very unusual. Just think of a normal terrier and you put hair-removal on them! The feel of their bodies and all that skin is weird. They need to have sunscreen when outside because of sunburn.

2. Neapolitan Mastiff

These funny mastiffs have "melting skin" that looks like they have too much skin around their head and jaws.
“Having kids are making my face even longer!”

There is something hilarious about a dog that is the size of a moose, but acts like it is the size of a puppy. This pooch, with massive wrinkles and sags underestimates their size, and there is nothing funnier than seeing a huge dog leap into someones tiny lap!

This breed is so lovable and loves to cuddle. Of coarse they do drool a lot, so keep a towel near by!

3Bergamasco

Funny sheepdog breed with large dreadlocks all over body that reaches the floor.
“The only way I see is if I jump and down!”

The Bergamasco Shepherd is a sheepdog, with an usual matted coat or how some like to describe it as the dog with dreadlocks. Don’t let the fur scare you, they are a wonderful breed but just wait until you see one of these pooches run!

I’ve never personally seen these in person. They seem like the hippie dog version of a human!

4. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested dogs are funny with mainly fur covering the top of their head and neck.
“I’m a miniature pony!”

You’ve probably seen some head-turning Chinese Crested in the infamous “Ugly Dog” contests held every year. Some of these dogs sport mohawks, others just like to let their hair flow. This small, hairy, weird looking dog is known for causing people to burst into uproarious fits of laughter!

With this type of dog with so much skin showing, be sure to put sunscreen when outside!

5. Puli 

Funny looking medium size dog with long fur in dreadlocks.
“If I make a mess, I’ll just say it was the mop that did it!”

Better known as the dog who looks like a mop, the Puli is a Hungarian herder whose tight curls make it virtually waterproof. They’re fast, agile, headstrong and loyal animals but we also can’t forget they are mighty funny looking!

You could loose this dog next to a mop. They look like a mop with a nose and tongue stick out!

6. Brussels Griffon

These little funny dogs look like a lumberjack with their beard.
“Just because I’m in the toy group doesn’t mean I won’t be in charge!”

With their cute fuzzy beards, these toy pups could well have inspired the vision of the Grinch, while other folks insists the dog looks more like a little monkey. This dog is sweet and funny all at the same time, its no wonder we love them!

I’ve always loved seeing this breed. They have RBF (Resting B*tch Face)! It’s even funnier when owners shave them and leave their beard. They are little lumberjacks!

7. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

This breed is funny with short legs and long body and a head that looks too big for their body.
“I think somebody got my body parts wrong. Where are the rest of my legs?”

What happens when you have a tiny dog that has really short legs and has a cute little puff of hair on its head? You get a hilarious looking dog. Sweet, friendly, and outgoing, but that little puff of hair never fails to crack us up!

I have always laughed when seeing this breed. They look like a medium size terrier head on a little short legged body!

8. Dachshund

Dachshunds are funny with their appearance like a hot dog with long bodies and short legs.
“I’m in disguise. Can you tell I’m a Dachshund?”

Dachshund otherwise known as he famous “Wiener Dog” is a long-bodied, short-legged hound with flappy ears and curved tail. The dachshund is one of America’s most popular pets and honestly how can you not laugh when you see a costume like that? 

Dachshund are very funny. Most that I’ve worked with are so cute when they are trying to keep up walking with you with their short legs. They do put on weight fast so watch the scale with these guys.

9. Bedlington Terrier

White little dog with a soft curly coat like a sheep.
“BBAaaaaa. I mean Ruff!”

Is it a sheep? Is it a dog? Maybe a Poodle? These are just a few of the questions that fans of this breeds find themselves asking as they watch their dog. The Bedlington Terrier is smart, lovable, calm, and their wooly look adds a bit of flair!

They really do look like sheep in real life. Their personality is just laid back and go with the flow.

10. Bull Terrier 

Bull Terriers are funny looking with a wide long nose.
“I am in Target commercials!”

The most unmistakable, distinguishing feature is that egg-shaped head, which is almost flat on top but gradually slopes down to the end of an awesome nose. Bull Terriers are known for their clownly personality along with their funny look!

These are definitely the clownish in the terrier group. I’ve seen a lot when working and they are the cutest with their big noses!


Go out and find yourself new funny dog breeds and furry friend today! ADOPT!!

Positive Reinforcement When Your Dog Doesn’t like Treats

Positive Reinforcement Training Without Treats

How to train with positive reinforcement when your dog won’t take treats (or can’t have them due to a restricted diet).

Dog out in a field with owner giving him treats for positive reinforcement.

Many dogs will “work” for ordinary kibble or cookie-style treats at home. But need a higher-value treat in order to focus on you and your cues when in the face of a more distracting (or more stressful) environment. And some dogs get too stressed in public to take any treats, no matter how meaty and delicious. Finding a non-food reinforce is critical for training these dogs.

I use treats when I train. So do my clients. Now positive reinforcement training has a 25-year-plus track record in the dog world (supported by studies that affirm its effectiveness). The use of treats in training has become widely accepted and embraced. 

There are times, however, when you can’t use treats. Perhaps your dog isn’t particularly motivated by food. Maybe there’s a medical reason your dog can’t have food right now. Or perhaps (horrors!) you ran out of treats.

The good news is that food isn’t the only form of reinforcement we can use in training. There are a number of others ways you can reinforce your dog’s behavior.

NOT FOOD MOTIVATED? Try Positive Reinforcement

Dog not treat motivated.

The fact is, all dogs must be food motivated, at least to some degree, or they truly will starve. We all have to eat to live. 

But it’s true. Some dogs are more interested in food than others. Labrador Retrievers are notorious for being “food hounds”. In fact, a recent study found this breed is more likely to have a very strong interest in food because they have a specific gene mutation associated with food obsession. (Flat-coated Retrievers have it too, but it has not been found in any other breeds.)

Still, all dogs must eat, so the first questions we need to ask are:

  • Why is my dog not more interested in training treats?
  • Are there things I can do to increase my dog’s interest in training treats?
  • If I can’t get him to be more interested in treats? He can’t have treats right now for some reason. Inexplicably, I ran out! Are there other reinforcers I can use in my training program?

There are several reasons why your dog might not appear to be motivated by food during training:

Medical causes.

We always want to consider and rule out or treat any possible medical causes for or contributors to a behavioral challenge, including anorexia. If your dog truly has little to no interest in food (if you have not already), please discuss this with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

There is a long list of possible medical reasons why your dog may not be interested in food. Some of them are very serious. 

Treats are low in value to your dog.

Perhaps you’ve heard the suggestion to use your dog’s regular kibble for training. This could well work for a Lab and for other very food-focused dogs. But for dogs who aren’t as interested in food, kibble just might be too boring. 

Easily bored with your high-value treat.

Dog Doesn't Want a Cookie

Some dogs get bored with (or just too full to be very interested in) a great number of the same delicious treat. Be prepared with a list of treats your dog considers high-value. When their interest in one starts to wane, switch to another. 

Most dogs love chicken (baked, boiled, or thawed-out frozen chicken strips), and yet we often see dogs tire of it at our academies. They are plied with training treats throughout the day.

Other treats dogs tend to love include roast beef, cheese, cooked hamburger, meatballs, peanut butter squirted from a tube, ham, baby food – the list is endless.

If your dog is less than enthusiastic about food, the longer your list of potential high-value treats needs to be.

Your dog is easily distracted, or the environment holds too many or too highly disturbing distractions.

Pit mix jumping for excitement in a field.

If your dog is on the mild-to-moderate end of the food-interest continuum, environmental distractions can serve to deflect their desire for treats. Especially if they are easily distractible, and/or if you haven’t done your homework to generalize her behaviors to a variety of different locations.

If this is the case with your dog, try higher-value treats. Do more training in a less distracting environment before generalizing to more distractions. (Your backyard might seem perfect – but not when there are squirrels racing around the trees, or the neighbor’s dogs are barking at you through the fence.)

Your dog is not hungry. 

German Shepard not wanting to eat his full bowl of food.

This is a concept totally foreign to your average Labrador. A lot of dogs who are not as crazy about food as the Lab will be less enthusiastic about working for treats if they just finished a meal.

This is an easy fix. Schedule your training sessions before mealtimes, not after, and don’t feed your dog just before training class.

Your dog is stressed. 

This is one of the most commonly overlooked reasons for dogs to turn up their noses at their training treats. It is biologically appropriate, for survival reasons, for their appetite to shut down when your dog is stressed. When the brain signals “danger,” the last thing an organism should do – if they want to survive – is stop for a bite of food. The part of the brain that controls appetite turns off until the danger is over. 

Reluctant to Take Treat

Puppy cowering.

If your dog is reluctant to take treats because they are stressed, you may be able to tempt them with higher-value treats. The best solution is to figure out how to make the stress go away – or at least decrease enough so they can happily eat again. (If they can normally take a treat gently, but in a stressful situation goes from not taking the treats to blindly grabbing at the food, sometimes getting your fingers in the process. Their stress level is still too high for effective learning. Move farther from the stressor.)

Desensitizing

A pug hiding behind the couch.

Sometimes a dog will learn to take treats in the face of their stressor just through habituation (they just get used to it). Although a concerted effort at counter-conditioning and desensitizing her to the stressor tends to be more effective and faster.

Medications

Dog is stressed and owner is trying to give him a pill to calm down.

In some cases, if the dog’s stress levels are persistent, behavior modification drugs are in order. This calls for another discussion with your vet. If your veterinarian is not behaviorally knowledgeable, she can schedule a phone consult with a veterinary behaviorist for assistance in determining what medication(s) might be appropriate for your dog. Your vet can find a list of Certified Veterinary Behaviorists at dacvb.org/search.

Other Reinforcement

Owner with german shepard using sniffing as a reinforcement.

One of the great things about using food as a reinforcement in training is that the dog can eat the treat quickly and immediately go on to the next behavior. But anything your dog perceives as “good stuff” can theoretically be used as a reinforcer.

Play, for example, is an excellent, very strong “other” reinforcer for many (but not all) dogs. Keep in mind, however, that other reinforcers can take more time to deliver and regroup from. Thereby are more likely to interrupt the flow of training.

Now that the use of food in training has become so widespread, it’s easy to forget that there are a multitude of other ways of reinforcement your dog’s behavior. 

The definition of a reinforcement is “something that causes a behavior to increase“. In positive reinforcement training we teach our dogs that certain behaviors make “good things” (reinforcers) happen. So our dogs learn to offer those behaviors in order to make good stuff happen. 

Food Reinforcement

Owner using treats for reinforcement for dog to sit on command.

It is what we call a primary reinforcer, meaning it has innate value to the dog. Dogs don’t have to learn to like food; they are born looking for their mother’s milk.

Verbal Praise Reinforcement

Owner using petting and verbal praise for positive reinforcement.

A scratch under the chin feels good – it has innate value – so that’s another primary reinforcer. 

Verbal praise is a secondary reinforcer. It takes on value through its association with a primary reinforcer such as food treats, excitement, and scratches under the chin.

Toys as Reinforcement

Beagle with chew toys to use as reinforcement.

Toys are also secondary reinforcers; they take on value through their association with the predatory chase response. (Doubt this? Have you never met a dog who was initially mystified and uninterested in toys? But learned to play with them over time?)

HOW TO USE A NON-FOOD REINFORCER

Owner and dog in a park training with a ball doing positive reinforcement for sitting, lay down, and recall.

If you want to (or have to) make use of reinforcers other than food in your training, try this. Start by making a list of all the other things your dog loves. Here are some potential non-food reinforcers:

  • Tennis balls, or balls with a pleasing squishy texture
  • Squeaky toys
  • Playing tug
  • Playing “chase me” games
  • Going for a ride in the car (a chief pleasure for some dogs, aversive for others; know your dog!) 
  • Leash walks
  • Off-leash hikes
  • Swimming (again, it’s important to know your dog; some hate water!)
  • Sniffing Performing a favorite trick for an appreciative audience

For each item on this list, write down how you might be able to use that as a reinforcer in your training program. Some are easier than others. Here are some examples:

Use sniffing to reinforce your dog’s polite leash walking. 

Terrier dog sniffing grass while walking on a leash to reinforcement of walking politely.

Have your dog walk politely with you for a reasonable stretch (short enough that they can succeed!). Then give them a release cue and say, “Go sniff!”. (This works especially well at first if you give them the “Go sniff” cue when you know you are near something that they would like to sniff.)

Use tug to reinforce your dog’s “Stay.” 

Dog playing tug with a toy to use as a reinforcement to stay.

Have your dog stay for whatever length of time they are able (set them up to succeed!). Return to your dog, mark them for staying, give your release cue, then invite them to tug. 

Remember to pause various lengths of time before your release cue, so they don’t start anticipating the release. You can even remind them to stay. Hold up the tug, put it behind your back and hold it up again, several times, so the mere sight of the tug toy doesn’t become the cue to release from the stay. This, by the way, is a great impulse-control exercise.

Use a squeaky toy to lure and reinforce sits and downs.

Dog holding a squeaky ball in his mouth used for positive reinforcement.

To lure a sit, hold the toy over your dog’s head the way you would a treat. When they sit, squeak and toss the toy.

To lure a down, slowly move the toy toward the ground and, when she lies down, squeak and toss. If that doesn’t work, move the toy under your knee or a stool, so they lay down to crawl after the toy. When she does, squeak and toss.

Use a tennis ball to reinforce your dog’s recall. 

French Bulldog playing with ball for reinforcement of training.

They come when you call, you mark them for coming, and then throw the ball for them to chase. If they are one of those who won’t bring it back, have several balls within reach so you can call them back and toss the next ball when they come. If you want them to sit in front of you as part of your recall, wait for them to sit before you mark and throw.

Your Dog’s Reinforcers

Now take your own list of reinforcers and write down scenarios that incorporate them into your training program. You will likely find some reinforcers that are impractical for training (say, the dog who loves to roll in deer poop). But you should end up with a treasure trove of possibilities!

Your Dog’s Secondary Reinforcers

There are secondary reinforcers that you would like to use that your dog isn’t already enthusiastic about? You can “charge” them by associating with something your dog already loves.

Want your dog to be happier about your verbal praise? Repeatedly praise them and then throw them beloved ball. They will begin to associate praise with the joy of chasing a squeaky ball.

When they are not crazy about car rides, start taking short car rides that always end up at someplace wonderful (such as the swimming hole, if they love swimming). 


You get the idea. Whether your dog won’t take or can’t have treats, if you look for and create a good long list of other high-value options, you will always be prepared to reinforce your dog. They will love you even more for that.

Military Dogs: 10 Things You May Not Know

Military person with his partner dog looking at the camera.

I want to send my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has played a role in earning and preserving the freedom of our great nation. Dogs in the military struggled to earn their recognition as American heroes. Now that they have, I’d like to pay tribute by sharing some facts you may not know about these hard working canines.

1. Dogs have been in combat with US soldiers during every major conflict, but they were not officially recognized until WWII.

Sergeant Stubby of the 102nd Infantry, Yankee Division went from mascot to hero during WWI. Private J. Robert Conway smuggled him into battle. Stubby went on to detect enemy gas, bark out warnings when rival troops were near and locate the wounded on the battlefield.

By the start of WWII, the military had recognized the value canine soldiers could bring and began using them primarily for recon. Stubby forged the way for all canine soldiers who followed and remains a symbol of military bravery and heroism to this day.

Check out Stubby’s full story at fallendogs.com

2. They are trained in bomb, weapon and drug detection, tracking, and to attack the enemy.

Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX has been training sentry dogs since 1958. The manpower and dogpower that goes into training the amazing pups of the Department of Defense Military Working Dogs Training School (DoD MWD) at Lackland.

All the branches of military service train more than 1,000 dogs at any given time by a staff of 125. To their advantage, the complex training techniques are designed to utilize the dogs’ natural gifts for focus and aggression.

German Shepherds and Labradors can detect weapons, bombs, gases and drugs more accurately than any available military equipment.

3. There are about 2500 dogs in active service today and about 700 deployed overseas.

Military man in full military gear with his dog giving him kisses.

Military dogs play an integral role in the current overseas conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Stewart Hilliard, Chief of Military War Dog evaluation and training at Lackland Air Force Base told San Antonio Magazine in 2013, “These dogs are among our most effective counter measures against terrorists and explosives.”

4. 85% of military working dogs are purchased from Germany and the Netherlands.

Military woman training lab puppy to climb up and down stairs.

The 2013 article “Canines in Combat” from San Antonio Magazine notes that the bloodlines of these dogs go back hundreds of years, making these pups literally “born for the job.” The Air Force Security Center, Army Veterinary Corps, and the 341st Training Squadron are combining their efforts here in the States to breed suitable dogs for military service.

Currently the other 15% of working dogs are USA born and bred. The military hopes to increase this number.

5. They are extremely valuable, and not just for their service.

Mr. Robinson and his dog/partner Orrie.

According to retired Air Force K9 Handler, Louis Robinson, a fully trained bomb detection dog is likely worth over $150,000. But really, these animals are priceless. With an average of 98% accuracy in their detection skills, the peace of mind they provide to the troops is immeasurable.

Robinson resides in Phoenix, AZ and runs Robinson Dog Training. As a Military Police K9 handler , he uses the extensive skills he learned to help civilian dogs learn basic obedience. He trains doing  search and rescue, therapy skills and advanced protection training.

6. Only about 50% make it through training.

Military working dogs are not just chosen for their breeding or the keenness of their sense of smell. They must possess several other qualities. They must be free of physical issues. There shouldn’t be any like hip dysplasia. Being highly reward motivated is a great quality.

Trainers at Lackland use mostly toys like Kongs that can be hidden to represent bombs, but treats are also utilized. Suitable dogs for military service must also be able to attack on command.

The program have dropped dogs. It is due to extreme stress at having to bite a human. Military dogs must have just the right level of aggression and excitability.

7. They aren’t all German Shepherds.

When we think about military dogs, muscular German Shepherds tend to come to mind. But several different breeds have shown patriotic heroism over the years.

Many branches use the highly trainable Labrador Retriever. The elite US Navy SEALS use the Belgian Malinois, a breed similar to the German Shepherd, but smaller.

These dogs are incredibly compact and fast with a sense of smell 40 times greater than that of a human. Their small stature make them ideal for parachuting and repelling missions with their handlers.

A Belgian Malinois named Cairo accompanied The SEALS during their raid on Osama Bin Laden in 2013.

8. They can get PTSD.

Military man kissing his dog/partner on the forehead.

Just like their human brothers and sisters in arms, pup soldiers are susceptible to the horrors of PTSD. War dogs experience severe emotional trauma during deployment, and for some it becomes too much. 

Gunner, a Marine bomb sniffing dog, became so skittish and unpredictable during active duty that he was declared “surplus” by the military. The service discharged him. Gunner was adopted by the family of Corporal Jason Dunham, who was killed near the Syrian border in 2004. He and the Dunhams are working on healing together.

9. They mourn the loss of their handler and vice versa.

Military men grouped on bended knee honoring a fallen soldier with his dog.

In Rebecca Frankel’s book, War Dogs she explores the remarkable bond that develops between service dog and handler.

One such pair was Marine Lance Corporal Joshua Ashley and “Sirius”. They were the number one team during training at Yuma military base. Tragically Josh was killed by an IED just two months after deploying to Afghanistan. “Sirius” at first refused to take commands from his new handler and showed significant signs of agitation at the loss of his partner. 

Such stories are all too common among canine and handler teams.

Military dog's harness and dog bowls upside down honoring his sacrifice in the line of duty.

If a dog of war is lost in combat, he or she is honored by the entire squad. Feeding dishes are symbolically placed upside down and a poem called Guardians of the Night is read in their honor.

10. Until November 2000, military dogs were euthanized or abandoned after retirement.

Military dog in training on the field with his trainer.

Before this time service dogs were considered “military surplus equipment” and deemed unfit to adjust to civilian life. These heroes were thrown away or put down instead of being honored.

President Clinton passed “Robby’s Law” in 2000 which allows handlers and their families first dibs at adopting military animals at the end of their useful service. The dogs are next offered to law enforcement, then adoptive families.

Organizations place these retired heroes with suitable families. The are ensured they are given the honorable discharge they deserve. There are currently long waiting lists of civilians who want to give these veterans a loving home in which to retire.

Veteran envisions, creates national monument honoring military working dogs.

Thank you to all the men, women, and dogs that help shape this country.