How Do You Choose The Right Dog Food?

23 Jul

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If anyone you know has adopted a dog after you did, then you’ve probably been asked more than a few times, “what do you feed you dog?” The pet food industry is an extremely lucrative market, and one that’s constantly evolving as companies, new and old, churn out new varieties of dog food each year. This makes the world of dog food very confusing. It can be difficult to figure out just what food is best for your dog, along with what you can afford.

So, how do you choose the right dog food? Here are a few things to consider, to help you narrow down your food options when you’re standing in the dog food aisle.

A little disclaimer: there are more factors involved in the decision of what to feed your dog than we are able to (or feel qualified to) cover here. If you’re looking to do some homework on store-bought pet food, to find out what’s right for your dog, these tips will certainly help. This post does not cover making your dog’s meals from scratch or raw feeding, as we simply do not have the background research or experience level to talk about these diet options in detail.

Consider Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs

The first way to narrow your choices is to consider your dog’s nutritional needs. A puppy will need vastly more calories and protein, compared with a senior dog who may need fewer calories and more fiber or supplements. Activity level and the size of your dog are also things to take into consideration. If you have several dogs, this may mean that one bag of dog food might not cover every dog’s nutritional needs.

When taking your dog’s breed, size, or activity level into account, your veterinarian or your breeder (if applicable) are great sources of information when it comes to finding out the nutritional needs of your specific dog. Just be wary of anyone peddling a highly specific brand or company—they may be getting a kick back based on what they promote, when other brands of food may also have the nutritional values you’re looking for.

Now that you have an idea of the type of food you want—senior, puppy, active lifestyle, etc.—it’s time to do some research.

The Problem With Dog Food Labels

The label on a dog food bag, unfortunately, doesn’t provide a lot of usable info to pet owners. It will say that it meets certain minimum standards; however, these standards for dog food are extremely low, so accepting them at face value may mean your dog still is not getting adequate levels of all the nutrients they need.

There is one exception to the terrible labeling of dog food. Look for the phrase “complete and balanced” on the bag. It means that this dog food will contain proper levels of all the nutrients essential for your dog. This claim is much more regulated by the government: a company making this claim must be able to support it with data from food trials or lab analysis.

Last, any high quality dog food will have an 800 number listed on the bag. You can call the company and ask questions about the nutritional value of their food. Specifically, ask about the digestibility of the food—this gives you what percentage of the material in the food can be digested by your dog. A digestibility of above 80% is usually fine, though a quality pet food supplier should have numbers above 90%.

A Note On Buying Local

While I’m usually all about buying locally, when it comes to buying dog food…be very cautious. Any dog food that has not been shipped across state lines is not required to be regulated at all. This lack of oversight can be very dangerous, should you end up buying a formula of dog food that’s been created without any testing of it’s nutritional value. While very low cost dog food from big brands may not be very good for your dog, the same can be said of some high-end “boutique” brands.

Simply put, if you’re going to pay top dollar for a dog food, do your homework! Especially if you haven’t heard of the company.

5 Tips For Bonding With Your Dog

22 Jul

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I have a confession: sometimes, when Topher is jerking me around in class or fraying at my last nerve with yet another reactive outburst… I stop liking him very much. I know! It’s a terrible thing to say! But when you own a reactive dog, stress and frustration can become a part of your daily and weekly routine; it’s important to try your best not to hold onto those feelings, not to let them negatively impact your bond with your dog.

Even if you don’t have a reactive dog, there are lots of ways to further bond with your pet! A strong connection with your dog can go along way, from giving you more patience in dealing with their less favorable idiosyncrasies, to helping them feel calmer and more balanced overall.

Create A Routine

When you establish a routine for things like feeding, walks, and playtime with your dog, it’s like making a promise with them. The more you’re able to keep that promise by adhering to your schedule, the more your dog will trust you. It also means they’ll be able to handle the occasional upset to the schedule with greater ease.

Make Up Little Rituals

Just like people, dogs appreciate the little treats and kindnesses you show them day to day. Establishing small rituals makes everyday actions just a little sweeter. For example, Topher gets a small spoonful of peanut butter as a morning treat, and another small treat right before bed. This started because he needed eyedrops several times a day, and giving treats was an easy way for us to help him adjust to being given medication. Now, it’s just another small way we show Topher some love.

Find (Or Create) Activities You Both Enjoy

Life with your dog is a team sport. Nothing will make your pup happier than doing things with you. Doing something fun with your dog reinforces the feelings that spending time with your dog is enjoyable—and this is key when you have a reactive dog, if you’re going to training sessions or getting into other stressful encounters. Whether it’s going on trail walks like Ivana and Archer, or just hanging out on the couch watching TV, find something you and your dog can both enjoy, and pursue it together.

Get On Their Level

One of Bryan’s favorite things to do with Topher is sit on the floor with him. A little face-to-face interaction is great for your dog, whether it takes place on the floor or on the couch (if they’re allowed up there!). A dog who will look into your eyes, even briefly, is a dog who is showing you respect and trust. Show you appreciation with praise, or pets or other affection.

This isn’t to say you should be staring down your dog. Staring and looking are certainly different things. And if your dog is uncomfortable with eye contact, don’t force them. As your bond with them grows, it will get easier.

Listen To What Your Dog Is “Saying”

At any given time, your dog may be providing you feedback about their overall level of comfort. It’s on you to listen, and respond appropriately. If your dog is reacting to something or clearly uncomfortable in a certain environment, it’s your responsibility to advocate for them. Get them training to aid them in learning to accept new people, environments, etc. Or, protect them from situations where they might feel forced to defend themselves. The more you can understand and respect your dog’s feelings, the stronger your bond will be.

We Want To Hear From You, Our Readers!

21 Jul

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One of our favorite things about the community we’ve built here with Good Dogs & Co. is how many stories we get to hear about our readers’ pets. We think pet stories bring us together in shared experience, in ways other tales (ha!) may not. And we want to hear more from you!

We’re looking for readers to share their experiences with their pets. You can submit your own story by heading to our submissions page, and filling out one of the forms. Here’s a brief reminder of the stories we currently feature weekly!

Adoption Stories

These are essays from owners about their pets. If you have a story to tell about your dog, how they came into your family or otherwise, we want to hear it. Whether you rescued your pup from a shelter or otherwise unfortunate situation, or conducted a multiple-breeder search for the right pup, all stories are welcome. Submit these stories here.

Breeder Spotlights

Being a breeder takes hard work and years of dedication to refining a line. We have nothing but respect for people who have dedicated yourselves so wholeheartedly into really preserving the great qualities of the breeds we love. Share your story with us—we think it’s fascinating work!

Rescue Spotlights

It takes tons of hard work and dedication to rescue animals, and we’re honored to help rescues by giving them our community platform for a day to showcase their current efforts. All you have to do is brag a little bit about the great work you do so well!

Don’t see an option that fits what you want to write about? Please contact us! We love hearing about pet owners’ unique experiences and challenges, and occasionally feature interviews from owners and pet industry professionals. If there is a good fit, we will also occasionally accept pitches for DIYs, recipes, and other articles. Any ideas are welcome!

How To Evaluate A Rescue Dog Before Adoption

16 Jul

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A common tip given when adopting or bringing a new dog into your family is to make sure the dog you choose fits your lifestyle. In some cases, choosing a dog that fits your day to day life just means choosing a dog of a certain size or build. A small dog for an apartment, an athletic dog to run with, etc. However, what about when you’re trying to choose a dog with a particular temperament?

This was something Bryan and I stumbled into when we adopted Topher. We knew we wanted a dog of a specific type—a Boxer or bully type breed—but other than that, we didn’t really know what else to look for to gauge what kind of personality our dog would have. And when you’re in a shelter environment, sometimes it can be hard to tell just what a dog’s true temperament will be once they’ve settled into a less stressful situation.

This is the situation many people who adopt adult dogs from shelters find themselves in. Adopting an adult dog has many advantages, but its primary disadvantage is that an adult dog will come with baggage. Finding a new home is traumatic, and so their personality may not shine through immediately. So in a shelter environment, how do you decide if the dog you’re looking at is the right one for you? Here are a few ways to briefly evaluate a dog you’re considering bringing into your home.

1. Watch the dog from a distance. Do they appear aloof to those passing by, or friendly?

2. Approach the dog in a neutral way—don’t speak or smile, and try to approach from the side. See if the dog approaches you and the reaction they give.

3. Approach the dog with a big smile and a happy greeting, and see what reaction this kind of greeting elicits.

4. Watch a shelter worker or volunteer walk the dog on a leash, and see how much attention the dog pays to their current handler. This will give you a little bit of an idea of how they walk on a lead.

5. Find an area where you can sit quietly with the dog, preferably off a leash. See how often the dog comes back to visit you. A dog who is slightly more independent when off leash is not necessarily a bad thing, it all depends on your expectations for the level of attention seeking behavior and affection in your dog.

6. If you feel safe, run your hands all over the dog. If the dog seems okay with that, see if he will let you check his ears, his mouth, or handle his paws. Stop if the dog seems uncomfortable or moves to get away at any point. This is just to see how receptive the dog is to being handled.

7. Try handing the dog a small treat. Do they grab at it, or take it gently? If the dog grabs at the treat forcefully, ask them to be gentle and hold the next treat almost enclosed in your hand—refuse to give it to them until they are using their mouth more gently to take it. A dog who cannot understand the notion of gentle may be more difficult to manage later, especially around children or cats.

8. Make sure the dog is introduced to everyone in your family before adoption, especially if you have children. When bringing an adult dog into a family with children, the dog should greet them happily and with enthusiasm. An adult dog who is good with children is usually one who’s grown up with them, and that bond may be harder to teach to an adult dog who hasn’t had much interaction with kids.

9. If you have another dog or cat, try and see how the dog interacts with dogs and cats, or make sure to ask those at the shelter if they’ve evaluated their temperament towards other animals.

These evaluations will give you more of an idea of a shelter dog’s temperament, though no test is fool-proof; adopting an adult dog is as much work as, and sometimes more than, adopting a puppy. You need to be committed to working with your dog to help them grow into their new role in your home.

When you adopt an adult dog, there’s usually a honeymoon period—anywhere from a few days to a month where your dog is still adjusting to their surroundings, and their typical behavior may be somewhat inhibited. You should use this period to help your dog understand what is expected of them. Over time, you’ll begin to see their true personality begin to shine, as they grow into the role of companion and friend.

Is Your Dog Bored?

15 Jul

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Working from home has given me a view into the daily life of dogs…and it’s not exactly thrilling. Mostly, Topher just sleeps all the time. He sleeps in the bedroom for an hour, then takes a lap around the house to check in with the cats. After that, you’ll usually find him sleeping on the couch, maybe watching the squirrels in between naps by propping his head up on the back pillows so he can see out our front window.

Part of me wonders if Topher is just bored during the day. Boredom can actually be a big source of stress for dogs—they crave having something to do, both physically and mentally. If you’ve ever returned home and find your house has been torn apart, or perhaps a fluffy dog bed spontaneously combusted, then its pretty likely that your dog is bored. (They may also suffer from separation anxiety, but that’s an article for another time.)

So, what’s the cure for doggy boredom? How do you keep them entertained so they won’t start investigating the interiors of your couch cushions? Here are a few things you can try to keep your pup more entertained while you’re away.

Give Them Enough Exercise

A daily walk is a great way to tire your dog out before you leave for work—there’s really no substitute. However, if it’s not something you can build into your morning, you may want to look for other ways your dog can get exercise during the day. It might be hiring a dog walker, or just asking a family member if they wouldn’t mind stopping in for a short play session. A tired dog is much less likely to eat your shoes.

Ditch The Food Bowl

Canines in the wild spend up to eighty percent of their time searching and hunting for food. While your dog is most certainly not a wolf, putting all of their food in their bowl on a daily basis wastes an opportunity for further stimulation. Use a portion of your dog’s daily kibble to beat boredom.

Mix some of your dog’s kibble in with a filler—peanut butter, cottage cheese, or perhaps just a bit of coconut oil to make things stick together—the night before, then pour into a hollow treat toy such as a Kong. Freeze overnight, and give the treat to them just before leaving for work. This gives them something to work for while you leave, which can also help with dogs who have more mild separation anxiety.

Puzzle toys are also a great way to banish boredom—just make sure the toy is strong enough to hold up while you’re out of the house!

Rotate Their Toys

It can be worrisome to come home to find your dog has demolished his latest stuffed or squeaky toy. Eating fluff and squeakers can sometimes do serious harm to your dog’s digestion, so be careful not to leave your dog alone with these items.

This also creates a novelty effect. When stuffed toys are reserved and brought out only when you’re supervising, that toy becomes exciting again. Rotating what toys are available to your dog on a daily basis will also refresh his interest in older toys. The absence of a particular toy for a few days will make your dog want it even more, the next time it comes around.

Try Out Daycare

Doggy daycare is a great idea for any dog who’s younger and needs to burn more energy than you might have time for during the day. It’s also an effective way to manage separation anxiety. Your dog plays while you work, and at the end of the day you both go home tired. When looking into doggy daycare facilities and options, always do a test run on a day where you can spend some time at the facility, and make sure your dog is integrating well in the environment.

Put Them To Work

A hardworking dog is usually a happy dog. There are many breeds that even tend towards destruction if they’re not getting enough mental stimulation—they need a job! For dogs, work is a form of play—a mental exercise where they get copious praise and treat rewards for a job done well. This can be as simple as regular training sessions and teaching them new commands, or as rigorous as enrolling in agility or flyball training, or working towards becoming a therapy dog.

Once you start making sure your dog has enough to occupy themselves, you’ll see how much more content they become. Much of our dog’s happiness relies on how we care for them, so make sure you’re giving them everything they need!

How do you deal with doggy boredom?

Adoption Story: Candi, Jake, Dublyn, and Copper

14 Jul

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Story submitted by Candi

My fiance, Jake, and I both grew up with dogs and knew we wanted one, and both liked the idea of the loyal, smart, and kind Golden Retriever. In researching, we came across the Golden Doodle and fell in love with the idea of the breed, as they are known to not shed as much (as young professionals, being able to walk out the door in the morning not completely covered it fur was a must!), have the lovable characteristics of the Golden Retriever, and the smarts of a Poodle.

We adopted our first Golden Doodle, Dublyn, from a breeder specializing in standard Golden Doodles in Cuba, Missouri. When we first decided to get a dog, we didn’t know where to begin to find a breeder. We contacted a few local breeders, and ultimately went with our gut. We ended up with our breeder because she was quick to respond, sent us as many photos as we asked for, and seemed to genuinely care about her puppies. They are raised in her home, not in a barn. Even from a quick glance at her Facebook page, it was clear that she truly cared for the puppies like they are her own.

The first few days at home with Dublyn were challenging, but amazing. Living in a loft on the 2nd floor, in the middle of winter, made potty training a challenge (and a workout!). It wasn’t just open the door and let the dog out every hour—it was put on a coat, boots, hat, and scarf, then carry the dog down the stairs (because she was too afraid to climb them herself), walk across the street to a grassy area, and finally let her out. Needless to say, it took longer than normal to potty train her. She also awoke several times during the night the first few nights, so we had to do this all over again, half asleep. That being said, I wouldn’t trade raising a puppy downtown for anything. She’s not afraid of any loud sounds, walks well on a leash, and doesn’t bark at people. She was a fan favorite on our walks, and will always be fond of people of all sizes.

Finding a breeder for our second pup, Copper, was actually much easier, and perhaps a bit lucky. (We also made the decision to bring home our second puppy in the spring!) Dublyn and I spent the day at a dog park, and happened upon what I would call Dublyn’s “Mini mMe”. We met a beautiful dog named Max. He was a mini Golden Doodle, and we instantly loved him. We asked the name of the breeder and the rest was history.

A few month’s later, we got in contact with Max’s breeder and discussed our interest in one of his puppies. Again, he seemed very genuine, and explained that he breeds puppies quite infrequently. He breeds his own dog with his vet’s dog. We are now friends with 3 other dogs who have the same parents as Copper, and absolutely love all of their demeanor.

Bringing Copper home, we weren’t sure how Dublyn would react. She’d always been the spoiled rotten only child. Miraculously, they got along like long-time friends. They instantly hit it off, and they’ve been best pals since day one. Dublyn will always be about twice Copper’s size, and she definitely let’s him know it, but never in a rough way. In fact, she’s usually the one on her back when they have wrestling matches.

Copper’s demeanor is by far the calmest of any dog we’ve ever known. He rarely barks. He pretty much follows us around the house and sits at our feet looking up at us. At puppy training class, while all the other dogs were barking and jumping and acting crazy, he just sat calmly, and eventually just laid down to take a nap. We’ve always wanted to have a therapy dog, and while Dublyn was our first choice, Copper’s demeanor and smaller size makes him a more likely candidate.

Owning one dog changed our lives in a big way. We made a best friend in someone that always has unconditional love, and we were forced to get out, explore our local surroundings, and see our city in a whole new way! Owning two dogs has been even more amazing. Jake was extremely hesitant to get a second dog, but after the first 3 months of having Copper at home, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Together, Copper and Dublyn make our lives whole.

The Odin Toy

12 Jul

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We introduced you to Up Dog Toys and their first product, The Odin, back in October of 2014. We were lucky enough to get a first look at this new toy—just coming out of its development stages—as it went to Kickstarter to be a publicly funded project. The Odin easily met its backing goals, and was on its way to production not long after!

Today, we get the chance to show off The Odin toys the awesome folks behind Up Dog Toys sent us, give you a taste of what we thought of them, and give you a chance to win your own with a giveaway!

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The Perfect Treat Ball

The Odin is marketed as a treat ball, and it performs as advertised in that regard! Whether your pup is small, medium, or large (or in our case, giant!), this treat ball will do the job. It’s meant to be rolled around like a geometric soccer ball and both our lovely testers were quick to do just that.

The Odin doesn’t stay in one spot. A little nudge, and it moves! But it doesn’t roll all over the house, either. It’s movements are irregular, which keeps dogs on their toes! Both Archer and Topher seemed to take it the treat ball quick, pawing at it and picking it up to shake out the treats inside.

This toy is not marketed as a chew. While it’s rugged enough to stand up to both Archer and Topher, it isn’t meant to be chewed on for lengthy periods of time. There have been some reports of some excessive chewing doing damage to the toy (as it would any non-chew toy), but Up Dog Toys is already on that and promises a 1-time no-questions-asked replacement should you require it. We think that’s awesome, and commend Up Dog Toys for jumping on the possible issue immediately.

Designed for Possibilities

One feature that we found really cool from the moment we heard about The Odin back in October of last year was that it was cleverly designed to build off other Odin toys. The Odin is able to connect with two more Odin toys (one on either side). It allows owners to connect a few toys together with different treats, and let the dog work them out. When The Odin is attached to another toy, it changes the way it can move around, and changes up the strategy for getting out treats.

Designed to Look Good

Hey, it’s important to give credit where it’s due, and when it comes to The Odin, we have to applaud Up Dog Toys for a really fun, beautiful design. While we love that the toy was designed to attach to other Odin toys, the attention to detail didn’t stop there. To be honest, The Odin is a beautiful looking toy. It doesn’t feel out of place in the living room, or stick out like a sore thumb. It’s black colour and sleek geometric design makes it almost invisible in your regular decor, no matter where it ends up on your home.

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Where Can You Get It?

The Odin is no longer just a perk for Kickstarter backers, although those who backed their campaign did receive the toy long before anyone else (which is awesome)! Today, you can find The Odin on the Up Dog Toys website for $23 (+$5 shipping).

From now until August 30th, members of the Good Dogs & Co. community are encouraged to use our coupon code GOODDOGS10 to receive 10% off their order!

Enter Our Giveaway!

Want an Odin toy of your very own? Entering is simple! Comment below or on our Instagram and tell us what your dog’s favourite toy is (or maybe you’re in the market for a new favourite)!

This contest is now closed.

*U.S. entries only

5 Ways To Donate To Rescues With Your Daily Habits

9 Jul

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It’s science: donating to charities makes you feel more fulfilled. However, when money is tight, sometimes writing a check to your favorite rescue is the last thing on your mind for that extra $10 or $20 you might have. But there are other ways you can feel like you’re giving a little extra, even when you don’t have much to give. Here are 5 ways you can donate to rescue and charities by tweaking just a few of your simple daily habits.

Use A Charity Credit Card

Credit cards for causes typically donate a portion of each transaction to the charity linked to the card. Some are branded with the organization, like Chase’s World Wildlife Fund card; others allow you to give the donation to the cause of your choice.

Each contribution is pretty small, from 0.3 percent to 1 percent of each transaction. However, each bit adds up when multiplied over many transactions and card holders.

Don’t use a credit card? Some banks also offer programs that link checking and debit cards to charity. However, the contributions tend to be much smaller than credit card transactions.

To give even more, you could also opt into a rewards credit card that offers cash back, then donate the cash back directly to the charity of your choice. The charity will receive a larger donation than they might through a cause-specific card, and the tax deduction will belong to you instead of the credit card company. However, this depends on your self-discipline in getting that check and handing it over. 😉

Donate By Searching

That’s right, you can give money while you search for things on the internet. GoodSearch is a search tool that partners with charity organizations and gives money when you search the web.

It works like this: search engines make a fair amount of their money from their advertisers. GoodSearch tracks and directs these search-generated proceeds to causes. So, a portion of advertiser dollars earned as a result of your search are passed along to the organization you’ve chosen to support. Pretty cool, huh?

Shop Online

Similar to donating while you search, there are several sites now dedicated to donating while you shop! As if we needed more reasons to shop online. Goodshop, Buy 4, and We Care are all websites that allow you to shop for a cause, with a percentage of each purchase going to that cause.

Walking Your Dog!

That’s right, give money by walking your dog. The app Woof Trax works by having you select the shelter or rescue you’re walking for, tracking your mileage while walking, and then crediting your selected rescue at the end of the walk.

Donations to animal organizations are funded by sponsorship, advertising, and investors. Woof Trax sends donations to active shelters and rescues about twice per year.

Get Involved In Local Community Efforts

Many rescues often partner with local businesses to put on charity events or fund drives to raise money. See what rescues are putting on events in your area, and what benefit they see from it. Around us, we’re signed up as a charity shopper for our grocery store, where a percentage of our grocery savings goes to a local rescue. Sometimes there are also dinner events at local restaurants, where a percentage of every meal is donated. Your next date night could end up giving money to charity! How’s that for multi-tasking?

Not really interested in hacking your daily life towards donating? We’ve got a few other ways you can help out rescues beyond just donating money.

2 Methods For Teaching Loose Leash Walking

8 Jul

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Sometimes while Topher and I are at reactive training class, there will be a moment where I’m nearly pulled off my feet by the force of my dog’s pull (and yes, sometimes I’ve even ended up on my butt). Usually, another owner and their dog has gotten too close without my seeing, and then I’m caught off guard by his sudden charge forward to defend himself. Once everyone’s dogs are back under control and calm, the other dog owner will usually apologize (it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault, but all of us in reactive class seem conditioned to constantly say sorry for our animal’s behavior) or say something to the effect of, “he must be a terror on walks!”

But do you know what the funny thing is? Topher is a loose leash walking champ during our morning walks. He walks sedately by our sides, rarely charging ahead—even squirrels must pass within a foot of his nose for Topher to give any kind of chase. Topher is the most polite dog I’ve had the pleasure of walking with…unless there are other dogs around. Hence, why we’re still working on that aspect.

Teaching a dog to walk on a loose leash doesn’t have to be a monumental struggle, and it’s one thing that every dog can and should learn how to do. Here are two methods for teaching loose leash walking on your daily walks.

The Stop & Go Method

Dogs often equate pulling on a leash with positive behavior because we inadvertently reinforce it: we allow the dog to get where they want to go when they pull.

Whenever your dog pulls on your leash, change this behavior by stopping and standing completely still. Do not move until your dog either takes a step back, relaxing the leash, or giving you their focus. When the leash relaxes, continue your walk. Repeat this as necessary.

When you’re just starting out, this method will probably have you stopping and starting every few feet. However, if you stick with it, your dog will learn what’s expected of them while on a leash.

This method is also ideal for more than just the daily walk. If your dog has a bad habit of pulling you towards people when they want to greet (ahem, Topher) you can use this technique to teach your dog how to calmly approach on your terms. The goal is always the same: don’t let your dog pull you down the street!

The Direction Change Method

When your dog begins to pull, cue them by saying “let’s go,” and turn away, walking off in another direction. Avoid yanking on the leash—entice your dog to follow by acting very excited to go in the new direction, both with your verbal cue and body language, to get their attention.

When your dog is following you with the leash relaxed, continue on your walk. Repeat if your dog begins to pull again. You may turn around a lot during your first few sessions, but this technique teaches that pulling is once again not being reinforced with forward movement—your dog only gets where they want to go by walking calmly beside you, or slightly in front of you with a loose leash.

Reinforce your dog’s decision to walk next to you by giving treats when they are by your side. The better you make your dog feel when they’re walking next to you and being attentive to you, the more they will want to behave that way!

We use both of these methods in our daily walks and in other training sessions, and while we have a ways to go with walking him around other dogs, they’ve both made a marked improvement in how Topher is responding while on a leash. These two positive leash training methods are a great place to start for anyone looking for a way to teach their dog to walk on a loose leash.

Adoption Story: Michael, Amber, & Duncan

7 Jul

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Story submitted by Michael

My girlfriend and I moved in together in January, and decided it was time to provide a forever home to a pup in need. It was attending a fund raising event for the Atlanta boxer rescue that really set the wheels in motion. Previously, we’d discussed getting a dog, but it was never the “right time.”

A friend of mine reminded me afterwards that there is never a good time. So, we decided to pull the trigger and actually start looking for a dog. We put in an application for adoption with Atlanta Boxer Rescue, requesting dogs ranging from 7 weeks to 6 years old. We wanted a boxer because they are the breed that I grew up with and fell in love with. We love their playful temperament.

After having not heard back from them after a few days, my mom shared a picture of a dog that needed a home because he could not get along with another dog at his foster home.

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“King” was the 17 month old boxer that stole our hearts. He came home with us that very night the photo was shared. We were a bit under prepared for a dog, but did what we could to made it work the first couple of nights. We were very pleasantly surprised with his manners. He is very good about telling us when he needs to go out, does not jump on the furniture or the bed, and does not bark.

He’s been a perfect addition to our house, as he is old enough to be house and crate trained, but not old enough for us to feel like we have missed the best parts of his life. We hope to have many many years with Duncan (as he has been been renamed) filled with lots of laughs, love and sloppy boxer kisses.

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