Archive | October, 2016

Holiday Gift Ideas

Gift Ideas for Pet Lovers

‘Tis the season of gift-giving and sometimes it cgifts-and-dogan be hard to find the right present for friends and family. Luckily, if you are buying for pet lovers, it can be pretty easy! Here are some great ideas for the pet lovers in your life:

1. Gift certificates to pet supply stores or TGDS! Pet lovers are very aware of how much we spend on our furry friends, so a gift certificate for pet food, toys, or even daycare or grooming can be a great gift.
2. Personalized portrait of their fur-babies. There are plenty of artists out there that specialize in pet portraits. You can easily find them on Etsy.
3. Photo gifts, like photo books or holiday ornaments from Shutterfly.  Who doesn’t love looking at their fur-babies adorable face?
4. Paw print art. If your dog attends daycare, you are used to receiving paw print crafts. Maybe you have friends with dogs who would LOVE some of these crafts. Ask us, we can tell you how we do it.
5. Gift baskets. Get creative and personalize the basket to owner and pet’s personal taste. You could include toys and treats for the pet, chocolate or wine for the owner, and other fun items.
6. Donations. Animal lovers are usually pretty passionate about helping homeless pets or endangered wildlife. Giving a donation in a friend’s name to a local shelter or to a national organization could be a great gift idea.

Need more ideas? There are plenty of creative ideas on Etsy or Pinterest. We also have a few items in our shop that would make great gifts for humans and pets alike!


Training Lesson

treatHow to Train “Leave It”

Training your dog a ‘leave it’ command is an important part of teaching your dog impulse control. Impulse control is when you teach your dog to think before they act. When training a ‘leave it’ command, it is important to train a solid foundation and build up from there, gradually adding distractions and higher reward items.

To begin, hold a treat in your hand and hold it out to your dog. Your dog will try to figure out how to get the food out of your hand. Wait for your dog to move their nose away from the treat or look away, then click and give the treat in your hand. At this stage you are looking for the smallest movement away from the treat that your dog will offer. Repeat this task until your dog understands the task and is reliably moving away from the treat, then you can start pairing the cue “leave it” with the behavior. Practice this often to be sure your dog has learned to associate the cue with the behavior.

Next, have a treat in both hands. Present a treat in an open hand so your dog can see it and ask your dog to ‘leave it,’ keeping the other treat in the hand behind your back. If your dog attempts to grab the treat, close your hand and ignore your dog for a few seconds then try again. If your dog is having a hard time to begin with, you may need to move back to the previous exercise to remind your dog what ‘leave it’ means. If your dog is successful at ‘leaving it,’ reward them with the treat behind your back. At this stage in the training, we start teaching the dog that they don’t get rewarded with the item they are ignoring, but they do get a different reward for listening to you. Repeat this until your dog is reliably ignoring the treat in your open hand.

After you have laid this solid foundation, you will begin making the task harder and harder. You can put the treat on the floor and ask your dog to ‘leave it,’ still rewarding with a different treat. You can also replace the treats with children toys, socks, trash wrappers, or other desirable but prohibited items. The rewarding treat should be HIGHLY rewarding at this stage, such as chicken, hot dogs, or cheese so your dog is excited to listen to you and ignore the prohibited item. If your dog ignores the command and grabs the treat or item, do not yell, yank, or punish the dog. Instead move back a couple of steps in the training process to reinforce the behavior and gradually work back up, only moving forward when your dog is 99.9% reliable at that stage. You can also practice these exercises while your dog is on leash so you can use it out on walks as well.

As always, don’t hesitate to ask TGDS staff if you have questions or problems with training your dog! Also remember we offer private training while your dog is at daycare, so if you would like some additional help or training, please ask about this program!


Giving a Pet for The Holidays

bulldog-1111178_960_720 If you are considering getting or giving a pet as a gift this holiday season, there are a few important things to keep in mind. The most important thing to remember is that a pet is a living animal that requires time, money, and a life long commitment. Careful thought and planning should go into making this decision to ensure the pet owner is properly prepared to care for a new pet. A pet should never be an impulsive decision, and should never be given as a surprise to the primary pet owner. Pets require a lot of work, especially puppies or kittens, so the pet owner needs to be fully aware of the responsibility they are agreeing to. Giving a pet to a person who is not prepared to make such a commitment could lead to a stressful situation for the owner and the pet.

First, you have to be sure the primary pet owner is fully prepared for a pet. A pet should only be given as a present to a person who has expressed specific interest in acquiring a new pet. This means they may already have started looking for a pet, or have specific ideas about what they want in a pet. Make sure they have the ability to care for the pet in the present and in the future. A dog or cat can live for up to 15-20 years so the primary pet owner should have the ability to commit for the life expectancy of the animal. Some people may think a new pet is a good way to help a pet owner get over the loss of a recently deceased pet, but it is important to make sure the owner is fully ready to move on. It is also important to make sure every member of the household is OK with a pet. Talk to any significant others or parents before deciding to give a pet as a present, no matter how small of a pet it is. If you are giving a pet to a child, make sure the parents are fully on board since they will most likely be the ones taking care of the pet. Also, make sure any other pets in the household will be okay with a new addition. Introducing pets can be complicated so if the pet owner has other pets, it might be best to let them make the choice to add a new pet on their own. Most importantly, everyone has their own preferences for the type and personality of their pet so if it is possible, the primary pet owner should be given the opportunity to chose the individual animal of their choice.

The Good Dog Spot recommends considering alternatives to giving a live animal as a present. One alternative is providing pet supplies for a new pet, rather than the pet itself. You can also give a gift card for supplies or services such as training classes or grooming sessions that they can use after they get a pet. You can also cover the cost of getting the pet, either paying the adoption fees at your local animal shelter or deposit at the reputable breeder of their choice. This allows the pet owner to pick their own pet at a time that works best for them.