Archive | November, 2016

Health Benefits of Cranberry

Cranberries are harvested in the fall, which is one reason they have become a popular addition to holiday gatherings. Massachusetts is the second largest producer of cranberries in the United States, with Wisconsin pushing us out of first place in 1995. There are many ways to enjoy cranberries, from juices and cocktails, to pies, breads, or just plain dried cranberries. Luckily, cranberries are a tasty snack with numerous health benefits for you and your pets. Dogs or cats should only enjoy cranberry in small amounts, preferably in treats specifically made for pets. Many cranberry products made for humans have added sugar or spices that may be harmful to pets.



Fun Party Tricks

Party Tricks for your Dog to Show Off


The “spin” behavior is when your dog rotates around in a circle. It is a fun trick to show your friends and family, and also seems to be a trick that dogs enjoy doing. To begin, have your dog standing towards you. Have a yummy treat in your hand and hold it to the dogs nose, then lead the dog around in a circle, rewarding with the click and treat mid-movement. If your dog has a hard time going all the way around, either move your hand slower to keep them focused on you, or begin rewarding small movements in the correct direction. Repeat this step until your dog is reliably turning in a circle then pair the behavior with the cue “spin.” Eventually remove the treat from your hand, gradually turning your hand motion into a gesture. Once you have the basic technique down, you can train your dog to turn in the other direction using a different cue, such as “twirl,” or “rotate.” Some people get really creative and use words such as “bagel” and “donut” as the commands for each direction.



Sit Pretty

The “sit pretty” behavior is when your dog lifts their front paws up, while still sitting on the ground. It is a big crowd pleaser, and is great for taking cute pictures. Start with having your dog sitting in front of you. Hold a treat at your dog’s nose, and slowly move it up above them. Look for any movement up with the front half of the body and reward any progress. To begin, your dog might jump up into a stand, just ignore it and try again. Wait for them to stretch slightly up towards the treat, or lift one or two paws slightly. Build into the behavior slowly. Once your dog understands the behavior you are looking for, pair the verbal cue with the behavior, then when your dog no longer needs the food lure, you can start building in the hand gesture.




A bow is when your dog has their elbows on the ground and their butt up in the air. It can be used as a fun greeting behavior when friends come over. To begin, have your dog facing you. Then you can take a treat and lure your dog’s nose towards the ground and click when just his elbows are on the floor. If your dog is reliable at lying down, they may immediately go into a down. In this case you may want to shape the behavior. Shaping is easiest with a clicker. Begin to lure your dog’s nose down towards the floor then click when they bend their elbows or even simply look down. Continue to do this so your dog begins to bend their front legs, with the goal of having the elbows on the floor without the butt following.


How to Train

How to Train “Place”

Teaching a dog to sit using food

Things can get pretty chaotic around the holiday season. Of course, our dogs want to join in on all the excitement too. You are trying to cook, clean, wrap presents, entertain guests, and your dog is begging at the table or counter, jumping on people, playing with the wrapping paper, the works. So what to do?

Place is an excellent command to train your dog for such circumstances. It is a simple way to get dogs out of your way and keep them safe from all the yummy holiday goodies. The idea of this command is that you say the command, “place,” and your dog walks over to a bed or mat and lies down. You also train a release word with this command and increase the duration during training so that your dog will stay there as long as you need them to. If your dog already has a “crate” command, or “go to bed”, you’re already done! It may seem unsightly to keep a dog crate or bed out in plain sight while you have guests around, but if you want your dog out of the way, this is a great idea. If your dog enjoys their crate, it can be a good idea to keep it out just in case they become overwhelmed with all the holiday chaos.

To start, bring out your clicker and treats. Sit on the floor near your dog’s “place.” Lure your dog onto the place, then click and treat once your dog steps on it with at least the front paws. Repeat this step until your dog begins to understand that they are being rewarded for stepping on the place. Start pairing the command with the behavior (place, bed, crate, or mat are common commands used for this trick). You can also start using a hand gesture, such as a point, rather than luring with the treat in your hand. Slowly start moving farther away from the place. If your dog is having a hard time when you are further from the place, move back in the training a few steps. Once your dog is OK with this step, you can start introducing distractions. While your dog is on the place, you can begin moving around the place, or pretend to start making some food. You can also begin to move the place to different locations. Only move onto the next step or distraction when your dog has proven reliable in previous steps.