How To Start Volunteering For Dog Rescue Groups

Okssi/Adobe Stock

Everyone wants to help a dog in need, but many are not sure of how to get involved or even where to start. Take it from a fellow dog lover and dog rescue volunteer: All dog rescue groups need manpower. Yes, donations to rescue groups are wonderful, but rescue groups need boots on the ground to assist in transporting dogs, fostering and interviewing potential adopters. It’s a new year, so get involved with dog rescue. Here are a few tips to becoming a dog rescue volunteer.

Find a Dog Rescue Group Near You

With the Internet, it’s much easier to locate a local dog rescue organization within seconds. On Google, search for a dog rescue in your area and type in “dog rescue (your city and state).” Most reputable dog rescues will pop up on the first page. You could also use the Petfinder’s website, as that is a well-known and trusted organization.

If you have a favorite breed of dog, you can find a local breed rescue by searching “(name of breed) rescue (your city and state).” Most links, including Petfinder, will redirect you to a rescue’s webpage or offer a contact email. Trust me, rescue organizations follow up quickly with emails sent to them, especially those offering help. If you don’t hear anything back within a week, send another reminder email with “volunteer” in the email subject line. Persistence is key, and much appreciated by overworked rescue folks.

Complete and Submit Online Volunteer Forms

Once a rescue group reaches out to you, they will send you a dog rescue volunteer form. Thoroughly complete the form and send it back within a week. Every volunteer must complete some type of paperwork before volunteering. Some rescue organizations have volunteer form links on their website. If so, complete the form online and send an email to their contact person informing them of your desire to volunteer.

On a rare occasion, if you don’t hear back from your chosen rescue, send a reminder email. If you still don’t receive a response, contact another local rescue in your area. Rescues are non-profit and run by volunteers that are probably overloaded with surrenders.

Change Your Schedule to Accommodate

When rescue groups need a foster home or transportation, it happens quickly. As an example, within a 24-hour notice, I drove 3 hours one way to pick up a mama dog and her 8 newborn puppies. Each transport volunteer had to change her schedule immediately since a young mother was in the process of having puppies in 15-degree weather outside. Think about it this way: Carving out 2-3 hours to help a dog in need means a new life for this dog. Be flexible. 🙂

Please volunteer for a dog rescue group. They certainly need your assistance and donations.

Durable Chew Toys for Aggressive Dog Behavior

Aggressive dog behavior can come up at any age. Apparently, uncontrollable chewing can develop ever since dogs get their permanent teeth and gums begin to feel uncomfortable. From then on, it’s a matter of training and promoting good behavior.
However, you should take not that aggressive dogs are the ones that spend a lot of time alone, don’t entirely consume their energy and end up barking and chewing excessively, as well as being violent towards other dogs. Owners of such temperamental furry friends are in a constant and sometimes unsuccessful search for durable chew toys.

Chew toys have a few advantages that you shouldn’t ignore. They keep a dog busy while consuming their energy. Also, they are mostly optimized to support dog gums and healthy teeth. You might know this, as well as the fact that some toys turn out to be less than durable or indestructible.

7 Durable Chew Toys for Your Aggressive Animal Friend

Below you can find seven of the chew toys that qualify as the most durable ones in the field. If you have more dogs or look for solutions that fill your house with options, you should dig into the ToyPetReviews chart of other favorite indestructible chew toys. Let’s see some durable chew toys that you can find almost anywhere and promise to even last ten times longer than the average ones!

West Paws Zogoflex Zisc Tough Flying Disc Dog Play Toy
A disc might not be the ideal house that you want around your home, as the dog can use it while you’re away and harm furniture items. However, this flying disc dog toy promises to calm your dog down while you’re in the park.

Cesar Millan says that a tired dog is a happy one. Medium to large-sized breeds enjoy fetching game, and this orange-colored disc takes it to the next level. The toy is lightweight, and it’s also suitable for the water-loving dog. The toy is BPA and phthalate free and dishwasher safe. It flies far as it’s made of hard plastic that softens in the dog’s mouth.

Kyjen Squirrel Squeaker Mat
I’m guessing you didn’t expect a plush toy in this chart. The Kyjen Squirrel Squeaker Mat is excellent for small to medium-sized dogs that have aggressive behavior. Squeaking toys are attractive. This one particularly comes with a long-lasting squeaking interior design that promises to last as much as the dog’s interest towards playing.

The toy comes with no stuffing that the dog can swallow after tearing the mat apart. However, in the meantime, he or she might get distracted by the multiple squeakers that the toy comes with.

Kong Extreme Dog Toy
If you have an aggressive chewer, then you might have heard of Kong’s collection of toys adjusted for all breeds. Its most indestructible (no toy is entirely indestructible, but these ones get pretty close) items come in five sizes.

The Kong Extreme toys are ultra-strong and durable and versatile enough to suit both indoors and outdoors. Also, they come with a hole that helps you stuff the toys with treats that keep dogs busy for longer. You can purchase such a toy for small, medium and large-sized dogs, including breeds with stronger teeth than others.

Elk Antler Healthy Chew
Many dogs – especially puppies – consider treats as toys. That’s why this chart includes the Elk Antler Healthy Chew that lasts longer than others and leaves less mess and odor, according to Amazon reviews. It’s a natural eco and dog-friendly premium treat that was handcrafted to look and taste attractive.

The bone contains calcium, glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamins, minerals, and phosphorus to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. The bone is even naturally colored in brown for an attractive effect. You can consider this bone as an item to integrate into the dog’s dental care.

Jolly Pets Romp-n-Roll 8 Inch Ball with Rope
The Jolly Pets-made toy works for large breeds that enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors. The brand has a history of creating extreme toys since it began by developing products for horse entertainments and developed into focusing on solutions for hard chewing.

This ball is designed for throwing, carrying, launching, kicking and much more. So, it can successfully accomplish the laborious tasks of dog fun. The toy also floats on water and dries quickly, as it’s made for non-toxic Polyethylene plastic. Manufacturers recommend it especially to owners of Labs.

Benebone Bacon
This is one of the best and durable chew toys that keeps dogs from choking while playing. The toy was engineered using a Y-shaped design to fit the pet’s jaw. It’s also flavored with bacon that lasts through long chewing sessions.

The toy works for all medium to large breeds, and you can even grip it while the dog plays. The money you spend buying these durable chew toys goes to the company’s initiative to support animal welfare.

Thank dog – the chew we’ve all been wishing for has finally arrived! Pup owners know how quickly their precious pooches can choke. Why risk it with a biscuit? The Benebone is engineered for safe and extended lasting chewing. Benebone chews are made in the USA, and every sale supports animal welfare.

FurryFido Treat Dispensing Smart Interactive Dog Ball
This 4.5-inch ball helps your dog stay entertained and exercise while consuming his or her energy. You can use the ball for dogs which are kept outdoors or in the backyard. The toy comes in sturdy silicone that makes a squeaky noise when moved around.

The ball can be stuffed with dog goodies. So, if your dog behaves during the daytime, you can let him or her play with the ball, and stuff it with treats for a quality-time ritual when you get home.

Wrapping Up

These toys were specially engineered and designed to face the teeth of dogs with aggressive behavior, regardless of size and breed.

Pick your dog’s potential favorite and watch them play around and consume energy!

How dogs see


Poor Kompis. She thought she had hit the jackpot!


Do you think that dogs are totally colorblind, or that they only see in black and white? That’s a common misconception.


While dogs’ color vision is somewhat limited and different than ours, they do see color, and a look at the world through a dog’s eyes can provide insight into how they perceive the world.


Humans see the world in color because we (usually) have three types of color receptor cells, or cones, in our eyes. These are sensitive individually to red, green, and blue light, and the different intensities and proportions of those three colors, as seen by our eyes, are put together by the brain to create the full-color spectrum that we perceive.


For dogs, their color vision is most similar to a human with red-green color blindness, although there are other differences. Dogs are less sensitive to variations in gray shades than humans are, as well as only about half as sensitive to changes in brightness.


Dogs are also nearsighted. Dogs are estimated to have 20/75 vision. So that’s why sometimes your dog doesn’t recognize you or others at distances when we can clearly see.


However, dogs do outperform humans in some visual abilities. Dogs are much more sensitive to motion at a distance – anywhere from 10 to 20 times more sensitive than humans. Their vision is also well-suited to hunting during dawn and dusk.


Hopefully, this helps explain some of the times you’ve wondered why your dog can’t see some things you thought he should… and why he noticed some things that you did not!


One last note…  If your dog is a breed whose hair naturally comes over their eyes, please make sure you clear it often so they can see.  Dogs are going to be more reactive and anxious if you block their eyesight.  It might look cute, but how would you like to walk around with impaired vision?  I’ve seen dogs become less reactive and aggressive once you clear their vision.


how dogs see

If you can’t clearly see your dog’s eyes, they can’t see YOU clearly, either!

Housetraining 101 – Dog Training

While there are no shortcuts to housetraining a dog or puppy, there are plenty of things you need to do to ensure the process doesn’t take an unnecessarily long amount of time. Whether it’s a puppy I am raising or a new rescue dog that’s staying with me, these are the strategies I use to housetrain each of them. Plus, I share what I would do if your dog still pees in the house regularly despite strictly following these guidelines.

Tough choice for your dog: medical or mental health? – PetBlogApp

When an ear infection can mean the end

I cracked the other day. I called a friend, in tears, contemplating the worst for my dog.

I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t keep sabotaging my dog’s painfully slow (behavioural) treatment with frequent painful (veterinary) treatment.

My big crisis? My dog stared at my hand and pulled back when I tried to put medication in his ear canal. This was the first time he refused treatment by us in months.

The veterinarian’s perspective

The vets were confused by the idea of a fear-free approach to medical treatment.

They often mistook my reluctance to push him past his limits with spoiling or over-protecting him. They mistook his growling and desperate escape attempts for ‘bad’ behaviour.

They make the point that: “Treatment needs to happen. Nobody likes it. Grit your teeth and get it over with.”

The behaviourist’s perspective

A dog with established fear- or pain aggression, of all dogs, must be kept “below threshold” during medical treatment. You must keep the level of Fear-Anxiety-Stress so low that it won’t poison him against his next vet treatment, making matters 1,000,000 times worse.

Unpleasant memories with treatment isn’t such a big deal for dogs who visit the vet’s twice a year – although, as a behaviourist, I even disagree with that. But patients with chronic conditions can become so averse to treatment that euthanasia becomes a serious option.

A tough choice: mental or medical health?

So I cried. After months of behaviour work to fix his aversion to vet treatment, my dog was pulling back again. And consistently so.

I was caught between a rock and a hard place: either I’d grit my teeth and undo months of behaviour work, or I’d neglect a health issue that could turn nasty.

Low stress veterinary handling

All things considered, my dog is actually a great patient. At least in our home. We’ve come a long way since the days he would growl at us for just looking down at his paw.

Now, he’ll stay relaxed and engaged when:

  • We smear painful sores on his paws
  • He sits through a 15-minute medicated bath.
  • He gets an injection.
  • We manipulate his ears.

It took months of patience and pretty much all the low stress handling and fear free veterinary treatment tools in the box, but my husband and I taught him:

  • A word for each treatment, so he could see it coming.
  • To tell us when something was getting to be too much, so we could take a break.
  • To stretch his comfort zone to even more invasive treatments.
  • To position himself so he could be involved in the process.

He was also, slowly but surely, getting more relaxed at the vet clinic and with the vet staff.

You can’t train a dog to like pain

We’d achieved so much that it hadn’t crossed my mind there could be limits.

I seriously expected him to lean into the pain with his latest painful otitis.

Looking at it from a distance, it is actually crazy how docile many pets are when undergoing even painful treatment. Think about this: The have no idea that it’s for their own good. Let that sink in for a minute.

It took me ridiculously long to realize that I could practice as often as I’d like, I would never train a dog to love pain.

After days of trying to treat the ear below threshold, we were getting nowhere on the medical treatment and he was pulling back from his other treatments too.

It pays to have friends in the dog biz

So there I sat. On the floor. With my bottle of ear meds in my hand. Angry at myself for not having been able to ‘train’ this. Angry at the dog for all the time we’d sunk into this. Angry at my husband for husbands are there to be blamed.

I called a friend in tears and said:

  • If I can’t prevent him sensitizing against treatment again, are we headed for the bad old days again?
  • How are we going to keep up with the daily treatment and preserve our behavioural progress?
  • What is going to happen to his still ineffectively treated ear infection?
  • What good has all that behaviour modification been if it comes crumbling as soon as things get real?

We talked it through and I felt a little better, but I still hadn’t solved the behaviour-medical health conundrum.

The next day, I reached out to dog pro friends to get some perspective:

  1. a trainer,
  2. a vet nurse, and
  3. a behaviour-savvy vet.
  4. I am also lucky enough to be friends with The Netherlands’ only board-certified veterinary behaviourist, Valerie Jonckheer-Sheehy (DVM, EBVS) so I got some gold advice there.
  5. And of course, I touched base with the vet in charge of his treatment at the excellent Wateringseveld fear-free veterinary clinic.

That was as bunch of conversations but it was worth it. A strategy was starting to form. It turns out that just changing a couple of things got us back on track.

Pain without trauma: the strategy

The idea is to surround the moment of pain with a sea of tranquility. You don’t entirely give up on your fear-free oath, but you don’t let it get in the way of treatment.

Here’s how we broke the vicious cycle (note that every dog is different):

  • Carry out the session as you would any low stress handling session (food, warning word, minimum restraint, maximum choice, etc.) but be resolute and quick.
  • As you apply the treatment, give tons of treats (Not after. At the same time). And use his absolute favorite. We’re talking ostrich steak here.
  • Don’t drag it out with unnecessary prep sessions. If you’ve done your homework before, he’ll be desensitized to all the steps leading up to the pain. No need to rehearse this again and again before applying pain. Just get it done.
  • Contemplate using a muzzle (if your dog is muzzle-trained!). Your fear of getting bitten might be making you nervous, and therefore getting in the way.
  • Do a few rehearsals of the treatment immediately afterwards (not up to the pain point, of course), and couple them with treats as usual.
  • If your veterinary behaviourist or veterinarian approves, contemplate a light painkiller before the treatment. Particularly if the treatment is only short-term.
  • Ask your veterinarian (or veterinary behaviourist) about medication that keeps the fear/anxiety/stress under control.

I’ve tried this over the past two days and we are getting solid results: he stays relaxed during treatment, and does not seem to sensitize afterwards.

So it turns out I don’t have to view behaviour modification as the enemy of vet treatment. With a bit of flexibility, they can still work hand in hand.

How to Dog Proof Your Rental- Pet Blog App

We’ve recently been discussing with friends and clients concerns when moving with a pet. Finding rental properties where pets are allowed seems to be challenging. What can be more challenging is keeping a place once you do find one. How can you and your dog (or cat) impress the landlord?

Being inquisitive ourselves we decided to reach out to folks who are experts in this subject. Luckily we found blogger Angela Pearse who is willing to share some of her tips.

Convincing your landlord that a dog living with you is a good thing could be easier said than done if they’ve had a bad experience in the past. But if you know how to pet-proof your rental they might be swayed. Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog, these tips will help prevent your canine from getting into trouble whenever your back is turned.

Dog-Proof Garbage Can

Dogs are scavengers at heart and an easy to access garbage can is too tempting to ignore. You don’t want your dog raiding the rubbish whenever you’re out and causing a mess, so a dog-proof garbage can is a must.

For dogs with a high IQ, you’ll need one with a latch on the lid and a pedal at the bottom. Place it in the corner so they can’t topple it over. If that still doesn’t work, keep it in a locked pantry or laundry room with a closing door.

Pet-Proof Carpet

Rental carpet can take a beating when you have a dog living with you. Even if your dog is housetrained, reassure your landlord you will take steps immediately to pet-proof the carpet/flooring while dealing with any accidents that may occur. You can also consider getting an area rug so that your hardwood floor or tile is protected from any accidents.

Another way you can ensure that carpets stay pristine and fur-free is to make sure your dog is groomed. Trimming nails and claws will also help prevent snags on carpet pile and scratched floors.

Keep their food and water bowls in the kitchen or on a mat to prevent spillages and always wipe their feet after being outside. If you feed your dog with enrichment toys, make sure messes are confined to washable areas.

Dog-Proof Your Furniture

If you’re renting a fully furnished apartment, knowing how to dog-proof furniture is important. Otherwise, you could come home to a shredded couch, gnawed table leg, or some other ‘surprise’ from your furry friend. Please note, if your dog is destroying furniture, takes steps to determine why. It could be related to their physical health, emotional well-being, or simply boredom.

Using positive reinforcement training for teaching them to discriminate where they are allowed to hang out and where they aren’t is important too, so you can trust leaving them alone. Poncho wrote a lovely post teaching this very thing. Check out his tips here.

Again, keeping on top of grooming is essential – things such as nail trimming and cleaning paws will reduce the amount of damage and dirt on floors and furniture.

Some other tried and tested ways you can dog-proof the furniture to keep it looking as good as new include:

  • Buying slipcovers for the couch and armchairs
  • Using removable cushion covers for a quick wash
  • Buying an inexpensive pet seat cover (towels and blankets work great)
  • Regularly using a lint roller to remove fur

Pet-Proof Your Flooring

Fido may think it’s fun to scoot around on the wood or concrete floors, but your landlord won’t take kindly to scratches and nicks from your dog’s toenails. Here are some ways you can pet-proof flooring:

  • Paw grooming – regularly cutting and filing nails so they don’t dig into floors
  • Buy some inexpensive but heavy rugs to use in dog traffic lanes
  • Apply a layer of protective wax, treat light scratches by reapplying wax
  • Dog booties – condition your dog to wear protective booties

Create a Pet-Friendly Apartment

Part of ensuring your rental is adequately dog-proofed is creating a safe environment for your pet. This can involve using child-safe gates to block off certain areas or keeping doors to the laundry, bedrooms, and bathrooms closed when you’re not using them.

To be extra safe, place medications, cleaners, and laundry supplies in a high cupboard or shelf out of reach. This also goes for foods like chocolate which is toxic for dogs if eaten in large quantities, and you know your dog won’t stop at one square! (Many humans are guilty of this too, so who can blame them).

Another thing to think of when dog-proofing is to cover your electrical cords and place dangling wires out of reach. Some dogs like to chew on cords and end up receiving nasty burns for their efforts. Chewing can also cause wires to short out, spark and start a fire.

Final Thoughts

You’ll have a much easier time finding a pet-friendly apartment if you can demonstrate your dog is well-trained, knows how to make good choices, and is not likely to destroy any furniture, carpet, or walls.

If you have to leave your dog for an extended period of time, ensure their physical and mental needs are met. Enrichment toys, exercise, fun and games, doggy daycare, dog walkers, and pet sitters can help meet their needs while keeping your new rental place pristine. Who knows. Your landlord might not even believe you even have a dog.

Puppy Training: Walter’s Ready for His Family -Pet Blog App

Puppy training can be fun. Puppy training can also be exasperating!

When you think about it, there’s an awful lot to teach a puppy. And if you’re going to do it right, you need to pack a lot into 8 short weeks.

Why 8 weeks?

Assuming you get your pup when he’s 8 weeks, you have only another 8 weeks to socialize your pup while the socialization window is still open.

Socialization window?

Puppies are able to learn and explore and build positive (and negative) associations very rapidly for the first 16 weeks of their lives. Because they’re with their breeder for the first 8 weeks, that leaves us with those final 8 weeks. And if you’re not sure what your pup needs to see, heart, learn, do, and experience, it can be overwhelming. Well, really, even if you do know, it can still be overwhelming because that’s an awful lot of stuff to put on your to-do list!

Walter’s people knew they didn’t have the time or the know-how to raise the puppy they really wanted: a happy-go-lucky guy who would have some basic manners, be house trained, and could go with them to all the fun places and do all the fun things.

That’s where I came in — my specialty is puppies!

I’ve raised puppies since 2001. The pups I raised were from a service dog organization and it was critical that I socialize them efficiently and thoroughly. And that I installed basic good manners behavior in those pups early (and often). When a friend suggested that I raise a pet puppy (a pup that was going to grow up to be a good, well-rounded family dog [not a service dog]), I was intrigued. I hadn’t ever considered it before. But why not? I had done it 16 times before!

So in came Walter.

His people chose him from the breeder and I picked him up at 8 weeks of age.

I had my work cut out for me. Walter was a scared little guy who didn’t have a whole lot of experience or socialization from his breeder. It took him a week or two to get him comfortable in his own skin, but thankfully he was a curious puppy and loved food, so I could use food to help him enjoy people and places and things.

He was frightened of what I consider “everyday noises” like a plastic Solo cup being dropped, the cellophane envelopes that rattle when opened, and the noise of an empty can being tossed into the recycle bin. He was a bit timid around new people and wasn’t the stereotypical outgoing Labrador. We took it slow and easy, making sure to read his body language to gauge his ability and willingness to learn new things.

After about four weeks, I was seeing a really nice transformation happening.

He was much more waggy, actually pulling me to go see new people! He didn’t try to hide when I took him to the veterinarian, and he was much more tolerant of noises and new experiences.

Fast forward to today and now I have to hold Walter back!

He’s a social butterfly with both people and dogs, but is also quick to read other dog’s body language and back off if needed. He’s willing to trust me in new situations and looks for guidance from me if he’s uncertain.

That’s the foundation that all puppies need if they’re going to continue a lifetime of learning — that foundation of quality and timely socialization, trust and cooperation with Labrador, black Lab, puppy training, socialization, clicker, Frederick, Smart Dog

Now that Walter has some confidence, has had some positive experiences with novel items, and understands that he is part of the team, the sky is the limit for him!

His people will be able to continue the learning that I’ve started, teaching him all the things that he needs to know to live comfortably with them as he transitions to his new life.

People always ask if it’s hard for me to let a dog go that I’ve had a hand in raising.

I do! Every. Single. Time. There are always tears. But the good news is get to watch Walter when his family goes away for vacations and travel! So he’s not really leaving, after all. He’ll be back for mini-vacations and will get lots of lovin’ from us.

He’s grown into a lovely young adolescent Labrador. Who will need more training if he’s going to continue to grow into the dog this family has dreamed of. He’s a teenager and will need guidance and reassurance as he continues on his path of learning.

He’s gotten a good start, though, so any challenges that he faces will be handled more efficiently and effectively using the positive and cooperative training that he’s learned.


Will I Always Have to Use Treats? -Pet Blog App

This is a common question that rarely gets a complete answer, and to give you the best answer, this post will be a little heavy in terms and psycho-babble…I’ll apologize up front, but I have a BA in Psych from KU (Rock Chalk!) So, training in a positive reinforcement manner requires two things; a behavior that you want and a reward to maintain or reinforce that behavior. The problem is, many people think that rewarding a dog is synonymous with bribing them and once started, it will have to go on forever! This is an untrue statement (bordering on a lie) that is commonly used by those who want to punish or correct a behavior in order to gain control. It is my job in this post, and as a trainer, to convince anyone reading that using treats or rewards is the best and correct path to take; so let’s get right to it!

There are three things you can do to a behavior; reward it, punish it or ignore it. Let’s take the example of showing up to work on time (or not.) If I punish someone who does not show up on time, I become the bad guy and my employees learn to avoid (or hide from) me, or they only show up late when I am not around. If I ignore it, my employees see that nothing happens when they are late and learn they can continue with the behavior with no effect, good or bad. Finally, I can reward showing up on time with praise or a reward (a raise) and they will continue to replicate the behavior because it feels good. The reason for sharing this example is to show the futility in ignoring or punishing behavior…those responses do not necessarily reduce or eliminate a behavior over the long term. You may get some immediate change in the behavior, but no lasting effect. Unfortunately it breeds avoidance, indifference or lack of motivation. I think each of us have had a boss that fits this bill at one time or another.

So let’s get back to dog training. When I first begin teaching a behavior, I reward for every success. If I am teaching sit and the dog’s rump hits the ground, I follow up the behavior with a tasty treat. This is where most opponents to treat training start screaming “see, I told you they bribed the dog” or “my dog does what I tell them because I am in control” (sounds like that boss we were talking about, doesn’t it?) What those folks don’t see is that all good positive reinforcement trainers will begin to fade the reward as the dog becomes more reliable with the requested behavior; showing the reward doesn’t have to go on forever. Humans figured out long ago that if we continue to reward every time a behavior is given, the reward eventually loses its effectiveness. Think about Vegas. If you walked into a casino and saw a slot machine that paid out a dime for every nickel you put in, you would probably sit down and start playing! But if you found out that you could only put in one nickel per play, after a period of time the dime pay out would get old and boring. If, while feeding one nickel into your machine at a time, you notice the person next to you playing a quarter slot and all of a sudden their machine went nuts and started making noise and paid out 46 quarters, which one of these machines would you want to play? This is an example, simply, of what psychology refers to as continual vs. intermittent reward schedules.

How does this relate to dogs and training? Simple, when we first teach a behavior, we reward every success (continual). We continue this until a predetermined level is reached, then we switch to rewarding only randomly (intermittent). For me, this predetermined level is an 80% success rate. This means that when a dog is successfully performing a behavior 80% of the time I ask for it, I believe they know the material and are ready to move to “Vegas Style Training”. In other words, their rewards are ready to come randomly. This improves behavior because now you choose which version of behavior to reward. In other words, a slow “sit” would get nothing while a prompt “sit” would be rewarded!

So why 80% and how often will I have to reward…read on! 80% is a level that I picked based on my own personal experience (that you might all be able to relate to!) When I was a kid, if I got straight A’s (90% or above) my parents made a huge deal out of it, it was a PARTY!!! If I got all C’s or lower (>70%) it was not a pleasant night in the Deathe household. If I got all B’s (80%) nothing much was said because I knew the material, not well enough for a Party, but good enough to NOT get in the dog house. At 80% the dog is ready to move on to an intermittent reward schedule. So how much should you treat your dog once you move them to the intermittent reward schedule? I use a treat 20-30% of the time (2-3 treats per 10 correct responses). The magic is that once you have this level mastered at 80%, you replace treats with affection and life rewards for the dog. By this, I mean love and pets become the reward used in most cases for positive reinforcement. Even though my primary reward system for my dogs has moved to affection, I continue to use food treats periodically to keep interest and motivation going strong, and especially when I’m trying to reinforce a behavior or when I’m teaching a new trick! So I ask you…are using treats in dog training the right or wrong way to relate to your four legged friends? Only you can decide!

Stop Walking Your Aggressive Dog In Public

Art_man/Adobe Stock

Yes, this is a very strong statement, but allow me to explain why you shouldn’t walk your aggressive dog in public. As a professional dog trainer, who works mostly with reactive dogs, there’s a reason for this strong position. Of course, it’s a free country and you can make your own decisions, but are your choices making things worse? If you share your home with a reactive dog that displays aggression in public, take a moment and think twice before leashing your dog up.

Do Public Walks Help Your Dog?

Think about this question from your dog’s perspective. If your dog lunges, barks, growls, shakes, refuses to walk forward and displays fearful body language, then your dog doesn’t like public walks. Most pet owners walk their fearful dogs in public, hoping their dogs will overcome their fears.

This is a tough way to change your dog’s behavior; it’s equivalent to asking a fearful person to walk along a bed of snakes, so he learns snakes are safe. When dogs are afraid of people or other dogs, yet are asked to walk amongst them, they are just as terrified. Plus, walking a fearful dog in public will only deepen a dog’s fearful behavior, so she will react aggressively more often.

Change Behavior With Minimal Distractions First

Pet owners wanting to change their dog’s fears is completely understandable, and what’s best for the dog. Start in a quiet environment with a certified positive reinforcement dog trainer, and move at your dog’s pace. Think about it this way: It’s best to teach a fearful person snakes are safe by introducing one snake at a time. Hold the snake far away, while giving the person $100 bills when he chooses to look at it without freaking out.

Pairing good things with scary things works, but must happen in a controlled environment to be effective. Once a dog learns that scary things make good things appear, she will become less fearful—however, this takes time.

Your Dog’s Aggression Causes Ripples in Public

When dogs bark and lunge at other dogs or people in public, it sends out a negative ripple effect. No one enjoys being barked at by a scared dog—not even other dogs. When this happens, dogs, puppies, people and children learn that dogs are scary and learn to avoid them. Soon, they become fearful of other dogs all because a dog behaved aggressively to them once. Yes, it can take one bad situation to scare a dog, puppy, person or child permanently.

Walking an aggressive dog in public definitely makes the situation worse for everyone, especially your fearful dog.

5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe at Public Events

We love to pamper our pooches and show them how much we appreciate their existence, and dog owners do this in many different ways. They make tribute posts on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Pooch parents also treat their fur babies to a fancy meal (like steak) and puppicino or take them out to the doggy park or the beach. Those who have the time and resources will take their pets for a fun trip to make the day extra special.

Whether you’re chilling at home with your pet or going hiking, the most important thing is to keep your pet safe and happy. To do that, follow these safety precautions.

Keep Your Dog Hydrated

If you’re going to the bark, beach, anywhere out (even your backyard), it’s important to keep your dog hydrated all the time, especially in the middle of the day. Dogs have a higher body temperature than humans do (101–102°F in dogs versus 97.6–99.6°F in humans). So look out for warning signs of dehydration in your dog, like panting, loss of energy and appetite, and dry nose and gums.

Dogs don’t sweat in the same way people do because dogs have insulating coats. Their sweat glands are on their pads and ear canal, but perspiring only plays a minor role in regulating their temperature.

Their coat keeps them warm in the cold and cool under the heat. However, dogs are usually very active creatures, so they can easily get overheated, especially when playing outside under the sun.

Bring potable water for your pet wherever you go, whether you’re going out or staying in on National Dog Day. In fact, you should make drinking water available for your dog all the time.

Check the Ground Temperature before Going Out

Your pooch isn’t as hard-wearing as you think they are (no matter how often you’ve seen them fall and get up like nothing happened). They can get bruised, wounded, and sprained too. Most of all, they can get burned when you take them out for a walk on hot concrete.

They may look thick and sturdy, but a dog’s paw pads can get easily injured when walking on sharp, rough surfaces and heated ground. Yes, your dog probably loves their walks, but that shouldn’t be a good-enough reason to risk their health.

If you have plans of going out with your canine friend, check the weather and temperature for the day. Go out when it gets cooler, like early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or during the evening. Check the ground temperature with the back of your hand. If it’s too hot for you to lay your hand on for five minutes, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.

Unlike people, they don’t have any protective wear on their paws. And even if you make them wear shoes, it still isn’t advisable to go out on hot days for fear of hyperthermia (a.k.a. overheating) and dehydration.

Dogs can get injuries and infection from their surroundings because of their active and dirt-filled lifestyle. Always check your dog’s paws after going out or if you notice them constantly licking or gnawing on the body part. Get it checked by the vet immediately if you notice an injury or something unusual on their paw.

Let Your Dog Wear a LED Collar

This year’s National Dog Day falls on a weekend, which makes it perfect for camping, hiking, or adventuring with your pooch. You can take your dog by a lake and enjoy barbecuing with the rest of the family.

Fido can go for a swim, help you catch fish, and explore the wilderness with you. They’re guaranteed to have a blast sniffing interesting smells and chasing tiny animals. The wilderness can offer many fun and exciting activities for you and your dog.

But accidents can happen in an uncontrollable environment. With how curious and playful dogs are, your buddy can wander off and get lost. If you’re planning an outdoor trip with Fido, you need to ensure their safety and prepare for unexpecting events. Let your dog wear a bright LED dog collar if you’re staying out or camping overnight. This way, you won’t lose sight of them even in the dark.

Sometimes, dogs exhibit their stubborn streaks at the most opportune moment. That’s why you should always keep your eyes on them or have them on a long leash when you’re outdoors. If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, you should get them chipped now. In case your dog gets lost, people can scan your dog’s microchip to find you.

Stay Away from Fireworks

Most, if not all, dogs absolutely hate fireworks. Dog hearing is much better than that of humans, so fireworks are much louder and more jarring to their ears. The deafening explosion can make them scared and anxious. This can cause them great stress, which isn’t good for their health.

Responsible dog owners know not to risk their dog’s safety no matter how beautiful or grand fireworks are. However, you can help your dog stay calm by creating a distraction for them. Some owner let their dogs listen to calming music with a earphone. Others use pressure wraps of vests.

On holiday when fireworks abound (like the Fourth of July), make sure to take your dog inside the house and give them a comfortable place to hide. Seal all exits to stop Fido from escaping outside out of panic, and give them a distraction so they don’t concentrate on the noise. Most of all, keep them company so they can feel safe and protected.

Avoid Unhealthy Food

Dogs are fond of eating scrumptious food (like meat, meat, or meat). They also love to eat not-so-scrumptious “food” that can’t be named here (lest it offends others’ sensibilities). But taste doesn’t always have anything to do with what’s good or bad for their furry bodies. Believe it or not, your dog is sensitive to a lot of food that humans eat (and don’t eat).

If you’re planning to treat your buddy to a delicious meal, make sure that it’s not something that they’ll throw up or will harm their body later. Don’t season that steak or give them a bone. Canine bodies are much more vulnerable to the unhealthy effects of sodium, sugar, and other seasonings.

Bones are also harmful to dogs. They can puncture the digestive system, cause intestinal problems, obstruct vital organs, and harm your dog’s mouth and teeth.

Other things you should never feed your dog are apple core, avocado, chocolate, garlic, grapes, onion, peach, persimmon, plum, raisins, and any food with alcohol, caffeine, and xylitol in it.

All dogs deserved to be loved and pampered by their owners. From bringing water (and food) to avoiding harmful food and treats, these tips will help you fill the special day with fun and excitement.