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How To Make My Dog Eat Slower

July 18, 2017 | Dog Training, Fun Games, Helpful Tips, Pet Health, Pet Safety, Training

How to make my dog eat slower

How To Make My Dog Eat Slower

Does your dog treat every meal like it’s the first time they’ve eaten all week? If your dog eats too fast, we’ve got a few tips you can try to make your dog eat slower.

Why Does My Dog Eat So Fast

A lot of dogs develop their fast eating habits as puppies. They are often competing with their litter mates for food, and they learn that whoever snoozes loses! Dogs develop the habit of eating very quickly and then it becomes their typical behavior when they eat.

Some dog breeds are known to eat very quickly, such as labradors, golden retrievers, beagles, basset hounds, and dachshunds. Dogs all have different personalities and eating styles, and eating fast is a common issue many pet parents see.

Problems If A Dog Eats Too Fast

When your dog eats fast it can become a serious issue, so it’s important to train them to slow down. Otherwise, they could possibly choke from eating too quickly or vomit the food back up. Bloat can also occur from gulping down an excessive amount of air. Bloat causes the stomach to expand and possibly twist, which can become life threatening very quickly. The main symptom of bloat is vomiting mostly foam, or a swollen stomach. If you think your dog may have bloat, you need to take them to the vet immediately.

Bowls To Help Slow Down Eating

The great thing is that getting a dog to eat slower is a problem with a pretty simple solution! The easiest way to slow them down is to change up their bowl.

  • Slow Feeder Bowl: There are tons of slow feeder bowls you can buy and they work wonders at making your dog eat slower. Slow feeder bowls separate the food into smaller areas so your dog has to work at getting their food instead of just inhaling it. We love Outward Hound’s clever and cute bowls. Their Fun Feeder bowl did a great job training my puppy to slow down. Now she has graduated to using a regular bowl again!
  • Cookie Sheet: A cost-effective method to help your dog eat slower is to use a cookie sheet. Just spread the kibble out in a thin layer and they will be forced to slow down.
  • Muffin Tin: You probably already have a muffin tin, which can also double as a slow-feeder bowl. Divide out the kibble in all of the different holes and watch them enjoy finding their food! They have to work harder to get the kibble out of each individual hole, which will take a bit more time.
  • Puzzle Feeder: There are a variety of puzzle feeders and puzzle balls that work great at helping your dog eat slower. They can’t get to the food all at once and need to move things around to find the kibble or get it to dispense from the toy. This method is very stimulating and interactive for them, which is always fun!

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Alternative Dinner Activities

If you want to take a new, fun approach to dinner, you may also want to give these options a try!

  • Make Dinner Be Training Time: If your dog loves their food, they likely will think of it in the same way they think of a treat. This is great because it means you can use kibble as a reward for training. If you’re working on any new tricks or skills, measure out the amount your dog should be eating for a meal and then use that kibble as their reward. Make sure you still are giving them all of the food they should be getting at a meal time. Dinner training sessions are a great way to bond, and you’ll have a happy, well-behaved dog!
  • Hide and Seek: Some dogs love to play hide and seek with food. Have your dog sit and stay while you let them see you hide a few pieces of kibble. Then say “Seek” to release them from their stay, and they can go get the food. Once your dog understands the concept, you can make it harder by having them sit and stay somewhere they can’t see you hide the kibble. Then the game actually makes them seek out the food, which is great for mental stimulation.

It’s very simple to correct the issue of a dog eating too quickly, and it’s important so you prevent things like choking, vomiting, and bloat. You have so many choices, from using the simple home remedy of a muffin tin, to buying a spiffy slow-feeder bowl, or you can even turn feeding into an interactive and fun session. Any of these approaches will quickly remedy your pup’s scarfing issues and will make dinner time a calmer experience for everyone!

 

Charleston Dog WalkerCharleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!

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Picking The Right Leash For Your Dog

April 27, 2017 | Charleston, Cool Pet Products, Dog Training, Dog Walking, Helpful Tips, Pet Products, Training

How To Pick The Right Leash For Your Dog

Have you ever wondered how to pick the right leash for your dog?  As someone who walks all breeds and sizes of dogs every day, I’ve learned a lot about leashes. Every dog parent should know what leash options are out there and what is the best fit for their dog.

How to pick the right leash for your dogThe most common types of dog leashes are:

  • Standard Leash
  • Chain Leash
  • Adjustable Leash
  • Multi-Dog Leash
  • Retractable Leash

The Standard Leash

The standard leash is, by far, our favorite type of leash to use when walking a dog. They are typically made out of thick nylon or leather. You can get them in a variety of lengths, normally anywhere from 3 feet to 9 feet long. We’ve found that dogs typically walk better on a shorter standard leash (3 – 4 foot is ideal), which gives you more control over what the dog is doing while you walk. We prefer nylon leashes to the leather, as they are more comfortable to hold. Just make sure that the leash you buy has a sturdy metal clasp to attach to the dog’s collar and that the leash is made of a durable nylon and not a thin fabric.

The Chain Leash

The chain leash is very similar to the standard leash, except that is made of metal instead of nylon or leather. A chain leash has two main benefits – it won’t get smelly, and it is harder for a dog to chew through it. If you have a dog who likes to chew on the leash as they walk, or hold it in their mouth, using a chain leash is a way to train them not to do that since it’s very unlikely they will want to have a metal leash in their mouth. Most puppies go through a phase of wanting to hold the leash as they are learning proper leash training. Make sure to correct them so they know that it’s not ok, and then you shouldn’t have to worry about this problem anyway. Chain leashes can be uncomfortable to hold and they can be heavy for a dog, so we tend to not recommend going with a chain leash.

The Adjustable Leash

The adjustable leash looks like a standard leash, but with extra rings and hooks. This allows you to shorten or lengthen the leash as needed. This could be useful as your dog grows since you can start them out with a shorter leash and work up to a longer leash when they walk well.  We tend to always favor shorter leashes, though, so we stick with the standard leash option.

The Multi-Dog Leash

The multi-dog leash looks like a very appealing option for someone who has more than one dog, as it allows you to have both dogs on a separate leash, all controlled by one main leash. If you have tiny dogs, this may be a good choice, but we wouldn’t recommend this for someone with larger dogs. The main drawback is that a multi-dog leash doesn’t allow you to have direct control over each dog. It also shifts the weight distribution away from you, making it easier to be pulled by the dogs if they both try to pull towards the same thing. If a squirrel runs past, you may be on the ground before you know it!

The Retractable Leash

The retractable leash is one of the most common types of leashes used today, but it is by far the one we dislike the most. Retractable leashes are much easier to break, whether it stops retracting or snaps. Most of them also use a cord for the retractable part, which can cause serious injuries to you or your dog. The cord can easily cut you if your dog starts to run or if it gets tangled around you. Google retractable leash injuries and you’ll see just how dangerous these can be. Retractable leashes also are terrible for leash training. They give the dog too much control and don’t allow you to teach them how to walk properly beside you. While it is important for a dog to stop and sniff on their walks, they can easily do that with a standard leash when they are walking properly.

There certainly are a lot of leash options out there, but our tip pick will always be the standard leash. It allows you to have the most control while you walk, it is comfortable to hold and helps you to train your dog how to walk well beside you.

 

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!


Join Us For Our Puppy Social!

April 14, 2016 | Charleston, Dog Training, Dog-Friendly Charleston, Events, SC, Things To Do, Training

Puppy Social

Charleston Dog Walker is hosting a free Puppy Social on Saturday, April 30 from 9-10am at the James Island County Park in the small dog area of the dog park. It’s very important for puppies to meet other dogs and learn good social skills while they are still young so they can grow into well-adjusted friendly dogs. This social is for puppies who are 2-12 months old and they must be up to date on their vaccinations. Let us know if you’re interested in coming – we hope to see you there!


The Best Part of Coming Home

August 8, 2014 | Dog Training, Good Reads, Helpful Tips, Training

Dog at WindowMy favorite part of each day is when I get to come home.  It is such a wonderful thing to open my door to a big smile, a wagging tail and so much love!

It’s also great to know that I can make my pup feel just as loved as he makes me feel!  Research has shown that if you touch and talk to your dog during those first few moments of returning to them that they experience a very positive emotional surge for a while after you arrive.  If you only speak to them and don’t touch them, the feeling doesn’t last as long and they still have high levels of stress caused from you being away.

Some pups do go a bit crazy when people come home, and it’s good to keep that craziness in check, too.  Try keeping some treats right by the door so you can concentrate their energy.  Make your dog sit before they get the treat and the greeting from you.

If you’re having a bad day (or even a good one), it will always get better when you open the door to that happy face.  Remember to always show them that love right back!


2014’s Coolest Pet Products

April 3, 2014 | Awesome Dog Toys, Cool Cat Toys, Dog Training, Training

Lots of cool new pet products were introduced at the 2014 Global Pet Expo in Orlando.  Check out VetStreet’s Dr. Marty Becker’s favorite finds in his article here.  He showcases his top ten, and from those, we’ve picked our favorite three to share with our Curious friends!

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  1. The PetSafe AutoTrainer: Does your pup bark like a crazy man while you’re away?  Then this may be the answer to your problem.  The AutoTrainer uses a collar-based reward system which gives your dog a treat when he doesn’t bark.
  2. Kong Glide ‘n Seek Cat Toy: Looking for a new way to keep your kitty entertained?  Using magnetic levitation technology, the Kong Glide ‘n Seek uses feathers that quickly bounce around and will keep your cat batting and grabbing to her heart’s content!
  3. Links-It Pet ID Tag Connector: Do you hate that jingly noise every time your pet moves?  Isn’t it a pain (literally) to pull apart key rings to attach an ID tag?  The Links-It Pet ID Tag Connector is a super easy gizmo that allows you to easily and quickly attach tags to a collar AND eliminate the jingles. Brilliant.

 


Keep Your Pup Entertained in the Rain

April 29, 2013 | Fun Games, Training

So the weather man says there’s going to be rain today and tomorrow in Charleston… which is always sad for the dog who loves to run around outside.  If you’re anything like me, you start out saying “what’s a little rain?” and go out for some fun with them.  But after 10 minutes of being soggy, I’m ready to look for some alternative entertainment for my dog.  Luckily, there are lots of fun things to do inside that will keep your pup happy.  Here are a few games you can try, courtesy of The Dog Trainer:

  • The Find It Game
    • This one is simple and fun – start out by taking a few pieces of your dog’s favorite food or treats and tossing it close to them while saying “Find it”.  Do this a few more times, making the distance between the dog and the treat a bit further each time.  Once they get the idea, have your dog sit and stay while you go hide the treat.  This is a great way to keep your dog happy and help them use their noses!
  • Hide and Seek
    • A few weeks ago I mentioned how to play this game outside – but of course you can do it indoors, too.  Grab a friend and have him stay with your dog while you go hide.  Then have your friend encourage your dog to go find you.  Once found, make sure to give lots of praise and love to keep the game exciting.
  • The Muffin Tin Game
    • Grab a 6 muffin tin from your kitchen, 6 small treats and 3 tennis balls.  Place the treats in each cup and put the tennis balls over 3 of them.  Now let your dog do the work – once he eats the 3 exposed ones, he should sniff around to find that 3 more are hidden under the balls.  Train your dog to be an expert by only putting a few treats under some of the balls and see if he can figure it out.  Then you can advance to a larger muffin tin with more balls.
  • Go Wild and Freeze
    • This is a super fun game to try out – and it’s a helpful training game.  Find your dog and start dancing around all crazy until she joins in.  After a minute of some crazy action, all of a sudden you stop moving.  When you do, ask your dog to sit.  As soon as she sits, start dancing again.  Repeat this until you tire yourself out.  It’s a great way to get out their energy and helps teach your dog self-control as she learns to respond to your cues even when excited.  Make sure to end the game clearly by saying “All done” or something similar and then sit down or do something else to signify that the game is over.

I hope you all enjoy this lovely April rain and get a chance to try out some of the new fun games above.  A tired dog is always a good dog!

 


Hide and Seek with your dog!

March 8, 2013 | Fun Games, Training

Training our dog to “come” was certainly a challenge.  He grew up mostly as a city dog, so he was rarely off-leash.  Coming when we were playing inside was never an issue, but that’s mostly because there weren’t any distractions for him.  No squirrels in the hallway or birds flying by!  So when we tried to train him outside with those distractions, it took some effort.  If you are still learning how to train your dog to come, here’s a great way to start the process.  Play a game of hide and seek!

I found this blog to be helpful when training our pup – http://www.naturaldogblog.com/blog – and one fun activity was Hide and Seek.  The idea is to increase your dog’s attraction to you by engaging their prey instinct.  With repetition, you become more appealing to them than any distraction (like a squirrel) that may be present.  Take some time to try this fun game.  Just find a secluded place to play that doesn’t have a lot of distractions (a trail in the woods is perfect).  Then here’s what you do:

  1. Have someone hold your dog’s leash
  2. Run down the trail and then find a place to hide that your dog can’t see
  3. Once you’re hidden, loudly call your dog’s name
  4. As soon as your friend hears you call, they should drop the leash so your dog can come find you
  5. When your dog finds you (they always do), give them lots of praise and some treats
  6. Play this game for a bit, but stop before your dog loses interest

*Check out the full post about the game here.

This game is lots of fun for your dog and helps you become the focus of their attention.  Keep doing this, along with other recall training techniques, and your dog will love to come when you call him!


10 Dog Training Tips

March 3, 2013 | Training

Learning how to train your new dog?  Check out this short article for some helpful tips – http://www.petfinder.com/dogs/dog-training/dog-training-tips/.

Here are my favorites:

  1. Be Consistent
    • Whenever you’re training your dog, it’s important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone’s on the same page
  2. You Get What You Reinforce – Not Necessarily What You Want
    • If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off.
  3. Be Generous With Your Affection
    • Most people don’t have a problem being very clear about when they are unhappy with their dogs, but, they often ignore the good stuff. Big mistake! Make sure you give your dog lots of attention when he’s doing the right thing. Let him know when he’s been a good boy. That’s the time to be extra generous with your attention and praise.


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