Keep Games Friendly

Dogs naturally play rough and tumble games. They like to play fight and tussle with each other. These games are natural and healthy even though they can be energetic and loud.

But if games at your house turn into real fights, those games should not be tolerated. If there is a trigger, perhaps a toy or chew bone that your dogs fight over remove that object from the house permanently. Look for a ‘lower value’ toy or chew that the dogs are less likely to fight over and have those available for playtime. Our Tugmaster 48″ toy has good success for dogs that have problems keeping their games on a friendly level.

This toy is long enough for the dogs to play tug without getting in each other’s space, and it’s not as high a value item as a chew bone or a toy with real animal fur.

Get Your Dog Excited to Train

How do you keep your dog excited about working? By rewarding them for doing well! Rewards are the most important part of training dogs. So here are a couple ideas to get you thinking about different types of rewards.

1.  Food. A lot of dogs are motivated to work for food. If your dog is motivated by food, some great options for training would be toys that involve food. A Tug N Treat or a Toss N Treat might be great options.

2.  Attention or Verbal Praise.  Many dogs enjoy getting loved on during their training sessions. It helps your bond between each other grow and build your relationship.

3.  Toys.  Playing with toys is a great reward that can get dogs really excited and motivated. The key is finding the toy that your dog loves.

No matter what rewards motivate your dog, the most important thing to remember is to reward often.

Variable Rewards

A very important concept in training is the variable reward.  Dogs often get bored with our rewards, especially when we use the same rewards over and over again.  Variable rewards keep your dog motivated to train, because he never knows what kind of response he is going to get.

A great illustration of variable reward is seen in the comparison of a soda machine and slot machine.  If you use the same rewards constantly, you are about as exciting as a soda machine.  Soda machines are not exciting.  You know exactly what to expect, so you only go to one when you want what it has to offer. However when you vary your rewards you are way more exciting. Variable reward is what makes slot machines so addicting to many people; you never know what you’re going to get or how much.

To use variable rewards with your dog, switch up the rewards and how much you reward.  You can vary your rewards by using different types of food and different types of toys.  Switching between different toys like tugging verses fetching is great because they are different actions.  For more variety, reward your dog with different scents (like buffalo rabbit, or sheep) and different textures (like nylon, fleece, or fur).   You can find a large variety of toys at our website:

Your dog will tell you what he finds the most exciting.  When you use variable rewards, your dog will not know what he is going to get and will be more focused on you during training.

Another Benefit to Walking

Besides getting into shape, nicely trimmed toe nails are another benefit of regular dog walking.  You’ll know your dog is getting enough exercise when you don’t have to trim their toe nails.

The slight abrasion effect of the sidewalk and even dirt or grass surfaces will keep your dogs toe nails trimmed to perfection when your dogs are getting enough leash time.
I walk my big dogs a mile and a half every day, sometimes on sidewalks and sometimes on dirt.

This amount of exercise is sufficient to keep all their nails trimmed except for their dew claws which don’t regularly touch the ground.

Watch That Puppy!

New puppies are famous for getting into trouble when we aren’t looking. You should always watch your puppy when he’s allowed to roam un-crated in the house. Knowing that your puppy is very interested in the lamp cord can prevent a chewed cord and an emergency trip to the vets.

With vigilance you can stay ahead of potential problems and prevent trouble before it happens, all by keeping your eyes on your puppy.

Never allow your puppy the opportunity to make mistakes or get into trouble because you weren’t watching. You can attach a leash or long line to the pup while you’re watching TV to keep him near you, and allow some freedom of movement. Or you can use puppy gates to keep your puppy in the same room with you, making it easier keeping him in your vision.

Remember to keep your eyes on your little prize, and prevent problems before they happen.

Bathing Too Much?

Frequent bathing can strip protective oils from your dogs coat and skin. The lack of moisturizing oils can cause skin problems that stem from dryness like itching and flaky skin. Much like having dry hands when we wash our hands frequently, over bathing drys out both your dogs coat and skin.

To compensate, you could add extra oils to your dogs food, but the oils will add calories that might not be welcome. Cream rinses can help your dogs coat but are not optimal because they don’t replace the natural oils that are removed from your dogs skin. 


As a bathing alternative, consider rinsing your dog will clean water and buffing him dry with a clean towel. Frequent swims in clean water or clean water rinses will help keep dirt and excess oil from collecting in your dogs coat. By preventing the excess oil from building up you’ll find that bathing with soaps will be less necessary.

Clean water rinses are quick and easy to do. Completely wet your dogs coat with clean water and towel dry very quickly for a minimum of mess and stress.

Walk the Walk

When teaching your dog to walk at your side while on the leash, speed up your pace until you’re matching your dogs walking speed. It’s easier to teach the dog to walk nicely if you match his natural walking pace. Asking your dog to walk slowly and to learn good leash skills at the same time is difficult for your dog.
It’s difficult to keep up with a large dog, or one with a lot of pent up energy, so some vigorous play before leash walking may help. After your dog has spent some of his pent up energy he should be able to walk more comfortably at a slower pace.

Over time your dog will learn to enjoy being at your side, but until your dog is ready to match your pace, keeping up as best you can will make learning good leash skills as easy as possible.

You don’t need any special equipment to make you walk faster, but some things can help. Get some lively music for your ipod to keep your pace up. Or get a bell or a fancy new leash to remind you that walking quickly is good for both of you. You may enjoy this  leash and perhaps it’ll help you to think about being a winner in your dogs eyes