Thursday, October 27, 2011

What's the Best Way to Train A Dog?

We can't count how many times we've been asked "what is the best way to train my dog?" or "which is the best dog training method?".

Group Traning Dogs is a Good Option for Many
Unfortunately like so many things, there really is no simple answer to the question, and it's the simple truth that there are various ways to train a dog which will work, the question is will they work for your and your dog? What we do know is that there are some ways that don't work or which aren't appropriate, and of course, a dog with even a little bit of training is better than no training at all.

While training your dog will be easier, it is simply not true that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" so it's never to late to start dog training.
When looking at your training options, you basically have four choices:
  • enrolling in a class
  • sending the dog away to be trained,
  •  training on your own
  • working individually with a trainer.
The first option is to take a class with your dog. If you think this option might work for you, talk to your vet who might be able to recommend a nearby trainer. Also don't forget to ask your friends and other dog owners which trainer they would recommend.  Dog training classes like this are usually available all year round and last from between 7 and 10 weeks.

In group training, your dog will learn simple commands such as  sit, stay and walking on a leash. Group dog traning is a good option if you feel your dog needs to get used to listening to you when their are other distractions about.

One on one dog training can be very satisfying
For a second option, you can take your dog to a training facility either during the day (like day camp) or for a few weeks or months at a time. Someone else will then begin training your dog.  Generally this isn't recommended but if you travel a lot or are simply too busy, it might be a dog training option  you choose to consider.

Your third dog training option is training your dog on your own.  This can be very satisfying for both you and your dog, but remember, you'll have to stay focused enough to practice every day.  Unless you've trained a dog before, you'll also want some sort of dog training program or plan, and there are lots of great books and DVDs out there that can help.

Hiring a dog trainer for private lessons is a your fourth option. A private dog trainer is a good choice when you are having a behavior problem or a very difficult time teaching your dog obedience but remember it can be expensive. A good trainer will be able to customize the training and help you with any specific problems.

Remember, which ever option you choose, training your dog will take time, commitment and love, but the rewards are a happier dog and a more satisfying dog/human relationship.

Next week - what dog training methods don't work! has a great range of safe, effective dog training aids - click here to see them.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Amazing Fish Homes

Over the last few weeks we looked at some amazing homes designed with features to spoil your cat and dog, but other pets are also seeing the benefits of a home design makeover.

For example, aquariums and homes for fish have always made a beautiful conversation piece at home, but these take things to the next level!

Hanging Fish Aquarium from Opulent Items
Hanging Fish Aquarium from Opulent Items
This design goes way beyond any standard tank and could probably put most other modern designs to shame.

These slim-line tanks hang from the ceiling giving a full walk-around view of their scaly inhabitants.  According to the distributor, Opulent Items, the fluorescent light placed on top of the frame makes the whole set-up glow, "thereby embellishing the ambience" of your home.

The aquarium's filtration system is neatly concealed within the stainless steel tube frame or located many metres away in a more convenient location. It's certainly expensive - the large model is $US8500 - but for stylish fish-lovers it's an attractive option. Singer Jay-Z's former New York City residence - a $US31 million penthouse - featured some.
Aqua Sink High from Opulent Items
Aqua Sink gfrom Opulent Items
 If that's a bit pricy, the Aquarium Sink is just $US4,500 although one does have to wonder if the fish become distressed when water gurgles down the plughole at the centre of their home.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Food Dogs Should Avoid

Last week we looked at foods that are toxic for cats, and this week we've listed our top 5 foods that dogs should avoid:

5. Nutmeg - affects the nervous system

4. Nuts (particurlary wallnuts) - also affects the nervous system, so nuts and dogs are a big no-no

3. Dairy Products - Dogs are lactose intolerant, always use products specifically for dogs or cats
4. Fat - foods high in fat (such as sausages) cause gut upsets as fats in high quantities can't be digested
1. Zylotol - (sugar replacement sweetener) in even small doses can be highly toxic and must be avoided

As with our list of toxic foods for cats, the above list isn't exhaustive but rather highlights the foods that we often see have caused problems for dogs. If you have any concerns about whether something your dog has eaten is bad for it, consult your vet or pet health professional straight away.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Houses Designed Just for Dogs

Last week we showed you some amazing house designs focused on spoiling kitty, but not to worry, its not just cats getting purpose designed home features. There are literally thousands of fantastic home designs for dogs, and while much of the focus is on outdoor dog houses, but there are plenty of clever options for indoor dogs too.

Dog bowl drawer
Draws for Doggie Bowls are so clever
Most interior modifications are limited to ground level; items such as benches, cupboards and the lower levels of bookcases have become new dog-friendly spaces in today's homes. Dogs love being part of the action, but their knack of being underfoot can be annoying and even dangerous so some smart designers have come up with useful solutions..

No More tripping over the dog's bed
Dog beds are incorporated into more stylish items of furniture, such as side tables for small dogs or coffee tables for larger ones. We've even seen bathrooms with purpose-built dog baths and showers and lounge rooms are being fitted with discreet dog flaps tucked into bookshelves set against exterior walls.

Barkitecture Fred Albert
Barkitecture by Fred Albert
If you want some more great ideas for some doggy DIY take a look at  Barkitecture by Fred Albert. There are lots of photos and "a witty, tongue-in-jowl commentary", according to the author, Fred Albert.

If you're dog likes to know what's going on on the other side of the fence, take a look at the Pet Peek Doggie Porthole.
Pet Peek fence window for pets
Pet Peek Fence Window for Dogs
 But wait, that's not all - Next week, some amazing homes for fish!.