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The best dog trick ever!

What’s the best trick you can teach your dog? Shake hands?  Dance?  Weave?  Fetch the paper?

Play Dead always goes over big in class.    Fun!   Army crawl, another cute one!

I think the best trick ever though is come when you are called.

What? You don’t think that’s a trick?  Why not?  I think it is.  It amazes me every time when I yell ‘dogs, come’ and they do!  Wow, what power I have!  I’m stronger than the frisky squirrel, more interesting than the neighbor’s  dog, more powerful than the pull of the stray cat running by!   My dogs come when they are called!

Did I hear my name?

Did I hear my name?

And you know why?  I taught them that.   Oh yeah, what a cool trick!

And every time they come, they get rewarded for it.   It doesn’t matter what they were doing, or how irked I might be at them, or if they took one last run at the squirrel teasing them on the high wire.  As soon as they get to me, its a good thing!  Praise and treats and love all around!

If you get your puppy as a baby, start day one.  Face him, take a step back, and they will usually follow you, ‘puppy, come’    Yay!

Same thing with your older dog.  If  you’re unsure if he will follow you, then hold out a yummy.  “Dog, come”   treat in mouth, good job dog!

When you are in the house, call the puppy just because.  Not always because you’re going anywhere, or need him or anything, but just because.   When I get a new one, I  count out about 25 to 30 treats and put them in a cup on the counter.  I try to call my dog that many times a day for a while.   Just from across the room, or down the hall or from one step away.  This does 2 things – teaches puppy his name, and that coming to you is fun!  We like fun, dogs like fun – fun for everyone!

But are you more exciting than dirty dishes?

But are you more exciting than dirty dishes?

If there are two of you, puppy ping pong is a great game.  Sit or stand across the room, and take turns calling puppy back and forth.    Bonus to this one, it wears him out.   We love tired dogs!

And if you don’t think this is worth doing, remember that when your dog slips his collar, or  the kid opens the door and accidently lets dog out,  or he digs  under the fence and is running merrily down the road away from you.

When he turns around and arrives safely in your arms, I guarantee you will be thinking Best Trick Ever.

Did the ‘come’ trick help recover your dog?  Share your story here!

Visit the Cresteds at www.longroadkennel.com

The first thing?

I’m often asked what is the first thing I should teach my puppy, or my older dog, when they arrive home for the first time.   And to me, the most important thing you can teach your puppy (or older dog) is to come when they are called.

Why?  Couple reason.  One, it can literally save their lives.   Heading to the road?  Come!   Slip out of the collar on a walk?  Come!  See a mean big bad dog/person heading your way?  Come!

Another reason, is that it is so very frustrating to chase your puppy around the yard, or even around the living room.   They have twice as many legs as you do, and love a good game of Chase The Puppy!   You need to go to work!  Puppy wants to play!  Argh!

And if you are ever stopped by a Bad Man who says your puppy is his and the policeman says ‘see who he comes to, call him by his name’  No Worries!  Puppy will come!  What, you don’t watch Annie?  It happens!

My first rule of come, is that it should be a party.  Every single time puppy comes to you, good things should happen.  You should never call them to come and immediately do something bad, like scold or crate pop.  Come is for good things!  Pets and kisses and treats and ball play!  Yay!!!   You want coming to you to be the best thing that ever happened to them!

Come?  I will never leave his side!

Come? I will never leave his side!

Say their name to get their attention, then add the word “Come!”   “Chandler?! Come!”   One word.  Plus their name.   Bend over, squat down, hold out a treat, a ball, whatever.   When they arrive, Party on!

If you have a tiny or a shy one, face them, closely, take one step back as you say come.   Often they will just follow you.  Yay!

I like my dogs under what I call ‘voice control’ and come is the easiest best way to get that goal  accomplished.

Check out the Chinese Cresteds at www.longroadkennel.com

Beat the heat!

Someone told me it was hot outside.  Oh, wait, maybe that was me when I went outside.   MAN, its warm out there and in this part of the world, we don’t get that wimpy old ‘dry heat’.  No, here, we proudly wear the weather, as our weatherguy says.   Walk out and you feel it it, all damp and warm immediately.   But luckily, soon, its wet and hot!

So how are your dogs beating the heat?DSCF1022

Here’s how mine endure.  Yes, life is hard for them.   Air conditioning,  cool floor, soft beds.  Spoiled things.

But if yours are outside – a few tips to help them keep cool.  One – SHADE.   All day.   Hopefully yours aren’t on a chain but loose in the fenced yard.  Access to shade is crucial.   And shade moves.

Two, water.   And ice.   Got a small bucket – ice cream bucket, plastic container?   Fill it with water, pop it in the freezer  and make a giant ice cube.   If you want to be amazing, and face it, who doesn’t?   When it gets slushy, take a couple chewies and a rubber toy and sink them in  to freeze.  Then as the ice melts, dog has something to do!   To get the ice out, simple rinse the outside with warm water and turn it upside down.

Three – give the dog dirt.   Yes, dirt is cool, and if allowed to, they will lay in dirt over grass anytime its hot. Roll in it, dig in it.    Oh, its just dirt, deal.   They probably want a cool bath later, anyway!

Four – wading pool.  If you don’t have a real pool, like me, or think the dog’s hair clogs it, like a friend of mine, then get a wading pool.  Ten bucks, few inches of water, put it in the shade, and then lead dog into it a few times, so he knows its there.   Yeah, he’ll probably end up drinking it, but usually dogs don’t pee in their wading pool. unlike kids, so all’s good.

Five – think basement.   I watched a collie for a while and her favorite place was the laundry room in the basement.  So cool, so nice!

Dogs get hot too, so they will appreciate anything you do to help.

And of course, you know, never never never leave your dog in the car – not even to run inside for ‘just a minute’ .  Leave them home.  They will thank you and so will I.

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