Friday, October 28, 2011


Though we previously addressed this topic in an earlier blog post, it is an issue that continuously plagues dog owners with a solution that seems to remain elusive. Not only do dogs experience distress when separated from their owners but the anxiety is easily transferred to the owner. We as dog owners feel terrible when leaving Fido. We are also forced to suffer through the frustrating side effects of separation anxiety, which can include, but is not limited to, chewed up furniture, relentless barking, digging and soiled household floors or furniture. This makes leaving your house a stressful time for you, as visions of torn carpet and shredded pillows dance in your head. Read on for tips to help solve this aggravating problem.

Photo Courtesy of cogdogblog
Confinement Isn’t Bad
Start by designating an area for your dog to hang out when you are gone, whether it is a crate, the kitchen, or an upstairs bedroom. Periodically confine your dog to this spot while you are home for 30 minutes, then an hour at a time. This ensures that your dog will not associate your absence with being isolated in this designated area and gives you the opportunity to check-in on your dog and observe his or her behavior. When your dog is being quiet and non-disruptive, reward your fuzzy friend with a tasty treat.

Treats and Toys Are Good!
It is essential to place your dog’s favorite toys and engaging, yet safe treats like a Kong filled with kibble in your dog’s confinement area when you leave the house. These pleasant items will keep your pup happy and occupied. Alone time can evolve into a special time of rest, relaxation, yummy snacks, and chew toy playtime that your dog will grow to appreciate.

Make Your Exits and Entrances Casual
Photo Courtesy of Cast A Line
When you leave the house, don't make a scene. Exit as serenely as possible when your dog is engaged in their chew toy or nibbling the kibble from their Kong. It may further help to take your dog on a walk before leaving so they are tired and more likely to relax in their confinement area. When coming back home, it is important to remember to remain calm and placid so as not to over-excite your dog. You don’t want your dog to associate your returns with party time because your dog will only dread your absence more. When you first enter your house, ignore your dog and wait to give him or her attention until they have calmed down. If your dog grabs a chew toy and occupies him or herself, that behavior should also be rewarded. Your dog is displaying independence. At that point you can acknowledge your pup and let him or her out of their crate or whatever room they have been confined to.

Patience is Key
Remember to never scold or physically harm your dog for exhibiting signs of anxiety. Instead, reward your dog when he or she displays calm behavior and shows signs of independence. If you want to avoid the situation altogether, consider bringing your dog to Morris K9 Campus for doggie daycare where your dog will be surrounded by people and other dogs throughout the day. Being a part of this regular pack will decrease their distress about being away from you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


If your Sunday plans consist of raking the leaves and cleaning the bathrooms, put down that rake and drop the Clorox pronto! We have a better idea for you! Come to our fall festival: Tips, Tricks and Tails this Sunday, October 23 from 12PM - 4PM.

Morris K9 Campus is pulling out the pumpkins and the cider and celebrating fall in style! Both indoors and outdoors, the event will happen rain or shine. Enjoy fun activities like interactive agility; flying disc demonstrations; an "Ask the Trainer" Q and A session; doggie dancing demos and Canine Good Citizen testing.

Fido is more than welcome! Small dog and large dog play groups will be set up in our daycare room so you can watch how your dog plays and interacts with other furry friends. If you want your dog to benefit from more exercise, try our canine treadmill for a quick and easy fitness session. If your dog enjoys prancing around in outfits, make sure to dress Fido up in costume so he or she can participate in our Wags to Witches K9 Costume Parade scheduled for 2:30PM. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes in various categories like best combined pet and owner costume so bring your own Hallowen outfit as well! However, all costume parade participants will be awarded a colorful bandana for their dog!

Fun features like face painting, a photo station, the Morris Animal Inn Boutique, and food, including hot dogs and Rita's Italian Ice with Mango, Cherry and Pumpkin flavors, will round out the day! Local animal shelters, Noah's Ark, Eleventh Hour Rescue and The Randolph Animal Pound will be present with adoptable cats and dogs. Though the event is FREE, we encourage guests to bring a can of unopened dog or cat food as a donation for the shelters.

If you haven't already received a key from us to bring on the day of the event, come to Morris K9 Campus and pick one up. If your key unlocks the "Haunted Treasure Chest," you can win one of three prizes:
-Grand Prize: Pampering You and Your Pet Package
This includes a $100 mall gift certificate for a shopping spree, $100 gift certificate for any daycare or agility service and a Morris K9 Campus gift basket valued at $50.
-Second Prize: Two Month Levels Pet Training Membership valued at $199.
-Third Prize: Amazon Kindle valued at $139.

Our first 50 guests will receive a Morris K9 Campus Goody Bag, so arrive early!! If you've never checked us out before, now is the time. We can't wait to spend the fall afternoon with you!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Photo Courtesy of MrDog
Your nervous but your adrenaline is pumping as you hope to successfully complete the obstacle course! At most agility matches and agility trials you and your dog compete in a Regular or Standard agility course. All venues, like AKC, NADAC, USDAA, etc, offer Standard courses and Jumpers. Jumpers is simply a course made up of a series of jumps. Depending on the discretion of the venue holding the trial or match, tunnels and/or weaves may be included in the course. But what if you and your dog want to try something new, something a little more fun ? Not a problem! Most venues, in addition to its version of the Standard course, provide agility games. These are variations of the Standard agility course but with different rules and objectives. These games require strategy and test handler and dog communication, speed and accuracy. Agility games differ depending on the agility organization. The following are some examples of agility games. Just keep in mind that agility games are better suited for more advanced agility students since they tend to be more difficult.

Photo Courtesy of MrDog
FAST is a game created by the American Kennel Club which stands for Fifteen and Send Time. Fifteen refers to the 15 obstacles used in the course while Send Time is in reference to the act of sending your dog away from you and directing them at a distance. Each obstacle is worth a numerical amount. For example, single jumps are worth one point. The maximum amount of points a handler and dog team can earn is 80 points.

Gamblers (CPE and USDAA)
Gamblers is played at agility events sanctioned by the CPE (Canine Performance Events) and USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association). It consists of two sections. The first section is called the Opening. During the Opening sequence the most important aspect is to accumulate points. Each obstacle is worth a different amount of points. The handler directs their dog towards certain obstacles based on the handler’s own discretion. Typically, the handler wants their canine to attempt obstacles that earn more points. When the buzzer rings, the second section of the game begins which is called the Gamble. The Gamble is specifically a "distance challenge" where the handler's position is restricted. Typically, the handler must stand back behind a designated line and direct their dog to complete a numbered section in a sequence that is predetermined by the judge.

Photo Courtesy of MrDog
Snooker is based on a billiard game. There are three or four single, red colored jumps, each worth one point. The other obstacles are worth more points and vary in value depending on the piece of equipment. After your dog jumps over one of the red jumps, he or she must run to the rest of the course and, with your direction, navigate one of the other obstacles, whether it is a contact obstacle or a tunnel. It becomes a back and forth between jumping over the red single point, single bar jumps and running out to the other part of the course to tackle the additional obstacles that are worth more points. After your dog successfully jumps over the three or four red jumps, you move into the closing sequence. At this point, your dog must go over the obstacles in order.

If you have never competed in an agility match or tried an agility game before, you are probably sitting there scratching your head in dazed bewilderment. Most of the games sound more confusing than they are. It is not until you have actually tried the course with your dog, that it begins to make sense. Just as you can’t learn to play an instrument by reading about it, agility must be played to be truly understood. If you are apprehensive about taking your first steps in the world of agility, do it slowly and start by going to a match or trial simply to observe.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Photo Courtesy of Dave Hamster
In our effort to demystify the canine sport of agility, this week we will explain the different obstacles used in agility courses. The obstacles used in each course can vary depending on the venue holding the trial whether its NADAC, USDAA, or AKC.

Contact Obstacles
Contact obstacles must be touched by the dog, especially the ending portion of the obstacle. This section of the obstacle is generally painted a bright color like yellow or orange. The reason these sections of the obstacle must be touched or walked on by the dog is for safety reasons. If your dog is on the pyramid shaped A-frame (which we will discuss) and wants to jump from the top of the pyramid, he or she could get injured. Requiring the dog to touch the bottom most section of the pyramid ensures that your dog will safely jog off the obstacle. Not doing so can result in a fault which will take points off your agility trial score.

A-Frame: The A-Frame consists of two wide planks that create a pyramid-like structure. Your dog must run up one side and down the other, making sure to touch the painted lower half.

Dog Walk: The dog walk is generally one foot wide and five feet high. There is an ascending plank, a horizontal plank, and a descending plank that your dog must navigate. This requires a level of balance. Your dog must touch the yellow painted contact zones.

Seesaw/Teeter: This obstacle can be scary for some dogs because it can feel like they are not in control of the equipment they are walking on. Once they adjust to the motion and how their weight affects the movement of the seesaw, dogs can confront the challenge with ease. Just make sure your dog touches the yellow section in the middle of the seesaw!

Pause Table: A pause table is a wide, low elevated table that your dog needs to jump on and literally pause. Some venues want the dog to lay down for five seconds, others simply want your canine to stay still on all fours.

Non-Contact Obstacles: 
Weave Poles: These are upright vertical poles that your dog must weave in and out of. This can be one of the most fun obstacles to watch a dog navigate!

Tunnels: A fabric or plastic tunnel your dog must run through. Tunnels can be straight or curved.

Chute: A short tunnel with a  fabric extension. While your dog is running through, there is a section where your dog cannot see you.

Tire: A circular tire for your dog to jump through.

Photo Courtesy of Lil Sheperd
 Jumps: There are many types of jumps.  Some jumps have one bar and the height of  bar can be set at different heights which is all up to the dog organizations' discretion. Other jumps have more depth and can be double or even triple jumps. Broad Jumps are low and on the ground but wide and situated as though your dog were jumping over a stream. Jumps with Wings have extensions on the end that keeps you, the handler, further away from your dog, thus testing your distance communication.