Thursday, March 28, 2013

Keeping You Both Busy - De-Stressing Tip Four: How to Entertain Your Dog with Homemade Toys

Making your own dog toys can be an inexpensive and easy way to keep your dog entertained. Whether or not you consider yourself a crafty person, these toys are simple to make and can give your dog hours of enjoyment. For details on how to play with your pooch using everyday items, check out the instructions below.

Box Braid Tug Toy

You will need:

4, 4”x48” Fleece Fabric Strips (You can easily customize the toy by using different colored fleece or even strips of an old T-shirt!)

1. Use the ruler and scissors to cut your strips of fabric into 4”x48” pieces.

2. Tie the four pieces together in a knot at one end.

3. Lay the fabric down on the table, so the fabric falls in four different directions and looks like a lowercase letter t.

4. Fold the first vertical strand to the opposite side, creating a loop. Fold the opposing vertical strand to the opposite side, creating another loop.

5. With the other hand, weave a horizontal strand over the closest loop and under the next loop. Do the exact opposite with the last horizontal strand.

6. Pull the four strands tightly. (Pulling the top left hand side strand and the bottom right hand stand extremely tight simultaneously, and vice versa, will help you keep your box uniform.)

Continue steps 4 through 6 until you only have about a foot of fleece left, then knot the end of the toy. Now your tug toy is ready for use!

If you are not particularly crafty, there is another quick toy that you can make for your dog with everyday items that you probably have lying around your house. These toys are super easy and inexpensive to make and are a great way to occupy your puppy’s time.

Bottle Kibble Toy

You will need:

Old Bottle
Scissors or Exacto Knife
Small Kibble

1. Remove the cap of the bottle and throw it away.

2. Cut small holes in the bottle at different areas. (You can vary the size of the holes and the amount of holes in order to change the level of difficulty for your pooch. Smaller and more infrequent holes will make it harder for your dog to remove the kibble.)

3. Add treats to the toy, and give it to your pooch for them to enjoy.

Make sure that you supervise your dog when you give them their new kibble toy. It’s easy for a destructive chewer to get through a bottle quickly. In order to make the toy last longer, you can use sturdier bottles. Although water bottles will work fine, a thicker plastic will be harder for your pup to chew through.

For a quick, easy and inexpensive way to keep your pooch entertained at home, making homemade toys is a stress-free way to go. Looking for more ideas? Take a look around your house; the closet, the garage sale box, even the recycling bin! You’d be surprised how many potential homemade toys are already at your fingertips.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bark all about it! De-stressing tip three: How to stop "give me that" barking

Do you have a dog that tends to bark in order to get something from you? There are lots of reasons why dogs bark, as it is their dominant means of communication, but this persistent “give-me-that” barking is when a dog continuously barks at you until they get what they want. As stressful and annoying as this behavior can be, “give me that” barking can be an easy thing to correct. Eliminating it can be simple, but the key is to be consistent.

The most common times your dog will bark are during dinner (to beg for food), playtime (to get you to throw a toy) and just before going outside (when seeing a leash), all in order to get your attention. Let’s break down these specific examples of “give-me-that” barking, and what tools you can use in order to discourage the behavior.

Barking for playtime: If your dog drops a tennis ball on your lap and starts to bark at you to get you to play, it is a prime example of “give-me-that” barking. You want to discourage this behavior by taking the toy away and ignoring your dog until they calm down. Once they stop barking and are calm, the toy can be brought back out, at least until they bark at you again. Keep repeating the same steps until your dog will play with you without barking. It is important to be on top of this behavior and reward your dog by initiating play while they are calm, before they get to the point of excited barking. A dog that is already wound up will tend to bark more as a way of releasing their energy.

Barking when putting on a leash: If your dog begins to bark at you when you are at the door with their leash in your hand, it’s important to put the leash away and sit back down in order to get rid of the behavior. Once your dog is calm, you can get up to bring your dog out again, but you must keep repeating the behavior until they stop barking. The process may seem long and tedious at first, but repeating this action will be worth it when you consistently get the desired behavior from your dog.

Barking at the table for food: Barking at the dinner table in order to get food can be extremely common with dogs. Not only is it an annoying habit, but it can be very stressful for the owner. As with other “give-me-that” barking, eliminating this behavior can be easy if you regularly follow the same steps. If your dog is barking at the table, you can try consistently giving them a time out, a small 30 second period where they are away from the family, until the behavior subsides. Another option is training your dog to do something else during your meals. A great example would be “spot,” or training your dog to go and stay in a particular place (preferably away from the table) until you release them.

If your pooch fits into one of these pesky barking habits, remember that this kind of training takes patience and consistence. If all else fails, consult a professional for advice! Morris K9 Campus offers training to help correct this behavior. Call 973-252-5100 for more information or visit

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How to stop your dog from jumping: Week two of our March de-stressing tips

Do you dread people coming to your house because you don’t know how to get your dog to stop jumping? We are here to help! Continuing our March theme of giving you some helpful de-stressing tips, we are focusing on jumping.

The behaviors your dog displays when meeting another person can be just as important as the behaviors they display when meeting another dog. Before you scold Fido for jumping on people, it’s important to establish your rules for jumping. Decide what you want to allow your dog to do, and stick with it. Once you determine whether or not you will allow your dog to jump, you can begin training.

The main rule of training is just as important for you to follow as it is for your pooch: You cannot be selective about who your pup can and can't jump on. It’s no okay to praise and pet your dog when they jump on you, for example, but punish them when they jump on grandma.

The most important part of teaching your dog not to jump is to remove any type of attention when they do. Even when you tell a dog “no,” they are still getting some sort of attention from you. Your dog doesn’t care whether or not the attention is negative or positive, as long as they are getting attention. When your dog jumps, it’s best to turn your body around 180 degrees, face away from them and ignore them. This removes the attention they are used to getting and discourages jumping.  Here is a short clip of staff member Caitlyn demonstrating the 180 turn and asking for a sit before petting:

It is crucial that you do not overreact when your dog does jump. If your dog is jumping on you, sniffing and giving you love and you respond by shouting in their face or putting your knee up, you are actually rewarding the wrong behavior and giving your dog the attention they are craving. Believe it or not, this encourages the jumping! The only effective way to respond to jumping is to remove all reinforcement by turning your back, walking away, or giving the dog a time out.
If you do have a dog that you allow to jump, it’s important to take steps to prevent your dog from jumping on someone that they shouldn’t. When grandma comes to visit, ask for a different behavior out of your dog, such as a sit, or prevent them from jumping by curbing the leash. There are ways of managing the situation when you can’t do anything else. You just have to choose the one that works for you.

Morris K9 Campus works on building “no jumping” skills in our Level 02: Impulse Control class. Register your dog for a pet training membership today.

Friday, March 8, 2013

How Do I House-Train My Newly Adopted Dog?

Unfortunately dogs typically don’t come from shelters or breeders house-trained, and it is important to immediately begin working on the behavior once you get your new dog home. It is also unreasonable to think that a dog coming from rescue, that is stated as house-trained, will immediately come into your home knowing what to do. The sooner you can put your pooch on a potty schedule the higher the success rate will be.

A dog that is not house-trained is the number one reason why dogs are returned or end up in shelters. However, house-training is something with a little structure can usually be solved; it is up to the owner to implement the right tools. When potty training your dog, it is important to keep long term goals in mind, whether your goal is to train your dog to make it a few hours or longer period of time while at work. Once you have a specific goal in mind, you can then put a plan in place to obtain it.

Creating and following a schedule will help them be successful. Dogs tend to do things routinely so a schedule is essential. This means feeding your dog at the same time every day, as well as potty them at the same time every day. When you begin potty training it’s important to notice trends, so for example if your dog eats at the same time every day, chances are they will use the bathroom at the same time as well. It’s important to also realize that puppies will not be able to hold it as long as adult dogs, and no adult dog should be expected to hold it longer than six hours.

Remember that the crate is your friend; a crate can be a great tool that can help facilitate potty training. It gives the dog the capacity to physically and reasonably build their ability to “hold” their urges. However, dog doors are not your friend; they are not the solution to your house-training problem, they might be the reason for it. Dog doors give no structure to your dog’s potty plan and it can be an unsafe situation when a dog is outside unsupervised.

Your dog counts on you to set them up for success. Be realistic about your expectations and understand that adjusting to a new home, new routine, and new lifestyle takes time. Plus, Morris K9 Campus is always here to help!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Chew on This

Is your dog a destructive chewer, ruining everything you own? Hopefully this week’s De-Stress Fest will help relax you. It’s all too easy for your dog to be the reason you stress out. For the month of March, every week we will be taking a look at common ways that your dog can stress you out, and help solve them. This week we are taking a look at destructive chewing and ways that you can help occupy your pooch.

When a dog is chewing, one reason can be a lack of exercise. Every dog has a different energy level and therefore needs a different amount of exercise. If your dog is excessively chewing at home, getting out could do them a lot of good. It’s important to create an exercise plan that sets a minimum amount of time each week that will be devoted to your dogs exercise schedule. Consistency is key in order to keep your dog active. Just because you consistently bring your dog to the park one week, and keep them home the next because of the bad weather, doesn’t mean your dog is getting an adequate amount of exercise. Daycare can be a great option that allows your dog to be social with other dogs, while allowing them to expend their energy. 
Treats above are sold at Morris K9 Campus.
It’s important to have the proper tools for the proper situations. For example it is important to introduce your dog to toys that they are allowed to chew on, such as antlers , himalayan chews, stuffed bones or Kongs. This can keep your dog occupied and distracted from chewing on the furniture or other household items. It’s also important to make sure you have tools in place when you leave the house. Interactive toys are great, and keep your dog occupied while you are gone. However it is important to only allow your dog to have these types of things when you are not there. When you leave the house get the toy out, and when you come home put the toy away. It puts a value on the toy which can make your dog more interested in it. Eliminating your dog’s behavior that is stressful to you is crucial; it will allow you to live a better life for both you and your dog.

For more information about Morris K9 Campus's Daycare please follow this link