Tag Archives: dock jumping

Tampa Dog Trainer: Dog Travel Safety

dog traveling

Dog Travel Safety is an important concern

Tampa Dog Trainer: Dog Travel Safety

By Brenna Fender

Dog owners often travel with their pets to competitions, on vacation, or just about town while on errands, but they may not realize that the way they travel can mean the difference between life and death.

Do you drive with Fido loose in the back seat or running around your RV?  Do you pile your gear on the passenger seat?  Things like these can make a big difference in the event of an accident.

The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association states that a 60-pound dog riding in a car traveling at 30 miles per hour becomes a projectile which can hit the windshield – or the driver – with the force of 1,200 pounds. While 82% of Americans wear their seatbelts, only a fraction secure their dog during car travel, which means that, in an accident, a canine companion can become a deadly missile. This endangers your dog, your passengers, and you.

Owners can travel much more safely by securing their dogs (and other loose objects) in their vehicle. One way to do this is by purchasing a crate. The safest crates are made of either hard plastic or metal.  There are pros and cons to each – plastic might be less strong, but metal wires may bend and injure a dog. Noted conformation handler, breeder, and American Kennel Club judge Pat Hastings says, “I believe that a quality fiberglass (plastic) crate is the safest way to travel with dogs. We have stopped at two accidents where the dogs were in wire crates and the impact of the accident broke the wires at the welds. Some of the dogs were killed by the wires and some were just injured but it was very difficult to remove the dogs as the wires were bent inward.” Ruff Tuff Kennels are the latest innovation in travel crate safety, designed specifically with car travel (and accidents) in mind. (Learn more at http://www.rufftoughkennels.com/)  Fabric crates, while better than nothing, provide far less protection than a solid crate.

Placing a crate in your vehicle isn’t enough to make your dog safe – that crate must be secured so that it doesn’t become a projectile in a crash. While the gold standard used to be to use bungee cords, ratchet straps and other methods are now considered to be better suited to assure that a crate will remain stationary.  Do not place loose objects in a crate during travel because these can strike the dog during an accident.

Another way to keep your dog safe is by using a specially-made seatbelt. A properly fitted belt will allow your dog to change positions but will keep animals from being thrown during an accident. Proponents of seatbelts believe that these are safer than crates because animals can impact the wall of a crate during rapid deceleration. However, seatbelts will not shelter a dog from projectiles like a crate will. If you’re purchasing a seatbelt, make sure it is crash-tested and guaranteed.  Recent tests have shown that many seatbelts are useless or downright dangerous in an accident (http://www.forbes.com/sites/hannahelliott/2013/10/28/the-best-seat-belts-for-your-dog/). The new crash-tested car seat might be a better bet for small dogs, but the product is very new. (http://www.mightymitedoggear.com/dog-supplies/crash-tested-dog-car-seats-pupsaver)  Other crash tested options can be found here: http://www.mightymitedoggear.com/mighty-mite/dog-care-travel-gear/car-accessories/safety-harnesses-dog-seat-belts. Be sure that dogs in vehicles are not seatbelted near airbags, which are dangerous for animals and small children.

Many of the crash-tested crates and seatbelts are very expensive and owners may think that there is no use trying to keep their dog safe if they can’t afford these options. But securing your dog in some way is very important to the safety of all involved, even if you have to do so with a garden-variety crate.

Don’t forget to secure your gear as well.  Collapsible chairs, spare crates, training bags, luggage, children’s toys, and other items can all be dangerous if an accident occurs.  Use straps to keep items stationary or pack them in stow away areas within the vehicle.

Other tips for safe travel involve keeping your dog’s head inside the vehicle, never allowing an animal to ride loose in the open bed of a truck, and never leaving any pet in a parked car. These situations are all documented risks to animal safety, with the potential for injury or death.

Many dogs are part of the family. When traveling, treat them like you would treat a family member. Make sure that your dogs are safe and secure.

A version of this article first appeared on USDAA.com.

Courteous Canine, Inc. offers dog training, puppy training, working with aggressive dogs and rehabilitating fearful and shy dogs.  In addition we offer cat training, agility, pushball and dock jumping. Courteous Canine, Inc. is a full service dog school that offers doggie day care, pet sitting, group classes and boarding!

Tampa Dog Training: 9 Fun Facts about Dog Dock Jumping

Ultimate Pool Shot9 Fun Facts about Dock Jumping for Dogs

By Brenna Fender and Angelica Steinker

Does your dog enjoy jumping into your pool or launching off your dock into a lake? Does he just love to swim every chance he gets? If so, you and your dog might like the sport of dock jumping.

Here are 9 fun facts you might not know about this sport:

1. Splash Dogs is organization that sanctions, and promotes dock jumping events. Splash Dogs tracks rankings and offers titles. Splash Dogs is affiliated with the United Kennel Club, and handlers may register to earn UKC dock jumping titles at Splash Dogs events. (The UKC’s website is ukcdogs.com). Courteous Canine holds dock jumping events sanctioned by DockDogs. For more information on Splash Dogs, visit www.splashdogs.com.

2. Ultimate Air Dogs (UAD) is yet another organization that sanctions dock jumping events. They host Ultimate Air (distance jumping) and Ultimate Vertical (high jumping) events. They also offer new game called “Catch It” in which jump distances are only logged when the thrown bumper (used to encourage the dog to jump) is caught. Like Splash Dogs, Ultimate Air Dogs is affiliated with the United Kennel Club, and handlers may register to earn UKC dock jumping titles at UAD events. For more information on UAD visit www.ultimateairdogs.net.

3. Dock jumping is open to any dog that enjoys the sport. All breeds and all sizes can play! While many competitions favor the larger dog that, by grace of having a longer stride, may be more likely to jump farther, some organizations have classes specifically for small dogs as well. Some events offer Veterans classes for older dogs and junior handler classes for kids ages 16 and under. It’s a very “inclusive” sport!

4. You might think that dock jumping is all about jumping far, but that isn’t always the case. As the sport is growing so are the games that are being played. Some events involve jumping high, swimming fast, or catching a thrown bumper.

5. There’s more training involved than you might think! If you just want your dog to have fun jumping in the water, then you might not need to train much, but if you want to win big competitions, there is more to be done. You will need to teach your dog to stay at the end of the ramp, run at top speed down the ramp and to take off as close to the end as possible. You will need to determine how high your dog needs to jump in order to have the proper trajectory for the longest possible jump, and then teach your dog to jump that high. You will need to develop drive and motivation for the bumper, and speedy, strong swimming skills. Dogs structure impacts how high they can push off the end of the dock.  Dogs with shoulder lay back will not be able to reach the same heights as dogs who have straight shoulder angulation. No matter what your dog’s structure, the good thing about dock jumping training is it’s all fun!

6. Conditioning is important for any canine athlete. Build strength and endurance on both land and water for maximum results. Using balance balls such as recommended by Debbie Gross Saunders, Ph.D. www.WizardofPaws.com are ideal.  Just like people dog’s do best when their core is strong. 

7. To maximize your success, your dog will need to be really excited about getting to the bumper or toy that you are throwing. Play with it on land to build a lot of motivation. Make it the coolest thing ever! Hold the bumper up so your dog grabs it while jumping for it to simulate the ideal scenario. The goal is for your dog to track and grab the bumper while he is in the air and before he hits the water. 

8. Know the body of water you are using for training or competing. This is particularly important when you are using lakes, ponds, and other natural bodies of water. Items under the surface of the water, like rocks or a shallow bottom, can injure your dog. In some places, wildlife (like alligators) can pose a danger to your dog. Be careful! We recommend using pools on grass surfaces for optimum safety! Courteous Canine, Inc.’s pool is optimally safe by being outdoors on grass and crystal clear! 

9. Your dog may get very tired while dock jumping, just like with any other activity. Watch for signs of over exertion and give him a rest when needed. Also, if your dog seems to bite the water or otherwise consume excessive amounts of water while jumping, make sure to take your dog out of the pool often and supervise that he urinates.  If your dog tends to obsessively drink water, discuss how to prevent water intoxication with your veterinarian. This is a serious (but rare) condition that can lead to death.  Fortunately, properly monitored dock jumping is a safe and fun activity that many dogs enjoy. If your dog loves water, give it a try!

Happy Dog Dock Jumping, sign up for a class today! www.CourteousCanine.com

Brenna Fender is a dog sport journalist who writes for Clean Run Dog Agility Magazine, USDAA’s website and many other high profile dog publications.  Courteous Canine, Inc. offers agility, pushball and dock jumping instruction. Courteous Canine, Inc. is a full service dog school that offers doggie day care, pet sitting, group classes and boutique boarding! Angelica Steinker the owner of Courteous Canine, Inc. is the author of Agility Success a book addressing the mental training aspects of agility training grab your copy at www.CleanRun.com.  

Tampa Dog Trainer: How Do You Cook Your Hot Dogs?

massageHow Do You Cook Your Hot Dogs?

By Brenna Fender

Hot dogs are one of the most popular training treats amongst dog trainers. They are inexpensive, easy to prepare, enjoyed by most dogs, long lasting, and not-too-bad if you wind up having to carry some of them in your mouth for a while. So, if you are new to hot dog wrangling or want to change things up a bit, here are some different ways you can prepare them for your dogs:

As-is. Hot dogs are cooked already, so serving them right out of the package to your pet is OK. Just cut them into small pieces and go train.

Boiled. Isn’t this how your cook them for yourself? Dogs like them this way too!

Dehydrated. A food-dehydrator is the ultimate in hot dog preparation, since dehydrated treats last a long time and seem to be tasty for our canine partner. Cut them into “coins” before dehydrating.

Frozen. Cut your dogs up into small treats, put in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer. Take them out and use as needed. Many dogs don’t seem to mind them cold, and in many cases they will defrost on your way to class or practice anyway.

Oven. If you have lots of dogs to cook this might be a good method for you. One way to bake your hot dogs is to slice them in fourths long ways, then into pie-shaped pieces about as thick as a nickel. Spread them out on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake them for 30-45 minutes at 250 degrees. Watch them for signs of burning. When done they should be light and dry, and they will last a long time.

Microwaved. This is probably the most common method of hot dog preparation. It is also quite varied.

Microwaves come in different strengths and can take very different amounts of time to cook hot dogs.

Plus, the more hot dogs you nuke, the longer they’ll take to cook. But here are a few pointers:

• Slice them first. Cut them into nickel-sized pieces (or thinner). You can slice them again into

halves or fourths, depending on your needs. A butter slicer, designed to cut an entire stick of

butter into pats, can cut your slicing time down quite a bit. Some people find that frozen hot

dogs are easier to slice into neat, even pieces. Your dog will not perform better just because

your treats are perfectly sliced, though.

• Nuke them on a paper-towel-lined plate with more paper towels covering the treats. Otherwise, they will be extra greasy and you might have some unnecessary clean up.

• Microwave hot dogs for a short time to get softer treats, and longer for dried pieces that will last a long time. Hot dogs that are dry enough can be stored in an air-tight container in your cupboard rather than in the refrigerator. There’s no harm in storing any hot dog, cooked dry, only rubbery, or uncooked, in your refrigerator or freezer. Better safe than sorry, in my opinion.

Microwaved hot dogs will cook at different rates, so you might need to take crispy pieces off your plate and then continuing nuking the rest. Fortunately, dogs seem to like burnt hot dogs as well as perfectly cooked ones.

Happy hot cooking and dog training!

This article first appeared on USDAA.com and is reposted with permission.

Brenna Fender is a Tampa Dog Trainer who writes for Courteous Canine, Inc. and attends dog sport classes at our main location! Courteous Canine, Inc. offers puppy kindergarten classes, basic manners, canine good citizen and pet therapy prep, agility, dog dock jumping, problem solving and behavior modification especially for aggressive dogs.  We also offer boutique boarding, board and train, pet sitting and dog day care!

Tampa Dog Trainer: What’s My Dog Motivation?

Border Collie Licking FaceWhat’s My Dog’s Motivation?

You can’t choose what motivates your dog. By Brenna Fender

When I first got my Beagle from Tampa Bay Beagle rescue, I had to carry him off of his comfy spot on the sofa to deliver him to his crate every time I left the house. My other dogs all ran to their crates when cued in order to enjoy a bite of cheese, but Wrigley didn’t move a muscle. He knew what to do because I had already taught the “go kennel” behavior. He also liked cheese. But he still didn’t get off the sofa to go get his treat.

Why not?

Because the comfort of the sofa was more powerful than the taste of cheese.

Wrigley, was not stupid or willfully disobeying me. He simply liked the sofa more than he liked the cheese. How could I (or you) handle a problem like this?

• Try a variety of treats and rank the rewards by how much the dog seems to enjoy them. Any food that’s safe for dogs to eat can be used as a treat. Different kinds of meat, from cold cuts to hot dogs to chicken, all kinds of cheese, leftover pasta, and more…. Be creative! See if you can find a high-value treat that will motivate your dog to get off the couch (or do whatever it is you want him to do).

• Make his crate extra comfortable so that there won’t be such a discrepancy between the value of the crate and the value of the couch.

• Play games with the crate that involve going in the crate for treats and then immediately being released so he gets lots of food rewards for an investment of very little crate time. Thinking that he might only have to spend a little time in his crate might make exiting the sofa worth it.

Many trainers who compete in dog sports have chosen dogs that like to work and that find these activities inherently rewarding. They like moving and love working with their trainers. These dogs would trade a sofa, no matter how comfortable, for anything that involves activity. But I’m willing to bet that at least some of you have dogs that might prefer the sofa to the A-frame, to competitive obedience training, or even to coming when called. You have to think outside the box to find out what motivates your particular dog. It might be steak, or lasagna, or a squirt of spray cheese; it might be a tennis ball that squeaks, or a stuffed animal, or a rope to tug on; it might be a squirt with a hose, a game of fetch, or a toss of a flying disc.

It’s been years since my Beagle chose the couch over his crate. By combining the methods mentioned here, he now runs right to his kennel with the rest of the dog family. It can be a lot of work discovering what motivates your dog, but it’ll be worth it.

Happy Crate Training!

Brenna Fender is a Tampa Dog Trainer who writes for Courteous Canine, Inc. and attends dog sport classes at our main location! Courteous Canine, Inc. offers puppy kindergarten classes, basic manners, canine good citizen and pet therapy prep, agility, dog dock jumping, problem solving and behavior modification especially for aggressive dogs.  We also offer boutique boarding, board and train, pet sitting and dog day care!

Tampa Dog Health and Safety: Cool Doggie Treats for a Hot Day

Tampa Dog Health and Safety:
Cool Doggie Treats for a Hot Day
Dixie cups
I would buy the small plastic, if you get paper, you need to tear if off before giving to dog.
32 oz lowfat vanilla yogurt (I used nonfat)
1 mashed banana  –  too ripe to eat would work.
Peanut Butter 1/2 cup 
  1. You can mash the banana in the peel if it’s ripe, it will explode out of the skin, scoop it into a bowl and mash until creamy.  Add the other items and blend until very creamy, no chunks. 
  2. Spoon into cups, set on baking sheet and freeze.  Takes 5 to 7 hours to freeze completely. Once frozen, remove and put in large bag.