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How to Keep Your Dog Happy & Healthy in the Winter

When the snow starts to fall, it can mean lots of fun for our furry friends. Whether your dog loves the winter or not, it’s important to keep them safe through the cold months. Check out these five tips for how to keep your dog happy and healthy in the winter!

Protect the Paws

You wouldn’t walk around in the snow barefoot – but your dog does. Dog paws are a little more tolerant to cold than human feet, but they still need to be protected. Dry, cold weather exposes paw pads to cracking and peeling, and ice melt can cause cuts and burning.

Protect the paws with booties, especially in extreme cold. If your dog won’t tolerate booties, try petroleum jelly on the bottom of the pads. Always do a paw inspection when after coming back inside and wipe off any ice melt or salt.

Make A New Bathroom

Some dogs love snow but, for some, it can be a drag. For smaller dogs especially, deep snow poses a serious navigational challenge – and that can make going to the bathroom nearly impossible. Help your dog during potty time by digging a small path through the snow. You can also create an indoor bathroom by laying out pee pads in a laundry room or bathroom. Making sure your dog uses the bathroom will help prevent things like bladder and kidney issues.

Cozy Up

For those cold days and nights, sometimes it’s nice to stay cuddled up inside with your pup. Provide cozy, warm, safe places for your dog to relax by putting down warm, accessible bedding. Avoid using space heaters and never leave your dog alone with a space heater – they can cause serious burns.

Safety First

When you do go outside with your dog, practice safety first! Use a shorter lead than you would in the summer and always used a fixed, non-retractable variety to prevent slipping and sliding. If you’re around frozen lakes, ponds, or rivers, keep your dog away unless they are cleared for human weight. Dogs can easily fall through ice.

Get Lots of Exercise

Just because the days are shorter doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t need exercise. Regular activity will keep your dog fit, healthy, and stimulated, so it’s important to keep playing throughout the whole winter season. Try playing fetch in the snow to get fresh air and sun or, if you can’t go outside, set up an obstacle course with cushions in your living room.

Keeping your dog happy and healthy in the winter might seem like a challenge, but with these simple tips it can be easy.You can also try taking him to training courses to freshen up on his skills! Argos Dog Training offers beginner to advanced dog training courses in Boston. Get in contact with us today to learn more! 

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What is Your Dog Trying to Tell You?

Even though dogs never say a word, they’re able to say a whole lot. Besides their bark, dogs communicate with us through body language – their mouths, ears, tails, and posture tell a story about how they’re feeling and what they need. But unless you’re already an expert, learning to read this body language can be tricky.

So, when your dog is wagging his tail differently or giving you a strange look, what is he trying to tell you? Read on below to learn about some of the most common dog body language and what it means.

Posture

The way your dog stands and moves can tell you a ton about their mood. For instance, a dog perched on its hind legs and looking up at you or cocking its head to the side is attentive and ready to interact. When your dog “takes a bow” and stretches into their front legs, that means they’re ready to play! These and other relaxed signs, like rolling onto the back, show trust, playfulness, and confidence.

Other postures to look for are a pointed or directed stance, which means your dog had probably found something they’re interested in. A curved or arched back can mean your dog is stressed out or fearful, so make sure to pay attention and fix the situation.

Face

Just like posture, your dog communicates a lot from facial expressions. Soft, squinty eyes, floppy ears, and a slightly open mouth mean that your dog is relaxed and playful. There are a lot of subtle signs that can have much different meanings, though. 

When your dog licks their lips or yawns a lot, that could mean that they’re stressed out or anxious. Your dog might also look away from you or only look at you from the corner of their eyes. These signs might be subtle – but your dog is trying to let you know that the situation is a little too stressful for them!

Tail

Most people think that a wagging tail always means a happy dog – but that’s not always the case. If your dog is wagging their tail quickly and widely side-to-side, that probably means they’re pretty excited about something! But if your dog is wagging their tail slowly, they might just be checking out their environment.

If your dog is holding its tail between its legs, that could mean that it feels scared or threatened.

Things to Watch For

As you can see, dogs like to give lots of signals about how they’re feeling – if you know what to look for. Make sure you pay attention to your dog’s body language, especially if they seem nervous, stressed, or uncomfortable.

If your dog shows an aggressive or stressed out posture and starts to growl, bare their teeth, nip at the air, or stare intently, pay attention! These are important warning signs that could mean your dog feels really threatened and might act aggressively.

Practice Makes Perfect

Getting to know a dog’s body language takes time and practice. At Argos Dog Training, we can help you learn how to read your dog’s behavior – and improve it. With our expertise obedience training, we can help your dog learn better behaviors in all kinds of environments. Check out our dog training courses in Boston here, and get in contact with us today to get started! 

 

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Private Lessons vs. Group Training: Which is Best for Your Dog?

As with anything in life, the answer to whether private lessons or group training is best for your dog depends on several factors. There are certainly pros and cons to each class type. Which class is right for you and your dog will depend on several factors:

Your Preferred Trainer

If you have a trainer in mind, maybe because he or she trained your other dog or a friend’s dog, then you may be limited to the type of class they offer. Some trainers only specialize in private lessons or in group training, because it is what they prefer.

The Age of Your Dog

If your dog is still a puppy, a group class might be a better option. In addition to learning new skills and tricks, your puppy will have a chance to socialize with other dogs in a safe space. Trainer-moderated playtime in group classes is a valuable part of your dog’s education that cannot be created in a private class.

Existing Behavioral Problems

If your dog is a bit older or has suddenly developed a new negative behavior, private lessons may be more appropriate. Private lessons can occur in your home, so that you and the trainer can address any concerns in the location where they are likely taking place. There are also generally fewer distractions in the dog’s home environment, compared to a classroom, so this helps the dog focus and learn more easily.

Your Schedule

With private classes, you can schedule them on your own time. However, this may mean that your dog ends up going too long between classes to really make progress as quickly as he could in a structured group class.

Your Budget

Group classes tend to be less expensive than private ones, but that isn’t always the case so it may be worth checking. Group classes require the overhead of a provided space, whereas a private trainer can work in client’s homes without those expenses. If you think you would prefer private classes but the cost is a factor, you might try to arrange semi-private classes. This is where one or two other dogs would join in the class, but would still give you and your dog plenty of individualized attention.

Contact Argos Dog Trainer

Your dog is most likely to succeed when the right training environment for him or her is chosen. It is always best to start with your preferred method, and then if things do not seem to be going well, you can always try the other. If you are looking for classes in the Boston area, you can rely on Argos Dog Training for private and group dog training sessions. Check out our training courses or contact us today to learn more!

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When’s the Best Time to Start Training Your Puppy?

Congratulations on adding a new member to your family! Now that you’ve gotten this little ball of happiness home, you’re probably trying to figure out when you should begin training him.

When to Start Training My Puppy

Veterinarians and trainers used to recommend not starting classes until the pup already had his vaccinations and boosters. While the thought was to keep from spreading illnesses to other dogs is a valiant one, it ended up meaning that young dogs came to classes with behavioral problems that needed to be corrected, instead of starting off on the right foot.

Now, veterinarians and trainers recommend that healthy puppies start classes as soon as 7 or 8 weeks. Inadequate socialization during the first few months of a puppy’s life can result in behavioral issues that stem well into the dog’s life. The current recommendations offer the benefits of early training, which outweigh any potential health risks as long as all of the dogs in the class have been vaccinated and are healthy.

How to find a class?

A quick Google search will probably point you in the right direction of a behavioral and socialization class for your puppy near you. Some things you should consider before signing up:

Shadow the Class

Ask the instructor if you can shadow the class before showing up. Leave your puppy at home and look for any signs of distress from the puppies in the class or their owners. You’ll also want to make sure that the dogs in the class are about the same size and age as your puppy. If there is a wide range of sizes or ages, there is more of a chance for your puppy to get hurt.

Consider the Future

As you compare classes, you’ll also want to keep in mind whether that trainer offers other classes, besides the basics. If you are interested in potentially teaching your dog more advanced behaviors, you will likely want to remain with the same trainer, if possible. It is good to note whether that is a possibility with any trainer you’re considering from the get-go.

Contact Argos Dog Trainer

If you are in the Boston area, Argos Dog Training can help with dog training in a small-class setting designed for young puppies! Check out the training courses we offer, or give us a call today to get started!

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How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking

Any dog owner knows that although we love our furry friends, sometimes they just don’t know when to stop barking! If your pooch seems to bark at every little noise, or no noise at all, figuring out how to get them to stop is no easy task. We’ve put together a few methods you should try next time you’re in need of a way to make the barking stop. Remember, not every method will work on every dog, so be patient before you give up! 

Ignore the Behavior

Dogs are similar to little kids in a lot of ways. When a toddler is throwing a tantrum, parents are often instructed not to respond to the negative behavior. This same logic applies to your dog! If you are talking to, touching, or otherwise engaging with your dog when they bark, they’ll see it as a reward to their behavior and want to continue doing it. Once he quiets down, come in and quickly offer praise or a treat. Soon they will see which behavior gets them attention and which doesn’t. 

Eliminate the Barking Motivation

Every dog that barks has a motivation to do so. It could be people walking by on the sidewalk, other animals outside, or a number of other things. Remove the barking motivation to help your dog reduce the amount of time spent barking. If people on the sidewalk trigger the barking, keep the blinds closed. You must find a way to keep your dog apart from the cause of the barking before you expect the barking to stop. 

Expose Your Dog to Stimulus

Another way to help reduce barking is by getting your dog more comfortable with the stimulus that they’re barking at. Take them into public settings, have more people over, and introduce any situation that typically causes the dog to bark. It’s a good idea to begin this process in short doses and keep the dog far from the actual stimulus until they’re more comfortable.

Dog Training Classes in Boston

No matter how you choose to train your dog not to bark, do so in a calm way. If you raise your voice at the dog while they’re barking, they’ll just think you’re barking along with them! Be consistent and positive during the training process so that your dog is able to form new, positive, habits over time. Remember, affirmation of the good behavior is more important than disciplining of the bad behavior! If you need assistance in teaching your dog to not bark or any other commands, the experts at Argos Dog Training are here to help! Check out our list of dog training classes in Boston here. 

 

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