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Puppy Teething

When a puppy is teething, it is normal for them to become excessively nippy.  We need to remember that, just like a toddler growing in their teeth, it is uncomfortable and sometimes painful for a puppy as well.  the best way to manage them when they are teething is to keep them busy and give them lots of frozen treats to try to help numb their gums.

Puppies don't get all their adult teeth in until they are about 6 months old.  Anywhere from 3-8 months your pup will be teething and need some good chews to be able to help alleviate some of the discomfort they are experiencing.

Rope Toys These can be very useful when your puppy is teething.  They are a nice thing for your pup to chew on to help pass the time (watch that they don't tear and ingest any of the strings) and very versatile.  You can soak and freeze rope toys to help with the soreness of their mouth.  Keep in mind that sodium is not good for a dog in large quantities, so either soak in water, low sodium broth or a home…
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All puppies are going to go through a stage of nipping.  Puppies don't have hands to help them explore the world around them, so naturally they are going to grab, taste and tug on anything new that is introduced to them.  Their mouth is their hands, so we need to help them understand from a young age what is acceptable to put their mouth on and what is not.  Please note that nipping may become worse around teething time as it is uncomfortable for the pup to grow in those adult teeth.  Refer to our post on Puppy Teething and how to help minimize the nipping with management of their pain.

Some puppies will go through a more intense period because of their genetics.  Dog breeds that are a working breed are more likely to have a more intense nip stage.  Examples: herding dogs: boarder collies, Australian shepherds, cattle dogs, etc; working dogs: German Shepherds, Malinois, Belgian Shepherds, etc.

There are a few different methods that we can try to help your pup understand that teeth…

Different Types of Collars

You may go to the store to get your dog a new collar and become overwhelmed from the selection.  In this post I will outline the general use and position of each collar, whether to use it on a puppy or not, and why there are so many different styles.

Flat Collar

Flat collars are your regular, every day, tag holding collars.  If your dog isn't a puller or has learned not to pull, these are perfectly fine to use on a walk.  If your dog does pull on a walk, a flat collar is not going to help you any.


There are many different types of harnesses available on the market.  Step through harnesses, buckle around the barrel harnesses, mesh harnesses, the list goes on!  Harnesses are good for brachycephalic breeds that have trouble breathing or any dog with issues with their trachea.  Generally, we don't suggest putting your dog on a harness for your every day walks because it gives them more ability to pull you around, but sometimes a harness is necessary.

Martingale CollarMa…

Furniture or not?

Every trainer has their own philosophy around whether or not pets should be allowed on the furniture or not.  I am a little more laid back.  I believe that you should be allowed to let your dog up on the couch or bed if you want to - I just try to encourage some healthy furniture rules.

1. Must be potty trained This one may seem a little straight forward, but a lot of people just can't wait for their dog to sleep in bed with them!  If your puppy (or new dog of any age) is not potty trained and you let them sleep in bed with you there is a fairly good chance that you will wake up to an accident or two on your bed.  Now you may be thinking - you are only talking about the bed, so the couch or a chair should be fine!  What most people fail to realize is that dogs (in general at all ages) do not have the ability to generalize, so if they are allowed up on the couch, they may see the bed as free game as well.  My recommendation is to wait until they are fully house trained - no more ac…

Dog Sports

Dog sports are a wonderful way to keep your dog working and to make some other dog friends!  Most dog sports have dogs work one on one with their handler to keep the dog focused and able to do what they are practicing.  If you have a reactive dog, these sports a lot of times are great to help build confidence around other dogs without being in direct contact!

Agility: great for high energy dogs!  If you have a high energy dog that gets way too aroused (excited) I would suggest staying away from agility as it has a tendency to amp them up.  My dog Tux would be a horrible candidate for agility because of his over excitability.

You also want to be careful introducing puppies to agility.  You need to make sure that you find a good foundation class that won't let the puppy put too much stress on their growing joints and muscles.  Often times I suggest you wait until your pup is done growing before introducing them to the sport of agility.

Calgary Canine Center - agility and nosework cla…

Ways to Tire Out Your Pooch

Have a pooch with a bundle of energy?  Having trouble expending that energy so that your pup will relax inside?  I feel ya!  There are a few ways that I always encourage my clients to expand their dog's regular exercise regimen with!

Backpacks are wonderful!  You can start with absolutely no weight in them and slowly build up to having about 10% of their body weight!  Adding extra weight causes your dog to have to focus more on what they are doing.  You can have a really fit dog carrying 10% and only have to go maybe half as far on the walk to achieve the same amount of tiredness from them.  If you have an overweight dog, start low and slowly work up the weight as they start to lose the excess they are carrying themselves.  The main thing to remember is to not exceed that 10% limit.  A dog's back is not meant to carry huge loads like that of a horse or llama.  We don't want to damage their spine in the process of draining their excess energy.  If you only have a l…

Why We Don't Use Retractable Leashes

If your dog pulls you all over the place when you go on a walk, your first fallback may be a flexi (retractable) leash.  This post explains the dangers that come with using a retractable leash and why we choose to avoid them for our own dogs as well as discouraging clients from using them.

More Pulling
The first issue with this kind of leash that I will mention is that it teaches your dog to pull.  A retractable leash always has a constant pressure on your dog's collar or harness.  If you are trying to get away from your dog pulling, you would be better off teaching your dog to walk nicely on a loose leash as opposed to clipping them to a device that always puts and keeps tension on their body.

Hitting the end of the leash
You only have so much distance before you will get pulled around again!  Retractable leashes only give you about 16 feet for your dog to roam.  If they decide to take off after something, they will hit the end of the leash and give both of you a very nasty jolt.…