Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Raw Food Diet for Dogs

Ever wonder what is in the kibble? Maybe the wide-scale pet food recalls have had you wondering about raw diet for your dogs. For some, the the idea of feeding a fresh, well-hydrated, varied, raw diet, whose enzymes and amino acids have not been altered by cooking, didn’t seem like such a radical idea. To others, the thoughts of food poisoning and other concerns creep in. In this two part article, I am going to dicuss the pro and cons of both.

Owners often switch to raw feeding in times of crisis, such as when their dogs have been diagnosed with deep-seeded problems like allergies, says Monica Segal, author of "Optimal Nutrition, Raw and Cooked Canine Diets: The Next Level" (Doggie Diner, 2007). But more and more owners are becoming proactive. “They’re asking themselves, ‘If a method of feeding is being touted as good when an animal is ill, why not when it’s healthy?’”

Still, despite the interest — and the growing number of companies that offer frozen and freeze-dried raw diets — many vets are still uncomfortable with the idea of feeding dogs a diet that mimics what they would eat in the wild: basically, raw meat, uncooked bones, and pulverized vegetables and fruit. Among their concerns are the risk of bacterial contamination, dietary imbalances, and internal injury from inadequately chewed bones.

Not every dog is cut out for a raw diet, agrees Segal, who is certified in animal healthcare by the University of Guelph and formulates raw diets for her clients.

“If you have a really immune-compromised dog, it might not be the way to go.”

When it comes to objections about raw feeding, its advocates note that good hygiene is important when handling any raw meat. Most healthy dogs can handle bacteria such as Salmonella or E. Coli, and grinding raw meaty bones into a hamburger-like consistency eliminates any choking risk. (Never feed cooked bones, which are brittle and can splinter.)

Nutritional balance is also a concern. Not having an adequate calcium source, for example, can leave a dog at risk for severe orthopedic problems. The key is never to embark on a raw diet without doing adequate research. In addition to Segal’s writings, a good introduction for wannabe raw feeders is "Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats" by Kymythy Schultze (Hay House, 1999).

One of the biggest drawbacks to raw feeding is cost. Segal notes: If you do it right, but don’t have affordable meat sources, feeding your dog can be as costly as feeding yourself.

From the canine point of view, though, the pluses of raw feeding are pretty obvious. “Very few dogs,” Segal says with a grin, “will turn their noses up at it.”

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Indoor Games Anyone..... Have fun!

Playing games with your pet is a fun and inexpensive way to bond with your furry friend. Games don't have to be super involved, just something to keep you both occupied when you can't get outside for some exercise. Hopefully these suggestions will give you a good laugh and leave your pup happily BRAIN exhausted.

Simon Says – Who says obedience training needs to be a chore? Teaching your dog to sit, stay, down, drop, and come are engaging activities for your dog. Challenge him even further by turning your back while you give your commands.

Treasure Hunt –

Have your dog stay in a "down" position while you place a treat a few feet away within sight. Return and release him. Next time, try putting the treat further away until you are hiding treats in different parts of your home. If he gets stuck, give him hints by guiding him in the right direction and praising when he gets close. If all else fails, at least he'll be preoccupied sniffing around for those treats!

Hide and Seek –

Start with having your dog sit and stay. Stand a few feet away while you call her. Next time move farther and farther away until you are hiding behind doors and chairs. This may be challenging, especially if she isn't trained to stay! Dogs of all ages love to play, and what better way to spend quality time with your dog than by playing games? Although most dogs don’t mind venturing out into the rain or snow, dog owners would usually rather stay indoors when the weather isn’t suitable for outdoor play. There are a number of fun indoor games you can play with your dog, and more than likely you’ll have just as much fun with your dog while playing the following indoor games.

Find the Treat

It’s common knowledge that dogs love treats, but did you know that dogs searching for them? This game is highly enjoyable for dogs because tasty treats are the prize. You’ll find out how keen your dog’s sense of smell is when he sniffs out treats you hide for him to find.

Teach your dog to search for treats by showing him a treat and placing it beneath a piece of furniture, a rug, or any other accessible hiding place. Let your dog see where you’ve put the first treat, and encourage him to get it. Hide the next treat without showing him where you’ve put it, and enthusiastically tell him to find the treat. It may take him awhile to catch on, but in time, he’ll learn your hiding places and he’ll enjoy seeking out his tasty rewards.

Softball Fetch

Dogs require exercise all year long, and indoor activities can be just as beneficial as outdoor activities. Dogs and their owners usually play fetch outdoors, but a game of indoor fetch can be just as fun. Instead of using hard tennis balls, consider buying softer rubber (for the little guys use a practice golf ball) balls made especially for dogs. They’re a safer alternative to tennis balls since they aren’t as rigid, and they don’t have fabric covers that present a choking hazard.

Hide and Seek

A regular game of hide and seek can be one of the most enjoyable indoor activities you can play with your dog. Begin a game of hide and seek by hiding around a corner, and playfully jump out at your dog when he investigates what you’re doing. Gain the assistance of a family member, and have someone hold the dog’s collar while you hide somewhere else. Before the dog enters the room, call his name, and wait for him to begin looking for you. This fun and exciting activity will definitely become a favorite indoor game that you and your dog will look forward to playing anytime of the year.

1. Chop up some of your dogs favorite foods and scatter small chunks of them around while the dog is in another room. Once they have been well hidden open the door and give the command 'FIND IT' . The dog will instantly smell the treats and put his/her nose to the ground when they do find a treat use the word find it again and then praise do this until all the treats have been scoffed. Its great stimulation and fun for the dog plus you will have taught the dog a new command for obedience 

2. Cups. Take roughly 3-4 old plastic cups and some chopped up treats in your pocket. Begin by placing the cups face down and placing a treat under one of the cups making sure that your dog knows where it is going then ask your dog to Find it, wait until your dog has given you a sign that it knows which cup it is in either by Pawing it Sitting next to it Lying by it even barking then lift the cup and let the dog have the treat once your dog understands what is needed of him/her you can make it harder by changing the position of the cups before you ask them to find it or pretending to place it under all of the cups etc.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Homework.....Week of Jan 5 2009

Experienced Handler:
1. 1st Step in the drop on recall
2. stays
3. come to front and sit

1. Long Stay goal 10 mins

Monday, January 5, 2009

We let the fur fly.....

Thank you to all who attended this year Annual Holiday Mixer, it was a wonderful time. It is so great to see everyone and the pups!

I am glad so many could join this special event!
Leading the Way offers doggie daycare and all types of training, including private, group classes and a residential training program. Behavior assessment and modification is done using ONLY positive methods focused on shaping behavior.

We have over 25 years of professional experience, dedicated to enhancing the relationship of both ends of the leash, through knowledge, compassion, and building long term relationships with our clients, both two and four legged.