Kindness To Dogs During Training Matters

Aversive dog training techniques negatively affect canine welfare

The use of even mild punishments in training can make dogs more stressed and more pessimistic compared to dogs who are trained with positive reinforcement-based methods. That’s an important conclusion of a study by Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro of Porto, Portugal and her colleagues. They recently published Does training method matter? Evidence for the negative impact of aversive-based methods on companion dog welfare.

The importance of this study is that it addresses a common question: If dogs can learn from both positive training methods and from those that use punishment, does the choice of method matter? The recent research offers a compelling answer to this question because the effects of training methods extend far beyond the actual skills learned.

Feed Your Dog Fresh Food For Free

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The fresh food movement is fur real as more and more pet parents are recognizing the amazing health benefits that can be derived from feeding dogs real, fresh foods. The time is coming when we will no longer think in terms of people food or dog food. Food is food is food, regardless of who is eating it!

It’s time to start putting conventional processed dog foods into the same category that we put conventional processed human foods. They are fine in moderation, but without real, fresh, nutrient-dense foods, the body will suffer. It’s not a questions of if, it’s a question of when and how badly. But we get it! Money is tight and time is even tighter. That’s why I’m going to share with you my strategy for incorporating fresh, whole foods into my dog’s diet FOR FREE.

**Consult with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.**

Getting the Greens without Extra Green

Okay, okay. I admit it. It is true that nothing in life is truly free. This will take a little bit of time and effort on your part. But take it from me. Once you get into the habit, you will only be investing a few extra moments of your time. Minutes, not hours. And once your dog starts zooming around like she is a puppy again, you get blinded by the shine on her coat, she stares at you with the brightest eyes you’ve ever seen, and your house suddenly has a lot less dog hair floating around, you’ll see that the tiny bit of extra time is well worth it. Not to mention, you will be reducing your dog’s risk of developing diseases, including cancer, by incorporating even just some fresh food in her diet.

Shooting For Balance

In our house we try to eat a healthy diet. I cook breakfast every morning and dinner for my family most nights of the week with a strong focus on fresh veggies and proteins. But don’t get me wrong. Friday night comes and I’m dipping into queso or ordering a pizza without the slightest hesitation. As it says on the wall of our favorite local Mexican joint: Some days you eat quinoa salad and run 5 miles. Some days you eat 5 tacos and drink margaritas. It’s called balance.

One day while I was scooping kibble into my best girl’s dish I had a flash. What if I aimed for that same balance in her diet? I was not prepared to go full-on fresh. I’m not a veterinary nutritionist and I needed kibble for convenience. But could I supplement her diet with fresh food, making it a lot more beneficial without much fuss or funds?

Using Fresh Fruits and Veggies as Treats

I started experimenting with fresh fruits and veggies. Of course, first I familiarized myself with foods that you should not feed your dog. In an effort to make her more healthy, I didn’t want to inadvertently make the girl sick. As I was chopping vegetables that I knew she could safely eat, I would let her try some.

I’d use little pieces of carrot or apple as treats. She loved them! The crunch, sweetness, and juice were very appealing and she wagged her tail eagerly when I’d offer them up. If I was tossing some blueberries into my yogurt, I’d give her a few. She gobbled them up with the same enthusiasm she’d show for beef! The more I experimented, the more I realized that she had a very diverse palate. I let her try and every safe veggie or fruit I was chopping for my family.

Tip: If your dog doesn’t like a fresh fruit or veggie on its own, try topping it with a spoonful of melted coconut oil!*

The Key to Free Fresh Food

I did not run out and start buying fresh fruits and veggies solely intended for my dog. Instead, I changed my perspective to one of reducing food waste (the Earth will thank me!) and maintaining my food budget. We live in a really cold climate so I make tons of soup in the fall and winter. I use veggie trimmings that I would have thrown out as bases for soup stocks. It occurred to me that I could put that same strategy to use in serving up fresh food for my dog.

American kitchens tend to generate lots of food waste. This costs us money and adds to the waste disposal problems we have in this country. The basic principle in feeding your dog for free is this: take those trimmings that you would normally throw away, and chop them up for your dog instead. I’m NOT suggesting you feed your dog the irrevocably dirty end of the celery bunch or that bruised up piece of apple you carved around. I’m suggesting you strategically chop up your veggies and fruits with the aim of eating what you normally would and salvaging the rest of the perfectly edible stems, roots, and leaves for your fur baby.

Day after day, I manage to add a heaping serving of fresh fruits and veggies to my dog’s dish at every meal without spending an extra dime at the grocery store.

Practical Tips

Bell Peppers: Cut the top off the bell pepper and discard the seeds and soft bits from the interior. Pick up the top and carefully remove the rounded tips that immediately surround the stem. Discard the stem and chop up the rest of the top. Use the bottom for yourself and chop the remaining top for your pup.

Broccoli or Cauliflower Stems: Cut the stem off the broccoli about 2-3 inches from the bottom of the stem. This bottom part is for your dog. Slice off the rough end and chop up the rest.

Celery: Cut the bottom and stop of the celery stalk. The middle long piece is yours. Trim off the very tips and chop up what remains for your dog’s dish.

Apples or Pears: Slice chunks of pear or apple around the core. Take your knife and slice off thin pieces close to the core for your dog or simply cut off the top and bottom of the core and slice up what remains.

Green Beans: As you snip off the tips of green beans, save the ends for your dog. Trim off the stem and serve your dog the rest. Alternatively, grab a few whole green beans for her. You won’t miss them!

Asparagus: The ends of asparagus can be very fibrous and tough to eat. Cut your own spears a little bit shorter than usual and set them aside for yourself. Cut small pieces of what remains, discarding the last inch or so of tough ends.

I usually add chopped veggies to a container that I have for this purpose that I store in the fridge. Each day, I grab a handful or so from the mix and toss it in her bowl with kibble. Sometimes I serve it as a topper, sometimes I mix it in. If it has some items that she needs a little encouragement to eat, I add a spoonful of coconut oil* on it and mix it all up. There is never a single morsel left. She looks forward to each meal with its variety of tastes and textures.

The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to incorporating fresh food into your dog’s diet. By changing your perspective to one of waste reduction and using more of what you already have on hand, you can generate a bountiful supply of health-improving fresh foods for your pup, without spending an extra dime.

Do you feed your dog fresh foods? What is your method for mixing in fresh foods?

 

*Remember: Coconut oil is a fat, and should be given sparingly.

The post Feed Your Dog Fresh Food For Free appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

Smart Dog Helps His Dad Make A Sandwich

It can be fun to teach our dogs special tricks. Over the years, dogs have learned many incredible things such as getting beer out of the fridge and even talking with their parents! Now, there is a dog that has learned to help his dad make a sandwich! Sure, making a sandwich is not hard for a human to do on their own, but even simple tasks are more fun with a dog by your side. And this dog seems to love helping out his dad.

Image: Screenshot, ViralHog YouTube

This dog’s dad starts off by placing two slices of bread on a plate. Then, he turns to his furry friend to help him complete his sandwich. While the dad sits at the table, he calls out different ingredients for his dog to bring. There is a rope attached to the fridge’s handle, so the dog is able to pull the door open with ease.

First, the dad asks for ham, and then cheese. The dog happily bounds over to grab these items. He brings the ham over first, and then goes back for the cheese. Since the cheese is in a flat plastic packaging, the dog has a difficult time picking it up, but he is determined. After dropping the cheese a few times, he still happily brings it over to his dad.

Image: Screenshot, ViralHog YouTube

Next, dad asks for ketchup and mustard. The dog grabs them one by one, and they seem much easier for him to carry than the ham and cheese. Afterwards, his dad praises him and hands him a small treat, which the dog gobbles up instantly.

To finish off this meal, the dad needs a refreshing beer. The dog gladly brings one to him, but then goes and grabs a second beer without even being asked! It’s like the dog can read his dad’s mind.

Image: Screenshot, ViralHog YouTube

Finally, the dog runs back over to the fridge and gently closes it. He returns back to his dad to receive a delicious snack for his great work. What a smart boy! Now his dad has all the ingredients he needs to make a great sandwich.

Not every dog is this eager to learn elaborate tricks like this, but this dog is clearly happy to help his dad in any way possible. Dogs are such smart and loving creatures, and every day they amaze us with what they’re capable of. Who knows what they’ll be able to do next?

H/T: people.com
Featured Image: Screenshot, ViralHog YouTube

The post Smart Dog Helps His Dad Make A Sandwich appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

How to Compare Nutrient Levels in Canned Dog Foods with Dry Foods

The percentages of nutrients shown in the guaranteed analysis section on a pet food label (protein, fat, fiber, moisture) are expressed “as fed” – meaning, as the food is delivered in its package. Some percentage of the food is comprised of moisture (water), which of course contains no protein, fat, fiber, or any other nutrient. […]

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The post How to Compare Nutrient Levels in Canned Dog Foods with Dry Foods appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

How to Compare Nutrient Levels in Canned Dog Foods with Dry Foods

The percentages of nutrients shown in the guaranteed analysis section on a pet food label (protein, fat, fiber, moisture) are expressed “as fed” – meaning, as the food is delivered in its package. Some percentage of the food is comprised of moisture (water), which of course contains no protein, fat, fiber, or any other nutrient. […]

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber

Subscribe to Whole Dog Journal

Get the next year of WHOLE DOG JOURNAL for just $20. And access all of our online content – over 2,000 articles – free of charge.
Subscribe today and save 72%. It’s like getting 8 months FREE!

The post How to Compare Nutrient Levels in Canned Dog Foods with Dry Foods appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

How to Compare Nutrient Levels in Canned Dog Foods with Dry Foods

The percentages of nutrients shown in the guaranteed analysis section on a pet food label (protein, fat, fiber, moisture) are expressed “as fed” – meaning, as the food is delivered in its package. Some percentage of the food is comprised of moisture (water), which of course contains no protein, fat, fiber, or any other nutrient. […]

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber

Subscribe to Whole Dog Journal

Get the next year of WHOLE DOG JOURNAL for just $20. And access all of our online content – over 2,000 articles – free of charge.
Subscribe today and save 72%. It’s like getting 8 months FREE!

The post How to Compare Nutrient Levels in Canned Dog Foods with Dry Foods appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

Kind Neighbors Buy Apartment For Homeless Woman And Her Dogs

Two friends, Jennifer Husband-Elsier and Melissa Akacha, came across a woman that was living in her car at a Target parking lot in Philadelphia. She had two dogs with her, and she looked like she was having a hard time. Right away, the two women asked her if she was okay and if she needed anything. The woman in the car’s name is Lynn Schutzman. At the time, she told them that she was fine, but it was apparent that this was not true.

Husband-Elsier and Akacha wanted to help in any way possible. So, they decided to use Nextdoor, which is a social media site for neighbors. They made a post asking if anyone knew anything about the “elderly woman with her two dogs.” Luckily, they were able to learn enough about Schutzman to help her get back on her feet.

Image: Screenshot, abcnews.go.com

Schutzman’s History

The two women quickly learned that Schutzman was a 70-year-old pharmacist who had a great life up until recently. She suffered from multiple illnesses after her husband passed away. The cost of medical bills soon became so great that she could no longer afford to pay her rent.

Schutzman had no children, and no other family to turn to. So, despite having a happy life and a good income up until that point, Schutzman still found herself homeless.

Image: Screenshot, abcnews.go.com

“I just want people to realize that this can happen to anybody,” said Schutzman. “I had a good retirement, but I got sick and health insurance only covers so much.” 

With no place to live, Schutzman was forced to move her belongings and her two dogs into her SUV. She had been living in her car for about two years now. Unfortunately, she didn’t qualify for affordable housing, and none of the homeless shelters would allow dogs. Of course, she knew her life would be even worse without her furry friends by her side, so her SUV was her best option at the time.

Image: Screenshot, abcnews.go.com

The Kind Community Came to the Rescue!

Akacha is also a pharmacist, so she asked around and soon learned that Schutzman was a respected mentor in the pharmacy field. Schutzman had been putting on a brave face for the past two years, but she really needed someone to help her. So, Akacha and Husband-Eisler decided to pay for a hotel room for Schutzman and her dogs until they could figure out how to help her.

Once word spread about Schutzman’s story, the community began bringing her meals, blankets, and dog food to help her out. Many kind neighbors would even walk her dogs for her occasionally. Akacha and Husband-Eisler knew this was a great start, but they felt like they could do even more to help.

Image: Screenshot, abcnews.go.com

So, the two women started a GoFundMe page for Schutzman. They ended up raising over $30,000! They used that money to purchase a nice studio apartment for Schutzman and her dogs to stay at. The first two years at the apartment are already paid for. Schutzman is extremely grateful, and she is amazed by all the beautiful personal touches the community was able to add to her new living space. 

Schutzman is happy once again, and she even has thanksgiving plans with Husband-Eisler’s family. All she really needed was some love and support to help get her back on her feet. It’s amazing how a person’s life can turn around simply based on the kindness of the community.

H/T: abcnews.go.com
Featured Image: Screenshot, abcnews.go.com

The post Kind Neighbors Buy Apartment For Homeless Woman And Her Dogs appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

Handler Remembers K9 Officer Harlej, Who Was Shot And Killed In The Line Of Duty

officer harlej

The Fisher Police Department announced the death of a fellow officer on Wednesday, K9 Officer Harlej. Officer Harlej (pronounced Harley) was a respected member of the police force and a loved member of his community.

The horrific night began with an attempt to stop a possible drunken driver. After a brief chase ensued, the two suspects stopped their car and fled from the vehicle.

officer harlej
FishersPolice/Facebook

The two suspects ran into the woods nearby, so K9 Officer Harlej was deployed to find the suspects in the wooded area. After a few minutes of searching, Officers heard gunfire within the woods.

Officers ran to the area in which they heard the shots, and that’s when they found Officer Harlej along with one of the suspects.

officer harlej
FishersGovernment/Facebook

It appears that Officer Harlej had attempted to take down Richard Garrett with a bite on the leg. During this time he was fatally shot, and was found lying dead near the suspect.

The two suspects, Richard Garrett and Rashanna Farrow, were taken into custody where they will await their charges. Garrett himself currently faces nine charges including:  striking a law enforcement animal, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, and resisting law enforcement with a vehicle.

officer harlej
FishersPolice/Facebook

Once word spread of Officer Harlej’s passing, local officers came together to support his handler Officer Koopman. In the years that Officer Koopman has had Harlej by his side, they had formed an inseparable bond. Along with the bond that the two officers shared, was the relationship Officer Harlej had with Koopman’s family as well.

We often forget that these K9 officers go home with their handlers at night. They are a member of the family, and their dedication to the job does not end once they “clock out.” Officer Harlej and Officer Koopman were each other’s best friend and protectors 24/7. Harlej’s love expanded to each member of Koopman’s family as well.

officer harlej
TaylorsBakery/Facebook

Officer Harlej loved spending his off time with Koopman’s two sons and his loving wife . Officer Koopman and his sons would take Harlej for a walk each morning, and would soak up each moment they had with their favorite furry protector. The whole family is feeling this loss. Koopman wrote:

“Last night, was the night as a K9 handler you train your heart for but are never truly ready for.
🐾
I lost my K9 partner Harlej early this morning doing what he loved.
🐾
My memories of him are just pure joy and happiness. He was the most dedicated, hard working, and always in relentless pursuit of everything we did.
🐾
Nobody will ever know the time it takes for a K9 to be successful. But everyone will see the successes and we had a lot of successes together.
🐾
Harlej and I spent countless hours together in the nearly 5 years I had him. I think about all the hours of trainings we had and the countless hours we spent together in the car driving around Fishers.
🐾
I think about all the men and women who played a role into making him great and great he was!
🐾
Harlej and I assisted in a lot of arrests and helped get a lot of bad people off of the streets to help keep the city of Fishers safe.
🐾
I will always remember how quiet Harlej was in my car, but at the same time remembering every time that I got out of my car and could see his glowing eyes staring at me with his ears up high. He always waited to be called and was ready to do whatever I asked of him. Harlej did it without fear. I knew every time I got him out of my car, he was going to help every time. Whether that was to find drugs during a walk around or tracking down a fleeing felon.
🐾
I know you’re chewing on some tennis balls right now buddy. Daddy loves you and I’m so glad you were my partner and in my life.
🐾
Love you Hars!
🐾
You are a REAL hero today buddy. And you saved our lives last night.
🐾
EOW 11/13/2019”

Officer Koopman’s wife even wrote a heartfelt blog describing the impact Harlej had on their life, and what an amazing companion he was during and outside of work.

officer harlej
KimberlyKoopman/Facebook

“You wait for both of them to come home together. So when your husband calls you at 3:30 am and starts the conversation with, ‘I am ok…but Harlej is gone.’  A part of you crumbles. The loss feels unbearable.  Your family breaks a little.  And Jarred comes home alone. Most people would prob think…. ‘all this sadness for a dog?’And part of me could believe that. Because most dogs wouldn’t follow you into the darkness of danger.” – Kimberly Koopman

We are sending our love and support to the Fishers Police Department, as well as the Koopman family. Officer Harlej was a hero, and he will always be remembered as such.

Man I miss you Hars

Posted by The 108 Brand on Friday, November 15, 2019

If you are interested in the details of his upcoming memorial, you can find the information here.

H/T: indystar.com
Image Source: Fishers Indiana GovernmentFishers Police Department

 

The post Handler Remembers K9 Officer Harlej, Who Was Shot And Killed In The Line Of Duty appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

How to Compare Nutrient Levels in Canned Dog Foods with Dry Foods

The percentages of nutrients shown in the guaranteed analysis section on a pet food label (protein, fat, fiber, moisture) are expressed “as fed” – meaning, as the food is delivered in its package. Some percentage of the food is comprised of moisture (water), which of course contains no protein, fat, fiber, or any other nutrient. […]

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber

Subscribe to Whole Dog Journal

Get the next year of WHOLE DOG JOURNAL for just $20. And access all of our online content – over 2,000 articles – free of charge.
Subscribe today and save 72%. It’s like getting 8 months FREE!

The post How to Compare Nutrient Levels in Canned Dog Foods with Dry Foods appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.