5 Essential Dog Training Supplies

You don't need to spend a lot of money on dog training supplies to be prepared to train your dog effectively. For most dogs, a well-fitted harness, comfortable flat-buckle collar, sturdy leash, and some tasty treats are all you will need to teach your dog to love training time! When dogs love their training, they learn behaviors quickly, and the best training never over-complicates things. Save your cash and time on fancy high-tech dog training gear and stick with Whole Dog Journal's 5 positive dog training gear essentials!   More...

Dog Collars or Harnesses: Which is Better?

You may see a lot more dogs on the street today wearing harnesses rather than having their leashes attached to collars. Are harnesses safer for dogs than collars? Should you abandon the your dog's traditional collar altogether? The fact is, there are many types of collars AND harnesses on the market, and some serve specific purposes. The front-clip harness, for example, is heralded as the best kind of restraint tool for a dog who pulls on the leash during walks. Head halters, on the other hand, should really only be used by professional dog handlers in specialty situations, like in show rings.   More...

Best Types of Crates for Dog Training

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Whole Dog Journal has written a lot in the past about the usefulness of having a comfortable crate your dog calls home. Crates are a convenient way to keep your dog out of harm's way, out of your way, and away from guests when necessary. A crate is regarded as the safest way to transport dogs in the car, and if you ever fly with your dog, you're going to need a crate for that too.   More...

Homemade Dog Food Ingredients: 3 Essential Foods for Dogs

Whole Dog Journal steers away from providing dog guardians with step-by-step recipes for dog food, raw or cooked. We can share expert dog companions’ personal protocols for feeding their dogs home-prepared, but quickly you will realize not only that the perfect dog food recipe does not exist, but that in order for your dog to receive all necessary nutrients, you really need many recipes that include many different whole food ingredients.   More...

Tips on Introducing a New Dog

Be sure to reinforce both/all dogs for calm, appropriate behavior in each other’s presence. Your reinforcers should be calming: treats, massage, and verbal praise are good choices; tug and fetch are not. You can use tethers, if necessary, to create calm, and follow Norwegian dog trainer Turid Rugaas’ suggestions to have dogs approach each other in a curving line rather than directly, allowing them to sniff the ground and do other displacement and appeasement behaviors such as looking away, as they choose.   More...

Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Dogs can eat avocado flesh, if they like it, without problems. The reason some say not to give avocados to dogs is because avocados are known to contain a toxin called persin, which is quite dangerous to other animals like horses and birds but is in fact harmless to dogs in small amounts. Avocados hold the highest concentrations of persin in their leaves, thick skin, and pits; avocado flesh contains low levels of this chemical – a negligible amount for most humans, and for most dogs too. We don’t eat the leaves, skin, or pits of avocados, so don’t give these to your dog. A few thin slices of fresh avocado over your dog’s dinner, or as a nutrient-rich treat, however, will be fine for your dog, unless of course he has a food allergy to it.   More...

Symptoms and Treatment of Foxtail Invasions in Dogs

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While some ?rst aid may be possible in the event of a foxtail wound, in almost all cases you should get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Delaying treatment allows the foxtail to do further damage; avoiding foxtail treatment altogether could lead to your dog developing a chronic illness or could even lead to death.   More...

Grabbing Your Dog's Collar: Why and How to Practice

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Let’s take a moment to talk about collar grabs. I see a worrisome number of dogs who duck away when their human reaches for their collar. This is not only annoying for the human, it is also dangerous. Imagine what happens in an emergency, when the owner needs to quickly corral the dog to keep her out of danger, and the dog ducks away from the reaching hand and runs off.   More...

Whole Dog Journal's Canned Dog Food Selection Criteria

A whole, named animal protein in one of the first two positions on the ingredients list. “Whole” means no byproducts. “Named” means a specific animal species – chicken, beef, pork, lamb – as opposed to “meat” or “poultry.” Look for products with the highest possible inclusion of top-quality animal proteins; in other words, choose a product with the animal product listed first over a product that listed water (or broth) first and the animal product second.   More...

Train Your Dog to Accept Hugs

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The process of teaching a dog to tolerate hugging involves either classical conditioning (giving a puppy a positive association with something she doesn’t already have an opinion of), or classical counter-conditioning (giving a dog a new association with something she already has a negative opinion of). Either way, the process is similar, but it may go slower if you are working to change an existing opinion rather than simply installing one where none previously exists.   More...

Teach Your Dog to Make Eye Contact

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If your dog doesn’t already know the value of eye contact with humans, you can easily teach her. This is an operant conditioning/positive reinforcement exercise – your dog learns her behavior can make good stuff happen. When your dog has come to realize the value of eye contact, she will sometimes offer the behavior without being cued. Be sure to reinforce offered eye contact as well as cued eye contact. To help her be comfortable with eye contact from other humans, ask your friends to play the “Watch” game with her as well.   More...

Which is the Best Type of Dog Food?

What kind of dog food is best? Is canned food healthier than kibble? Does a homemade dog food diet require as much work as it appears to? Whole Dog Journal developed a very comprehensive pros and cons chart for various dog food options you may be considering. Remember: no one dog food is best for all dogs! Consider your dog's lifestyle and needs and use this chart to help you decide what kind of food your dog should eat.   More...

Nose Work is Great Exercise for Dogs!

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When your dog has learned how to search, this makes a great rainy day indoor exercise activity. You can also routinely scatter her meals around the yard so she has to search through the grass to find them; put her on a long line if you don’t have a fence. You can also name her favorite toys and have her find them. You can even have family members and friends hide and have her find them.   More...

Teach Your Dog to Choose Things

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Our dogs have very little opportunity for choice in their lives in today’s world. We tell them when to eat, when to play, when to potty, when and where to sleep. We expect them to walk politely on leash without exploring the rich and fascinating world around them, and want them to lie quietly on the floor for much of the day. Compare this to the lives dogs used to live, running around the farm, chasing squirrels at will, eating and rolling in deer poop, chewing on sticks, digging in the mud, swimming in the pond, and following the tractor.   More...

Safe Dog Food Bowls (and How to Keep Them That Way)

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The easiest type of bowl to keep clean – and, not incidently, also the safest bowl for your dog to eat and drink from – is stainless steel. This material will not leach potentially dangerous chemicals into your dog’s food and water, like some plastics, aluminum, poorly glazed pottery, or old ceramic dishes. Stainless steel and glass bowls are similarly inert, but stainless steel wins in my house, due to its durability on the floor and in the sink.   More...