Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Show Off Your Creative Side!

(from the KONG website:

The weather is getting colder, and that usually means less exercise for our dogs. If the weather is frightful, get your doggy some mental exercise! One way is by purchasing more "mental" toys, such as Kongs. There are other stuffable toys, as well.

Perhaps you already have a couple Kongs lying around your house. Does your dog love his/her Kong? Are you at a loss for new things to try with it? If you haven't tried filling a Kong and then freezing it, you should! Freezing the goodies makes it more challenging.

While you are at it, take a few of these Kong recipes for a test drive! Your dog will really love the new flavors, and it will make the Kong exciting again.

1 fresh banana
2 tbs wheat germ
1 tbs plain yogurt (can use your pet'sfavorite flavor as well)
Any KONG Toy that best fits your pet'schewing temperament
-In a bowl, mash up banana. Then, add wheat germ and yogurt. Mash all ingredients together and use spoon to add to KONG. Freeze for 4 hours. Makes 1 serving for Medium KONG. Double for every KONG size that is bigger.

Cheesy Dental KONG Delight:
3 Slices of your pet's favorite cheese
Any Dental KONG toy
-A very simple and creative way to make any pet drool in delight. Just place the three slices of cheese directly into the grooves of your pet's Dental KONG (if model has rope - make sure cheese does not get onto it). Melt in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Give to pet after it cools.

Philly Steak :
Steak scraps
1 ounce cream cheese
Appropriate KONG toy
-Place small scraps of steak inside KONG toy. Spread cream cheese in large hole to hold scraps.

Fruit Salad:
Apple and carrot chunks
1/4 of a banana
Appropriate KONG toy
-Place apples and carrots in KONG toy. Mush the bananas in large hole to hold fruit in place. You can include other fruits and veggies: orange slices, peach and/or nectarine chunks, celery sticks, broccoli and/or cauliflower, tomato and black olive mixture.

Veggie KONG Omelet:
Your choice of shredded cheese
Any veggies that your pet may like
Appropriate KONG toy
-Scramble egg and fold in veggies. Put into KONG toy. Sprinkle with cheese over the top and microwave for about twenty seconds. Cool thoroughly before giving to pet.

Mac 'N Cheese:
Leftover macaroni and cheese
Small cube of Velveeta
Appropriate KONG toy
-Melt Velveeta in microwave until gooey. Add mac 'n cheese to KONG toy. Pour heated Velveeta into KONG. Make sure it has cooled before giving it to your pet.

Aunt Jeannie's Archeology KONG (for advanced dogs)
(by Jean Donaldson)
-Fill your KONG toy (the larger the better!) in layers and pack as tightly as possible.
LAYER ONE (deepest): KONG Stuff’N Beef and Liver treats.
LAYER TWO: KONG Stuff’N Tail Mix or dry dog kibble, Cheerios, sugar-free, salt-free peanut butter, dried banana chips, apples and apricots.
LAYER THREE: carrot sticks, turkey or leftover ravioli or tortellini. The last item inserted should be an apricot or piece of ravioli, presenting a smooth "finish" under the main opening. -

KONG on a Rope:
(by Ian Dunbar)
KONG Stuff’N Tail Mix or dry dog kibble
Appropriate KONG toy Rope
-Pull the rope through the KONG toy and knot it. Hang this upside down from a tree, deck or post. The small hole should be facing the ground. Fill the large hole of the KONG toy with KONG Stuff’N Tail Mix or dry dog kibble. Make the toy hang just high enough that it is out of your dog's reach. Your dog will spend hours trying to retrieve the treats from the KONG toy. At the end of the day, take the remaining treats and give to your pet as a reward. This is advanced work for your dog.


Frozen Jerky Pops:Peanut butterBouillonJerky Strips · WaterAppropriate KONG toyMuffin tin. Smear a small amount of peanut butter over small hole in your KONG toy. Fill with cool water and add a pinch of bouillon. Place a Jerky Stick inside KONG toy and freeze. This can also be put (once frozen) in a children's size swimming pool for a fun day of fishing for your pet. - by Terry Ryan
Simple, Tried and True:Peanut butter or KONG Stuff’N Peanut Butter PasteAppropriate KONG toySmear a small amount of peanut butter or KONG Stuff’N Peanut Butter Paste inside the cavity of your KONG toy. It's that easy! KONG Stuff’N Liver Paste, KONG Stuff’N Breath Treat or KONG Stuff’N Puppy Treat also work great. - by trainers and vets worldwide
Trixie's Favorite:Trixie, a 50 pound Aussie/Springer mix, loves turkey meat and KONG Stuff’N Liver Snacks mixed with slightly moistened dog food nuggets frozen inside her Kong. She is very clean about unstuffing - some dogs are not! - by Joe Markham

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Tale of Two Species

While browsing articles, Teacher's Pet Training found this. Hope you enjoy it!


A Tale of Two Species – Patricia McConnell Explains Why We Love Dogs

Written by Steve Dale

Just look at a puppy or a kitten, and you probably feel good. There’s a reason for that, according to certified applied animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell of Madison, WI, “It’s a hormone called oxytocin,” she says, “And that makes us feel all gooey which increases after, say a 20 minute session with a dog who simply looks at you. That hormone makes us feel good, partly by suppressing another hormone called cortisol (sometimes called the stress hormone). In other words, there’s physiology to explain why we’re all stupid in love with our pets.”

McConnell researched the impact of oxytocin and our relationship with pets in her book, “For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend,” (Ballantine Books, New York, NY, $24.95; 2006). “Lately, there’s been a lot of research on oxytocin in other mammals (aside form people or dogs). Oxytocin is clearly related to child rearing and social bonding. If you give a (mother) sheep a substance that blocks oxytocin, she rejects the lamb. If you supplement oxytocin (mother) sheep become more nurturing and more protective of their lamb. In some species of social mice, the dads do the child rearing. It turns out, in these species the males have higher oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a social glue that bonds us to our puppies, kitties, horses and cockatoos.”

Sure, the explanation of why we love dogs is often ascribed to the non-judgmental love dogs have for us. But our love for dogs is goes deeper. Besides, McConnell says they don’t always love us unconditionally.

McConnell recalls one women attending a herding demonstration with her Border Collie, but her dog clearly didn’t like her. By all accounts, she loved her dog, never physically abused the dog or anything like that. The dog simply didn’t care for her, and her owner didn’t have any idea. “The dog literally winced every time she touched her dog,” says McConnell. “It was awful for me to watch.”

Who’s fault is this sort of mismatch? Well, perhaps you could blame an adoption counselor at a shelter or maybe people yearning for a certain “look” without considering the dog’s personality and their own lifestyle. But then sometimes these mismatches just happen. When they do, McConnell is an advocate of re-homing. She says, “Greater love hath no owner than to realize their dog needs something you can’t give them. I’ve re-homed two dogs.”

Of course, McConnell, an expert who writes best-selling books and speaks around the world about dog behavior. If anyone could deal with any dog, it’s her. Still, she re-homed dogs “I had a puppy who just hated change, and I’m on the road all the time. He was a Border Collie who constantly needed to work; my four dogs and seven sheep just wasn’t enough. Most responsible people think, ‘well, I just can’t pass off this dog like it’s a toaster.’ And they’re right. But sometimes, it’s the right thing to do. I re-homed (that Border Collie) to a farm with 400 sheep. I knew he would be a happier dog, and he is a happier dog. I can still sob about it. I loved him. But I loved him enough to do the right thing.”

McConnell adds the most effective way you can demonstrate your love, and also a great tool for training dogs is through play. Try acting like a dog. Pretend to mimic a play bow. It’s a happy signal eliciting play, as dogs bends their front legs, and stick their butt into the air – you try to do the same. “We’re not very good at it,” McConnell says and laughs. “But it’s fun for us to try, even if we make fools of ourselves. Another one is ‘stop and start.’ Lunge a foot forward, then move back fast, to the side, then forward. Either your dog will say, ‘Ok, fun, let’s play’ or think you’re crazy.”

McConnell says, “Sometimes I wonder what dogs think of us. They clearly know we’re not dogs, but what are we? We’re creatures with happy faces, who never grow muzzle; who have less functional teeth; some of us are pretty endearing, but others are unpredictable; we have a disabled sense of smell, but are still really amazing hunters able to go to a big box and instantly create a meal.”

“What other two different species on the planet will risk their lives for the other?” ask McConnell. “I argue the relationship we have with dogs is a biological miracle.”

©Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services

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