Fun Ways to Train Your Dog

Looking For A Good Dog Breeder
By: Alton Hargrave

If you are interested in getting a dog, you should be interested in dog breeders.

The safest place to get a new dog would be from a dog breeder. That gives you a history or insight of the prospective dog you are interested in. You can find dog breeders in the newspaper or online. If you see a great looking dog in public, you could strike up a conversation with the owner and ask where they got their dog. Try to verify the breeders reputation. There are several methods you can use to make sure the breeder is professional, reliable and can be trusted.

Ask the Dog Breeder for References.

A good, experienced dog breeder can provide you with references to some of his or her clients. Most people who have purchased a puppy from them would be glad to share their experiences with you. Of course, it would be even better if you locate past clients without being directed by the breeder. Not that easy, but word gets around, good or bad. Maybe some of your freinds or family have dealt with this breeder in the past.

Be Ready to Ask Questions and Expect to Answer Many Questions Yourself.

Good breeders are very interested in screening prospective buyers themselves. They want the puppies to go to good homes. Questions such as whether you have small children, size of your home and yard. Is the yard fenced? Have you ever owned a dog before? Do you already have a veterinarian? Can you or someone else spend the neccessary time with a very young puppy until the puppy is older? If a breeder fails to ask questions such as these, he may not care about the welfare of his puppies. Or, he may be having a hard time selling...a possible sign of other problems.

Is Price Important?

Of course! Price is important with anything you invest in. With some breeds, such as Yorkies, the price will range from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. But, more money doesn't always mean better dog. If you are getting into the dog show scene, you would need more expensive dogs. Most of us are not interested in showing our dogs. Compare prices to decide what your needs are.

Health Guarantees

You should get some sort of health guarantee before you buy. In writing. Most breeders give only a short guarantee for health due to the many deseases a puppy faces. That is why you should take your puppy to a good vet as soon as possible. Do this before your health guarantee runs out. You will want to get your new puppy any shots he needs. Choose a vet that keeps up with the latest information involving puppy innoculations. Some of the shots given in the past are not needed today and may even be harmful.

Good breeders will take all the time you need to answer your questions. Get everything in writing when you buy and follow your dog breeders suggestions. Remember, they have the experience.

Author Bio
Alton Hargrave offers advice and resources for those interested in dogs. His website, contains honest information regarding all breeds of dogs, deseases of dogs and how to maintain your dog.

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Dog Treats: Should You Use
Them In Dog Training?
By: Keith Gilbert

There's always been some controversy over whether you should give treats (i.e. dog biscuits or MilkBones) when you are training a dog. There are advantages and disadvantages to giving treats to a dog when you are training him. This article will hopefully clear up any confusion you might have.

Now, some people say, "Of course! Give the dog treats so he'll obey you. After all, you won't get his attention if you don't give him anything he enjoys." On the other hand, some other people will say, "No, don't give the dog treats! He'll be only obeying you for the food."

There is truth to both the opinions stated above. The dog does need some incentive to obey you, right? But also, what if they dog does begin to work only for the food? What then? If he's not hungry and doesn't really want the food, then he doesn't have any reason to obey you!

So should you use dog treats? The answer is YES, but in moderation . Don't give the dog a biscuit every single time he obeys you; instead, sometimes just praise him excessively instead. Also, don't make the "prize" too big or you'll be overfeeding him. For example, break a biscuit in half or even cut it into three pieces so you're not feeding your dog too much when you train him.

Here's another idea for training young puppies. Don't feed them biscuits at all - just use adult dog food pellets. The pellets are big enough to be a treat for the young puppy's tiny mouth, but small enough that it won't overfeed the puppy.

Another very important point I'd like to make is that you shouldn't train your dog to obey you only for the food as a reward. Although you might not consciously be doing this, it's easy to slip into the habit of just rewarding your dog with a treat every single time he does anything remotely good.

Instead, you want your dog to think of you as the "strong master," or the "alpha" over him, so that he obeys you because you're the master and because he wants to please you, not just because you have a treat. You can do this by praising him a lot in a high voice when he does something good and in a deep, "you're in trouble" voice when he does something bad. You want him to distinguish between the voices and figure out that a high voice means "good" and low means "bad" and whenever you do the low voice, you are not pleased with him.

I hope this article has helped you in training your dog. I hope you have much success in developing a well-behaved, friendly dog!

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Why Set Up a Fish Tank?
By: Mike Magnum

You've been to the pet store and noticed the fish tanks and thought "maybe I could do that". Guess what, you can "do that" and it's not nearly as difficult as you may think.

The tropical fish keeping hobby has come a long way over the past decade thanks in part to advances in aquarium equipment and the plethora of readily available information. There are many outstanding fish and aquarium books available as well as an abundant amount of information on the internet, forums and discussion groups. Running your own tank is way easier than it was just 10 years ago.

In the past, folks would go to the pet store and buy the tank, equipment and fish all at once not knowing they were setting themselves up for failure. They would get the aquarium set up and running, put some fish in and everything would be fine for a couple of days but then the fish would start to die. Now we know better. We know about the crucial aquarium nitrogen cycle that must take place in all new tanks. We know how to properly acclimate tropical fish to our tank water and how to periodically use our aquarium test kits to test the tank water to make sure nothing is out of whack. We have better access to fish behavior and can determine which fishes shouldn't be kept together in the same tank. The information is out there, at our fingertips, at libraries, book stores and the search engines.

So, with all this available information we can quickly come up to speed with running a tank in our home. There are many different types of aquarium setups but the most common types are freshwater, saltwater fish only and saltwater reef tanks. Here is a very brief intro:

Freshwater Aquarium
The mainstay of the hobby and the most popular setup, a freshwater tank setup can be a great first tank and it will give you the necessary experience needed for branching out into other types of tanks. This setup is the least expensive in terms of equipment and livestock and is not usually as demanding as the other types. There are literally hundreds of different types of fish available so finding a species you'll like shouldn't pose a problem. You can keep live aquarium plants in your tank as well. Keeping plants may require an upgrade to your lighting system and you may have to add supplements to your tank water. Freshwater aquarium plants add another dimension of beauty to a freshwater tank.

Saltwater Aquarium
Saltwater tanks are perceived to be more difficult than freshwater tanks. In times past, that statement may have been true but I don't think that is necessarily the case today. With the increasing use of live rock as the primary biological filter in a saltwater tank setup, the chances of successfully running this type of aquarium have dramatically improved. A fish only saltwater tank equipped with live rock will be more expensive than a freshwater tank because you'll need to purchase live rock and a protein skimmer. Marine fish are also more expensive than their freshwater counterparts.

Saltwater Reef Tank
The ultimate tank setup in this hobby has to be the reef tank. It's like having a small piece of the coral reef in your living room. The emphasis is on the corals and invertebrates with a limited amount of fish. These tanks are however, more expensive to setup and maintain. Equipment such as metal halide lighting, protein skimmers, live rock, testing equipment, supplements, water purification units (reverse osmosis and deionization) and sumps drive the cost of this setup. Don't forget about the ongoing maintenance costs (electricity) as well.

The livestock costs for live corals, fish and invertebrates are also very expensive. This type of tank can be very demanding when first set up because you'll need to monitor the water parameters periodically and take corrective action when necessary. Even though this is the most expensive type of setup, it can also be the most breathtaking. You should to do your homework (research) and figure out exactly what you want to accomplish befo! re buying your first piece of reef equipment.

No matter what type of tank setup you choose, as long as you do your homework beforehand you'll enjoy this hobby. Research the equipment and livestock before purchasing them and you will prevent many headaches and keep some of that hard earned money in your wallet!

The satisfaction of watching fish in our home can be relaxing, educational and can be a great conversational piece all at the same time. Many kids are extremely fascinated with tropical fish and you can use this as a great learning tool to teach your children responsibility, biology and science. Teach them about the critical biological cycle that takes place called the Nitrogen Cycle. Teach them how to test the tank water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Show them the proper way to feed and care for the fish. Show them how to do water changes and maybe they can help out with this vital task required for keeping fish in our homes. Explain to them why we can't keep a common pleco in our 10 gallon tank. The educational opportunities abound.

If you're interested in setting up your own tank I encourage you to do some homework beforehand. Go out and purchase an aquarium book on the type of tank you're interested in, subscribe to a tropical fish magazine, browse the internet and join a tropical fish forum to increase your knowledge. This is a fun and exciting hobby that gets better all the time!

Author Bio
Mike is an editor for, a tropical fish website specifically designed for beginners to the fishkeeping hobby.

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5 Important Considerations
When Using A Training Collar
By: Jonathan Cheong

The basic dog training collar goes by many names, including choke collar, choke chain, training collar, correction collar and slip collar. These training collars are among the most popular and most commonly used tools with both amateur and professional dog trainers.

While a training collar is an effective tool, like any tool it must be used properly in order to be effective for you and safe for the dog. Among the most important considerations when using a training collar are:

--How the collar fits the dog. It is essential that the training collar be properly fitted to the dog. A properly fitted training collar is easier to use and safer for the dog.

--Putting the training collar on properly. There is a right way and a wrong way to fit a training collar, and putting it on wrong will make it both ineffective and potentially dangerous.

--Using the collar properly. A training collar should be used as a sharp reminder to the dog, not as punishment. It is important that constant pressure be avoided when using a training collar.

--The weight of the chain and the size of the links on the training collar. It is important that the weight of the chain be appropriate to the size and weight of the dog.

--The placement of the collar on the dog. It is important to properly place the collar on the dog.

The importance of a properly fitted training collar

Determining if the training collar is the right size is relatively easy. The ideal size training collar should fit snugly, yet comfortably over the dog's head. It is important that the training collar not fit too tightly, but it should not be too loose either. A training collar that is too tight will be too hard to put on and off. On the other hand, a training collar that is too loose can accidentally fall off of the dog's head when it lowers its head.

It is also important to know that a training collar that is too long for the dog requires a great deal of finesse to use properly. A collar that is too long can still be used, but it will require more skill on the part of the handler.

Properly sizing and measure the dog for a training collar

It is best to measure the dog's neck with a tape measure, then add 2 to 3 inches to that measurement. So if your dog has a neck 12" in diameter, you would want to buy a training collar that is 14" in length. Chain slip collars are generally sized in two inch increments.

Fitting the collar properly

When fitting a training collar, the part of the chain which is connected to the leash should be on the top of the dog's neck. With this type of arrangement, the collar releases the instant the leash is loosened. Training collars work by making the collar tight and loose in a fast manner. Tightening the collar is the first part of the correction, and making it loose is the second part of the correction.

If the part of the training collar that is attached to the leash is not on the top of the dog's neck, the collar can still be made tight, but it will not release back to a loose state easily. This constant pressure on the dog's neck initiates a counter response on the part of the animal, and the dog will quickly learn to pull and strain against the leash.

Finally, it is important to purchase a training collar that is well made and strong. Buying a high quality training collar, slip collar or choke collar is vital to the safety of yourself and your dog.

If the worst happens, and your dog's training collar does break, it is important not to panic. Most dogs will be unaware that they have broken the collar, at least for a few minutes. In most cases, if you act as if the leash is still connected, you can probably get control of your dog back quickly.

When securing a loose dog, the best strategy is to make a quick slip lead by running the snap on the leash through its handle and then slipping it over the dog's head. It may not be the best arrangement, but it will certainly do in a pinch.

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Discover How You Can Train Your Dog With Effective Results In Less Than 1 Week Using Proven Simple Steps For FREE!

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What To Look For In A Rescue Cat
From An Animal Shelter
By: Patricia Craggs

If you have decided to get a new cat for your family, why not choose one from your local cat rescue home or animal shelter? There are so many animals that are in desperate need of a loving home. By adopting from a shelter instead of buying from a pet shop, you help those animals that are most in need to find a home and help fund the rescue work so that other cats can be saved. Many of these felines have had difficult lives so far - they may have been abandoned, abused or neglected by their owners. So, responsible rescue centres will take special care to find these cats a good home. They will give you as much information as possible about their charges' personalities and histories to help you choose wisely, but also take note of these following pointers before you make your choice.

Take some time to just watch the cats and kittens without trying to interact with them. Observe how active they are and what type of attitude they have. A cat that stays huddled in a corner or appears lethargic may be sick, which could mean expensive vets bills in the future. Or the poor cat may nave been abused and so is terrified of everyone and everything. If you have the time and patience, please don't automatically dismiss an abused feline. They can repay your care many times over. Take my friend's cat, Sunny, as an example.

Sunny can be affectionate but as she was abused by her previous owners, she can be easily startled and scared. Her new owners found out the extent of her abuse when they went to the vets to make sure she couldn't have kittens The vet,however,had difficulty finding her ovaries. It was then they learnt that Sunny had been repeatedly drop-kicked by her previous owners and her insides had been "rearranged". Due to this Sunny is nervous around people standing up, but fine if you don't move very much and just lie down quietly, then she will come and cuddle up to you. Her life has changed dramatically by having loving owners.

Observe how playful a cat is.
Some pet owners are looking for playful cats that will scamper about the house and chase and play with toys. Others would prefer a more docile cat who will spend hours cuddled up in the owner's lap.

Examine the Cat
Start with the eyes. Bright and clear eyes with no discharge or weepiness are a good sign.

The nose should be clean and slightly moist. Again, there should be no discharge.
The ears should also be clean. Those that are extremely dirty are potentially contaminated with ear mites. Ear mites can be very difficult to get rid of and can easily spread to other cats at home.

Finally, the cat's fur should be clean, shiny, and free of fleas. Fleas can be particularly annoying to both the cat and the owner. Eliminating fleas once they infest the home can be very difficult.

Listen to the Cat
A cat that coughs, sneezes, or sounds congested can be quite ill and should be avoided. Also, listen for sounds of contentment. A cat who is purring is probably happy and healthy. A meow can indicate either trouble or contentment. A long, pleading meow could show that the cat is ill. On the other hand, a playful meow could mean the cat is already developing a bond with its potential new owner!

Play with Kitty
After narrowing your choice down to a few possibles that appear to have the appropriate personality, it's time to play! See how they play with each other first to get a feeling for their disposition. How each cat interacts with other felines is particularly important for pet owners who already have a pet cat at home.

Play with the kitties yourself.
Take out a string, ball of wool or car keys and dangle them in front of each cat. The one that seems most alert and active is likely to be the better choice. Of course, you could always take home more than one if the decision is just too hard to make!

Word of Caution
Any cat or kitten that comes from a shelter will be stressed to some level. This stress has put them at a higher risk of attracting a respiratory infection. They may also be more prone to bite or scratch you before you have bonded. Most cat rescue shelters offer a spayed or neutered cat, with full shots and de-worming but you must also get your cat tested immediately for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

Be aware of any potential problems. Listen to the advice of the shelter workers and don't rush into any decisions.
However, it is so rewarding to adopt a cat from a cat rescue shelter and know that you have saved its life and given it a comfortable home.

Author Bio
For more information on cat care, cat gifts and products and for general "cat chat" visit All About Cat Care, at

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Test Whether Your Dog Is Ready To Train
And Fun Ways To Train Your Dog
By: Jonathan Cheong

Coming when called is a vital skill that every dog must learn, both for its own safety and that of those around it. A disobedient dog that refuses to come when called could easily be hit by a car, get into a fight with another dog, or suffer a variety of other bad experiences.

A well trained dog that comes when called can safely be taken out to play in the local park, at the beach, on the hiking trail, or anywhere else the owner and dog may wish to go.

Basic training to come when called is relatively easy and straightforward, and involves providing praise, treats and other perks when the dog does as his owner wants. After these basic come when called training exercises are mastered, there are a number of fun exercises that can be introduced to challenge the dog and pique its interest.

Making training into a fun game is one of the best ways to motivate dog and handler alike. It is easy for training sessions to become routine and boring, and it is important to keep them from degenerating into this state.

Before beginning any food based training exercise, it is important to make sure that the dog is properly motivated and ready to respond to treat based training. Testing the dog is simply a matter of taking a piece of his regular food and waving it in front of the dog's nose. If the dog shows great enthusiasm for the food, it is ready to start the training. If not, it is best to wait until the dog is in a more receptive mood.

The treats that work best for treat based training games like hide and seek are cut up quarter inch or smaller pieces of chicken, cheese or liver. In other words, something your dog will love. It is best to use very small pieces to avoid overfeeding the dog during he training sessions.

One great game for you and another family member or friend to play with your dog is simply back and forth recall. This is a great exercise for teaching your dog to come whenever it is called by a member of the family. Dogs often learn to only respond to one person, and this can be a problem when other people are watching the dog.

That is one reason why professional dog trainers always insist on working with the owner as well as the dog. A well trained dog must learn to respond to whoever is in charge, not just the owner or usual handler.

In the back and forth recall game, two or more people stand approximately ten yards apart, in a safe place like a fenced in yard. One person calls the dog and asks him to sit and say until another person asks the dog to come.

When the dog responds to the command to come, it is rewarded with a treat. Most dogs respond wonderfully to this exercise and love playing this game. When playing the back and forth recall game, it is important that only the person who called the dog be allowed to give the dog a treat.

After the dog has mastered the back and forth recall game, the humans in the game can start to spread further out, thus turning the back and forth recall game into a fun game of hide and seek. The hide and seek game starts with two or more people in the center room of the house. Every time they call the dog to come, they spread out further away from where they started.

As the game continues, one person will be at one end of the house, while another may be at the opposite end. What makes the hide and seek game so much fun for the dog is that he must seek out the person to get the treat, instead of simply running up to a person in plain sight.

This type of seeking behavior appeals to many of the dog's natural instincts. After all, dogs are naturally hunting animals, and seeking out food is second nature to them.

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Fun Dog Activities
By: Mike Mathews

All dog breeds ( were developed for a purpose. Some breeds were developed to herd sheep, some to hunt game, and some to pull sleds. Dogs, like humans, enjoy having a purpose in life. Dogs like to lead a structured life and be able to associate with their owners in activities and be given the opportunity to please their owner. The following is a short list of fun activities that you may want to consider for your dog.

Dog Agility is a sport in which a handler must control and direct his dog around an obstacle course within a set period of time. Dogs must be controlled off-leash using only voice and body language commands. The handler runs beside the dog and directs the dog through the obstacle course with precision and speed - trying to accumulate the minimum number of faults (both missed obstacles and time faults). Obstacles include: A-frames, elevated dog walks, teeter-totters, tunnels, jumps (such as hurdles and tires), weave poles (like a slalom), pause tables (where the dog must lie down for a fixed time), and other obstacles. In order to be fair, there are usually classes of competition to group dogs of similar size and experience. Therefore there will be several winners at a competition. Dogs and handlers need to be very well trained and seem to enjoy this sport immensely. There are a number of organizations involved in agility performance around the world who sanction clubs to allow them to host agility competitions. In the US, some of these organizations include: the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), the United States Dog Agility Association, and the North American Dog Agility Council. Elsewhere in the world: the Kennel Club (in the UK), the Agility Association of Canada and the FCI (World Canine Organization) are all involved.

Obedience is a skill that ranges from mastering everyday commands that all dogs should know to competitive exercises that require significant training and aptitude to excel. You may start out teaching your puppy and young dog the basic obedience commands and find that you and your dog have an aptitude for obedience skills that you would like to take to a higher level. In competitive obedience the dog and handler team must perform prescribed activities off leash and in a carefully defined way. If the dog has the aptitude and training it will gain skills to allow it to advance through the ranks from Novice to Open (intermediate) to Utility (advanced) competitions. At each level the requirements become more difficult and the number of exercises to be performed get longer. Exercises are all done off leash using voice and body language commands and include such activities as: having the dog stay while you walk away; follow the handler in the heel position through complex patterns; come on command; sit and lie down for fixed periods of time while the handler is out of the dog's sight; retrieve items over a high jump; and find a scented object amongst a group of identical non-scented objects. Dogs can earn obedience titles in obedience championships. Purebred dogs can compete in obedience trials sanctioned by the AKC, while the UKC recognizes other purebred dog competitions. As well, there are mixed breed competitions sanctioned by the Mixed Breed Dog Club of America and other organizations. In Canada, the Canadian Kennel Club sanctions obedience trials and awards titles.

Lure coursing is a sport for sighthounds that involves chasing a manually or mechanically operated artificial lure across a field in a "coursing" pattern. The competition is usually restricted to pure-bred sighthounds including: Afghan Hounds, Basenjis, Borzois, Greyhounds, Ibizan Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Italian Greyhounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds, and Whippets. The operator keeps the lure or "prey" just in front of the chasing sighthounds until they have completed the course. The course must have a minimum number of turns and is usually 600 to 1000 yards long. The hounds love to play this sport and puppies can be introduced to the sport through lure coursing practice sessions. Competitions usually consist of two runs for each dog breed for dogs that have been pre-certified or qualified. In the US, the American Sighthound Field Association or the AKC can "certify" that dogs have been trained and are eligible to enter their sanctioned competitions. In Canada, the Canadian Kennel Club sanctions lure coursing but excludes the Italian Greyhound because they consider it a toy dog.

Tracking can be learned by all dog breeds ( because all dogs use their noses to identify things and explore the world. Training can be started as early as 10 to 12 weeks of age as all puppies love to use their noses to sniff out a trail. As with all training, positive rewards (treats, praise etc,) and re-enforcement work best. The AKC sanctions tracking tests and events in the US. This vigorous non-competitive outdoor sport allows dogs to demonstrate their ability to recognize and follow human scents. In Canada, the CKC sponsors tracking events and you can check their website for a list of nearby events.

Field Trials are regularly held for Basset Hounds, Beagles and Dachshunds to demonstrate their ability to find and track game. Similarily Field Trials and Hunting Trials are held almost every weekend across the country for: the Pointing Breeds, the Retrievers, and Spaniels to allow them to compete and demonstrate their hunting abilities under a strict set of conditions. If you are an owner of a hunting dog puppy, you will want to look into many of the organized activities designed for your dog. Check out the AKC or CKC websites for a list of contacts and field trials in your area.

Other Fun Activites that you might wish to explore include flyball, frisbee, herding and drafting competitions.

Author Bio
Mike Mathews is a contributing writer and editor for the popular dog breed site: He provides informative, real-world advice and tips on dog breeds, dog health, dog grooming and more. As well be sure to check out his free report on Dog Training

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