How to Keep your dog busy on a rainy day

1.  The Shell Game.  Just like the street game, but instead of “find the nut” you place a tasty treat under one of the cups and then shuffle the cups around.  Your dog will enjoy guessing right every single time and getting the treat!

2.  Find the treats.  Have your dog in a stay as he watches you “hide” treats around the room.  Then release her and let her nose lead her to the jackpot.

3.  Stuffed Kong.  There are all kinds of things you can stuff her Kong with, but my favorite is freezing wet dog food.  It will keep her busy for hours.  It’s best to have two Kong to make sure one is always at the ready.

4.  Tug of War.  The good ole stand by.  BTW, letting your dog win sometimes does not turn him into a possessive or aggressive dog.

5.  Fetch.  Another great stand by.  Fetch not only is a great interactive game, but makes sure your dog sleeps through the night.

6.  Commands and Tricks.  Make your dog work for his food, and help her sharpen the saw on all that she’s learned through the months.

7.  Memory.  Chaser the Border Collie has a vocabulary of over 1,000 words.   Chaser can pick out a called name of a toy among hundreds!  You can set up a small group of toys and teach your dog to memorize what they are called.

8.  Teach a new trick.  Every dog has the capacity to learn at least 50 tricks.  It’s just a matter of spending the time to teach them.

9.  Which hand?  It’s as easy as it sounds.  Put a treat in one hand and then close both your hands into a fist.  Have your dog guess which hand the treat is in.  If she guesses right, she gets the treat.  If not, just keep playing it over – she’ll figure it out.

10.  Hide and Seek

Put your dog into a stay and then go into another room and hide.  Release her and let the fun begin.  You can make little sounds to get her going in the right direction.

Calming Signals

There is a great (short) book written by Trudi Rugrats entitled Calming Signals.   It’s all about the language dogs have for communicating with each other.  Dogs, being flock animals, have a language that consists of a big vocabulary of tail, face, body, ears, sounds, expression, and movement.  Dogs natural way of communicating is very foreign to the average human, but by reading this book, you can become much more in-tuned with what a dog is saying at any given time.  The canine’s go-to communication tools are called calming signals.  Calming signals are used by dogs to establish a social hierarchy, but also to resolve any conflicts that arise.  For instance, if a dog approaches another head-on, with hackles raised and eyes piercing, he is showing very aggressive signals to the other dog.  Now, if the other dog raises his hackles and stares back, well, that’s not good.  However, if the other dog simply lowers his head, turns away and sniffs the ground, chances are a confrontation is averted.

Rugaas goes through many true-life stories about many different situations in which dogs use calming signals.  I found it inspiring to imagine all the scenarios she took me through and seeing how the dogs, and her, interacted.  By the end of the book, I had a much better appreciation for dog language and a deeper respect for canines.  If you read the book, these skills will be carried over to your future interactions with dogs, and I’m sure, it will be highly beneficial to you and your dog’s relationship.

The Whole Dog Journal

I highly recommend subscribing to The Whole Dog Journal (  It’s an online magazine that’s, you guessed it, all about dogs. It covers everything from “best and worst dog foods” to allergies, to dog behavior, and puppies.  It also has its own blog.

One interesting article was about how to remove a tick from a dog.  It covers everything from how to check your dog for ticks to the removal and disposal of these nasty creatures.  One neat tip the article had was to take a masking tape roller and roll it over your dog’s entire body – this pulls off any loose ticks that are getting ready to do damage.  It discusses why ticks are so difficult to remove – they have a saliva that contains a cement-like substance that secures them in place.  

Tweezers can be used to remove the critters, but the article stresses that you need to grab as close to the skin as possible to avoid pulling the body from the head.  If you see a tine pointer at the front, you did not successfully remove the entire tick.  At that point, you need to grab a needle to finish the job, by picking at it gently like you would a splinter.

There is even more detail in the article on removal and disposal.  Killing a tick is quite the operation – I’ll leave that for you to read yourself.

My dog freaks out when UPS comes

This is a common problem.  Your dog is just trying to protect you from strangers.  I have found that, for the most part, this is an easy fix, but just takes time to implement.  You start out by sitting with your dog and simply start tapping the floor and instantly treating him.  Do this for a 5 or 10 times and then graduate to a louder knock, rinse and repeat.  Then go to a door in the house (not front door), knock lightly and immediately treat your dog.  See where we are going?  Then tap harder and immediately treat your dog.  I should point out that you should first exercise your dog but don’t feed him prior to this exercise.  Next, go to the front door and start with a light tap, tap, tap, treat, and move up to a loud knocking (and treat). 


The next part is to have someone on the other side of the door lightly tap, but you need to be ready to treat.  If there is no barking, make sure you vocalize your happiness with your dog’s behavior.  Then, if he/she is being good, tap more vigorously and treat.  If, at any time, your dog regresses, you will have to take a step back in the process, even all the way to the beginning if necessary.  If the doorbell sets your dog off, incorporate that at the end.  Good luck!

My potty-trained dog sneaks away and poops in the corner

The first thing to check, unfortunately, is if there is something medical going on.  Next, put yourself in your pup’s shoes – have there been any changes in his/her environment?  If so, this may be causing some undue stress on your canine.  Sometimes, dogs relieve themselves due to loss of control when they are frightened or stressed.  The obvious solution is to reset the environment back to normal, but if you cannot, just be sure to his potty break schedule and things will get back to normal sooner than later.  Most problems can be traced back to insufficient exercise.  If that is not the case, you can designate when your pup eats and drinks and set a schedule for a walk/outdoor break at the proper length of time after eating.

Here are other reasons your dog may be pooping in the house:

  • Substrate preference – if your puppy was used to newspaper – take some outside for a while

  • Being inside too long – obvious answer

  • Poor diet – if all other conditions are ruled out, try changing the kibble

  • Old age – limit the old man/lady to fewer areas of the house, use pads or diapers, take outside more frequently

  • Medical

  • Changes in schedule – try to return to earlier schedule.  If impossible, try to keep the new routine the same and keep a schedule of when it’s time for the potty breaks

  • Distractions during potty break – try different location.  Be sure not to over-stimulate your dog prior to going outside – he has a job to do

  • Fear/Anxiety – You may need to work on desensitizing your dog to outdoor sounds.  Try taking your dog out when there are no trash trucks or mowers around.  Be sure to use high quality treats to reward

  • Past mistakes that were not fully cleaned – Dogs like to go and re-mark their territory.  Try distilled white vinegar and baking soda.

  • Separation Anxiety – This is a big problem that requires professional help.  If you go it alone, be sure not to leave your pup alone for more than 3 hours.  Use a walking/sitting service.  When you are home, be sure to properly exercise and feed your pup before leaving.  Leave a puzzle toy or peanut-butter-filled kong in his/her crate or pen.

  • Changes in the environment – new dog/cat/family member.  If only one new change, spend extra time socializing your dog.  If two new members, socialize separately at first.

Why do dogs eat poop?

The first thing you will want to do is have the Vet check your dog out for medical reasons.   It could be enzyme deficiency, endocrine pancreatic deficiency (undigested food coming out in poop), malabsorption, or parasites.  It could even be a lack of quality food.  If your dog is experiencing weight loss, there is a good chance parasites are the cause.  The problem may just be under-feeding, but if it’s medical, your Vet will root out the cause.


It could also be an environmental issue:

  • Boredom

  • Old behavior – mother’s often eat the poop of her youngsters to keep her den clean – if your pup picked up on that action, he/she may be mimicking her behavior

  • Anxiety or fear – dogs often eat poop to calm themselves, or to hide the evidence if they fear being punished/scolded for pooping in the wrong place

  • Attention – if even you’re upset, attention is still attention


How to stop dog from eating poop?


Have a vet confirm there are no medical issues.  It may be that the dog needs a multivitamin, Vitamin B deficiency in particular.  The vet may tell you to use enzyme supplementation.  Meat tenderizer can be used in this case.


If the reason your dog eats poop is environmental, there are several taste-aversion products out there that will act as a poop-eating deterrent.  You can search them out on Amazon or pet stores.  If it is a lack of quality food, buy a higher-protein, higher quality food.  However, the best way to limit the problem is through training and environmental management methods such as keeping the area clean at all times, keep the litter box (if any) out of reach, close supervision in the house and on walks for a period of time, and training (“leave it” and “come”).  After your dog poops, have your dog leave it and come to you for a treat.   This will develop a habit of eating good treats instead of the foul ones on the ground or wee-wee pad.  Good luck!

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