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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Dog > Training & Behavior

Understanding Your Dog's Body Language

Dogs communicate with us through a variety of ways-not just barking and tail wagging. Dogs are complex and use their body to talk all the time. Here’s what yours might be trying to tell you:   “I’m stressed out and unsure of what’s going on.” When a dog is stressed, you may notice him quivering, whining or even crying. He will probably have & Read more �

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Staying Home for Halloween? Party Tips and Doorbell Issues

Throwing a Halloween bash this year?  Is Fido invited?  Here are a few simple tips to make sure he stays safe and is enjoyed by all: Keep him on leash or crate him while everyone arrives so he doesn’t accidentally get out the door. Leashing him while greeting your guests will also help you ensure he stays seated and doesn’t jump on & Read more �

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Halloween Training Tricks

Halloween is a great time for the whole family to spend together.  If you plan to let Fido participate in the trick or treating, teaching him a few basic commands will make your Halloween fun much easier.  These three basics: Sit (so he won’t jump on the kids), stay (so he won’t run out when you open the door), and & Read more �

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How to Choose the Right Gate for Your Pet

Whether your four-legged family member is a new puppy or a senior dog, every Pet Parent knows there are times when it’s simply not safe to give pets the run of the house or yard. And there are a variety of gates and exercise pens available to keep pets big and small safely contained. Here are tips to help you & Read more �

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Crates, Gates and Kennels: An Overview

Crates, carriers, doors, and kennels ... all are designed to keep your pet safe and secure. You have a number of choices available, depending on your particular needs.   Hard Carriers These are generally made of a high-density polypropylene, are durable and are the only type of crate accepted on airlines. These make excellent indoor homes for your pet because the pet feels & Read more �

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Frequently Asked Questions about Crates

  1. Is using a crate humane? Yes, using a crate properly for the containment of your pet is humane. Dog, by nature, are den animals and like to have a safe area in your home that they can call their own. A crate can provide this safe, personal area. Without a crate, your dog may find unsafe areas in your home & Read more �

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Finding the Right Harness for Your Dog

Unlike collars, which control a dog by attaching to the neck and/or head, a harness wraps to the dog's body. The leash attaches to a ring at the top of the dog's back, usually at the withers (shoulder blades). A variety of different styles are available, merely variations on a theme, with the dog's comfort the primary consideration. No-Pull Harness There & Read more �

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Train a Disabled Pet? Yes, You Can!

 There are many organizations to train dogs to help disabled people, but it can be hard to find information on training people to help disabled dogs.  The most common disability that seems to cause trouble in training is when the dog is deaf.  Just because a dog is missing one of his five senses doesn’t mean he’ll be hard to & Read more �

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Keep Your Dog Safe Around the Pool, Lake and Ocean

Many dogs love the water, but not all dogs are naturally designed for water activities. Whether she's a swimmer or a watcher, your dog wants to be with her family at poolside or at the lake or beach. These water safety tips can keep your dog safe this summer: Never throw your dog into the water. Introduce her to the water & Read more �

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Teach Your Dog to ''Salute''

Teaching your dog to “salute” is a fun and cute trick to show off, especially during patriotic holidays and events. To teach your dog to salute, you are going to use a process called “shaping.”  Think of shaping as molding your dog’s behavior from how he currently responds to a cue to how you would like him to respond to that & Read more �

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Cool Summer Training Tips

Depending on what part of the country you live in, summer can just be too hot to train your dog outside. So for those days when even an early trip to the park isn’t in the cards, it's best to train and play inside. It takes some creativity, but you don’t have to let your training take a backseat to the & Read more �

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Proper Socialization for Fearful Dogs

Lately I’ve seen a lot of fearful dogs coming to class for socialization. Specifically, these dogs are fearful of humans, but rather than display any aggressive behavior, they tend to hide or freeze. As someone trained in reading dog body language, it is clear that the dogs are communicating, “Don’t touch me!” However, because they are not growling or snapping, & Read more �

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Try Treating Your Dog with Toys to Reward Good Behavior

While trainers often rely on food to train dogs, it can be easy and fun to reward using toys and play. For something to be useful as a reward, the dog has to be willing to work for it. So if you have a dog that enjoys playing, but not nearly as much as he enjoys eating or praise, rewarding with toys & Read more �

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Keep Your Dog Busy with Enrichment Toys

Enrichment dog toys can be one of the most useful tools for a Pet Parent. Also known as puzzle or treat dispensing toys, they can provide hours of productive fun for your dog. KONG has a variety of toys that fit this category, including Classic KONG and Goodie Bone. If introduced correctly, they will occupy your dog with a progressively & Read more �

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Teach Your Dog to Stand/Stay

Proper application of a flea/tick preventative is important to its overall effectiveness, but as we Pet Parents know, keeping your dog still while you're applying it can be challenging. To help make this process easier on you and your dog, teach him to “Stand/Stay.” This simply means that the dog is standing on all fours and staying still or not moving his feet.  First & Read more �

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Puppy Training-The Benefits of Treats

When you train your dog, the dog is doing the correct behavior to either: 1) get something he wants; or 2) avoid something he doesn’t want.  There are many rewards (technically called reinforcers) that you can use while training your dog.  Food is generally the reinforcer of choice for many reasons: • Food is considered a “primary” reinforcer; meaning, it is essential for & Read more �

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Picking the Right Dog Training Class

Wondering which dog training class is the right one for you?  The following descriptions of PetSmart accredited dog training classes can help you decide: Potty Training Seminars (for Pet Parents only – no pets), which are one-time classes that last one hour, are great for people that have not yet gotten their new dog or for someone that has a new & Read more �

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Doggone myths: are mixed breeds healthier than purebreds?

Does hybrid vigor, the notion that dogs which are less related have increased fertility and health, really exist? Sure. It just doesn’t occur quite as often as people think because it is more than a matter of not mating the same breed. People assume that as long as the female and stud are different breeds, the offspring will be healthy, but that’s & Read more �

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Establish Yourself as Your Dog's Leader

There is a lot of talk about being your dog's "pack leader." It's true that dogs need leaders. The best way to become a leader is to establish routines and rules with outcomes that are predictable for your dog.  Whether your dog is too pushy and needs to be reminded who is in charge or whether your dog is nervous and & Read more �

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Consider Breed, Gender When Adding New Dogs to Your Pack

Bringing home a new baby can create anxiety for an older sibling. Similarly, introducing a new dog to your existing pack will likely cause upheaval and stress for pets and Pet Parents alike. While we may hope the new family member will be greeted with happy tail wags, the reality is that animals need to re-establish territory and pack order when a new & Read more �

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Help Your Dog Deal with a New Pup Arrival

Let’s say you want to bring home an irresistible little puppy for your child. Great - except for one potential problem: You’ve already had a dog for years, and he has never shared his space with another pooch. Suddenly, your old friend may wonder why he has to compete for attention and love from you. Will jealousy get the better & Read more �

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Pet Training: Why the Clicker is Quicker

One of the most important aspects to training your pet is timing.  In order for your pet to understand what you are trying to communicate, you need to provide them with feedback within one second of the desired behavior. How do you give your pet positive feedback this quickly?  Use "markers."  Proper use of a marker will not only increase the speed & Read more �

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Teaching Your Cat Tricks Starts with a Click

You may have heard cats can’t be trained.  Not so!  With the proper techniques, any animal can be trained. You just need a few helpful tips to get you started. Teach your cat to “target.” Targeting is simply teaching your cat to put a certain body part, like his nose or paw, on a certain item like a target stick. There are many commercial target & Read more �

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Puppy Meet Child: How to Properly Introduce Puppies and Children

 If you have children and are adopting a puppy or are a puppy Pet Parent and are having young children over to visit, you'll want to introduce them to one another in a way that is friendly and non-threatening for both parties.  Here are some tips to help introduce your pet to young children:  If you have children and are adopting a puppy or are a puppy & Read more �

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How to Teach Your Dog to ''Come'' When You Call Him

Have you ever wondered why your dog comes when you say “cookie,” “walk,” or “dinner,” but won’t come when you say “come?”  It’s all about what happens when he gets there.  If you only teach your dog one thing, coming when called is your best choice.  The good news: it’s not hard to do! To start, you need to use his & Read more �

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Teach Your Dog to ''High-Five''

The "high-five" is a simple and popular trick to teach your dog that is fun to show off to friends. To teach your dog to "high-five," you are going to use a process called "shaping."  Think of shaping as molding your dog’s behavior from how he currently responds to a cue to how you would like him to respond to that & Read more �

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Reward Your Pet with ''Zero-Calorie'' Treats

Not all pet treats have to be edible. If you're concerned about your pet's caloric intake, but still want to reward their good behavior, there are healthier, zero-calorie alternatives, says Lynne Hudlow in her blog posted on banfield.net, the web site of Banfield, The Pet Hospital®. Not all pet treats have to be edible. If you're concerned about your pet's caloric & Read more �

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Tips to Curb Your Dog's Barking Habit

Dogs bark for a reason. Knowing why they are barking, or more specifically how dogs communicate through barking, is the first step to stopping their inappropriate barking.   The three big reasons a dog barks are: attention, excitement and alarm. Barking for Attention: this type of barking is generally directed at you. The good news is that this it is the easiest to control. The bad news & Read more �

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How to Teach Your Dog to ''Drop It''

Tired of your dog stealing your socks, shoes and other stuff? Even worse, are you tired of chasing him around the couch to get it back? These tips will help curb that behavior and save your personal items from becoming chew toys:   Puppy proof the house. Use baby gates and shut doors to keep your dog from getting into trouble.  Make sure you have & Read more �

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Tips to Keep Your Pooch Behaving His Holiday Best

The holidays are here and what better gift to give yourself than a well-mannered pooch?  Since the holidays usually include guests of some sort, we’ve included tips to help Fido be the hit of your holidays! The holidays are here and what better gift to give yourself than a well-mannered pooch?  Since the holidays usually include guests of some sort, we’ve & Read more �

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Teach Your Dog to ''Leave It''

“Leave it” can be a lifesaving cue for your dog to know. It can stop him from chasing the cat, eating medication that fell on the floor or stealing your dinner off the TV tray. And it’s not difficult to teach.   “Leave it” can be a lifesaving cue for your dog to know. It can stop him from chasing the cat, eating medication that fell & Read more �

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Sarcoptic Mange and its Itchy Symptoms

  Sarcoptic Mange Sarcoptic mange or scabies is caused by a microscopic insect, a mite, which infects dogs, cats and other mammals, including people. The insect burrows under the skin causing very intense itching. Pets are often so itchy they may chew, rub or lick at their skin until open wounds develop. Symptoms include: Intense and constant itching Self-mutilation from chewing and & Read more �

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Don't Take a Vacation From Your Pet's Routine

So the kids are out of school or you’re taking some time off from work? If your schedule changes, you should consider your pets’ scheduling needs as well. Your altered schedule won’t make much sense to your pets and it could cause them some transitional stress. Routine helps dogs and cats feel safe. Here are some thoughts that may run & Read more �

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Dogs have moods too

I'm a childless thirty-something woman living a quiet life in the middle of central Phoenix. So the only kids my 18-pound cattle dog mix really ever met were the ones we stumbled upon through our evening walks through the city park. You know the type—they’re frequently found burning off excess energy by spinning furiously around on those human-propelled merry go-rounds & Read more �

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Prep Your Pup for a Day at the Office

How many times have you felt guilty about leaving Fido home alone while you go to work?  You're not alone. Currently, about 20 percent of businesses in the U.S. are pet-friendly, according to Pet Sitters International (PSI).  Studies conducted by PSI have shown that morale and productivity in the workplace is higher when dogs are permitted. The third week in June celebrates & Read more �

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Salmon Poisoning

Eating raw fish may lead to salmon poisoning, a life-threatening syndrome that can cause diarrhea, dehydration and depression in your dog. Don't be fooled by the disease's name, such fresh water fish as steelhead and other trout can also carry the disease. The problem is caused by a deadly bacteria carried by some free-swimming parasites called flukes. If your dog eats & Read more �

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Good habits every puppy should know

We look into their eyes and they steal our hearts, but for that little bundle of joy to grow into the adult cat or dog you are hoping for, they need your guidance.  Here are some tips to get you started: We look into their eyes and they steal our hearts, but for that little bundle of joy to grow into & Read more �

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Calm Your Dog's Thunderstorm Phobia

Dogs seem to know the storm is coming before the first flash of lightning and first clap of thunder. Some begin to look for a place to hide. Some start to shake uncontrollably and drool. Some even commit acts of serious destruction in an attempt to escape. They are in the fierce grip of thunderstorm phobia. What is thunderstorm phobia? Thunderstorm phobia & Read more �

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New Pet Know How: Dog Crate Training

In addition to proper health and hygiene, the social development of your dog is critical to its well-being as a productive member of your family. Like schooling for children, pet training provides dogs with discipline, boundaries and knowledge of what is expected of him/her. PetSmart's Accredited Pet Trainers can help you and your dog - using positive reinforcement and a curriculum & Read more �

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Things to think about when adopting a dog

Is a dog the right pet for you? Here are some things to help you decide whether or not a dog is the right pet for you and, if so, what kind of dog to adopt. Canines crave attention A dog can be a great match for a bustling household. They crave stimulation and thrive on activity. Plus, with plenty of people & Read more �

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Getting Your Dog to Chase a Flying Disk

Chasing a flying disk is a great way to keep your dog in shape and a fun way for the two of you to bond, but encouraging your dog to actually chase the disk can be a challenge. The following tips can help get you and your dog started. Tempt with a TreatYour dog will dig his disk if you put & Read more �

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Did you know... it's normal for dogs and cats to eat grass?

It's normal for dogs and cats to eat grass. In fact, dogs in the wild eat grass to supplement their diet with vegetation. You don't have to discourage your pet from nibbling on grass unless the ground has been treated with herbicides, insecticides or fertilizers, or unless eating grass causes vomiting. Banfield, the Pet Hospital

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Tips to Prevent Unnecessary and Unfortunate Dog Bites

All dogs can bite.  Even if you think, “Not my dog!” it could happen. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites. Of those, more than half are children.  There are campaigns like National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which occurs the third week of May, that help raise awareness & Read more �

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Separation Anxiety: How You Can Prevent It

Separation anxiety in pets is caused by the stress and fear of being left alone. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the stress your pet experiences when you leave home. Learn how to spot separation anxiety symptoms and what you can do if your pet experiences it. Common symptoms of separation anxiety: Barking, whining or howling Destructive behavior (chewing or digging) Depression Aggressive & Read more �

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Do I Really Need to Brush My Dog's Teeth?

As a responsible pet owner, you owe it to your pet to take her dental care seriously, both professionally and at home. If you start as early as possible in your dog's life getting her accustomed to having her mouth handled, then dental care should be as easy as feeding her. Periodontal disease: the number one health problem Do you & Read more �

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Get off on the right paw: Training your puppy

The first step in making your new family member happy is to help your puppy develop socially. Good social development is the result of proper, consistent training. Training your puppy how to interact with people and other pets is one of the greatest gifts you can give, because heâll not only enjoy being around other pets and people, but they'll & Read more �

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Learning to Sit Nicely

If he does, he will do it every time you ask, the first time you ask. Teaching your puppy a reliable "sit" cue is very important. If your puppy is sitting, he is not jumping on people. The secret is to teach your puppy the action before you teach him the word. To do that, you'll need to have some & Read more �

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Potty Training Your Puppy

Take your puppy outside to the same spot when it's time to go. Doing this will help your puppy associate that particular location with elimination, so she will make the connection more quickly. You do have to patient, though. Most pups will sniff for 15 or 20 minutes before they eliminate. Take your puppy outside to the same spot when it's & Read more �

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House Training 101: Learning the Basics

Know where to go Consistency is key when training your pet where to relieve himself. The more often you take your dog outside when he has to go, the sooner he'll learn that he's always supposed to go outside. Once you become familiar with your pet's routine, you'll start recognizing the signs (circling, sniffing at one spot) that he has & Read more �

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Stop Your Dog from Begging at the Table

If you're the type who continually gives in and doles out treats on demand, you may be doing more harm than good to your dog. After all, being overweight is just as unhealthy for animals as it is for humans. Here's some ways to stop a begging problem: If you're the type who continually gives in and doles out treats & Read more �

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How to Control Unwanted Jumping

When dogs greet each other, they usually sniff muzzles. Dogs that jump up on people to greet them wish to make contact with the person's face. Dogs may also jump up on people and grab their clothes or limbs in an effort to play. To prevent unwanted jumping, it's important to teach him an acceptable alternative behavior for social interactions. While teaching & Read more �

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Taking the Anxiety Out of Separation

As social animals, it's normal for puppies to form attachments to their pet parent. Attachment implies a trusting relationship and is the foundation of a good, healthy bond between pet and Pet Parent. However, when a dog becomes overly dependent on its pet parent, problem behaviors may result. Causes of separation anxiety in dogs include early separation from the mom, & Read more �

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Saving Your Yard from a Digger

Dogs dig for a lot of reasons, some breeds are naturally inclined to dig, some dig because they're hot and like to lay in the cool dirt, others dig because they're bored. If you have a digging problem, here are some helpful ways to have your dog and a beautiful yard coexist. Divide the Yard in Two If you have & Read more �

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Soothing Your Dog's Fears

Dogs express their fear in different ways. They may bite or scratch, run and hide, tremble or even urinate when afraid. Your job is to figure out what's scaring your dog and help ease and overcome his fears. Determining why your dog is fearful isn't always essential to treating the fearful behavior, although the reason for his fear will dictate & Read more �

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The Tricks to Beat Boredom

One of the most important things you can do to keep your dog healthy, happy and out of trouble is to make sure your best friend isn't bored while you're away. While it's true that they'll nap a good part of the time, you want to make sure that when he's awake, he has constructive, fun and challenging things to & Read more �

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Puppy-proofing Your Home

Just like new mothers and fathers baby-proof their homes, you need to puppy-proof yours. Puppies have a lot of energy and, like babies, they're too young to know what they should and shouldn't get into. You need to make your home as safe as possible for your new bundle of joy. Collect all small and breakable objects, such as anything & Read more �

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Introducing Your Puppy to Your Other Pets

Do you have another dog? A cat or two? If you do, this makes your new puppy's arrival very stressful. Remember that your puppy has just left its mother, its siblings, and its home, so it's already stressed out and scared. Avoid a nasty confrontation between your pets and your puppy whenever possible. (You know how hard it is to & Read more �

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Puppy Teething Solutions

Puppies will nip and chew for several reasons, such as teething, looking for attention and boredom. Never encourage your puppy to nip. If he attempts to nip or grab at you, walk away. If your puppy does nip you, say "ouch!" in a high-pitched voice and walk away. Never squeeze your puppy's mouth shut, slap him or use any type & Read more �

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Why is My Dog Scratching at His Ears?

Occasional light scratching is normal. However, persistent scratching or pawing at the ears or head can be an indication of ear infection, injury, excess earwax, something lodged in the ear or skin problems. Some ear problems may not be easily visible and require a deep ear exam by a veterinarian to be properly evaluated. Any discharge, odor, redness, pain, swelling, & Read more �

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How to Teach Your Dog to "Drop It''

Tired of your dog stealing your socks, shoes and other stuff? Even worse, are you tired of chasing him around the couch to get it back? These tips will help curb that behavior and save your personal items from becoming chew toys: Tired of your dog stealing your socks, shoes and other stuff? Even worse, are you tired of chasing him & Read more �

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Teach Your Dog to Use the Pet Door

Pet doors are one of life’s greatest conveniences. They allow your pet to come and go as they please and can speed up housetraining. While these doors can be handy, puppies can be a little nervous using them the first time. Here are some tips to help your dog learn how to use his doggy door. Note: Most of these steps & Read more �

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