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It is every child’s dream… to own a pet. Whether its the stray cat at your doorstep or the playful pup in the pet store window, animals find a way into our hearts. We naturally want to care for them, feed them, and hold and squeeze them! They do not come empty handed either as they provide companionship, comfort, and a chance to be a kid again yourself! You may want to say yes to your child’s next plea of, “Can we keep him?” since studies show that a child’s social, emotional, physicial, and cognitive development can all be encouraged by interaction with the family pet.

SOCIAL

Pets can be wonderful social facilitators as they create an invitation for children to enter otherwise uncomfortable or uninteresting social scenarios. Making friends is less intimidating when their is a furry friend to be made as well.

A pet itself can be a social object for children because of the nature of their relationship. “Because animals accept us for who we are, pets give some practice in a social relationship,” says Dickstein, Ph.D., Director of Humane Education for the ASPCA. Carlie Van Willigen’s five-year-old son Murphy is developmentally disabled, his mother reports that he never really noticed his surroundings. That all changed when they got a dog two years ago.

“For a while, he didn’t seem to even notice the dog, until one day he was running through the kitchen and skidded to a stop in front of the dog and started petting her. Eventually, he began throwing his ball and the dog would fetch it and he thought that was the greatest thing.” says Van Willigen as she sees their dog as one of the catalysts that helped Murphy learn that there is a world outside of himself and his own needs.

EMOTIONAL

Pets can be a safe place for children to express their emotions and give them the time to process how they feel and think about a situation. We all need a safe place to turn and a pet is a ready listener who won’t offer any negative feedback- just a furry back to rest your head upon.

This self-awareness can be a bridge to self-confidence as Dickstein points out, “As kids age and take on more of the care for the pet, it helps to build self-confidence.” She points out however, that it is not guaranteed that owning a pet will teach children responsibility. “Parents teach responsibility,” explains Dickstein, “Pets just make a good vehicle for learning.”

Keep in mind that the responsibility a child has for her pet needs to be age appropriate. Starting at around three years old, a child can help fill food and water bowls. By five, he can begin to groom as well as to help keep the pet’s living area clean. As children near the mid-elementary school aged years, they can begin walking a dog independently, and as the teen years approach, the child will most likely be able to take over the majority of responsibilities for a house pet.

PHYSICAL

“Pets provide an impetus for running and practicing motor skills,” says Sheryl Dickstein. It is the perfect excuse for taking a break form the TV watching and video games that kids are tempted to default to. Taking the dog for a daily walk, running in the back yard, and throwing a ball are great ways to exercise the dog as well get children moving around.  Small motor skills can be encouraged when children scoop food and pour water into dishes, and help to groom them. Depending on the child’s age, parental supervision is recommended for both the child’s and the pet’s safety.

COGNITIVE

Encouraging children to read about their pet as well as to take part in obedience classes can encourage a child’s cognitive development as it sparks the desire for learning. Bringing the child along to a veterinarian appointment will give him a chance to ask questions about proper care and his pet’s health.

Helping children to research information about their pet on the Internet is another way they can learn about the pet’s special needs and unique characteristics as well as to correspond with other owners of the same type of pet .As children grow, they may develop an interest in a specific type or breed of animal and you can encourage them to follow their interests even if they do not own that particular pet.

Brining a pet into the family is not a decision that should be made lightly. It first must be a commitment by the parents, not the child, as they will ultimately be responsible for the pet’s welfare. Once that commitment has been made, however, and an appropriate pet has been found for the family, the joys and benefits of the pet relationship will last for many years to come.

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Catnip, the herb Nepeta cateria, is somewhat mysterious to us. By simply sniffing it, cats seem to be overcome with playfulness. It is a member of the mint family, nonaddictive, and completely safe for cats. So what is the secret to its overwhelming influence over felines?

Aptly named, catnip seems to only affect cats. Sniffing or ingesting this herb invigorates them through all of the five sense of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. It has a varying influence from cat to cat with some being more greatly affected than others and a small amount are not affected at all. After contact with the herb cats can display a wide range of behaviors from sneezing, sniffing, licking and chewing, head shaking, chin and cheek rubbing, head-over roll and body rubbing, eating the catnip, mewing and purring. The effects only lasts a few minutes.

Your cat may enjoy occasional contact with catnip. It can be purchased at the store in dry form as well as in many cat toys. Pet owners can even grow their own plant at home allowing your cat to approach it on his own time. No need to worry about your cat overdosing as its affects are due to scent and not consumption.

While catnip is not a necessary part of a cat’s diet, it can provide a fun outlet as well as a bonding experience for you and your pet.

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If your great dane is acting like he ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog lately, then it may be that he has the back to school blues. Yes, even your pet can get down when his favorite playmates have gone from full to part time. This can mean his life has gone from fun and fantasy to loneliness and boredom. He may be left feeling neglected and depressed. Alternatively, if he is spending long days in the crate, he may overwhelm you with all the stored up energy that is waiting to be unleashed once his family arrives.

Is your dog displaying symptoms of depression such as lack of energy, loss of appetite, hiding or cowering, and not wanting to play? Separation anxiety is another possibility. Unlike depression, separation anxiety manifests itself in erratic behavior, including excessive barking and whining, frantic clawing at doors, windows, or fences to get out, destructive chewing, and going to the bathroom in the house. Dogs with separation anxiety will be ecstatic when family members get home, whereas a depressed dog may not even get up from his bed. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, he may be upset by the recent change in schedules.

It is important to not disregard your dog’s feelings. Instead take a look at these tips to help your dog cope with the difficulty associated with this time of transition.

SCHEDULING TECHNIQUES AND TWEAKS

Remember that it is going to take some time. If your dog has gone through this routine in past years, he may remember the routine and settle in more quickly but if this is his first time, be sure to be patient as he learns to adjust to the new way of life. Having a simple routine in place can help alleviate any stress your dog feels. Even if your dog does not suffer from depression or anxiety, he will still appreciate this simple routine, which will ensure he gets enough attention and exercise.

AM Exercise: Exercise is essential for having a healthy and happy dog. Create a schedule with your family that gets everyone involved. Each morning someone should get up a little bit early, even just fifteen minutes, to take the dog out for a walk around the block or even the back yard before the day starts. Not only will this let your dog know you still care, but getting out that extra energy means he is less likely to be destructive while you are gone.

Upon Leaving: When it is time to leave for the day, don’t make a big deal of it. It is ok to pet your dog, but don’t get emotional. Dogs can sense your emotions. If you are upset, he will be more likely to be upset. Distract him with a toy or a treat-stuffed toy. For anxious dogs, leaving a radio or TV on can help.

Afternoon Break: Try to schedule someone in your family to go home around midday and let your dog out for some quick exercise. Not only does it break up the length of time he is left alone, but it will also relieve some energy. If no one in the family is available, consider asking a neighbor or hiring a dog walker. Taking her to a doggy daycare a couple of times a week is a good alternative.

Upon Arrival: When you return home for the day don’t make a big deal of it. If your dog has anxiety, making a grande entrance will only feed his anxious emotions. The best thing to do is ignore him when you first get home, then after a few minutes, calmly greet your dog and take him out to go to the bathroom if needed.

PM Exercise: When you finally arrive home, it is easy to put off the dog. You have had a long day, you had to cook dinner, help the kids with homework, and now all you want to do is sit on the couch. But your dog has been waiting for you all day and most likely has unspent energy. After his dinner, be sure to take him out for some exercise and play time.

Following this routine will help your dog have some things to look forward to each day and help him not to dwell on your absence. Continue to monitor him, and if his symptoms worsen or do not improve, take him to a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions that might be causing the symptoms.

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When a beloved pet leaves our lives, there is no easy way to deal with the void that is left in our hearts. The grieving process is necessary while painful. Each individual may express their grief in different ways. While some may prefer to move on as quickly as possible, others find closure by memorializing their pet. This may be done through a number of simple ways as well as holding a private or public memorial service. At Family’s Pet, we offer a wide variety of services from individual and private cremations to viewing and memorial/funeral services, so that our clients can choose how they want to say good bye while preserving their fondest memories in the midst of departing.

Our brand new modern facility in Arlington Heights, IL is beautifully constructed with a memorial/funeral room where you can hold a service for your pet or simply serve as a quiet setting where you can privately say your good byes. Whether you decide to preform the service on your own or with the help of a professional, we offer some suggestions of practices that may be appealing for you to include. An opening word is helpful in some cases giving reassurance to those who are attending. State the purpose of your coming together. While it may be a new experience for some, it is an opportunity for loved ones to comfort one another and give closure as they express their love for the departed.

Lighting a candle is one way to remember your pet. You may choose to say a heartfelt word or allow the beauty and warmth of the flame to speak for itself. The warm flame of the candle is a reminder of the way our pets have warmed our hearts with their presence and love. May they be guided to safety and rest by the light of its flame. It’s power compels us to move forward with courage as we face the future.

Sharing a Memory is a great way to celebrate the life of your pet. It may be a particular event or experinece you shared such as an outing or funny moment. It may be what you will remember most about your pet’s character such as the way he greeted you when you arrived home each day. Our lives are different because of their love and hearing how they have touched the lives of others compounds that love.

Offering a blessing is a way for you to express your faith at a time when you may need it most. Though death is a difficult reality, we find comfort in the promise of life after death. You may ask for God’s peace and strength to be with you and all who are grieving. Knowing that your pet has passed to a joyful place with no more pain is a great blessing and offers the hope of reuniting with him again one day.

Reading a poem or singing a song can be a beautiful and constructive outlet to outwardly express what many are already feeling inside. You may choose to prepare your own words or select the author that you feel best communicates how you feel. One such poem that has provided comfort to grieving pet owners for many years has been The Rainbow Bridge in it’s many variations.In closing, you may decide to pray as well as read an excerpt from Ecclesiastes chapter 3, as is customary at many funeral and memorial services:

3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

A Memorial Service is a tangible way to demonstrate the significance your pet held in your life. When a great companion is laid to rest it is appropriate for those that held him dear to stop and recognize his absence. It is by far the greatest honor that can be given.

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You may have heard legends and seen movies of werewolves that appear on the night of a full moon lurking about, seeking to devour all in their path, to be stopped by nothing but a silver bullet. Well, the good news is that you don’t have to sleep with a silver bullet in your dresser drawer, but there may be something to this full moon phenomenon. Just look at your pet.

A study on pets was conducted in 2007 at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences by Raegan Wells, DVM, a researcher who wanted to find out if pets, like people,were affected by a full moon. Previous studies have concluded that people experienced more injuries and got into more trouble during periods when the moon was full. Wells discovered a correlation between more emergency visits for both cats and dogs during the periods occurring just before and after a full moon. Her study, “Canine and Feline Emergency Room Visits and the Lunar Cycle,” was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.It is thought that emergency rooms may see more patients a few days before and after a full moon because it’s lighter outside at night and the higher percentage of people out and about which could  increase chances of more accidents. Could this be the case with pets?

Looking at data from over an eleven year period, a total of 11,940 pets were seen at the university’s veterinary medical center for cardiac arrest, gastric problems, animal bites, epilepsy seizures, trauma, and other emergencies. The vets saw a total 9,407 dogs and 2,533 cats. The data revealed that during the times immediately preceding and following a full moon, the number of pets arriving at the emergency room increased by 28 percent for dogs and  21 percent for cats.

How do we explain the reason for our beloved pets propensity to be more susceptible to injury during this time? While Wells said of the study, “It is difficult to interpret the clinical significance of these findings,” it is imperative that during periods of a full moon when it is lighter outside, we should keep a close eye on our pets overall health, and be mindful of their environment to keep them safe and out of the emergency room.

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It’s been a long day at work. You finally pull in the driveway and your eyes meet his as he stares intently at you through the window. Before you even exit your car you hear it: the incessant barking from your dog as if you were wearing a ski mask and holding a chainsaw and were there to kill everyone inside. You are getting mixed signals. Besides feeling annoyed you wonder, “If he is really happy to see me, why is he treating me like an intruder?”

The truth is, your dog really is happy to see you. He is letting you know in the most vocal and flamboyant way he knows how. Unfortunately, this is not the method that most owners prefer to be acknowledged by. There could be some underlying anxiety driving this over the top performance.

Part of the problem may be that your enthusiasm has driven a ritual of anxiety that you are unintentionally encouraging. Any positive reinforcements such as petting, holding, or just speaking soothingly to a dog during these wild times can give your dog the idea that he’s being rewarded. Instead he needs an early correction. At times like these it is important to ignore your dog (as difficult as that may be) and not speak to him or look at him directly in order for your dog to understand that his is not a condoned behavior. Then consider using a tool such as a Promise head halter, which your dog can wear comfortably while you’re gone. Adjusted properly it will allow her to eat, drink, pant, and even bark normally.

Then, as soon as he starts barking grab the lead on his head halter and pull so that his mouth closes. Tell him “No”. Speak quietly but firmly. Wait until he begins to calm down before you say “OK”. When he’s collected himself you reward him with a yummy biscuit. End of lesson. Repeat hundreds of times.

Want a faster solution? You can add a citronella anti-bark collar. These work well for most dogs but they discourage all barking. And there could be other causes for all the noise. Some dogs may have serious anxiety or a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). For these dogs medications may be necessary. But whatever you do correct this problem early and correct it often. Consistency is key.

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Besides taking away your cats “manhood” or “womanhood,” you may have other concerns about spaying and neutering. One prominent concern is whether a cat will gain weight afterward. This would not only lead to your cat being “out of shape,” but also increase his risk of many health conditions including diabetes, arthritis, and urinary tract disease.

Research seems to support the trend of cats gaining weight after getting fixed, according to the Feline Advisory Bureau. This is because the surgery slows down a cat’s metabolism by roughly 20 percent. Because of this slowdown, less sustenance is necessary for maintaining a cat’s body mass. This means that a cat post-neutering can eat the exact same amount of food as before, but still gain a noticeable amount of weight. It has also been noted that the cats appetite may simultaneously increase because of the extra nutritional support needed causing a perfect storm for weight gain.  

It becomes necessary then, to reduce your cats daily caloric intake after surgery. Your vet can help you with determining this amount. Adjusting your cats food intake may be one way to curb the weight gain while another less sought after route would be to switch from dry food to wet food. Kibble is made up mainly of carbohydrates. As a carnivore, protein from meat is your cats preferred fuel for its tank. This may be a way to satisfy your pets appetite and avoid excess weight gain at the same time. This theory would only be successful when kibble is avoided completely. When using dry food either solely or along with wet food, portion control should adamantly be executed.

Always eek out food that is made from natural, high-quality ingredients during this important time since most cats are spayed or neutered when they are still young and growing. Also, make changes in the type and amount of food given gradual to avoid upsetting your cat’s digestion.

 If you are away form home most of the day, an automatic feeder where your cat can come and graze at anytime may make sense, so long as you are sure not to fill it with more food than your cat is allotted for in that time frame. When possible though, offer up the food only at meal times to help your cat  with portion control. And who doesn’t love to see their cat come running and meowing when they hear the sound of the cat food bag or the pop of the canned wet food signaling its feeding time?

Exercise is also a key component to regulate your cats weight, avoid disease, as well as provide an outlet and stimulation for his emotional and cognitive needs. Cats are made to move. They may no longer need to hunt for their food in their new domesticated dwellings but they still have the instincts to pounce, chase, and play. Be sure to provide stimulating play time for your feline regularly with toys he can play on his own as well as ones you play together. A toy on a string that you cast out and then temptingly lure back in will get his attention. Occasionally treating your furry friend to some catnip is a fun way to put him in a playful mood.

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Have you ever wished that you were a dog: lay around all day with no responsibility, play some ball, and have humans stroke and adore you? Okay maybe not, but if you were a dog what kind would you be?

If you were a dog, what dog breed would you be? Take our dog breed quiz below and find out!

1. You’ve had a long week at work and it’s time to unwind. Which weekend activity are you most likely up to?

a. Spending the majority of your Saturday lounging around in bed and watching movies

b. Treating yourself to a massage or day of pampering at the spa

c. Digging up weeds and working in your garden

d. Spending the day at the beach or lake

e. Taking a karate class or hitting the gym

f. Going for a hike or bike ride

g. A little of everything—packing your day full of a variety of activities
2. Your favorite TV shows are usually:

a. Comedies—the sillier the better

b. Reality shows that follow the lives of your favorite stars

c. Prank shows like Candid Camera or MTV’s Punk’d

d. Anything on the Outdoor Network or Nat Geo

e. Crime scene investigation and police shows

f. Reruns of The Nanny

g. You’re a chronic channel surfer
3. Your friends would best describe you as:

a. Stubborn

b. High maintenance

c. Energetic

d. Friendly

e. Protective

f. Brave

g. Versatile
4. What’s your idea of the perfect date?

a. A picnic in the park

b. Dinner at a nice restaurant

c. Game night with another couple

d. Miniature golf or taking your date to the driving range

e. Playing Frisbee in the park

f. Taking a stroll through downtown

g. A night out on the town
5. What is your dream job?

a. Comedian

b. Personal shopper

c. Rock star

d. Park ranger

e. Secret agent

f. NFL player

g. Event planner
6. Which of the following describes your style?

a. Comfortable attire, lounging around clothes

b. The season’s latest trends

c. Bright fun colors

d. A t-shirt and shorts

e. A leather jacket to make you look tough

f. Athletic wear

g. I don’t really have a style. It changes from day to day
7. Your idea of adventure is:

a. Vacationing at all inclusive resort

b. Traveling to an exotic location

c. Bungee jumping

d. White water rafting

e. Horseback riding

f. Trekking through the Himalayas

g. Going on a cruise
8. When you run into a friend on the street you are most likely to:

a. Engage in friendly conversation while cracking a few jokes.

b. Tell them how fabulous it is to see them and invite them over for a glass of wine.

c. Say a quick “hello” but explain that you’ve got to run. You have to be somewhere.

d. Stop and chat for a long time.

e. Wave “hello” but keep on walking by.

f. Stop and say hello. Ask them how their family is doing.

g. Chat about a variety of topics
9. A typical dinner for you consists of:

a. Fish ‘n’ chips

b. The vegetarian special

c. Grilled cheese

d. A hotdog

e. Meat and potatoes

f. A nice juicy steak

g. Pizza
10. Which of the following are you most likely to drive?

a. Volkswagen Beetle

b. Pink corvette

c. Mini Cooper

d. Jeep Wrangler

e. BMW

f. A pickup truck

g. Prius

Here are the results!

Mostly A’s: Bulldog: Silly, relaxed and romantic

Mostly B’s: Poodle/Toy Breed: Fashionable, health conscious, and likes to be pampered.

Mostly C’s: Terrier: Fun, extroverted, competitive

Mostly D’s: Labrador: Loves the outdoors, adventurous, friendly

Mostly E’s: German Shepherd: Protective, intelligent, and loyal

Mostly F’s: Pit Bull: Family-oriented, sporty, and kind-hearted

Mostly G’s: Mixed Breed: Easy going, diverse, and fun-loving

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Dog begging for food is one of the most common discipline issues that dog owners face. An unfortunate side effect of loving our dogs so much is that we would like to give them everything that they want. In the end we have created something we can not maintain when whining and incessant barking at dinner time turns to annoyance and embarrassment. How do we reverse it?

Fortunately, with a little willpower and discipline on your part, begging can be one of the easiest behaviors to correct. Follow these simple tips to turn your hairy panhandler into a productive member of society once more!

The obvious place to start is to stop giving food to a dog that is begging. When your pup stars at you with those wide eyes and makes that high pitched whine that shoots right to the bone, it takes all the resolve one can muster to withstand the trance. Your dog knows what works and if you break under the pressure, it will only strengthen your dogs will to use the behavior again and again. Giving food is a form of affection, and giving affection reinforces the behavior preceding it. Your dog has learned that if he begs, he gets food! Take a stand and start a new trend. Find the willpower to withhold that food, and your dog will learn that he can’t expect rewards for begging behavior.

Secondly, it is imperative to ignore a begging dog. Begging is an attention-seeking behavior. Rather than give in to your dog’s demands, ignore the behavior and teach your dog that it does not get results in this house! When you talk to your dog, give him affection, or engage in direct eye contact, which feeds his mental state. Do not entertain him in this way. Instead, practice no touch, no talk, no eye contact.

Resist the urge to feel sorry for the dog. He is well-fed. You should know; you feed him! He is not in danger of going hungry if you don’t give him that scrap off the table. On the contrary, many dogs are in danger of various health issues and become over weight due to the table food they are fed between meals. So, don’t let him persuade you with that pitiful stare and brushing paw on your leg. You are doing what is best for your pup by feeding him the food that is formulated specially for his health.

Be consistent in discipline. In any kind of training, consistency is the key to success. For your dog to learn that his begging behavior is ineffective, it has to be ineffective 100% of the time. Inconsistent enforcement of the rules leads to an inconsistently obedient dog! Make sure that every pack leader in the household understands and enforces the same rules in this area and any other.

Lastly, be patient and don’t give up on the process. If you have followed these tips and your dog still continues to beg, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Ask yourself, am I using the discipline techniques above consistently? If you are then it will not be long before your dog waves the white flag and you can enjoy your meals in peace for the rest of your days.

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Basic obedience is foundational to training your dog’s character early and having proper control over him. Once this has been established, teaching your dog a few tricks can be fun and rewarding for both pet and owner as he receives treats and praise for his efforts and you feel a sense of pride over having a hand in his accomplishments. Reciting the tricks regularly will help your dog not to get rusty as well as keep him mentally stimulated which can be a great outlet especially in the  cold weather months.

1. SIT

This is usually one of the first things people teach their dogs, and forms part of basic obedience training. It can also be one of the most useful things to teach your pet. A sitting dog will be less frightening for those nervous of dogs; it’s an alternative action to jumping up when meeting people (and one he can be rewarded for!); always asking him to ‘Sit’ before crossing a road will ensure he pauses rather than stepping straight out into passing traffic; and even if he doesn’t have a great stay or recall, a well-established and ingrained sit can drop him on the spot in an emergency.

The sit is very easy to teach. Hold a tasty treat in your hand just in front of your dog’s nose and allow him to smell it but not eat it. Very slowly bring the treat up and back over his head; as his nose comes up following the treat, his back end will lower until he’s sitting. Once he’s sitting, praise and reward him. Practice at every opportunity — not just during training sessions, but asking him to ‘Sit’ before having his collar and lead put on, or before getting his dinner (which then also becomes the reward). As he gets the idea, phase out holding a treat in your hand (but not the praise and reward), and gradually begin to make your hand signal more subtle. Attach a verbal command, and practise both so he’ll respond promptly to either a gesture or your voice.

2. COMMANDO CRAWL

Ask your dog to lie down, and then holding a treat just in front of his nose, use it to lure him forwards in a commando crawl. Move the treat slowly and keep it close to the ground; praise and reward every small movement at first, gradually increasing the distance you ask him to go until he can wiggle along on his tummy. This can be a handy trick if you come across a barrier you can’t lift him over while out on a walk — he can crawl under it instead.

3. LEG WEAVE

This looks really impressive but is actually very simple to teach. Hold a small treat in each hand and stand with your feet spaced far enough apart so that your dog can comfortably pass through them. Start with your dog in front of you, and lure him through your legs by holding the treat in your right hand behind your right leg. Move it forward and around your right leg as he follows it. As he comes level with your knee, praise and reward, and then use the treat in your left hand to encourage him to move through your legs again, but this time luring him round to your left hand side.

Once he’s managing a single figure of eight with confidence, begin asking him to do one and a half, and then two continuous weaves, gradually increasing the number before rewarding. This is a great exercise for increasing coordination and agility, but does require a lot of concentration, so build it up in easy stages. As he starts finding it easier you’ll find he becomes faster, but don’t rush him while he’s still learning. As he grasps what you want him to do, you’ll find you’ll also be able to start straightening up and giving more subtle hand signals.

4. TAKE A BOW

While your dog is standing facing you, take a small treat in one hand and place it right in front of his nose. Very slowly lower the treat towards the ground just between his front paws; as his nose follows it his front end will go downwards while his back end stays in the air, making it look as though he’s taking a bow. Praise and reward him. Gradually increase the time he stays in the bow, and also begin moving your hand less, but continue to bend forwards — this becomes your cue, but to anyone watching it will look as though you’re politely bowing to each other.

5. ROLL OVER

Ask your dog to lie down, and then use a treat to lure him into lying on his side by placing it just in front of his nose and bringing it slowly round towards his shoulder. When he’s comfortable about doing this, bring your hand round a bit further towards his spine, and as his nose follows the treat take it a bit further still until he rolls right over. Once he’s confident with rolling over you can attach a cue word just before he goes over so he begins to associate it with the action.

6.PLAY DEAD

Have your dog lie down on his tummy. As you gently roll him over on his side, say, “Take a nap.” While he is lying on his side, keeping his head on the floor, say, “Take a nap.” Don’t give him a treat. Encourage him to stay there for a couple of seconds. Then say, “Ok” or “Wake up!”, let him stand up, and give him his reward.You can use the treat to lure your dog into a lying down position. Don’t give your a dog a reward while he is lying down. Give him a treat after he has completed the trick.

7. CATCH

Learning to catch a treat isn’t always as easy for your dog as you might think, and it can take time for him to perfect the necessary coordination, so be patient with him if he fluffs it at first. Make your throws easy to start with, throwing upwards and towards his mouth — it helps if you use slightly larger treats rather than tiny ones. If he doesn’t make much of an effort, but just lets the treat bounce off his nose and on to the floor, be ready to beat him to it and pick it up before he can eat it so he doesn’t end up getting a reward for doing nothing. As he starts to get better at catching the treat, you can begin to use smaller ones and to throw them a little to the side to make it more challenging.

8. BALANCE THE TREAT

This requires a huge amount of self-control from your dog as well as the ability to stay motionless until you release him. Ask him to sit and gently support his chin with one hand so his nose is parallel to the ground while you place a biscuit on top of it. Use a treat which is a bit boring rather than super-tempting. To start with, gently hold the biscuit in place for a second, then remove it, and praise and reward him.

Gradually increase the time you hold the treat there, then progress to letting go of it and increasing the time you can do that, and then to briefly removing your hand from beneath his chin. Build up the time he can manage to keep it balanced on his nose, and either finish the trick by telling him ‘OK’ so he can tilt his head and let the biscuit fall to the floor, or if he’s good at catching, say ‘Catch’ to encourage him to flip the treat in the air and catch it.

9. WIPE YOUR FACE

Make it look as though your dog is cleaning his face by gently sticking a Post-it note to the top of his muzzle. Most dogs will bring a paw up to wipe the annoying piece of paper off. When he does, praise and reward him and repeat, using another Post-it if he’s dislodged the first one. Once he’s consistently bringing his paw up to wipe his face, attach a cue word, and keep practicing until he’s made the association and you can do away with the Post-its. Don’t use anything stickier than a Post-it note as it will stick too firmly to his fur and will hurt him when he tries to remove it.

10. SHAKE HANDS

Start by having your dog sit. Say, “Shake hands,” and take his paw with your hand. Hold his paw and say, “Good dog!” Let go of his paw. Do this a few times every day.After a while, say, “Shake hands,” but don’t take his paw. See if he raises his paw by himself. If not, keep showing him what to do by saying, “Shake hands,” and taking his paw with your hand. Your dog is not slow; he is just learning!

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