Expert from Camp Bow Wow shares some easy dog training tips

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MILWAUKEE -- Grab the treats -- and maybe make that walk a little longer today. Today is National Dog Day. The unofficial holiday was founded back in 2004 by a pet lifestyle expert. The goal is to bring attention to our canine pals and animals waiting in shelters for forever homes. Leah Boshart of Camp Bow Wow and Heather Gehrke of the Elmbrook Humane Society join FOX6 WakeUp with the details.

  • Chew Toys: All dogs unintentionally chew, rip and slobber on items that you might prefer them not to. Until your puppy can be trusted not to destroy your home, do not allow them to roam around unsupervised. Give Fido an area of his own where he can enjoy himself when you are out of the house or unable to closely monitor him. Flood this area with a variety of toys. He will naturally learn to chew and play with these items instead of yours. Also, be sure to protect your belongings by storing them in places that aren’t easily accessible.
  • Dinner Time: You may find that every time you sit down for a meal your pet runs up to the table for a snack as well. If you do not want your pet to ask for food while you are eating, teach him a "go to your place" command to steer him away from the table. Offer Fido a doggy treat once he has learned this command to prevent him from hanging around the dinner table.
  • “Potty” Training: If you’re having issues with your dog urinating inside of the house, it can be for one of a few possible reasons:
    • The dog might be dealing with a medical condition such as a urinary tract infection
    • The dog might be anxious and in distress about being left alone
    • The dog was left alone for longer than he can hold his bladder
    • He is not fully house-trained
    • Be sure to take Fido for walks regularly and consult with a veterinarian for possible health issues that may be related to this behavior.
  • Move Around: Exercise is the key! A majority of behavior issues stem from the lack of proper exercise. At least one 30-minute walk per day is sufficient for most dogs. Playing in the backyard or in the house does not count as exercise.
  • Seek Outside Help: If you’re finding difficulty in training your pet, try taking a pet training class. A professional can help you learn the skills needed to make changes in your pet’s behavior. Getting your dog to respect you is critical to having your dog listen to you. It may be beneficial to seek assistance from someone who is skilled in this area.
  • Don’t Do it Alone: Socializing your dog can have a tremendous effect on their development and interactions at home. Newly socialized dogs become calmer, friendly, affectionate, and can adapt better to a new environment. Camp Bow Wow understands the benefits of social interaction and exercise, and offers group and private training classes through its Behavior Buddies program for pets. Training classes are held at Camp Bow Wow locations nationwide, as well as at client’s homes.
  • Teaching An Old Dog A New Trick: Despite the common myth that you can’t train older dogs, older dogs actually learn quite well. Not only will doing some reward-based training help you and your new dog create a positive bond, it will also help keep your dog’s brain active and challenged.

Tips for Preventing Dog Bites

  1. Seek Proper Help to Ensure You Pick the Right Dog – Whether it is through a trainer, a shelter, or a local rescue organization, recruit an educated individual to help you find a dog that best suits your lifestyle. For example: If you have a child that is fearful of large dogs, get a smaller one.


  1. Know How To Identify and Manage Key Warning Signs:
    • Lip Licking, Yawning, Wide Eyes and Spiked Fur All are indicators of a stressed dog. It is important to always asses the exact situation. If a dog is lying on the couch by itself and licks its lips, most likely it is not stressed. If a dog is being hugged, tugged on, etc., and begins to emit warning signs, this is a clear indicator that he/she is now stressed.
    • Growling and Snapping Never try to get a dog to stop growling; we WANT it to growl, as it lets us know that he/she is uncomfortable. If a dog gets in trouble for growling, it will stop and can immediately go to biting.
    • A Stiff Wagging Tail – A dog that is experiencing stress (and may bite) will wag its tail in a stiff manner. Look out for a tail that is pointed high and moves even more quickly back and forth.
    • Averting Their Gaze – Avoidance behavior indicates that the dog is not comfortable with the particular situation.
    • Cowering or Tail Tucking This behavior indicates that a dog is fearful. It doesn’t mean the dog will bite, but could if the dog’s fear continues to increase.
  1. Train Your Dog and Yourself – Enlist your entire family and dog into a reward-based training class. A reputable trainer will help educate you and your family on the proper ways to interact with your dog. They will also teach you how to notice signs that your dog may be experiencing stress and needs to be given space.
  1. Never Leave a Child Under Ten Years Old Alone With a Dog – This rule must be enforced at all times, no matter how much you trust your four-legged friend. Dogs tend to give off warning signs when they are uncomfortable and may bite in response. In most cases, children aren’t able to pick up on these signals and can easily get hurt.
  2. Always Ask “May I Pet Your Dog?”  – If there is a dog you or your child wants to touch, ask the pet parent first, so that they can inform you as to whether or not their pet is comfortable interacting with kids or new people.
  3. Remember That All Dogs Can Bite – Even your family pet, if put in a bad situation, can bite. Educating others on the proper way to interact with your dog will help prevent dog bites. Inform individuals not to grab the dog’s fur, ears, tail or any other part of its body and to not play with your dog unless you are available to supervise.
  4. Properly Manage Strange Dogs – If you encounter a dog that is off leash, never scream or run. Stand still, ignore the dog and wait for him/her to leave.
  5. Never Chain Your Dog – Dogs that are chained-up in your back yard or any other area are more likely to bite because they can become protective of that particular territory.
  6. Supervision is Mandatory – Always supervise your dog around your family members, especially children 12 years old and younger. A dog can go from normal to stress to biting in seconds. Don’t be afraid to ask the parents of your children’s friends if their family dog will be around your child.


Habits of Highly Effective Pet Owners

  1. Being a good pet owners starts from the moment you are thinking about getting a pet all the way through their life. To ensure you enrich your pets life as much as they do for you, below are key habits to ensure you an effective pet owner.
    1. They do their Research: Before going to look for a pet, responsible owners determine what needs and constraints their family has. Are you an active family who can handle a breed that needs a lot of exercise, or do you need a pet this requires less activity? Do you have time to comb and brush your pet daily? If not, you want a pet that has short hair that doesn’t require as much grooming. It is important that you know these criteria before going to look for a pet so you pick one that is right for your family and don’t just pick a pet based on its looks. Aside from pet research, effective owners are well prepared for the costs that go along with adding a pet to their family.
    1. They see training as essential: Before purchasing a pet, responsible owners know that training is essential. To help new pets become comfortable in their new home, training is key not only for potty training, but also to ensure you help your dog understand what you are asking from them. From training to never beg, bark or chew, training is the essential stepping stone to ensuring your dog is a well-behaved member of the family both inside and outside of the home.
    1. Health and Wellness is Always Top of Mind: Veterinary expenses are something you want to factor in as you choose your pet, as well. In the early stages of life, costs of exams and shots should be fairly minimal, but you have to plan for any emergencies or the cost of having a senior pet. There are emergencies that could come up along the way that can cost a significant amount of money, and as your pet gets older, the cost of veterinary care goes up. You can research the cost of pet insurance to see if it will be right for you and your new pet.
    1. They Focus on Nutrition: Nutrition is a big factor in a pet’s life, and choosing the right food for your pet will help you keep your new furry friend in tip top shape. Higher quality food leads to less shedding and a shinier coat, less waste, less eating and a healthier weight. Although a higher quality food may seem expensive, in the end, your dog will eat less and be healthier, ultimately having the bag last longer.
    1. They Exercise their Pets: Pets need daily exercise to keep in shape, as well as to keep bad habits at bay. Pets that don’t get enough exercise are more likely to get into bad habits to try to release some of their energy, including barking, chewing and digging. Exercise is also critical to pets so that they maintain healthy joints and bones.
    1. They Know Socializing is Essential: Pets need their people, and interacting with your pets on a daily basis helps keep them feeling like part of the family. Whether it is a fun activity like playing ball or just some good quality petting time (which is proven to reduce a human’s blood pressure), this will help your pet stay happy and healthy. An effective owner will also prepare their pets for other interactions with animals; keeping your dog socialized will help keep dogs from displaying more serious behavior issues.

1 Comment

  • Candee Reeves

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