Tag Archives: puzzles

Weekly Woof from the Web

This is the last week during which you can get you and your dog compliant with Ireland’s new microchipping laws; more here.

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I’m afraid there’s no chocolate for you two beggars!

Biting is normal, natural, necessary dog behaviour but when it happens (and it is a when and not an if) it is very distressing at many levels. Understanding biting and related dog behaviour is a pretty good step toward preventing it: Why Dogs Bite, Part I and Part II.

A common cause of bites in pets, is pain and they are pretty good at hiding their pain and discomfort. Download a straight forward poster here and here.

Pain may mean a trip to the vet’s and unsurprisingly many dogs find this upsetting and distressing. Not only that many pet owners appear unable to assess their pets’ distress, given that many of the signs can be pretty subtle and easily misinterpreted: Canine Stress in the Vet’s Waiting Room.
This piece gives an in-depth run down of stress and things that can be done to help reduce your dog’s distress: Fixing their bones, but breaking their brains.
More and more veterinary practices are becoming aware of ways to reduce dogs’ distress before, during and after procedures; here are five tips for handling dogs and cats in a caring manner – it’s a poster that you can download and share ūüėČ
We can work together to improve your dog’s comfort, not only with the vet team working to reduce stress, but at home preparing our dogs for handling with two simple of ways of helping your dog enjoy this type of contact in this clip.

With Easter only a few days away and the temptation of chocolate too much for some dogs, let’s avoid that vet visit by being aware and careful of poisons that you dog might ingest:

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Here’s a list of the Top 10 Toxins of 2015 and poisons to protect your dog from. ¬†With Spring springing, it’s a good idea to take note of the Top 10 Plants Poisonous to Pets too.

Remember, no Easter Eggs for pets; the Chocolate Chart!

Instead, get your dog a fun and challenging puzzle toy – the joy will last much longer than your Easter Egg: Brain Teasing Toys for Dogs Who are too Smart for their Own Good!

Even we though we might not have too much self control around all that chocolate, our dogs can: Clicker Training Doggie Zen exercises!
Doggie Zen exercises are some of our favourites, and even though this is an older resource it never really gets tired!

Congratulations to Purin the Beagle for her new Guinness World Record: fastest 10m on a ball by a dog!

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Again, we are appealing to people to give chocolate bunnies rather than real ones. But if you are thinking about getting a rabbit pet, watch this clip before getting one…

Or maybe just watch this somewhat terrifying clip…

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The long weekend is beckoning…enjoy this clip of an agility round that doesn’t go quite as planned…

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Weekly Woof from the Web, 2

Our first WWW this week was overflowing so here’s more good stuff, we just couldn’t leave behind!

Each of us has that point at which we become overwhelmed, and our dogs are no different. Here’s a great piece looking at what’s happening your dog when they get to that point and things that you can do to help – Thresholds: when dogs reach their emotional edge

More news of just how awesome dogs are and how much they can and do help us: Largest dog genetic study informs human diseases, Tracing the roots of OCD in pets and people and ASU Lab training bomb-sniffing dogs to detect IEDs.

Why?
do dogs turn in circles before lying down?
–¬†does my dog cock her head?
–¬†do dogs make a mess when they drink?
do dogs like to shred tissues?

How?

to live with a high energy dog without losing your mind
Рto crate a dog (!)
–¬†to completely pet-proof your home

Puzzles and brain teasers are essential for ALL dogs but they can really help boost the confidence of shy or fearful dogs: teaching your fearful dog to use puzzle toys.
The weather is pretty nasty right now so have lots of fun indoors with these 7 rainy day games to play with your dog.
And of course entertainment and enrichment is not just for pet dogs: 15 easy ways to enrich your indoor cat’s life and environmental enrichment for cats¬†(we are not big fans of laser-chasing for pets, so please take care with that suggestion).

Today we hear the very sad news of a newborn baby killed by the family dogs, while the new mother fell asleep beside baby. Please check out and share this video-presentation: 5 types of supervision

Why not really pamper your dog and make him some homemade yummies?! Try some black pudding & potato bites or some low-cal snacks!
Please be careful any time your dog might be exposed to¬†‘human’ food and check for components that may be dangerous to them, such as xylitol.
Most people are aware of the dangers associated with your pet eating chocolate, but few are aware of much more serious and sinister dangers such as grapes/raisins and xylitol products.

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Just as in humans, recent work has suggested that dogs also have ‘general intelligence’ that can be measured in a canine ‘IQ’ test: Mensa Mutts? and Canine IQ test developed. Why not try some ‘intelligence’ tests with your dog, just for fun: Dog IQ test.

As we learn more about human and canine sports medicine, canine conditioning and physical therapy is becoming more popular: Physical Therapy of the 4 legged variety and Doggy Yoga – and it’s no joke!¬†for more on what this area is all about,
But as we learn more, we must take extra care not to cause our dogs more harm than good: Extreme Canine Conditioning Exercises Рthey may be possible but are they safe?
Here Duffy shows you some fitness tricks!

And all this developing knowledge is great for helping dogs shed those extra pounds, that will improve both the quality and quantity of their lives: Pet Fit Club Рcheck out some of those amazing transformations!

Canine Bloat or GDV is a serious, life-threatening condition that all pet owners must be aware of: Everything you need to know about canine bloat.

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What do you think of matching pets and people just like online dating? Well, there’s an app (almost) for that!

This week we looked at some misunderstandings when assessing a calm dog or a very stressed dogs; frozen ain’t fear free!

Clever/sneaky dog has worked out to get a yummy treat for himself!

Speaking of sneaky, check out these stealthy, spy-cats!

Weekly Woof from the Web

We were so busy all last month with Train Your Dog Month that we are just now resuming normal service.

This WWW is covering some of the best pieces doing the rounds last month; a bit of a catch up!

  • Not only are dogs great companions, but they are very much ‘in‘ in scientific research right now. This brings lots of benefits in our understanding of canine health and behaviour, but also in terms of human health too.
    Research into the DNA markers related to certain cancers in Golden Retrievers and canine compulsive disorders (like OCD in humans) has great implications in their treatment in humans too. This means that we will generate lots of important information that can help dogs and people – win-win!
  • If you want to improve your training, one key is to develop your shaping skills. You already know how to shape behaviour in yourself and others – at its simplest, it’s just¬†breaking up a big task into smaller components.
    When you were learning to drive you first learnt the controls and pedals, then how to get started, how to stop, how to turn, how to combine these skills and so on until you became a fully-fledged motorist! You (hopefully) weren’t brought out to a dangerous, fast motorway and expected to cope ūüôā
    Any time you want to teach your dog (or learner of any species) a behaviour, start working with them at home where it’s easy to concentrate and gradually increase the challenge as they improve – that’s shaping!
    We can use freeshaping to teach any animal a behaviour that is complex and doesn’t quite occur naturally – check out this fantastic in-depth guide to all things shaping!
  • Fear can strike any dog, but it can be tough to help a fearful or shy dog. Check out these great tips.
    No matter if your dog is confident or shy, it’s important that you act as a good advocate for your pet. This means not putting him or her in any situation that may cause them to practice unwanted, problem or even dangerous behaviour – the buck stops with the human end of the leash!
    Sometimes, this might even mean offending someone or causing discomfort: No, you will not be meeting my dog!
  • Of course, being a good advocate for your dog means keeping them safe and being a responsible pet owner – unless you have trained a reliable recall it’s best to have your dog on leash; here’s why!
  • One such situation in which our dogs will often benefit from a little extra support is during vet visits. Luckily a whole movement has really begun to pick up steam in fear-free veterinary care.
    Lots of coverage of Dr Marty Becker + team’s campaign so let’s help promote this movement all over – vet visits don’t have to be scary!!
  • Cancer is a scary word and disease for both dogs and humans and of course we want to do anything we can to ensure that our pets don’t suffer and that we choose the best care and treatments for them. It’s extra important that we consult evidence-based remedies, because in our desperation it’s easy to reach for¬†less effective options.
    This wonderful piece looks at the relationship between nutrition and cancer and evidence based interventions that may be available.
  • And while we’re talking about health, would you know what to do in an emergency? Check out this pet CPR infographic
    If you really want to learn what to do, why not become a Canine First Responder – we will have a new course running soon, just send us an email to info@anied.ie and we will add you to the list!
  • And considering it’s probably pretty good for you (and your dog), go ahead, love your dog: Gimme Some Lovin’
  • We know that dogs are pretty sensitive to their olfactory world, but what about their visual perception – How do dogs see the world?
  • And just how do dogs use that visual information – one way is for them to attempt to understand the perceptible abilities of others. Some work shows that dogs appear to understand when a human’s senses may be limited, giving the dog the opportunity to get away with behaviour they may not if their human is watching them – Do you know what I can see?
    Remember, dogs do what works – but this doesn’t mean that they are being sly, conniving or spiteful!
  • Showing further evidence for dogs’ ingrained relationship with humans, recent work adds further to the growing evidence that dogs apparently can recognise human emotions via more complex processes.
    Always be tentative about interpretations that appear to show that dogs have greater and greater cognitive abilities. Although important, it’s just as important to view the field as a whole and consider a range of findings.
    Dogs are wonderful, whether we find them to have greater cognitive abilities or not ūüėČ
  • Enrichment is one of our favourite topics! Contrafreeloading is a term that describes the way in which many animals appear to prefer to work for access to food, rather than just have the same food for free.
    Research has shown that contrafreeloading, even though it doesn’t seem to, may actually be adaptive and beneficial for animals because developing problem solving skills is helpful when sourcing food in an ever-changing environment.
    On top of that, dogs have also been shown to not only experience reinforcement when earning the goal of their puzzling (the food or reward) but also apparent pleasure in doing the puzzle and solving it successfully!
    This is why we HATE food bowls – dogs NEED puzzles!
    Check out this amazing puzzle and super-smart dog working out how to get his ball ūüôā
  • Last but not least, take four minutes out of your day to watch this beautiful animation (*WARNING* you may need tissues because it’s really lovely): The Present

The Joy of Boring Rewards

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Do you, your dog and your training a favour and teach your dog to work for, to love and to get excited about more boring rewards.

Many pet owners describe how they ask their dog to wait for their food, before putting the bowl on the floor.
Take that a step further – don’t be uncomfortable with the idea of having your dog offer desired behaviours for each piece of that food rather than the whole meal in one go.

One major benefit to teaching your dog to work for their food, is that their regular food takes on extra significance and extra value.

When it’s harder to get, all of a sudden we want it more…just like these dogs:

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This means that your dog is learning to use behaviours to get things that he wants, even though this stuff may not be steak or roast chicken.

Now transfer that to when you want and need behaviours from your dog, when you need your dog to reign it in, when you need your dog to pay attention, you want to teach him a new behaviour  or you just want to divert your dog for a couple of minutes.

If we use our big guns for the most mundane situations, what happens when we really need better ammo?

Here’s Decker and I playing with kibble when out and about – in the first bit there are other dogs, walkers, joggers around us in the park and in the second bit we are walking near the wild deer – not too close because I don’t want them to approach us either!

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The most boring of boring kibble is what has his attention here – it’s fun to hang out with me and cardboard-kibble!

Catching and searching are favourite games – by pairing this fun with kibble, the kibble gains more value.

If I wanted to do something really special or tricky or use food to help Decker better cope with a fear or concern I have lots of bigger and better guns in my arsenal such as cheese, chicken, salami, tug toys or tennis balls.

Before you reach for the big guns…

…make boring rewards more fun:
  • make a training mix

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Don’t worry if you don’t feed kibble; lots of ideas for other foods here too.¬†

  • get rid of those food bowls (you knew we were going to say that, right?!)

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  • play with your food

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  • turn sniffing out food into a brilliant game

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  • teach your dog to sniff out food on cue

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  • use sniffing games as a reward

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  • pair other more valuable rewards with lower value rewards

This works by teaching your dog that every time they accept a boring reward, something they love even more is coming. With enough pairings, in the right sequence, the more boring reward takes on greater value to your dog.

Here Lottie learns that eating kibble makes a tug game happen:

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  • check your dog’s stress or worry levels

Dogs who are feeling under pressure, are concerned about something in the environment or are exposed to stressors will be less likely to eat. They may not even want higher value rewards.

Here’s a great outline of signs that your dog may be experiencing some stress and may be overwhelmed, from 4PawsU.

If it’s all too much for your dog, take them somewhere else, bring them away from the hustle and bustle and just let them be – remove the social pressure.

Pain is a major stressor so always be sure to check in with your vet if you are concerned about your dog’s stress levels.

  • check how much food your dog really needs

Something that’s so easy to forget is that dogs are incredibly efficient when it comes to using and taking in energy.

That means that they probably need much less food than they would have you believe.

Check your dog’s body condition:

Pet-Body-Condition-Score

And have a look at the body condition scoring system and weight management here.

Have a chat with your vet if you have any concerns about your pet’s weight or body condition.

Boring Rewards ROCK!

Soon you will have a dog who is working hard to earn even the most boring rewards, while you still have some ammo in your arsenal for the real training challenges.

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Fun & Brain Games

Puzzles¬†are our favourite games for dogs ‚Äď really getting their brain-power working and challenging them is important to keep dogs happy and healthy.

Use your Training Mix for these puzzles but you can also use higher value treats if you set a great challenge ‚Äď better pay, for harder work!
Build the challenge slowly to avoid frustration and the dog losing interest.

Before using any home-made puzzles check out this clip for some of our favourite puzzle ideas plus please read the safety guidelines at the start:

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I know, I know… but some important considerations to be aware of plus ideas for our favourite puzzles ūüôā

Today’s Games


Time Allowance:

Each game will take you 2-10 minutes to set up Рdepending on the puzzles your choose.
Try a couple of these puzzles today.

Family Participation:
Fun for all the family – children will love constructing puzzles for dogs.
Always supervise child-dog interactions and make sure children learn to leave the dog alone while he works on his puzzle.

Top Tip for Today’s Games:

Give your dog a puzzle in a confined or smaller area. Things could get messy so it’s easier to clean up if the mess is restricted.

Remember, encourage your dog to move away from the puzzle before you start clean up!

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Stuffed Puzzles

You will need:

  • cardboard tube from e.g. toilet roll
  • crumpled paper e.g. newspaper, kitchen paper
  • paper e.g. newspaper, old wrapping paper
  • Training Mix

Beginner Level ideas:

  • add a treat to a cardboard tube and squeeze the ends
  • set up as above and wrap loosely in old wrapping paper

Advanced Level ideas:

  • Add a treat to a cardboard tube, stuff the tube with crumpled kitchen roll or even newspaper. Wrap the tube in paper to make a Christmas Cracker.

Rolled Puzzles

You will need:

  • stiff cardboard, like a flap from a box
  • old tea towel
  • Training Mix

Beginner Level ideas:

  • remove the flap from a box and spread it out flat;¬†sprinkle some food on it and then roll it up

Advanced Level ideas:

  • sprinkle a tea towel with food and roll it up
  • for an extra challenge, slightly dampen the towel, roll up with food and freeze

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Precision Puzzles

You will need:

  • cardboard eggboxes
  • butter, yoghurt or cream cheese tubs with lids
  • crumpled paper
  • old wrapping paper
  • Training Mix

Beginner Level ideas:

  • add some food to an eggbox and close over the lid, without fastening
  • add some food to a tub and place the lid on top, without pressing it down too hard

Advanced Level ideas:

  • add some food to an eggbox and close the lid – for an extra challenge wrap the eggbox in old wrapping paper
  • fill the tub with food and crumpled paper, close the lid tightly

Teasers

You will need:

  • muffin tin
  • cardboard tubes, tennis balls, disposable cups
  • tray, basket, box
  • Training Mix

Beginner Level ideas:

  • place a food reward¬†in each gap of an eggbox or muffin tin; cover each treat with a tennis ball, toilet roll tube or disposable cup

Advanced Level ideas:

  • sprinkle food on the base of the tray/basket/box and then fill the entire container with cardboard tubes standing up – pack it tightly to really challenge your dog

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Snuffle Puzzles

Use a soft ball with holes to make a snuffle ball. Check out our clip and listen for the snuffling:

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Really getting into puzzling your dog?  Make him a snuffle mat!

Thread lengths of t-shirt or fleece fabric through the gaps in a rubber doormat and distribute your dog’s meal throughout.

Busy Box

Fill a box with crumpled paper, add treats and close up the box. To make an even busier box, you can add that box to another box too.

Scent Puzzles

You will need:

  • towel, mat or blanket
  • some disposable cups or plastic tubs with or without lids (all the same)
  • Training Mix

Beginner Level ideas:

  • sprinkle some food on the floor and cover with a towel/mat/blanket – let your dog see you
  • to advance this puzzle, hide the food under a mat when the dog isn’t present and then release him to search

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Advanced Level ideas:

  • line up three upturned cups or tubs with food underneath one; release your dog to search

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Bobbing for Kibble

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You will need:

  • a bowl, basin or kiddies paddling pool
  • water
  • Training Mix

Beginner Level idea:

  • toss some food in a bowl of very shallow water when your dog is watching – to increase the challenge remove the dog from the room before submerging¬†the food

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Advanced Level idea:

  • toss some food in a container with deeper water – to increase the challenge remove the dog from the room before submerging the food

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Wohoo!

Another day over Рwell done!

Remember, you are only limited by your imagination so show off some of the puzzles you have made – we would love to see your ideas!