CleverPet: The New Game Console For Dogs

CleverPet: Challenge Your Dog Like Never Before

Have you heard of CleverPet yet? At the beginning of the year at the CES conference, a brand new dog puzzle toy was announced. Essentially, this is a new game console made specifically for your dogs.

How does CleverPet work?

CleverPet can hold and dispense any type of dry dog food. There are three buttons on the console’s body, and it begins by dispensing a treat for free to get the dog acclimated to the console. Then, the game gets a little harder once your dog catches on. This game console adapts to what your dog needs while playing and can even get your dog to press lighted sequences before dispensing a treat. CleverPet is being pitched as the best puzzle toy on the market for dogs as it constantly challenges our dogs in different ways. In fact, new games can continually be added to the CleverPet hub via your home’s WiFi signal.

Leo Trottier is one of the co-founders and holds a PhD in cognitive science from the University of California, San Diego. He claims that this toy is a great alternative to doggy day care or a great toy for families who are afraid their dogs are getting bored at home. He says that CleverPet is a great way to dole out food to your dog throughout the day and that you can keep tabs on your dog’s activities during the day while you are gone through their mobile app.

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Why Should Dog Trainers Care?

  1. Separation Anxiety: This is an obvious game changer, but imagine the entertainment it can provide for our client’s dogs who live with separation anxiety. The fact that it changes games will keep their dogs entertained longer than a Kong or other fillable toy would.
  2. Family Life: Are your clients bringing home a baby soon, or are they looking for ways to entertain their dogs while they deal with the life of children? This is a great way to engage their dog’s minds so parents don’t feel guilty not giving their dog as much attention as they are used to having.
  3. Confidence: Do your client’s dogs have low self esteem or confidence issues? Starting off easy and slowly getting harder will help build the confidence in dogs who need help.

CleverPet can currently be pre-ordered on their website for $299. To find out more information and watch this console in action, visit their website.

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Interview With International Dog Parkour Association

The International Dog Parkour Association Is A New Titling Dog Sport

The International Dog Parkour Association (IDPA) is dedicated to making the dog sport of parkour accessible to dogs in many different environments. Whether your dogs are reactive, shy, outgoing, or confident, every dog can excel in parkour.

We took a few minutes to interview the founders of IDPA to find out exactly what parkour consists of, and why it is such a good sport.

To find out more information about the International Dog Parkour Association, please visit their website or Facebook.

Website: http://www.dogparkour.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dogparkour?fref=ts

Have you played with dog parkour before? What sport is popular with your training students?

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5 Smart Business Partnerships To Build

5 Smart Business Partnerships To Build

dog training Business Partnerships

As a modern dog trainer, we are always looking for ways to expand our training and make it fun for our clients. Dogs are becoming a bigger part of our community, and we are looking for many different ways to include our furry friends in our lives. Consider teaming up with other local businesses to offer some new, fresh classes for your clients. Consider these 5 smart business partnerships.

1. Fitness Instructors

Working out can be hard for some people, however, the thought of doing it with their best four legged friend makes it a little bit easier. Consider teaming up with a fitness instructor and offering a workout class that includes their dog and some training to go along with it. Getting exercise is important for both the owner and the dog, and doing so in a safe environment is very appealing to people. Yoga, dancing, and strength training are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to including dogs in workout classes.

2. Doulas/Parenting Instructors

Consider teaming up with someone who offers support to new parents or parents-to-be. Expecting parents are often very nervous about how their house is going to change once the new baby arrives. Consider ‘Introducing Baby’ or ‘Preparing For Baby’ classes that you can run together and offer to clients. Bradley or Lamaze teachers may even be interested in bringing you in for a session during their class periods.

3. Local Pet Stores

Local pet stores are a great business partnership to make. Not only can some of them offer class space, but they can offer a great place to send clients for training supplies if you do not sell merchandise yourself. In return, the pet stores can advertise your classes or business by hanging signs, inserting handouts into bags, or including you in store functions. Consider including their store as a stop in your ‘Out and About’ classes where you work on behaviors in the real world.

4. Local Artists/Art Shops

There are many different places that could fit the bill for an art shop. Get creative and see about having classes where owners can paint with their dogs, whether it be on canvas or pottery. Work on teaching the dog how to dip their own paws in paint, or how to hold a paint brush.

5. Restaurants With Outside Patios

Usually restaurants allow dogs on their outside patios, however making a business partnership with a restaurant can lead to a ‘Dog’s Night Out’. Have a night where your students can come and bring their dogs, enjoy dinner together, and practice their manners in a public setting. This can be a refreshing evening for your students who have dogs that suffer from separation anxiety and may not be able to get out much.

These are only a few examples of partnerships that can lead to fun, new classes. Get creative and think about who you already know. Can they help create a new class for you? What other partnerships have you considered or do you already have?

8 Topics To Include In Your ‘Preparing Dog For Baby’ Seminar

8 Topics To Include In Your ‘Preparing Dog For Baby’ Seminar

baby

One of the most important services you can provide as a dog trainer is helping parents to prepare their dogs for the upcoming baby. Parents-to-be are nervous for what to expect for their own life, but add in their dog, and they are nervous for how their dog will also feel. I have been providing a PowerPoint presentation for parents-to-be over the past three months and out of the 20 or so parents I have spoken to, at least 90% of them have said they are nervous about how their dog will feel since they currently get so much of the owner’s attention. So, what exactly is important information for parents-to-be to have to help them and their dog feel better about the new family member?

1. Bite Statistics

I start my PowerPoint of with basic bite statistics, stating how many people are bit a year, how many of them are children, and how many of them were unsupervised. I believe parents-to-be need to know that dogs are dogs, and should be treated as such for the dog and child’s benefit. I believe it also helps drive home the fact that a dog and baby should never be left unattended together, and that the owner should always be able to get to the baby before the dog. Always.

2. Canine Body Language

One of the most important things parents-to-be can do is to know when their dog is uncomfortable. I like to include Lilli Chin’s drawings of body language and fear body language for my parents-to-be. They are a light-hearted way to show what to look for and owners really take a liking to the pictures. They enjoy going over the hand outs with me and then I point them to more detailed information such as Youtube videos or books on body language. I tell them what stress looks like in a dog and what a relaxed dog looks like.

3. Basic Obedience Cues

As a parent, they will be using many basic cues throughout the day to keep the dog and baby safe and out of the way when things get hectic. I like to include their name, sit, down, a place cue, and wait/stay. I tell them to start incorporating these cues into their every day schedule. Small training sessions can also be mentally stimulating. I also suggest group classes for appropriate dogs as a way to bond with their dog and spend time with them before the baby comes.

4. Behavior Modification

I tell parents-to-be to start working on behavioral issues as soon as they find out they are pregnant because they will not magically go away after the baby comes, and can often times behavior issues can worsen after the baby arrives. I include a slide on what the difference between a trainer, behaviorist, and behavioral consultant are and where to find a reputable professionals for assistance.

5. Desensitization

Helping the dogs to become comfortable with all the new things going on is one of the most important things that can be done before baby comes. I advise families to set up all their child paraphernalia as soon as they receive it so that the dog can become comfortable around it. Slowly incorporate the swinging swing, the moving stroller, and any other object that may move or make noise. Also, I show them how to desensitize their dog to handling of the ears, muzzle, tail, paws, and torso. I make sure to include that children should never be able to ride or handle their dogs roughly, but if an accident ever occurs, we want our dogs to be as prepared as possible.

6. Household Preparation

This includes mental stimulation, relax stations, and quiet areas. Frozen food toys can be prepped before baby comes so parents have something quick to give the dogs if they have an emergency with their child and cannot entertain their dogs at that moment. It lets them know their dogs are doing something productive so they can focus on their child.

Relax stations are places parents feel confident leaving their dogs while they deal with their child, or places the dogs can learn to relax while around the child. These include the dog’s crate, baby gating off special areas, Xpens for dogs who are good with barriers, and tethering systems in the same room so dogs can see and be a part of the family, but cannot reach the child. Tethering systems are good to recommend when the dog normally sleeps with the owners, as they can still be on the bed but cannot reach the baby when they wake up at night. Reinforcing their dogs when they are calm around the baby in these relax stations will help the dogs learn to relax around baby. Quiet areas are places that baby and dog can go when they need to get away from each other. I generally recommend that the nursery be dog free, and the crating area for their dog be child free. The nursery can either be gated off or they can start barrier training before baby comes.

7. Introductions

When the time comes for introductions, things are kept low-key. I think parents-to-be are sometimes surprised to hear how low-key introductions should be kept. Parents should be calm and quiet when they decide to introduce their dogs and baby. If other people are in the house or the parents are stressed or worried, I let them know it is ok to hold off introductions. They don’t need to be rushed. When the time comes, they should be holding baby or have them somewhere up higher that is sturdy. Dog and baby never need to meet face to face. I tell parents the most important information I received was, “This is MY baby, not my dog’s.” Dogs will get to know baby through smell and every day routine with the baby. They should never have free access to the baby in the beginning, and a parent’s arm should always be between dog and baby in case something needs to be interrupted. Baby carriers such as slings or wraps can be used in the beginning to keep baby close to the parents and give the parents two hands to use with their dogs. Carriers are also nice for prey driven dogs because it keeps baby’s arms and legs from moving and becoming enticing to the dogs.

8. Routine

Most dogs do well with a routine, but babies are never good with a routine. I let the parents know they should be keeping their dog’s routine as close to normal as possible during the transition. Dog walkers can help keep their dog’s physical exercise up those first few weeks while they get used to being new parents. I mention my day training program that is perfect for mental and physical exercise. If they can’t get their dog out as much as usual, recommend a variety of different ways they can mentally stimulate their dog with toys and their breakfast and dinner. I also tell the parents that it is important to give their dog attention throughout the day, not just when baby is napping.

Preparing for a baby can be very stressful, as well as exciting, for a family, so I try to give my families as much information as possible to help make the transition smooth. Parents walk away feeling relief after this presentation because it touches on a lot of topics they never even thought of before. It is our job as professional dog trainers to make sure parents are prepared, and that the dog has as easy a transition as possible. What other topics would/do you include in your dog and baby presentation?

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How Dog Trainers Go Paperless: Introducing The Boogie Board Sync 9.7

How Dog Trainers Go Paperless: Introducing The Boogie Board Sync 9.7

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Boogie Board Sync 9.7 Can Help You Go Paperless

As a dog trainer, there are a lot of things we will need to take notes for, whether it is a new idea for a class or notes for each of our clients. Dog trainers can go through a lot of paper. A lot of modern dog trainers are now trying to go paperless in the new year, but still struggle with how to take their notes. Computers can be bulky, tablets can be expensive. Some trainers do not type well, but using a stylus on a tablet is not always accurate. What is a dog trainer supposed to do? Let me introduce you to the Boogie Board Sync 9.7.

The Boogie Board Sync is a 9.7″ ewriter that is less than 1/8″ thick. The screen is LCD that can be written on without power, however must be turned on to erase. The stylus is extremely accurate and is just like writing on paper. Now what makes the Boogie Board Sync 9.7 more than just a notepad?

The Boogie Board Sync 9.7 can be synced through Bluetooth to your phone or computer and the notes transferred instantly onto your computer or phone. Your pages can be saved into separate notebooks or they can be saved to your computer as a PDF. Pages can also be saved internally on the Boogie Board until you can transfer them to a computer or phone. Pages cannot, however, be brought back up on the e-writer once you have saved and erased them.

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The Boogie Board Sync 9.7 has an erase button, a save button, an on/off button, and a place to store your stylus. The internal battery is charged through a mini USB port. A charge under normal use will last about five days.

Writing on the Boogie Board is like writing with a pen, you cannot erase certain marks as the erase button erases the whole page. This is something to keep in mind before you purchase a Boogie Board. The app for the Boogie Board has recently updated so you can edit a Boogie Board page through the app. You can also create shortcuts to automatically sort your Boogie Board pages to certain notebooks in the Sync app.

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Some extra perks that people can utilize:

  • Boogie Board has a real-time function with a phone or computer, allowing whatever you write on the Boogie Board to instantly show up on the phone or computer screen. This can be good for presentations or projects. You can still see the writing on the Boogie Board so you are not having to look at one screen while writing on another.
  • Boogie Board can sync automatically to Evernote, which is a program growing in popularity with dog trainers.
  • The Boogie Board can also sync with e-mail and social media almost instantly to share your notes.

Some issues that people may have a problem with include:

  • The contrast of the screen. While I have not run into any issues with it, the screen is black and the writing is a green color. I could see this being an issue with someone who does not have good eye sight.
  • Some people do not realize before they purchase a Boogie Board that you cannot erase certain parts of the screen, it is all or nothing.
  • Some people do not realize before they purchase a Boogie Board that you cannot bring back a saved page on the actual Boogie Board, this would have to be done through the app.

The Boogie Board Sync 9.7 retails for around $80.99. The Boogie Board is available for purchase at local stores such as Best Buy, Costco, and Kohl’s, and also online at sites such as Amazon. If you’re interested in going paperless this year, but do not have the money to purchase an expensive tablet, the Boogie Board Sync 9.7 is a cost conscious alternative that you will not be disappointed in.

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5 Great Games To Play In Your Obedience Class

5 Great Games To Play In Your Obedience Class

Play In Your Obedience Class

Fun Games To Play In Obedience Class With Your Clients

Obedience class can become repetitive and boring pretty quickly for our students if we do not make it fun for them. Games are a great way to get both the dog and the owners invested in training without making it hard for them. Both dogs and owners will be getting great recalls and loose leash walking without even realizing it due to some fun games. Here are five games that are great to play in obedience class to get our students excited about learning.

1. How Do You Sit?

This game can be played two different ways depending on your end goal. If you want to work on the speed of the dog’s sits, then you can set a timer for two minutes and have your handlers ask their dogs to sit as many times as possible in the two minutes while reinforcing each sit. Don’t forget to count your sits! This works on heavily reinforcing the behavior and can get your owner’s excitement up.

Another way to play is working on stimulus control and context. How many different ways can your students ask their dogs to sit and their dogs comply? You give the position and the students give it a try. Some examples may be, facing away from the dog, sitting down, bending over, doing jumping jacks, clapping their hands over their heads, etc. This is a fun one and really lets you know how well their dogs are understanding the behavior.

2. Relay Walks

This is a good way to practice loose leash walking in a fast paced environment. You can either have the handlers relay around a small obstacle course (weaving between cones or around objects), or have them hold a golf ball on a spoon. They must move down and back without dropping the golf ball. If the ball is dropped, someone will retrieve it and they must wait until the golf ball is back on their spoon. Whichever team finishes first is the winner.

3. Leap Frogs Down

This game is played in the similar fashion of the game Leap Frog. Split your class into two teams and have them gather at a start line. Have a set finish line. The team member that is up first must down their dog and have the dog hold a stay. The next member does the same thing. Each member goes down the line with a down stay until the last member performs the down. Now the first team member moves to the end of the line and repeats the down stay. The rest of the team follows. The first team to cross the finish line wins. If a dog gets up during the game, the whole team must go back to the start line and start over.

4. Recall Races

Have two dogs hold a stay and have the owners walk a good distance away. Have both dogs recall to their owners. Gates may be used for novice dogs who may veer from course. As the dogs get good at this game, begin to introduce distractions along the way, whether it is someone sitting in a chair, a ball on the ground, or even a treat. Work from easy distractions to hard.

5. Musical Hoops

This game can be played with many different things as the ‘safe zone’ such as, hoops, mats, towels, or low platforms. We will use hoops for this example. Set up hoops in a straight row, one less than the amount of dogs you have in class. Have someone play music while the students and their dogs walk around the hoops in an organized fashion. Students can use clicker/treats to reinforce. When the music stops, students and dogs must make their way to the hoop and get their dogs to perform a behavior requested by the instructor. Whichever dog is left that doesn’t perform the behavior in a hoop is out of the game. Remove a hoop and repeat. Repeat this until you have one dog left, he is the winner!

All of these games can be made harder as your students progress in the class. Keeping the students invested in learning and challenging them will help your students retain what they learned and want to train with their dogs. These are only a few games that can be played in obedience class. What are some other games that you enjoy playing in your obedience classes?

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