Beneficial Buddies

Known as the “pet effect,” research shows there are a wealth of physical and mental health benefits to owning a dog. Pet therapy is a growing trend in hospitals and facilities for the elderly for that very reason. Its time to have that pure love at home.

Look at those eyes! Brady is great with people as well as dogs. A sweet young Cattle Dog Mix, he has already completed all of his basic obedience training and is ready to be part of a family or the bestie of a single person. He weighs in at a snuggly 50 lbs.; [email protected].

Hungry labrador retriever is feeding at home.

“I am extremely affectionate and absolutely love to be petted!”

Dining Etiquette

I’m often asked “My dog has started growling at me whenever I try touch him while he’s eating, what should I do?” The first thing you need to do is stop touching your dog while he’s eating! A common misconception in raising puppies and dogs is that you should pet them while they’re eating or chewing a bone in order to desensitize them to human touch during meal and chew times. This is absolutely incorrect and is a great way to make your dog aggressive. Resource guarding is a natural and normal part of the canine language, although completely inappropriate in a dog-to- human relationship. Instead of bothering your dog while he’s eating, your focus should be on gaining your dog’s trust to show him that he does not need to fear losing a resource to you. If you’ve been told to pet your dog while he eats, or take away his food mid meal, or even worse, repeatedly stick your hand in your dog’s dish while eating, the only thing you’re teaching your dog is that you are very annoying and can’t be trusted. To regain your dog’s trust, you need to identify what his absolute favorite treat is. Every time he’s eating, you should walk by and toss a piece of that treat toward his dish. Continue to walk past like nothing happened. Before you know it, your dog will view your approaching the food dish as a good thing. You can also begin hand-feeding your dog his kibble to regain his trust. This shows him that you are the provider of food, not the stealer of food! Instead of your being able to “take away” his food whenever you like, you can use these strategies to have your dog trust you enough to just give you his food. Dogs should never have to tolerate a human stealing food from them (how rude!), but they absolutely should — and can be — trained to see a human coming, offer to stop eating, sit and wait patiently for the next command.  

› Dee Hoult is the owner of Applause Your Paws, South Florida’s largest privately owned pet dog training company. Want to ask Dee a question about your dog? Email [email protected] or send a DM on Instagram @ApplauseYourPaws.