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By January 9, 2020 Uncategorized

Friday marked the end of one journey, and the also the beginning of the next! Tiffany has been accepted into a veterinary technician program in Texas, and we wish her the best of luck! She promises to stop in from time to time, so you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the self-proclaimed cat lady over the next 2 1/2 years. We look forward to her graduation, and return to the McCleary family.

It’s Train Your Dog Month!

It’s never too early, or too late to start a training program with your dog, and now is the perfect time to start! All dogs, regardless of age, breed, and personality, benefit from training. Whether you’re starting with the basics, or ready to add new, exciting things to your repertoire, there is always more to learn. You may have seen us mention Pawsitive Plus in a previous newsletter. Gen, a former McCleary family member, went on to explore her passion for dog training, and behaviour and obtained her BSc, CAPPDT, and CBATI. And the most exciting thing for us here at McCleary’s is that’s she just opened a location right around the corner! If you’re out of the area, there are many other training facilities available. But be sure to ask the right questions, before signing up for a class. Like everything in life, not all dog trainers are created equal. A few good questions to ask:

  • What method of training do you use?
  • What is your educational background in the area of dog training (and behavior if applicable)?
  • What is some recent continuing education that you have attended?
  • What equipment do you use?
  • What kind of follow-up do you provide to our clinic on your work with our clients?
  • Can you provide a list of clients we can contact for references?
  • Do you belong to any professional associations, and if not, why not?
  • What are your credentials and do you have any certifications?
  • What sort of services do you provide for pet owners? Do you provide specialized services? (i.e. therapy dog training, competitive dog sports training, service dog training)

The most important part of training is consistency. So be sure to pick a trainer that you, your family, and your dog click with, to ensure the best success.

10 Ways to Give Your Dog More Mental Stimulation

10 Ways to Give Your Dog More Mental Stimulation
Looking for some ways to help tire out your dog and keep them busy? If so try adding more mental stimulation into their routine. Instead of just adding more physical exercise to your dog’s routine add in a few brain games. Mental stimulation enriches our dogs lives by giving them something meaningful to do. And because these activities alleviate boredom they decrease the likelihood of our dogs developing behavioral issues such as excessive chewing or barking. If you’re looking for some easy ways to exercise your dog’s brain here’s 10 ways to give your dog more mental stimulation.
1. Have Your Dog Work For Their Food

Our dogs have it pretty easy when it comes to meal time. Most of us just set their bowl down & let them go at it. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but it is a far cry from their natural scavenging habits. So if you want to add some more mental stimulation to your dogs routine you can start with changing up their feeding routine. Instead of just handing over their food a few times a day you can make a fun game out of it for your dog.

My favorite method is using a food dispensing toy such as the Kong Wobbler or Bob-A-Lot. You place your dogs meals in the toy and they have to roll it around in order to get the food to come out of the hole. And yes – it can be a bit noisy, but it’s well worth it when you see how satisfying it is for your dog.
2. Let Your Dog Sniff & Explore on Walks
Getting to go for a walk is one of the most exciting parts of your dogs day. You can give them some more mental stimulation by letting them stop & sniff around some more. It’s true that walking is great physical exercise, but for dogs it’s also about exploration. Sure you may have walked down your road a million times now, but that certainly doesn’t mean there’s not new & exciting smells for your dog to check out everyday.
And if you’re not comfortable with letting your dog lead you around on walks you can designate certain areas or times for free sniffing. Just teach your dog a cue such as “go sniff” and let them explore for awhile. You’d be surprised at how much more tired dogs are after a walk that includes exploration & sensory enrichment (sniffing) rather than just walking a straight line. 
3. Get Your Dog a Puzzle Toy

Puzzle toys are a nice and easy way to keep your dog busy & entertained. Interactive toys like puzzles help keep your dog focused on a task, and that added extra mental stimulation goes a long way. One extra 15 minute game a day can such a huge difference to your dog. It gives them something to focus on, and that extra meaning in their day helps when it comes to alleviating problem behaviors.

Puzzle toys are great because they give your dog a chance to use some of their natural problem solving abilities. And by keeping your dog engaged with interactive toys you can help boost their confidence & tire them out mentally.
Now keep in mind not all puzzle toys are loved equally by all dogs. My dog prefers a frozen Kong stuffed with treats over puzzle toys that lay flat on the ground. A frozen Kong will keep her busy for 30+ minutes, while a puzzle toy usually lasts 2. So if you’re not sure if your dog is into puzzles I suggest making one out of a muffin tin & tennis balls to gauge their interest.
4. Teach Your Dog Some New Tricks

Read more HERE!

Thank you to those who have already completed our surveys. Your answers give us valuable information as we move forward into the next decade. If you have not already, please take a moment to complete our brief questionnaire. Survey’s are anonymous, and all feedback is appreciated. Each part is only 10 questions. Thank you very much for your time, and feedback!

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