How Smart is Your Dog?

By on Sep 9, 2013 in Blog, Tips |

We all know that dogs have unique and, in some cases, amazing abilities to learn and problem solve.  Perhaps you have seen dogs performing memory games or distinguishing among hundreds of objects. Among the most famous of the “brilliant dogs” are Rico who knows more than 200 words, and Betsy who knows about 340.  But the champ so far is Chaser who recognizes more than 1,000 different words or objects!  And it probably comes as no surprise that all three of these furry little wizards is a Border   Collie—one of the brightest breeds of all. Pet Expert Warren Eckstein, a regular guest on the ‘Today’ show, believes there are two basic types of dog intelligence: instinctive and adaptive. According to Eckstein “instinctive intelligence” is breed specific.  In other words, certain breeds just naturally possess the ability to do some things better than other breeds.  Specific breeds of hounds, for example, usually do better on sight-oriented tasks, while bloodhounds, beagles and some terriers are much better at scent-oriented tasks. Eckstein describes “adaptive’ intelligence” as social and environmental learning—the kind of intelligence that comes from dealing with everyday circumstances—sort of like “on the job training.”  It’s interesting to note that dogs are like humans in that not all of us learn the same way, or at the same pace. Some of us are better at math, while others are far better at language. So here are some little “intelligence tests” that will be fun for you and your dog.  Don’t try to jam all these tests into one day, and be sure to reward your dog with treats for every effort.  If he becomes frustrated at some point, just give him a break and try again later, maybe even on another day.  Keep in mind that all of us learn differently, so don’t be surprised if your dog does better at some tests than others. Just love him and praise him for trying. Dog Intelligence Tests Towel Test:  Gently place a large towel over your dog’s head. If he frees himself from the towel in less than 15 seconds, give him 3 points; if 15-30 seconds, he gets 2 points; and longer than 30 seconds, he gets 1 point. Bucket Test:  Let your dog watch you place a treat under one of three buckets (or large plastic cups)  that are placed next to each other.  Turn your dog away from the buckets for a few seconds; then have him turn around and find the treat. If he gets the right bucket/cup on the first try, award him 3 points; if two attempts – 2 points; if he finds the treat after looking under the two others first, 1 point. Favorite Spot:...

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Tips for Trips

By on Jul 5, 2013 in Blog, Tips | 1 comment

(Or how to survive traveling with your dog!) Traveling with your dog can be great fun and a way to build on your relationship. Some dogs LOVE to travel and go on rides. However, others would rather stay home and not be bothered. Well, I’m happy to say with patience and an open mind in trying different ways to travel with your dog, it can help reduce any stress you and your dog, you might have.  My experience with my own dog, who is not a fan of car trips, has given me the tools to help me plan ahead and taught me great deal about traveling with dogs. How to plan for a stress-free experience Successful planning is key to traveling with your dog and the first thing you want to do is evaluate if it really is a good idea to take your pet on the trip. Are you visiting folks who will welcome your ‘well-behaved’ pet? Are there other pets at your destination that will be okay with pet guests? How long will your dog need to be confined during the trip? Have you checked for ‘pet-friendly’ lodging along the way? Would it be better for all concerned to leave you dog in the care of a qualified pet-sitter or boarding facility? Is your dog healthy enough for travel and are there any special dietary or medical needs to be taken into account. After you have reviewed the questions and you have made the decision you and your dog are heading out, here is a list of items that you will probably want to take with you. A sturdy smooth edged carrier/kennel with a grill-style door and a secure latch with plenty of ventilation holes on each side. Be sure it is big enough for your dog to sit and lie down in, but not so big that he will get bounced around if the road gets rough (or you are traveling by air). The carrier may have food and water dishes if you like and should have a cozy lining (towel, shredded newspaper, crate pad etc.). Use the crate ONLY if he is already crate-trained. A long trip is not the time to introduce your dog to a carrier. I.D. and contact information should also be with you. Your dog should already be microchipped, and have a collar with his I.D tags; rabies tag etc. and you phone number. Also carry a current photo (on your phone as well as in your wallet) for easy identification in case he gets away. Stop along the way Be sure that you and your dog can stretch your legs, allow him to potty and maybe have a small...

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Resources – My Top 7 List

By on Mar 1, 2013 in Resources, Tips |

My Top-7 List for Dog Lovers By Laura Boro, Senior Dog Trainer, Good Dog Walkin’ As a dog trainer, I am constantly looking for new ways to inspire, educate, motivate or entertain my clients. Whenever a new dog book, magazine, TV show or website pops up, I try to check it out.  I could easily list 101 great resources for mutt-lovers, but here is my current “Top-7” to get you going: BARK Magazine and website:  I LOVE this one!  Esquire called it the “coolest dog magazine ever” and I agree.  It has great stories, training tips, advice on food, treats, toys, how to pick a doggy day care and lots of amazing photos!  Check it out at Dog Fancy Magazine and website:  If you want to know more about specific breeds, here’s the magazine for you! It highlights a ‘dog of the month’ and tells you everything you need to know before you open your home to that breed. You will learn about temperament, needs, activity level, training tips and much more along with adorable dog pics.  Go to  (For all my cat friends, check out Dog About Town NW: This is a lively online magazine that mainly highlights what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest and the Inland Empire. It features fun events for dogs and their people, day hikes, camping spots, volunteer opportunities, and what’s really going on ‘about town”.  Check it out at FreeKibble: This site helps feed thousands of animals by simply entertaining anyone and everyone who visits the site. By answering their animal trivia questions, for example, you automatically donate free kibble to feed shelter animals each and every time you play.  Challenge your friends and family to  play every day find out who REALLY knows about dogs and cats. Go to Martha Stewart’s Modern Dog Magazine: Martha loves her own dogs (Francesca and Sharkey) and she has put together a great little magazine and website for the rest of us, including her blog (The Daily Wag). Modern Dog Mag features creative pet projects, recipes for your dog, training tips, cool giveaways and great articles about all kinds of things canine.  Oh and be sure to enter the contests because, as we all know, ‘someone has to win’!  Visit Dog Food Advisor:  Their slogan is, “Saving good dogs from bad dog food.” Here you’ll find the latest info on all the different brands and varieties of dog food, including your own.  They rate each dog food (wet and dry) using a star rating system. They will also notify you via email of any recall notices for dog food, which are fairly common. There have been several recalls over the...

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