Tag Archives: dog

No More Harmful Punishment in Pet Care & Training –

Niki Tudge

Ziv (2017) notes that there is “no evidence to suggest that aversive training methods are more effective than reward based training methods” and that, in fact, studies suggest “the opposite might be true – in both pets and working dogs.” Ziv (2017) suggests a new line of research to “examine how humane, reward-based methods can be improved in order to facilitate better communication between humans and dogs. In turn, such outcomes will allow dogs to modulate their stress, and at the same time improve their ability to effectively understand and respond to the behavior displayed towards them.”

No More PunishmentWe already have enough research to conclude that using fear or physical punishment in the name of training or care of our pets is ineffective and potentially harmful (in some cases, lethal). We also know that countless professional organizations and industry experts condemn physical punishment and urge pet owners to seek professionals who advocate for and, instead, practice positive behavior modification.  

However, there is a third reason to advocate against the use of physical punishment, and that is a moral one. Most pet owners, if asked, would most likely say they do not punish their pets, or deliberately place them in frightening situations to try to encourage new, or more appropriate behaviors. Yet the same owners will unwittingly take advice from training professionals who practice “methods” such as hitting, shocking and physically correcting a pet using a leash, or an array of aversive tools. By using different terminology, a professional may feel justified in physically punishing a pet while dispensing corresponding advice to pet owners, without acknowledging that he/she is, in fact, damaging the pet’s physical and mental well-being.

In civilized society, it is generally agreed that physical force is not an effective or acceptable way for adults to resolve their differences. Bearing this in mind, it should come as no surprise that physically correcting pets, like hitting children or adults, causes more problems than it solves, such as the many outlined above. It is time to stop physically harming our pets in the name of training. By working together, professional animal training and behavior associations have the ability to achieve this, and successfully reach the ultimate goal, which must be to do no harm to the animals in our charge, and improve the welfare of pets all over the world.


Ziv, G. (2017). The Effects of Using Aversive Training Methods in Dogs – A ReviewJournal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research (19) 50-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jveb.2017.02.004


Fetch Your DogSmith Valentine Special!


Are your loved ones tired of the same old Valentine’s Day gifts? Are they bored with the usual bones, squeaky toys or stuffed critters? Show them how much you care! Your pets give you unconditional love and devotion every day so give them the pampering and romping good fun they deserve!

The DogSmith Valentine’s Day special gives you 10% off ANY service reserved between February 14th and the 21st or a complimentary ‘Fluff & Spiff’ spa treatment package.


And with the money you’ll save why not take someone out for a romantic meal?

Click here to schedule your DogSmith consultation and make your reservation now or use our DogSmith Zip Code Locator above! Limited number of specials available.

Merrick Dog Treat Recall – Susan Thixton

Merrick Pet Care, Inc. of Amarillo, Texas is recalling a single lot of its Doggie Wishbone pet treat (ITEM # 29050, UPC # 2280829050, Lot 11031 Best By 30 Jan 2013) because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 8, 2011 – Merrick Pet Care, Inc. of Amarillo, Texas is recalling a single lot of its Doggie Wishbone pet treat (ITEM # 29050, UPC # 2280829050, Lot 11031 Best By 30 Jan 2013) because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.  Merrick Pet Care has made the decision to recall the Doggie Wishbone pet treats in the abundance of caution.  248 cases of this lot were manufactured and shipped to distributors in 10 states.  Those distributors have been notified.  Only one lot of Doggie Wishbone is affected by this recall.  No additional Merrick Pet Care products are involved in this recall. No other Merrick brand products are involved.

Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. People handling the treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products.  Consumers should dispose of these products in a safe manner by securing them in a covered trash receptacle.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers immediately.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

The Doggie Wishbone was shipped to distributors and retailers throughout the US.  These individuals have been notified and have activated their recall procedures.

No illnesses have been reported to date and there have been no consumer complaints for this product. This issue was identified through routine sampling by the Food and Drug Administration.

At Merrick Pet Care, the safety and efficacy of our products are our top priority. We apologize for any inconvenience due to this recall.   Consumers who have purchased the Doggie Wishbone with the lot code 11031 are urged to return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-664-7387 M-F 8:00am – 5:00pm CST



The Ten Rules to House Train Your Dog or Puppy in Ten Days.

The Ten Rules to House train Your Dog in Ten Days.

To listen to the accompanying podcast click here

Depending on your dog, your family and your lifestyle, housetraining a dog can be anywhere from easy, to almost impossible.  Many dog owners get lucky and in spite of mistakes they unknowingly make, they find themselves with a housetrained dog. On the other hand, some dog owners need help from a dog trainer or dog behavior counselor.  Even a small number of these pet owners may become desperate when everything they do, even under professional counsel, seems futile.

The more difficult housetraining cases to crack are those of dogs that, by mistake, have become ‘reverse’ housetrained by their owners.  ‘Reverse’ housetraining results when dogs have been allowed to go to the bathroom inside the home and then been inadvertently reinforced for doing so.  Another difficult housetraining example to correct includes puppies from pet stores, puppy mills and backyard breeders where the puppies have been raised in contained, unsanitary conditions.  Since they have no alternative these puppies eat and sleep in the same area they use as their bathroom.

So, when you bring a new puppy or rescue dog into your home, or if have an older dog that is not yet housetrained, follow our “Ten Rules to Housetraining” and you should be relieved (no pun intended) to find in ten days you have a housetrained dog.


Managing the Environment

  1. The first thing you need to do before you start your housetraining plan is to ensure your home is free from urine stains and residual odors. Purchase a black light and a pet odor remover from your local pet store. When it is dark, turn off all the lights and thoroughly inspect your home, carpets, furniture and tiled area. The black light will reveal any old stains so you can effectively clean and remove them. There are many very effective pet stain/odor cleaning products available on the market.
  2. If you don’t already have one, purchase a good quality wire crate that is large enough for your dog to stand up, lie down and turn around in.  Position the crate in a quiet, but not isolated part of your home.  You will also need three Kongs (chew toys you can stuff with treats), a squeaky toy, a nylon collar and a 6 foot nylon leash.
  3. Develop and follow a 24 hour management schedule of potty breaks.  This is critical because you don’t want your puppy to have an accident.   Your schedule should include meals, play time, training time, bathroom breaks and sleep time for the entire 10 day program. Bathroom breaks should be scheduled every four hours except overnight when you can allow 6 hours. The plan should also include two or three feeding sessions, one in the morning, one midday and the last one no later than 6pm. Your dog should not have access to drinking water after 8pm or three hours before it goes into its crate to sleep for the night.
  4. If you can’t be home during the midday break, either schedule some time off work or hire a dog walker or pet sitter that can help you with that portion of your housetraining schedule. This will be vital for success.
  5. Keep a daily journal on your dog’s eating schedule and bathroom habits. Note when your dog urinates and defecates. Note the exact time your dog eats and any other treats it is given during the day.  Your journal will help you determine how long after eating and drinking your dog typically needs to use the bathroom.  You can use this information to adjust your schedule if necessary.
  6. Your dog’s day will include meals, sleep, play, training and bathroom breaks. During each of these periods the dog is either in its crate or tethered to you. Give your dog a Kong stuffed with yummy treats for mental enrichment while it is in its crate. Your dog must be supervised 100% of the time during the housetraining period.  When the dog is tethered to you, watch for signs of needing to go to the bathroom. If you notice your dog sniffing the ground, walking in circles or looking uncomfortable then quickly take the dog outside to its designated bathroom area and follow rule number 7.

Training the Behavior

  1. At the scheduled bathroom times take your dog from its crate, on a leash, and take it to its designated bathroom area. Keep your dog on its 6 foot leash but let it explore while you stand in one spot. Initially ignore your dog.  Because your dog isn’t getting any attention from you and there will be limited things of interest to explore in the restricted area defined by the leash, your dog will eventually go to the bathroom.
  2. Once your dog has finished, praise it with ‘good doggie.’  Give it lots of attention and treats. Have a little celebration with your dog.  This lets your dog know that its behavior is remarkable and deserves praise.  You MUST create a situation where your dog wants to go to the bathroom in that particular area.
  3. Only after your dog has been to the bathroom should it be let off the leash to play or taken for its ‘long’ walk.  This ensures that your dog will soon learn that the more quickly it completes its bathroom behavior the more quickly it gets its reward of treats, play, its walk or all three. ALWAYS exercise or play with or train your dog for at least ten minutes before you take it back inside to its crate.



Developing the Relationship

  1. Show your dog you are a trusting and benevolent leader. Never punish your dog for mistakes.  Your dog’s accidents are your accidents. If, as described in rule 6, you notice your dog displaying signs of needing the bathroom while inside and you are slow getting your dog outside, simply get their attention with a loud clap of your hands and immediately take your dog outside to their bathroom area (you can clean up any inside accident later).


When dogs are exposed to consistent, accident-free housetraining systems you will be surprised at how quickly they learn. With the right level of commitment and conscientious use of a training schedule you can train a dog to be solidly housetrained in ten days.

For a sample of a daily housetraining plan visit www.DogSmith.com or contact your DogSmith at CustomerService@DogSmith.com

Full copyright Niki Tudge. Oxford MS The DogSmith. Dog Training & Pet Care.




Dog Training In Oxford MS

What I watched in PetSmart yesterday evening was not the training the corporate office believes is going on

I witnessed a trainer grabbing a dog, pulling it almost off its feet and holding it by the neck while she starred aggressively into it face. Can somebody help  me. i am not sure where this fits into the corporate message as stated below, straight from the PetSmart website


PetSmart Corporate website July 201

Positive Reinforcement

There are quite a few different methods that people use to train dogs. Some techniques that trainers use are based on methods developed before modern science helped us understand how dogs learn best. PetSmart’s training is based on the scientific principles of operant conditioning, which concentrates highly on positive reinforcement. In the simplest terms, positive reinforcement means rewarding the dog for doing the behaviors you want in order to get him to do those behaviors more often. By linking visual cues to motivating rewards, your dog learns that good things come to him when he responds to you. Not only is it is scientifically proven to be the most effective way to train, but is also the most humane and fun for both you and your pet.

One myth about reward-based training is that it amounts to nothing more than a “bribe.” The reward is not used as a bribe. It’s used as a tool to shape behavior in the form of being able to communicate, “Yes! That’s exactly what I wanted you to do… thanks!” Think of it as providing your dog with a paycheck after his work has been completed. Learning should not be painful or harmful, and many of the “old-school” training techniques were based on using pain or the fear of pain to get dogs to respond. Clearly, this is not how we train at PetSmart.

All of our classes help you understand the “why” of what they are doing to train their dogs. This knowledge enables you to teach your dog to consistently perform on cue those behaviors he has been taught. And with this information, you can build a stronger bond through better communication and lifelong learning.

Say No & Walk Away From Outdated Dog Training & Behavior Advice!

Punitive dog training, whispering and outdated behavior therapy: What might it be doing to YOUR DOG!

Click here to read a statement from The Pet Professional Guild

There are still huge numbers of ‘stamp and jerk’ dog trainers and whisperers at large with their choke chains, spiked collars, shock collars, rape alarms, correction sticks and bullying attitudes who haven’t chosen to move on into the humane, modern age of dog training. ASK WHY? of those trainers who still want to be cruel to dogs by training with punishment, correcting jerks and coercion when kind training methods are so much better, and are so very widely known and applied all over the world these days?

ASK WHY? of those ‘behaviorists’ who persist in deploying those long out-of-date ‘dominance reduction’ and one-size-fits-all ‘nothing in life is free’ programs  in the name of behavioral therapy. Why are they telling you to ignore and thus punish your dog? Don’t they know that this threatens the bond you have with your dog and potentially inflicts huge psychological damage on him? Click Here for more information.

‘SAY NO!’ to all of them! There is no such thing as ‘Being Cruel to be Kind’ in the name of dog training or behavior consulting. Such dog trainers, whisperers and behaviorists are simply being ‘Cruel to be Cruel’ with these long outdated, inhumane and discredited techniques.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that they may be members of some institute, council or guild. Ask to see their Code of Conduct. If they don’t have one, ‘SAY NO!’ and walk away. If they do have one, see what techniques and equipment are NOT excluded and so might be employed with your dog. ASK WHY they might want to abuse your dog with any such unpleasantness, then, if you are not satisfied that your dog will be safe from harm, protect him! ‘SAY NO!’ and walk away.

Speak to a professional who commits to training your dog without the use of fear, pain or outdated equipment.  Contact your local DogSmith, if we cannot find a DogSmith in your area we will locate a professional trainer for you through the Pet Professional Guild

The DogSmith MTR Skills Relationship Exercise #4 The Name Game

Exercise #4: Name Game

Goal: To teach your dog to look at you with a happy demeanor when you say its name.

Resources: You will need a treat bag with some soft, moist and yummy treats. You will also need a training partner, spouse, child or friend to help you.

Training Steps

To play the ‘name game,’ take your dog to a quiet place in your home.
Say your dog’s name and when it looks at you say ‘yes’ and give it a treat. Repeat this step 5 times each day for a week.

Play the ‘name game’ with other family members and your dog.
Have each family member, armed with small treats, go to different parts of the house. Then take turns calling your dog’s name. When your dog finds the correct person and makes eye contact, say ‘yes’ and give the dog a treat. Repeat this exercise each day for 3-days.

Now take the ‘name game’ outside. This time when your dog looks at you when it hears its name, say ‘yes’ and pet them for 30 seconds.

Limit the treats to every 5th time your dog makes eye contact when it hears its name.

Watch a short fun video on how to teach your dog to respond positively to there name

NEVER use your dog’s name harshly. Always use your dog’s name in a happy and pleasant manner. Contact your local DogSmith for helping teaching your dog to be a great family pet. For a FREE phone consultation complete this short form

DogSmith Pet Waste Cleanup Services

Service Scope and How We Clean –
Because your dog can be clever about where he “goes” and scooping poop is not an exact science we use a strict “search and scoop” grid pattern. This method ensures that the Pet Waste Specialist Technician will pass over every part of your yard at least twice to make sure nothing is missed. We will also apply a deodorizing spray that minimizes the pet waste damage to your lawn. Our pooper scoopers will always leave a card informing you that we have serviced your yard and if there is anything to report (broken gate, dog worms, digging under the fence etc.). When leaving a yard we always check and double check your gate to make sure it is securely fastened and Fido is safely contained.

Fetch Your Local DogSmith!

We conform to the highest industry standards.

  • We scoop up and remove all waste from your yard at each service visit.
  • We disinfect our tools and shoes before entering your yard.
  • We observe your pet’s demeanor and health.
  • We ensure all gates are locked as we come and go from your yard.
  • We confirm our service delivery by leaving you a “we were here” card.
  • We notify you of any concerning observations we make about your pet’s waste.
  • We remove all small trash, defined as smaller than a soda can.
  • We are bonded and insured.

Additional Yard Services that may be offered by your local DogSmith

  • Scoop Front Yard
    If you require your front yard cleaned as an addition to your back yard there is a small per visit fee.
  • Odor Mute
    This all-natural product covers up to 500 square feet per application (one gallon) and should ideally be done at least once per week to eliminate the smell of dog urine from your yard
  • All-Natural Flea, Tick, & Mosquito Barrier Spray
    The price is for a one gallon application that covers up to 5,000 sq. ft.
  • Trifectant Disinfectant Spray
    Broad Spectrum disinfectant. The Price is per gallon. One gallon thoroughly disinfects 300 sq. ft. Recommended for homes that have experienced Parvo, Distemper or other contagious canine diseases.