Archive for the ‘Labradoodle Advice’ Category

Importance of Water in Your Pet’s Diet

July 24, 2009

Water is an essential nutrient for your pet, accounting for 60-75% of an adult pet’s body weight. Water helps your pet’s body regulate body temperature, digest food, eliminate waste, and allows salt and other electrolytes to pass through the body.

Your pet’s body has limited capacity to store water and can only sustain your pet for a few days with available water. When your pet’s water ratio falls 5-10% below normal your pet will start to show signs of dehydration. Failure to take action when your pet becomes dehydrated can result in your pet’s organs shutting down.

The following are some signs of dehydration to watch out for:

-Sunken eyes
-Dry mouth
-Poor skin elasticity
-Increased heart rate

The amount of water your pet needs varies depending on animal and breed, and is affected by level of activity and environmental factors. In higher temperatures with more active pets, heat exhaustion can occur when water and electrolytes become depleted

Pets need to have fresh, clean water available at all times to prevent dehydration. Make sure that the water bowl is heavy enough that it cannot be tipped over or have several bowls of water available.

Because even the presence of a perpetually full water bowl may not prompt some pets – particularly cats – to take in as much water as they need, canned food formulas are another way to add water to their diet.

If you suspect that your pet is dehydrated do not give him too much water. A severely dehydrated pet will start vomiting after a large amount of water intake, dehydrating him further. The best course of action is to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Wellness Library-


Farewell to Fleas the Natural Way

July 15, 2009

Farewell to Fleas the Natural Way!

There are natural methods you can utilize that make your dog less desirable to fleas if you are worried about the effects of chemicals on your dog. Try just one of these methods, or try them all!

– Cut a lemon into quarters and place in a
pint jug. Cover the lemon with boiling
water and let steep overnight. Use in a
spray bottle and use all over your dog.
Don’t forget behind the ears, under
“armpits” and the base of tail. Be careful
around the eyes.

– Mix 10 ml. of sweet almond oil ,10 drops
of lavender and 5 drops of cedarwood.
Shake well. Use 1 or 2 drops on the skin

– Make a flea collar by rubbing a few drops
of eucalyptus oil, Tea Tree Oil, citronella,
lavender or geranium onto a fabric collar
or a doggy bandanna. Do this weekly.

– Garlic is an internal flea repellant. Give
your dog a crushed clove of garlic daily
mixed in with his food. Or, give your dog
brewer’s yeast tablets according to the directions.
This makes your dog less attractive
to fleas as the garlic comes through
the dog’s skin from the inside out.

– Adding a spoonful of apple cider vinegar
to your dog’s water bowl will make your
dog’s skin unpleasant to fleas. You can
also dilute 50/50 with water and use in a
spray bottle all over your dog.

– Make your own herbal flea dip which will
also work on ticks. Steep two cups of
fresh rosemary in two pints of boiling water
for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid, discard
the leaves and add warm water to
make one gallon of this mixture. Pour this
over the dog until it’s coat is saturated. Do
not rinse off and allow the dog to dry

– Don’t forget that bathing your dog is critical
to removing flea debris and fleas. Do
this just before using a flea treatment.

– Remember to vacuum your home thoroughly
and wash dog bedding.

Issue 14
July 2009
Hey Dude!
Mini Doodler
Enriching one Doodle Owner’s life at a Time!
Australian Labradoodle Association of America
Visit us at

Traveling With Your Manor Lake Australian Labradoodle

July 13, 2009

Traveling with your Dog- From the American Kennel Club

Taking your dog along can make the family vacation more fun for everyone, if you plan carefully. Here are some trip tips to make traveling with your dog enjoyable.

Health and Safety

  • Health Checks. Bring your dog to the vet’s for a check up before going on an extended trip. Make sure all his vaccinations are up to date; shot records with you. Health certifications are required for airline travel.
  • To keep your dog healthy as you travel, bring along a supply of his regular food and some local, or bottled, water. Be sure to bring any medications he needs.


A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car, and is required for airline travel. It can also keep your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host’s home. Crates are available from most pet supply stores. Look for these features when purchasing:

  • Large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn and lie down.
  • Strong, with handles and grips, and free of interior protrusions.
  • Leak-proof bottom covered with absorbent material.
  • Ventilation on opposing sides, with exterior rims or knobs to prevent blocked airflow.
  • “Live Animal” label, arrows upright, with owner’s name, address and phone number.
  • Stock the crate with a comfortable mat, your dog’s favorite toy, and a water bottle, and your dog is ready to go.


In the event that your dog gets away from you on your trip, you can increase the chances of recovery by making sure he can be properly identified:

  • Make sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, and your home phone number, as well as proof of rabies shots.
  • Consider a permanent form of identification, such as a microchip (see CAR).
  • Bring a recent picture of your dog along with you.

Traveling by Car

  • Get your dog used to the car by letting him sit in it with you without leaving the driveway, and then going for short rides.
  • Avoid car sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure he has plenty of water at all times.
  • Keep the car well-ventilated. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air can flow into the crate.
  • Do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to eye injuries.
  • Never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or death.
  • Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks. Be sure to clean up after your dog.
  • Car rides are boring for everyone, so instruct your children not to tease or annoy the dog in the car.
  • Never, ever leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, particularly in the summer. See Summer Safety Tips for more information. If you must leave the car, designate a member of the family to stay with the dog.

By Plane

  • Each airline has its own set of rules for canine air travel. You should call for information and make arrangements well in advance of your trip.
  • All airlines require health certifications and proof of vaccinations.
  • Some airlines will not transport animals when it is extremely hot or cold.
  • Dogs must be in an airline-approved crate when transported as cargo. Small dogs may ride under the seat in a crate or carrier.

By Train, Bus and Boat

If you plan to travel by train or bus, you may be disappointed. Dogs are not permitted on Amtrak trains or on buses operated by Greyhound and other interstate bus companies. (Service dogs are permitted.) Local rail and bus companies have their own policies.

You may fare better if you’re taking a cruise. The QE2 luxury cruiser, which sails from New York to England/France, provides special lodging and free meals for your dog. However, you should check the policies of the cruise line or ship you will be traveling on before making plans to take your dog on a cruise with you.


  • Find out in advance which hotels or motels at your destination or on your route allow dogs. Many do not, or have size or breed restrictions.
  • If your dog is allowed to stay at a hotel, respect other guests, staff and the property.
  • Keep your dog as quiet as possible.
  • Do not leave the dog unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place.
  • Ask the management where you should walk your dog, and pick up after him. Do not leave any mess behind.
  • Remember that one bad experience with a dog guest may prompt the hotel management to refuse to allow any dogs. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds in good condition.

Can Dogs Love? A True Story

July 8, 2009


Can Dogs Love? A True Story

By Stanley Coren | Illustration by Jess Golden

IF YOU WANT TO CAUSE A COMMOTION IN ANY PSYCHOLOGY department or any other place where animal and human behaviour is studied, all that you have to do is to claim that your dog loves you. Skeptics, critics, and even some ardent supporters will pour out into the halls to argue the pros and cons of that statement.

Among the skeptics you will find the veterinarian Fred Metzger, of Pennsylvania State University, who claims that dogs probably don’t feel love in the typical way humans do. Dogs make investments in human beings because it works for them. They have something to gain from putting so-called emotions out there. Metzger believes that dogs “love” us only as long as we continue to reward their behaviours with treats and attention.

For most dog owners, however, there is little doubt that dogs can truly love people. Take the story of Rocky and Rita from the Finger Lakes region of New York State, near Rochester.

Rocky was a solid 65-pound Boxer, classically colored with a chestnut brown coat and a white blaze on his chest. At the time of this story, Rocky was three years old and Rita was his eleven-year-old companion. Rocky had been given to Rita when he was ten weeks old, and she immediately bonded with him, petting him, handfeeding him, teaching him basic commands, and letting him sleep on her bed. Whenever she was not in school, the two were always together and within touching distance. The family would often fondly refer to the pair as “R and R.”

Rita was a relatively timid and shy girl, and as the dog grew in stature he brought her a sense of security. When Rocky was next to her she felt confident enough to meet new people and to go to unfamiliar places. Rocky took on the roles, not only of friend and confidant, but also of defender. When encountering strangers, he would often deliberately stand in front of Rita, as a sort of protective barrier. He seemed to be without fear, such as once when Rita was about to enter a store and two large men dressed in biker outfits burst out of the door, yelling at the shopkeeper and nearly knocking Rita over. Rocky rushed forward, putting himself between the frightened girl and the two threatening men. He braced himself and gave a low rumbling growl that carried such menace that the men backed off and gave the child and her guardian a wide berth.

There was, however, one flaw in Rocky’s armour. It was a fear of water that was so extreme that it was almost pathological. Boxers are not strong swimmers in any event, and are often shy of the water. However, Rocky’s fears stemmed from his puppyhood, when, at the age of seven weeks, he was sold to a family with an adolescent child. The boy had emotional problems and acted as if the attention bestowed on the new puppy somehow meant that he was less important. In a jealous rage, he put the puppy in a pillow case, knotted the top and threw it into a lake. Fortunately, the boy’s father saw the incident and managed to retrieve the terrified puppy before it drowned. He scolded the boy and returned to the house. The next day the horrified parent saw his son standing waist-deep in the lake trying to drown the struggling puppy by holding him under water. This time Rocky was rescued and returned to the breeder for his own safety.

These early traumas made water the only thing that Rocky truly feared. When he came close to a body of water, he would try to pull back and seemed emotionally distressed. When Rita would go swimming in the lake, he would pace along the shore trembling and whimpering. He would watch her intently and would not relax until she returned to dry land.

One late afternoon, Rita’s mother took R and R to an upscale shopping area. It was located along the edge of a lake and featured a short wooden boardwalk which was built along the shore over a sharp embankment that was 20 or 30 feet above the surface of the water. Rita was clomping along the boardwalk, enjoying the way the sounds of her footsteps were amplified by the wooden structure. It was then that a boy on a bicycle skidded on the damp wooden surface, hitting Rita at an angle which propelled her through an open section of the guard rail. She let out a shriek of pain and fear as she hurled outward and down, hitting the water face down, and then floating there unmoving. Rita’s mother was at the entrance of a store a hundred feet or so away. She rushed to the railing shouting for help. Rocky was already there, looking at the water, trembling in fear, and making sounds that seemed to be a combination of barks,whimpers, and yelps all rolled into one.

We can never know what went through that dog’s mind as he stood looking at the water-the one thing that truly terrified him and that had nearly taken his life twice. Now here was a frightening body of water that seemed about to harm his little mistress. Whatever he was thinking, his love for Rita seemed to overpower his fear and he leapt out through the same open space in the rail and plunged into the water.

One can thank the genetic programming that allowed the dog to swim without any prior practice, and he immediately went to Rita and grabbed her by a shoulder strap on her dress. This caused her to roll over so that her face was out of the water and she gagged and coughed. Despite her dazed state she reached out and managed to cinch her hand in Rocky’s collar, while the dog struggled to swim toward the shore. Fortunately the water was calm, they were not far from shore, and Rocky quickly reached a depth where his feet were on solid ground. He dragged Rita until her head was completely out of the water, and then stood beside her, licking her face, while he continued to tremble and whine. It would be several minutes before human rescuers would make it down the steep rocky embankment, and had it not been for Rocky, they surely would have arrived too late.

Rita and her family believe that it was only the big dog’s love of the little girl that caused him to take what he must have considered a life-threatening action. This certainly casts doubt on Dr. Metzger’s theory that dogs don’t love us but act only out of self-interest. Why should Rocky behave in a way that he certainly felt would risk his life? Surely, if he was evaluating the costs and benefits of his actions then he would have known that, even in Rita’s absence, the rest of the family would be around to feed him and take care of needs.

Marc Bekoff, a behavioural biologist at the University of Colorado, has a different interpretation. He notes that dogs are social animals. All social animals need emotions, in part as a means of communication-for instance you need to know to back off if another animal is growling. More importantly, however, emotions keep the social group together and motivate individuals to protect and support each other. Bekoff concludes that strong emotion is one of the foundations of social behaviour and is the basis of the connection between individuals in any social group, whether it is a pack, a family or just a couple in love. Recent research has even identified some of the chemicals associated with feelings of love in humans. These include hormones such as oxytocin, which seems to help people form emotional bonds with each other. One of the triggers that causes oxytocin to be released is gentle physical touching, such as stroking. Dogs also produce oxytocin, and one of our common ways of interacting with dogs is to gently pet them, an action that probably releases this hormone associated with bonding. If dogs as social animals have an evolutionary need for close emotional ties, and they have the chemical mechanisms associated with loving, it makes sense to assume that they are capable of love, as we are.

Rocky’s fear of the water was absolute, and never did abate. He continued to avoid it for the rest of his life and no one ever saw him so much as place a foot in the lake again. No one, at least not Rita or her family, ever doubted his love for her. He lived long enough to see an event occur which would not have happened had he not cared for her as much as he did. When Rita graduated from high school, she posed for a photo in her cap and gown. Beside her sat a now much older Boxer. The smiling girl had an arm around the dog, and her hand was cinched in his collar, as it was the day that Rocky unambiguously showed her just how much he loved her.

■ Dr. Stanley Coren is professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of many books on dog behaviour, including The Intelligence of Dogs and How Dogs Think. His website is

Modern Dog Magazine-

Summer Safety Tips for Your Australian Labradoodle

July 7, 2009

United Animal Nation, a nonprofit animal protection group in Sacramento, Calif, just launched “My dog is cool,” a campaign entirely focused on preventing animals from dying in hot cars. Says CEO Nicole Forsyth: “Just a few minutes is too long and can become a deathtrap.” 

A dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a brief time. Dogs only perspire through their tongues and a bit from paws. If a dog’s tongue turns a deep red or purplish color, it is in deep distress. Excessive heat can result in severe damage to nerves, heart, liver, brain, and sometimes in death.

UAN offers “It’s Hot!” fliers online at Place the stickers on the windshield if you see a pet left in a car alone. If a pet appears to be in distress, humane society officials suggest making a call for help. If you are not sure whom to call, it’s fine to call 911. has a lot of great resources! Be sure and check it out.

Summer Safety Tips for Your Australian Labradoodle

Summertime sizzles with excitement — and with potential dangers to your companion dogs! Here are some tips you can use to make sure the summer season is safer and more enjoyable for you and your dog.

  • How Hot Is Hot?

    Is the weather fair or foul for your pets? Find out if it’s too hot to take your dog along with you today. And learn just how quickly cars heat up in warm weather.

  • Banish Fleas and Ticks

    Summertime, and the living is easy — especially for fleas and ticks! United Animal Nations offers tips for controlling these parasites, which can be dangerous not just to dogs but to humans as well.

  • Traveling with Your Dog

    Want to hit the road (or the skies or the rails) with your dog? Dog-friendly trips are possible, with some advanced preparation. United Animal Nations tells you how to make travel safer for your dog.

  • Quench Your Dog’s Thirst

    As the weather warms, it’s especially important to make sure that your companion dog drinks enough water. Be sure to always bring fresh water and a bowl with you when headed out to the beach, a picnic, hiking, etc.

  • Keeping Your Australian Labradoodle Safe on the Fourth of July

    July 3, 2009

    4th of July Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe

    Being safe and taking steps to protect your dog will ensure you have a great holiday.

    The July 4th holiday is upon us. As many American dog owners have the day off to celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they surely will want to spend part of this day with their pooch and include him in the merriment. While that can be a nice idea, Lorriane Corriveau, a wellness veterinarian at Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Indiana, says that dog owners need to use common sense when letting Fido join in the festivities.

    “Some dogs love to chase those spinning and swirling objects on the ground,” she says, which can cause burns and other injuries. “Others are traumatized by loud noises. Owners can help with tricks that can be as simple as putting cotton in their pet’s ears to muffle the sound.”

    Corriveau offers the following tips to ease the stress on your dog during this particularly “explosive” holiday:

    • Don’t leave your dog alone outdoors on the 4th of July, as he may escape and runaway to avoid the loud noises.
    • Don’t take your dog to fireworks shows. Instead, take him on a picnic earlier in the day to celebrate.
    • To distract your dog, turn on the radio or TV for some background noise.
    • Explain to your children and neighborhood kids that sparklers and firecrackers can be quite frightening for a dog.
    • Fear of noises can get worse as a dog ages. A veterinarian can advise you about giving your dog a mild sedative or tranquilizer to calm his fears if he is extremely stressed.
    • Be sure to pick up leftover sparklers and other sharp objects after the festivities are done so your dog won’t risk being injured by them later on.

    Fun Recipes for Your Australian Labradoodle

    June 24, 2009

    Recipes For You and Your Dog
    Creature Comforts
    By Jessica Nosek
    Oh! What to do with these long, dark evenings?|
    Why, a little impromptu party of course! Take a cue from countries that not only know winter, but embrace it. If the season is dragging you down, these recipes are sure to fire you up.

    Zest from 1 orange
    6–12 whole cloves
    2 sticks cinnamon
    8 cardamom seeds
    2 Tbsp brown sugar
    2 cups raisins
    1 cup blanched almonds
    2 cups vodka
    1/4 bottle port
    2 bottles Burgundy wine
    Simmer spices in vodka for about an hour. Remove from heat, add orange zest and raisins, and allow to sit overnight. (But if pressed for time, this mixture can be used immediately.) When close to serving time, strain the infused vodka and combine with wines in a large saucepan. Heat slowly to a simmer.

    Serve hot in glasses with almonds sprinkled on top.
    Fondue Neuchâtel
    Serves 4
    1 clove garlic
    1–1/2 cups dry white wine
    1 tsp lemon juice
    2 cups grated Emmenthal cheese
    2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
    1 Tbsp cornflour
    3 Tbsp kirsch
    White pepper, grated nutmeg
    and paprika to taste
    French bread, cut into
    1-inch cubes, for serving
    Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the clove of garlic. Light the flame under the pot and gently heat the wine and lemon juice, stirring continuously, while gradually adding cheeses. When the mixture begins to bubble, add blended kirsch and cornflour. Cook 2–3 minutes, seasoning to taste.
    Using fondue forks, dip French bread into the hot cheesy mixture—and enjoy!
    Even the dog’s got the winter blahs? A little gingerbread will add some spice to poochie’s life.
    Doggie Biscotti
    1 cup unbleached flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    3/4 cup oat flour
    1/2 cup rye flour
    1/2 cup cornmeal
    1/4 cup milk powder
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp ginger
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    2 Tbsp honey
    3 Tbsp peanut butter
    1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Then in a separate bowl, mix together all the remaining wet ingredients. Blend wet into dry until well combined. Form into two balls and shape each into an oval-shaped log, approximately 4” wide. Place on a baking tray and bake at 250oF for 30 minutes or until golden-brown. Let logs cool, then cut into slices and place slices on baking tray. Bake at 325oF for 5 minutes, then turn the slices over and bake for another 5 minutes.

    Meatloaf For Your Manor Lake Australian Labradoodle

    June 5, 2009

    An easy-to-make meal
    By Corbett Marshall and Jim Deskevich

    We are big fans of a good meatloaf, and our dogs Jordan and Gertrude were too. We adapted a basic meatloaf recipe using lean meats and adding different grains and vegetables for variety. Our dogs loved garlic, so we always added it, finely chopped; if you have concerns about feeding it to your dog, it can easily be left out.

    We would make a few of these at a time to freeze, using different flavors for variety. Use beef, ground turkey, chicken, or lamb, but avoid pork or veal, which can be too fatty. In place of the oatmeal, you can try other whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the oven rack in the middle slot. Mix all the ingredients together with your hands. Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan, or use a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and form a loaf in the center. Bake for 1 hour.

    Feed according to your dog’s size and calorie needs.

    • 2 pounds ground meat
    • 1 cup cooked organic oatmeal (We prefer a minimally processed steel-cut whole-grain oat, like Irish oatmeal.)
    • 3/4 cup organic flaxseed meal
    • 1/2 cup fresh organic parsley, finely chopped
    • 2 large organic eggs
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (optional)
    • 2 cups fresh or frozen organic vegetables (Use a variety of vegetables, such as peas, corn, diced cooked potatoes, and grated carrots; do not include onion.)
    [Optional:  pulverized calcium. Nori (seaweed), chopped pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. Can substitute bread crumbs for the flaxseed meal.]

    Adapted from Eco Dog by Corbett Marshall and Jim Deskevich, photographs by Aimée Herring. Reprinted by arrangement with Chronicle Books. Copyright © 2008.

    Helpful Website For Your Manor Lake Australian Labradoodle

    May 27, 2009

    Today I came across the website PetMD- they have a lot of helpful information on dog health and a vet dictionary.

    One article that was interesting was about Auto Insurance companies extending coverage now to dogs-

    Brain Boosting Games

    May 22, 2009

    Brain Boosting Games

    Keep your dog mentally sharp By Jennifer Messer

    Are you a crossword addict? Sudoko fan? Or maybe a bridge fiend? If so, you’ll be happy to hear that brain games—activities that demand mental problem solving—aren’t only fun, they are also good for the mind… both human AND canine.

    Memory and learning ability tend to decline with age, in both people and dogs. In fact, the types of brain changes, from normal aging to diseases like Alzheimer’s, are so similar between dogs and people that dogs are used as a model to study mental decline in human aging. The good news is that brain games help reduce some age-related brain changes. While it isn’t clear yet which specific cognitive exercises work best, the general consensus is that “use it or lose it” holds as true for human and canine minds as it does for our bodies, so Fido better perk up his ears if he wants to keep track of where the bones are buried in his sunset years. To help you keep those canine cognitive wheels well greased, here are a few awesome brain boosters that most dogs rate with two paws up and a big wag of approval.

    How many toys does your dog know the names of? Increase his vocabulary by teaching him to retrieve each toy by name. Start with his two favourites, and teach him to fetch them by name one at a time, in a room with no other toys to choose from. If he isn’t a naturally motivated retriever, use lots of praise, tug, or treats to reward the good fetches. Once he knows the names of two toys, put both on the floor and ask him to fetch them one at a time. Reward correct choices with whatever turns his crank, and by continuing the game. Respond to incorrect choices by repeating the request, and eventually guiding him toward the right toy if he really needs help. If he can succeed with two, try three or more. This is really tough brain work, so expect to build up his vocabulary very gradually. If you think you might have a doggie Einstein on your hands, check out Rico, the world-famous Border Collie with a 200-word vocabulary, for ideas on how to crank it up a notch (

    One, two, threes
    Get some small healthy treats, or kibble. Hold six pieces in one closed hand, and two in the other. Ask your dog to sit, hold your hands shoulder width apart, about arm’s length from your dog, and then open your palms and say “small.” Only let him chow down if he picks the smaller group—just close your palms and start over if he picks the bigger one. You can hand him the six after he gobbles the two—as an added bonus for choosing correctly. Randomly switch up which hand has the smaller number so he isn’t just learning to choose “right” or “left.” If he’s SUCH a chowhound that he just beelines for either hand willy-nilly, make him wait a few seconds before you say “small” so he takes the time to think. The closer the quantities, the tougher the task: if he can choose correctly between four and five you may need to enroll him in a doggie PhD!

    This is a top pick for lazy owners with brilliant dogs. Sit back on the couch with your choice beverage in one hand, and a handful of small healthy treats in the other. Ignore any attempts by your dog to approach you directly for food. Think of a doggie action, like walking over to the bookshelf and making contact with it. Watch her for ANY movement in the right direction, and when you spot it say “HOT!” in an excited tone, and toss her a treat, but not too close to you OR the bookshelf. Gradually hold out for movement that is closer and closer to the action on your mind, and see how she reacts. If she’s a quick giver-upper you’ll need to make it easy for her so she doesn’t quit on you. If she’s a real tryer, you can let her get frustrated and rack her brains a bit harder. If you stumble on an action that will make a neat party trick, just throw in a command once she’s good at it, and you’re set.

    Earning the kibble
    Do you waste time and get aggravated searching for your misplaced purse or keys? Let your dog earn some of her kibble by helping you out. Dab these items with the tiniest drop of her favourite essential oil—so little that you don’t even notice it—and teach her to find them by scent, on request. Rewarding successful search missions with a stuffed chewtoy will keep her content as you head out the door, and motivate speedy and reliable retrieves. Ever find yourself half asleep in bed, only to realize you didn’t close the bedroom door or turn off the light? Hop online or pick up a book on “targeting and clicker training” and teach your dog to use his snout to shut the door, and his paw to flick off the light switch. If you aren’t a morning person, you may want to put him in charge of turning the lights on to get you going. And no, you cannot safely teach him to make you a coffee!

    The shell game
    Have your dog sit, and let him see you hide one piece of kibble under a cup on the floor. Tell him to “take it,” and when he noses or knocks over the cup let him eat the kibble it was hiding. Once he’s good at this he is ready for the shell game. Rub kibble on your fingers and along the inside of three mugs lined up in a row, so the smell of it is everywhere—this is a visual tracking game and we don’t want him cheating with his talented nose! Let him see you hide a piece of kibble under one of the mugs. Tell him to “take it” and give him the kibble when he makes the right choice, no matter how long it takes him, and no matter how many mistakes he makes. Do this many times, hiding kibble under each of the three mugs, one at a time. When he’s good at this step, slide just the kibble-hiding mug to a different spot before telling him to “take it.” This is pretty tough, and not all dogs can do it. Finally, if your dog seems gifted, try swapping two mugs and see if he can track the kibble-hiding one. This game is EXTREMELY challenging, so don’t start out working him like a grifter or you won’t get anywhere! Success at any level means he is no Forest Gump!

    Interactive brain games are a fun way to socialize with your dog, while encouraging healthy intellectual exercise at the same time. If you and your pooch enjoy physical activity as much as brainwork, there are also oodles of organized dog sports—agility, tracking, and flyball, to name a few—that work your minds and bodies together. Learning to engage your dog in these activities at just the right skill level is hard brain work for you, too, so now you have lots of activities to choose from that will help keep you BOTH mentally sharp!