Category Archives: Nuisance Behaviors

Misty Pines’ Dog Resolutions Are Here to Serve You in the New Year and Beyond

DOG RESOLUTIONS: the act of you and your dog determining to make a firm decision to do something to improve life and to have fun with each other.

Each Holiday comes with its own set of traditions and for New Year’s it is customary to set resolutions that you’ll carry out in the new year. This year, why not make a few resolutions for you and your dog? We’ve listed a few that we feel will help 2018 be a better year for you and your pet.

Keep Up With Training and Exercising Your Dog

Much like humans, who decide to get back into shape, polish up on or learn a new skill, dogs enjoy being with and benefit from working with their leaders. To help you and your dog to have fun and enjoy each other, we would encourage you and your family pack to come to dog training classes! Misty Pines classes are designed to be very accessible and easy-to-use. Classes are on-going and run continuously throughout the year. You participate and advance at your convenience. We have found that this is an excellent system for busy families. Our class structure allows you and your dog to start training or drop in for remedial work anytime. We all get rusty if we do not practice, so stop in and join us to maintain all the good things that you have learned and taught your wonderful dog and learn more! You are always welcome to start or return to class no matter how long you have been away. You and your dog always have the opportunity to continue to learn, socialize and exercise throughout the years.

Stimulating Your Dog’s Mind

Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet’s brain active can actually make it healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are a great way to keep those neurons firing. Our Tricks and Clicks class coming up in February is a great way to add new tricks to your repertoire and challenge your dog to work through fun, challenging behaviors.

Prolonged release interactive food dispensing devices, which makes a pet think in order to be rewarded with their meal, are an excellent way to keep a pet’s mind engaged. We also recommend Bob-A-Lots, Kongs and raw femur bones, which we have at our facility.

For Those That Need A Boost

Boot Camp/Training: Sometimes owners do not have the time or expertise to teach dogs and they need a “jump start” in training to help them accelerate to a higher level. This program develops a dog’s ability to learn various behaviors; specific training exercises will vary with the needs of each owner and their dog. At the end of the two week Boot Camp you will take home a full report of your dog’s daily working journal that reviews the training they have done. A scheduled lesson when you pick up your dog is included and the best way to review and learn from the trainers the transition of what your dog has learned from Misty Pines to your home.

Put an End to Your Dog’s Behavior Issues

Nothing prevents an owner from enjoying their dog like annoying canine behavior problems. Consult with one of the Professional Dog Trainers at Misty Pines to solve their problem. Misty Pines offers Private Canine Behavior Consultations as well as Nuisance Behaviors classes throughout the year. Private Canine Behavior Consultations are by appointment and our group Nuisance Behavior class is held on the fifth Saturday of each eligible month at 8:00 am. These classes deal specifically with problem behaviors such as barking, play-biting, and jumping up, just to name a few. Check our online calendar for a list of class dates and to register online.

Give Opportunities for Exercise

Try a New Activity with Your Pet

Treadmilling, hiking, agility, dock diving, scent work; it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond and it will get you both out of the house to reap the rewards of a healthy physical activity. Group classes are a great way to find like-minded pet owners to join you in your exercise, too!

An 8 – 5:00 Full Dog-Day

Daycare\Training is also an excellent way for your dog to learn, socialize, and exercise. Our supervised exercise yards are superb for helping your dog exercise and socialize with other friendly dogs and while they are here you can schedule treadmill work or training for them. Your dog will return home relaxed, well exercised, and well trained! If you would like to have your dog return home clean and smelling fresh, add on a bath or haircut. Our professional groomers will shampoo your dog, cut their nails, clean their ears and having them looking their best when you come to pick them up. And don’t forget, you can come in any time for a nail trim for just $11.

Feed Healthier

Measure Your Pet’s Food – Every Time!

Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake of food and pour that into a bowl, usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to use a consistent measuring cup to ensure your pet is not taking in more calories than they need. Older pets and those who have been neutered usually have lower energy needs than young, intact animals.

Counting Calories: Not As Difficult As You Might Think

Resting energy requirement (RER) is the number of calories per day your dog requires for just basic needs. To determine your dog’s RER, convert his ideal target weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2, then multiply that number by 30 and add 70.

Measurement Conversion and Calculation

– To convert pounds to kilograms, divide by 2.2. A dog who weighs 11 pounds also weighs 5 kilograms (11 ÷ 2.2 = 5).

– To determine your dog’s resting energy requirement (RER), or kilocalories each day, multiply your dog’s ideal body weight in kilograms by 30 and add 70.

Example: If your dog’s targeted ideal body weight is 50lbs and its diet is Nature’s Variety Raw Boost, which has 527 kcal/cup*, then:

50lbs ÷ 2.2 = 22.72kg

22.72kg x 30 = 681.60

681 + 70 = 751.60 calories per day.

A 50lb dog would require 1.43 cups per day.

Note: Increase the volume of food when exercise increases and more calories are required.

*kcal/cup is found on the label of the dog food bag.

Groom Your Pet Daily

Brushing your pet serves many purposes. It removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture, helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy and daily grooming can be a bonding activity that demonstrates to your pet how much you love them as you care for them in a very soothing manner. Visit or call Misty Pines to ask our professional groomers which comb or brush is best for your pet.

Microchip Your Dog

During the summer of 2017 one of our clients found a dog and brought it to Misty Pines to have us check for a microchip. Our universal scanner identified the chip and we were able to reunite the dog with its owners within a few hours. This is the importance of microchipping your dog. We use the “Buddy ID microchips” which are the smallest microchips and injector needle currently available on the market. These microchips are half the size of most other chips, which ensures the most painless delivery of all microchips on the market into your pet due to their smaller gauge injector needle. The cost of $35 includes the microchip and the five minute implanting process, it also covers your enrollment in the worldwide pet database, a dog tag with your pets ID number, and access to your profile online to keep a changing address and information up-to-date. Lastly, Buddy ID does not have a monthly or yearly fee like some other microchip companies. Show your pet how much you care and call today to set up an appointment to have your pet microchipped at Misty Pines and you’ll be able to rest a little easier in 2018.

If Your Dog Already Has A Microchip, Update Your Pets ID Info

Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. All too often they only remember once the pet is lost. If any of your contact information has changed in 2017, don’t wait. Update your pet’s tags and microchip information today! It’s the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way home, safely. If your pet is not protected with a microchip ID and you would like to add that layer of security and peace of mind, call Misty Pines today to set up an appointment. Microchipping only takes five minutes.

Don’t let your resolutions go by the wayside this year. A recent comic in a local newspaper portrayed two dogs staring up into the sky. The smaller of the two asked the larger, “What are New Year Resolutions?” to which the larger dog replied, “‘To Do’ lists for the first two weeks of January.” It doesn’t matter that the year changed, what matters is that we see a need to make changes, plan how to make those changes come about and then have the fortitude to do what needs done to see our plans through to completion.

In 2018, remember; Misty Pines is the complete pet company that loves the company of people and pets. We are here for the lifetime of your dog.

Happy New Year!

Dog Etiquette: Turning Your Dog Into A Gracious Guest

By Karen B. London, PhD

Is your dog ready for the holidays?

Turning your dog into a gracious house guest.Shortly after we were married, my husband and I spent the holidays with my in-laws, and we brought our young dog, Bugsy. He was social; had an excellent stay; came when called; had no history of food thievery; and would not lift his leg indoors, even on a tree, so my confidence in his visiting skills was high.

On arrival, as he occupied himself with a stuffed Kong so we could unpack the car, a possible problem occurred to me. Bugsy often tossed his Kong into the air and ate any treats that flew out of it. In our poor students’ apartment, it was endearing, entertaining behavior. But my in-laws’ decor included crystal, collectible figurines and an array of china teacups. Racing into the house in a panic, I caught the Kong in midair as it flew toward a set of porcelain miniatures. As I breathed a sigh of relief, it occurred to me that perhaps I had been a bit smug in thinking the trip would be stress-free.

This time of year generates tales of woe associated with bringing dogs to visit friends and relatives, and I get a lot of questions about this issue. Whether or not people fully anticipate the trouble that awaits them, taking a dog into someone else’s home for the holidays can cause stress. The best approach for assuaging this seasonal angst is two-pronged: Prepare your dog as much as you can ahead of time with the skills he’ll need to succeed during the visit, and make every effort to avoid other situations for which he hasn’t been prepared.

The preliminary step, of course, is to request permission to bring him along. Not everyone wants a visiting dog. Even dog lovers appreciate the advance warning that allows them to, for example, put away the Ming vase on display at the precise height of the perpetually swinging tail of your cheerful Great Dane. If your dog is not welcome, don’t bring him, or find somewhere else to stay. The strain of a visit with an unwelcome dog can permanently damage relationships. Plus, it’s hard on the dog to be Undesirable Number One in an otherwise festive home.

Training is a critical aspect of preparation. The better trained your dog is, the more welcome you will both be as guests. The key skills are to be able to sit, stay, come, leave it, greet politely, and stop barking on cue. It sounds like a long list, but these are also the basics of polite canine citizenship. I also recommend that you teach your dog at least one “show-off” behavior. This can be waiting at the door until told to proceed (easy to teach but impressive to most people) or a trick such as “roll over” or “high five.” Anything that makes your dog more charming will help ease tensions in case of a social gaffe. For example, I had a client whose dog jumped up on her father-in-law, but was forgiven immediately when she gave the cue “You goofed,” and the dog responded by lying down and covering his face with his paws, as though in embarrassment.

Dog gives High Five

Common host complaints include barking, jumping up on visitors and stealing food. Of course, if he is prone to more serious transgressions such as biting, unmanageable destructive chewing or house-soiling, it is unfair to expect your dog and your hosts to co-exist peacefully, and it may be best not to go a-visiting with him in tow.

Teach your dog the skills he’ll need to be a gracious guest. If he’s a barker, teach him to stop on cue. Say “enough” the instant he starts to bark, and then put treats right by his nose. Do not let him have the treats until he stops barking. Many dogs quickly learn that quieting down when you say “enough” is a way to get treats. If he jumps up on people, teach him that if he does this, the people will leave, but if he sits, he will get treats and attention. Since the majority of jumpers do so out of an urge to be social, they quickly learn that jumping up makes people go away. They choose to sit instead, which results in the opportunity to socialize and get treats as well.

Even if you prepare ahead of time, there’s plenty to do during your visit to make sure that the holiday is remembered as a fun one rather than as the last family holiday to which you were allowed to bring your dog. Exercise, chews, toys and puzzles can minimize behavioral issues such as destructive chewing and counter-surfing, which tend to worsen when dogs are bored or full of pent-up energy. Bring a crate if your dog likes it and your hosts have enough space. Help clean up, especially if the mess involves dog hair or sloppy drinking at the water bowl. Seize the opportunity to put leftovers out of your dog’s reach, and volunteer to take out the trash.

As soon as possible after you arrive, practice the skills your dog already knows so that he can learn to do them in new places, too. One of the things that separates professional trainers from novices is that professionals know that training doesn’t automatically transfer to new locations. For example, just because your dog has a rock-solid stay in your living room doesn’t mean he knows how to respond in the same way in your yard, at the park or at Grandma’s house. Even a couple of five-minute training sessions can significantly improve your dog’s performance and manners.

Obedience skills aren’t the only ones that may drop off away from home. Many dogs who are completely trustworthy when left at home alone are stressed, scared or mischievous when left alone in a new place, all of which can result in house-soiling or the aforementioned destructive chewing or counter-surfing. The change in routine, a new place and additional people may also make dogs more likely to exhibit these unwanted behaviors. Adjust your plans—and expectations—accordingly.

Faux pas may occur, but focusing on prevention will help your dog succeed. Don’t set up your highly food-motivated dog to fail by leaving him alone, even for a minute, while the turkey is on the table. If you know your dog has a tendency to find food or shoes, don’t put temptation in his way. Make some areas of the house off limits, or use a crate so that your dog never gets the opportunity to display anything but his best behavior.

No matter how things go, send a thank-you note to your hosts, perhaps accompanied by flowers, to express your gratitude that you and your dog were welcomed into their home (and, if necessary, to apologize).

Ideally, holidays are fun, not stressful. With thoughtful preparation and prevention, you can insulate yourself, your dog and your hosts from the dark side of this festive season. You will then be free to focus on the joy of togetherness for everyone, whether they sing “Fa la la la la” or “Bow wow wow wow wow.”

Training Your Dog To Walk Politely On A Leash

Keep calm and walk the dog

Walking a dog on a loose leash is one of most difficult behaviors for a dog and human to perform together reliably because of much longer durations, distances, distractions (scents), compared to other behaviors. Teaching a dog to stay for a couple minutes, is much easier compared to loose leash walking ten blocks for a couple minutes. Walking your dog on a loose leash is a mental and physical exercise for both you and your dog. It is one of the many ways to connect and bond with your dog.

There are several behaviors and combinations of these behaviors for you and your dog to walk on a loose leash. Training these behaviors make a walk fun and challenging for both you and your dog.

“Heel” is a formal walking behavior where your dog’s front right shoulder is parallel and  eight to twelve inches away from your left leg at whatever speed that left leg is moving, and when that left leg stops, a dog sits promptly facing the same direction as the handler. While heeling, your dog’s head is up and not sniffing the ground. “This Way” is a walking behavior where the dog is trained to turn and follow you while you hold the end of a loose leash, just as a horse would follow you at the end of the lead rope.  “Easy” means to walk slowly. “Pull” means to pull you only on command on a taught leash, which comes in handy when walking uphill. The majority of dogs enjoy pulling. “Take a break” allows the dog to go to the end of a loose leash and sniff the ground. Smelling the environment is an extremely valuable reward. Dogs have 220 million scent receptors and love to investigate, explore, and check out odors in their environment. Saying “Take a break” or “go sniff’ to your dog to check out the environment can be highly rewarding and enjoyable.

Walking your dog should not be a time for your dog to be spreading their pee-mail (scent-marking)   profusely throughout the neighborhood. When dogs profusely scent mark, they are defining their territory. In turn the other dogs in the neighborhood scent mark over your dog’s scent mark. For some dogs scent marking is often perceived as claiming the deed of the territory by other dogs and this can lead to competition, and strong on leash growling reactivity when they see another dog walking towards them.

To teach your dog to heel gather up and loosely hold the leash in the left hand. Begin by shaping this behavior by luring them with a treat or a small toy held in the right hand say “heel” and walk forward, keeping your dog’s right leg parallel to your left leg and keeping their attention on the object or treat in your right hand. Take two steps, stop and simultaneously cueing your dog to “sit” parallel to your left side facing in the same direction as you. Reward with calm praise and a food treat. Repeat “heel,” gradually taking more steps between each stop to sit. Change direction of your walk periodically to keep your dog thinking, and use an upbeat animated tone in your voice to keep your dog’s attention. Start phasing out the lure once you feel the behavior has been shaped. 

Reward your dog whenever it heels beside you. Read and listen to your dog’s body language, before they indicate that they are going to pull, stop and instruct them to sit and to look at you, reward and start “heel” again.  Train “heel” in short progression sequences of distance. Ensure your two step heel is reliable before moving on to a four-step heel, then to a six-step heel and so on. Using a hand signal cue simultaneously as your left leg stops often helps dogs to sit expediently and parallel on your left side. If your dog is pulling without being told to, stop, encourage your dog to come closer to you and start the heeling over again. Certain breeds are more inclined to pull because of selective breeding for this trait, such as the Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamute, or Bernese Mountain Dog. If your dog continues to pull without being asked, a head halter type of collar will be helpful. There are many types of collars and harnesses to aid you in teaching your dog to heel.

Dogs heeling with owners.

It is outside the scope of this article to discuss all the various techniques and methods of teaching owners and dogs to walk politely on a leash. Seek out professional help to teach you the various techniques and methods of teaching your dog to heel, and the other walking behaviors. Once these behaviors are trained into your dog, you and your dog will enjoy and gain the many benefits of walking politely on a loose leash.


Upcoming Specialty Classes

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Sat 17

CGC/TDI Prep Class

March 17 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Sat 17

Scent Work 102

March 17 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Sat 24

Agility Class

March 24 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Sat 24

Scent Work 103

March 24 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Sat 31

Nuisance Behaviors

March 31 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am