Category Archives: Training

Tips to Help You and Your Dog Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July

According to HomeAgain, a pet microchipping company, more dogs get lost on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year.  Loud noises, especially fireworks, can cause fear and anxiety in our pets and with Independence Day on the horizon, no doubt many dog owners are not looking forward to the festivities that come along with the holiday.  This article discusses keeping your dog safe as well as several methods of anxiety prevention for the firework shows.  These methods of anxiety prevention are also applicable to thunderstorms. 

In order to keep them safe we have several tips.  In the event that your dog does get loose, make sure your dog is wearing an up to date and visible ID tag. If your dog is microchipped, ensure that there is some indication of this on his or her collar. To reduce the chance of your dog slipping his or her collar during a walk with fireworks, take your dog out earlier in the day.  Before you leave to attend the festivities, set out some distractions for your dog such as a Kong stuffed with frozen peanut butter, a bob-a-lot filled with treats, or a bone or chew toy to gnaw on.  If you have a dog that is afraid of fireworks, turn on some gentle music, shut the windows, and close the curtains to reduce the noise level.  Make sure your door is securely fastened before departing.  It is inadvisable to take noise fearful or unpredictable dogs out to firework shows. 

Unfortunately, many dogs who are afraid of fireworks also exhibit anxious or fearful behavior when thunderstorms roll around.  This can be devastating for owners as these behaviors can often be destructive as well as harmful to your dog.  No one wants to see their dog suffering.  There are several options which could help. 

There are several supplements that may appeal to owners.  The first of these is melatonin.  Owners suffering from insomnia may be familiar with melatonin—a hormone linked to the circadian rhythm.  Melatonin is a naturally occurring substance produced by the pineal gland.  Dr. Aronson, DVM recommends administering three mg for a 35-100 lb dog.  Dogs under 30 lbs should be given 1.5 mg and larger dogs may require six mg.  Melatonin is not a sedative; dogs using it will remain alert and awake.  Like all supplements for both dogs and people, the effectiveness for each individual dog is not guaranteed.  However, this is an excellent starting place and an easy remedy for the dogs it does work for.

Another supplement is NutriCalm. NutriCalm is a proprietary blend of natural ingredients formulated to calm and soothe anxious dogs.  Active ingredients include L-Tryptophan, Valerian Root Extract, Ashwaganda Extract, Catnip Extract, L-theanine, Calcium and Magnesium. The label recommends administering one tablet for every 25-50 lbs of body weight.  If hoping to begin the use of NutriCalm, a consultation with a veterinarian is recommended.  As with melatonin, NutriCalm is not a guarantee although again an easy fix for the dogs that it does work for. 

These supplements are best used as preventative measures rather than being administered during the event.  Giving the supplements at least 30 minutes prior to the stressful event or prior to leaving the dog alone will render them their most effective. 

Aside from supplements there is another option which may naturally help your dog relax.  The Thundershirt is a tight fitting body shirt designed to apply constant pressure to the dog’s torso.  This is intended to reduce anxiety and fearfulness as body enclosure and constant pressure has a calming effect on dogs. 

It is best for a fearful dog to have its owner stay home with them.  If this is possible, there are a few other options for the owner at home as well as things to avoid. 

The first thing to do is reduce the stimuli.  Close windows and doors as well as curtains to shut out sound and flashing lights.  Play gentle music and add white noise such as a fan to mask the sounds.  This music should also be played during relaxing times in order to prevent the formation of negative association with calming music. 

Your dog may wish to stay close to you during frightening events.  If it helps your dog to be near you, you can allow it to do so.  However, you must remember to stay calm, stressful behavior on the part of the owner will only feed the dog’s behavior.  Gentle massage may assist with calming your dog.  Do not punish a dog or forcefully remove it from its hiding place as this will merely frighten the dog further and create a more negative response.   

There are training solutions to consider as well.  Training a dog to find its bed and consider the dog bed an enjoyable and safe place may help reduce stress.  To begin, place your dog’s bed near you but away from the windows or doors to help reduce the stimulus.  Regularly have your dog settle in the bed, rewarding calm and settled behavior.  Have your dog go to his bed at different times of the day so that there isn’t one specific time associated with being calm. 

During the event, remain calm and happy and continuously feed tasty treats or counter condition with a fun game such as tossing a ball each time the noise occurs.  This will create a positive, happy association with the noise.  Remain cheerful.  The usage of a Thundershirt in combination may also help create a positive experience.  Desensitization training may be beneficial. 

Sound desensitization CDs are a good tool to use to systematically desensitize your dog to noises that evoke a fearful response. When beginning the use of these CDs it is recommended to engage your dog in a fun activity or give them a favorite toy or bone first, then begin the “music.” Start with the sound as low as possible yet loud enough that your dog responds to it. When your dog shows signs of discomfort you can begin the training process by counter conditioning with food treats if necessary or encouragement to continue the fun activity or chewing on their bone.  When the dog calms down, reward him and continue playing the sound cd for a bit longer, then decrease the volume. This is a successful training session and should be repeated soon after, using the same method. Remember where you had the volume set for the previous session and use that setting for the next few sessions. After these sessions you should notice a decrease in the amount of reaction that your dog shows at that volume level. The next step is to set up the same situation but now you should need to increase the volume to illicit a reaction from your dog. Gradually, over time, your dog will be able to withstand the CD being played at full volume and not display a fearful reaction. Systematic desensitization is a process that takes time and many, many repetitions. These repetitions should occur fairly frequently.

To prepare for the Fourth of July, it is wise to begin training in the beginning of June or earlier to allow enough time to properly complete the desensitization process without feeling rushed and potentially causing an adverse reaction. Again, this process should not be rushed.

Severe cases may require medications such as Xanax or Valium.  These require consultation with a veterinarian to find the correct dosage for a dog.  Try to avoid Acepromazine, a tranquilizer that will sedate your dog but will not reduce anxiety. 

Most dogs will respond positively to training. If you need help finding the best solution for your dog or if you would like help guiding your dog through the desensitization process, please call our office at 412.364.4122 to speak with our Behavior Consultant, Jeff Woods. Misty Pines carries the items that we recommend in this article, such as Bob-A-Lots, Kongs, Sound CDs, Thundershirts, Melatonin and Nutricalm. We can also Microchip your dog. Microchipping is by appointment and only takes 10 minutes. Let Misty Pines help you and your dog be safe and happy this Fourth of July.


The Dog’s Sense of Smell

Introduction

Olfaction, the act or process of smelling, is a dog’s primary special sense. A dog’s sense of smell is said to be a thousand times more sensitive than that of humans. In fact, a dog has more than 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose, while humans have only 5 million. Because of the dog’s sense of smell, dogs are able to locate everything from forensic cadaver material to disaster survivors as demonstrated during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Anatomy

A dog’s nose consists of a pair of nostrils (nares) for inhaling air and odors and a nasal cavity. The olfactory receptor cells in a dog’s nose extend throughout the entire layer of specialized olfactory epithelium found on the ethmo-turbinate bones of the nasal cavity. The olfactory portion of the nasal mucous membrane contains a rich supply of olfactory nerves that ultimately connect with the highly developed olfactory lobe in the dog’s brain.

Dogs possess an additional olfactory chamber called the vomeronasal organ that also contains olfactory epithelium. The vomeronasal organ, known as Jacobson’s organ, consists of a pair of elongated, fluid-filled sacs that open into either the mouth or the nose. It is located above the roof of the mouth and behind the upper incisors.

Interestingly, the olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity are anatomically distinct from those in the vomeronasal organ. Each receptor neuron (nerve cell) in the olfactory epithelium of the nasal cavity has a dendrite that ends in a knob with several thin cilia covered by mucus. Receptor neurons in the vomeronasal organ typically lack cilia but have microvilli on the cell surface.

Physiology

A dog’s nose is normally cool and moist. The moisture secreted by mucous glands in the nasal cavity captures and dissolves molecules in the air and brings them into contact with the specialized olfactory epithelium inside the nose.

Dogs use sniffing to maximize detection of odors. The sniff is actually a disruption of the normal breathing pattern. Sniffing is accomplished through a series of rapid, short inhalations and exhalations. A bony subethmoidal shelf, which is found below the ethmo-turbinate bones of the nasal cavity, forces inhaled air into the olfactory epithelium. Washing out of the region upon exhalation does not occur due to the nasal pocket created by the bony subethmoidal shelf. The nasal pocket permits the odor molecules that are unrecognizable in a single sniff to accumulate and interact with olfactory receptors. Odor molecules in the olfactory epithelium of the nasal cavity are absorbed into the mucous layer and diffuse to the cilia of receptor neurons. This interaction generates nerve impulses that are transmitted by the olfactory nerves to the dog’s brain, which has a well-developed olfactory lobe. This allows the dog to recognize a scent and follow a trail.

Olfactory receptor cells in the vomeronasal organ also send impulses to the region of the hypothalamus associated with sexual and social behaviors. This organ is believed to be important in the detection of pheromones (body scents). This theory could account for the dog’s ability to identify and recognize other animals and people.

Utility

Today, people use a dog’s sense of smell in many ways. Federal, state, and local government agencies employ specially trained dogs in search and rescue missions and in the detection of narcotics and contraband agriculture products. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has national dog-handler teams that respond to disasters worldwide. State and local law enforcement agencies in the United States (U.S.) have canine units trained to detect drugs and search for lost individuals, homicide victims, and forensic cadaver materials.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has more than 800 canine teams that work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to combat terrorist threats, stop the flow of illegal narcotics, and detect unreported currency, concealed humans, or smuggled agriculture products. Its Canine Enforcement Program (CEP) uses a variety of dogs including Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and many mixed breeds.

The CEP uses beagles to detect agriculture contraband. The passively trained Beagle Brigade dogs detect prohibited fruits, plants, and meats in baggage and vehicles of international travelers as they go through Federal Inspection Service areas. Beagle Brigade teams work at several major border-crossing stations in the United States as well as many international airports that are ports of entry into this country.

Medical tests have shown that specially trained dogs are capable of using the dog’s sense of smell to detect certain types of tumors in humans.

Not many family dogs will be used for bomb detection, competition or tracking work, but every family dog can learn to play Hide N Seek and find objects hidden around the house. These games can be used to help provide mental stimulation for your dog and provide a job to keep him active.

Scent Working is an activity that all dogs enjoy and all dogs can do. Get involved in Scent Work with your dog by registering for our Scent Work classes listed below. Beginners and all other skill levels are welcome.

Scent Work

Scent Work 101 – Saturday, October 3, 2020 @ 8:00 am



Scent Work 102 – September 15, 2018 @ 11:15 am

Scent Work 103 – September 22, 2018 @ 11:15 am

Scent Work 104 – September 29, 2018 @ 11:15 am

Progressive Scent Work – Saturday, March 14, 2020 @ 11:15 am


Courtesy of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities


How to appropriately enter a dog park

How to Enter a Dog Park

Many dog owners venture outdoors and visit dog parks, especially during the summer. These public parks provide many benefits but can also have some pitfalls to deal with. This article will tell you how to handle the most stressful part of a visit to the park: entering.

Entering the park can be very difficult if a group of dogs runs up and mobs you at the gate. Conscientious owners will call their dogs to them to allow you to enter without being overly rushed. Unfortunately this is not the typical scenario. When entering the park you should enter first with your dog on leash and following behind. Quickly close the gate and begin to walk the perimeter of the park calmly and confidently. Many of the dogs will most likely sniff your dog and walk away after greeting. Shoving your dog through the gate first into an off-leash area where dogs have gathered at the gate is like throwing meat to sharks.

Butt Sniffing is a dog's hand shake

Appropriate Dog PlayAs you continue to walk the perimeter other dogs may approach your dog; be sure to allow them to appropriately greet one another by sniffing each other’s rear ends; this is the dog equivalent of a handshake. While your dog is meeting the other dogs, observe the other members of the park, looking for dogs that do not socially match. A socially adept dog should match his playmate’s body language.

Once the pack is through greeting during your perimeter walk then it is time to stop and release your dog to go play. Call your dog in to you regularly and hold your dog by the collar to calm your dog and avoid over stimulation. Then release them and say, “Go Play,” which will be their reward for calming.

It is your responsibility to protect your dog.

While in the park, follow the rules on the poster shown below and everyone can have a safe, fun day at the park.

Common Dog Park Etiquette

More Park Etiquette


The Benefits of Dog Boarding at Misty Pines

This is the most popular time of the year to plan summer vacations. Recent information, provided by AAA and Ambassador travel agency, suggest that people plan their summer vacations 6 months in advance, which means many of you are thinking about your vacations right now. Remember to plan ahead for your dog’s vacation as well! Your pets are part of your family and you want to make sure they are well cared for while you are away. Make plans now to ensure that your dog has a reservation for exceptional care from the staff at Misty Pines.

Dog boarding is a very popular service, and we tend to book up quickly. We recommend to reserve your dog’s vacation and amenities soon to ensure your dog has every opportunity to enjoy the many and unique amenities of your choice for your dog’s environmental enrichment. Boarding and amenities quite often are booked to capacity.

You may want to consider booking your vacation around our popular Kids Dog Training Camp held July 9th – 11th or July 23rd – 25th. Give us a call or stop in and we can discuss what is best for your dog to have an optimal stay. When you book your dog’s vacation and amenities you can register your kids for camp too.

Boarding your dog at Misty Pines gives them an unrivaled opportunity for environmental enrichment. Where else can you find 25 acres of shaded wooded trails to be walked on to investigate and explore, turfed play-yards, a 5,000 sq. ft. training arena with a full set of agility obstacles, a half-acre pond for swimming and dock diving, and kennels with 24 hour outdoor access to potty for your dog?

Dog Boarding at Misty Pines can be an exciting social experience by taking advantage of our optional activities. We have options for every dog’s demeanor and desire! Group playtime allows your pet to exercise and play with other social dogs in our outdoor play-yards. Playtimes are available in one or four hour increments. We also have yards available for Private Playtimes for those that prefer a quieter experience. There are also individual activities such as walks on our two miles of wooded nature trails or play ball time. A favorite for the smaller breeds is cuddle time, 15 minutes of one-on-one attention from our staff. Our senior boarders like this option as well. Dogs looking for excitement may enjoy a run on the agility course or a treadmill training workout for those that need structured exercise. During the summer we can hike to the pond with your dog to cool off swimming and dock diving. This is also a great option for retrievers that need to work on their water retrieves or for those that are interested in dock diving training.

While your dog is boarding with us you may schedule training sessions during their stay. This program is designed to expedite your dog’s training for basic obedience, good manners, agility, socialization, or for any specific goals you may have for your dog. Our team of trainers will work with your dog on any behaviors you would like such as walking nicely on leash, sit, down, stay, come, heel, or any command or behavior you need extra help with. Dog Training sessions during Board and Train are 30 minutes. When you pick up your dog from boarding you will receive a report card regarding your dog’s training.

Boot Camp is an accelerated training program where your dog lives and trains with us for two weeks. It is designed to foster new and accelerated learning development for your dog. At the end of the two weeks a private session is included for you to work with us and your dog to learn the cues and behaviors your dog has learned during their stay with us.

We also have a Daycare Boot Camp, which is similar to Boot Camp but without the over-night boarding. This is a good solution for dogs that need professional handling but are not good candidates for long-term boarding. Dogs come to Misty Pines Monday through Friday from 8:00 am till 4:00 pm for two weeks. This is 10 training sessions over two consecutive weeks. A pick up lesson is included in the price and should be scheduled for the last Friday that the dog will be worked. The pick-up lesson should be scheduled before 3:00 pm.

See below for our menu of services and activities that your canine companion can participate in while on vacation at Misty Pines.

[ms_row] [ms_column style=”1/2″ align=”left” class=”” id=””]1 Hour Playtime
4 Hours Playtime
1/2 Hour Private Playtime
Nature Trail Walk
Cuddle Time
Haircut
Grooming
Bath
Nail Trim/Grind
Ear Cleaning[/ms_column]
[ms_column style=”1/2″ align=”left” class=”” id=””]
Play Ball
Ability Obstacle Course
Obedience Training Session
Treadmill
Swimming and Dock Diving
2 Week Boot Camp
Microchipping
Afternoon Snacks – Kong or Ice Cream
Training[/ms_column] [/ms_row]

As you can see, boarding your dog at Misty Pines means they will have professional care, a wide range of activities for fun and training, and opportunities for environmental enrichment, all of which can only be found together at Misty Pines.

Don’t chance it on our boarding wait list; book your summer vacations now!


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!


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Sat 24

Agility Class

Saturday, October 24, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am
Sat 31

Therapy Dog and Service Dog Training

Saturday, October 31, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am