Dr. Jack L. Stephens, president of Pets Best Insurance, founded pet insurance in the U.S. in 1981 with a mission to end euthanasia when pet owners couldn’t afford veterinary treatment. Dr. Stephens went on to present the first U.S. pet insurance policy to famous television dog, Lassie.
By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.
Sit. Stay. Lie down. Come. Good puppy! What’s the secret to training your newly adopted puppy to ensure that he will master these must-know cues? Two words: positive reinforcement.
Puppies, just like us, are more eager to learn when the teacher makes the lesson fun and engaging. So, out with the word, “no” and in with the word, “yes.” Accentuate the positive in schooling your pup. And most importantly, canine class should begin on Day 1.
Proper doggy etiquette is within your reach. It starts with proper training. Motivate with food lures and be consistent with voice commands and hand signals. You – and your pup – can be successful in mastering the basic cues if you pay heed to these training strategies:
1. Ahem: Attention, please! Some puppies can get distracted easily. The only way to get your pup to successfully comply with your training is if you have his undivided attention. So, when you begin any training session, pick a place and a time where distractions are kept to a minimum. When you’re ready, say your pup’s name and wait for his eyes to meet yours. Clap your hands or whistle if you have to, but make sure he is watching you and waiting for his cue to see what to do next.
2. Be a leader, not a bully. No need to shout or berate your young canine. You will win his unconditional loyalty by being an effective teacher who relies on positive reinforcement techniques. Praise your pup’s correct moves and ignore his mistakes during training sessions. Dogs learn by association and are apt to repeat an action when it is reinforced by you in a positive manner.
3. Give me a C — for consistency. Decide on what verbal and physical cues you want for the must-know canine cues of “sit,” “lie down,” “stay,” and “come.” And then, stick with them. If you use the command, “stay” in one training session and then “don’t move” in the next, you will create canine confusion. If you’re consistent with the cues, your puppy will eventually catch on.
Pets Best has developed a contest to promote the benefits associated with utilizing therapy dogs to assist students in classroom and library programs across the nation. Pets Best is proud to host the first annual Books & Barks contest.
How to participate in the Books & Barks contest:
1. Simply share an inspirational story about your experience with therapy dogs in classroom or library reading programs.
2. Eight finalists will be announced and voting opens to the public.
How to enter the contest:
Our online form makes it easy for you to enter our contest. Your story doesn’t have to be long, but we want to hear about your experience with therapy dogs in schools or libraries. Whether you’re a student who personally benefited from therapy dogs, a teacher who witnessed overall class improvement, or a therapy dog handler, please share your stories with us! To enter the contest, go to the Pets Best website.
How are winners selected?
Once per year, a panel of Pets Best representatives will select finalists. The public will then vote to choose the grand prize winner.
Prizes and Awards
By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.
Cats who spend 24-7 inside the confines of home with no structured interactive play activities are often forced to seek less beneficial options to pass the time. They may nap too much, eat too much, or worse engage in destructive behavior in frustrated attempts to battle boredom and loneliness. But indoor cats who get opportunities to engage in purposeful play with their human roommates each and every day are more apt to thrive mentally, physically and socially.
That’s why I encourage you to tap into your imagination. Pretend that the weather is too wicked for you to venture outside for even a mere 5 minutes each day. Use that time to play a game or two with your feline pal.
Recently, I adopted Casey, a fast-growing orange tabby from the San Diego Humane Society. He quickly made friends with Murphy, my senior cat who possesses kitten-like energy. By dutifully treating each to daily interactive games, I been able to keep Murphy engaged and Casey motivated to learn basic commands like sit, come and touch paws. And, I am able to enjoy uninterrupted sleep at night because both are tired and ready for bed.
Here are three of my favorite people-cat games that are fun, easy and inexpensive to and easy to try:
1. Murphy in the Middle.
By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.
For lifelong dog lovers approaching their golden years, sharing their homes and hearts with dogs provides many physical, mental and emotional health benefits. Research has shown that dogs help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and combat loneliness.
Choosing the right canine companion is a very big decision. You want a dog who provides companionship, but not one who can knock you off your feet during a walk.
So which breeds are best suited for aging persons? There is no one breed perfectly suited for seniors, but here are some with reputations for making your golden years truly illuminating:
1. Mellow adult or senior mutts. Animal shelters and rescue groups across the country are overpopulated with mature dogs with predictable temperaments who have long graduated from the destructive chewing and house soiling habits that are hallmarks of puppyhood. Here’s your opportunity to match your activity level and give a dog a second chance at a happy home. If you love big breeds like Labradors and Golden retrievers, here is your opportunity to pair up with one who may sport a graying muzzle and a toned-down energy level
2. Miniature Schnauzer. Yes, this breed is feisty, playful and vocal. For seniors like my neighbor and friend Frum, this is the ideal breed. Not too big but big enough to protect her and send solicitors at her door back paddling by his barrage of warning barks. When her husband passed away nine years ago, she filled the void of an empty home by adopting Buddy, a 12-week-old miniature Schnauzer. Now, 90, Frum says that Buddy’s comical antics and love of snuggling keep her feeling years younger.
3. French Bulldog. If you loved the swagger and power of an English bulldog in your prime, consider the smaller and easier-to-handle Frenchie. Here is a breed that requires a very manageable amount of daily exercise, say a 15 or 20 minute walk and one you can easily pick up. Most Frenchies weigh between 20 and 28 pounds. They are very social and usually welcome house guests, including grandchildren.
Sibling rivalry – Watch Pixel the adorable French Bulldog puppy try to reclaim his bed from the bully cat, who proves seniority rules!