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Science Proves…Pet Owners Lead Healthier Lives

Science Proves…Pet Owners Lead Healthier Lives
Pet Owners Live Healthier Lives

Give Your Dog a Hug…It’s Good For You! (and for Him)

Pet Owners are Healthier…and Here’s Why!

Have You Hugged Your Dog Lately?

You’ve heard the stories that claim that pets make people healthier and even help them live longer lives, right? But are these stories true and is there any science to back up these claims?

The answer is yes!  People with pets do lead healthier lives in many ways. DogMan Mark Castillero has seen this time and time again in his more than 40 years as a leading specialist in the field of dog training.

“According to numerous studies, pets provide a wide array of health benefits to people, ranging from lowering blood pressure to helping to fight depression,” said Castillero at his facility in beautiful North San Diego County. “The more things you do with your dog, the more you can improve your health.

Castillero suggests that, if  your health permits, check out some fun activities that you and your dog can do together, such as water sports (many dogs love to swim), flyball, playing frisbee; or dog dancing — obedience routines set to music.  There are also favorites such as obedience training, agility, rally and sports geared to your dog’s background, such as herding, hunting, tracking, earthdog activities and the like.


Scientific Research Proving Pet Owners Are Healthier…and Happier

  • With rising healthcare costs, the positive effects of dogs on our overall health and their role in assisting in the work of healthcare professionals continue to be avid areas of scientific study. In this comprehensive guide, our friends at Wiley Pup detail 15 Research-Backed Health Benefits of Having a Dog. Truly, these stats show how dogs are man’s best friend.
  • In a study done at the State University of New York (Buffalo), people suffering from high blood pressure had reduced blood pressure after getting a cat or dog.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that owning a pet can decrease your blood pressure, your cholesterol levels, and your triglyceride levels. Plus, having a pet helps reduce feelings of loneliness. They also state that owning a pet can increase your opportunities for exercise and other outdoor activities as well as your opportunities for socialization.
  • Research suggests that people with pets may be protected from heart disease, according to The National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Workshop “ Health Benefits of Pets.” Their rationale is that the companionship of a pet provides an owner with the kind of “psychological stability” that helps to keep people calm and steady.
    Get Healthy, Hug Your Dog

    Loving Your Pet Can Reduce Blood Pressure and Stress!

  • Pets have also been found to reduce stress. According to the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the UK, pet owners have been found to be able to handle stressful situations better than non-pet owners. Even walking with your dog can make you feel better and calm you down.
  • People with pets go to the doctor less often, according to the National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Workshop “Health Benefits of Pets.”
  • Pets are great at helping people fight off depression, especially for seniors. People who are depressed or lonely can greatly benefit from having a pet. Pets keep people active and they offer unconditional love.  They provide feelings of security and companionship.  They can often give someone an interest in life when they have lost interest in most other things.
  • Exercising with your pet is a great way to get exercise yourself. Even if you simply take your dog for a walk it means that you are getting out and about. This can increase muscle tone, heart and cardiovascular fitness and improve your mood.  Just a little exercise can help you keep your weight down, too, which can help you live longer.

So, from a health point of view, it’s absolutely true that owning a pet, including a dog, can make you healthier.  Take a moment to give your dog a hug and thank him for making you a healthier person.


5 Basic Commands Every German Shepherd Dog Needs To Learn

Originally, German Shepherds (or GSDs) were bred to protect herds and dwell in packs. These traits make them naturally dominant. They love being in charge. Still, they are one  of the smartest dog breeds around and are quick to learn new tricks. Regardless, you should not wait too long to start your training. The older your GSD gets, the harder it is for you to teach him new tricks. Start your training as early as when they are two-months old.

5 Basic Commands You Can Teach Your German ShepherdTeaching your dog the command “COME”

This command will help you get your dog to come to you, even if something else has caught his attention. It is also the stepping stone for other communication between the two of you.

Step 1 : Always start this training indoors. Wait until he is playing with his toys and then call out his name. When he responds by looking at you, show him his favorite treat and urge him to come get it by saying the command “come.”
Step 2 : When he comes, shower him with praises and giving him his treat. This way he will learn the positive association of responding to your commands.
Step 3 : If he does not come willingly, gently tug on his leash and repeat the word “come” while showing him his treat. Do not be excessively forceful or harsh on your dog when teaching him this command. Be patient enough, and try different treats until he can respond to your command. Give him a treat whenever he responds positively
Step 4 : Take your training outdoors after two days of training and repeat the exercise.
Step 5: Keep escalating the training by increasing the distance between you and your dog and repeat the exercise until he can understand the command “come” without the need of a treat.

This is one of the most important commands you will ever teach your GSD as it can help keep him out of trouble.

Training Your German Shepherd to “SIT”

This is a crucial command that will assist your dog to become well-mannered and obedient.

Step 1 : Wait for your dog to stand or sit in front of you. Hold his favorite treat in your hand and then flash it before his eye and make sure he sees it. This should get him excited and grab his attention.
Step 2 : Slowly hover the hand holding the treat over his head towards his rear side. All the while, ensure the treat stays in line with his nose so that he can sniff the treat to fuel his excitement.
Step 3 : Your dog will automatically drop his rear to the floor in a sitting position to maintain eye-contact with his favorite treat. Once, his behind hits the floor, hand him the treat and praise him for a good job.
Step 4 : Do not use the word “sit” at this level. Instead, practice this exercise until he can sit on seeing the treat on your hand. Only introduce the word “sit” after a few days of practicing.
Step 5 : Have the treat in your hand and then use the word sit. If he is not able to respond by sitting on the ground, gently press his coup down and then repeat the command. Do not reward him with the treat until he can respond to the command. Keep practicing until your dog can sit even without treats.

Teaching Your dog the command “DOWN”

This command is handy in helping your dog calm down especially when it is agitated by a new site or sound.

Step 1: Wait until your GSD is seated, and then place a treat between your thumb and index finger. Move your hand close enough to his face so that he can see and sniff his favorite snack.
Step 2: Next, move the treat towards the floor while preventing him from getting up from his sitting position. Use the word “down” as you prevent him from getting up.
Step 3 : Also use the command “down” when he tries to get a hold of the treat while lying down.
Step 4 : As soon as he stops trying to reach for the treat and is completely rested, pat him affectionately and praise him so that he can know that you are pleased. Give him the treat.
Step 5 : Repeat this exercise until he can respond to the command even without a treat.

Training Your Dog the Command “LEAVE IT”

This command is particularly helpful when trying to get your dog to let go of something. Some GSD puppies resort to destructive behaviors like chewing and biting on household items. This command will come in handy during such times.

Step 1 : Start your training by holding a treat and calling your dog by his name. Wait for him to come for the treat and then drop it on the floor.
Step 2 : When he tries to get the treat, place your hand over it and in a firm voice say “leave it”. Following this command, pick up the treat and pull your arm away. Wait a few minutes and then repeat the same exercise. Always be firm and clear when commanding it to “leave it.”
Step 3 : Repeat the exercise until your dog can respond to “leave it” without you having to place your hand over the treat. If he responds positively, reward him with the treat.

Training Your Dog to Respond to the Command “STAY”

This command will help you to stop your dog from chasing after your neighbor’s cats or squirrels.

Step 1 : Before you start teaching this command, make sure he understands the command down.
Step 2 : Now, teach him to stay in the “down” position with his palm over his head, when you say “stay!”
Step 3 : Maintain eye contact when you deliver this command during the time you want him to stay put. Repeat the command if he tries to get up or lift his head. If he obeys, give him a treat and praise him to let him know that you are happy he is following your command.
Step 4 : Repeat this exercise, while gradually increasing the time of the “stay”.


The foundation of training is based on correction and rewarding. Always use a firm “No!” when correcting your GSD. Do not yell or involve physical punishment such as spanking. Also, it is important to note that most female dogs may seem reluctant to training during a German shepherd pregnancy. Avoid pushing them too hard during this period. Reward your dog with tasty dog biscuits, their favorite toy to play with or shower him with praises such as “Good dog!” in a happy voice.

About the Author of this Article

June is the founder of TobysBone, where she shares her passion for writing and love for dogs. She wants to help you deal with your dog’s behavior issues, grooming and health needs, and proper training. Through her blog, you can find informative and reliable posts, tips and tricks, and a lot of interesting reads that will help you maintain a close bond with your furry companion.

Travel and Finding the Right Caregiver For Your Pet

Travel and Finding the Right Caregiver For Your Pet

Rover, Rover…send your best pet sitter over!

You have travel plans and you’re wondering who will take care of my pet? Owning a dog should not limit your travel opportunities. And we know that many pet owners hate to leave their beloved family members behind. Entrusting your dog to the care of a stranger is always a challenge–you want what’s best for your dog, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

That’s where comes in. The site is filled with wonderful, pet-loving sitters and dog-walkers who are thoroughly vetted by the site. There’s no shortage of affordable, high-quality care in your area! Here’s how to ensure a perfect fit, and create the best possible experience for your pet.

 Define Your Needs

What helps your pets thrive? Think back to past experiences with strangers, or times that you’ve been away. Is your dog happiest in her own home? Nervous with new people? Does she get along with other pups? What unique care requirements does your pet have? If you have any concerns that you hope a sitter would address, write them down.

This “dream list” could include experience caring for senior dogs, or a sitter who’s highly active in order to keep up with your energetic puppy. What are your non-negotiables? Know where you might be willing to compromise, and what areas are paramount to your pet’s happiness.

Let’s get practical…how do you know who’s right for your pet?

Search Rover’s Site

If you’re looking for a sitter for specific dates, you can narrow your search with those parameters. Otherwise, browse as many local sitters or dog-walkers as you can to cast a wide net. Which sitters already have reviews from other owners? Start reading through profiles to get to know your options.

Now, compare what you find with your list. Contact sitters who look promising, and ask questions if you need more detail. The important thing is finding someone who’s adaptable, motivated, reliable, attentive to your pets, and conscientious about instructions.

Let’s get acquainted.

Do a Meet & Greet

Found a sitter who’s interested? Great! Set up an initial meeting. You’ll get a sense of who they are, and you can watch them interact with your pet. It’s a bit like a first date: You’ll discover whether there’s chemistry! Does their personality match up with your pet’s needs? Ask any questions that will help you make the final decision. You can also go for a walk together, or watch the sitter play with your pets. Look for a connection that helps put your pet at ease, as well as confidence and great communication skills.

Not sure about this one? Meet another candidate. Whoever you choose to hire, you want to trust them completely and feel comfortable leaving your pet in their care. You might even tweak your list based on a meeting that didn’t go as you hoped. There are plenty of caregivers available, and you want to feel great about your choice. Once you find the right person, you’ll be able to hire them often–and get a better sense of what makes a great sitter, should you ever embark on the search again. Your perfect sitter is out there!

Written by Nat Smith, community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.


Traveling With Your Pet: What You Need for Day Trips and Extended Vacations

Traveling With Your Pet: What You Need for Day Trips and Extended Vacations

Many pet parents love to travel and oftentimes want to take their pets with them wherever they go. Whether this is a trip to the beach or a week-long tour of a far away city, there are specific things you will want to bring with you to ensure your trip with your pet goes well.

Alexandra Seagal shares important considerations when traveling with your pet; what you need for day trips and extended vacations.

Before You Leave

Pets can make holiday travel more memorable!

When you travel with a pet, there are many things you have to keep in mind, so before you leave your home, prepare your pooch with this checklist;

  • Reservations – if you will need a hotel room, be sure to make reservations in advance and also that the hotel is pet-friendly. You may also want to inquire if there is a mini-fridge in case you are bringing wet or raw food.
  • Veterinarian visit – many countries will require your pet to have a current health and vaccination record. Ask for a copy of these from your veterinarian. If your dog or cat is need of vaccinations, these should be done, as well.
  • Medications – if your pet is on medications, be sure you have enough to last you past the duration of your vacation. Having extra meds will ensure your animal is protected in case you can’t get back on time, or you lose some.
  • Flying with pet’s policy – before you hit the airport, be sure you know the airline’s policy on pets and follow their guidelines. Printing these out will ensure you have written copy for reference.


Packing a Carry-on Bag

Our pets “know” when we are starting to pack for a trip.

If you are traveling by airplane with your dog in the cabin, you will want to pack a carry-on bag just for Fido. These items should include;

  • Food – depending on the duration of the flight (and how well your dog’s stomach is handling the flight) you may want to have a couple of meals worth of food with you.
  • Water & Bowl – fill a water bottle (after you pass airport security) to rehydrate your dog when the flight is over. Use a collapsible bowl to save space.
  • Leash & Harness – for relief areas.
  • Poop bags
  • Extra treats – may need these to get your dog back into his carrier.
  • Prescription meds – these are safer in your carry-on then in your luggage
  • Doggy documents – vaccination records and health certificate
  • Picture of your dog – just in case the unimaginable happens, and your dog escapes or goes missing.
  • Handheld fan – a practical way to keep your pet from overheating.


Packing For Your Pooch

Having everything you need for your dog on a day trip or vacation will prepare you for most circumstances. When you’re packing for your pooch, be sure to include the following items;

  • Extra leash, harness or collar
  • Make sure ID tags are secure
  • Pet First Aid Kit
  • Food and bottled water
  • Collapsible bowls
  • Dog carrier (with extra pads) or harness and seat belt clip for the car
  • Towel or seat cover for protection of both a hot seat and doggy emissions
  • Window shade
  • Pet wipes
  • Windex wipes – more so if you are renting a car and need to tidy up the nose prints.
  • Doggy wearables – sweaters, life jacket, raincoat, booties, etc.
  • Treats, chews, and food
  • Loose bedding such as pet blankets and extra towels
  • Pet’s favorite toys
  • Grooming supplies – brush, comb, nail clippers, shampoo, etc.
  • Paper towels
  • Lint brush – more for you
  • Poop bags
  • Extra zipper-closure baggies


Packing for a Cat

Purrfect Preparation makes all the difference.

Although most of the items above do apply to our feline friends, there are still a few extras that you will want to include when packing for a cat;

  • Cat bed
  • Litter box, cat litter, and litter scoop
  • Calm down spray such as Feliway to help de-stress your cat
  • Portable cat scratcher – the ones that use corrugated cardboard work well
  • Hairball remedy

Be Pet-Ready When Traveling

One of the worst things in life is being unprepared. When it comes to traveling with your dog or cat, it’s better to over-pack rather than to leave out an item that may be necessary down the road (literally).

Follow these checklists to be pet-ready when traveling. Fido and Fluffy will be happy you did.

5 Tips For Finding the Right Dog Fit For Your Family

5 Tips For Finding the Right Dog Fit For Your Family

Choosing the right dog is important for both owner and canine. We all know that dogs are loyal, offer unconditional love and are awesome for families. A canine companion can teach children responsibility, trust, respect, and compassion.

However, that doesn’t mean every dog is right for everyone. Guest blogger, Alexandra Seagal of writes about the top considerations for finding Fido. Dogs have personalities and quirks just like we do, so before you adopt a puppy or adult dog based on how cute he looks on the other side of the kennel door, we’ve dug up 5 tips on finding the right dog fit for your family.

Begging the question: Which dog breed is right for you?

Tip #1 – Ask Yourself “Why?”

Owning a dog is a responsibility that should not be entered into lightly. This animal will be a part of your family unit for the duration of its lifetime, so ask yourself the question of why you want a dog. Is he for;
-Playmate for the children
-Special activity, ie. hunting or therapy work
-Home security

Knowing the reasons, you want a pooch in the first place can help narrow down your decision process. For example, you most likely wouldn’t get a Shih Tzu for hunting, but he will make a good companion or even therapy dog.

Tip #2 – How Much Time Do You Have For the Dog?

Most of us live busy lives. Between careers, family and hobbies/leisure activities, our days can be pretty full. Before you bring home a puppy or adult canine, you will want to ask yourself (realistically) how much time can you invest into the dog?

Exercise, grooming, and training (if a puppy) is going to take up the most of your time. Some breeds like a Beagle or Jack Russell Terrier are going to need around 2 to 3 hours of exercise each day, while the Great Dane is happy with a daily stroll around the block.

When it comes to grooming, a Husky is going to need a lot more care than the wash-and-wear Schipperke. Know your limits, so both you and your dog won’t suffer from your time constraints.

Dog allergies can be mild or severe…take note before you decide!

Tip #3 – Allergies?

Allergies are an important area to keep in mind when finding the right dog fit. Although no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, some breeds are better for those that suffer from this itchy condition.

Poodles and the Havanese breeds are two that have been known to be suitable for those folks that suffer from certain types of dog allergies. This may be because they do not shed, while other breeds like the Dalmatian shed all year around.

Tip #4 – How Much Money Can Be Dedicated to the Dog?

Owning a dog is a lifetime investment.

Most of us are on a budget, so fitting Fido into that budget plan is a must-do. The first year of your puppy’s life is going to be the most expensive. With vaccinations, worming, health checks, spaying/neutering, crate, toys and food you can expect the bill to be around $1,000.

After the first year, these costs will go down some from the initial, but you still have to feed the dog and have yearly vet visits.

Logically, you are going to spend less on a Chihuahua than you would on Mastiff (size does make a difference). Knowing your budget for the dog will keep you in the black and your furry companion happy and healthy.

Tip #5 – What Breed is Right for the Family?

Don’t claim “the dog ate it”. Do your own research and be thorough.

This last question may be the one that takes the longest to answer, especially if you are looking for a purebred canine. Some breeds are just more family-orientated than others.

Take the Golden or Labrador Retrievers, these dogs are known for being great family pooches. They are kind, gentle and love being around kids. However, the Chow Chow can be a bit quick to bite and headstrong, so a person with experience with dogs would be more suitable for this breed.

Do Your Homework

Asking yourself the above questions is a great start to finding the right dog for your family; however, it doesn’t stop there. Do your research and homework into each breed you are interested in, paying particularly close attention to its personality traits.


Once you have narrowed down your list, search for a reputable breeder or rescue group to visit. Avoid any “breeder” that won’t let you see the parents or has many litters each year. These can be signs of a puppy mill where the female dogs are continuously caged and used as breeders. Getting your perfect match may take some time and effort on your part, but having a canine companion that fits into your family? That’s priceless!

Need help training your dog? Make sure you give Pro-Train a call at 760-749-0897. Under the leadership of legendary dog trainer, Mark “Dogman” Castillero, you and your pet can start off on the right path!







Top 7 Therapy Dog Breeds

Top 7 Therapy Dog Breeds

Dogs can be much more than just loving companions; they can also be very helpful to many individuals by becoming therapy dogs.

Therapy dogs provide comfort and affection to people in hospitals, retirement or nursing homes, hospices, schools, disaster areas, and to those suffering from mood disorders such as depression or anxiety. They can also be used with people with learning difficulties or autism.

While any breed of dog can become a therapy dog providing they have an even and affectionate temperament, certain breeds are used more than others. It’s too bad that the media looks bad upon some breeds. For example, the staff Pitbull and the Rottweiler will have issues being allowed into facilities to do the therapy dog work.  This is not fair, but is an unfortunate reality, according to Dogman Mark Castillero.

Guest blogger, Alexandra Seagal of shares her insights about the best therapy dog breeds.

Here are the top 7 breeds used as therapy dogs:

1. Labrador Retriever

Not only are Labrador Retrievers the most popular breed in the US, but also one of breeds most commonly used as therapy dogs.

Golden Retrievers are very loving.

This is in large part due to their friendly nature towards one and all, meaning they can be used to work with people of any age as well as around other animals. What’s more, they are very obedient and eager to please, making them a highly trainable breed.

Labs tend to be great for people with mood disorders such as depression, and they are also very good with children.

2. German Shepherd

Dogman Mark has trained hundreds of German Shepherds as assistance dogs.

As well as guard dogs, police dogs and search and rescue dogs, German Shepherds are often used for therapeutic purposes.

They are a versatile and highly intelligent breed, meaning they can be trained to do a number of things and adapt well to a range of situations and people.

The only obstacle with this breed is that they have a tendency to be protective, so they must be trained rigorously in order to overcome this. If well trained, they are one of the most gentle dogs out there.

3. Greyhound

The greyhound is a very fast learner.

Greyhounds? I hear you cry. Well, while greyhounds may not be the first that breed that comes to mind for use as a therapy dog, they are one of the calmest and most affectionate breeds that exist.

What’s more they rarely bark, which makes them great for use with children as well as in busy places such as hospitals or schools.

4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

A bull terrier is one of the most loving dogs.

These dogs get a bad press, so this is another breed you might be surprised to see on this list. Actually, are being used more and more as therapy dogs. When properly trained, Staffies are incredibly gentle creatures.

Staffies are quite the “clowns” of the dog world and can really warm your heart with their playfulness, so they work especially well with people with mood disorders like depression as well as with children.

Their high energy levels mean they do not always suit physically disabled people, however.

5. Rottweiler

Rotts are actually very loving and gentle when trained properly.

Yes, Rottweilers may look tough, but this is a very loving and gentle breed when trained properly. During training, they need lots of interaction with people to ensure a healthy level of sociability.

A well-trained Rottweiler’s confident, affectionate personality can light up anyone’s day, whether it’s someone recovering in hospital or a group of elderly people at a retirement home.

6. Saint Bernard

The purebred St. Bernard is an evenly tempered dog.

St Bernards are one of the most docile breeds around. This giant breed’s size and calm temperament can bring a smile to anyone’s face.

These dogs adore contact with people, and they really aim to please, so you can be sure they will always do their best to help.

Their low-key personality means they are often used to work with children – and their fluffy fur makes them great for hugging!

7. Pug

Pugs can be quite entertaining.

These little bundles are incredibly sociable, playful, and they love to please. Like Staffies, they are quite entertaining, but their smaller size makes them a good match for kids, the elderly, and disabled people, as they are easier to handle.

Due to their sunny personalities and affectionate and active natures, Pugs often work with people with mood disorders.


Remember, any breed can become a therapy dog – it’s all about temperament and thorough training. But, if you’re an organization or a family looking for a therapy dog to help others, this list is a good place to start.

Dogman Mark and his team at Pro-Train are big supporters of Pet Partners. This nonprofit helps match owners with the right service dog breed.


Another Service Dog Success Story

Another Service Dog Success Story

Patty with her new service dog, Oreo.

Dogman Mark Delivers Hope to Pennsylvania Woman

Patty Kruthers deals with MS with grace and courage. After losing her husband several years ago, Patty had to rely on herself for more daily activities. She had heard about Dogman Mark Castillero and Pro-Train Innovative from her cousin in California. She decided to at least give Mark a call to find out more.

And that’s where hope came into the picture.

Mark found a German Shepherd named Oreo who he trained as a service dog specifically for Patty’s needs. Mark delivered the 3-year old service dog to Patty a few weeks ago and stayed to make sure both owner and canine passed their service dog final exam. This included being able to go down stairs, go in an elevator, bracing assistance from chair and bed, and much more.

A Service Dog Can be a Game Changer

“Oreo has been a Game Changer for me, said Patty who has had increased trouble walking in recent years. “ Oreo gives me confidence to approach each day.” Patty went from using two crutches to just one with Oreo’s assistance. Patty works 15 hours a week and Oreo goes to work with her. “When he puts on that vest and harness, he knows he has a job to do.” Oreo also can retrieve items for her and when she goes outside she doesn’t have be afraid of not being able to get up if she falls since Oreo can brace to help her get up. Patty had such a great experience with Mark. She trusted Mark with his choice of dog and was delighted when she learned she would be getting a German Shepherd. She was a bit concerned about introducing Oreo to her Terrier mix. But they have gotten along very well since meeting last month.

Patty would recommend Mark to anyone needing a service dog. Don’t wait too long, she adds. “After dealing with MS for many years, it was very easy to let myself stay home and hibernate if I don’t have some specific reason for going out. But now that I have my Oreo, if I am not working and have no special appointments, I really can’t just stay home all day. I have to get Oreo out and working every day. Both he and I get exercise in my fenced in back yard and I know to be useful every day to keep his skills sharp.”

To learn more about getting a service dog trained for you or a loved one, email Dogman Mark Castillero at Mark has trained over 10,000 dogs in his 40-year career. Mark is the owner of Pro-Train Innovative Dog Training in Vista, California. Mark is also a trusted partner with

Red Basket helps create an online fundraising page and awareness for people in need of a service dog and many other projects.

For a limited time, you can grab a copy of Dogman Mark’s best-selling book, More than a Dog Whisperer. It’s packed with great insights into dog behavior and how a well-trained dog can make a huge difference in your life.

Available on Amazon for just $15. Use Code: Dogman40

Dogman Mark can deliver a trained service dog anywhere in the world.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding the Right Dog Food

A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding the Right Dog Food

We all have preferences about what we like to eat. If you have a picky dog, then you already know that dogs also have preferences on the dog food they like! But what do you do when your dog doesn’t want to eat any of food that you choose for them? While your dog has to like their food to eat it, there are ways that you can train your dog to love their food!

With luck, you’ll only need to follow step #1 to get your picky dog eating their food. Here’s how to do it.

Before We Get Started…

If your dog has suddenly refused to eat or is losing weight because they will not eat, please take them to the vet immediately. Sudden, extreme refusal to eat is a sign of medical illness.

Step #1: Stop Over-Feeding Treats

When you have a picky eater, many dog owners tend to give their pups more treats or even table scraps in an attempt to get their dogs to eat something.

Unfortunately, feeding them these kinds of foods too often can cause dogs to become picky about what they are willing to eat.

Don’t let your dog train you into feeding them treats because you are worried about them being hungry. If they’re hungry, they will eat!

Step #2: Limit Meal Time

When I was growing up, we gave my dog a big bowl of dog food each morning, and she ate it throughout the day. I never knew there was any other way to feed a dog!

Now, I always recommend that dog owners feed their dog two equal-sized meals per day. If you have a picky eater, you will want to limit how long they have to eat the food.

When you put out their morning meal, give them 30 minutes to eat it. After the 30 minutes is over, take the bowl away. Do the same thing at dinner time. Don’t give them extra treats if they start begging during this adjustment period.

Within just a few days, your dog will learn that they have to eat at meal times if they want to eat. Once they learn this, you can go back to regular treat feeding habits, but it’s good to keep to the 30-minute plan so that they do not revert back to picky behavior.

Step #3: Try Three Brands

If your dog still seems reluctant to eat and you’ve never tried another brand of dog food, you may want to try something that they will like better. Some dogs simply do not like the taste of certain proteins, and getting them to eat it will always be a struggle.

I recommend trying up to three different brands of high-quality dog food to find out what your dog likes. You may also want to try mixing in wet dog food with dry dog food to see if your dog prefers to eat a different texture.

Step #4: Change Food Gradually

If you decide to change your dog’s diet to a higher quality dog food, you will want to make this adjustment gradually so that your dog will not get sick or reject the food.

Start by mixing in ¼ the new food with ¾ the old food for one week. Then, switch to a half-and-half combo the following week. Finally, feed your dog a ¾ new food, ¼ old food combination for one final week before moving on to their new food!

By doing this, you can stop your dog from going on a hunger strike because they aren’t used to the new food. It is also good to transition slowly so that their bodies can adjust to the new levels of protein, fat, and other nutrients that they will be eating.

Keep Your Dog Eating Well

Even though it is frustrating when your dog refuses to eat their food, dog owners need to have patience in figuring out how to get them to eat well. After all, they keep us healthy, so we should keep them healthy, too!

It can take time to establish good feeding habits, but you will find feeding your dog very easy once they are established. Remember: Limit treats, no table scraps, set meal times, and test new foods.

Do you have any more tips on how to get a picky eater to enjoy mealtime? Make sure to share it with us in the comments – advice from other owners is always helpful!

Guest article written by James Shore of Labrador Training HQ.

Service Dog Training for Veterans Suffering PTSD

Service Dog Training for Veterans Suffering PTSD

A Former Marine’s Journey to Healing and Finding His Calling

Mike Pipkin never looked at dog training as a career. In fact, he wanted to be a Police Officer. But after two tours of duty to the Middle East, the Marine Corps veteran didn’t make the cut for the Police Academy because he suffers from PTSD.

That news was heartbreaking for Pipkin. He started down a slippery slope of depression and drinking. Until he was offered a chance to be a dog trainer. “I didn’t think I wanted to be a dog trainer, but I’ve found that I’m good at it and I take great joy in creating a bond with the dogs and helping others.”

Healing and Comfort for veterans with PTSD

This win-win scenario is part of the Dog Trainer’s Program offered by legendary dog training expert and author, Mark “Dogman” Castillero. Dogman Mark has trained over 10,000 dogs in his 40-year career and looks for the right people to come to his training facility in Vista to learn the ins and outs of becoming a professional dog trainer.

An Ideal Career for Veterans in Career Transition

Veterans in career transition are ideal candidates for a dog training career. In fact, Pipkin is one of three veterans who are part of the Pro-Train Innovative Dog Training Team.  Being a dog trainer, says Pipkin, is an opportunity for someone with PTSD to train a service dog for another person with a disability, even another person with PTSD.

“After the military, I didn’t want to talk about PTSD…I didn’t want to be ‘labeled’ as damaged.” As Pipkin struggled to find his place in civilian life, he found that the public and, especially, other veterans needed to be educated and how to seek help. A service dog, he found, provides healing and comfort to veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Dogman Mark trains his team to custom tailor their service dog to its owner’s specific needs.

Pipkin just returned from a national conference in Washington D.C. put on by the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans. Pipkin enjoyed learning new ways to be a better service dog trainer.

Service Dog Training Specific to the Owner’s Disability

He said that many training programs are cookie cutter and don’t train specific for a disease or disorder. Not so with Pro-Train.

Pro-Train is very hands-on and custom-tailors its service dog training. Dogman Mark encouraged Pipkin to learn how to train a service dog with the specific owner in mind. A person with PTSD needs a service dog that might sense anxiety and come to its owner’s aid before the owner even senses s/he needs the dog. “A service dog acts as a good distraction when my mind travels to bad memories, and it reminds me to breathe and refocus. A service dog is a great cuddler, too,” Pipkin smiled.

Do you know of a veteran in need of a service dog? Have them complete the Pro-Train Service Dog Application. And even if you haven’t thought about a career as a dog trainer but are encouraged by Pipkin’s story, send us an email at to learn about this very rewarding career.

“Shadow” served in the Marine Corps prior to deciding on a career in dog training.

Dogman Mark is taking registrations for a February 2018 one-day workshop. For just $149, attendees learn how to get trained right for a profitable and exciting career as a dog trainer. The six-hour training is held in North San Diego County. Spaces are limited, so sign up early.

To learn more about PTSD, contact the National Center for PTSD as part of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. There are valuable resources on the site and a hotline for veterans that can literally save a life.





Dog Training Classes El Cajon CA

Dog Training Classes El Cajon CAAre you searching for the absolute dog training classes in El Cajon, CA?

Look no further – call Pro-Train!

With over 40 years experience Pro-Train certified dog trainers will provide the absolute highest quality private dog training lessons you’ll find anywhere in North County and El Cajon, CA!

Your results are 100% GUARANTEED for the life of your dog !!!

The Pro-Train team can help you with creating a truly loving and long lasting relationship between you and your dog.

Our private dog training program is professionally and personally customized for you and your dog.

Don’t wait another day – call Pro-Train now …

Dog Training Classes El Cajon CA

There is no dog too skittish, too aggressive, or too old.

Pro-Train certified dog trainers specialize in all aspects of dog training, dog obedience, and Private Dog Training including:

  • Dog Training
  • Obedience Training
  • Puppy Management
  • Puppy Biting
  • Dog Behavior Modification
  • Dog Protection Training
  • Service Dog Training
  • Guide Dog Training
  • Become A Dog Trainer

There are no bad dogs, just dogs who need Pro-Train!

Give us the opportunity to help you and your dog – you’ll be ecstatic with the results!

Call Pro-Train today …

Dog Training Classes El Cajon CA

What Areas Do We Service In San Diego?

We’re proud to be North County ‘s premier dog training school and service all areas in the city of El Cajon including: Alpine, Bonita, Bonsall, Borrego Springs, Bostonia, Boulevard, Camp Pendleton, Campo, Cardiff, Cardiff by the Sea, Carlsbad, North County, Coronado, Crest, Del Mar, Descanso, Dulzura, North County, Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, Fallbrook, Guatay, Imperial Beach, Jacumba, Jamul, Julian, San Diego, La Mesa, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, Leucadia, Lincoln Acres, Mount Laguna, National City, Nestor, Ocean Beach, North County, Olivenhain, Pacific Beach, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Paradise Hills, Pauma Valley, Pine Valley, Potrero, Poway, Rainbow, Ramona, Ranchita, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa FE, North County (County Seat), North County State University, San Luis Rey, Rancho Bernardo, San Ysidro, Santa Ysabel, Santee, Solana Beach, Spring Valley, Tecate, North County, Valley Center, Vista, and Warner Springs.

What Local Zip Codes Do We Serve?

We serve the following cities and zip codes throughout North County, San Diego: 92101, 92102, 92103, 92104, 92105, 92106, 92107, 92108, 92109, 92110, 92111, 92112, 92113, 92114, 92115, 92116, 92117, 92119, 92120, 92121, 92122, 92123, 92124, 92126, 92127, 92128, 92129, 92130, 92131, 92132, 92133, 92134, 92135, 92136, 92137, 92138, 92139, 92140, 92142, 92145, 92147, 92149, 92150, 92152, 92153, 92154, 92155, 92158, 92159, 92160, 92161, 92162, 92163, 92164, 92165, 92166, 92167, 92168, 92169, 92170, 92171, 92172, 92174, 92175, 92176, 92177, 92179, 92182, 92184, 92186, 92187, 92190, 92191, 92192, 92193, 92194, 92195, 92196, 92197, 92198, 92199.

Dog Training Classes in the News

Planning commission backs academy classes near Vint Hill; dog training expansion in Goldvein – Fauquier Times

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:04:01 GMT


Fauquier TimesPlanning commission backs academy classes near Vint Hill; dog training expansion in GoldveinFauquier TimesSt. Michael’s Academy, a religious school now operating in Haymarket, received the backing of the Fauquier County Planning Commiss …

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Dog training classes offered – The-News-Leader

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 04:03:11 GMT


MassLive.comDog training classes offeredThe-News-LeaderThe Humane Society of Summit County is now helping dogs find and stay in homes by offering training for both shelter dogs and the public. The Humane Society offers a wide range of canine behavior …

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Dog Training Classes on Twitter

Jo Perez

Wed Jul 26 20:41:10 +0000 2017


RT @vetsmovefwd: Today our #ServiceDogsinTraining are having a training class. What is your favorite thing to teach your dog?

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High Priest Of Gavin

Wed Jul 26 18:14:20 +0000 2017


@ButtBoob @shoe0nhead @jimsgooddog @MsBlaireWhite @TherynMeyer @SenJohnMcCain … another chunk of combat training…

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Dog Training Classes on YouTube

Adolescent Dogs – Footage from dog training classes. Guildford, Surrey.

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How to Train a Dog to Pay Attention (

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