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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 animalso.com 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;
-Companionship
-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 animalso.com 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.

Conclusion

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 protraindog@gmail.com 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 www.redbasket.org.

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 protraindog@gmail.com 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.

 

 

 

 

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Dog Trainer in San Diego: The Dog Man Can.