Essential Facts That Dog Lovers Must Always Remember

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They mean the world to you, and you, to them. Here are four facts that every dog lover or owner should know.

  1. Dogs just want to see you happy1
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    Dogs have an inherent need to please humans. There have been numerous studies conducted in the past that have shown that dogs bond with humans in the same way babies do with parents; you know how much care and attention babies need. Make sure you spend some quality time with your dog, whether it is teaching them tricks or playing with them, and they will be all happy, and even more so when they see that you’re happy. Dogs also find the need to comfort people, and it’s not just their owners or humans that they know, but random strangers too! If a dog finds that a human is in distress, chances are that it will walk up to them and offer some comfort or reassurance.

  2. Dogs may show behavioral changes when they are injured or ill2
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    If you notice your dog acting differently than usual, whether it is with their responses, eating habits or others, chances are your dog is injured or ill. Make sure you watch out for these signs, as your dog cannot be vocal about it, and it is for you to observe and make sure that your dog is fine.

  3. Dogs do not like to be left by themselves3
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    The social animals that they are, dogs rely heavily on animals and people. Left alone, they start feeling lonely and may even experience cases of separation anxiety. There have been surveys that show that dogs left on their own by owners with busy lives have a tendency to develop stress and depression. One in every four dogs suffer from depression, and may resort to self-harming tendencies due to the same. Other signs that your dog may show due to the discomfort caused from being left alone includes howling or barking for a long period of time. If your lifestyle demands you to spend a lengthy period of time away from your pet, then make sure you help them get accustomed to it by gradually increasing the time that you spend away from them.

  4. Always loved, will never be forgotten4
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    Dogs have a relatively short lifespan when compared to humans. Depending on the breed, your furry friend may live for only ten to twenty years. Smaller canine breeds usually live for more number of years than larger canine breeds. Make sure that you spend all the time that you can with your pet, so you make the best of the time that you have together.


Toilet-training Your New Cat

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Cat owners decide to toilet train their pets for many reasons, whether it is the sight or smell of the litterbox or the task of cleaning it. Helping your cat make a transition from a litter box to the toilet, may be easy or difficult depending on your cat. For instance, if your cat is not comfortable with using the litterbox, it may not be able to adapt to a toilet bowl very easily. While if your cat is older and accustomed to using the litter box, it may adapt to a toilet training routine may be a little difficult.

  • Have any one of the bathrooms at home designated for toilet-training your cat. Make sure that the door to this bathroom is always open, and the toilet lid is up while the seat is down always. Keep the litter box right next to the toilet for a couple of days, so your cat gets accustomed to the bathroom.
  • Place newspapers or other sturdy support objects under the litter box, so it adds some height. The idea is to gradually increase the height at which the litter box is placed till it is in level with the toilet bowl. You want to gradually increase the height in steps of 3 inches each day. Don’t forget to give your cat some training treats if it walks on the toilet seat.
  • Once the litter box is in level with the toilet seat, and your cat is comfortable using it, move the litter box to top of the toilet (while the lid is closed). Then, start using a training seat that has flushable litter instead of the litter box, after it gets comfortable with using the litter box without accidents. If you do not have a training seat you can try using an aluminum pan (you can secure it to the toilet bowl by using some duct tape).
  • Once your cat gets accustomed to using the training seat, start gradually increasing the size of the hole at the bottom of the seat, by moving to bigger training trays or cutting a bigger hole at the pan bottom, depending on which one you use. Also, start reducing the amount of litter that you fill in the training tray or aluminum pan as you go forward.
  • In about two weeks time, you should be able to remove the aluminum pan or training tray completely. Your cat should now be comfortable with eliminating directly in the toilet bowl.

Cats take anywhere between a couple of weeks and a few months to be completely toilet-trained. If your cat makes mistakes while being toilet-trained do not give it a scolding, instead take a step back and resume the toilet training.


3 Ways to Get Your Cat to Stop Scratching Your Furniture

Cat scratching a scratch post

I spent several hours wistfully browsing around the internet for a new couch recently, but given the elaborate landscape of claw marks on the arms of my current couch, I feel hesitant about making a purchase. But as it turns out, there are lots of smart ways to stop cats from scratching your furniture. It may be too late for my couch, but if you prevent your cat from scratching furniture before it becomes a habit, it doesn’t have to be too late for yours.

RELATED STORY: Products That Will Stop the Scratching

1. Provide a Scratch-Friendly Alternative

If you don’t want your cat scratching up your furniture, your best bet is to provide another option. Keep in mind that scratching serves a purpose for cats: As well as being exercise, it’s a way to clean and sharpen claws, and to mark their turf. So while it can feel like a frustrating habit to pet parents, scratching is a biological necessity for cats. Avoid your furniture’s destruction by providing your cat with a scratching post — catnip is a great way to encourage them to scratch the assigned area, rather than your furniture, as is placing the scratching post strategically close to the furniture your cat usually relishes destroying.

RELATED STORY: How to Clean Your Cat’s Scratching Post

2. Clip Your Cat’s Nails

Part of the reason cats scratch is to keep their nails filed down. Help them out by making it a point to trim their nails every few weeks. Some cats are more amenable to this process than others, but with a bit of practice — and maybe a treat at the end of the spa treatment? — most cats will allow owners to trim their nails. Trimming their nails might not stop them from scratching all around your living room, but it could potentially lessen the damage.

RELATED STORY: Shop Cat Trees and Condos

3. Discourage Them From Scratching Furniture

There are all sorts of options available when it comes to discouraging your cat from scratching places you’d rather be kept pristine: One simple hack is to place double-sided tape (the ultimate tool in cat frustration!) on areas you don’t want them to scratch. If you see cats scratching, you can say an angry “no,” make a loud noise, or give them a spritz of water from a spray bottle.

RELATED STORY: 5 Misconceptions About Cats

How do you stop your cat from furniture destruction? Tell us in the comments! And if you’re in need of a scratch post, cat nail clippers, or any scratch-deterrents, consider joining PetPlus, a new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more. 


Got a Dog That Won’t Quit? 4 Handy Tips to Get Them to Stop Jumping

Get your dog to stop jumping

Does your dog leap up for a hello when you walk through the front door? Do guests sometimes get knocked over when they stop by for a visit? Are the neighbors used to being greeted with two paws on their shoulders? If so, it’s probably time to teach your dog to stop jumping.

A jumping dog isn’t only annoying, they also aren’t showing you much respect, which means that they probably don’t see you as the pack leader. And you should be the pack leader if you want a well-balanced and obedient dog.

So how can you teach your dog to stop jumping? Here are 4 easy steps.

1. Assert Yourself as the Pack Leader

Whether you’re trying to teach your dog to stop jumping, to stop pulling ahead on walks, or to simply follow commands, you need to be the pack leader. The pack leader is calm, focused, and confident, they stand straight up and walk with their eyes forward, and they give cues — they don’t take them. Establishing yourself as the pack leader will make teaching your dog to stop jumping a lot easier.

RELATED STORY: How to Handle 6 Common Dog Behavior Problems

2. Don’t Encourage Jumping

If you greet your dog with a loud, animated voice and lots of affection when you arrive home, you’re encouraging excited behavior, which often includes jumping. The same is true for guests who come over or people who greet your dog when you’re out on a walk. When you arrive home, keep calm, and ask your guests and those greeting your dog to do the same.

3. Make Your Dog “Sit” Before They Can Say Hello

Your dog knows that if they jump on you or someone else, they’re going to get attention, whether it’s positive or negative (in the moment, it doesn’t make much difference to the dog). But you can teach your dog that there is another way to get attention: by sitting nicely. Teach your dog the “sit” command, and when you come home or have guests over, make your dog sit before anyone is allowed to pet them or give them attention. When your dog sits make sure you reward them with a treat and plenty of praise.

RELATED STORY: How to Calm Down a Dog

4. The Right Kind of Punishment

Jumping isn’t always about excitement or asserting dominance; sometimes it’s a way to release anxious energy. And yelling at your dog or shoving them off can actually make the problem worse. If you want to get your dog to stop jumping while it’s happening, simply turn your back, look away from the dog, or leave the room without any fanfair. Ask your guests to do the same. Your dog should eventually learn that jumping only means they’ll be ignored, and that’s the last thing they want.

Does your dog jump? Or have you gotten your dog to stop jumping? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at


Back To School! Dog Classes to Take This Fall

Within the next few weeks, sleepy-eyed children will begin lining up at bus stops with shiny new backpacks and freshly sharpened pencils, ready for the start of a new school year. It’s an exciting time, but if you have kids and a dog, it can also be a confusing time for your four-legged friend.

Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety when their favorite playmates are suddenly missing every day, and you might notice some moping behavior. One way to get your dog back in good spirits? Sign them up for school, too! Dog classes not only offer mental and physical stimulation, they also teach important skills and provide an opportunity for socialization.

Here are three dog classes to consider for your pup this fall.

Basic Obedience Dog Classes

When it comes to dog classes, basic obedience is a must-do. In most classes, dogs learn important everyday commands like “sit,”“stay,”“down,” and “come” as well as loose-leash walking (“heel”) and impulse control. Many basic obedience classes also introduce ways to problem solve common issues, like chewing or jumping. Whatever basic obedience class you choose, just make sure that the trainers are certified and use a positive approach (versus one based on punishment). You may want to ask friends or family for recommendations, or check out your local AKC dog club.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps to Dog Obedience Training

Canine Good Citizen Dog Classes

Have you ever thought that your dog might make a good therapy dog? Or perhaps you just want your dog to have good manners in your home, out in public, around other people, and other dogs? Then consider signing up for a Canine Good Citizen training class that will prepare you for the Canine Good Citizen test. The Canine Good Citizen test is a certification program through the AKC that evaluates dogs to determine if they are reliable family and community members. Each dog must pass a series of tests, including greeting a stranger, moving politely through a crowd, sitting politely for petting, being left with a stranger, and more. Once your dog passes, they will receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. To find training classes in your area, visit the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Training/Testing page.

RELATED STORY: The Top 10 Dog Training Tips

Agility Training Dog Classes

You might be looking at your wrinkly Bulldog thinking, “agility training? Perhaps not…” But the truth is that any dog can take part in agility training, so long as they are healthy and the course and obstacles are appropriate for your dog’s size. Agility training is an active sport in which your dog follows your cues to move through an obstacle course of tunnels, poles, jumps, and more. It’s loads of fun, and great exercise too. To get started, find a local agility training group. To learn more, visit the AKC’s Agility Homepage.

Will you be signing up for any dog classes this fall? Leave a comment and let us know! And to have more money in your pocket to spend on classes, sign up for PetPlusPetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at


Teach Your Cat to Walk on a Leash


Yes, you read that right. Cats… walking… on leashes! While it might sound funny, the truth is that taking your cat out for a stroll around the yard or neighborhood can be a great way to get them some exercise, stave off obesity, and reduce boredom.

But how can you get your cat comfortable walking on a leash? Follow these steps.

1. Vaccinate and Protect Your Cat

If you plan to be taking your cat outside for walks, make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations and protected from fleas and ticks.

2. Purchase a Harness and Leash

When it comes to walking a cat, a harness is the most popular choice. Harnesses are comfortable, secure, and give you control without putting pressure on your cat’s throat or neck. As for a leash, any type will do, but consider getting one that keeps your cat within 6 feet of you.

3. Familiarize Your Cat With the Harness

Leave the harness on your cat’s bed or near their food for several days. Hold the harness and let your cat sniff it, and offer them a treat when they do. Touch your cat’s back with the harness or gently drape it over their neck and shoulders, then offer a treat.

RELATED STORY: How to Train a Cat

4. Fit the Harness

After several days of familiarization, you can try putting the harness on your cat while offering treats and praise. You should be able to fit two fingers (no more, no less) between your cat’s body and the harness. Leave the harness on for only a few minutes at a time, continuing to offer praise and treats. Repeat this training daily for several days. If your cat stays relaxed with the harness on, increase the time that they wear it. If the cat ever gets upset, remove the harness right away and try again later.

5. Attach the Leash

Once your cat is relaxed wearing the harness, you can attach the leash. Let your cat drag it around while you offer treats and praise. Keep an eye on your cat to make sure that the leash doesn’t get stuck or tangled. Repeat this for several days.

6. Walk Around Inside

Once your cat is comfortable dragging around the leash, pick it up and offer a treat. Let your cat guide you around, going wherever they please. Keep the leash loose and offer praise and treats. Practice this for a few days.

RELATED STORY: What Can Affect a Cat’s Lifespan?

7. Encourage Your Cat to Follow You

This one takes patience, but it will be worth it once you’re outside and your cat is cruising confidently by your side.

  • Encourage your cat to go where you go by using a calm, positive voice.
  • Apply gentle pressure to the leash, but never tug or yank. If and when the cat turns in your direction or follows you, offer treats and praise.
  • Drop a treat on the ground and let your cat eat it, then return to the far end of the leash. When the cat comes to where you are, offer another treat and praise. Repeat this as many times as it takes.

8. Head Outside

You’ve put the work in, and now it’s time to head outside. Always attach the harness and leash before you walk through the door; this will prevent your cat from running away. Start in a quiet spot and let your cat explore with you following behind them. Once your cat seems relaxed, you can start guiding them where you want to go.

9. Regular Walks

Once your cat gets used to walking, chances are they will love it and want to go as often as possible. To avoid your cat pestering you to go outside, walk them at the same time every day, and never take your cat out if they are crying or bothering you. Instead, wait for your cat to quiet down and then take them outside. Your cat will soon learn that being quiet, calm, and patient will earn them a trip to the great outdoors.

Do you walk your cat? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


7 Ways to Keep Your Dog From Urine Marking


Urine marking is a very common dog behavior. When a dog urine marks, they urinate only a small amount onto a surface, often with their leg raised. This can happen on walks, at the park, and even in the comfort of your own home or another person’s home — eek! Before we can talk about how to stop your dog from urine marking, let’s talk about why they do it.

5 Reasons Why Dogs Mark

Urine marking is a way for a dog to assert dominance and say, “Mine!” Here are 5 circumstances that increase a dog’s desire to claim objects and territory:

1. Intact Marking

Dogs that are not spayed or neutered are much more assertive and more prone to urine marking than dogs who have been fixed. Spaying or neutering your dog can greatly reduce their desire to urine mark, but it may not completely stop it.

2. In Response to the Unfamiliar

Many dogs urine mark after smelling a new dog (or a new dog’s urine) in their environment, be that your yard, your home, or a street you walk down regularly. Additionally, if a new pet or person enters your home, your dog may feel the need to mark their belongings (a purse, another pet’s bed, etc.) as a way to say, “I’m in charge here!” This goes for new objects, too. If you get a new couch, a dog prone to marking might lift a leg upon its arrival.

3. In Response to Anxiety

The unfamiliar can cause anxiety, as can situations that are classically stressful, such as visits to the vet, a move, or thunderstorms. Dogs who are marking as a result of anxiety often leave more urine behind than dogs who are marking for other reasons.

4. Social Marking

A dog may mark as a result of social triggers, such as excitement, over-stimulation, or arousal caused by a dog of the opposite sex. A dog may also mark in response to social conflicts with other animals in your home, whether they are permanent housemates or visitors. Marking allows your dog to assert their dominance in unstable group situations.

5. Medical Issues

If you dog is marking or urinating indoors, make sure that it isn’t because of a medical issue such as a urinary tract infection or incontinence.

RELATED STORY: 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Dog Psychology

7 Ways to Stop Urine Marking

So how can you prevent or stop urine marking? First, take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out any medical issues. If your vet says that everything is okay, use the following tips.

1. Spay or Neuter Your Dog

As mentioned above, spaying or neutering your dog can greatly reduce their desire to mark. If you spay or neuter your dog before they learn the marking behavior, you may never have to worry about it. However if you spay or neuter your dog after they’ve already started marking, it may be more difficult to break the habit. Ask your veterinarian to recommend the best time to fix your dog.

RELATED STORY: 5 Ways Dog Neutering Makes Your Pet Healthier

2. Clean Soiled Areas or Make Them Undesirable For Marking

If a dog has already marked an area of your home or yard, they’ll probably do it again. Use a cleaner specifically designed to eliminate the smell of urine. If you can’t remove the smell, remove your dog’s access to the area or change your dog’s association with the area by feeding or playing with them there.

3. Keep Items Your Dog Wants to Mark Out of Reach

If you know that your dog is prone to marking your visitors’ shoes or purses, put those items out of reach in a closet or cabinet.

4. Resolve Conflicts

If your dog is urine marking, it’s because they feel like they need to claim territory and assert their dominance; the feeling of needing to assert dominance is often the result of conflict. Make sure that all animals are getting along and that your dog is getting getting along with all human housemates, too. If disputes seem impossible to solve, then contact a trainer for help.

5. Catch Your Dog in The Act

If you catch your dog urine marking inside the house, move or carry them outside. When they urinate outside instead, reward them with a treat or toy. Don’t punish your dog if you find the marking after the fact; your dog won’t understand and may become afraid.

6. Treat Your Dog’s Anxiety

If your dog’s urine marking seems to be related to stress or anxiety, solve that issue first, and the urine marking may subside. Common treatments for anxiety include behavior modification and medication. Read more about treating anxiety.

7. Contact a Trainer or Animal Behaviorist

In some cases, you may not be able to tackle your dog’s marking issue on your own. A trainer or animal behaviorist can help you find the source of the problem and come up with a plan for correcting the behavior.

Does your dog urine mark? Leave a comment and let us know about your dog’s behavior. And sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


4 Ways to Keep Your Pets off Your Furniture

pet furnitureKeeping pets off furniture is one of those debatable priorities among pet parents. Some pet parents want to cuddle with their pets on the furniture, even if it means having a stinky and hairy sofa.

Other pet parents love their pets equally well, but feel that furniture is for people, and they don’t mind taking whatever measures necessary to enforce the no-pets-on-the-furniture rule. If this describes you, here are four ways to keep your pets off your furniture.

1. Teach your dog the “off” command.

While you obviously don’t want to teach your dog to “jump on” the furniture to begin with, it’s handy to know how to teach your dog to jump off so they will at least understand what you’re saying as you attempt to keep them off the sofa.

2. Make your furniture unappealing.

One major reason it’s notoriously hard to train pets to stay off furniture is that your couch is just so darn comfortable. If you do a little bit of work to make your furniture unappealing to your pet, this will go a long way to squashing the forbidden allure of your sofa.

There are various methods on the market you can purchase, such as a spray repellent to deter dogs and cats. You can also consider a product like a Scram Mat, a pad with a noisy alarm. The sound will annoy your pet right off the furniture.

Or you can just cover the surface when you aren’t sitting there with upside down laundry baskets, plastic or cardboard. If you don’t want to cover the couch, then upend the cushions, or put the cushions in the closet.

3. Get your pet their own furniture.

Here’s the other side of the coin: while you’re busy making your furniture unappealing, entice your pet with a place of their own. You can create a pet sanctuary to keep your dog or cat comfy, safe, and cozy. Don’t forget to spring for a nice bed for your pet, like this DreamZone Fleece Pet Bed. If they have a comfortable bed of their own, yours won’t seem so magical.

4. Use a homemade noise maker.

Cats and dogs both are reported to hate the sound it makes when you shake a can of coins. You can use a regular old soda can, and tape the mouth shut after you’ve dropped some coins in there. Whenever your pet makes a move towards the furniture, just give the can a little shake. Leave the can sitting on the furniture when you’re gone as a reminder.

What about you? Do you let your pets on the furniture? To keep your pet safe and healthy, sign up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at


How Big Will My Dog Get? Tips for Estimating Your Dog’s Full-Grown Size


Size is one of the most important factors to consider when adopting a puppy. Do you want a small dog that will fit on your lap, or a large dog that you can take hiking and camping? Or perhaps you want something in between — a medium-sized dog that is the best of both worlds?

Before bringing a puppy home for good, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Your dog’s eventual size will have an impact on their exercise needs, grooming requirements, and cost. So how can you figure out how big your dog will get? Let’s take a look at answering the question, “How big will my dog get?”

Estimating the Final Size of a Purebred

Estimating the final size of a purebred dog is not all that difficult. You can get a good idea by looking at the pup’s parents and at breed standards on the American Kennel Club’s website, where you’ll find each breed’s typical weight range, height, and more.

Measuring Mixed Breeds

Figuring out the final size of a mixed breed pup can be more tricky, especially if you adopt a dog from a shelter and the dog’s breeds, age, and parents’ sizes are unknown. However, there are some ways to estimate a pup’s growth potential, outlined below.

Growth Considerations

There are certain considerations that can help you project your pal’s eventual size:

  • Look at the breed and size of both parents. If the parents are the same breed and around the same size, you can get a pretty good idea of how large your dog will grow. If the parents are different breeds and different sizes, the bitch’s size will have more influence on your pup’s eventual size than the sire’s.
  • Some suggest that you can estimate your pup’s size by doubling their weight at 4 months old. For giant breed dogs, double their weight at 5 months instead.
  • While it’s not an exact science, looking at your pup’s paws can help you predict their final size. A pup with petite paws isn’t going to grow to a weight they can’t support, and a dog with large, floppy paws isn’t going to end up a dainty puffball.
  • Height vs. weight: a dog will stop growing in height before it stops growing in weight. Most dogs will be at 75% of their final height at around 6 months old, but they can keep putting on weight for another 6 months to another year, depending on the breed

When Do Dogs Stop Growing?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including size and breed. In general, small breed dogs stop growing sooner than large breed dogs. This will help answer your question of “How big will my dog get?” and give you ample time to prepare.

No matter how big your dog get, PetPlus makes it easier to give them the care and protection they deserve!

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How to Clicker Train Your Dog

So what’s the point of clicker training? Don’t you get dependent on a device to get your pet to do anything?

Great questions!

Here is how to clicker train your dog.

The point of clicker training is to get your dog’s attention in a consistent fashion, which can make training go faster. You don’t become dependent on the device, because over time, your dog will recognize your commands, regardless of whether you’re using the clicker or not. Eventually, you can stop using the clicker altogether.

1. Choose your signal.

The first step is to choose the signal you will use to inform your pet that a command has been given and there’s a potential for treats to be earned.

You can buy an inexpensive clicker, or you can simply choose a different sound, like snapping your fingers, tapping your foot, or clicking your tongue.

See what works best at getting your dog’s attention.

The most important part of any training method is that you’re consistent, so see what works and stick to it in order to clicker train your dog successfully.

2. Choose a reward.

To start, it helps immensely to hold your dog’s attention if you use a mixture of treats and praise. Choose the most delicious treat in the world to your dog.

Then over time, as your dog begins to respond reliably to commands, you can phase out the treats and rely on praise alone.

3. Choose consistent commands.

There’s the word “consistent” again. To get any training to stick, you need to be steadfast in your methods. When it comes to commands, keep them to one or two words, such as “Sit,” “Stay,” “Heel,” and “Come.”

Make a list of commands to practice with your dog so you remember which commands you chose. Don’t make your dog think too hard about what you’re saying; it’s enough to learn how to obey!

4. Watch your dog’s attention level.

Stick to regular meal times. You want to keep make sure your dog isn’t starving when it’s time to train, or their energy will be drained and they won’t be able to focus as well.

As training progresses and your dog earns treats, they will feel fuller and they won’t be as motivated to work for your rewards.

When going about clicker train your dog keep sessions focused and short so your dog doesn’t get stuffed, bored, and burned out on training.

Do you have any stories or tips to share about training your dog? Let us know in the comments, and consider signing up for PetPlus,a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.