Amy Robinson is a nationally recognized dog trainer living and working in Vero Beach, Florida, with her husband and adopted dog, Mac. She specializes in canine commands and good manners, and has appeared on television news shows and lifestyle programs. Her website offers more training tips: www.droolschool.com
Fall Colors Inspire Green Shopping
By Amy Robinson, CPDT and Author
Fall means rich, soft colors in our natural surroundings and a big change from summer to pre-holiday hustle. High on our ‘to do’ lists: shop for our pets! After all, school-aged children get new clothes and supplies, and our four-legged friends deserve some retail therapy too, but shoppers want more than just some new swag for their pets.
Green means go shopping: The call for eco-friendly, sustainable pet products is being heard loud and clear among manufacturers and retailers. At the wildly popular Superzoo pet trade show in Las Vegas, buyers were keen to fill this need for their customers. Among the trends were organic ingredients in pet food and treats, recycled toys and cat litter, and sustainable pet gear for the home.
Richell USA hosted one of the busiest booths at the show, offering high-quality gates, pens and more manufactured from eco-friendly Rubberwood and bamboo. Beautiful wood items can enhance your pet’s living space and be kind to the environment, too. The award-winning Také Lifestyle Collection features über-cool Japanese design and sustainable bamboo construction. Your dog can enjoy easy access to his favorite spots like the sofa with the Také 3-Step Stool in beautiful bamboo. Complement the look with the Také Pet Serving Cabinet for raised dining, proven to be beneficial for joints and digestion. Both of these award-winning designs take eco-friendly to a new and functionally beautiful level!
Bamboo for you: Bamboo is a super-hot trend in construction and furniture design, valued for its delicate grain and subtle beauty. Conventional hardwood forests take many more years to re-grow than bamboo. Typically, it takes forty years for cedar to grow to post size compared to five years for bamboo. Bamboo consumes carbon dioxide at rapid rates while growing and does not require the use of pesticides. Eco-friendly and on-trend, bamboo gives your pet spaces a designer look and ‘two paws up’ for sustainability.
Play dress-up: Your dog loves to be part of the action, even if it means being dressed up as a pirate or ballerina for Halloween. However you dress your dog, please keep in mind his desire to please you, so no laughing! (At least out loud.) Be sure the costume fits well and is comfortable, and avoid leaving your pet alone in their Halloween finery. Elastic fasteners can constrict blood flow and cause your dog to panic, or try to chew his way out of the costume. A nice photo is a good remembrance, and can get you some great prizes in the Richell USA HalloPaws contest beginning in October. Competition is fierce and furry, so put your best paw forward!
Trick and treat: Dogs thrive on a sense of accomplishment, and teaching your dog a new trick is sure to get his tail wagging. There are two effective ways to master-train your way to a cute dog trick. The first is called luring. Hold a treat in the direction you’d like your dog to go. Turn the head and the body will follow. Break up the trick into mini-segments to help your dog succeed.
For the classic roll over, lure him into a lying down position first with a tasty treat. Take note if he favors lying on one hip; that’s the direction you’ll want to go to roll him over since his hip is already rolled under his body. Bring the treat to the side so his head is turned away from that hip, and then lure his head up and back toward the rolling direction. If he lies on his side, offer the treat. Remember, you are breaking the trick down into smaller segments. Once your dog is doing this part easily, place the treat right at the end of his nose and slowly arc it around. If he follows it with his head, gently help his body roll and immediately offer the treat along with heaps of praise!
The second method is called capturing. Catch your dog doing something cute and assign a word to it. For example, when your dog stretches with his front legs down and forward and rear end up, assign the word ‘bow’ to this action and praise your dog. You can do the same when your dog lies down and flops on his side. During this action, say, “Take a rest” and follow up with praise. Take your time and muster lots of patience, and soon your dog will perform these adorable behaviors on cue. Summer represents our time to relax into the sweetest season. Whether you enjoy hiking and biking or just napping on the porch while soft breezes drift over, your dog is waiting for an invitation to join you. Keep his safety and security in mind, and the long, sultry days can be memorable well into fall.
Fifteen minutes of canine fame: You may be looking down right now at a four-legged celebrity! Print advertisements and television commercials use adorable animals to compel us buy their products. We relate to a scene featuring a dog or cat and make an emotional connection with the product. If you are often stopped on the street by people wanting to pet your gorgeous dog, consider getting him an agent. Take a wonderful photo, or create a short video of your dog demonstrating some skills and tricks. Agents are always looking for new pet talent, but movie-star looks are not enough to get your dog booked. He’ll need to be social with people and other animals, work from hand signals, and take cues from a distance of at least ten feet. If you get that coveted phone call booking your dog for a job, order his limo stocked with fresh water and biscuits.
Down to earth: Camping with your dog is a wallet-friendly activity you can both share with equal enjoyment. In fact, your dog’s keen senses will help you notice wildlife you may otherwise miss. Most state parks allow dogs, and some allow leashed dogs on trails too. Check first for policies on dogs so you don’t get shut out. Outfit your dog in a parka or sweater in colder weather and be smart about his suitability for camping. Outdoorsy dogs like huskies, Bernese mountain dogs, American Eskimo dogs, collies and the like will relish a nip in the air while delicate types like the Italian greyhound and the Chihuahua would much rather be home on the sofa than shivering in a tent. Lunch breaks or midday naps at the campsite can be enhanced with a safe and portable confinement system for your dog. The award-winning Convertible Indoor/Outdoor Playpen from Richell USA keeps your dog secure and the optional vinyl Comfort Mat can be detached and used as flooring to protect him from insects and damp ground.
Fall offers a variety of opportunities to share nature’s beauty with your dog. The season goes fast, and soon the pressures of the holidays will make demands on your time. See the season through your dog’s watchful eyes, and open your senses to the possibilities. Your dog can show you the way.
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