March has been a great month for us here at Ashling Place. Hadley continues to amaze us with her intellect and eagerness to please. This month, she proudly earned two designations: AKC Canine Community Canine (CGCA) and Therapy Dog. After completing a seven-week training course, which included time spent in public settings such as shopping centers and nursing homes, Hadley was then required to pass a series of tests in order to earn these designations.
In order to pass these tests, Hadley first needed to be able to master a number of basic skills. Of course, impulse control and maintaining attention are two crucial skills necessary, especially since there are a number of distractions that are introduced during the tests to ensure that your dog is able to remain focused on you and the task at hand. Another important skill she needed to be able to master is the “sit-stay”. The purpose of this command that your dog will be able to remain in a "sit/stay" position, even when you leave him, which is handy in a number of situations. We use it when someone visits, when we need to cross the street to get the mail and want the dog to stay in the yard, and even when it’s time to go outside and we want them to sit at the door until we give the release. It is the ultimate demonstration of control and is useful in everyday life.
Leash & Collar
The “sit/stay” is a command that truly is an essential skill for your pup to master, even if you are not interested in pursuing designations such as the Canine Good Citizen or Therapy Dog. We have advanced our training with this command during our field play and practice. Now the girls have to stay in a sit position while we throw the ball, which if you know our girls, this is a very difficult skill to master when a ball is involved. That said, they know to sit, stay, and wait for me to give them the release, which is “find it.” Not only are they exercising their bodies, but also their minds!
If you are interested in pursuing these designations with your dog, then I encourage you to start by learning more by visiting the AKC Canine Good Citizen and AKC Community Canine websites.
We had an exciting weekend at the Columbus All-breed Training Club Winter Obedience/Rally Trials. After months of serious training, Hadley was able to turn all that hard work into earning an RN title in the Rally Trial events! Rally is an obedience event where you and your dog demonstrate your ability to work as a team as you both navigate through a course of 10-20 signs that display a skill that you and your dog are to perform together. Check out the video below if you want to see Hadley strut her stuff. To learn more about AKC Rally, visit https://www.akc.org/sports/rally/. It’s a fun way to bond with your puppy!
Earning the title this weekend at the trials took plenty of hard work and dedication over the last several months. In addition to going to training classes regularly, we practiced our skills and commands daily. Yet, before we were able to get to that point, I had to make sure that Hadley was able to focus when necessary. Focus is the key to making all training possible. Now that you have mastered “impulse control,” it’s time to teach your pup how to pay attention to you.
8. You should practice this daily in order to make eye contract consistently strong. Be sure that every
time you say her name and she responds, you reinforce it with high-spirited praise such as, “YES, GOOD
Tip: Start adding distractions during your practice. The more distractions around, the more praise you will need to give. You may want to add extra special treats during this sessions to reinforce your puppy’s focus and attention.
This is one of many ways in which you can teach your dog to pay attention on cue. Some like to use commands such as “watch me” or “focus” in place of the dog’s name. Whatever method you use, be sure you are consistent and always use positive reinforcement to ensure success.
How is it possible that we are more than half way through the first month of 2019? It seems like it was only yesterday that we were snuggling up with cute little chocolate fur-balls of ultimate sweetness! Oh how we miss those puppies, but we couldn’t be happier that they have found such wonderful families who love them as much as we do!
This year is set to be an exciting year for us here at Ashling Place Labradors. We are making final plans for not only Riley’s next litter, but Hadley’s first litter, so stay tuned to learn more about future puppies. In addition to blessing us with beautiful, healthy puppies, our Labs are always busy training and competing. Hadley is currently finishing up her therapy dog training and has high hopes of using her Therapy Dog International certification to help others during times of difficulties and challenges. Hadley also aspires to earn her first Rally/Obedience title this year and has been working hard to master all the commands. Riley has already earned one title so far and is excited to get back into the Obedience ring and work towards earning her next title.
All of this talk about training leads me right into the main topic of this article: Basic Training. As I mentioned in our last article, we will be tackling the subject of obedience with an overview of the core basic commands that you and your pup should be working on together. Mastering these commands will help in a number of areas both in and outside your home.
Today I want to focus on impulse control. Helping your puppy learn how to make correct decisions is the foundation to their success in learning all other commands. There are a number of ways to work with your pup on impulse control, including having them wait at the door before rushing through and waiting to eat their food until you give a command. Here is a step-by-step description on how to work with your dog on “impusle control”:
As always, Stay Calm and Hug your Labrador!
It is spring, right? Although it may still feel like winter throughout much of the country, the calendar says that it is, in fact, spring, so that means here at the farm we are gearing up for another busy garden season. The seedlings are growing strong, the flowers are all peaking through the ground, and the buds on the trees are ready to burst open…if only the weather would cooperate.
Like every year at this time, when plotting out the garden, I always take into consideration what fruits and vegetables are suitable for providing healthy snack options for our canine kids. We spend a lot of our day training for the show ring and field, so having a variety of low-fat, low-sugar treats helps to not only to keep their waistlines trim, but also to hold their attention.
Since we are headed into berry season, here is the low-down on our two favorite berry treats we enjoy sharing with our canine friends:
We grow our blueberries in containers located in a sunny spot right outside the kennel. The easy access is perfect for that quick need to reward a good behavior, though I will be honest and say I have also caught one of the girls helping herself to a blueberry or two! But that is okay, as these “superfoods” are not just good for humans, but they also provide an array of healthy benefits for our pooches. In fact, you will find a number of health conscious dog food companies, such as Life’s Abundance, who include blueberries in their food and treat products. Why are they so healthy? Well, to start with, they provide a plethora of vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, all of which help boost your pup’s immunity, strengthens his brain, and helps to fight off cancer.
Another staple in our garden is strawberries. Like blueberries, these sweet treats contain antioxidants, plenty of vitamin C and fiber, and even contain an enzyme that helps to whiten your pup’s teeth. Strawberries are also a great source of folate, potassium, and manganese, all of which support the immune system, help muscles to function normally, and fight cellular damage.
I am often asked about feeding raspberries to our dogs. Similar to blueberries and strawberries, raspberries can be a healthy snack option for your pup; however, we caution you to exercise moderation when rewarding your furry friend with this sweet treat. While raspberries are a great source of vitamin C, K, B-complex, antioxidants, and fiber, they also contain high amounts of naturally occurring xylitol, which is considered to be very toxic to dogs. As with all things, even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. So, be cautious of over-feeding your pup with any kind of treat, including any of these healthy berries.
Till next time, “Keep Calm and Hug your Labrador!”
Whether you have a lifetime of experience raising Labradors or are planning to adopt your first furry friend, it is always helpful to have resources to turn to when struggling with anything from behavior issues and nutrition questions, to looking for helpful tips on training and appropriate exercises to help keep your pet healthy.
Over the years, I have researched and collected a number of resources to help guide me in the process of raising our Labradors. Below is a list I have complied to help make it easier for you to access these resources when in need for general answers:
Health and Nutrition
The American Kennel Club - The AKC is a great resource for all things dog related. Visit this link to access a number of articles related to your Labrador’s nutritional needs. If you have questions about their general health, you can visit this link to access articles covering a wide variety of topics for all canine life stages.
Dog Food Advisor - This is a great site to refer to when considering what to feed your canine friend. The organization has researched over 4,500 dog food products and offers unbiased reviews and ratings on each of them. You can also sign up to be alerted of any and all dog food product recalls.
Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook. 4th Edition, 2007, written by Debra Eldredge, DVM, and Delbert G. Carlson, DVM. This is an excellent resource for general health conditions. While we always depend on our veterinarians for the care of our Labradors, we find that this to be an indispensable resource when caring for our Labradors.
Exercise and Training
The Labrador Site - We love this website as it is specific to raising and training the Labrador Retriever. There are hundreds of articles that cover everything from basic training tips to behavior modification. Also, you can find a number of product reviews on items such as dog beds, toys, grooming tools, and books. Definitely a site worth “bookmarking”.
Labrador Training HQ - An excellent resource for all things related to the Labrador Retriever, especially when it comes to training your Labrador.
Whole Dog Journal - Although not Labrador specific, this website has numerous articles covering topics related to training and behavior modification.
While there are a number of other resources available out there on the web, we have found these to be our most valuable source of information. Of course, having a good relationship with your veterinary office is extremely important, as they too are an excellent resource for all things related to the care of your furry companion.
Be Calm and Hug Your Labrador