Category: Raising a Healthy Puppy

What Type Of Collar is Best For My Pup?

What Type Of Collar is Best For My Pup?

Dog ownership is a beautiful thing; the way that it completely transforms a person.


If I’m out in public at a pet store, and through conversation, someone finds out I’m a dog trainer, I can’t tell you how cute it is to see the most serious person melt right in front of me while they talk about their dog!


Dogs have a way of bringing so much joy into our lives, easing the stress of the outside world.


It comes as no surprise, then, if you’re reading this right now, then it’s no doubt you want the best nutrition, toys, coaching, and even style for your pup—just as if you were raising a child.


As silly as it may seem, this clarity of purpose is even extended to something seemingly simple as a dog collar!


With all of the different types of collars out there, dog owners often ask me the question,


“What kind of collar is the very best to use for my dog?”


While the answer to this question does differ from dog to dog and owner to owner, I think it’s important to discuss that there are collars I recommend for training purposes and collars I advise you to stay FAR away from.


What type of collar should you use?


There are a variety of collars that you can purchase to serve a number of purposes.


However, out of the four options I’m about to describe, I recommend sticking with one of the first two:


Simple Collar

simple collar

The simple collar is the most common collar you will see on dogs. It’s flat and connects with a clip or buckle.


For many people, I recommend that they start with this collar for their puppy. If your pup has no issues walking on leash and isn’t pulling, you can continue to use the simple collar.


Martingale/Check Chain Collar

What Type Of Collar is Best For My Pup?

Despite the simplicity of the standard collar, the martingale/check chain collar is definitely my favorite collar.


Why? Well first off, it is an amazing training tool.


This style of collar was designed so that your pup isn’t able to slip out of the collar—without choking or physically harming your dog.


How it works is that when your dog pulls on the leash, the collar gently tightens around the neck, which is a great ‘training wheel’ so to speak, when beginning to train a dog to walk on a loose leash.


From this point, once I tell people that this is my favorite type of collar, they often ask: “What is your favorite brand of dog collars?”.


For me, that is hands down Dream n’ Design, a growing company based out of Southern California who specializes in handmade check chain collars.

Dream n' design

The reason I love Dream n’ Design so much is because not only are their collars handmade to the highest quality seen on the market, but as you can see below, they’re also absolutely gorgeous!


For all of you dog fashionista’s out there, Dream n’ Design is constantly releasing new collections of stunning lines of collars; I have received nothing but raving reviews from all of my clients whom I’ve referred to these guys!


To top it off, as your dog becomes a better loose leash walker, and your collar becomes less of a training tool, a check chain collar from Dream n’ Design will simply become a style statement 😉

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 6.38.48 PM

All joking aside, let’s move on to the two distinctions of collars that I strongly suggest you stay away from:


Choke Collar


I DO NOT recommend the choke collar for a number of very serious health reasons.


Choke collars can be very harmful to a dog if used incorrectly, which in most cases it is.


What happens most of the time is that when using a choke collar, people pull way too hard on the leash and cause serious problems with their dog’s health.


The use of choke collars has been associated with whiplash, fainting, spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis, crushing of the trachea, dislocated neck bones, and even brain damage.


The bottom line is that dogs will respond much better to a gentle tug on a normal collar rather than a choke. Stay away from these ones.


Prong Collar


I personally do not recommend prong collars. Aside from the obvious health concerns, I don’t believe that pinching your puppy is the right way to teach him how to walk on a leash.


The obvious health concern is that the metal spikes of prong collars pinch the skin around dogs’ necks when they pull and can scratch or puncture them.


Over time, this can cause dogs to develop scar tissue, and hence build up a tolerance to the painful pinching feeling.


Therefore, you’re left with a dog that continues to pull, and no way to ‘pinch’ him into stopping; making loose leash walking even more difficult.


Prong collars are also not always effective, and often times the dog will associate the negative pinching feeling with other things around him, such as another dog or animal, which may cause them to be fearful and aggressive


The obvious truth is that choke and prong collars are designed to punish dogs for pulling by inflicting pain and discomfort.


They can cause serious physical and emotional damage to dogs, which is why, in my opinion, they should never be used.


Whether or not you agree with my opinion, with plenty of other great collars available that can safely advance your training needs, there is really no need for the choke or prong collar.

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Stop Using This Item If You Care About Your Dog's Safety

your dog's safety

Whether you’re a new dog owner or a seasoned vet, there’s certain situations, behaviors and even items that can be a danger to your dog’s safety.


While most of what we talk about on this blog consists of tips on how to raise and train a well-behaved and obedient dog, my mission is to give you everything that you would possibly need to know about dog ownership, all in one place!


With that goal in mind, I would really be doing you a disservice if I failed to inform you that there’s certain products out there that you must be very weary of.


Although this item that we're going to talk about today is becoming less popular as dog owners gradually become more educated about dog safety, I still see new dog owners using it ALL the time.


This item can endanger your dog’s health as well as his life, and can seriously injure YOU as well.


What is this dangerous item?


It is… a retractable leash.


I strongly discourage dog owners from using retractable leashes.


In case you haven't seen one before, retractable leashes are the leashes with large plastic handles that retract very long nylon cords.


These leashes aren’t beneficial in training your dog whatsoever and actually can be very harmful to you and your pup.


I can’t even begin to tell you how many horror stories I’ve heard about people injuring themselves or their dogs when using this type of leash. Unfortunately, many dog owners have not been educated about the dangers of using these leashes and they are still popular today.


Reasons why I strongly discourage using a retractable leash:


1. It is a horrible tool to train your dog how to properly walk on a leash


Retractable leashes are confusing for dogs because the distance they are allowed to go is always changing.


Your dog (especially puppies) will be very inclined to test the leash to see how far he is able to go, which will end up encouraging him to pull.


2. It allows way too much freedom for the dog to roam while on leash


Leash walking should train your pup to stay close to you. The retractable leash defeats the purpose of leash training entirely, and instead, encourages unwanted behaviors, such as pulling and zig zagging.


3. Retractable leashes can be dangerous for YOU


It is incredibly common to hear of people that have gotten rope burn or sliced hands from attempting to grab onto a retractable leash.


When your dog is running away and you try to grab the leash to stop your dog, the tiny nylon cord can slice into your skin (ouch!) and it’s extremely painful!


4. Retractable leashes can be dangerous for YOUR PUP.


There are a few horrible outcomes that can result from a retractable leash accident. The first and most common outcome is that your puppy can easily get tangled up in the cord.


Some people may object and say, “Well this could happen with any leash”.


While this could certainly happen with any leash, the chances are much greater that the damages made by a retractable leash tangle will break skin, or even be fatal.


For instance, if your pup gets tangled up in a retractable leash and then tries pull away, it will cause the rope to tighten even more, which can easily lead to lacerations when the pulling is exerted with great force.


If this type of leash gets tangled around the dog’s neck, and the dog panics, it can be fatal.


For these reasons I strongly suggest you stay FAR away from retractable leashes.


For a list of the items I DO recommend, check out my blog post—or even better, check out “The Puppy Training Handbook” for a complete guide on every item you’ll need to get (and what to stay away from).


This comprehensive book will give you all the tools and knowledge you need to raise and train your new puppy into the dog of your dreams!


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Absolutely EVERYTHING You’ll Need For Your New Pup

Absolutely EVERYTHING You’ll Need For Your New Pup

For people who’ve never owned a dog before, knowing exactly what to get for your new pup can seem like a difficult (and stressful) task.


But you don’t have to worry! We’ve covered ALL of the necessary items you’ll need in order to give your new furry best friend the best life possible:


1. Dog Food


This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people think it’s okay to feed their pup people food all the time, or that they can just get any bag of dog food from the store.


Choosing the right kind of dog food for your puppy is so important for them to grow into a healthy adult!


What kind of food should I get?


You are going to want to feed your puppy food specifically made for puppies.


Puppies grow incredibly fast and need a LOT more nutrients to support that growth than adult dogs need. Due to this need, puppy food is created with twice as many nutrients than adult dog food has.


I recommend feeding puppies a grain-free kibble diet. Grain-free tends to be a lot easier for dogs to digest and there is really no need for grain in dogs’ diets.


2. Food and Water bowls


Food and water bowls speak for themselves. The only advice we have when it comes to choosing bowls is to stay away from plastic ones.


Puppies love to chew and destroy the plastic bowls. This can be dangerous if a puppy chews off a large plastic piece and swallows it.


3. Crate


I can’t stress enough the importance of a puppy having his own crate! 


Besides being a safe place for a dog, it is crucial for the dog to have a crate in order to be properly trained.


When choosing the right crate, keep in mind that the size of the dog’s crate is extremely important.


4. Collar


It is important that you find a collar that fits your puppy properly.


You will end up buying two to three collars as your puppy grows. There are many different types of collars to choose from, but the ones that I suggest to start with are the simple collar and the martingale collar.


For more information on each of these collars, check out the collars section of The Puppy Preparation Checklist in “The Puppy Training Handbook”.


5. Leash


Another obvious essential for training your pup and keeping him safe is a leash. You don’t want your dog roaming off freely, do you?


However, be aware, the type of leash you get DOES matter.


For beginners, we suggest using a standard leash. For more advanced leash options, we give a detailed description of the pros and cons of each leash type in our puppy training program.


6. Training Treats


You are going to need lots and lots of training treats.


You might have to experiment and try out a few different kinds of treats before finding the one that your puppy absolutely goes crazy for.


In training, you want your puppy to stay extremely motivated so find a treat that he absolutely LOVES.


Soft treats work best for training so that you are able to break them up into tiny pieces. Zuke’s Mini Naturals are our favorite!


7. Toys Of Course!


If you’re the dog lover that we know you are, prepare to get yourself a box where you can place all of your puppy’s favorite toys. (Yes, a box may seem excessive, but yes, most puppies are very spoiled!)


***Keep in mind that a puppy should ALWAYS be monitored while playing with a toy. Puppies love to destroy toys and often times, pieces of the toys have the potential to end up being swallowed. Never leave a puppy alone with a toy in his crate.


8. Chewing Items


Chewing items are SO important for puppies!


Dogs have a need to chew, just as they have a need for food, water, exercise, etc. If you don’t supply puppies with the proper chew toys, they WILL find other items to exert their chewing need onto, such as your couch or shoes.


Obviously, you do not want this to happen. So, make sure you have appropriate chewing items available for your puppy from the start. The following are chewing items that I suggest:

  • Antlers
  • Bully Sticks
  • Bones and other toys

NOTE: These chewing items especially should only be given to puppies under direct supervision as it is easy for them to destroy and swallow the pieces of these items.


9. Carpet Cleaner


Your puppy IS going to have accidents in the house. Even if you do EVERYTHING right with house training, it is going to happen, so be prepared.


NOTE: When using carpet cleaner for pet stains, be sure to soak up all of the carpet cleaner or diffuse with water so your carpet (home) doesn’t end up smelling like the cleaner.


10. Brush


Maintaining your pup’s grooming needs are incredibly helpful to their health!


Depending on their breed and coat length, your pup may need to be brushed daily.


11. Baby Gates


If there are certain areas of your house that you don’t want your puppy in, you may want to set up baby gates.


The puppy will get into whatever he is able to, so be prepared to block off areas.


It is a lot easier for a puppy to understand that he isn’t allowed in an area if it is blocked off, than to continuously tell the puppy to not go in that area.


12. Dog Shampoo


DO NOT use human shampoo or any other kind of soap on your dog!


Dog fur is incredibly different than human hair, and therefore, dog shampoo has been created to meet the specific needs of dogs’ coats and skin.


There are a variety of different types of dog shampoos to choose from. I strongly recommend using specific PUPPY shampoo on your puppy.


A puppy’s coat is different than what his adult coat will be and puppy skin is very sensitive. Puppy shampoo is composed of ingredients that are extra gentle, designed specifically for a puppy’s skin and fur.


13. Dog Nail Clippers


There are two main types of dog nail clippers to choose from: the scissors model and the guillotine model. For more information on the pros and cons of each type, check out the “Grooming” Section in “The Puppy Training Handbook”.


14. Dog toothbrush and toothpaste


First off, NEVER use human toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth. Human toothpaste contains fluoride, which is very dangerous to dogs.


You can find specific dog toothpaste at any pet store that usually comes with a two-sided toothbrush.


15. Flea, tick, and heartworm preventative


Yes, you absolutely need these preventatives. They definitely can be costly, but they are also a simple measure you can take to prevent your pup from contracting a horrible disease.


I have found that these medications are the most expensive at Veterinary Hospitals, so I advise you to do some research online for ones that don’t cost an arm and a leg.


There are many pet pharmacies online that offer these preventatives at a much lower rate. Refer to the “Basic Veterinary Knowledge” section in our program for more information on each of these preventatives.


16. Poop Bags


Unless you have collected hundreds of plastic grocery bags, you can’t forget to buy poop bags! Purchase ANY kind you want. 🙂


17. Treat Pouch/Carrier


I strongly recommend having an easy-to-grab item that you can carry your pup’s treats in. The item I have found that works best for me is a fanny pack.


Yes, one of those ugly things from the 90’s that you were around your waist. Fanny packs are super easy to carry around and have on you when training your puppy.


18. First Aid Supplies


I strongly suggest having some first aid supplies on hand for your puppy. There are many different companies that make dog first aid kits.


Or, refer to the “Basic Veterinary Knowledge” section of "The Puppy Training Handbook” for information about which first aid supplies you might need.


19. "The Puppy Training Handbook" Program


"The Puppy Training Handbook" Program offers a wealth of information for dog owners new and old to effectively raise and train a dog, with proven methods, including over 200 pages of detailed strategies, 13 step-by-step training tutorials, and personal access to a master dog trainer.


With this step-by-step guide, you'll have EVERYTHING you need to know for your pup’s first year of life, all in one resource!


But don't just take it from us, check out what people are saying about us here and learn more about how our all-inclusive guide to see how it can make the biggest difference for you in having a happy and healthy dog for life!

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7 Tips For a Successful Trip To The Dog Beach

dog beach

If you have access to a local dog beach, this can be an amazing way to exercise your dog, while also catching some rays and allowing your dog to socialize. Win-win!


Whether it’s your pup’s first trip to the dog beach and you want to be prepared, or you want to make your trips to the dog beach less stressful, we’ll go over everything you need to know in order to be well-prepared and make your dog beach escapade as smooth as possible.


First of all, let’s get one thing straight: the dog beach is NOT the beach. It is not ANYTHING close to the experience of going to the beach for pleasure.


If you truly pay attention to your dog, you will not be able to lay out and relax, so don’t expect it to be calm and peaceful.


The truth is, the dog beach can be a lot of fun, but it can also be overwhelming and crazy. Remember that you’re doing this for your dog, and it will be an absolute blast for him or her!


Here are 7 guidelines to help you on your dog beach adventure:

All Things Pups dog beach

1. Bring LOTS of water for your pup!


This is extremely important for two reasons:


a. It is very important for your dog to stay hydrated ESPECIALLY when he’s running around playing in the heat.


b. If you do not provide your dog with fresh water, he will drink the ocean water. You definitely do not want this. Salt water can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration in dogs.


2. Leave the dog food at home


I have seen people bring dog food to the beach, worried that their pup will get hungry.


Keep in mind that you are not going to be at the dog beach the entire day, so your pup will be OK if he eats lunch a couple hours later


That point aside, you should never feed your dog right before exercising him. This can end up in him throwing up his food.


Also, you will have a swarm of dogs surrounding you. All the dogs will want to be your best friend of course when you have the food. Some dogs can be food aggressive, you never know, so it’s best to just not have any food around to prevent any issues.


3. Be aware of the heat


It is very easy for dogs to overheat, so be extremely aware of this. Don’t bring your dog to the beach on the hottest day of the summer.


Mornings and nights when it is not so hot are better times to bring your pup. Just remember that they are going to the beach with a winter coat on—if you are too hot, your dog is definitely too hot.


4. Be cautious of other dogs


One of the biggest issues I have come across at dog beaches and dog parks is not worrying about my own dogs as much, but worrying about other people’s dogs.


Some people decide to bring dogs to the dog beach that really aren’t meant to socialize with other dogs, especially in big groups with off leash freedom.


Everyone wants their dog to be a dog beach and dog park dog, but the truth is that not every dog is!


Be watchful when your dog is playing with other dogs. Sometimes, dogs just get too excited and overwhelmed that their play needs to stopped.


With all of the off-leash freedom, it is important to just be aware of how the other dogs are acting towards your dog as well.


If your dog’s social behavior is like what I have just described above, and he gets too excited and overwhelmed around other dogs (such as where he just snaps sometimes), your dog should not be going to the beach.


It’s not to say that your dog will never be able to go to the dog beach, but the dog beach is just not the place to work through this issue.


You need to work on this in a more low-key, controlled setting where you can control and monitor your dog’s stimuli.


For more information on how to correct behaviors of reactive dogs, check out the “Solving Behavioral Problems” section in “The Puppy Training Handbook” for detailed strategies on how to address these types of issues.


5. Listen to your vet!


PLEASE take your vet’s advice on not bring your puppy to the dog beach until he is fully vaccinated!


I know that you are probably so excited to take your puppy places (and show everyone how cute he is), but trust me, your vet is absolutely right about this one.


It is NOT worth taking your puppy before he is fully vaccinated and having him contract something. Just be patient and wait until it is safe for your puppy!


6. Prepare for sand fleas


Sand fleas or beach fleas are the MOST dangerous type of fleas. They are rice grain-sized fleas that come from the sand and feed on your dog’s blood.


Make sure your dog has received a flea treatment preventative before you take him to the dog beach.


7. Don't forget your toys!


Finally, don't forget to bring some toys that your dog loves!


Whether it be a ball launcher, frisbee, or another waterproof toy, beach toys are incredibly useful tools to help you exert your dog's energy in a way that is fun for you both!


My dog goes absolutely crazy for the Chuckit! Ball Launcher. All of the Chuckit! toys are so much fun for dogs to fetch.

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