TRACIE HOTCHNER: SECRETS OF DOG TRAINING: BAITING THE “BAIT BAG”

Maisie2With the arrival in my life of Maisie, the gorgeous Blue Weimaraner we recently drove up from Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue in Virginia Beach – I find myself thrust back into the world of dog training. I have to teach basic manners and build reliable communication and response from a 10-month-old large puppy who hasn’t had much consistency in her life. For me – and probably for most dog owners – the most important command that I need to feel confident about is “Come!”

And that is where the “bait bag” comes in – it’s a small drawstring pouch that clips on your belt or pocket (they are available anywhere that dog supplies are sold). You fill it with the best, most delicious treats you can find. Some people cut up hot dogs or bits of cooked meat, but then your fingers get all greasy and you have to scrub out the bait bag when you are finished each time.

For myself, freeze-dried protein treats like Halo Liv-a-Littles are the only bait I want to use: they are lightweight so many can fit in the bag, they have zero carbohydrates, and even a small piece gives a dog such a taste delight that she will learn immediately that when that bag emerges, good things happen for her! And by making the bait a freeze-dried protein (Halo makes it of several different proteins – chicken, salmon or beef) it gives you an insurance policy that what is in your bait bag is more appealing than whatever else your dog might want to focus on.

I have learned to have that bait bag with me all day. It allows me to practice commands randomly with Maisie throughout the day. Having seen the value of being able to reward a behavior instantly, I now believe no dog owner should be without one, whether with an aging pooch or a young whipper snapper as I have now.

I live in Vermont, where one of the joys is to be able to take walks in wide open fields, over hills, and in wooded areas. However, being able to safely allow a dog to run free with me means that I must “have a solid recall” on her – she has to respond without hesitation when I call or whistle for her, even from far away.

That’s where High Value treats enter the picture – once Maisie tasted a Halo-Live-a-Little dried salmon treat, I saw that my bait bag became as valuable to her as an Hermes Kelly bag is to some people! And I know that when I have that bait bag, Maisie will never be far away.
For good advice and information about dog training, please listen to my show GOOD DOGS! On the Radio Pet Lady Network, co-hosted by the breeder/trainers from Avidog.com.

Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.

Posted in Guest Blogger, Healthy Dog Food, Natural Dog Food, Natural Dog Treats, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Talk Radio, Tracie Hotchner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AND THE WINNERS OF THE KIBBLE DROP INSPIRING STORIES ARE…

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redpawWe asked recipients of the Holiday Kibble Drop to share with us stories that would inspire others to do great work by letting them know their shelter/rescue organization story.

Today we are happy to announce the winners of the Kibble Inspiring Stories Contest.

Grand Prize Winners: 10,000 Freekibble.com meal donation of Halo Pets Spot’s Stew
Cathy’s Rottie Rescue

Red Paw Emergency Relief Team

Online Promotion Winners
Pawfect Match Rescue
SPCA of Westchester
Goathouse Refuge
Lost Our Home Pet Foundation
SPCA of Wake County
Basic Needs Foundation
K-9 Karma Anima

Congratulations to all the winners! All the stories will be shared on the Halo Pets blog so make sure to check in often.

Posted in Belkis Cardona-RIvera, Giving Back, pet adoption, Pet Shelters, Pet Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TRACIE HOTCHNER: HOUSE TRAINING A PUPPY MEANS BEING A HELICOPTERING PET PARENT

puppy1A fundamental rule of house training a puppy successfully and quickly is that you should know at all times exactly where your puppy is – which isn’t difficult, since there are really only three places the puppy should ever be during the house-training period. First, she can be in her crate (resting after playing or waiting for you to take her out). Second, she can be outside with you relieving herself. Third, she might be eating (Halo Spot’s Stew for Puppies is tip top!) – while you watch, waiting to take her right outside when she finishes.

The best way to know the puppy’s whereabouts at all times is to plan to keep her with you. The “house rule” needs to be that when the puppy is out of her crate, she cannot be left unattended. Not even for a second.. Keep the puppy’s leash tied to your belt or loop it around your wrist. You go to the bathroom, she goes with you. You sit down to eat or read the paper, she’s right there on her leash beside your chair— and when she’s not with you, she’s in her crate.

There has to be a basic, inviolate rule about how to utilize the crate for house-training: the puppy NEVER roams free in the house. No Exceptions. None. She is in that crate unless your full attention is on her, and full attention means just that—a totally focused “quality time” of playing, grooming, feeding and/or taking her for a walk. In humans, we are critical of that kind of helicopter parenting, but with puppies it is a necessary element of succssful housetraining.

Here’s the perspective: anytime she is not under your direct control and she eliminates in the house, she has practiced (and therefore reinforced) that behavior. You have set back your house-training progress. This cannot happen if the puppy is in her crate or under close supervision. It’s cruel to a puppy to be inconsistent – you are setting her up for failure by giving her a freedom she can’t yet handle. By keeping her right at your side you remove the opportunity to pee anywhere, and you have gone a long way to developing house-training habits.

Take the pup out to her potty area frequently and give her generous praise and an especially delicious treat immediately after she has relieved herself. A puppy’s accomplishment in relieving herself outdoors should be the cause of celebration and congratulatory treats. Halo’s Liv-a-Little freeze-dried protein treats fall into the category of Super Dooper “high value” treats and should be part of your toolbox in raising the best puppy you possibly can.

Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.

Posted in Guest Blogger, Natural Dog Treats, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Talk Radio, Tracie Hotchner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“WE SWITCHED HER ‘COLD TURKEY’ OUT OF NECESSITY”

cctodayWe would like to share this letter from Bonnie about her kitty with our blog readers:

My 10.5 year old kitty also had this problem [nightly hacking episodes] since kittenhood – got her from a shelter. Tested negative for fiv, fev, etc. Initially we thought she had dust allergies so I vacuumed like crazy (she also shredded a lot), but then the lite hacking escalated over the years in …every now and then a ‘got-a-fur ball’ gagging but non- productive.

Numerous vet visits found nothing wrong, until about a month ago…bad coughing, liquid vomit. Thought she was trying to cough a hair ball as there was a wee bit of fur. The attacks escalated quickly to very frequent so took her back to the vet and this time vet did an ultrasound and found a mass on her middle intestine that was large enough to compress her lungs.

Off to a specialty hospital and they removed a cup of fluid off her lungs and began her immediately on chemotherapy..yes my fur baby has the “big c” now. The fluid removal effect was amazing, no wheezing or coughing for 4 weeks now. Easy breathing. Immediately preceding this she had been eating dry weight control [store brand]-the stuff that was recalled. Supposedly the bag we had was not on the recall list but who knows.

Her feces had become foul smelling, bouts of diarrhea etc, tried science diet dry weight control new and improved and bad reaction was very severe. Saw Ellen show about Halo and bought a couple cans of pate spot stew…so far it looks like a miracle cure …totally normal non foul smelling ” poop”.

Holding it down, not fast elimination run to litter box and she loves it. We switched her “cold turkey” out of necessity, and aside from a wtf look/smell of food for out 5 seconds, she tried it, smacked her lops, paused in thought, then gobbled it right up and begged for more!

This from a cat whose chemo is supposed to diminish appetite. Kitty is still early in her cancer treatment process but that is going” well” too, tumor has shrunk in size by half, a little less than a month since we started the chemo treatment process. I am praying all continues to go well and gives me a little more quality time with her, but I think the Halo canned cat food may be her nutritional savior.

Thank you Bonnie for sharing your story with our blog readers. Wishing you all the best with your cat and her treatments.

Posted in Caroline Chang, Holistic Cat Food, Natural Pet Food, Testimonials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MILEY THE CAT KEEPS AILING VETERANS COMPANY

miley2-lgThere’s an unusual staff member at the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center at Fort Miley in San Francisco. He had virtually no job experience before he joined the team, but he’s uniquely qualified for his position.

He’s Miley the Cat and, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, he’s been roaming the halls of the center, calming, comforting and keeping the residents company since 2010.

“He calms me down,” resident Clark Wood told the Chronicle. Wood, like many other residents, enjoys Miley’s company and waits patiently for his turn to hold the cat on his lap for some furry therapy.


Click here to read the complete story
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Posted in Caroline Golon, pet adoption, Pet Shelters, Pet Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment