Bing Intermediate Trick Dog

AKC has a fun program called Trick Dog, which allows owners to earn actual AKC titles on their dogs for performing tricks! There are five levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Performer, and Elite Performer. Each level has a prerequisite of the prior level.

Here are Bing’s tricks for his Intermediate title:

For more information about the Trick Dog program, go to:

Picky Eaters

It is a very common issue with Danes, although certainly not limited to the breed, to experience picky eaters. It often starts around a year old (give/take) as their calorie needs have slowed. The owner tries all sorts of things to get the dog to eat…switching brands of food, adding tasty things to the food, hand feeding, etc. The problem is this all makes it worse! We exacerbate the issue and start the dog on a life (or at least many years) of being a picky eater. Not to mention, LOTS of owner frustration!

First, make sure there is nothing medically wrong with the dog. Any symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargic, etc. would definitely warrant an immediate vet visit. But a vet visit might be needed regardless, to rule out dental or tonsil issues.

Next, determine if the dog’s weight is truly a problem. If your dog is too heavy, or even at an ideal weight, LISTEN to them and cut back what you are feeding. Especially if they are a young adult, it is likely you are simply over feeding.

Dog body condition

If the dog is too thin, some ideas to get them eating. Assuming you are already using a quality food, there is no need to switch foods. You need scheduled feeding times. Ideally twice a day. No free feeding. Cut out the treats for now (unless in a training class), except for right before meal time. Give a little snack to get the stomach juices going. The pre-meal snack before a meal has been a big success for me. Although it seems counterintuitive, cut back what you are offering by half. Put the food down for 5-10 minutes and then pick it back up until the next meal. If they don’t finish the meal, they get the rest of it (no more added) for the next meal. If they still cannot finish the half portion on a routine basis, cut back even more. Once they learn to clean the bowl, then gradually increase the amount until they are eating an appropriate amount.

Try to remain calm after uneaten meals. Even once the eating habits improve, the dog might still turn down a meal. Keep in mind that caloric needs can fluctuate based on age, seasons, exercise levels, etc., so there is no need to fret from an uneaten meal.

Eventually most dogs tend to age out of picky eating habits. If you utilize the above methods, you’ll save yourself lots of frustrations though.

Gigi earns her CGC!

Gigi passed her CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test this week!  We have thoroughly enjoyed our CGC class these past 6 weeks.  My oldest son, Wade, took my mom’s Lab, Isla, through training and they also passed their test.  Proud mom!

CGC test
Wade with Isla, me with Gigi, and CGC elevator Gayle Curtis.

Greta earns her CGC; Bree wins another point

Congratulations to Greta and her owners Chris & Christine for her new CGC!! They have also been training Greta to track and have been busy training for Rally Obedience.

Greta - merliquin Great Dane

Congratulations to Bree and Tiana for Bree’s second point, picked up today in Waterloo, Iowa! Bree went Winners Bitch and Best of Opposite.

Kizzy earned her CGC; Bree won 1st point

Kizzy recently earned her CGC.  For those unfamiliar with the CGC, here is the post I wrote when Grace earned her CGC.

Kizzy's CGC certificate - click for larger image

Bree won her first point by going Winners Bitch/Best of Opposite Sex at the Cyclone Kennel Club show on Sunday of this past weekend.  Yay Bree!!  She also went Reserve on Saturday.  Kizzy took Reserve to her sister on Sunday.  Pictures forthcoming!

A tired dog is a good dog…

How do you curb the excess energy of a 10 month old 120 lb puppy in inclement weather?

Evidence A

With the severely cold weather and the constant snow cover (daily romps are treacherous right now), it’s been a struggle to fulfill Kizzy’s exercise needs.  Subsequently, she has been just a tad on the crazy side lately (evidence A).

We do manage to get a little exercise outside, but not nearly enough. 

down stay
down stay

One thing we do is practice obedience inside. Obedience training isn’t a replacement for exercise, but it helps  curb some of the crazy by offering the dog a little outlet for mental and physical (albeit small) stimulus.  Not to mention the obvious benefits of training!

You can also play games like hide-n-seek inside with the dog – by hiding people or toys/treats and encouraging the dog to find. Dogs can learn this game quickly.  Take a treat and place it in plain sight, then tell the dog to “find it!” and allow him/her to go get the treat.  As the dog starts to learn the “find it” command, increase the difficulty.  With the dog watching, put the treat behind/under something easy and then give the command.  Work up to doing this while the dog isn’t even in the room.  They will quickly learn how to find the treats.

Of course, always a fall back is the chewie.  I’m not a fan of raw hide chews as too many dogs swallow large pieces of them, which has caused blockages.  Instead, we typically offer bully sticks or raw beef knuckle bones, which can often be picked up at your butcher’s for a decent price. 

The dogs trying out some cow hooves:


Remember, a tired dog is a good dog!  Find a way to offer some outlets for your dog so they don’t find their own!