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New Dog Introduction

by Missy John, certified professional dog trainer and owner of Nerdy K9 Academy

One of the toughest times for new dogs is the first two weeks. Imagine moving away from home, by yourself, to a place that doesn’t speak your language. You will be nervous or maybe terrified. You may start out observing and quiet but then start to act out because you are scared. (more…)

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What Dog Is Right For You?

by Missy John, owner of Nerdy K9 Academy in Sioux Falls, SD

A lot of us have an idea of what type of dog we like. My heart breed is German Shepherds. Although I find all sorts of dog breeds appealing, a German Shepherd suckers me in every time. I like their drive, train-ability, energy level, and intelligence. We as pet parents need to be real about what we want and what type of home we are capable of giving to a dog.

Breed Considerations- Find a breed or a mix that will match with you
-Are you very active? Do you run, hike, like to explore new places? Not “do you want to be active in the future”, but are you active now? A colleague once said, “You need to pick the dog for the lifestyle you have now, not the one you want to have.” Such a true statement!

-Are you lightly active? Do you like to walk every day and maybe once a week go to a park?

-Are you a social butterfly? Do you like to go downtown and mingle? Do you have friends and family at your house every week?

-Are you a recluse? Do you like to stay at home and hang out? Do you have a yard gnome with a middle finger up that says go away?

Age Considerations
-Puppies are adorable. They have to be because of the nightmares wrapped in fur that they are. They teeth which means they are going to chew on your stuff. They bark because they are uncertain. They poop and pee… A LOT. Training is critical during young ages and clean ups are inevitable.

-Adults have a history. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes neutral. Although you may skip the natural destruction phase, you may have some other behaviors to work through.

-Special needs. This may include physically handicapped or managed disease. They may be hospice dogs or dogs with behavior issues that have specific home requirements. Are you prepared financially, emotionally, and truly understand the limitations these dogs may have?

Adopt? Shop?
You have narrowed down some breeds/types and age range. Do you adopt from a rescue? Do you go to a breeder? Are all rescues and all breeders the same?

YOU are responsible to research where to get a dog. If you purchase from a breeder that provides junk care or an abusive environment, you are supporting that effort. If you purchase a dog from a rescue that provides junk care or an abusive environment, you are supporting that effort. No place is going to tell you they are junk. You have to do your due diligence to ensure you are ethically adding a dog to your home.

-If it is a facility, ask to tour. If it’s an in home based program ask for photos or FaceTime.

-Ask for their vet references.

-What is the criteria for a dog to be in their breeding program?

-Breeders that sell more breeds than Wal-Mart offers beer should be a red flag.

-Breeders that have tons of litters but very few adult dogs are likely over breeding.

-What are the parents of the dogs like? Temperament, health issues, etc can be sourced from genetics.

-What health protocols do rescues have in place?

-Rescues that don’t do a home visit or ask for references, including your vet, should be a red flag.

-What do their reviews look like? Everyone has an opinion. Form your own with education and research from reputable sources

About the Author

Missy JohnMy name is Missy and I am a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and also a certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. I have been training dogs for well over a decade. I started by being thrown into the amazing world of K9 Search and Rescue. This is where I discovered my appreciation for what a well trained dog could accomplish. Life then led me into the path of animal welfare. I have been blessed to work with dogs that were a challenge to say the least. Fearful, abused, neglected, and experiences that will bring you to tears at times. These dogs are the reason I started my company. I enjoy working with dogs but my passion is using training to save their lives.

Click here to book a training consultation with Missy John

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Cold Weather and Your Dog’s Skin

by Steve Ross, National Director of Training, First Aid & CPR LLC

Winter weather can be harsh on your dog’s skin, especially if he or she is an older dog. As dogs age, their oil-secreting glands slow down, making them prone to dry skin. The cold winter air and dry indoor heat only aggravate the condition, causing itching and flaking that may lead to constant scratching, biting, or licking.

To help your pet survive the winter with a healthy skin and coat, follow these suggestions:

Use a room humidifier.
The air in most houses becomes dry during the colder months, which depletes moisture from your dog’s skin and fur. A humidifier adds needed moisture to the air.

Keep baths to a minimum.
Bathing removes essential oils from the skin and can increase the chance of developing flaky skin. When you bathe your dog, use a moisturizing shampoo from the pet store. Human soaps and shampoos are formulated for human skin pH and may cause dry, irritated, itchy skin. Dry them with thick towels before taking them outdoors. A blow drier on an older dog can be harsh on dry skin. Consult with your vet about the recommended number of baths per month for your dog.

Brush your dog regularly.
Brushing improves skin, coat and circulation. Plus, clean fur lofts and holds warmth in much the same way that layering clothes does.

Never shave your dog down to the skin.
It’s fine to give your dog a trim, but for added warmth, be sure to leave his coat a little longer in the winter.

Give your dog fatty-acid supplements.
Older dogs may no longer produce enough of the fatty acids needed to keep their skin and coat healthy. Start the supplements several weeks before cold weather sets in to provide the cells of the skin with necessary

Increase his food if he’s very active.
If your dog engages in a lot of outdoor activities, you may need to feed him more of his regular food to provide added energy and keep his coat thick and healthy.

Buy him a coat.
Older dogs need extra protection from winter weather. Unless your dog has his own thick fur, put a warm sweater or coat and booties on your dog when he goes out on very cold days.

Dry winter skin is a problem for many dogs but it doesn’t have to be. With a little help from you, your pooch can have a healthy coat and a scratch-free winter.

About the Author

Steve RossFirst Aid & CPR, LLC was started in 2011 by Steve Ross. With his background in emergency services since 1977, Steve found the need to start training more people in lifesaving skills. As a longtime instructor for private companies and hospitals, Steve realized that the main issue of people taking these classes were the nervousness of coming to a strange, cold classroom. He felt that to alleviate this problem he needs to bring the training to the student. First Aid & CPR, LLC brings ALL necessary equipment to the student. Whether it is at their home, business or organization. Starting with CPR/AED and First Aid training, the company has evolved to offer training in Advanced Bleeding Control, Bloodborne Pathogens, Babysitting classes, Pet First Aid & Pet CPR and much more.

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Want Your Dog to Listen to You? Be Someone Worth Listening to

Hiking with dog

by Sandra Roosna, CCDT, FDM, & owner of Benny’s Best Dog Training

Want your dog to listen to you? Be someone worth listening to.


Establish a relationship with your dog.

Your relationship is the basis for trust and safety. It is what helps your dog to recognize that you make the right decisions, so they don’t feel the need to step up to the plate when a situation may call for it (what we define as “misbehavior”). (more…)

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Best Practices For Behavior Training Dogs

dog training photo

by Vivian Zottola, MSc, Human Dog Relationship Therapist, & founder of BostonK9Concierge LLC

When teaching any non verbal individual, whether a human child or non human animal (pet dog), there really is no place or need to use force or pain. Kind training is supported by the veterinary community in peer reviewed scientific literature, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), as well as medical and psychiatric community. AVSAB, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior recently published an updated position statement stating the same. (more…)