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Fort Collins Puppy Classes

Puzzle Me, Please

Puzzle Me, Please

In the world of dog toys, there are literally thousands to choose from.  Plush, rubber, rope, firehose, rawhide, hooves, (and other less classy animal body parts!) . . . and the list goes on.  It can be a little overwhelming to think about narrowing it down to the type of toy that will provide the most benefit for your dog.

The toy with the most benefit is not always the same thing as the toy with the most fun.  My dog has TONS of fun with plush toys . . . and by TONS, I mean about 30 seconds no matter what the starting size of the toy.  But this brief and frenzied shredding of toy guts is not providing my crazy pup with any longer lasting benefits, such as the relaxation that comes after the stimulation of a mental challenge.  Like my pup Roo, many dogs thrive most with play that gives them an outlet for both their mental and physical energy.  

For that end goal, my favorite category of toys is food puzzles!  These toys provide an outlet for both parts of your dog that need attention - for the physical side, chasing a food puzzle around the floor is a great indoor outlet; for the mental component, figuring out how to get the food reward hidden or stuck inside the puzzle is much more challenging than ripping up a flimsy plush toy!

A few of my pup's favorite types of food puzzles! Kong Classics, Kong Wobbler, Orbee Snoop, and Trixie Puzzle Boxes.

A few of my pup's favorite types of food puzzles! Kong Classics, Kong Wobbler, Orbee Snoop, and Trixie Puzzle Boxes.

Our go-to favorite is (and might always be) the Kong Classics. Coming in multiple sizes, rubber strengths, and shape variations, these toys are great for stuffing and very portable.  Our favorite way to use them is mixing peanut butter and yogurt and placing the freezer for a few hours.  This creates a cool treat that takes a while to work out!  The Kong Wobbler is another favorite - Roo gets at least one of his meals each day in this toy, and has to push it around (I put it in his crate to keep the crumbs contained) to get the kibble to fall out.  I highly recommend this version for dogs that are hyperactive around meal times!

One of the recent additions to our favorites list is the Orbee Snoop made by Planet Dog.  This soft rubber toy is also great for feeding kibble or small treats.  Roo knocks his around the house and enjoys this variation on his Kong Wobbler meal.  

For supervised play (I recommend supervising your dog whenever you introduce a new toy, but the following toys should involve a little extra oversight), puzzle boxes are a great way to mix it up for your dog!  These challenges involve pulling, pushing, knocking, and otherwise navigating a toy to get individual pieces (or jackpots here and there) out of the toy.  There are a lot of different types of these games.   A client recently gave me two Trixie Activity Boxes, so Roo got to give something new a try!  Here is his first introduction on video.  He loved the challenge!

Roo got to try out a Trixie Poker Box Food Puzzle for the first time this past week! Here are the highlights!

Whatever type of food puzzle you choose, introduce it to your dog in a way that makes their first attempt at the toy very reinforcing so they are excited to keep playing with it!  And if your dog doesn't like a particular type of puzzle, there are lots of different ones to try.  The most important thing to consider is what gives your dog the most benefit on top of some fun!

Happy puzzling! 

Holiday Drop-Ins

Holiday Drop-Ins

Happy November!  It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is barely 3 weeks away!  With the busy holiday season rapidly approaching, it's important to keep your dog's brain and energy engaged in a positive direction.  That way, your pup can be on his best behavior when the in-laws come to visit and you have one less thing to worry about!  

Don't have the time to commit to one of our 6 week classes?  No problem!  Come take advantage of one of our four holiday drop in classes:

Family Dog - This one hour class focuses on good behavior in the home and getting ready to get out in the community for your dog or older puppy!  You and your dog will learn specific skills like sit, down, stay, come, loose leash walking, greeting people and dogs calmly, and more!  For dogs and puppies over 6 months of age.  Class dates are Thursdays, November 17, December 1, December 8, and December 15 at 10:30am.  Click here to register.

Leave It! & Park It! Games -  Come practice your dog's recall, leave it, and settle skills in an hour of fun and good practice for your dog!  What better way to burn off some puppy energy before your holiday party than with this hour-long class!  No prerequisites - great for dogs over 6 months of age.  Class dates are Wednesdays, December 7 and 14 at 5:30pm.  Click here to register.

Fun/Foundation Agility -  Are you and your dog interested in getting started in the fun dog sport of Agility?  This hour-long drop-in class is a great way to give it a try - and to give your dog a fun activity during the busy holiday season!  Prerequisites:  Dogs must have basic skills such as heel, sit, down, stay, and come.  Class dates are Mondays, December 12 and 19 at 6:45pm.  Click here to register.  NOTE: Must have a minimum of 4 students registered to hold these drop-ins.

Rally -  During the holiday season, come in for an hour and learn new skills with your dog!  This class is more than just practice time, and your instructor will be teaching a different Rally lesson each week.  Great for new or more experienced students.  Preregistration is REQUIRED so that the instructor can design an appropriate lesson/course for all participants!  Class dates are Mondays, November 28, December 5, and December 12 at 5:30pm.  Click here to register.  

 

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us!  Or if you are interested in starting off the New Year on the right paw, check out our January schedule.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Puppy In The Park

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Puppy In The Park

I just need to brag about some great students for a minute! Over the summer months, we met weekly in City Park, Fort Collins, for Puppy In The Park drop-in class.  This class was for graduates of my Puppy Basics and Puppy Confidence classes who were looking for extra opportunities to practice the skills they learned in new and more challenging environments.  And let me tell you, between baseball games, family reunion gatherings, and distracted PokemonGo players wandering through our makeshift classroom, the learning environment at City Park has certainly provided lots of great challenges!  

Cassie's mom sent me these pictures from one of the classes, and looking through them made me so proud!  These pups have all made great progress since we've started working!

Cassie the Australian Cattle Dog

Cassie the Australian Cattle Dog

Ryder the Australian Cattle Dog

Ryder the Australian Cattle Dog

Anaali the Golden Doodle

Anaali the Golden Doodle

Briar the Labrador Retriever

Briar the Labrador Retriever

Stinson the Hungarian Puli

Stinson the Hungarian Puli

Chief the German Shepherd

Chief the German Shepherd

Great job, everyone!  Keep doing fun things with your pups!

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Two Seminars Coming Up In Fort Collins!

Summit Dog Training is partnering with Kriser's Natural Pet in Fort Collins to offer two different seminars in July.

Monday, July 18th will be Hiking with Your Dog 101 from 6-7pm.  Come learn about a variety of equipment options, foundation skills, and safety tips that will make hiking with your dog an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!

Monday, July 25th will be What to Expect When You Are Expecting . . . A Puppy! from 6-7pm.  If you are thinking about adding a puppy to your family in the near future, this seminar is a great way to get lots of info in one place!  Topics include house training, puppy chewing, basic manners, and more!

For both seminars, please RSVP to amber@summitdogtraining.com to reserve your spot.  You can also sign up online.  The cost for each seminar is $5, and 100% of the proceeds from these events will go to benefit Animal Rescue of the Rockies.   

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Puppy Basics Graduation June 2016

Six adorable puppies graduated from Puppy Basics last week!  This class has always been one of my favorites to teach; watching pups and their owners get started on the right foot reminds me why I love dog training!  

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In addition to some fun graduation games to show off the skills that the pups learned over our six week class, all of the pups also completed the elements of the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy test.  This test demonstrates that each pup has achieved the foundation skills necessary to become a polite citizen of our human society.  

Our next puppy basics class starts Saturday, July 16th, to be held at City Park in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Because this class will meet in a public place frequented by a lot of dogs, registration is limited to puppies over 16 weeks old who have completed their veterinarian-recommended vaccines.  We will meet at 9am on 6 Saturdays to beat the heat and the crowds!  If you'd like to join the class, visit our Sign Up page.  If you have any questions you can send us an email!

Here are a few pictures from the graduation class this past week:  

Why Summit Dog Training? • Fort Collins Dog Trainer • Northern Colorado Positive Dog Training

Why Summit Dog Training? • Fort Collins Dog Trainer • Northern Colorado Positive Dog Training

At Summit Dog Training, we believe in adventures.  We believe in fresh air, sunshine, mountains, and deep breaths.  

We also believe that no adventure is quite complete without a four-legged companion by our side. Dogs tend to enjoy every moment of every adventure in a way that is infectious.  If we follow their lead, this natural enthusiasm can enhance our sometimes less-perfect human enjoyment and encourage us to be more present, more free, and more mindful at every step of each experience.  

I caught this infectious excitement about experiencing life from my Australian Shepherd, Roo, almost 8 years ago now.  His enthusiasm and energy for all things outside and active has kept me on my toes since I first brought him home.  Even today as an official canine senior citizen, when we are backpacking together he does about three times as many miles as I do, running back and forth between the exotic new smells and scenery and his human family.  This enthusiasm never fails to make me smile like the crazy dog person I am, and every time it reminds me why dogs are a wonderful addition to all types of adventures.     

But in order for humans and dogs to fully enjoy outings together, there are some skills necessary on both ends of the leash.  This is the mission and passion of Summit Dog Training: helping dogs and their owners prepare for doing awesome things together, whether that is a peaceful walk in the park or hiking off leash in the beautiful back country of the Rocky Mountains.  These adventures are founded on friendship, trust, and effective communication between dog and human, and this is something that is attainable for all dogs and their people!    

We believe that dogs enrich our lives and our adventures, and, in turn, that inclusion in our adventures also enriches the lives of our dogs.  Are you and your dog ready for a new adventure?