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6 Tricks to Teach Your Dog

At Paradise Pet Resorts we love teaching new tricks to the dogs and puppies in our care.Trainer Teaching A Dog Tricks And then, of course, there’s the joy we feel watching their joy when we give them a treat for their hard work!

Our clients often ask us how we have been able to teach their dog the tricks they’ve learned at Paradise Pets, when they have been unable to learn them at home. No trade secrets revealed here – it’s a simple mantra that dogs — and kids at Halloween — learn very early: tricks and treats. To get to the tricks and treats, however, you must also apply equal measures of praise and patience. Really that’s all there is to it. For dogs, that is. Kids quickly learn that while they may get praise for their costume on Halloween, getting candy doesn’t require a lot of patience!

Kids, Dogs, and You

The kids and dogs idea got us thinking about a new angle to take for this blog on teaching dogs cool new tricks. Adults often decide to add a new puppy or dog to the family as the children come along. The tangible and intangible rewards of growing up with a dog in the home are hard to measure, but dogs remind us all of the importance of play. So in the spirit of play, we wanted to find some tricks that you, and your children can learn to teach your dog as you all grow up together.

While the interwebs offer hundreds of great articles that walk you through how to teach your dog new tricks, we think we’ve found a unique one to point you to that details just what you need to do to teach certain tricks to your dog. We’ve plucked ones that more or less follow the various age-specific milestones for kids as they grow. So, with a big thank you to Dog Notebook for doing the legwork on the article we’ve linked to below, here are six dog tricks to grow on. Whether you have a newborn and a new puppy at home, or a high school senior and a senior dog, we hope you and your family will enjoy the play that comes with learning and teaching these dog tricks!

  1. Babies & Puppies: Peek-a-Boo

  2. For parents with young children and a new puppy, a great trick to teach is peek-a-boo, which is just adorable whether you’re playing it with puppies or babies! And now they can play it with each other (when you let the baby have a turn)! Trick: Peek-a-Boo

  3. Toddlers & Adolescent Dogs: Pick Up Their Toys

  4. Toy accumulation in America is not just a childhood phenomenon. Dogs may not have quite as many, but the Pet Product Industry is working on that and we spend billions per year on stuff for our dogs and pets. Why not teach your dog to pick up his or her toys when you’re beginning to teach your child to do the same. Trick: Pick Up Toys

  5. Children & Dogs: Handstand

  6. Kids gravitate to tumbling activities by about 3 or 4 years old, so while you’re showing your child how to do a handstand, you can teach it to your dog, too. Of course, we think it is misnamed here, so we’ll call this Trick: Paw-stand

    Dogs Playing Soccer

    Photo courtesy of

  7. Tweens & Dogs: Playing Soccer

  8. You’ve taught your dog to catch and fetch. Take it to the next level and get your tweens out in the yard running around playing with the dog in the process. Your tween may not want to play with you as much anymore, but you can get them moving when they play soccer with the dog. Trick: Play Soccer

  9. Teens & Dogs: Skateboarding

  10. Youtube is awash with videos of dogs doing extraordinary things. After all, the web is not just for cat videos! And if you’re reading this from somewhere in Northern California, chances are good that next to watching Youtube vids, your teen likes riding a skateboard. Combine two teen loves to get your teenager to teach your dog this cool Trick: Skateboarding

  11. Prodigies: Play Piano

  12. OK, learning to play the piano does not make your child a prodigy, but teaching your dog to play the piano may convince your friends that she is one. Prodigy or not, “neuroscience research has shown that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training” so if that can happen for your kid, think what it might do to your dog’s brain when she learns this Trick: Play Piano

Bonus Dog Trick for Any Age: High Five

Well, we humans likely learned the High Five by the time we learned to pick up our toys, but let’s face it, the High Five is cool at any age, and no age matters when it comes to teaching your dog to give you a High Five!

Want to learn about a whole slew of other fun pet tricks you and your kids can teach your dog? Check out the full article with all 20 Unusual Tricks You Should Start Teaching Your Dog Today.

Choosing the Right Dog Boarding Home This Holiday Season

Holiday PuppyWith the holidays just around the corner many people are starting to make travel plans to visit friends and family. When that travel means having to leave their small pet or dog at home many have feelings of guilt about doing so, particularly for those for whom their pet is a cherished member of the family. What helps ease the guilt is knowing you’ve picked the right boarding facility for your pet, so here are ten tips to help you choose wisely.

      1. Take a tour of the pet care facility you are considering and ask the staff questions about all of your board and care concerns. Asking questions will help you to be comfortable not only with the facility but with the people who will be caring for your dog. A staff member who rushes you through a facility tour may be a sign that the staff won’t have enough time to give your dog the attention you would. Because holiday travel involves a lot of advance planning, consider a test run by taking your dog to the facility for a few doggie daycare visits before you leave for vacation. This will give you a real sense of whether or not the boarding facility is right for your pet.
      2. Ask the boarding staff to describe the daily routine for dogs in their care. Dogs in boarding facilities should be allowed many opportunities to burn off excessive energy. Ask about overnight care for your pet as well.
      3. Look for amenities designed to relieve the stress of changing a dog’s environment — even if it’s only temporary — dogs sometimes have difficulty coping with boarding. Look for a facility like Paradise Pet Resorts that has plenty of outlets for extra energy and stimulation as well as interactions  with staff who exercise the dogs and group play options for socially active dogs.
      4. Ask about the regimen that management and staff follows for maintaining a clean, disinfected facility. A clean environment will help ensure your dog comes home healthy and happy.
      5. For dogs participating in group play, ask to see the facility’s policy on staff supervision of the dogs. Dogs should not be left unattended at any time while in group play, as this can be harmful. We recommend you also ask about the types of training staff are required to complete to supervise pets in group
      6. Be sure the facility is staffed 24 hours a day. Pets should not be left alone and you want to ensure that a staff person is available in the event of an emergency.
      7. Ask about the staff’s training and background in animal care. Staff members who are knowledgeable in dog behavior, dog care, and even dog training helps when any problems do arise, as well-trained staff will know how to deal with issues appropriately.
      8. If your dog is active and social choose a facility that gives dogs maximum social interaction. Most dogs are social creatures so when they engage with people and other dogs, they often feel less stressed. If your dog does not have many opportunities for social interaction in your daily life, be sure to talk to boarding staff about your dog’s personality to ensure his or her needs for quiet or smaller group play can also be met.
      9. If your pet has any medical conditions, there are some questions to ask about the staff who will be responsible for administering medications:
        • What training has the staff been given to administer medications.?
        • Ask to meet the staff who are responsible for administering medications.
        • Is the staff familiar with your dog’s specific condition? (And in an emergency ask if they know how to respond appropriately.)
      10. Ask how staff will handle any medical emergencies and what policies the staff will follow. Ask about the 24-hour veterinarian and/or animal hospital that the dog boarding facility will contact so that, in the event of a medical emergency, you know who will care for your pat and where your pet will be taken. We also recommend that you ask your boarding facility about how they handle emergencies to ensure your pet will receive emergency care promptly.

Holiday Dog
In the end, what everyone wants for their pet is a well run, well-maintained dog boarding facility that will care of their pet while on holiday. Knowing what to ask before you leave your dog will allow you to enjoy your time away and give your dog the outlet he or she needs to thrive until you return.

October: Adopt a Dog Month

Adopt a DogAt Paradise Pet Resorts we partner with many local pet adoption agencies and shelters to find homes for Sonoma County’s dogs and cats in need of a new family to love. As the fall approaches we’re happy to support the work of the ASPCA and the AHA (American Humane Association), two organizations that have joined forces on a national campaign to bring awareness to the many pets in shelters or left homeless or abandoned all over the country.

The ASPCA and AHA have set aside the month of October as National Adopt-A-Dog Month and this year’s theme in particular resonates with our staff as well as dog lovers everywhere: “What Can An Adopted Dog Bring To Your Life?” As the AHA puts it: “There are as many responses to that question as there are dogs in this world!” We second that, but also want to do our part so there are less shelter dogs in this world! If you want to find out first-hand what great things a shelter or rescue dog can bring to your life, we hope you’ll take advantage of our great local animal agencies in Sonoma County and mark your calendar for these upcoming adoption events as we dive head first into Adopt-A-Dog Month:

  • Sonoma Humane Society (Mobile Adoption Event Sept 21st at the Sonoma County Fall Home Show from 11 am to 4 pm at the Fairgrounds)
  • Rohnert Park Pet Shelter (Mutt Strut September 27th with a one mile dog walk and an all-day adoption event)
  • Noah’s B’Ark North (Adoption events nearly every weekend from 12 noon to 4 pm at the Rohnert Park Petsmart)
  • Pet Finder (Adoption Tuesdays to help find homes for shelter and rescue dogs)

Please also visit our Facebook page, where we regularly post about wonderful and loving local dogs looking for a home! If you have any questions about a dog you spot on our Facebook page, or about doggie adoption in general, please feel free to contact us.

Adopt a DogOur local shelters are good places to find dogs of every age, size, type, and personality, but if you prefer a particular breed that you can’t find at a shelter, we will gladly recommend online sites where you can find breed-specific rescue groups looking for people just like you.

The National Humane Society estimates that annually 2.7 million healthy shelter dogs and cats do not get adopted – let’s take a bite out of that number this October in Sonoma County – please consider adopting a shelter dog!

Teaching Your Older Dog New Tricks

Dogs Focused on Dog TrainerFans of the MythBusters television show watched as the myth that says ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ was officially busted. At Paradise Pet Resorts we see older dogs learning amazing new tricks every day at our pet care facilities in Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park, and we’re here to say it is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks! If you have adopted an older dog, you may be amazed at her ability to concentrate and learn new things.

Regardless of the now-debunked dog training adage, adult dogs can in fact be easier to train than puppies, simply because they have the ability to remain focused on you for longer periods of time. Most senior dogs also adapt quickly to new routines, so dog training routines such as housebreaking are not as time-consuming provided you are consistent about giving your dog sufficient outdoor time and/or walks. Adult dogs generally have more control and they also don’t have to take as many trips outside as pups do just to get their business done!

Dog Training Tips for Older Pets

Training commands such as sit, fetch, lay down, and come can be taught to older dogs using doggie treats to lure your new pet to perform the behavior you’re seeking to teach. Be sure to give lots of immediate praise before you provide a treat–this allows your dog to learn to work for praise alone.

If you find your older dog is not motivated by treats when you begin a new training, you can gently place him into position, offer lots of praise, and repeat the routine several times until the dog begins to understand what you expect. It can take up to a month of regular repetition for a new trick to become a habit, so it’s important to make time for training every day during a month when you are teaching a new behavior.

Old Dog To prevent behavior problems such as destructive chewing or digging (yes, all dogs enjoy these activities, not just pups), make sure you provide plenty of exercise for your dog, as well as appropriate chew toys for her size. Chew toys are especially important if you are away during the day and perhaps forgot to make your reservation at Paradise Pet Resorts for the day!

Even if you have a fenced-in, secure backyard, spending lots of time in the yard does not ensure a dog is getting the outlet he needs. Long walks, fun-filled days, or having an active game of fetch that really tires out your dog will help ensure good behavior in the evening when you and your family have settled down for the night.

Be sure to consistently reward your dog when he is doing the right things, and manage the environment he is in during alone time to prevent him from doing inappropriate things. Should you have any problems that you can’t easily resolve, please don’t hesitate to call us to ask for advice from one of our dog trainers or consider taking your pet to one of our Adult Dog Refresher classes.

Most dog behavior problems can be corrected once your pet settles into her new surroundings and learns what is expected, but occasionally a problem may be related to a medical issue or lack of socialization in your dog’s puppy years. If you are concerned, we recommend you contact your vet to rule out any physical cause.

Thank you to the American Animal Hospital Association for resource material on training older dogs.

Adopt an Older Pet

Make Two Someone’s Happy – You & Your Pet!

Old Dog
Paradise Pet Resorts assists many local pet adoption and humane agencies to find homes for older dogs and cats, including the Sonoma Humane Society and animal welfare organizations such as PetFinder and Noah’s Bark. We also provide information on pet adoptions through our Adopt-a-Pet page and provide additional details on pets who need a home on our Facebook site.

In our work to find homes for older pets, we hear dog and cat lovers sometimes tell us that they would like to adopt an older pet but they worry that becoming attached for a shorter time might be be too sad and painful. Others say the idea of adopting an older dog, for example, leaves them feeling uneasy, particularly if they have families with small children.

What we tell potential adopters is that many older pets become available for adoption through no fault of the dog or cat. Often, it is because animal owners find they are unable to care for their pet, perhaps due to a divorce, economic hardship, or, as a result of the recent recession, a home foreclosure that left a family with no other means to house their pet. Another scenario is animal owners who are aging right along with their pets and find when they move into a nursing facility, it doesn’t allow pets.
Old Cat

Look Past Age

These longtime pets have so much love to offer and when you balance the age of the pet against the many upsides to adopting an older animal, you soon discover there’s more upside to becoming that dog or cat’s new guardian.  e’ve included the ASPCA’s top 10 reasons to adopt an older dog here in hopes you’ll consider opening your home to a new, if older, pet! We think you can replace ‘dog’ with ‘cat’ or any other pet category in the title and the reasons still apply! W

Ten Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog
(or Cat, or Rabbit, or Hamster, or…)

1. What You See Is What You Get

Older dogs are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality, and grooming requirements. All this information makes it easier to pick the right dog and forge that instant love connection that will last a lifetime. If you’re not so into surprises, an older dog is for you!

2. Easy to Train

Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking.

3. Seniors are Super-Loving

One of the cool parts of our job is reading stories from people just like you who have opted to adopt. The emails we get from pet parents with senior dogs seem to all contain beautiful, heartfelt descriptions of the love these dogs give you—and those of you who adopted dogs already in their golden years told us how devoted and grateful they are. It’s an instant bond that cannot be topped!

4. They’re Not a 24-7 Job

Grownup dogs don’t require the constant monitoring puppies do, leaving you with more freedom to do your own thing. If you have young children, or just value your “me time,” this is definitely a

5. They Settle in Quickly

Older dogs have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack. They’ll be part of the family in no time!

6. Fewer Messes

Your floors, shoes and furniture will thank you for adopting a senior pooch! Older dogs are likely to already be house-trained—and even if they’re not, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick it up really fast (unlike puppies). With their teething years far behind them, seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers.

7. You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

There are those who yearn for a doggie friend of their own, but hold back because they worry what might happen in their lives in the years to come. And they are wise to do so—a puppy or young dog can be anywhere from an 8- to 20-year responsibility, which is not appropriate for the very elderly or those with certain long-term future plans. Providing a loving home for a dog in her golden years is not a less serious commitment, but it can be a shorter one.

Adult Dog Adoption8. They Enjoy Easy Livin’

Couch potato, know thyself! Please consider a canine retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who will run you ragged. Not that older dogs don’t require any exercise—they do—but they’re not going to need, or want, to run a marathon every day.

9. Save a Life, Be a Hero

At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Saving an animal’s life offers an unparalleled emotional return on your investment, and you’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together.

10. They’re CUTE!

Need we say more?

Thank you to the ASPCA for the information in this article.