Please note that there has been a change to the Saturday 2:30 class format that will begin on Saturday, April 4th.
The Saturday 2:30 class will now feature specialty training of various topics. Advanced class attendees are encouraged to join the 1:15 class.
Easter Egg Hunt: Saturday, April 4th.
Clicker Workshop: Saturday, April 11th, 18th & 25th. Details to follow.
Head Halter Application class: Saturday, May 2nd.
Intro to Scent Work: Saturday, May 9th, 16th & 23rd. Space is limited.
Kids Class: Saturday, May 30th.
Learn how to handle your dog for the show ring. Learn how to stack, gait and to have proper etiquette in the sport of show dog handling. Enter a sport that will bring many hours of enjoyment and education to every member of your family.
Classes will be taught by Mick McCormick with Gary Nestor assisting. Mick has been breeding and showing Alaskan Malamutes since 1968. He is the current President and previous Show Chair of the Butler County Kennel Club. He has taught conformation classes for numerous years, and several of his students have won conformation classes against professional handlers.
Sundays in 2015 Beginning Sunday, February 8th and ending Sunday, March 29th.
1:00 – 1:45 PM | small breeds, need to be examined on a table
2:00 – 3:00 PM | large breeds, examined on floor
You must Pre-Register!
This class will teach your dog to pull whatever item you want him to pull. A bike, wagon, sled, you on skates...anything! Don’t worry; teaching your dog to pull won’t undo any previous obedience training. In fact, quite the opposite; if your dog knows not to pull when given a command, telling them it is okay to pull will solidify their understanding.
All levels and all breeds are welcome from the tiniest Yorkie up to the largest St. Bernard, from complete novices to jail-breaking broncos!
Be sure to bring a hungry dog with their favorite treats or toy. Also, if any special equipment is wanted, such as in-line skates or a scooter, bring it along. We will provide a harness for the first class and help get your dog fitted. See you there!
Class will be held Saturday, March 7th, 2015 @ 8:00 AM.
Nature's Variety Lamb
March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, so what better time to focus on feeding your dog a lamb diet.
It’s handy to teach a general “Stay” cue so you can park your dog and keep him stationary while you check that leak under the sink, or sit on the floor to wrap large birthday presents.
How to Start Teaching Your Dog to Stay
Start with your dog in the position you want her to hold, whether it’s a sit or a down. For most purposes, it doesn’t matter which you choose, but bear in mind your dog’s comfort. A sit may be physically harder to maintain after a few minutes, whereas on the other hand a dog lying down may feel more vulnerable in some situations. It is not advisable to ask a dog to remain in place on a hot, wet, or icy surface. Also, small and short-haired dogs can feel miserable on a cold floor, while a Siberian Husky will likely revel in it.
Teach Your Dog a “Release Cue”
Because the whole point of a stay is that your dog stays put till you let her know she’s free to move, you’ll need a “release cue,” a word or gesture that means the stay is done. Many people find that “Okay” gets them into trouble because when they say it in conversation their dog thinks the stay is done, so we at Misty Pines use, “Take A Break.”
How to Teach Your Dog to Stay
To work on your dog’s stay, pick a time when she’s relaxed and well exercised. That applies especially to puppies and bouncy young dogs.
Ask your dog to lie down, but instead of delivering a treat as soon as she hits the floor, hold off for one second. Then say “Good girl” in a calm, warm voice and give her a treat. Or, if your dog tends to bounce up again instantly, have two treats ready. Feed one right away, before she has time to move; then say “Good girl,” and feed the second treat.
You’ll need to move fast enough that your dog is still in the down position. Once you’ve delivered the treats, immediately give your release cue and encourage your dog to get up. Then do another rep. Over a dozen or so reps, begin waiting a little longer before the “Good” plus treat. For the dog who bounces up, you can start to delay the first treat for a moment.
Treat Delivery and Placement
A common new trainer mistake is to deliver the treat slowly and high up. Result, your dog sees the treat coming and, since she doesn’t know the stay game yet, gets up to meet the food en route. Solve this problem by bringing the treat toward your dog quickly and low--the best place to deliver it is right between her front paws. If you’re working on a sit-stay, give the treat at chest height.
Work on Stay a Little at a Time
When your dog can stay for about five seconds--that’s an arbitrary number, of course--start to add a little distance. At first, you’ll walk backward, because your dog is likelier to get up to follow you if you turn away. Take one single step, then return to your dog, say “Good,” and deliver a treat. Give her the okay to get up immediately, even if five seconds haven’t passed.
Here’s why. The stay gets harder and harder for your dog depending on the how long you ask her to stay, how far away you are, what else is going on around her and where the behavior is taking place. Trainer shorthand is “distance, duration, distraction and location.” For best success in teaching a stay, work on one factor at a time. Whenever you make one factor more difficult, ease up on the others at first, then build them back up. That’s why, when you take that first step back from your dog, adding distance, you should cut the duration of the stay.
Or suppose you’ve made a lot of progress and your dog is able to lie quietly for one minute while you stand ten feet away from her. On your next rep, you plan to distract her with a bouncing ball. Stand five feet from your dog and bounce the ball just once or twice. A rock-solid stay is mostly a matter of working slowly and patiently to start with--the ideal is that your dog never makes a mistake and never breaks her stay.
What to Do If Your Dog Makes a Mistake
If she does get up, take a breath and then give her a short refresher starting at a point somewhat easier than whatever you were working on when she broke. Or consider that she may be tired-- maybe she’s learned as much as she can for now. In that case, ask her to do one very easy rep at a level where she’s letter perfect, and then call it a day.
Teach Your Dog to Stay for Longer Periods
Building duration is the dull part of teaching a stay. Apart from watching your dog carefully to make sure you’re not pushing her past her skill level, and slipping her the occasional treat and some praise, there isn’t a whole lot to do. The good news is that if you’ve worked on those first few minutes of the stay and made them rock solid, longer periods will go quickly.
Cook Up Distractions for Your Dog
Cooking up distractions, on the other hand, is kind of fun. Dance a jig. Ring a bell. Answer the phone. Roll a ball or squeak a toy. Brandish your dog’s tug rope. Walk a circle around your dog. (A lot of dogs have trouble holding their stay for this, by the way. Work on that circle one short segment at a time.) Distance, too, is kind of fun. Dog trainers get a little thrill at the point in teaching a stay when we first step out of sight. Make sure to come back in view within a nanosecond that first time.
When to Add Your “Stay” Cue
Usually, we add a cue for a behavior when the dog has already learned the behavior well. The reason is that we want the dog to associate the cue strongly with the polished form of the behavior, not with a rough approximation. But a perfect stay could last anywhere from a few seconds to half an hour or more, depending on the situation. So if you’re careful to keep your training free of mistakes, your dog’s performance of stay is near perfect from the get-go.
For that reason, you can introduce the “Stay” cue early on--as soon as you yourself have seen your teaching succeed. The confidence you feel because of your success will help you avoid the chant of “Stay … stay … stay” you often hear when someone is worried that their dog’s about to get up.
How Not to Teach Your Dog to Stay
Don’t use the “Stay” cue in situations where complying is impossible or unpleasant for your dog. For instance, avoid telling her to stay as you close the door behind you on your way to work. Nor should you cue her to hold still and then clip her nails, unless you’ve taught her to enjoy nail clipping. Finally, you shouldn’t use stay to keep a dog in a scary or volatile situation. As for parking her while you take the roast out of the oven, absolutely yes!
When your dog is staying reliably it’s time to begin adding this behavior into your daily life. An example of this would be to have your dog Sit and Stay, or Down and Stay, before feeding them their delicious Instinct Raw Lamb food. Place them in position, give the cue, put the food in the bowl, place the bowl on the floor, praise your dog for staying with a “Good girl,” then release with “Take A Break.” This is also a great behavior to practice when getting ready for walks. Have your dog Sit and Stay while getting the leash and putting on your coat. This can be a very difficult situation due to their excitement so be sure to go back to the beginning and work through this slowly making good use of praise and rewards. Some other examples would be: waiting to get into the car, signing in for class, when giving your kids a snack, while you eat dinner, when meeting and greeting a friend and the list goes on. This is one of the most valuable behaviors your dog will learn so practice with diligence.
If you are struggling with this or any other behavior, remember that our Private Training lessons are personalized and tailored to suit your needs. We can focus on any aspect of training and give you expert advice to help you achieve your training goals.
Call the Misty Pines office at 412.364.4122 to schedule a Private Lesson.
Dog Food Ingredient Basics
Shopping for pet foods can be a very frustrating process, especially when there are numerous aisles of variety. There are also the claims of how their food will benefit your pet. Purina® Beneful® Original dog food claims to “keep your dog happy and healthy with a perfect balance of healthful ingredients, quality nutrition, and superb taste.” They also claim that it is made with “moist, chewy chunks made with real beef that is rich in quality protein to help build strong muscles.” It also has “crunchy corn packed with carbohydrates for energy.” Kibbles N Bits® dog food claims to “treat your dog to a mouth-watering meal. He'll love the crunchy, flavorful taste and you'll be happy that it provides the 100% complete and balanced nutrition he needs everyday.” They have also “combined the savory flavors of chicken and beef. “Purina® Fit & Trim® dog food claims that is “has been specially formulated to help keep your dog feeling fit, healthy, and happy everyday.” It also has “high quality protein including real chicken to help maintain lean muscle mass.” Purina® Puppy Chow® puppy food claim to be “complete and balance for growing puppies and is specially formulated with the extra nutrition your puppy needs for proper growth and development.” It also claims to contain “high-quality protein to promote overall proper development.
While these all sound good and nutritious, take a look at the actual ingredients and you will be surprised that they are actually not. Take a look at the word “real”, since when has chicken or beef not been “real?” Flavoring can be made from a natural or a chemical substance and the manufacturer may or may not list more detailed information about it. Flavoring agents can also be made from animal digest which is a cooked down broth made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. The animals used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. These animals can include “4-D animals” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying), road kill, or even euthanized animals.
Most of the grocery store brands contain a large amount of grain or starchy vegetables to provide texture. These high carbohydrate plant products also provide a cheap source of “energy” which also means “calories”. Gluten meals are high protein extracts from which most of the carbohydrate has been removed. They are often used to increase protein percentages without using expensive animal source ingredients. Corn gluten meal is most commonly used for this purpose and offers very little nutritional value and serves mainly to bind food together. In most cases, the foods containing vegetable proteins are the low quality foods.
Meats by product meals are inexpensive and less digestible than muscle meat. The ingredients of each batch can vary drastically such as head, feet, bones, etc. This in turn means that the nutritional value in not always consistent. Byproducts consist of parts of the animal other than meat.
Animal fat is obtained from the tissue of mammals and/or poultry. Note that the animal source does not have to be specified and is not required to originate from “slaughtered animals.” The rendered animals can be from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. These animals again can be “4-D animals”, road kill, and euthanized animals. Another thing to be aware of is what the animal fat is preserved with.
Preservatives that can be found in pet food are BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, and Propyl Gallate.
BHA and BHT have been banned from human use in many countries, but are still permitted for use in the United States. There are certain oxidative characteristics and metabolites that may contribute to carcinogenicity or tumorigencity. Ethoxyquin was originally developed as a stabilizer for rubber and later used as a pesticide for fruit and a color preservative for spices. It has never been proven to be safe for the life lifespan of an animal. It has been linked to thyroid, kidney, reproductive, immune related illnesses, and cancer. Propyl Gallate is used as an antioxidant to stabilize cosmetics, food packaging materials, and foods containing fats. It is suspected of causing liver disease and cancer. The preservatives that you want to see in dog food are mixed tocopherols, citric acid, and rosemary extract.
NOTE: Some ingredients, usually fish products, may contain artificial preservatives that are not disclosed on the ingredient list; if they are not added by the manufacturer, they are not required to be listed. Look for assurances by manufacturers using ocean fish products that their foods do NOT contain any artificial preservatives.
Coloring agents have no nutritional value and do not need to be in pet food. They are added mainly to look good to us so in turn we think our dog will enjoy eating it. The reason is that the color of food speaks to humans' innate perceptions about the value of food items. Coal tar and petrochemicals are the main sources of artificial colors. More than one artificial color has been banned and pulled off the market over the last several decades because it was ultimately found to cause cancer. The safety of those still allowed on the market is highly questionable. Artificial colors contribute to all sorts of health problems, the most notable of which are the symptoms diagnosed as (ADHD), a behavioral pattern often brought on by Yellow #2 food dye. Children are being fed these chemicals in such large quantities that they begin to have nervous system issues such as ADHD, learning disabilities, or violent behavior.
Makes you wonder when our pets are fed these chemicals, if it doesn't contribute to some behavior problems such as aggression and hyperactivity.
Beef & bone meal and pork & bone meal are common protein sources found in low quality pet foods. They are a byproduct made from beef or pork parts that are unsuitable for human consumption. It can incorporate the entire cow or pigs, including bones, but the quality cut of meats have already been removed. These ingredients are an inexpensive and low quality way to boost the protein percentage in the food. Meat & bone meal can consist of animal parts obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. It can also include pus, cancerous tissue, and decomposed tissue.
Salt is a necessary mineral and is generally present in sufficient quantities in the ingredients pet foods include. Just like for us, too much salt intake is unhealthy for them. In low quality foods, it is often use in excessive amounts to add flavor and make the food taste more flavorful.
Sweeteners may also be added to pet foods. Examples of them are can molasses, corn syrup, fructose, sorbitol, sugar, and dl-alpha tocopherol acetate. Sugars and sweeteners are an unnecessary ingredient in pet foods, added to make the product more attractive. It can cause obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis, and allergies. Fructose when used in small quantities, serves as a nutrient for probiotics, specifically bifidobactera. It will eventually ferment it and produce beneficial enzymes.
Menadione Sodium Bisulfate complex is a source of synthetic Vitamin K3 in dog food. Menadione is added as an inexpensive vitamin K supplement in commercial foods. The common statement as to why it is added is "to help with blood clotting", yet it is scientifically proven that the effectiveness of menadione on blood clotting is inferior. Veterinarians will administer vitamin K1 as an antidote to dogs who have for example ingested rat poison, which causes internal bleeding and serious clotting issues. The synthetic version of Vitamin K3 has not been specifically approved for long term use and has been linked to many serious health issues in humans. It has been banned from use in food and supplements for human use in many European countries due to serious side effects, including permanent damage and deaths. It can cause cytotoxicity in liver cells, has possible mutagen effects, damages the natural vitamin K cycle, causes hemolytic anemia and hyperbilirubinemia, irritation of skin and mucous membranes, allergic reactions and eczema are just some of the health issues associated with menadione.
Below are some examples of common dog foods that you may see in the grocery and pet store. Take a close look at the ingredients, especially the ones that are in bold print.
The following food label is from Nutro and in this particular formula they are doing what is called ingredient splitting. Look at what first four ingredients are; chicken, ground rice, rice flour, and rice bran. Basically, if the rice ingredients were not split up, rice would be the first ingredient. The reason for the practice of “splitting” is essentially to make the ingredient list look better. Once we add all the different forms of rice together, they may well outweigh the chicken. Note that there’s another grain right behind the rice products in the ingredient list too.
Nutro Natural Choice Chicken/Rice/Oatmeal
Chicken, Ground Rice, Rice Flour, Rice Bran, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Poultry Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Natural Flavors, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Sunflower Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Potato Protein, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Egg Product, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Copper Proteinate, Biotin, Niacin Supplement, Garlic Flavor, Potassium Iodide, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement.
Ingredients are listed in order according to their weight before processing on the food label. Contrary to what many people believe, meat sources in "meal" form are not inferior to whole, fresh meats as long as they are from a specified type of animal. Meat meal consists of meat and skin with or without the bones, but exclusive of feathers/hair, heads, feet, horns, entrails etc. Meat meals have had most of the moisture removed, but meats in their original, "wet" form still contain up to 75% water. Once the food reaches its final moisture content of about 9-12%, the meat will have shrunk to sometimes as little as 1/4 of the original amount, while the already dehydrated meal form remains the same and you get more concentrated protein per pound of finished product. This means that the food may only be left with 4 ounces of actual meat content per pound of fresh meat. Many foods already contain less than one pound of meat per 2-3 pounds of grain to begin with. It is best to pick a food that contains quality meat meal as well as some fresh meat.
The food bag will have a nutritional adequacy statement listed on it. It may state either of the following statements: "(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.” This means the product contains the proper amount of protein, calcium, and other recognized essential nutrients needed to meet the needs of the healthy animal. "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition." This means that the product, or "lead" member of a "family" of products, has been fed to dogs or cats under strict guidelines and found to provide proper nutrition. These two statements do not really tell you anything about the product, except that it contains the minimum of nutrients the AAFCO deems appropriate to keep your dog alive and that he will survive while eating it.
Pet food labels may also contain the words “premium”, “ultra”, “gourmet”, “natural”, "human grade", "human quality", "table quality", etc enticing us to believe that there are higher quality ingredients contained in it. They are not required to contain any different ingredients nor are they required to have higher nutritional standards than any other “complete and balanced” product. The word “natural” does not have an official definition either. “Natural” may be used when there is no use of artificial flavor, artificial color, or artificial preservatives. "Natural" is not the same as "organic." The latter term refers to the conditions under which the plants were grown or animals were raised. There are no official rules governing the labeling of organic foods (for humans or pets) at this time, but the United States Department of Agriculture is developing regulations dictating what types of pesticides, fertilizers and other substances can be used in organic farming. While it is true that many terms used to market a pet food are not legally defined, the manufacturers of quality brands go out of their way to supply their customers with additional information, such as using hormone free animal products, pesticide free grains, providing the USDA grades of ingredients, avoiding genetically modified products and so on.
Manufacturers are not required to include substances in the ingredient list that they did not add to the product themselves. Products they obtain from their suppliers may still contain undesirable ingredients such as synthetic preservatives or other additives. An example is fish meal, which, according to US Coast Guard regulations, must be preserved with Ethoxyquin if it is not intended for human consumption.
Keep in mind that there is no "best" food for all dogs, as each dog is an individual. What works well for one dog may not work at all for another. In addition, it is better for a dog to get a variety of foods, rather than just one food for its whole life. Feeding different diets can help fill in nutritional gaps that a particular food or brand might have, as well as making it less likely that your dog will develop food allergies.
Misty Pines recommends, uses and sells Nature's Variety kibble, raw and freeze dried foods. Nature's Variety is passionate about providing pure, authentic nutrition for your dog and cat. Their wholesome foods are full of natural goodness. Every ingredient is chosen with care for the health and happiness of your furry friend. Their foods are 100% free of corn, wheat, soy, chemical preservatives, and artificial colors & flavors. Each diet is rich in meat, poultry or fish proteins to give your pets everything they need for a long and happy life with you.
You and your pet can experience real results with pure nutrition from Nature's Variety. We invite you to learn more about the grain-free Instinct line, Instinct Raw, or holistic Prairie line of foods by clicking the dog or cat product links to find products for your pet. And don't forget about our sale on Lamb food during the month of March!
Newman, Dr. Lisa. “Pet Food Ingredients Revealed” [Online] Available
Therapy Dog Visits
Once your dog has passed their Therapy Dog International certification, it's time for the fun to begin. Click the link below for a list of places that are always looking for registered therapy dogs to brighten the day of the patients and residents:
Baden Memorial Library
Dog reading program. Need volunteer for 2 Thursdays per month from 5:00pm - 6:30pm
and 1 Saturday per month for 1 1/2 hours.
Contact: Kathleen Wagner email@example.com
Contact: Sr. Linda Larkman OSB, Volunteer Coordinator 412-737-0969
Passavant Memorial Homes and Subsidiaries
Colleen Perry, Social Services Coordinator: 412-820-1015 ext. 521
If you would like to have Therapy Dogs visit your facility, please contact one of the following Therapy Dog Teams or contact Misty Pines to have your facility listed in the above section so that our teams may contact you. Click the link below for teams that are interested in visiting those in need of therapeutic visits from their furry friends:
"The golden gift is this: Intimately connected with his own emotions, the dog cannot lie. What he feels, he expresses. What he shows in his body posture is true, without guile, completely and utterly honest. Distanced from our own feelings, bound by our fears, we treasure and are amazed by this quality of complete truth in our dogs."
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. -- Mon. through Sat.
Office is open for Park and Classes on Sundays from 11:00a - 4:00p. Park is available 8a - 5p for those with Park Passes or by pre-registered appointment.