CATCH Canine Trainers Academy Blog

In Case You Missed it: the Best Viral Dog Stories of This Summer

  • Every now and then there are viral-worthy dog videos, pictures and articles that dog lovers can’t seem to pass up reading and watching; this past month has been no exception! In case you missed it, we’ve put together some of the best of the Summer for you. So, just for fun, here are some of the cutest, funniest and most interesting viral dog stories we’ve seen lately…

    Did this dog just apologize for stealing baby’s toys?
    This is one of the cutest dog videos we have seen in a long time! After Charlie the Beagle makes this sweet girl cry by stealing her toy, it looks like he makes it up to her by giving her every toy in the house! We may never know if dogs can understand the human concept of “making up” – but this makes for a pretty hilarious scene either way!


    Dog teaches baby how to crawl
    When Buddy, the Jack Russell Terrier, noticed that the baby was trying to crawl he appears to step in to show her how it’s done. His unique wriggling and sliding motions are must see!


    Pit bull saves Chihuahua and now they need a new home
    This is a beautiful story of canine friendship. Chachi the Chihuahua and Joanie the Pit Bull were found wandering the streets of Savannah before they were picked up by a local animal shelter. Joanie was carrying Chachi in her mouth, whilst seemingly looking for someone to help her injured friend! Chachi had a badly infected eye, which Joanie kept putting her down to clean. The local animal shelter is now looking for a new home for the pair – they don’t want to separate them! See photos and learn more about the story of these two cuties here.

    pitbull saves chihuahua


    Cute dogs show you how to beat the heat
    This one is a cute collection of photos that are pretty useful, too! Get some good ideas on how to keep your dog safe in the blaring heat of summer, as told by these adorable pooch pictures. This is a must-read for dog owners in July and August.

    dogs show us how to beat the heat



    Funny dog barking compilation
    Last, but not least, is this compilation of unique dog vocalizations. We all know dogs have different ways of trying to communicate with us; some loud and daunting, whilst others are more…unusual. Does your dog sound like any of these guys? The Mastiff in the middle is particularly amazing. Is he doing that in his sleep?

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  • 3 Ways to Combat Bad Dog Breath!

  • Like their human counterparts, if you get a whiff of your dog’s breath it isn’t going to smell like roses, but there is a big difference between normal doggie breath and a bad case of halitosis.  Here are three important tips to your dog’s dental hygiene and how to keep their breath fresh and clean.


    According to the American Veterinary Dental College, the single best way to ensure dental health

    bad dog breath

    Even kisses from this cutie can naturally be a little stinky!

    and fresh breath is brushing daily.  Like their humans, dogs can have plaque build-up which can lead to periodontal disease.  Pet stores will carry dental products for your dog like angled toothbrushes to easily reach their back teeth and pet-appropriate toothpaste.  Never use human toothpaste on your pet!  It is too abrasive and they are more likely to swallow or inhale the foam.

    Puppies are more likely to get into the habit of a daily brush, but this doesn’t exclude older dogs.  Patience and positive reinforcement is the key.  Add a few treats into the session and before long they may be telling you it’s time to brush!

    Crunchy Kibble & Fresh Water

    Many people are in the habit of feeding their dogs only wet food; unless directed otherwise by your veterinarian, it is not ideal. Canned food is soft and likely to stick to your dog’s teeth where it can sit and fester.  Dry dog food, on the other hand, promotes chomping and helps keep teeth strong and healthy because it gently rubs away any soft plaque and tartar build-up. Try mixing half a portion of wet food with some dry food – your dog will love it!

    Be sure to keep the water bowl clean and bacteria free.

    Always give your dog fresh water and make sure you rinse their bowl.  Fresh water is crucial to overall health. A dehydrated pup will have a dry, sticky, or pale mouth and gums.  Giving them the best water in the world will do no good if they drink from a dirty bowl because it can host bacteria and harmful microorganisms.

    Just remember: Crunchy food “brushes” their teeth and gums and fresh water rinses the gunk away.

    Crunchy Treats & Chew Toys

    Like crunchy kibble, there are benefits of having crunchy treats and chew toys for your canine friend.  Crunchy treats like rawhide or dental biscuits promote chewing, which in turn promotes saliva thus keeping their mouth moist.  Their natural inclination to chew and chomp also promotes strong, healthy teeth.  There are treats that contain anti-tartar ingredients as well.  Chew toys gently rub the gums and help disperse soft tartar build-up.

    Always monitor your pet.  You should be familiar if your dog is a chewer or a large chunk swallower.  If they are the latter then you must remove the treat before they can swallow a large piece, as it can get stuck in their digestive tract and cause a blockage.

    Crunchy Treats & Chew Toys

    Like crunchy kibble, there are benefits of having crunchy treats and chew toys for your canine


    I may not know how to brush, but I’m happy to chew a brush!

    friend.  Crunchy treats like rawhide or dental biscuits promote chewing, which in turn stimulates saliva thus keeping their mouth moist.  Their natural inclination to chew and chomp also promotes strong, healthy teeth.  There are treats that contain anti-tartar ingredients as well.  Chew toys gently rub the gums and help disperse soft tartar build-up.

    Always monitor your pet.  You should be familiar with your dog’s habits and know if they are a chewer or a large chunk swallower.  If they are the latter then you must remove the treat before they can swallow a large piece, as it can get stuck in their digestive tract and cause a blockage.


    It isn’t hard to maintain a healthy dog with fresh breath, but if you find that your furry friend has offensive breath no matter what you try, it may be time to visit the veterinarian, as you may be dealing with a more serious health issue beyond stinky breath.



    ASPCA.  Ten Steps to your Dog’s Dental Health.

    AVDC.  Home Care for Dogs.

    Leonardi, L.  Wet or Dry Dog Food: Which is Better?  Water: A Nutritional Requirement.

  • Doggie Bag Do’s and Don’ts

  • learn the do's and don't of doggie bags with Catch Dog Trainers

    This may be a “slice of heaven” going down, but once eaten, it could cause health troubles.
    Image source:

    Every dog owner loves to gift their pet with a special treat because it shows appreciation and love for the adoration and joy they give us.  But did you know that your leftovers from dinner out could be harmful and even fatal to your cherished pup?

    Here are two reasons why doggie bags are not for dogs.

    Leftover bones

    Don’t feed your dog chicken bones!  You probably heard this since childhood and the reason is: cooked chicken bones will splinter and can harm your dog.  This is true for all cooked bones: chicken, beef or pork.  It’s true that your puppy will salivate and gnaw on a large bone, especially if it has pieces of meat stuck to it.  What’s the harm in that?

    A cooked bone, though rich in calcium and phosphorous, becomes brittle.  The bone will eventually break and splinter as the dog chews on it.  Splinters have the potential to puncture and tear the digestive tract.  Should this happen, your cherished pet can become septic and possibly develop a fatal illness.

    Raw bones do not splinter but proceed with caution and do your research if you go this route.  There is a chance of food poisoning due to bacteria.

    Human food

    Chances are someone in the family slips the dog a “treat” from the table.  In small portions, this may not harm your dog but it would be in their best interest to leave the human food to humans.

    Alliums are bulbous plants that are often used in recipes: onions, garlic, leeks and chives.  When ingested by your dog, these ingredients destroy red blood cells and may cause toxic anemia.  Xylitol is a sugar substitute often found in many foods.  If your pet eats foods with too much of this, it may cause a drop in blood sugar, which may cause depression, loss of motor function, seizures, and possibly death.  Too much salt can cause kidney failure and too much fat may cause pancreatitis.

    We may feel good about “breaking bread” with our pets.  There is something comfortable and social about sharing a meal, however, routinely giving your dog leftovers might be doing harm to your dog and the vet bills will eventually harm your wallet.

    Remember: Dog food is specially formulated for the canine metabolism and health.  Human food and leftover bones are not critical to their diet, but it could put them in critical care.  When in doubt – refrain, but if you still have questions, contact your local veterinarian.

    Do's and Don'ts of feeding your dog human food

    Small and large breeds alike can be harmed by being over weight. It puts undue pressure on their joints and makes it harder for them to get healthy exercise.
    Image source:


    1-800-PetMeds.  Feeding Bones to your Dog.  8 Foods that are Toxic to Pets.

    PetMD.  Holiday Leftovers for your Pets?

  • My Dog Made me Exercise

  • Running with your dog is a great way for both of you to get exercise

    Dog owners have always known that their dogs are key in motivating them to get outside and move! Now research is confirming it.
    Image source

    In her article about walking with dogs, Taya Florez follows the research of Assistant Professor of Nursing, Elizabeth Richards, in conjunction with Assistant Professor of Animal Behavior, Niwako Ogata, both of Purdue University. Their research is complimentary because they both focus on two factors:

    1. Encouraging dogs and their owners to walk for better health, and

    2. Finding ways to promote large groups to exercise.

    Florez’ article compiles several examples of how owning a dog can motivate their owners to exercise more, and why your furry friend might be a great choice for a workout buddy.

    In 2012, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimated that 167 million households had pets, which translates into about 62% of American households. Of those households, 70% of individuals owned a dog (Humane Society, 2014).

    According to Richards’ study, most people felt compelled to go walking because they knew it would make their dog happy. As walking became a habit, initial feedback suggested that dog owners had increased their walk times from an average of 10 minutes to 80 minutes a week (Richards).

    Take a online dog training course with Catch Dog Trainer

    A well-exercised dog is more likely to be a happy and healthy pet!
    Image source:

    There’s that old excuse, “The dog ate my homework.” Well now you can blame one more thing on your furry friend: The dog made me exercise. Richards’ study cited that many of her participants only went walking because it made for a healthy, happy dog – and prevented their pet from getting bored enough to misbehave.

    By going for walks you can reduce your dog’s hyperactivity and maintain optimal weight, help stir up the digestive tract for healthy bowels, relieve attention-seeking behaviors like whining and constant pawing, and keep muscles healthy and strong (PetMD).

    Essentially, humans would rather do for their canine friends before recognizing that they too reap the health benefits of exercising. In fact, many stated they would never go walking if they didn’t have a dog. Prior to having a pet they would make excuses: no time, lack of interest, or perhaps their human exercise partner couldn’t make it. For the most part, those excuses disappear with a dog, especially when the great motivator is saving your home from a bored puppy. So the next time your furry friend looks at you with those puppy eyes, grab the leash and go for a walk. You will be healthier and happier for it.



    Humane Society of the United States. (2014, January 30). Pets by the Numbers. Retrieved from

    Florez, T. (2014, June 17). Study: Dogs motivate owners to exercise. Retrieved from

    PetMD. (n.d.). Top Ten Health Benefits Walking Your Pet Provides. Retrieved from

  • Catching Your Dog in the Act

  • Timing is Everything

    Be a Leader Even a Puppy can Follow!

    What can you say to the dog at this point? Nothing useful, unfortunately.

    What can you say to the dog at this point? Nothing useful, unfortunately.

    Have you ever left the room for a few minutes and then came back to discover a stinky, unwelcome house training mistake left by your pup? Or how about one of your favorite belongings chewed to shreds? “Grrrrrr – ROVER, what did YOU DO!?!?!?” Wait – bite your tongue.

    One of the biggest mistakes dog owners commonly make is trying to teach their pup well AFTER a behavior has already occurred. This is most often seen when owners walk into a room and discover the evidence – but not the action. They scold the dog by pointing at the mess and yelling (or some other form of unpleasantness). It’s clear from the dog’s body language that he is aware something is wrong. But, is he actually learning anything from this? No! Or rather, if he is, it’s not what you want him to be learning. He is learning that you are one (or all) of the following:

    • scary
    • confusing
    • unpredictable

    This hurts your bond, and can easily make the behavior worse. When you make a dog scared or stressed the dog is now more likely to avoid you, plus now he needs an outlet to relieve that stress. In other words, you’re creating the perfect recipe for more destructive behavior – that happens out of your sight.

    When your pup chooses the right toy - reward him with a game of tug or fetch!

    When your pup chooses the right toy – reward him with a game of tug or fetch!

    The only way a dog can ever understand your feedback is during an action or immediately after that action takes place. Even 3 seconds after a behavior is too late! Dogs don’t have the ability to understand past tense language. This is why good trainers and experienced dog owners always supervise young dogs – so they can be there to TEACH them with instant feedback. If a puppy grabs a shoe instead of a toy, you interrupt the behavior immediately and then provide a toy instead that you let the pup keep. Give great rewards to a puppy when he gets his own toy rather than choosing a shoe in the first place! For example, praise excitedly and engage in a fun game with the toy as a reward for making a good choice. In the future, the pup will choose that toy again.

    Remember to set your dog up to win. Don’t leave shoes around if your pup doesn’t know the difference yet. In the case of house training, always make sure the pup’s tank is empty. Once you’ve set your dog up to win by managing his environment or his schedule, then supervision = success. If you’re there to interrupt unwanted behavior and reward good behavior – your dog will catch on quick!  If you’re going to leave your dog unsupervised, you might as well have a wild animal. But, if you’re there to teach all the time when he’s young, once he knows the rules, then you can relax your constant supervision. Now, you’ve earned the right to take a break – you don’t always have to be there to explain the rules anymore. Be patient – with a pup, this period of supervision and teaching takes months – with a newly adopted adult dog it may only take a few weeks. Either way, it’s worth it – this is how you raise a great dog!


    Want to become a dog trainer with great timing? Our national courses are designed to make you a pro. Click here to learn more about what CATCH can do for you.

  • Manners at the Dog Park – Yes Please!

  • dog park etiquette

    “Stick” to these rules for a happy, healthy dog park experience!
    photo source:

    Are you thinking of visiting the dog park? A canine gathering is wonderful if everyone remembers their manners. Polite behavior, alongside personal respect, is essential when a group of people and dogs get together. Read on to learn great dog park etiquette and how to achieve it.

    When you visit the dog park the first thing to remember is that you are responsible for the behavior of your dog. No matter how he/she chooses to interact, the overall responsibility is yours. Just as if he were a child in the playground – because after all, for many of us, our dogs are like our children, right?

    Dog Park Manners – Etiquette Explained

    • When entering the dog park, open the gate carefully. There are usually many dogs running around – leaving the gate open too long may encourage an escape!
    • Take caution when nearing a dog that is on leash. The dog may be experiencing barrier frustration or fear and if any dog bounds up to him while he is one of these emotional states, it may trigger an aggressive reaction.
    • Watch the behavior of other dogs carefully – look out for bullying by your dog or others. You can see this when one dog doesn’t want to continue the interaction and the other just keeps coming. Some basic research on canine behavior will prepare you to read dog-to-dog communication and we highly recommend it for both fascination and safety.
    • It’s okay to bring along a toy if there is ample space in the park or you are alone with your dog.  But, be very selective in whether or not it’s a good time to play. Toys create natural competition between dogs (so does food in the dog park, sometimes even water). Don’t expect other dogs to leave your toy alone just because you were the one who brought it!
    • Always pick up after your dog, no-one wants to step in a stinky mess.
    • Don’t feed treats to someone else’s dog without their permission, the dog could be allergic or dieting. You could also be ruining their recall.
    • A little roughness and growling is normal – but keep an eye out for escalating intensity in physical contact or vocalizations, chest bumping while standing on the hind legs, and chasing or pinning a dog that doesn’t want to play anymore. You want to let your dog be a dog, but you also don’t want to be naïve. Learn the difference between play and conflict that can turn serious. Group fights can be very dangerous.
    • Match your dog up with a playmate that seems to have the same style. How do you know? If both dogs keep coming back to each other to play, they are probably a great match.

    A properly socialized and well-managed dog can make it fun everyone in the dog park, including of course himself. A doggy diplomat knows to greet newcomers with a little space, and how to have fun with the “regulars” in the park who want to play.

    The added bonus of the dog park is that you get to hang with like-minded dog lovers whilst your four-legger plays his paws off. Ideally, your dog gets in enough exercise and social time to ensure he comes home truly happy and exhausted. A tired dog is better behaved – and that will make you happy, too.

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  • Deliciously Healthy and Homemade Dog Food Recipes

  • homemade dog dood

    If you can mix up something that’s both delicious and healthy – it’s a win-win.
    photo source:

    Are you thinking it might be time to cook your dog up a treat? Perhaps you have looked into commercial dog food and found the ingredients somewhat lacking in natural goodness? If so, we’ve come up with some of our favorite homemade dog food recipes, and even how to make a tasty canine snack. As always, keep your dog’s specific dietary needs and restrictions in mind when preparing these recipes.*

    Canine Chicken ‘Risotto’

    This healthy mix of protein, rice and greens is a great way to give your dog something special—without all the additives that store-bought food typically has. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, the boiled white rice typically helps. Remember not to rinse the rice after cooking. The starch acts as a binder and will aid digestion!


    • 2 cups boiled Organic Chicken, cut into small chunks (thighs and breast work well here)
    • 2 cups Rice – whole grain or white
    • 2 handfuls Leafy greens, such as Kale or Spinach, finely chopped


    1. In a nonstick pan, add chicken, cooked rice and greens.
    2. Add ¼ cup water and stir. Add more water if necessary, to bring the mixture to the desired consistency.
    3. Once cooled, divide into containers with tight lids, and store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
    4. Serve alone or as an addition to your dog’s typical meal.

    Hearty Herby Beef Stew

    This meat and veggie stew is a nice treat and grain-free alternative – which can be helpful with dogs that have allergies or skin problems. Throwing in the parsley is a neat trick to keep dogs’ breath fresh and clean!


    • 2lbs Organic Beef
    • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
    • ½ cup diced sweet potato
    • ½ cup butternut squash
    • Handful of fresh parsley (for fresh breath!)


    1. In a nonstick pan, add beef and cook until no longer pink
    2. While meat is cooking, boil sweet potatoes, carrots and squash for 5 minutes, or until slightly softened (can cook longer for dogs with teeth problems, or for smaller dogs)
    3. Drain veggies and add to meat.
    4. Add fresh parsley, stir and cool
    5. Divide into containers with tight lids and store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
    6. Serve to your dog with or without a portion of his meal – either way, he’ll love it!


    Ice Pops

    For a treat in the summertime, try our favorite treat for pups (and humans, too!) Dip pieces of apple or carrot into smooth peanut butter then drop them into an ice cube tray or a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze for 1 hour.

    Once frozen, divide into containers with lids and store for up to 3 months. Your dog will love them and these treats will cool him down in the midday sun!

    Your dog is likely to love any of these additions to his diet, just as you love preparing them, so have fun and don’t forget to use these treats as rewards for great behavior!

    *Please research or ask your vet before you introduce something totally new or change your dog’s diet completely, as some dogs need certain vitamins, minerals and supplements. The recipes listed above are recommended as an addition to your dog’s current diet, not as a total replacement.

  • Why Sit Matters

  • Dogs CAN Say Please!

    Did you know that a behavior as simple as “Sit” can make your dog more respectful? We don’t mean just sitting instead of jumping. We’re talking about Sit as a way for your dog to say “please” in all kinds of situations. Try this experiment for a week and watch your dog’s overall manners greatly improve:

    • Ask your dog to Sit before opening doors for her. Reward the Sit by opening the door, giving your dog access to the outdoors or new space.
    • Ask your dog to Sit when you have her favorite toy in hand. Reward the Sit by throwing the toy or playing a game of tug.
    • Ask for a Sit when your dog wants to jump on the couch or on your lap. Reward with access to the spot and then a cuddle or a belly rub.

    The trick is to recognize when your dog is about to get something from you, then ask for a simple Sit first – before you give it. This teaches your dog to be polite and under control, respecting you and the wonderful things that you give her each day. “Sit to say please” develops impulse control and attention to you – great qualities in a well-mannered, well-trained dog.

  • How to Stop Pulling on Leash – Part 2

  • A Stronger Connection Makes a Looser Leash

    Pulling on leash is not only a safety issue, but it can also be a quality of life issue for you and your dog. Many dogs miss out on much-needed walks because their pulling makes it too difficult, embarrassing, or unsafe for their owner.

    Whether huge (like this Mastiff) or little, a dog on a loose leash is a pleasure to stroll with.

    Whether huge (like this Mastiff) or little, a dog on a loose leash is a pleasure to stroll with.

    As we discovered in Part 1 of this series, the good news is that your dog’s pulling can be reduced greatly and quickly just by choosing the right (gentle) equipment. Now, if you are ready to do some training work, we’ll show you how you can develop a loose-leash walker by using your voice, some directional changes and rewards for your dog.

    In “trainers-speak”, the first part of this series taught you about management solutions (the quick fix) and now we’re going to explore modification (long-term behavior training).

    It Starts with Attention

    The biggest thing to remember when you are training loose-leash walking is NOT to follow your dog when she pulls. You have to stop the pulling from being a reward and make paying attention to you the more rewarding behavior. (Not an easy task with all of the interesting sights and scents outdoors.)

    Prepare a bag (or treat pouch) of small, tasty treats and keep the bag in your pocket so you’re ready to reward throughout the walk. Alternatively, if your dog is crazy about a certain toy, you can use tug as a reward, but treats are generally the easiest to dispense repeatedly.

    Step 1: Teach your dog to look at you when you make a unique sound, such as a whistle, a word, a kiss, or a tongue-click. This is done by making your chosen sound and then praising and treating your dog each time she turns to look at you in response. If the outdoors is too distracting for your dog, start training attention to the sound indoors.

    Step 2: Once your dog is paying attention to this new sound reliably, you can use it on walks. When you can see she is about to pull, make that sound, then stop dead in your tracks. When your dog looks at you to “check in,” immediately praise and offer a treat, encouraging her to come over to you to get it. After giving the treat, walk in any direction other than the way the dog was pulling, giving more encouragement for your dog to follow.  If she follows, give another reward!

    loose leash

    Beautiful slack in this line comes as a direct result of the dog’s attention on the handler.

    Step 3: Throughout your walks, continue to reward whenever the dog responds to your signal. Rewards can be given for: a) paying attention, and b) following you. Don’t always wait for your dog to start pulling before you give your signal. Give it whenever you are going to change direction, so you can “clue her in” and she doesn’t have to hit the end of the leash.

    Step 4: Sometimes, give out rewards without any signals at all – just for the dog paying attention on her own, or for following you (instead of the other way around). Within a week of practice, you’ll have a dog who is very interested in checking in with you and following you. This will strengthen your connection, which makes for a much looser leash. That’s a win for both of you!

    Note: This training works especially well with young puppies who have not yet learned that pulling is rewarding (gets you to follow). If your dog is a deeply established puller and/or you often run into distractions that cause her to ignore you no matter what you do, use the management techniques described in part 1 and consider working with a professional trainer in a private or group class setting. Working with a professional can do wonders for you and your dog.

    If you have ever thought about becoming a professional yourself, talk to us at CATCH!

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    Phone: 877-752-2824