Dog resting his head on a girl's shoulder.

Foster A Dog – Experiences From Our Friends

We reached out to our friends to give us insights into their experiences or expert opinion about fostering a dog.

 

ERIN & RORY

 

Meet Erin and Rory of The Downward Dog Blog! Rory is a shelter pup who always stretches each morning ready to face the day with her owner. Namaste! The Downward Dog Blog is all about the lives and hobbies of other dogs, including shelter dogs who need a home.

Are you thinking about owning a dog? Try fostering a dog first, but read all about the “Do’s and Don’ts” of fostering a dog. Adjusting To Foster Life: Welcome To Fosterville. Population: Poop. Read the Article

Follow Erin & Rory: Facebook @thedwdog  |  Instagram @the_downwarddog.

Do you have an adventure story to share on Pawtivity? Contact us!

 


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City Park - Pawtivity.com

Build a Dog Park

Build a community dog park with other dog lovers.

Give our dogs a new place to play. No one can say what defines the perfect dog park, but at the very least it should be one where dogs are free to run off-leash and be safe. We’d love to see more dog parks with agility equipment, running water sources to play in, and a large field to run around in!

Take a photo of the dog park and tell us what you did to make this happen! Congratulations and thank you from all other dog lovers!

Let us know where your dog park is! We will add it to Pawtivity! Just email us at submit@pawtivity.com.

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Dog Park

Norman The Scooter Dog

Norman The Scooter Dog

Have you ever heard of a dog that can ride a scooter? What about a bicycle?

Norman the Scooter Dog can actually do both! He holds two separate Guinness World Records for riding the fastest 30 meters on a scooter and again on a bicycle. On top of that, he wows everyone he meets by doing a lot of amazing dog tricks. He can ride a skateboard, jump rope, surf, take a bow, and open doors.

Norman is also the ultimate sweetie with a personality that warms your heart. Karen describes her dog  as, “a clown who knows he’s funny…. he looks at your with this look that makes you laugh.”

We wanted to learn what makes a great trick dog and interviewed Karen Cobb, Norman’s owner, to learn how she trained Norman.

Facts About Norman
Breed: Briard
Personality: A Clown, Loves to Play, One of the Family
Favorite Treats: Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls, Mozarella Cheese
Favorite Special Interests: Agility, Obedience, Sheep Herding, Swimming
Favorite Cause: Stop Puppy Mills

 

Commitment to Training & Socialization

Karen believes that safe socialization greatly outweighs any of the risks from poor socialization.  Even when Norman was a puppy she did a lot to socialize him well.

Norman is a Briard, Briards are known to require much more socialization than other dogs.  As a puppy, Karen was commited to giving Norman good  socialization and training. Norman has always been very curious. He loves to play and always wants to do what the family is doing.

First, she took him consistently to weeks of training in agility and obedience. When Norman was 15 months old, he actually received his Companion Dog Title in obedience with all first placements.

She was also made a commitment to expose Norman to different kinds of people and dogs, to stand on different surfaces , and to be exposed to different sights and sounds. Karen uses positive reinforcement by way of bribes or treats to make training sessions a game. Each time she introduces Norman to something new, she gives him treats. Doing this helps build confidence in your dog and paves the way for more advanced tricks.

Training sessions should be kept short with high motivating food. Sessions should also be built into your daily routine – every time you leave the house, before meal time, or at bath time. Puppies need constant training and play time. Read more about her 12 Essential Training Tips for socializing your puppy.

Last, she says that dogs need to learn how to play well and to make everything with your dog into a game. They also need to know how to release on command and retrieve.

 

Additional Tips for Teaching  A Dog Tricks

Besides giving your dog foundational training and socialization, there are a few other tips that Karen mentioned that helps her teach Norman new tricks.

A lot to training has to do with knowing your dog and your dog’s breed. Karen strongly advises people to research their dog’s breed and to make sure that the dog will be a right fit for you and your family.

Here are some of things that Karen did to make Norman into a great trick dog:

  • Don’t always tell your dog no for everything. Teach him specific commands such as leave it, off, quiet, take it, and put on (place on table).
  • Knowing what a target is (nose or paw on anything).
  • Focus is one of the most important skill to teach your dog because helps him pay attention to you.
  • Getting the right high motivating treats: Knowing different levels of high motivating treats or incentives for your dog. For example, for a new trick you may use the highest motivating treat for your dog. For Norman, this might be mozarella pieces because they are easy to break off
  • Clicker training is great for more advanced tricks because your dog can better understand what you want him to do by the immediate sound of a click.
  • Training sessions for adult dogs should be about 1 hour per day, or in 3, 20 minute intervals.
  • Training classes are a great way to get feedback about your dog. You can never stop learning more about your dog.

 

Learning to Bike

Biking is very hard to teach a dog. It took Karen quite some time to teach Norman to ride a bike.  Dogs can’t just ride a normal kids bike. Norman’s bike is actually customized to fit him.

Karen suggests that people first train their dogs to skateboard first. It’s easier to teach than scootering or biking. Dogs must first learn to stand on a moving object. To do this, the dog must be comfortable with a skateboard. Training starts at a stationary position. Karen often uses treats and a clicker to help her train Norman.  Reward when your dog has one foot on a stationary skateboard and then move on to 4 feet standing on the skateboard.  Then, try using a leash to gently pull the skateboard forward while your dog is on the skateboard. You will have to also train your dog to get off the skateboard.

Since Pawtivity is all about getting dog owners to do more with their dogs, we asked Karen if she had any advice for dog owners. Instead on trying to figure out what your dog may like to do, she mentions that dog owners should find something that they like to do and then incorporate your dog in that. Dogs do love spending time with us, so it makes sense to involve your dog into something that you like to do!

Karen has many more training tips that you can try with your dog. Basic training is a great way to ease your dog into more advanced training and tricks!

 

Norman is Amazing!!

I asked Karen how Norman shows his love. She said that he actually gives you a hug by leaning on you and wrapping his paws around your leg. How adorable and very affectionate!

With all the training and activities that Norman gets on a consistent basis, he must love his family!Norman, you are a lucky dog to have such a wonderful family! Keep on learning new tricks and exploring fun things to do.

 

About Karen Cobb

Karen Cobb, owner and trainer of Norman the Scooter Dog, graduated from University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science.  She has trained dogs for over 20 years, specializing in problem solving, behavior counseling, housebreaking and aggression problems.  She now primarily trains Norman for his live performances and dog sports.  Her goal is to get Norman a leading role in a movie. Learn more about Norman and Karen.  Connect with them on Facebook!

 


Is Your Dog An Amazing Pup? 

Is your dog amazing? Contact us to be considered as one of Pawtivity’s featured amazing pups! We may feature you on Pawtivity.com or on our instagram accounts @pawtivity and @myamazingpup. Send us a photo of your dog and tell us why they are so amazing!

 


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Volunteer At An Animal Shelter or Rescue Group

Volunteer

Help a rescue group in your area by volunteering at an animal shelter or rescue group. These groups are important to helping dogs find homes. There are so many shelters and rescue groups that need your help! You may be able to help out at events, walk a dog, clean up after dogs , play with dogs, photograph dogs for adoption, or fundraise. The opportunities are endless.

Send us a photo of the rescue group that you volunteered at. Tell us what made your day special and why others should help out too!

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Charity, Volunteer

Norman the Scooter Dog

12 Essential Training Tips For Your Puppy

We met with Karen Cobb to interview her about her dog Norman, Pawtivity’s first amazing pup!

 

Norman is a Briard, famous for holding 2 Guinness World Records in riding a scooter and bicycle. Norman can also do a variety of tricks and is active in agility and obedience. This dog has some serious skills and is so polite! He can jump rope, dry off his beard on a towel after drinking, and take a bow. Bravo!

We were interested to learn how Norman became so good at doing tricks. A lot of it came down to being very well socialized with much of that training done while Norman was still a puppy. While Norman is very curious, building socialization and training skills in everyday tasks or games was also essential.

Given that French Sheepdogs are traditionally bred to control and guard sheep, they can be somewhat overprotective or suspicious if not socialized and trained well. Clearly, Karen has done a phenomenal job socializing and training Norman.

Training takes commitment and patience from you and your dog! While Norman learns tricks easily, it did take him some time to ride a bike well. Boy can he ride now!

Start with these puppy foundations and you may find yourself with tomorrow’s dog star. Think of all the wonderful things you can do with your dog given the proper socialization and training. It all starts today to create memories with your dog that last forever.

Karen shares with us 12 very useful tips on how she trained Norman as a puppy. Read on for some great training tips!

Want to learn more about Norman the Scooter Dog? He’s the first of our amazing pups.

Intro by: Carol Chi, Pawtivity


12 Essential Training Tips For Your Puppy

“Every moment awake is a learning experience for your puppy – Make it positive.”
Karen Cobb, Trainer of Norman The Scooter Dog

  1. Greet & Meet People – Your puppy should meet new people every day, and display proper manners. Stand outside the pet store, grocery store or anywhere with high foot traffic (visit different locations every day). Bring some extra tasty treats that can be broken into small pieces. Everyone wants to greet a puppy, so when they ask to pet your dog, ask them to have the puppy sit and then give him/her a treat first. Goal: 10 people per day. Gold Star: 20 people.
  1. Watch Command – Teach your puppy to watch you. Watch is one of the most important behaviors to teach your dog. It’s right up there with sit. Your dog will respond much better to other behavior cues, if he/she’s looking at you and paying attention. Goal: 10 reps, 2x a day.

  1. Dinnertime Manners – Teach your puppy where you want him/her to be during dinnertime. Don’t correct bad table behavior; teach a positive behavior instead. Tether your dog with a harness and leash him/her to a doorknob with his/her bed close by. Every time you sit down for a meal, your dog should go to his/her bed with a toy that hides food inside (like a Kong or Nylabone Romp ‘n’ Chomp). This will help form a lifelong habit of good table manners. Goal: every meal.
  1. Wait Before Leaving – Teach your dog to wait at all doorways. This is a safety issue. If they run out of the house in a frenzy, they can easily run into the street and get hit by a car. They should not exit the house without permission from you. They should let you exit first and wait for a release command, which permits them to cross the threshold. Goal: Every time you exit house.
  1. Leash Behavior – Teach your puppy the correct leash behavior when they see another dog. Do not allow a face to face greeting of two leashed dogs. This is not only confrontational, but also increases the flight or fight reaction, as both dogs are restrained. When approaching another dog, take a treat out of your pocket and show it to your puppy, so they are looking at you. As you pass the other dog, feed your puppy the treat. This will form the behavior of your dog watching you every time another dog passes, instead of the lunging and pulling behavior we see many other dogs display. Try and set this up daily. Goal: 5 dogs a day.
  1. Puppy Play – Your puppy should learn to play with other dogs properly, and with good social skills. Only allow play off leash in a contained area. When dogs are on leash they should be paying attention to you and not pulling toward something else. Allow your puppy daily play with different dogs. Try to set up daily play dates with your friends’ dogs or find a puppy socialization class. Interrupt any dominant play, like mounting, by making a loud noise and redirecting the play toward a ball or other toy. Goal: 3 different dogs a week.
  1. Brush & Bathe – Teach your puppy to not only accept grooming and bathing, but enjoy it. Get brushes out and give a few treats after every few stroke. Touch each toenail and squeeze a little to simulate a nail clipper. This can be stressful to dogs, so have a helper give your puppy a very high value treat, such as peanut butter or wet dog food, while you squeeze your puppy’s toe. Fill the bathtub with 1-2 inches of water and toss some kibble and or toys in the water and let your dog play and bob for kibble. Goal: One of each of the three areas (brushing, nails or bathtub) 1x a week.
  1. Meal Time – It is very easy to avoid resource guarding if you start young. Don’t think, “My puppy doesn’t growl over food, so he never will.” First, have your puppy sit and stay before giving them their food. On a daily basis, interrupt your dog’s meal, by walking to his/her bowl and either placing more food in it or having them sit while you pick up the bowl and add a tasty treat, before returning the bowl to them. This will not only get your dog used to being approached while eating, but also get him/her excited about the possible addition of something special. Goal: 1x per meal.
  1. Noise & Distraction – Introduce your dog to all different sounds, sights, feels, and smells to avoid fear or distraction of anything new later on. Sounds can be a vacuum or truck starting up. Feels can be using different dog brushes to walking on a slippery floor or across a sewer grate. Sights are everywhere from people with a beard and a hat, to someone dressed in a chicken suit. Smells can be walking behind a fast food restaurant to walking through a farm with many animals. Try and introduce your dog at an early age to everything you can possibly imagine them encountering later on. They are so willing to accept new things while puppies, but it gets harder as adults to overcome a fear of the unknown. Goal: 3 exposures a day.
  1. Establish House Rules – Think of the house rules you want your dog to follow when he/she is full size. Be sure to start teaching those rules at the first introduction to the house. If you don’t want your dog on the furniture, do not pick them up as puppies and put them on your lap while sitting on the couch. Instead, sit on the floor with them. Lay aluminum foil on any furniture they may jump on, so they learn it’s not pleasant to be up there (foil makes noise when they touch it and is not as comfortable to lay on). Do you want them sleeping in your bed? If not, do not allow them up there as pups. Teach them to sleep in a crate, next to your bed. Put a comfy bed inside for them. Eventually, graduate to replacing their crate with their dog bed.
  1. Controlled Play – Teach your puppy controlled play. Don’t allow chewing on your arms, but substitute a toy instead. Teach them that you start and end the play. Keep a few toys out, and put the rest out of reach. Rotate the toys you give your dog. Your dog will be more excited to play with any “new” toys you give him/her. If you play tug, make sure you teach your puppy to drop the toy on command and stop tugging before they get if they begin to get too aggressive. about the tugging. Goal: Play everyday as much as you can.
  1. Doorway Behavior – Teach proper doorway behavior from puppyhood. Where do you want your dog to go when a guest rings your front doorbell? It is best to teach a down stay in a room adjacent to the main hallway. Ideally, there would be a floor surface change they could see as a boundary of where to lay down (ex. Have your dog lay on the carpet of the living room, which borders the entrance hallway wooden floor.) In the beginning, ask a helper to get the door while you work closely with your dog. Your dog should stay until you go TO THEM and give a release command. Do not release and allow your dog to greet the visitor when he/she is excited. Instead, walk your dog to a treat jar in the kitchen and give them a treat. This takes the attention off the visitor and puts it on the treat jar. Practice by setting up the situation with a friend ringing the doorbell. Goal: 6 practice doorbell rings per day, and every time a real visitor comes!

 


About Karen & Norman

Karen Cobb, owner and trainer of Norman the Scooter Dog, graduated from University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science.  She has trained dogs for over 20 years, specializing in problem solving, behavior counseling, housebreaking and aggression problems.  She now primarily trains Norman for his live performances and dog sports.  Her goal is to get Norman a leading role in a movie. Learn more about Norman and Karen. Connect with them on Facebook.

 


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Dog looking out of his cage at a shelter.

Adopt A Dog

Congratulations for adopting a dog! Now it’s up to you to make sure your dog has proper care, nutrition, and exercise! Sign up for a new pawtivity (activity) and learn more about your dog’s special interests and personality over time. Consider joining a breed group and learn more about what your dog may or may not like from others who have been there done that.

Share a picture or video of your new dog! What does your dog like to do?

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Charity, Community, Adoption

Running On A Trail With A Dog

Rescue Run

Many rescue dogs just don’t get the right level of exercise. Help the most energetic breeds at a rescue group or shelter get the exercise they need by running them! Sign up to run with a rescue dog by contacting your local animal shelter or rescue center.

Take a picture of you and your rescue dog. Give a few reasons why someone should adopt the dog your ran with and who they can contact to learn more.

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Charity, Community, Running, Race

Dog resting his head on a girl's shoulder.

Foster A Dog

Dogs need a loving home and unfortunately, there’s not always enough space at the shelters to accomodate all dogs. Help care and teach a dog how to be a great “family” dog and get them ready for their new family.

Take a picture of your foster dog! Let others know why he is such a great dog and where they can get more information.

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Charity, Community, Adoption

Dog holding a donation box.

Donate To Charity

Donate to a dog charity or rescue group! They need your help to place dogs in a loving, caring family.

Send us a photo of the charity that you donated to. Tell us about the charity and why you think others should donate to the same group!

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Charity, Community