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The Ethos of Dog

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Filtering by Category: Training

Nutrition

One of the most discussed topics I have with clients is, Nutrition...

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What do you feed your dog? What should I be feeding my dog? My dog is so picky, what can I do? My dog has allergies and constantly itchy, my dog's fur isn't shiny, my dog's teeth are in terrible shape, why is my dog underweight, why is my dog overweight, and the list of questions go on and on.

Let's start with food and Fat.  Something my grandfather would say, "eat the fat, it greases your engine."  As with humans, fats provide energy for your pet and all the fun activities you do with them.

Fat:
The fat percentage will vary depending on your dog's activity levels. The average rate for an adult dog should range around 14-16% for a house dog that has regular activity.  Average activity ranges from walks, hikes, and runs.

Puppies should start at an average of 21% fat in their foods.  They require much more fat than an adult to provided proper nutrition for their growth.  This content should be fed up to 6-9 months of age, then moving into an adult food that ranges around the above mentioned fat percentage.

Seniors dogs, eight years and older, should eat food that has 12% and below, and that was formulated for older dogs,  it is not an easy feat to find a good quality food for seniors.

Fat content is critical to managing.  Aside from your dog carrying excess weight, your dog also has the chance to run into pancreatic problems.  The pancreas aids in processing fats, and if your dog is eating a high-fat diet, their pancreas is working overtime to keep their system running smoothly.

To manage the proper fat intake, your dog is consuming; please be conscious of what treats you are giving your pet in conjunction with their regular meals.  The food can be right on track, but the treats, those can cause the biggest impact on their diet.  My recommendation is usually to trim back a bit on the meal portions to compensate for the intake of treats
 
Next up, Protein!  

Protein is one of the more debated topics on dog food.  Yes, your dog is descendent of the Wolves; however, hundreds and hundred and hundreds of years ago your dog's ancestors may have resembled something of a wolf.  

Over the years, the domestication of dogs has been happening, and their digestive system is domesticated as well.  Meaning, what a wolf's nutritional requirements are today are nothing like what your pet French Bulldogs' are today.

Protein is crucial to your dog's survival; it provides essential amino acids for your dog's physical well-being and energy process.  Dogs can survive eating as a Vegetarian, but there are required supplements your dog must consume. Average recommended protein consumption for an adult dog ranges around 25g, puppies 56.  

Carbohydrates:
Ah, the lovely carbohydrate.  As a society, we have become obsessed with diet and what goes into our foods.  The carbohydrate has become a bad word in many circles, especially in the dog world.  Every dog food coming out is grain-free or has limited ingredients, which is great if your dog has an actual allergy to specific grains.

Carbohydrates are another building block to the energy process of your pet's body.  They are an essential piece; this is where an all protein and raw diet can get muddled.  

 

Recommendations:
My first recommendation with all dog foods is; stay away from any bird based product, chicken, duck and turkey.  They tend to have a high allergy rate and intolerance to many dogs.  Secondly, stick to Fish, Venison, Buffalo, Rabbit and Pork for your dog food's main protein,  these are the easiest to digest for most dogs.  

Always read your dog food labels, and read the ingredient list; the first three parts should be your indicator of what your pet is consuming the most.

I have a library of recommended foods, treats and other goodies for your pet.  At any time we are happy to give you our suggestions.

And lastly, I am only speaking from my personal experiences and countless hours of research and trial and error.  Please, always consult with your Veterinarian for any health concerns of your beloved pet.

Yes or No...

As humans, we live our lives in a yes or no state.  
Yes, that will make me happy, and the results will feel great. 
-Or-
No, that is unacceptable, and I will feel terrible after. 

With all that said, I find myself in conversations with clients over the value of the requests we make upon our dogs. In this blog, I will translate the dog's perspective of your requests.

Let's say you want "Petunia," (the two-year-old bulldog) to sit:
Petunia hears you say her name, so she willingly offers an ear to your voice, she knows you are going to ask her for something.  Then she hears the word sit.

Now,  some dogs, out of pure repetitive behavior may just plop their tush on the ground, but for educational purposes let's say she doesn't. What is happening with your overly trained, exceptionally smart dog?

I ask you to look at what is in Petunia's field of vision, what is she smelling or even doing when you ask her?  Is the value of that "thing" (she is so deeply involved in) greater than what you have to offer after she completes your request?  Would you, if you were in Petunia's place, stop doing whatever it is you are doing to sit?  

Ask yourself; Why do I  want her to sit?  Really, why? If it happens to be an emergency, I am sure your very well trained dog will hear the tone of your voice and immediately sit. However, this scenario is not an emergency. 

Let's dig a little deeper; During your training process (however long ago that was) did you continually pay her with food, affection or play for doing what you ask? (I hope you were if you were teaching). Thinking about now, do you still pay Petunia with all that food, affection and play when you ask her to sit?  Probably not, especially if she doesn't offer a quick response to your command.

Going back to the yes or no status of OUR lives, would you, if you were Petunia, consider the value of sitting down a big HECK YES, or a big HECK NO, considering the value of your "reward" for doing it?

I ask you, for your dog's happiness,  layer back in some value. Get back into giving some reward, more fun and less expectation. Stop asking so much of your dog and work on your connection. Keep your communication light and let your dog just be a dog sometimes.

Remember...
is it a HECK YES? -or- HECK NO?