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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Training Your Dog for Holiday Visitors: Lesson 2

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Holiday Treats for Your Pups

Holiday mealtime can sometimes be challenging, if your dogs want their part of the action going on around that great smell. Mmmm....turkey!

I have a couple of tips that have worked well for me:

(1) Before a party or holiday meal, I make sure to prepare a batch of what I call "BUSY BONES". These are filled bones, usually cooked beef bones. You can find them in the pet supply stores with fillings like peanut butter and beef flavored filling. After your dog digs out that first filling, simply pop the bone into your dishwasher to sterilize it. Afterwards, you can refill it many times with whatever you choose that will delight our pup.

My dogs' favorite filling is canned, organic dog food. After I pack the core of the bone, I place it in a container and freeze it. This makes the bone more challenging and time consuming to eat, which will keep your pup busy while dinnertime is going on.

Other dogs owners fill their "busy bones" with plain yogurt, peanut butter, cheese, or prepared fillings that you can buy at pet food stores. I tried the yogurt, but Tanner and Oliver were not impressed. Organic, canned food was the next healthiest choice, and they absolutely love this.

(2) Step two is to choose the place you give your dog his BUSY BONE. I send the dogs to their "bed", a cushion in our family room that each of them have to rest on. After they demonstrate a STAY, and a LEAVE IT, I give them permission to eat their bone, on their bed.

These bones can last upwards of 30-45 minutes, when frozen, solving the problem of how to keep the pup away from the buffet dinner. No worries.

If you don't have a busy bone, a treated rawhide is your next best bet for a long-term chewing snack. I get them from my veterinarian, treated with an enzyme that assures digestion. The last thing I want is a perforated stomach from a torn piece of rawhide. Check with your vet to see if they carry these; they're also good for helping to keep their teeth clean. You get a two-fer!

Let me know how you do. Comments? I'd love to hear from you.

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