5 Great Ways to Show Positive Reinforcement to Dogs (Without Treats) 

For most, the standard way of rewarding your dog for good behavior is through treats. In fact, it seems to be the only way, since they respond well to it and it can just become automatic. 

Unfortunately, relying too heavily upon food rewards can cause your pet to become overweight or obese. Along with this, changing up your pet’s reward can keep the challenge going and add enrichment beyond the usual dog bone.

The team at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital have some creative ways to give your fur friend positive reinforcement. Let’s take a look!

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Cracking the Code of Aggression in Pets

When a pet misbehaves it can be disheartening, especially when it comes out as aggression. Not all aggression in pets is the same, however, and deciphering the underlying cause behind the problem can be a little tricky.

The team at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital has some experience in this area, and we are happy to help shed some light on this delicate subject.

Why Aggression in Pets Happens 

An aggressive pet isn’t necessarily a bad pet! When a dog or cat acts out, it’s our responsibility as pet owners to get to the bottom of ‘why’, so we can help keep them and other pets and people safe.

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Fun Dog Facts

We may be biased, but at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital, we think dogs are absolutely wonderful. Although it can seem as though our pet dogs can see directly into our souls, it’s not uncommon to wonder how much we really know about our canine companions.

Keep reading to find out some fun dog facts about your best friend! 

Smell, Touch, and Hearing

Smell. A dog can smell up to 100,000 times better than a human being. They have 220 million olfactory receptors, compared to a human being’s 5,000. And, their nose ridges and crests are just like a human fingerprint – no two are the same! 

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Dog Nose Slits: Smelling Super Powers

A dog’s sense of smell is absolutely a super power. Dogs can smell between 10,000 to 100,000 times better than humans. To put it into perspective, a dog can smell the one bad apple in a warehouse of two million apples. What’s more, she can take you directly to it!

Dogs’ noses evolved to help them survive. Nowadays, dogs are trained to detect drugs, explosives, cancer cells, illegally imported plants and seeds, toxic waste, low blood sugar, and of course, their favorite toys and treats. 

But just how do they do it? One of the reasons: dog nose slits. If you’ve never noticed these tiny slits on the sides of a dog’s nose, keep reading for more on these powerful little body parts. 

Dog Nose Slits Explained

When we breathe, we inhale a mix of odor molecules along with air. When we exhale, those scents go out along with expelled air. 

When dogs inhale, the air and scents get directed into two separate pathways. One pathway circulates about 12% of the air to the back of the nose, where it stays for scent analysis. The rest goes to the lungs for respiration. The exhaled air exits through the nose slits, allowing the air to be expelled while the scents remain in the back of the nose. A single scent can remain in the dog’s nose for several respirations. 

Dog nose slits also serve to create a swirling effect of air when a dog is breathing. This swirling brings new scents into the nose rapidly, and is one reason why when a dog is following a scent trail, he’s unlikely to lose it. 

Follow Your Nose

Some breeds have better sniffers than others, but every dog has a great sense of smell and most love to work and play. Here are a few simple nose work games you could try with your best dog friend. 

Find it – Ask your dog to sit/ stay, show her her favorite treat, and then hide the treat in the same room while she can see you. Watch her find it. Since dogs are great at using their eyes before their noses, gradually make the game more scent oriented by hiding the treat where she can’t see it, or eventually even in another room of the house. Make it fun for her and give lots of praise. 

Which hand? – Show your dog a treat, and then put both hands behind your back, placing the treat in one of them. Bring both closed hands in front of you, and ask your dog “which hand?”. Watch her sniff out the hand that holds the treat. When she does, give her the treat. If she misses it at first, don’t give the treat. Put your hands behind your back and start over. This teaches her to use her nose instead of guessing!  Stay positive always, and give lots of praise and love.

The Amazing Canine Nose

Once a dog has been trained to isolate a specific scent, he’s not likely to forget it. Because dog noses are so sensitive, it’s imperative to keep them healthy. There are up to 19 different diseases that can affect a dog’s nose, including diabetes, cancer, and hypothyroidism. 

Regular preventive care exams are the best way to detect small problems before they become major health conditions. If you see nasal discharge or are worried about your dog’s health, please callAnimal Kind Veterinary Hospital or schedule an appointment right away. We are here to help!