Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Christmas Fun Photos: Day 12

Yooper Paws Christmas Photo Fun: New Toys!

Do your dogs get Christmas presents? A stocking? I want to see photos of what you do to help your pup celebrate Christmas.

Our dogs get to unwrap a present. Yes, they shred the paper to reveal some fun new toy then get to play with it. And they usually get some new treats too. Whatever your holiday traditions, please share your photos or videos with us!

For this Photo Fun, you can wrap a few treats in a scrap piece of wrapping paper or newspaper to let your dog practice their unwrapping skills before the big day. If you have a young pup, you could practice this, then amaze your family members as your pup unwraps their own Christmas presents on the big day!

Christmas Photo Fun #11

Yooper Paws Christmas Photo Fun: Pup's a Pippin'

Does your pup bark, howl, or sing on command? Or do you spend your time trying to teach them not to bark or make noise? Either way, I want to hear about it!

My husband loves to teach our dogs to howl when they hear an emergency vehicle. They come by it naturally since they are alerted to the noise long before we hear it. And that deep shepherd howl can almost rattle the windows! Isis, my son's shepherd/husky mix was a pro at Howling and boy could she make some noise! She would bark for any reason...on command, with the sound of a knock, when a car pulls in the driveway...when the wind blows too hard. LOL Literally anything! We made a mistake in her training by reinforcing it when she was young. We have a family friend that is afraid of large dogs, despite the fact that he is a rather large man that would intimidate most dogs. So when he came to visit we would try to make him more comfortable by giving him a bunch of treats so he could command the dogs in hopes that their obedience to the friendly stranger would help ease his fears. It helped, but didn't fix that issue! But it also taught Isis that when a friendly stranger is present, if she barked she would get told another command and the receive another treat. She did this for quite some time before we realized she was doing it on purpose and was quickly starting to gain some extra weight. We spent far more time trying to reinforce the quiet with Isis due to this bad habit, then we ever spent teaching her (by accident) the bad habit! Cam used to bark quite a bit too, but he learned the value of quiet long before Isis did. Azul has always been quiet with some playful talking with trusted friends, but very rarely actually doing a full bark. When he was a puppy, he had the cutest husky howl when he was upset.

When I get Azul with his Husky Pal, Maverick, I can get them both howling. Especially if we are headed to the dog park!

Please share your training experiences with barking and what you establish as appropriate and not-appropriate barking. But if your dog is in the habit of barking and your trying to teach them not too, please don't encourage bad behavior! You can share how you are working on the "quiet" cue too. If your dog is trained to use their voice on cue, please share photos or videos of them having fun using their voice.

Email your photos & videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com

Christmas Photo Fun #10

Yooper Paws Christmas Photo Fun: Pups a Leaping

Do you teach your dog to jump? I know most of spend a lot of time teaching our dogs not to jump on us or other people! Some dogs love to jump so starting low and gradually finding higher things to jump can be a great way to get rid of some physical and mental energy. Some dogs don't really enjoy it, but a good "over" or "under" command can come in handy if you hike thru the woods or other places where the dog might come across obstacles. Maybe you haven't taught your dog to do this on command. Cam knows the over command and will do it for a treat...but doesn't really enjoy doing it for fun. He does however love to take the shortest route to the flying tennis ball. So if I set up a jump in his path, he will clear it with ease. Show me your pictures of your air-born pups, leaping at any level their training allows. Have fun, and be safe! Remember if you have a young pup, jumping can be bad for developing joints so keep it low to the ground.

If your pup is too young, too old or simply shouldn't be jumping, you can do a Parkour Paws Up for this challenge at a height that will not hurt your dog! You can learn about K9 Parkour on our blog.

Don't forget to email your photos & videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com for a chance to win!

Christmas Photo Fun #9

Yooper Paws Christmas Photo Fun: Lassies Dancing

Dancing can be another great way to burn energy both physical and mental. It can also help to strengthen your bond with your dog which will bring about better obedience. 

So what is dancing with your dog? This varies greatly depending on the size and breed of your dog. So for this day's challenge, the goal is to have fun and show off your dog a bit at whatever level they are at. 

Smaller breeds tend to like dancing on their hind legs. Often then can move forward, backward, spin in circles, etc. Larger breeds tend not to enjoy the fancy footwork that small breeds do. My shepherds tend to get mad at me if I ask them to spin in a circle more then once or twice. But large dogs seem to be really great at competing in Free Style Dancing with, sometimes, elaborate routines that are designed to link multiple commands that are either given verbally or thru body language. 

Azul loves to dance by moving between my legs and moving with me. 
Watch this video to get an example!

However your dogs dance, have some fun by moving together and share your photos or videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com

Christmas Photo Fun #8

Yooper Paws Christmas Photo Fun: Puppy Eyes a Milkin'

This one should be easy for everyone because we are all familiar with those amazing puppy dog eyes!

Does your dog beg on command? Or do they just come by it naturally? Either way, I want to see it! Please share pictures of any command you have taught or simply the look on your pups face when your eating their favorite people food and they are hoping you will share!

Many people think staring or begging for food is wrong and choose to teach eye contact for other reasons. This can be for brief glances on a walk or prolonged staring contests. 

No matter how you train eye contact or if it comes naturally, when those eyes turn our way it melts our heart!

Be sure to share your puppy eyes to yooperpaws@gmail.com for a chance to earn a Christmas prize!

Christmas Photo Fun #7

Christmas Photo Fun: Pups a Playin'

It is way to cold in Upper Michigan to do Pups a Swimmin' so I want to see how your dog chooses to play. This whole event is about training and playing with your dog to encourage obedience thru the bond you develop when you work together. So for this day, I want to see what your pup chooses to play when they are free to make the decision.

Cam is my ball man. He will play ball all day long till he can't move any more, then rest 5 minutes and play again. He is all ball all the time. Azul's favorite game is tug! We've been playing since he was a baby. Anytime he's bored, he grabs a tug toy and drops it on a person's lap beggin' to play. I've been able to use his love of this game to do some great training! I built up his hand delivered retrieve starting with tug toys. I got him started with recall by holding tug toys out for him to run back to me. And we use tug as one of Azul's primary reinforcers because he has so much fun with it. Here at Yooper Paws of Love we play tons of games to help with teaching concepts that help our dogs make safe and awesome choices! You can see examples of some our favorite games on YouTube.

Some of our favorite games include:

Hide-n-Seek (with Zoomies)

Find It

Positions Games

Proximity Games

What games do you play with your pups? And what seems to be their favorite? Play that game today and share photos or videos of your pups a playin via email at yooperpaws@gmail.com

Christmas Photo Fun #6

Yooper Paws Christmas Photo Fun: Pups a Stayin'


This is an easy one. Most teach some form of stay to their dogs. No matter what level of training, I want to see how you use this command.

Please send your photos or videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com for a chance to win prizes. Prizes will be announced on the Yooper Paws Facebook page.

Variations of stay that we use:

Sit/Stay - This is the first one I teach a new pup almost as soon as they have mastered the Sit command. We use this on a daily basis for basic obedience, but it also comes in handy when out and about in the community. Our dogs will sit/stay before the meal is given or sit/stay to put a leash on or off.

Down/Stay - This is for a bit older dog that has already learned some self control. We use this for an extended stay of 2-3 minutes or longer. If pup needs a time out, I will show them a blanket and put them in a down stay. I may use a leash to help enforce it. Younger pups have a short memory, so they may need a reminder! Older dogs can do it for longer. If you've practiced it alot, they may be able to stay with distractions.

Wait - If we are doing a temporary pause such as waiting for traffic or approaching the end of an aisle or hallway, Wait allows my dog to chose whichever position they want to be in (sitting, standing, laying) as long as they hold position at my side.

Stay back - Allows the dog to move around as long as they don't get too close to you or your target. My husband loves this command in the kitchen, since as soon as you get something really yummy out to cook for dinner the circus of circling paws insists on being in the kitchen. It's also useful to teach a younger pup to stay back from objects that may be harmful such as opening the oven door.

What other variations do you use?

Christmas Photo Fun #5

Yooper Paws Christmas Fun: Golden Heels

Does your dog heel? And just what does heel mean to you? There are some people who believe that if a dog is walking on a leash, that they should always be at a heel. Yet this is also one of the hardest things to teach a dog. (Usually! Cam actually learned to heel in 1 short session and does it perfectly on or off leash! But he's the exception to the rule.) In competition obedience training, “heel” means the dog is walking on your left side with his head even with your knee while you hold the leash loosely. Puppy training can be a little more relaxed with the goal being that they walk politely on a loose leash without pulling. Some trainers prefer to say “let’s go” or “forward” instead of “heel” when they train this easy way of walking together. We train our dogs to do 4 variations of this with different commands for each as well as a different time and place for each command. 1. Heel - AKC positioning with the dogs head by our left leg, walking very close to us. (Or with many Service Dogs, handlers choose to do this heel on the right side.) 2. Easy - Simply means keep the leash loose. We do this on different lengths of leash and can also be used if a dog is too excited and pulling a bit hard. 3. Follow - Stay behind me and pay attention to my lead. This comes in very handy walking thru public places where there may be little space. It works thru doorways where you want to be first and have your pup come after you. (That's actually how we begin this training.) 4. Walk Nice - This is very close to heel, but more relaxed Basically, for us, it means stay within a 2 ft radius around me. It means the dog can have some freedom to choose exactly where they want to be (right, left, front, back) as long as they stay close by and keep the leash loose. This is the way Azul and walk when we are out and about in public places.

What variations of "heel" do you use? Can you capture it in a photo or video? It might help to have a partner to work your camera. If you can't capture it, simply describe your trick and how you use it when working or playing with your dog in the email.

Please send your photos or videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com for a chance to win prizes. Prizes will be announced on the Yooper Paws Facebook page.

Christmas Photo Fun #4

Yooper Paws Christmas Fun: Tricks in a Series

What tricks do your dogs know that require multiple commands? Do you have any tricks that take 4 commands? Some tricks require your dog to be in a certain position that may take more then one command to get them there. One of my favorites is Take a Nap. (Basically like playing dead, but in a more politically correct way that can be used in schools. Sit, Down, Take A Nap, OK/Wake Up 1. Sit - most dogs know this position 2. Down or Lay Down - again one of the first things you teach a dog, but usually has the dogs head raised off the ground and looking for the next direction. 3. Take a Nap - Dog lays head down on the floor. I have my dogs lay on their side, unless they have an aversion or medical reason to not lay flat on their side. Isis, who has allergies will often just lay her head straight down on the floor between her feet. 4. OK or Wake Up - We use wake up for this trick, but OK is our general release word that allows the dog to break position and reach for the treat. Tips: Again teach with dogs separate, but once they get it you can easily do it together. What other series of tricks do you use to get your dogs in a desired position. Send your photos or videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com for a chance to win prizes. Prizes will be announced on the Yooper Paws Facebook page.

Christmas Photo Fun #3

Christmas Photo Fun #3: Gentle Mouths

Does your dog take a treat nice and easy so they could be trusted to take candy from a baby? Or does your dog take treats like a baby shark? This is also a great way to teach children the proper way to hold a dog treat. As not all dogs they encounter will have a mouth that is gentle. So teaching them this safer way to hold the treat out for a dog is a great thing to do if you take your pup to visit schools, libraries, the park or other places where you encounter lots of kids. Tips: * Work with 1 dog at time to teach! * Lay hand flat so dog has to take the treat off your hand. This allows you to close your hand if you think your dog is being too hyper and not really focused on what you are trying to do. * Hold your hand low, well below the dogs nose so they are reaching down instead of up for a the treat. Once your dog has mastered the concept, you can change how you hold the treat. Can you lay the treat on your lap? How about a shoulder? Do you dare hold it in your mouth? What other ways can you demonstrate your dog's Gentle Mouth? Don't forget to send your photos or videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com for a chance to win prizes. Prizes will be announced on the Yooper Paws Facebook page.

Here is our Day 3 Video

Christmas Photo Fun #2

Yooper Paws Christmas Photo Fun:  Two treats to choose!

Basically pick 2 objects. 2 Treats, 2 Toys, 1 Dog Treat and 1 household item such as a banana...there are so many different items you can use to make this more fun. To start this with a new dog choose 2 food items such as 1 typical daily dog food then 1 high value treat. Have multiples of both items, but keep them up and hidden so your dog doesn't try to go for those. Have dog sit, down or whatever position where they are best able to focus on you. Then put one treat in each hand, with your hand closed have pup smell each hand, then say choose. When they seem more interested in one hand over the other, open that hand and give pup the treat. Immediately repeat the trick. If the pup seems to always choose the same treat, you can guess which one they like better. After a few times, switch the preferred treat into the other hand and do it again. Has you pup figured it out? Or did they choose the same hand they choose previously? Once the pup has the idea of the game, continue to make small changes throughout the Holiday Season and see how far you can go. There are so many ways to do this trick! Please send your photos or videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com for a chance to win prizes. Prizes will be announced on the Yooper Paws Facebook page. One tip: If you have multiple dogs, and this is new to your house don't do it with the dogs together the first few times. Separate the dogs so you can work one on one.

Azul's video from Day 2, 2021

Christmas Photo Fun #1

Yooper Paws Christmas Party
Seasonal Sits

1. Follow the Yooper Paws website at http://www.yooperpaws.com/ or Like the Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/workingpaws/ to see the hourly posts.

    2. As you have fun playing with your dog, getting them to do the Challenge, take pictures and post them in the group or email them to us at yooperpaws@gmail.com

In the first hour of Christmas my doggie did this for me, sat in pretty Christmas scene!

I chose this for Hour 1 because this is something easy almost every dog on the planet already knows how to do...Sit. And who doesn't like taking Christmas pictures of your pet. If you didn't, you wouldn't be participating in this fun Training event.

Christmas Photo Fun

Join Yooper Paws in having some Photo Fun this Christmas Season

We have tweaked our previous 12 Dog Days of Christmas into the new 2022 Christmas Photo Fun Challenge!

Today, December 6th, we will be announcing a new photo/video challenge every hour.  Do as many of the challenges as you can with your dog. 

Submit your photos & videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com for a chance to win some fun Christmas prizes. 

All submissions must be received by 5:00 PM (Central) on Dec 20th to be eligible for prizes. Winners will be announced on this website and our Facebook Page.

That's 12 Christmas Fun Photo Challenges! The more you challenges you complete the greater your chances to win. Winners will be selected with the help of the Crazy2Calm Canine Coaches.

Challenges will be listed here once they post:

Challenge #1 Seasonal Sits

Challenge #2 Pick One

Challenge #3 Gentle Mouths

Challenge #4 Tricks in Series

Challenge #5 Golden Heel

Challenge #6 Pups a Staying

Challenge #7 Pups a Playing

Challenge #8 Eyes a Milking

Challenge #9 Lassies Dancing

Challenge #10 Pups a Leaping

Challenge #11 Pups a Singing

Challenge #12 New Toys

Merry Christmas from all of the Yooper Paws Family!



Monday, December 5, 2022

Holiday Eating: Healthy vs NOT!

Holiday List Item #1: Review Holiday Things that Safe/Harmful for Dogs

It’s easy to find multiple lists of what is healthy for dogs and what is not. So there are a few things I like to ask myself, when looking at these lists. 

First and foremost, what is the source of the list? Who made it? And let me preface this post, with saying out right, I’m not an expert! I’m not a Vet or qualified pet nutritionist. I’m a dog trainer who deals mostly with behavior and canine emotions. As a dog owner, what my dog eats is very important to me and finding foods my dogs love is equally important.

Second is what does the source of the list have to gain from putting the list out? Veterinarians are typically hoping to help dog owners make better choices. Pet nutritionists are typically hoping to look at the whole picture of canine nutrition. Dog food companies are typically trying to sell a product. And dog trainers are generally trying to protect dog owners from making mistakes that could harm their dogs.

Third, and I’m not really sure why this is third in the list; perhaps it should be first. What do dogs have to say about specific foods? I think the reason this falls down to the bottom of the things we consider is because it can be extremely challenging trying to figure out how our dogs feel about the foods they are being given to eat. And we know from history that people do not always make the healthiest of choices when it comes to the foods we choose to eat, so it’s easy to think that perhaps our dogs might make poor choices too. 

Previous to WW2, most dogs ate what their people ate, commercial dog foods didn’t exist. When dry kibble first came out, it was designed as a cheap way to feed your dog and not much later became the easy way to feed your dog. Then not too many years later, dry dog food became the standard way to feed your dog. And in this day and age, dry food isn’t necessarily a cheap way to feed our dogs which is leading some people back to the style of raw feeding their dogs. 

This post isn’t about what YOU, as a dog owner, chooses to feed your dog as I feel that is an owner’s choice. But what my goal is, in this post is to help dog owners safely give their dogs more options without getting caught up in the struggle to find what is safe and what is not. If you are planning on feeding a totally raw diet, learning about dietary needs to make sure you are hitting every need in your selection of food is important. However this list is designed for the people who are looking for safe “holiday” or occasional treat items for their dog and therefore is not meant to be used for daily nutritional planning. As we humans know, there is a big difference between what is healthy for us to eat vs what we can allow ourselves to enjoy on special occasions. Also this is not a totally inclusive list, but more common things that we eat during the holidays.

General Rules of Thumb for Safe/Unsafe Foods

Generally SAFE Foods

All meats in general are safe. While skin and fat is safe, it’s high in fat making that unhealthy for most dogs.

Generally uncooked vegetables are safe; carrots, cucumber, celery, green beans, corn.

Tomato & potato is the exception to this rule, ripe and cooked tomatoes and potatoes are safe.

Generally fruits are not loved by most dogs.

Healthy fruits include bananas, blueberries, cranberries, oranges, cantaloupe, mango, peaches, pineapples, watermelon and the fleshy part of apples.

Nuts are generally healthy, but often are too salty; peanuts & cashews.

Dairy is very dependent on the dog, some tolerate it better than others.

Generally UNSAFE Foods

The seasoning we add to meats are generally unsafe as well as uncooked bones.

Common unsafe vegetables include avocado, and broccoli. (Can cause heart and oxygen issues.)

Raw green tomatoes and raw potatoes are unsafe for dogs.

The core, seeds, and pits of many fruits are unsafe; apple cores/seeds, cherry, apricot, & plum pits, etc.

Grapes & Raisins are BAD!

Macadamia, Pistachio & Almonds are not safe.

Small quantities are best, but watch for other spices & ingredients in the dairy that may be unsafe.

Other items to avoid!

Alcoholic Beverages: Dogs can be attracted to the sweetness of alcoholic beverages however, they are generally not safe.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals—including dogs—are similar to symptoms in people, including vomiting, breathing problems, coma, and in severe cases, death.

Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to heart arrhythmias, dangerously low blood pressure, or worse.

Chocolate is a commonly known unsafe food, which means no hot cocoa, mocha cappuccino, etc.

Caffeine contains methylxanthines. This can cause potentially fatal diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and irregular heartbeats.

In fact, your dog’s heart may race if he accidentally ingests coffee grounds or consumes any drink that is high in caffeine. This can lead to seizures, tremors, arrhythmias, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms.

Tobacco is a definite NO for dogs!

Sugar-free Goodies

Xylitol is a sweetener found in many human foods, such as sugar-free gum and candy. But in dogs, it can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar that leads to weakness and even seizures. Some dogs may also experience liver failure.

Yeast & Raw Bread/Dough

The raw dough can expand in your dog’s stomach, causing severe pain and even potentially life-threatening torsion or rupture of the stomach.


Spices Are Challenging

The reason I believe spices are so challenging is because some are outright good, some outright bad, and some are dependent on the amount of spice in relation to the size of the dog. For that reason, I won’t go over a ton of spices other than note that salt is one we easily use too much in human foods for our dogs. Traditional holiday spices that we use that are BAD include nutmeg, onion, garlic, chives & leeks.

Holiday Recipes

This year Yooper Paws of Love in partnership with Crazy2Calm Canine Coach Collaborative is putting together a Holiday Cookbook! Please share your best doggie recipes via email to yooperpaws@gmail.com.

Check out last year's Yooper Paws Holiday Treat Recipe, Sardine Treats
And here is the 2022 Yooper Paws Holiday Treat Recipe, Salmon Patties

Salmon Patty Meals & Treats


2 Salmon packets

1 Egg

¼ C Cracker Crumbs


Mix up salmon and egg in a bowl, then pour in about half the crumbs, mixing to meatloaf consistency.

Use an oven safe pan (I love cast iron), heat a small amount of oil in the pan.

Form hamburger patties to the appropriate size for your dog or mini patties for treat size and place in warm oil to brown slightly. Place the pan in a 400 degree oven and bake for at least 8 min but until they are the desired texture for your dog.

July Party Schedule

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