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A welcome change- advice/suggestions/opinions requested

All Breed of Dogs

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CitricPrincess
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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:25 pm

A welcome change- advice/suggestions/opinions requested

Postby CitricPrincess » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:16 pm

So, first week of january, I'm returning to college (I've taken a quarter off). However, instead of returning to student housing, I'm going to be getting a pet friendly apartment and bringing Renji with me.

This will be all kinds of exciting. I've beenn feeling quite bad about it, but I've been going to school for two years straight, with only short breaks between quarters to come home and see my puppy. He's been in the care of my parents, and while they love him and have been taking wonderful care of him and doing a surprisingly good job with his socialization, they are pet owners with pet dogs, and aren't quite as hands on and dedicated as I was hoping to be raising Ren. Which is fine, I didn't ask them to be, he's my dog and they didn't ask for a shiba (though now they are thinking about adopting a rescue shiba when I take Ren away, but what ev XD). So now, he's gonna be spending much more time with me, training and socializing and playing, and getting a little more focus put on him specifically.

And so, there will be changes and things. And that where thingss get rough, cause I have some idea of what I want to do, but I was raised in a house where the dogs didn't even get let inside till we moved to colorado and the weather reached below frigid in the winter. Dog food is the cheapest stuff on the sams shelf that has meat as the first ingredient, and trips to the petstore are rare as the pet section of the grocery store has everything wed need. My focus on my animals is quite a bit greater than my parents (they see me somewhat obsessive and I think they may worry, but what ever) but I wasn't raised with it, so now in college and out on my own, I am learning much.

So, um, while I'm being rambly about stuff, that brings us to my main reason for posting this (I swear I'll stop ramblin so much eventually).

I have no idea what would be best to feed my dog.

Like I mentioned, he has lived on sams baught kibble till now. And I don't have a problem with this, per se. Both our dogs are happy and healthy enough, our previous dog had nothing better and lived to 14 when age was her downfall, and for a largish lab mix, I don't think that's too shabby. But I have a few reasons why I think Ren would be better off with something different:

-health. I've heard there were many diets for dogs that were healthier than store bought kibble.
-cost. I've heard even some of the healtier diets ended up cheaper than dry dog food. While health is more important and I don't mind spending a lil extra for my beloved pets, I am also a full time college student, and once I go back to school id be hard pressed to even find time for a part time job, so I'm earning money now, but it also has to go towards my food, rent, school needs...
-Ren really doesn't like dry food. I mean, he eats it without complaint cause that is the meal we give him and he knows he needs to eat, but I can always tell by his expression as he crunches it. He refuses any crunchy treat and prefers soft or chewy textures. I don't blame him, I'm the same way, but if I could find him a meal that he enjoys, instead of just accepting, I think wed both be a little happier.

So, I'm not entirely sure what options I even have. Does anyone have any suggestions or recomendations? He's 3 years old (or will be on jan 5th), 18lbs, fairly mellow for a shiba, and never over eats (though part of that may just be his dislike of kibble, so I don't know if he'd keep up that good habit with anything else). His all time favorite treat is cheese, espially kraft american (I'm sure he'd LOVE if I just fead him a bowl of that for a meal, but that would not fit in the 'healthy' category for anything XD)

I wouldn't mind something id have to prepare. Actually id almost prefer it, he's such an indipendent dog, wed play till he got bored then go off on his own, and I'd just sit lazy-like on my computer till the sun fell and rose again, so the excuse to get up and do something in the kitchen would be lovely. XD I have looked through the food and snack thread a touch, but it seemed to be mostly snacks and treats, which isn't my prime focus at the exact moment.

Id also be interested in like suggestions for cats, as I'm considering adopting one from the shelter when Ren and I get settled over there. I also wouldn't mind any other tips and tricks for dog training or care that my somewhat lazy experiance may not know.

Like for one, does anyone know how I can train my dog 'lay down'? He knows sit, stay, and come (though doesn't have 100% success in the actually obeying part of those, he's getting better), and I'm trying to train him to stand on his hind legs on command, as he performs that action himself so naturally, though the problem with this is that due to my familys history of lazy 'training' he sees any treat as a 'sit' command, which makes training anything else a pain. However, I cannot get him to lay down in any setting where I could enforse it as a command. If I try the normal 'sit them then drag the treat past his nose and along the ground till he follows it with his nose' he just sits and stares at the treat all 'so, aren't you gonna give it to me? I sat.' Often, when he lays down on his own, he lays down front first, bowing and then. Lowering his rear instead of sitting and lowering his head like most dogs seem to, so I think it would be better to teach him with that already natural action but I don't know how.

So... sorry for the long post, but any help/opinions/suggestions on that matter would be much appreciated. I often feel a little naive, but when it comes to my pets and their care, I am a very eager student, willing and ready to learn :)
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Juska
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Re: A welcome change- advice/suggestions/opinions requested

Postby Juska » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:24 pm

I feed my dogs Taste of the Wild and Simply Nourish (PetSmart store brand). They're not crazy expensive and are pretty darn good for the price. My dogs love it and prefer it over any other brand. They eat less of it than cheaper brands, too, I've noticed.

Have you tried adding a little warm water to his kibble to soften it?

You could try raw or a home made diet, but it might be out of your budget unless you know a place where you can get meat/other ingredients for a bit cheaper. Buying straight from the grocery store might prove too expensive, but that's just a guess. I get pig's feet and other weird raw parts for Emo from our Weis butcher for pretty cheap, but it's not a major part of her diet. Conte (the little dog) doesn't really care for bones and stuff, so he settles for an occasional rawhide chip or pig's ear as a treat.

Also, I trained my first dog, Max, who had never learned any command before we brought him home at the age of 3-6, to lay down by first saying the command, then motioning down with my hand/treat, and if that didn't coax him down, I'd gently take his front legs and pull them forward to help him into a laying down position. That's how I taught him. He went on to pass the basic CGC certification and become a therapy dog :)

My parents do that, too. If I go over to the treat jar they both come to me and sit down immediately. My dad's training method is "give them a cookie whenever we let them out to go potty", so yeah, lol.

For Emo, she's pretty smart so if I motion a certain way she'll just pick up on it. If I point at the ground she lays down (or rather, she drops with incredible speed to get the treat in her grocery hole as fast as possible, haha). I'm now working on having her do commands without making eye contact and verbal-only commands.
Pet parent of Emo the border collie mix, Conte the schnoodle and Namira the harlequin cat!
CitricPrincess
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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:25 pm

Re: A welcome change- advice/suggestions/opinions requested

Postby CitricPrincess » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:11 pm

Ah, much thanks for the reply.

I've heard of Taste of the Wild, I think. And I have seen the PetSmart brand, but the petstore I typically go to in Utah is a petco... I'd have to try those brands, see what he likes. I haven't tried to soften it with water, mostly as the dogs are fed in the garage (Idk why, but I brought Ren's food bowl inside the other day as he was too late to get it before Aspen finished hers and she tried to claim his and not let him near it, the crazy old glutton. But Dad got all annoyed and made sure I knew that we weren't gonna feed the dogs inside. 'Cause they are totally messier eaters. Totally. But what ever, Dad's house, Dad's rules) I'll have to try the water thing, though, it did cross my mind at a point today, after I posted, that I remembered someone saying they did that for their dog some time ago. It may get him drinking more water, too (The silly boy does hate water and only drinks when he's dry-nose parched. Unless the water is in puddles, spilled, post-shower remnants in the bathroom, or a dirty, stale collection of rainwater outside. I think he dislikes water as much as I do. Difference is I can make up some of it with soda/tea/coffee/water flavoring. ... I don't guess they make tea or flavored water for dogs? XD I have a feeling he'd like that more than water. Mom (half jokingly) suggested beef bullion, but that sounds like a little too much salt to give him, at least any more than once in a blue moon).

I have looked a little into the raw diet. It probably would be a little pricey, but at the same time I wonder if I could pull it off just with the fact that the size they sell things at in the grocery store is oft too large for just me, and he's a small dog who doesn't eat a whole lot. I don't know, though. I'd have to look into it, perhaps. But he isn't keen on pigs ears or rawhide, though he does chew pigs ears over time. Rawhide and bones are rarely actually chewed on, but he loves putting them in a circle and sitting in the middle to guard them. Adourable, but money goes much better toward the squeaky toys he actually plays with. XD

The thing with the training is he is intelligent, but also more stubborn than a mule. I've tried the motioning down with hand/treat in every form I could find to do so, and he just sits and watches the treat expectantly. He sat, so by golly he deserves that treat. What? I expect him to do something more? Fat chance. I've tried to gently lay him down/ pull his font legs, but it doesn't work really as if I take his forepaw, no matter how gently, his he stands his hindlegs so he isn't even sitting any more, and occasionally twists himself around in such a way that either his forepaw escapes or I have to drop it before he hurts himself (though I may be slightly paranoid there).

Our family dog, Aspen, is great with what commands she knows (assuming you can keep her from rolling over long enough, as she is the most submissive dog in the world AND loves belly rubs. Quite the combination that causes much tripping if you don't watch out). She knows sit, shake (and high-five), and come, and to some extent stay. I haven't worked with her enough to actually teach her lie down, but she is good at following the hand/treat motion for it, so I know she could learn it easily. But she does react a lot differently to training than Ren does, wanting more to please people, while Ren is out for himself and cheese.
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Juska
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Re: A welcome change- advice/suggestions/opinions requested

Postby Juska » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:34 pm

For down, you could try sitting him down by pressing his lower back with your hand, then with the other hand pressing down on his shoulder blades to coax him all the way down. Gently, of course. Give the command one time, do the motion, praise, rinse and repeat. Might work, but Shibas are Shibas and sometimes they just don't wanna.
Pet parent of Emo the border collie mix, Conte the schnoodle and Namira the harlequin cat!
CitricPrincess
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:25 pm

Re: A welcome change- advice/suggestions/opinions requested

Postby CitricPrincess » Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:22 am

Yeah, he's a shiba, and thus being a shiba and being stubborn. I don't know that I'm ever gonna get him to the point of wining any obedience titles or anything, but I'd love for him to know most of the basic commands, just so he can be well behaved and polite any place we go, esp as I'm moving him to the city where he'll be around more people and more stuff.

I worked with him some this morning, before everyone else woke up, including Aspen so he hasn't even gotten breakfast yet. If nothing else it made him incredibly eager for the prize. Sitting him and then coaxing down his shoulders doesn't really work. He just stands there with your hand on his sturdy shoulders, looking at you like 'what?' and the only way to actually coax him all the way would be to not be gentle. Not doing that.

I feel like my best bet would be to teach him to bow first and work from there, instead of working from the sit, as he naturally lays down attentively from a bow first. However, I find myself first having to teach him 'stand' so he doesn't auto sit every time he sees a treat. Slow process, but he's starting to figure things out.

I have a clicker somewhere, and that would probably help with some of this. I'd have to find it though, I have a feeling I left it out at one point and it got swept up in Mom's frantic 'we have guests coming' cleaning. Worst comes to worst, its cheap and there is a petstore I can swing by on my way home from work.

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