My Doggie Valentine

You love your dog. That goes without saying. They’re wonderful companions that greatly improve our lives. We all love on our dogs by petting them and giving them treats but have you ever considered other ways to enrich their lives as they enrich ours? This Valentine’s Day, show your dog you love them in new ways and make them your doggie valentine.


Dogs need mental and physical stimulation, in order to live happy and fulfilled lives. A bored dog is liable to act out in undesired ways leading to unwanted frustrations. A working dog is a happy dog. Teaching your dog a new trick and putting the time in to train with them will help deepen your bond and positively reinforce desired behavior. Our trainers can teach you several tricks and games to play with your dog to help you keep your dog stimulated and well behaved. Set up a complimentary meet and greet with one of our Knoxville dog trainers

Field Trips:

Dogs love to go on walks but are their walk becoming routine? Next time you reach for that harness take your buddy on an adventure to somewhere new. Take your dog out for a hike, go to the dog park, or take them with you to run errands at pet-friendly stores. Incorporating field trips to new places is exhilarating for them and will stimulate them more than a routine walk. Take your pup on a Valentine's day hike, see parks near you


Does your dog have a favorite toy or puzzle that has seen better days? Treat them to a new one and watch them light up with joy. A brand new puzzle toy can provide hours of mental engagement and stimulation. Especially if they have already figured out their other puzzles. Having a constant rotation of toys to play with keeps your furry friend engaged and focused on their new toys rather than your nice shoes or couch cushions. Valentine's day is all about giving gifts to your most loved ones, why not spoil your dog?

Have a Spa Day:

Just like you love to get your nails and hair done, taking your furry friend to the groomer can show them that you love them and care for them. While they may not necessarily enjoy being at the groomer. They will enjoy nicely trimmed nails and a well-brushed coat. Keeping on top of your dog's hygiene, especially for certain breeds that need regular maintenance, leads to happier pups.

Enriching Their Diet:

You already take great care in what you feed your dog by buying them special kibble, adding a few things into their diet can help curb the boredom of mealtime. Cut the ends off raw vegetables and add it to their bowl, add egg whites you were going to discard from baking, throw in a spoonful of cottage cheese or a splash of fish oil. Zesting up their meals shows them that you care and want them to enjoy mealtime as much as you do.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

Building Trust With An Anxious Dog

Those sad puppy dog eyes captivate your attention but is there more going on? From the rescue who suffered trauma, to the under socialized dog struggling with stranger danger, anxious dogs are certainly not uncommon. These dogs may struggle with fast movements and loud sounds and their response to fear can be sad and even scary at times. Moments can quickly go from fun and fine to fight or flight. Building trust with an anxious dog take patience, understanding, and a positive dog training plan.

Have Patience

It takes time to calm and reshape anxious thoughts so have patience with the anxious dog in your life. Pushing anxious dogs out of their comfort zone too much or too quickly can have disastrous and even dangerous results. Positive dog trainers always let their students set the pace and work to manage and minimize any negative experiences. You should start working in a low stress and low distraction environment. Give the dog as much space as they require, toss lots of treats, and let the dog approach you when they are ready.

Understand Dog Language

Dogs use so many body language signals to communicate. It not just barks, growls, and wagging tails, there is a lot more you should be watching for. When trying to build trust with an anxious dog, you should be watching for signs of stress and managing the situation to promote a learning environment that feels safe and secure. If an anxious dog is showing signs of stress, back off and find a way to change up the situation. Anxious dogs will often display stress by...

  • Pacing or being unsettled
  • Licking their lips
  • Sneezing
  • Yawning
  • Turning head away or avoiding a situation
  • Dilating pupils
  • Stiffening body posture
  • Tucking Their Tail
  • Pulling their ears down
  • Submissive peeing

Have a Positive Dog Training Plan

Building trust with an anxious dog will require some positive dog training skills not only for the sake of safety but dog training is also a great team building activity! Just like pavlov trained his dog to love the sound of a bell, anxious dogs can also be trained to have a positive response to things that may be causing stress right now. Using positive dog training will help assign positive thoughts and reshape the anxious dog's mindset. Anxious dogs also need a good handle on some basic commands so when things aren't going well, they have a way to receive and understand direction. Dog owners with an anxious dog need to be able to tell their dog when to "focus" on them and "leave it" away from situations that could have a poor outcome. Those dog owners will also need to be able to tell their anxious dog when to "stay" and when to "come." Basic obedience skills aren't just about achieving tricks for treats, it's about being able to tell your dog exactly what they need to do in any situation. Do you have an anxious dog who needs a positive dog trainer? Book a complimentary Meet and Greet to get an evaluation and personalized training plan from one of our Knoxville dog trainers.

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The Camping Dog

camping dog

Spectacular views, fresh air, starry skies. Camping is such a great adventure filled with things we would love to share with our beloved dogs. However, you may be hesitant to take your dog out on your next adventure if you dog has issues with chasing wildlife, barking, running away, leashing pulling, etc. Camping is suppose to be a relaxing escape so we don't want our dog's behavior causing it to be a lot of stress and hassle to take them along with us. Don't worry our positive dog trainers have some tips for you

Before You Go

To have your dog prepared for camping the great outdoors, you will want to consider some useful dog training cues and behaviors for your dog to practice. Practicing at home or at your local park before you go venturing off together will help ensure your dog knows the cue and is able to respond to it around distractions. Some of the most useful dog training cue for camping are..

  • Loose Leash Walk

    You'll want to make sure your camping dog has mastered the loose leash walk before you go camping. Since your dog will have to be on a leash most of the time during your trip, you don't want them pulling on you every bathroom break and walk.

  • "Come"

    Having a good recall is the single most important skill for every dog to know, especially when venturing into great outdoors. If you dog gets away from you at any point in time, you have to know they will come back when called, no matter how many distractions are around.

  • "Stay"

    Stay is a very useful command for your dog while you are loading and unloading camping gear from the car. It can also be a life saver if your were to encounter any wildlife on your trip.

  • "Lay"

    At the end of a long day, you will want to relax by the fire and look up to the stars. Make sure to plan on packing a comfy dog bed and make sure they know how to lay down, so you can let them know when time to settle for the day.

In Camp

Once you feel like your camping dog is ready and has the necessary skills and supplies to be safe and have fun on your next camping adventure, its time to think about your dog's routine. You want to make sure you start positive and set a good camping routine with your dog.
  • Dog Walks are one of the most important elements of your dog's care. You will want to make sure your dog is getting time to explore and exercise. If you aren't doing a lot of hiking during the day we suggest starting your dog's morning and finishing their day with a dog walk. This will get them relaxed and focused at the beginning of the day and allow them to unwind and chill out at the end of the day, as well as give them time to go potty.
  • Greeting Others Dog's learn behaviors from past experiences, so you will want to set a standard or routine for how your dog should greet other campers or dogs. We suggest practicing a sit for pets routine when greeting others at home and in the camp ground!"
  • Keep Your Dog Secure and always abided by local leash laws regardless of how well behaved your dog is. Make sure you have a plan for securing you dog while in camp. You can use a hands free dog leash to keep your dog close by your side, or consider something like Knot-a-Hitch by Ruffwear. You dog should never be unsupervised while on a leash or line. Having a kennel available in your tent or camper might be something to consider as well if your dog is kennel trained.
  • Feeding Time is not only necessary, it is also an opportunity to occupy your dog for awhile, leaving them tired. Plan to make meal times, working time for your dog while camping. You can bring an interactive feeder or scatter dog food in a patch of grass for your dog to sniff around and find. Draining your dog's mental energy is just as important as physical exercise

Come prepared and you are sure to have a great time with your dog. Enjoy your trip and remember to leave no trace. Does your dog need extra help with their leash manners or public behavior before going out in public? Book a complimentary in-home meet and greet with a positive dog trainer today!

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The Bark Knoxville

My Curious Canine was founded with the mission to be a place where behavior and wellness come together to meet the needs of dogs and their owners. We have offered a fear-free standard for dog training, grooming, dog walking, and pet sitting for years, and now we are excited to announce our newest expansion: The Bark Knoxville. Knoxville needs a community space to bring their dogs for play and essential care.

The Bark Knoxville

The Bark is able to perform those services on a larger scale. We offer doggy daycare, an indoor and outdoor dog park, safe play spaces for dogs and an inviting beer garden for their owners where they can watch their dog have the time of their life.

The Bark is located at 601 Lamar Street near the Old City and just a short trip to downtown and the University of Tennessee.

Knoxville: A Dog Friendly City

Knoxville is one of the dog friendliest cities in America. We have one of the highest rates of dog ownership in the country and wonderful businesses and parks to enjoy; but all of Knoxville's dog parks are publicly owned and completely unregulated.

Lets be honest, public dog parks aren't always all fun and wagging tails. You never know if your dog is going to have the same play style as the other dogs there. You don't know if mean or aggressive dogs could be there. There are zero pet professionals around to notice and address negative interactions. The weather could have you dripping sweat, shivering or running back home to give your muddy dog a bath.

Indoor & Outdoor Play

Socializing is a must have part of your dog's care to ensure mental stability and happiness. Knoxville has a need for a privately owned dog park that offers indoor and outdoor play.

We require a temperament testing before admission. We are able to track incidents as they arise and prevent problem dogs from reentering our play spaces until they have completed an applicable training program and can pass temperament testing.

The Bark offers monthly and annual memberships as well as day passes in additon to in-house training services, doggy day care, and group classes.

To learn more about The Bark, visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

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Muzzle Training

Better To Have It and Not Need It

Muzzle training can seem extreme and often times of unnecessary. Whether you have a sweet dispositioned dog or a dog prone to fear and aggression, every dog needs to know how to comfortably wear a muzzle. There are so many situation that can come up whether during pain or fear, where you or a pet professional may need to use a muzzle to safely provide necessary care. You don't want the first time your dog puts on a muzzle to be the time they need it. Your dog is never going to like having something on their face during a moment that is already stressful, such as getting a wound examined by the vet. Its better to start training your dog to enjoy wearing a muzzle now, before you need it! Follow our positive dog trainers' top 3 key steps to training your dog to wear a muzzle

Buy The Right Kind of Muzzle

The best type of muzzle to work with is a basket muzzle. You want to have an open section at the bottom of the muzzle to feed treats through. This feature also allows for your dog to eat and drink with the muzzle is still on. Another huge benefit to a basket style muzzle is that they allow your dog to pant unlike other types of muzzles. Panting is an essential function for your dog to be able to cool off. Dogs do not sweat like human. Dogs cool themselves by panting. The Baskerville Muzzle is a great, affordable option with many different size options.

Start Slow

Make sure to note what is the top and bottom of the muzzle. You want to cup it in your non dominate hand and be ready to feed treats through the bottom open section with your dominate hand. Pick an extra yummy treat your dog will LOVE! When you are ready, start feeding your dog treats through the muzzle as they stick their nose in to retrieve them. Say "Good Muzzle" anytime they do. Your dog trainer will always tell you a lot of verbal praise will be helpful! Eventually transition your dog to sticking their nose in on command and holding the position for longer periods between treats. A great hand signal for this command is putting at the dog muzzle.

Keep moving forward

Only after your dog is holding the position with their nose in the muzzle for longer periods without fear, can you begin clipping the muzzle around their neck. At first, you will clip it on and take right back off. This will allow your dog the chance to normalize that sensation without fear and give you the chance to adjust sizing little by little until you get the perfect fit. You want to make sure you size your dog's muzzle to be snug. You don't want them to be able to slip it off. As your dog gets used to fully putting on the muzzle, you can start to extend how long it is on your dog. Our Knoxville dog trainers encourage you to practice other commands while the muzzle is on to distract your dog away from messing with it, and giving them a fun activity to associate with the muzzle. Your dog should view their muzzle as a source of treats and fun times. If your dog scratches at the muzzle, try to get your dog to do another trick or command before removing it. You do not want your dog to learn that scratching at the muzzle is an effective way to get it off.

Get more help from our Knoxville dog trainers, book a lesson today!

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What? Dogs Get Massages?!

Pamper Your Pet!

Your dog sure does love belly rubs and ear scratches but did you know they can benefit from canine massage as well? Dogs of all ages and body conditions can benefit from regular massages. It helps your dog is so many ways! Such as...

  • Improving Circulation
  • Improving Flexibility
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Speeds Up Recovery Time
  • Alleviates Joint and Muscle Pain
There is nothing like a good massage to make your feel relaxed and comfortable. Massages aren't just for humans, your dog can get a dog massage as well. Our Knoxville dog massage therapist is accepting new clients and she is excited to tailor a massage to fit your dog's needs. When we are considering our dog's long term health, prevention is key. Keeping your dog at a good weight and in good body condition can significantly improve and extend the length of their life. You may be wondering how can a dog massage help my dog?

For the old dog

Old dog are probably the first that comes to mind when thinking about the benefits of canine massage. As your dog ages they lose flexibility and muscle tone, they also are more likely to suffer from arthritis. A canine massage can help improve their flexibility so that they can get up and moving better on a daily basis. For achy joints and muscles, there is nothing like the benefits from having someone work out all the kinks. Our Canine massage therapist in Knoxville, TN can bring so much more joy and comfort to your dog in their old age.

For the dog in recovery

One of the most important parts of recovering from surgery, is keep your dog's body in good working order as they heal. Regular dog massages after surgery can speed up recovery and improve your dog's surgery results. Our Canine massage therapist is well versed in dog physical therapy and can use dog massage to help your dog recovery more quickly, post surgery.

For the anxious dog

A dog massage has a relaxing effect for your dog, just like it does for us. If you dog is struggling with anxious behavior, you will find that a canine massage can help them relax and let go of that anxiety.

The dog that does sports

Dog sports are so much fun for you dog! Doing sports is so great for your dog's mind and body. However, all the jumping, running, and twirling can take a toll on your dog's body. It is so so important for you dog's long term health, to maintain their body condition as an essential part of participating in dog sports.

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5 Dog Behaviors Hiring a Dog Walker Can Solve

Dog Walks Are Essential

Finding time for your dog's daily walk can sometimes feel impossible but that doesn't change the fact that dog walks are a necessary part of your dog's care. You don't have to do it all alone, there are wonder dog walkers in Knoxville, TN who are here to help you bridge the gap in your dogs care needs. Hiring a dog walker not only provides essential care for your dog but it also curbs a lot of boredom and stress related behaviors. Dogs with overactive minds who are lacking the calm mindset regular dog walks provide have a lot of happiness to gain from a dog walker and a lot of unwanted behaviors to lose. We are here to share to top 5 dog behaviors that can be solved from hiring a Knoxville dog walker.

Hire A Dog Walker and Say Goodbye To These Unwanted Behaviors

  • Barking: Wear out your dog's brain with a long dog walk and your dog won't feel so bored that they need to bark at every little noise
  • Jumping Up: Our Knoxville dog walkers don't just go for a simple walk, they work on training and manners at the same time. A good dog walker will teach your dog to sit to greet others while out on their walk.
  • Hyper Activity: Remember a tired dog is a good dog. A dog walker will tire you dog out to the max degree and return them exhausted.
  • Leash Reactivity: Our Knoxville dog walkers are dog trainers too! We make the most of your dog's walk by making sure to work on training and promote good manners. Each dog walk is a step towards better behavior.
  • Anxiety & Fear: The best way to build your dog's confidence is to expose them to a lot of different things. Our Knoxville dog walkers encourage your dog to step out of their bubble while on walks and reward their courage.

Its More Than Just A Walk

A quality dog walker shouldn't let your dog just drag them about smelling. Our Knoxville Dog Walkers know that every interaction is an opportunity to do more! Our dog walkers work in training practice to promote a loose leash walk, minimize reactivity, and create good manners that you will see the next time you walk your dog on your own. A dog walk is the time to put your dog to work draining energy and filling their desire for enrichment activities. There are all sorts of games your dog walker can play with your dog along their walk such as Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light. Our dog walkers are dedicated to getting the most out of your dog's walk so that they return to you tired and well behaved.

Book a dog walk for your dog today! Our dog walkers are available everyday to enrich and exhaust your dog. Your dog is only one dog away from better behavior

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Dog Barking Driving You Crazy?

Shut Up Already!

"If I hear one more bark, I'm going to lose my mind!" If we have heard it once, we have heard it a thousand times. Your dog's barking will drive you absolutely bonkers. With working from home being the new normal for the foreseeable future, your dog's barking could also be driving your coworkers crazy, or worse your boss... If you wanting a solution to dog barking today, let's first look at what causes it.

Reasons Why Your Dog May Be Barking

  • Prey Drive: If your dog is obsessive about watching squirrels and birds out the window, the dog barking you are hearing can be from high prey drive.
  • Boredom: If your dog is doing other boredom behaviors, such as digging, chewing, licking the couch, pulling stuffing from toys, or being generally hyper, boredom could be causing your dog to bark.
  • Anxiety: Does the tiniest noise send your dog into a barking fit? Does your dog also experience shaking, whining, or other nervous behaviors? Anxiety could be motivating your dog to bark
  • Wanting Attention:Your dog is accustomed to getting your attention when you are home. Now that you are home all the time, your dog may not be understanding that your attention can't always be given.
  • Desire to Guard: Dogs with a desire to protect and guard the home are going to be more likely to bark when people and animals can be seen or heard outside.

It Could Be Any Number of Reasons. We have ONE Solution!

All of the reasons for dog barking we discussed above have one thing in common. They are caused by your dog having an overactive mind. The best way to promote a calm mindset for your dog is through stimulation and enrichment activities. You may be too busy to give your dog more time and attention that their barking is going to require. We are here to help. Our Knoxville dog trainers can help curb this behavior over time with positive reinforcement dog training but they can also help you see results today by taking your dog on one of our famous working dog walks. Our dog trainers don't just walk your dog, they train them while they walk to drain the most amount of physical and mental exercise possible. Dog walks are a great way to drain down the mental energy that fuels your dogs overactive mind and dog barking. After one of our dog walking lessons, your dog will return home exhausted and ready to relax the rest of the day.

Listen to Your Dog

Your dog is saying something to your with their dog barking. It may be way too loud but the message must be heard. Your dog NEEDS a Knoxville dog walker to help ease their mind, keep them fit, and promote good mental health. Don't let your dog's message go unheard or you will be dealing with that awful dog barking forever. Remember that a tired dog is always a good dog. A simple dog walk alone is amazing to tire your dog out, but a working dog walk with one of our positive reinforcement dog trainers is a great way to go above an beyond for your dog's health and well being. You are only one dog walk away from a quite day. a href="">Book a dog walk today!

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The Easiest Way to Train Your Dog

Don't Get Frustrated, Get Positive!

Training your dog can get really frustrating sometimes. Whether you are trying to solve dog aggression, jumping, barking or just looking to work on basic dog training commands, there are a million resources online with so many different opinions. It leaves dog owners with a lot of questions. How do you know the best dog training method for you dog? How much time is it going to take? Can you and your dog be successful? We are here to help you navigate this decision and make the best choice for you and your dog. We have the secret for the easiest way to train your dog

How do you know the best dog training method for your dog?

Look to the scientists! The science behind dog behavior and learning has come so far in the last decade. We know so many things we didn't before, like....

  • Dominance theory is outdated and WRONG! Dr. David Mech, the scientist who developed dominance theory in 1968, also disproved it.
  • Dogs are more motivated by rewards than punishment
  • Dogs place different values on different rewards
  • A wagging tail doesn't always mean a happy, friendly dog
  • Dogs use over 20 body language signals to communicate
The science is in and its crystal clear. The most effective and easiest dog training method is positive reinforcement. You will always attract more bees with honey than vinegar. Don't worry, you won't be stuck using treats forever. There are tons of dog training rewards that aren't food related. Does your dog want to go outside? Go on a walk? Snuggle on the couch? Those are all rewards that can be used to develop good manners and good behavior.

How much time is it going to take?

All the dog owners we work with share the same concern on the first day. How am I going to find the time to practice and make this work? Dog training shouldn't be something you do an extra 30 minutes per day. The skills you learn from your dog trainer should be viewed as communication tools that fit seamlessly into your life and schedule. You have daily interactions with your dog that can't be avoided. You have to let your dog outside to go potty. You have to feed your dog twice per day. Your dog asks to play fetch every night and you do take regular walks. All of those natural interactions with your dog are dog training opportunities! Practicing stay before going out to potty takes only 5-15 seconds. If you practice every time you have this golden opportunity, not only will you be practicing your dog's stay command, you will also be teaching them to always wait before rushing out doorways. Our dog trainers specialize in making dog training fit into your life without disruption, in a way that builds the manners and dog behavior you desire.

Can you and your dog be successful?

ABSOLUTELY! Nothing can prepare you better for success than a good dog trainer who teaches your dog psychology and simple ways to practice your dog training skills in your everyday life. Anything is possible through the power of positive reinforcement dog training! Our clients see success everyday with goals like separation anxiety, aggression, barking, jumping up, counter surfing, basic obedience, off leash dog training, and more! If you have a dog training goal, we have a plan to get you there! Book a complimentary Meet and Greet with one of our positive reinforcement dog trainers today!

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Is Board and Train Right For My Dog?

Could board and train be your dog training solution?

Long work hours, kids, cleaning the house, and the million other things on your to do list can prevent you from being able to spend the time your dog needs on dog training. We know that with such busy schedules, the last thing you want to come home to in a misbehaving dog. How frustrating! Board and train programs can be a really attractive dog training option in these situations. Your dog gets dedicated, daily attention to their training needs, you get a short break, and your dog will return home with better behavior than they left. Its just that simple right? Not quite. Board and train is a great option for a lot of dogs and owners, but it may not fit every dog and client.

How does board and train work?

At My Curious Canine, we first assign you a dog trainer to meet with to discuss your dog training goals. Your dog trainer will evaluate your dogs behavior to suggest a length of stay that can accommodate your goals. Our positive reinforcement dog trainers then transport your dog to their home to live alongside them and work on their training skills for a minimum of four hours per day broken into several sessions. Our dog trainers work on obedience, impulse control, and even address issues like fear, anxiety, and dog aggression. Our dog trainers use positive reinforcement and dog psychology to reach your dog training goals. We never use dominance, pain, or starvation tactics. You will receive daily updates about your dog's successes and struggles so you can monitor how they are progressing through their dog training program. Upon return your trainer will go over the skills they learned and make sure you know how to maintain the progress that was made and continue to build even better behavior over time. The most important thing to remember about training your dog, is the work is never done. If you don't use it you lose it. It is important to practice your dog's new skills to keep them on the right track.

What kind of goals can Board and Train help my dog reach?

  • Basic Obedience
  • Improving Impulse Control
  • Resource Guarding
  • Dog Aggression
  • Off Leash Skills
  • Public Manners
  • So much more!

How much does it cost?

The hours per day your professional dog trainer dedicates to training your dog do come at a higher cost than other types of dog training options. Programs around the Knoxville area average thousands.To board your dog with one of our science based dog trainers at My Curious Canine, you will be looking to pay $1000 per week and we typically keep dogs a minimum of two weeks depending on the dog owners goals and the dog's needs. That is the price of convenience when you want your dog trained very quickly and professionally. In-home dog training and dog training classes can be a much more affordable dog training option but they do take longer and success is very dependent on you doing your dog training homework each night. Board and train can help give you and your dog the critical foundation you need to get past bad habits and on the path of good behavior

Where do I sign up?

Our board and train availability is limited and books up very quickly. You aren't alone a LOT of dog owners struggle to find the time and patience to train their dog. Book a complimentary, in-home meet and greet with a trainer today to discuss your goals and reserve a date for your dog to get started. Better behavior is only two weeks away! Click here to book now

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Will I Have to Use Training Treats Forever?

training treats

"Sit, Stay, Lay"

Getting your dog to do something for a treat is a great way to tie a positive reward to a good behavior but you don't want to have to have training treats on you forever. You just want your dog to learn how to listen. Choosing positive reinforcement training for your dog is the best decision you can make for their health and well being but you may be scared off if you are worried about being reliant on treats. Worry no more! A professional dog trainer will teach you that your dog isn't motivated only by treats and how to work away from having to use them.

The Reward Pyramid

Dogs are just like humans in that they place value on rewards. While we have a monetary system, theirs is based on how much joy the reward brings. Food is a huge motivator for dogs and it is a great tool to help you build new behaviors. In terms of treats, your dog is going to value some more than others. Freeze dried meat is going to be valued more than a biscuit. A positive reinforcement dog trainer will ask you to be smart about which rewards you give at various times. High value treats are reserved for learning new behaviors or when distractions are causing difficulty. If you are working on behavior that comes very easily to your dog or you are in a low distraction area, you will give your lowest value training treat. What is below high and low value treats are your dogs natural motivators such as talk, touch, eye contact, or whatever it is that they are wanting at the moment like moving forward on a walk.

Go With The Flow

Being successful training your dog requires that you follow the ebb and flow of their behavior. If your dog is performing well, you can afford to reward with your dog with a lower value reward. If your dog is struggling with a difficult distraction or a complicated command, you may have to raise the value of your reward. When it gets easy challenge your dog to raise their skills, when it gets hard find a way to be successful to keep your dog's confidence up.

It's All About Building a Routine

The goal is to have your dog get as many right answers as possible. Just like Pavlov's dog, your dog will start to perform the right behavior without you asking and without a treat in hand as that routine in cemented in. Just like with humans, it can take 30-90 consistent repetitions to form a new habit, how long it takes you to get in that practice is totally up to you. Remember that, your dog will be as consistent as you are. It is just as crucial, if not more, to train your own habits if you hope to train your dogs

Practice makes perfect

The key to achieving in goal is being fully committed to it. Your dog will need regular and consistent practice to change their habits in the long term. If they don't use it, they lose it! Stay consistent and you will see success without treats.

Do you have a question about training with treats? Book a free in-home meet and greet with one of our Knoxville dog trainer today!

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5 Questions To Ask Your Pet Sitter

Vacations mean relaxation, fun in the sun, and time away from your worries! Except you can't imagine trusting anyone to watch your beloved pets. What if your pet gets runs away? What if they forget to feed them? Will they take my dog on walks? There are all sorts of worries that come along with leaving your beloved pet at home with a stranger. You want to make sure when you are searching for a Knoxville pet sitter you choose a quality company with professional services. Online pet care booking services can be a risky choice. You don't want just anyone watching your pets, you want a serious professional with experience. There are a lot of local, experienced Pet sitting services in Knoxville, TN. To ensure you are making the right decision, ask your pet sitter these five questions.

1. What training has the pet sitter recieved?

When working around animals it is imperative to have an understanding in animal behavior and body language. A good pet sitter should know signs of stress, pain, and aggression to ensure their safety and the safety of your pets. You also want someone who is committed to following the house rules. Teaching the dog to not jump and getting the cat to stay off the counter was hard work, you want to choose someone who will continue that work. At My Curious Canine our Knoxville pet sitters are trained to follow our positive reinforcement methods for communicating and interacting with your pets.

2. How do they send updates?

You want to know how things are going and a pet sitter who keeps and shares good records each day is a must. Whether you are potty training a new puppy or an older dog requiring medicine, you deserve confirmation and peace of mind that the schedule is being followed.

3. What interactions and activities do they have planned for your pet?

Daily exercise, interaction, cuddles, and attention are important keep your pets happy and relaxed while you are away. Ask you pet sitter how they plan to supply these crucial needs. Our Knoxville pet sitters bring puzzle toys, play training games, love to give doggy massages, and never miss a dog walk outside. Daily care shouldn't be an uncharge, it's a necessity.

4. Do they have the ability to get your dog proper medical care in the event of an emergency?

Sometimes things happen whether your dog catches a cold or gets injured. Your pet sitter should have a system in place to provide veterinary care to your pet during your absence.

5. What questions do they have about your pet?

A quality pet sitter will take the time to get to know your dogs like, dislikes, quirks, and boundaries. You should ask your pet sitter a lot of questions before hiring them but they should be asking you more. At the end of the day the best pet sitters in Knoxville are the ones that truly love and care for the animals they have the pleasure of spending time with.

Book a free in-home meet and greet with one of our Knoxville pet sitters today to get to know them better and ask them these crucial questions

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Best Hikes For Your Dog

Hikes and Howls

Beautiful trees, bubbling streams, and breathtaking views are good for your mind, body, and soul. Those benefits can be shared with your dog but sometimes finding a dog friendly trail can be difficult. Our own Great Smoky Mountains National Park has miles and miles of trails for humans but you will only find two trails in the entire park where dogs are allowed Gatlingburg Trail (1.9 Miles) in Gatlinburg, TN and Oconaluftee River Trail (1.5 Miles) all the way in Cherokee, NC. Our positive reinforcement dog trainers are avid hikers and want to share with you their five favorite dog friendly hiking spots in East Tennessee.

Best Places to Take Your Dog Hiking in East Tennessee

  • Frozen Head State Park: Located in Oakridge, TN, the park has over 50 miles of dog friendly hiking trails that meander by waterfalls, rock shelters and giant mountaintop cap rocks. A portion of the Cumberland Trail even passes through the park.
  • Knoxville's Urban Wilderness: There are currently over 50 miles of dog friendly trails connecting multiple parks and cultural sites within the Knoxville Urban Wilderness.
  • Big Ridge State Park: Over 15 miles of dog friendly hiking trails in Maynardville, TN feature dry ridges, lush hollows, old roadbeds, lakeshores and beside cemeteries and remnants of early settlements. Trails range from easy to very rugged. Free trail maps are available at the park office.
  • Norris Dam State Park The park has fifteen dog friendly hiking trails. They range in length from .5 mile to 5 miles and vary in degrees of difficulty from easy to difficult. These trails traverse ridge tops, valleys, hollows, and the lakeshore.
  • Panther Creek State Park: With over 30 miles of dog friendly hiking trails in Morristown, TN you are sure to find a trail to fall in love with and tire out your dog.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

How to Calm Your Dog During A Thunderstorm

Thunderstorms are often a favorite part of the summer season. Don't you just love watching the lightening flicker and hearing deep rumbles across the valley? However, all the sights and sounds can be quite frightening for dogs. Some dogs make it obvious how scared they are by hiding, shaking, and whining but others show more subtle signs. The first step to solving a problem is recognizing the first sign of it. Some dogs will begin to show signs of stress shortly before a storm even starts.

Does your dog show these signs of fear during a thunder storm?

  • Shaking or Trembling
  • Whining
  • Barking
  • Pacing
  • Drooling
  • Excessive Licking
  • Sudden Dandruff
  • Yawning
  • Hiding

Every dog lover wants their dog to be happy and healthy. Seeing your dog be fearful of something as natural as a thunderstorm is truly heartbreaking. Lacking the power to change to weather, what options are you left with? There are many great dog training exercises you can put into motion and helpful dog training tools for alleviating stress and calming your dog during a storm.

How To Calm Your Dog During A Storm

  • Play Classical Music: It may sound crazy but it works, and its backed by veterinary science! Research from Colorado State University studied the impact of music on dogs' stress levels and found that classical music had almost an immediate affect calming dogs and it actually encourage sleep as well. They also found dogs responded better to a variety of classical music instead of the repeating the same songs.
  • Play a Game: Get out your treat pouch and start playing a fun dog training game like Hide and Seek. Distracting your dog with fun activities will train your dog's brain to ignore the storm with practice. It will even begin to signal to your dog that storms are a time for fun, not fear.
  • Diffuse Lavender Essential Oils: We all know lavender helps calm and relax humans but did you know it works for dogs too? A study done by Canine Behaviour Centre in Ireland found that dogs spent significantly more time resting and sitting when lavender oil was added to the dogs environment.
  • Try a Thundershirt: It's like a weighted blanket for your dog! The Journal of Veterinary Behavior contains research that showed pressure wraps like Thundershirts yield positive results in reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.
  • Hire a Dog Trainer: Trying to deal with your dogs anxiety during a thunderstorm can be impossible if your dog is paralyzed with fear. A positive reinforcement dog trainer can design exercises and games for you to practice before the next big thunderstorm. Breaking this issue into smaller steps will help your dog progress and learn to relax.

Ask a dog trainer what they think the best solution is for your dog. Schedule a Free Meet & Greet with a positive reinforcement dog trainer today to have your dog's behavior evaluated and create a personalized dog training plan to fit your needs!

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Dog Training for German Shepherds

Smart Dogs Require Smarter Dog Trainers

Highly intelligent, fiercely loyal, and tirelessly hardworking, you chose a German Shepherd for its many desirable traits. They have been studied and bred for superior performance for generations. In the book, The Intelligence of Dogs, the author Stanley Coren ranked the breed third in intelligence. He found they had the ability to learn simple tasks in as little as five repetitions and that they obeyed the first command, an impressive, 95% of the time.

It's no secret that German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds you can get but that intelligence sometimes makes successful dog training techniques seem like a mystery. There are so many options for German Shepherd dog training in Knoxville, TN and just like you chose a smart dog, you want a smart dog trainer as well. Hiring a dog trainer who understands the highly intelligent, working mind of a German Shepherd is important if you hope to be successful. Check out these five things you need to be looking for in a quality German Shepherd dog trainer in Knoxville, TN.

Make Sure Your German Shepherd Trainer...

  • Teaches You More Than The Dog: A German Shepherd dog trainer knows just how smart the dog is that they are working with. They know that a German Shepherd is going to figure out how to get away anything they can and they'll test each person to see where the boundaries are set. The best dog trainers focus on teaching their human clients how to understand their German Shepherd's behavior and how to effectively set and communicate clear boundaries.
  • Uses Modern, Science Backed Techniques German Shepherds are so smart that their intelligence can make them a challenge to train. This has in the past resulted in a lot of German Shepherds being enrolled in tough, punishment based dog training programs. Dog behavior research has advanced our understanding of how dogs learn. Modern dog training techniques focus on motivating the right behaviors through clear communication versus punishing the wrong ones. After all it is a lot easier to do the right thing, when you are told exactly what the right thing is.
  • Suggests Gentle, Safe Equipment: . German Shepherds are strong and tough as much as they are intelligent. You want to choose a German Shepherd trainer who cares for both your dog's mental and physical health. There is a lot of dog training aids often used by German Shepherd trainers that can result in pain or injury, induce fear, and even cause aggression. Make sure to do your research on the equipment a German Shepherd trainer is suggesting before you sign your dog up.
  • Knows The Importance Of A Job: German Shepherd trainers understand how important it is to consider that German Shepherd are working breed dogs that require a lot of mental stimulation. A quality German Shepherd trainer will want to discuss hobbies and interests you may want to include in your dog training plan.

Being smart about training your smart dog shouldn't be a hassle. You can have a German Shepherd Trainer come to your home to discuss a personalized training plan. Schedule a free meet and greet with a German Shepherd Trainer in Knoxville, TN.

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Is Group Training Right For My Dog

When deciding whether to take group classes or private lessons to train your dog, you want to make sure you are picking what best suits your dog's needs. Group dog training classes can be a great way for dog owners to learn basic obedience commands. They also get the benefit of socializing with other dogs, and getting practice around distractions outside of the home. However, not every dog or owner is best suited to group dog training classes. Some dogs are easily overwhelmed in a group setting, others have issues that are better addressed at home where the behavior happens. Ask yourself these three questions to decide if group dog training classes is right for your dog!

What are your goals?

Group classes are taught following a set curriculum and is often a good way to learn basic commands and behaviors. However, if your dog is chasing the neighbors cat or bolting out the front door, it may be best to work on that specific behavior with a private trainer. A private dog trainer can tailor a dog training plan right for your dog's needs.

How does your dog interact with others?

Learning at a distance from other dogs during group dog training classes can be great for dogs that are a little shy and even a little excited. Slightly shy dogs really benefit from seeing other dogs are not going to bother them, since interacting during class time is discouraged. While, dogs that get excited around other dogs can benefit from learning some self control. However, dogs that are struggling with aggression should work with a private dog trainer. You do not want to risk other classmates by trying to come to a group dog training class. Also, dogs that are struggling with extreme anxiety, who hide, won't take treats, and generally shut down should also start with a private dog trainer. They will learn much better with time and help easing into more distracted learning environments.

How Flexible Is Your Schedule?

Group dog training classes are scheduled on set days and times. Make sure you check to see class dates and times to ensure group classes will work with your schedule. If your schedule isn't flexible, a private dog trainer has a lot more available time slots to suite your busy schedule.

Do you feel ready to schedule a group dog training lesson? Join us at Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, TN for group dog training! Does it sound like private training is a better fit for your dog? Schedule a free meet and greet with a Knoxville dog trainer today!

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When Can My Puppy Start Training?

You bring home a cute, cuddly puppy home to love and enjoy. You soon realize that chewing, potty accidents, barking, biting and more are going to be a part of your everyday life, if you don't do something soon. Puppy training becomes a must have but when can your puppy can get started?

Old Habits Die Hard

We have all heard the saying "old habits die hard." This is true for puppy training as well. It is much easier to create a good habit with a new puppy instead of trying to break bad habits that have already been formed. For this reason, it is best to start puppy training as soon as you can. A professional puppy trainer can help you understand how to put good boundaries in place to prevent bad habits from forming.They can bring attention to behaviors that may be cute today but will be annoying tomorrows, like jumping in your lap to get attention.

Energizer Bunny

Puppies can have an astonishing amount of energy all day and sometimes all night. Puppies often take little naps and wake up ready to go again and again. This can be frustrating for their owners after a long day at work or especially, while they are trying to get a good night's sleep. After playing fetch and going on walks, it seems like you can never tire them out. However, a puppy trainer can help come up with activities and games that drain not only physical energy but mental energy as well. Draining mental energy will leave your new puppy exhausted and you'll be happy to relax right along with them.

Vaccines Matter

Puppy trainers see a lot of dogs every single day so it is important to consider your puppy's safety before booking puppy training lessons. Your puppy should have completed their puppy shots and boosters before beginning class to ensure they do not contract any disease. This is usually completed around 12 weeks of age and you are free to start training immediately after.

Is your puppy up-to-date on vaccines and ready to start puppy training? Book a FREE Meet and Greet with a Knoxville puppy trainer today!

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5 Ways To Improve Your Communication And Get Your Dog to Listen.

"I just want my dog to listen!"

Frustration, hopelessness, and shame don't even begin to describe how dog owners can feel when their dog is acting out and they aren't able to get them to listen. Whether your is dog is lunging on at the lead of a leash, barking at 5 am, or likes jumping all over every house guest. You just want your dog to listen already! Communication is hard even going from human to human. Communicating with another species that doesn't have the same mindset or motivations that you do can be even more challenging, but its not impossible. Often times when our message isn't being received, whether you are communicating with humans or dogs, a change in perspective and how we convey the message can make all the difference to who is listening. Check out our Knoxville Dog Trainers' top 5 tips for communicating better with the dog in your life.

  • Don’t say no

    "No getting on the couch!" "No jumping!" "No Barking!" "No" is said on a regular basis by every dog owner we come across in Knoxville, TN and yet it the best example of inconsistency. "No" can mean a million different things but it doesn't mean ONE thing to your dog and that is the problem. Because, "no" can mean many things its opens you up to have so many unnecessary miscommunications with your dog. You may be wondering, "When no doesn't mean no, what the heck do you say?" Our positive reinforcement dog trainers are encouraging their clients to counter the word "no" with what you can ask your dog to do instead. Replace the behavior. For example, "No jumping" would be replaced with "sit". Sit always means the same thing, unlike the word "no."

  • Lead by Example

    Dogs look to their owners for cues of how they should proceed. It’s always a good idea to move the way you want your dog to move and look the direction you want them to look. Dogs have a sixth sense for how we are moving and positioning our bodies. Often times a simple step in the right direction or changing our focus gets them on the right track. Consider the owner with a dog that runs away. We see it all the time, the dog is running away and keeps looking back to their owner . The owner thinks the dog is taunting them and playing a game. What is actually going on, is the dog is checking back to ensure their owner is still facing and going the same direction as they are. Our Knoxville dog trainers are encouraging their clients to turn the opposite direction and run away to show their dog the direction they should be going. Inspire your dog's natural instinct to chase.

  • Stay calm

    In the face of chaos and distraction, be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Keep your mind calm and focus on communicating effectively. Your dog will feed off of your anxiety, your stress, your frustration and it will affect how they hear the message you are trying to send. Be mindful, that sometimes the environment can be over-stimulating and you may have to get distance from a distraction to get your dog to a place where they can listen. Which is another great example of leading by example so your dog can understand the right decision to take. Walk and face away from the distraction so they know to walk away.

  • Don’t contradict yourself

    Consistency is the biggest key to success when trying to communicate with your dog to reach your dog training goals. Don’t want your dog jumping on you? Want your dog to stop begging for food? No matter what message you are trying to send your dog, make sure you are sending the same message consistently. If you aren’t consistent with your message, your dog is going to get mixed signals and you’ll have mixed results. Remember that, your dog will always be as consistent as you are.

  • Use hand signals

    A dog’s first language is body language and they send so many messages to us with their bodies and so few with vocalizations. Using hand signals to cue the commands you have taught your dog is the best way to send a fast, clear message to your dog. This is especially helpful when your dog is too overwhelmed by all the sights, smells, and sounds to stop to listen to a verbal command.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

Top 5 New Habits To Make Your Dog Happier in 2019

Exercise, Mental Stimulation, Community!

Our wonderful dogs give our daily lives so much joy and happiness! Naturally, all we want to see is that they are getting the same enjoyment out of life. Boredom Behaviors are experienced by every dog and dog owner at one time or another. We all have moments where we get busy and miss a few dog walks or are too tired to play another game of fetch. Bad behaviors start to pop up as a result and nobody likes that, not you and not your dog.

Bad behaviors send a message that something isn't right with how your dog is feeling. Every dog needs three things to be balanced and happy; exercise, mental engagement, and community interactions. Balancing your dog's needs and the rest of your daily responsibilities may sound daunting, but it is possible. Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact. Check out these small, easy habit changes you can make to ensure your dog has a happy and fulfilled New Year!

  • Make Your Walks Interactive

    Have you ever gotten home from a walk and your dog is ready to go again after a ten minute nap? Physical energy and mental energy are two different things that are drained in different ways. Stress, anxiety, and boredom are caused by having too much mental energy built up for too long and not having enough ways to channel that energy productively. Think about how restless you can feel when your mind is racing, it's maddening. Pairing mental stimulation with physical exercise on your leashed walks wears down not only the body but the mind as well. You will notice your dog requires much shorter walks and stays calm and relaxed longer when they get home.

  • Learn How to Communicate

    "No getting on the couch!" "No jumping!" "No Barking!"

    "No" is said on a regular basis by every dog owner we come across in Knoxville, TN and yet it the best example of inconsistency. "No" can mean a million different things but it doesn't mean ONE thing to your dog and that is the problem. Because, "no" can mean many things its opens you up to have so many unnecessary miscommunications with your dog. You may be wondering, "When no doesn't mean no, what the heck do you say?" Our positive reinforcement dog trainers are encouraging their clients to counter the word "no" with what you can ask your dog to do instead. Replace the behavior. For example, "No jumping" would be replaced with "sit". Sit always means the same thing, unlike the word "no."

  • Invest in Interactive Toys

    Not all toys are created equal. While cute, fuzzy, squeaker toys and bones can be fun to chase and chew, they aren't giving your dog enough to do. Dogs are extremely intelligent and easily unsettled without proper mental stimulation. Be smart about the new toys you buy this year and pick toys that engage the brain. Interactive toys are a great way to engage and enrich your dog with minimal effort on your part. There are so many great toys to help dispense your dog's daily serving of dog food, as well as mind blowing puzzle boards perfect for yummy treats.. Your dog will burn so much energy figuring out how to turn knobs, lift cones, and open drawers in an effort to find their favorite treats.

  • Learn Some Brain Games

    With extra busy schedules, loving dog owners have to make good use of the time we do get to spend playing with our dog. Think about how you can add dog tricks and commands to your standard game of fetch, or maybe you want to learn how to play Hide and Seek to get your dog's nose working.

  • Take Advantage of Your Daily Interactions

    Finding extra time to work in interactive activities and training can be difficult on some of the busiest days but that doesn't mean your dog has to go totally without quality engagement. You have all sorts of natural interactions every day with your dog during feeding time, when clipping the leash, letting them outside, etc. This year, make an effort to think about practicing one training skill during each daily interaction. This will help your dog get more mental stimulation and help your day go smoother because of the good habits you are setting into motion. For example, practicing stay at doorways helps teach your dogs not to bust out the door every time it opens.

Starting a new routine and learning a new way to interact with your dog doesn't have to be difficult and you don't have to figure it all out alone, book a Free Meet and Greet to ask one of our professional Knoxville dog trainers how to balance your dog's mental stimulation needs and your busy schedule. They specialize in creating engaging, fun dog training routines that fit into your busy life instead of taking it over with a strict schedule. Still don't think you have the time your dog deserves? Hiring a professional Knoxville dog walker can help get your dog the exercise and mental stimulation they need.

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Top 5 Ways Your Dog Drives Your Holiday Guests Crazy

Remember The smell of evergreens, the jingling of bells

Everything was merry and bright on Christmas day, except... the family dog. Grandma had just arrived with a huge smile on her face, right when the dog came barreling through the house and jumped all over her snow white coat. "GET DOWN!" What a joyous greeting that was and it left you thinking, I should fix this before next year.

Well, now is the time! Dogs get excited and nervous when there are big changes to their routine. Guests coming for a holiday visit isn't an everyday occurrence for them and they don't always know how to act. Check out the top five dog behaviors to address with your dog before your holiday guests arrive this year!

You guest hate when your dog...

  • Jumps Up: First impressions are everything. Every good hostess knows the first few moments upon arrival really set a tone for your guests. When your guests walk in the door every good host hopes to give their guests the tranquility of a cozy, inviting home. The chaos of dog jumping on them is not part of the warm entrance you are hoping for! Start training your dog to sit for your holiday guests today! Its not too late but time is running out quickly!
  • Licks: A big slobbery dog kiss, a wet spot on the furniture, the sound of slurping, all may have your guests saying "YUCK!" Sometimes the stress of the big busy day has dogs stressed out and they resort to licking hands, feet, themselves, and the couch excessively to calm themselves. Don't make your guest's stomachs turn before they even sit down to eat, ask one of our Knoxville dog trainers how to ease your dog's mind!
  • Begs For Food: A dog nose is not the table decor your guests want to be seeing this holiday season. Begging is an easily corrected behavior, ask your My Curious Canine dog trainer about teaching a "Place" Command so that you can have your dog peacefully, resting away from the table during dinner time.
  • Barks and/or Growls: Don't have your dogs running away in fear from your barking, growling dog. Whether your dog is just barking out of excitement or not, it can have your guest feeling uneasy or reaching for the Tylenol. Give your dog and guests peace of mind this year and make sure to address any fear or negative responses to greeting people."
  • Paces Through The Party With a full house of people moving about, your dog may not know where or even how to relax and your guests are left to trip over and move around them. Dogs pace when they can't settle their minds or they feel nervous. This year, ask a dog trainer how to set a "Place" command for your dog so they know when and where to relax.

Are you ready to have your dog behaving this holiday season without resorting to harsh methods? Book a Free Meet and Greet today with one of our positive reinforcement dog trainers to discuss a personalized training plan geared to get your dog ready to impress your guests!

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All Natural Pain and Anxiety Relief for Dogs

If you’re thinking about the benefits of treating your dog with CBD, you’re not alone! CBD products have become increasingly popular for treating pain, anxiety and so much more in humans. Now pet owners are considering the benefits of treating their dogs with it too. Here are 3 things you should learn about CBD dog treats and how they might benefit your furry friend.

1. What is CBD?

Cannabidiol CBD and THC are the two main chemical substances found in the cannabis plant. THC is the chemical that generates the buzz or high recreational cannabis users seek, while CBD is on the other end of the spectrum. CBD provides a calming and pain-relieving sensation, and because CBD does not contain THC, the intoxicating effects many people associate with the cannabis products do not occur. Therefore making the CBD edibles a great treatment option for both humans and pets.

2. Why Give Your Dog CBD?

CBD can help treat a variety of conditions in dogs. Two of the most noteworthy reasons you might give your dog CBD infused treats are anxiety and arthritis. CBD treats create calming effects that can help soothe high-strung dogs, similarly it can help treat separation anxiety, noise phobias, depression, even more. These dog treats can help curb the destructive behaviors associated with dog anxiety, such as unwanted barking, chewing, pacing, ect. CBD dog treats are also useful in taking the edge off of high stress situations for your dog due to thunderstorms, fireworks, home repair and so many others. CBD can help ease painful symptoms from arthritis which causes achy, inflamed joints. It will help alleviate that pain and get your dog moving around again. Furthermore, not only is CBD a potent pain reliever, but it can also help soothe the inflammation. As a result this actually treats the cause of the pain and doesn’t just relieve symptoms.

3. CBD Treats Are an Effective Treatment Option.

CBD infused dog treats help treat conditions like loss of appetite, aggressive behavior, seizures, and pain associated with cancer. Also, CBD products interact with the physiological systems of humans and animals to treat moods, anxiety, even depression. These treats offer a safe and effective way to calm and soothe your dog. Trainers, Dog experts, and veterinarians alike have found great success in treating dogs with a variety of chronic conditions with CBD. To Buy CBD dog treats or get more information about CBD for dogs, contact us today!

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Is Your Dog Experiencing The Back To School Blues?

Most of us are rejoicing by the time school season comes back around. We no longer have to worry about occupying the kids or arranging daytime childcare. It should be a moment of peace but the family dog isn't handling it as well. Without his daily playmates to keep him busy, he could be experiencing some boredom or stress associated with your kid's absence. Separation anxiety commonly pops up around this time of year for a lot of dogs. Could your dog be suffering post summer?

Signs and Symptoms

  • Change in Eating habits
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Restlessness or Impatience
  • Having Accidents In The House
  • Increased Barking
  • Fatigue
  • Escaping Crate
  • Destruction

You Can Make A Difference!

Your dog needs to feel comfortable and happy in the new routine. There are some things you and your family can do to help your dog enjoy the new routine and have something joyful to look forward to each day.

  • Morning Walks Stress in dogs is easily solved by draining the mental energy they use to stress. A morning walk before the family leaves will help ensure your dog is ready to relax after you leave.
  • Interactive Feeders can be given to your dog at breakfast to engage their minds and give them something to work on while you get ready to leave for the day.
  • Afternoon Visit Giving your dog some interaction midday can give them a break from the stress of their separation anxiety. If you can't make it home yourself consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to drop in midday.
  • Evening Engagement Whenever you do make it back home at night, make sure the family takes turns engaging with your dog. He has been waiting all day for you to get home and having some fun with you in the evenings can make waiting for your easier.
  • Dog training is not only a great way to manage your dog's behavior but is also fun and engaging for your dog as well.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Seperation Anxiety can quickly become and burden and tough to manage. Our positive reinforcement dog trainers are ready to help you! Book a FREE Meet and Greet today!

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Before Bringing Home Baby To Meet Fido

After many long months you are finally ready to deliver your precious bundle of joy but you still have this nagging worry in the back of your mind. How will the dog react? With all of stress, hormones, and excitement looming through the air your dog is sure to know something is up and might even be feeding off all the energy in the house.

Lots of Changes Mean Stress For Your Dog.

Believe it or not, all the changes and excitement revolving around a new baby can be quite stressful for dogs. They can no longer curl up in mom's lap, the baby shower brought too many people in the house, and for some reason they can't even go into the spare room anymore. Stress can very easily turn into behavioral issues for our beloved pets. With all the new responsibilities of being a new parent quickly approaching, it's wise to check in on your dog's behavior now, rather than later.

Your Dog Has Needs

The first step to making sure your dog has a good transition, is making sure their basic needs are still being met. Every dog requires a few basic things in their life to keep them happy and healthy. It's our responsibility as dog lovers to meet those needs.

  • Exercise

    Every dog needs to stretch their legs and get in some cardio. For some dog's running around in the back yard isn't enough because they need to explore new sights and smells to not get bored. Worried you won't be able to maintain your dog walks right away after bringing home baby? You may want to consider hiring a Knoxville Dog Walker.

  • Mental Stimulation

    Not only do dog's need physical exercise, they also need to exercise their brains! Dog Training, Interactive Toys and Feeders, games, and dog walks are all great ways to add mental stimulation to your dog's day

  • Community

    Dogs are social creatures and do not do well being isolated. They need to interact with people and other dogs to keep them social and happy.

  • Boundaries

    Dogs are calmer and more well behaved when they know what is expected of them. Consistency is key!

  • Routine

    Being creatures of extreme routine, dogs come to expect and anticipate what is going to happen next in their day to day life. When that expectation isn't met, that can be quite stressful. So try to maintain your dog's routine as best you can.

You and Your Baby Have Needs

Now that we have talked about your dog's needs, lets talk about yours and your baby's needs! You need to be able to trust your dog around your precious baby and you need to know that your dog will listen. Teaching your dog some basic commands and addressing any current bad behaviors now can drastically cut down on the issues your encounter upon bringing your baby home.

  • No Jumping!

    Trying to hold a baby while a dog jumps all over you, is not something you want to be dealing with your first day home from the hospital. Start a new routine now! Have treats by the door and be ready to ask your dog to sit every time you enter the door for the next few months. You want your dog to anticipate the new routine of sitting for a yummy treat.

  • No Barking!

    Your dog's barking may be something you can live with, but what if your baby can't sleep through it. Every knock at the door could be a nap interrupted.

  • "Leave It"

    This command is great to get your dog to walk away from something. Whether that is a pacifier, a tummy mat, or your last chicken nugget!

  • Loose Leash Walk:

    Wouldn't it be lovely to walk your dog and push the stroller at the same time without worrying about your dog darting off the the side after a squirrel?

  • "Come": Imagine a sleeping baby inside the cozy nursery, when BAM! You realize your dog got out of the fence and is running around the neighborhood. A good recall is crucial to keep you from chasing your dog all over town.

  • "Settle"

    It's baby's nap time and your dog decided its the perfect time to get wild and excited. Teach your dog a "Settle" command to have them lay down in a designated spot and relax.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

With so many dog training methods out there, there is a lot of room for confusion and you may not have the time to waste! Finding the right help can be challenging with so many different trainers in Knoxville, TN. You want to avoid dog training methods that rely heavily on punishment and e-collars. You don't want to risk bringing our fear or aggression in your dog now, at such a pivotal point in your life and you certainly don't want to be juggling a bottle, a baby, AND a remote training aid.

With positive reinforcement dog training methods, you will be seeing a change in your dog's behavior in a few short weeks! One of our Knoxville dog trainers is happy to address any behavioral concerns you dog may have and help guide you and your dog through this next new phase of life! Book a FREE Meet and Greet today to discuss a personalized training plan right in the comfort of your home.

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Dog Aggression Isn’t Mean, It’s Mental

When you take an afternoon stroll at one of Knoxville's wonderful parks, you are likely to see all sorts of dogs! Some may be happy and eager to greet people and dogs, others may be lunging, growling, snapping, and might have everyone taking a step back. What makes the difference between the two dogs? Is one dog nice and while the other is simply mean? Dog aggression is usually a symptom of a bigger underlying problem called stress. Stress can make even the nicest of dogs turn into Kugo under the certain circumstances. It's not mean, it's mental. But dogs live the life of luxury; cushy beds, trips to the dog park, a basket full of dog toys. They don't have to work, pay bills, or manage a household, what in the world do they have to be stressed about?

Stressors That Lead To Aggression

  • Rough Past Sometimes it a simple as reflecting on your dog's past experience. Were they ever abused or have they previously experienced a dog fight? That past experience has probably trained them react aggressively to similar stimuli.
  • Lack of Experience Maybe your dog hasn't had a bad experience with another dog or person, actually maybe they haven't had many experiences at all now that you think about it. With this type of scenario the dog may be experiencing stress because they aren't socialized enough and don't know what to expect out of other people and dogs
  • Boredom Every single dog, big or small, lazy or energetic needs mental stimulation and purpose in their life. If they aren't getting what they need, they may seek out entrainment and purpose in the form of guarding. Whether that means they are guarding their owner, food, or other dogs in their group through acts of aggression.
  • Fear Not every dog is a social butterfly dying for attention and interaction. So when an off leash dog runs up in their face or a person screams with glee and reaches out to pet them, some dogs may react aggressively out of fear.

Punishment Isn't A Solution

Have you heard of Pavlov Dogs? Pavlov would ring a bell and then feed his dogs a bowl of food. After many repetitions, he rang the bell and observed the dogs salivate as an immediate response to the bell. Dogs are hyper observant and extreme creatures of routine. So let's imagine this scenario, let's say a dog sees another dog and has a reaction their owner doesn't like, the owner applies a punishment the dog doesn't like and this causes stress. After so many repetitions how do you think the dog will instantly feel when seeing a dog down the street? The hope with punishment based techniques is that the dog learns to associate the punishment with the behavior. But after so many zaps, pinches, and yanks any dog would be just as likely to learn it only happens around certain stimuli.

There is Hope

These dogs aren't doomed to be aggressive and feared forever. With a positive reinforcement training approach, these types of dog's have a chance at rehabilitation, no matter what stressor is causing the aggression. A positive reinforcement dog trainer can work to create good experiences for the dog with the rough past or the dog lacking experience all together. They can also give dogs a new purpose in life besides guarding and, believe it or not, they can even build up a dog's confidence to eliminate fear. Positive Reinforcement Dog Training is such a great way for dog owners to learn how to understand their dog's behavior and how to use gentle techniques that rely on communication and teaching, never punishment.

Do you need help addressing aggression with your dog? Schedule a FREE Meet and Greet with a My Curious Canine dog trainer today to discuss what is causing your dog's aggression and how we can help!

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5 Ways To Entertain Your Dog In An Apartment

Apartment living can have your dog bouncing off the walls from time to time. Rainy days may be keeping you from your trips to the dog park or maybe your work schedule has you missing your daily dog walks. Having simple ways to keep your dog entertained inside will curb any of those nasty Boredom Behaviors and give you peace of mind that your dog isn't getting a case of cabin fever. Here are our 5 favorite ways to entertain a dog in an apartment.

    Wow your dog today, with these engaging activities!

  • Hide and Seek: This classic kid's game is also the a great game to play with your dog. All your dog needs to know how to do is "Stay" while you find a place to hide and wait with a treat. When you are hidden go ahead and call their name. Make sure to start small with short distances and easy hiding places. As your dog's skill level improves, see how far away you can hide and get more clever with your hiding spaces. Be careful not to give into your dog if they can't hold their excitement well enough to stay while you hide. Have your dog go back to their original spot and pick a closer hiding spot.
  • Interactive Toys and Feeders: You may not always have time or ability to be hands on with your dog but that doesn't mean you can't still keep them entertained. There are so many interactive toys that can keep them busy opening drawers, turning knobs, and sniffing around to find yummy treats. Add an interactive feeder to your dog's meal time and they will have a daily source of fun and entertainment.
  • Egg Hunt: It's doesn't have to be easter for your dog to enjoy an egg hunt. Pack some plastic eggs with yummy treats to hide around your apartment and your dog will have be sniffing around all day looking for them all.
  • Play the Shell game: Get three plastic cups or other small containers. Have your dog sit and stay while you place a treat under one of the cups, mix around the cups and see if your dog can locate the hidden treat.
  • Dog Training: Dog training is not only a great way to manage bad behaviors, it is also super fun and entertaining for your dog.
  • Need more help keeping your dog happy with apartment living? Hire a My Curious Canine Dog Walker or set up a FREE Meet and Greet with one of our dog trainers to discuss how a personalized dog training routine can help keep your dog calm and happy.

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Is Your Dog Enjoying Apartment Life?

Every dog lover, who calls an apartment home, wants to know, is the grass really greener in the fenced back yard? Living in an apartment with dogs comes with it's challenges and can present all sorts of dog behavioral issues. Our Knoxville dog trainers see it all the time! Walkways are often small, giving little room for you and your excited or aggressive dog to pass others. Excessive dog barking can drive your neighbors crazy and possibly have you looking for another place to live. Chewing and destruction could cost you your belongings and even your security deposit. Are all these behaviors a sign apartment living isn't working for your dog? The answer can be complex depending on your dog's energy level, size, temperament, their daily routine and your lifestyle. Let's consider your dog's behavior to assess out how they are feeling.

Is your dog showing any of these signs of boredom or stress?

  • Destruction: Dogs often have trouble managing their boredom and stress when their owner is gone or they are unsupervised.
  • Escaping: When left alone, sometimes escaping can be a fun puzzle to figure out and entertain themselves with.
  • Excessive Licking: With nothing else to do, your dog may decide to groom themselves, your furniture or you.
  • Panting: If your dog is in a cool area and hasn't physically exerted themselves recently, your dog may be panting to spend the excess mental energy.
  • Pacing: Your dog is too worked up and fidgety to settle down.
  • Excessive Yawning: Yawning is body language signal which shows frustration in your dog.

If your dog is displaying signs of boredom and stress, don't panic yet! You can find bored and stressed dogs in every type of dwelling, even big houses with large fenced yards. To get to a solution we have to understand the problem. Stress and boredom in dogs, both come from an overactive, busy mind. If we can wear down and engage the mind, we can wear down those problem behaviors too! No matter where you live the solution is always the same, enrichment! Every dog needs mental engagement to be happy and mentally healthy! There are so many ways you can make your dog's daily life more interactive and stimulating.

Work It Out

  • Dog Training: Learning new things is not only a good tool to manage bad behaviors, it is also super fun for your dog and creates a strong bond with their favorite human.
  • Interactive Toys and Feeders: Toys and Feeders can be a great way to add mental stimulation to meal time or keep your dog busy while you are at work. There are so many options!
  • Games: Play a game like Hide and Seek with your dog and not only will you have fun, you will also strengthen your dogs training skills.
  • Adventure: Grab a leash and get outside! Take your dog to one of our many great Knoxville parks! With all the sites and smells, your dog is sure to feel stimulated!

No dog owner is perfect, sometimes life gets busy and we all fall short of what our dog needs. Don't be too hard on yourself, just keep an eye out for any signs of stress and boredom in your dog and adjust your dog's routine accordingly. If you are willing to get creative and make a few changes to your dog's routine, you will surely find a way to make apartment living work for you and your beloved dog. Need more ideas? Check 10 Ways To Entertain Your Dog In An Apartment or Contact a My Curious Canine trainer today to discuss a personalized training routine for your dog.

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Howloween is one of the best dog events of the year in Knoxville, TN. Howloween is a dog friendly, halloween themed event hosted by UT Gardens. This fun event with a spooky twist will include a judged costume parade with prizes, an expo of educational booths, pet businesses, and rescue groups, food trucks and more. There will be pet food drive to benefit Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee (CAIT), which works to improve the lives of companion animals and reduce the homeless pet population in Tennessee by promoting humane education and spay/neuter initiatives. Please consider donating money, pet food or other items to support them in their mission. As you walk your dog around Knoxville's Howloween event you will find all sorts of toys, treats, gear, and maybe even your next rescue dog. Be sure not to miss the spooky costume contest and parade that begins at 2:30pm! If you have a great Howloween costume idea for your dog, sign up and you may just win all sorts of fabulous prizes.

Costume Judging Categories

  • Do(g) It Yourself - show off your DIY skills and win over the judges with a homemade costume.
  • Funny Bone - If you make the judges laugh till the cry, you might just have a chance at taking home first place in this category!
  • Bad to the Bone - Send shivers up the judges spines and have them running away in terror to take home first place in this category.
  • Pup Culture/ Character - Watch out for the paw-parazzi everyone will want a photo with your famous pooch! Will your dog be the biggest star?
Entry Fees and More Info

Our positive dog trainers are excited to see you at this year Howloween! Bring your best dog training questions and stick around for some giveaways. We can't wait to see you at Howloween! Can't wait to meet one of our trainers? Book a complimentary consultation today

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Off Leash Training

Autonomy, Independence, & Freedom

No, we’re not celebrating the Fourth of July – we’re talking about off leash dog training. When your dog is trained to safely roam off leash, you both can enjoy and explore the world around you in a fun and exciting way. When your dog is off leash trained, you truly have a companion capable of discovering and appreciating the great outdoors and the world at large. It can be a remarkable experience for both owners and dogs alike.

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However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy or without danger: unexpected loud noises, wild animals and even other off leash dogs can startle a dog and cause him to bolt. If you want your dog to be off leash capable, you need to always be in control of your dog’s behavior – even when you aren’t bound by a leash or relying on a shock collar to correct unwanted behavior.

What Does it Mean to Be Off Leash Capable?

Many dog owners feel like their dog is off leash capable when Fido comes when called. While recall is an essential part off any dog’s off leash training, there’s much more that goes into training a dog to be truly off leash capable. A dog who is off leash capable is always attentive to her owner, even from 20 or 30 or 50 feet away. off leash capable dogs frequently check in with their humans even as they roam free. Additionally, learning commands beyond the basic “sit” and “stay” goes in to many dogs’ off leash training.

Useful Commands

A dog who is ready to enjoy the world off leash likely understands commands like the following.

  • “Right” and “Left” – Remember, you’re in control of your off leash dog. Teaching simple direction commands makes navigating together easy.
  • “Leave it” – Your dog will inevitably find something in nature you’d rather him leave behind. Whether that’s garbage or another dog, knowing this command will allow your dog to understand what’s off limits.
  • “Down” from a distance – Being able to signal when to stop or even lie down from some distance away is another important part of off leash dog training. Being able to tell your dog when to stop could even save her life in certain situations.

When Is Your Dog Ready?

A dog who is truly off leash capable can follow commands and obey without the use of punitive dog training aids, allowing you and your pet to truly enjoy and experience the great outdoors without fear.

off leash dog training can help you and your dog bond and enjoy the world around you in new ways. My Curious Canine can help you determine if your dog is off leash capable and help you work toward your off leash dog training goals with positive reinforcement and proper communication.  For more information or to get started, learn more about my dog training style or contact me to book an appointment.

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What Every Dog Lover Needs to Know

Be Positive, Be Successful

Remember how happy you were as a child when you earned that bicycle by doing chores around the house? You might not realize it, but this was an example of positive reinforcement training and it works with both humans and dogs.

In fact, a dog training style that relies heavily on positive reinforcement and real-world situations is known to be one of the most effective ways to train your dog and build your relationship. Here’s how My Curious Canine’s positive reinforcement dog training compares to some other popular methods of dog training.

Learning Good Behavior In The Home

Board and train facilities often promise to fix problem behavior and curb your dog’s bad habits. But one of the problems with these facilities is that the dog is removed from their home and familiar environment and where the behavior occurs. If you send your dog to a board and train facility because he digs in your flower beds, taking him to a facility without those flower beds for training likely won’t change his behavior. My Curious Canine works with dogs and their families in familiar environments so the dog training is real-world applicable.

Learning In Real-World Scenarios

Puppy classes at pet stores often rely on a “trick-for-treat” model of dog training. While this mimics positive reinforcement, the dog training sometimes fails when a treat isn’t available. My Curious Canine teaches dogs and their people how to behave in real-life situations. For example, when a dog learns to sit for a treat, it might be hard for the dog to correlate that command with situations in his daily life. My Curious Canine can work with your dog so that he learns to sit when the door opens so he doesn’t have to be held back every time someone enters or exits the home. My Curious Canine is personalized dog training that works with you and your family – with both two and four legs – to make sure your dog’s behavior works with your lifestyle.

Be A Leader, Not A Dominator

Alpha dog training methods rely on negative reinforcement, like prong collars and shock collars. These dog training methods instill fear and teach the dog that their human is a “pack leader” who calls the shots. In many cases, these methods rely on a single interpretation of dog psychology and might involve punishments that mimic fighting and forcefully teach submission. For example, to correct a dog jumping up in excitement, the trainer might force a knee to their chest. A positive reinforcement dog trainer like My Curious Canine, on the other hand, would aim to replace the behavior with a controlled technique through a command like "sit" or "settle.”

Regardless of dog training method you chose, it’s important to know that each interaction you have with your dog is an opportunity to learn. My Curious Canine’s goal is to make dog training easy by breaking it down into 30-second intervals with each interaction rather than 30-minute sessions. Breaking dog training down per interaction keeps your dog stimulated and learning.

My Curious Canine's positive reinforcement training techniques teach you how to build a relationship with your dog built on respect and proper communication. For more information, learn more about my dog training style or contact us to book an appointment.

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