Make your own hoops for Hoopers training!

For lot of good information on “Hoopers” go to .

Supplies needed: 

Measuring tape

Hack or table saw (or ask your building supply store to cut pieces for you).  

1 X 34” to 36” piece of ¾” PVC

2 X 16-18” pieces of ¾” PVC

2 X 12” pieces of PVC

2 X ¾“ T-joint (or 1 X 4 way PVC joint but I could not find them in my building store so improvised with 2 X T joints).

1X ¾” elbow joint

1X 1” of ¾” PVC

2 X ¾” caps (optional)

1X hoola hoop (30” in diameter)

Assembling the hoop:

Take the 36” piece of PVC , place it horizontally and add the elbow piece to one end and a “t” joint to the other end . Add the 1” piece of PVC to the other end of the T joint so you can attach the 2nd T joint (or use a 4 way joint if you can find them).

Add the 2nd T joint to the base by attaching the lower part of the T to the other end of the 1” piece of PVC.

Add the 2 pieces of 12” PVC to the second T joint and add caps to ends of the 12” pieces of PVC .

Add one of the 18” pieces of PVC to each end of the 36 inch base so the 18″ pieces are upright to the 36” piece.

Cut the hoola hoop so each end can be inserted into the vertical PVC. Depending on the size of the hoola hoop (I use ones that are 33″ in diameter and cut enough off so they fit to bottom of the 16- 18″ upright PVC pieces and end up being 36″ high).

Insert into the upright PVC pieces.

The finished hoop looks like this:

Spring Safety!

Soon we will have warmer weather and many of us will be spending more time enjoying the outdoors with our dogs.   It is a good idea to be aware of potential hazards when we are enjoying the outdoors.

Make sure your dog is fit enough for the length and difficulty of the hike you choose to do.

Be familiar with the area you are camping or hiking in. Know where there may be steep drop offs/cliffs or where there is fast-moving water or roadways you may suddenly come upon.

Make sure that your dog is either leashed or trained to such a degree that he or she will always respond to your cues, so they do not harass wildlife or farm animals.

Many species of wildlife are more likely to feel threatened when they have offspring to raise and protect.

Protective raccoons can be dangerous to dogs. Coyotes are a bigger risk to small dogs than larger ones, but coyotes have been known to lure a larger dog into bush where other coyotes ambush the dog. A cornered black bear can easily kill a dog.

On hikes keep your dog close to avoid them disturbing wildlife who are more likely to feel threatened when they have offspring to raise and protect.

Farm animals are also more vigilant when they are raising their young and some can easily injure or kill a dog they feel poses a threat.

Carry fresh water with you for you and your dog. Diseases like leptospirosis are transferred through drinking from infected water sources like ponds. Prolonged exposure to water containing the virus increases the risk of transmission through swallowing, contact with mucous membranes or through an open sore. Dogs that walk-in areas frequented by wildlife are at increased risk of this disease.

Giardia is a parasite picked up from drinking from water sources where giardia may live (for example, untreated water from lakes, streams, or wells) or by swallowing water while swimming in lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, and streams

Check your dog for ticks after being in an area where there may be ticks and talk to your vet about tick and flea prevention. Lyme disease isspread through the bite of infected ticks especially in the spring and fall when ticks are seeking hosts so check your dog (and yourself) for ticks.

Take a first aid course for pets so that, if your dog has an accident despite your preparation to avoid hazards, you can assist your dog immediately and then get him or her to the vet.  Pet first aid kits are available and fit easily in backpacks.

Make sure your dog is wearing identification, so if he goes missing, you are reunited as quickly as possible.  Affordable tracking devices that work with cell phones are now easily available.

Enjoy the outdoors with your dog but be safe out there!

Easy home-made dog treats!

When I want to make some quick training treats, I use 2 eggs , a cup of flour  (or enough to make the dough fairly firm) and canned fish ( one 14 oz can of salmon or tuna or 2 tins of sardines).

I also use parchment paper to line the baking pan and to make clean up easy. 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees and you have treats your dog will love!!  Cut them while still warm into the size you want!

The release cue!

Training Tip!

The “break” or “release” cue is a word we teach the dog to indicate that the exercise we have asked them to do is now over. It means that we (dog and handler) are finished working for right now and that the dog is on his or her own time.
Examples of good “break” words are: all-done, break, release,. The break cue  indicates to the dog that he has finished an exercise like a sit or a search).
The release word is not a cue for playtime. The release word just means that the exercise we have asked the dog to do is over but it isn’t necessarily playtime. 

The tug-toy game

Playing tug with dogs is a great way to reward a dog, to teach bite inhibition, to teach a dog to release an item on cue, to tire a dog out and to teach control of arousal levels.

To teach tug-toy, decide what the cue will be for tug-toy. Have ready a toy the dog enjoys playing with-this can be a tug toy, a rope or a Kong™ on a rope.

Pick a time when the dog appears to want to play. He or she may have invited their person or another dog to play.  Take the dog to a low distraction area and ask the dog to sit.  Then bring out the toy, shaking it close to the ground or dragging the toy away from the dog to encourage the dog’s interest. The dog will generally pounce on and grab the toy. After a few minutes of play (and while the dog still wants to play) the person stops the play by letting the toy go limp and withdrawing it. Initially, I reward the dog for letting go with a treat.

When the person has practiced stopping and starting tug-toy with the dog and the dog appears to enjoy the game, the person can add the cue for tug-toy.

Give the cue (for example: “tug”) and then bring out the toy and engage in play with the dog, give the cue for break, immediately stop playing by letting the toy go limp and rewarding the dog for releasing the toy, then, give the cue to play again and engage in play with the dog and so on…

I have rules for the tug-toy game which are, (1) if the dog’s teeth contact the person’s skin, the game stops immediately (let toy go limp, remove)-at no time should the play game involve the dog using his or her teeth on the person so it is important to be consistent and calm about this (2) anytime the toy is near the person’s face, the game stops – as long as the person is consistent, this teaches the dog to stop playing when the toy is near the face. If the dog tries to grab the toy out of my hand, I put the toy away for a few minutes.