Posts for the Training Tips Category

Companion Animals as Alternative Therapy for Mental Disorders and Addiction

Mental health problems are difficult to treat with medicine and therapy. There’s usually no cure, and mental health problems can present suddenly and without warning. People struggling with mental health disorders may need therapy for the rest of their lives, or they must rely on medication that may have little to no effect on their problems or that has uncomfortable side effects. It doesn’t help that suffering from a mental health disorder carries a stigma and can lead to isolation. Sufferers often cut themselves off from people, medical help, and reality. The difficulties of treating mental health issues are so concerning that medical professionals have adopted alternative therapies in an effort to help their patients.

Animal-assisted therapy is an alternative form of mental health therapy where patients are given a companion animal to help them recover. Companion animals, also known as Psychiatric Service Animals, are pets that instill feelings of companionship, responsibility, and accountability in patients. Companions animals are technically not service animals. Service animals are specially prescribed by doctors and therapists to help patients with specific disabilities, diseases, disorders and mental problems. Companion animals decrease loneliness, paranoia, feelings of isolation, and help patients reconnect with people and the world.  Their calming abilities allow for a mental clarity that can aid therapy and medication. Studies have shown that companion animals can also help drug addicts in recovery programs.

Any Animal Can Be a Companion Animal

Almost any animal can act as a companion animal, but dogs in particular are very effective as because of the incredible emotional bond that exists between humans and dogs. Things to keep in mind before getting a companion animal:

  • Any breed of dog can act as a companion animal.
  • Make sure that your home is suitable for a pet.
  • Make sure the pet is size appropriate to serve the patient’s needs.
  • Make sure the patient is prepared to clean, groom and take care of a pet.

Companion Animals Offer Hope to People in Need

Companion animals have an extremely calming effect on people. They can level out or increase the natural chemicals in our bodies that cause happiness and contentment. Medical professionals turn to animals when medicine fails, or to relax people so that they respond better to medications. Sometimes the animal is a final option in treatment. Companion animals can help people with:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism
  • Bipolar disease
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Drug addiction
  • Psychosis
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Suicidal thoughts

Companion Animals Can Help With Addiction Recovery

Substance abuse can make addicts selfish, manipulative and worried about their own needs. This behavior isolates them from society, people and much-needed help. And while addiction can be difficult to overcome, researchers believe that companion animals can help a lot in addiction recovery therapy programs.

  • Studies show that petting or hugging a pet has great calming effects and can reduce aggression.
  • Companion animals and the comfort they provide can be used as a coping mechanism during recovery and sobriety.
  • Caring for a dog can provide a model for responsibility and accountability.
  • Dogs react to behavior shifts and mood change. They can act as a mirror for an addict to see what they’re doing to themselves.
  • A companion animal, which needs constant care, inspires an addict to think of something besides their own needs and cravings.

In addition to being an alternative therapy, a companion animal can become a lifelong friend. The moment a pet realizes he is yours and you are his, you become instant partners without hesitation. He will be by your side the moment you need him, and always give you the benefit of the doubt.

A companion animal is not a cure-all. A person has to be motivated to get better and to care for the animal so it will care for them. If a patient accepts a companion animal as part of alternative therapy, they have a strong chance at increasing their chances of recovery.

How to Stop Your Dog from Running Away

If you have a dog that will run away any chance they get and you can’t figure out why they do it or how to stop it, you’ve come to the right place. There are many reasons behind this behavior and many ways to prevent it, so take a look.

They miss freedom

Dogs may want to run away out of habit. If you’ve recently adopted a dog that’s used to living free on the street, they might not be able to understand why things have changed now. If they can go back to their old life, they will try. In dealing with this problem, you’ll have to resort to training and a lot of positive reinforcement (maybe even a professional trainer).

They miss their old home

If you’ve recently moved, your dog might be trying to get back home. Your new house is an unfamiliar territory and they just want to go back to something they know. If you suspect that this could be the reason behind such behaviour, then try to surround your dog with their favourite toys and blankets that smell like you and their old home. Additionally, try to walk your dog around the new neighbourhood so they can develop some sense of familiarity.


This is one of the most common reasons why dogs run away and it’s especially prominent in male dogs that haven’t been neutered. If your dog wants to mate, they will usually try to find other dogs to satisfy their instinct. The best way to stop this behaviour is to have your dog neutered and that’s the only thing that will work 100%. If that’s not an option for you, then you will need to use training and a strong leash to keep your pup from breaking loose.

Boredom and loneliness

Dogs are very social beings and if they don’t have company and something interesting and fun to do, they will try to find it outside. If you don’t pay enough attention and don’t work with your dog, this issue might occur. Make sure to devote enough time to your dog’s walks and training, give them a lot of affection and simply spend time with them. Take them to a dog park where they can play with other dogs, pick up some new smells and release some energy.

They love to run

This one’s very simple. If you have a husky or a hunting dog that likes a lot of action, you have to respect their need for running. If you don’t give them enough opportunities to run and jump, they will try to find them on their own.

They are scared

If you live in a busy neighbourhood, close to the airport, railway or a construction site, there’s a possibility your dog is trying to run away from the scary noise. If there’s a way to replicate those triggers, work with your dog until they learn to accept them and not be afraid of them. If you know your pup is scared of fireworks or thunderstorms, shelter them from the noise and make them feel safe. In these situations it’s always good to get your dog a tag. You can get cheap and high-quality pet ID tags in Australia and you can leave your address and phone number on them, so your dog can be returned if lost.

They see something that excites them

If your dog likes to chase after cats or squirrels when you’re walking them, they will also like to do that when off the leash, only you won’t be there to hold them back. If you know what excites your dog, use that object in training to teach them the stay command.

Now that you understand the reasons behind your dog’s behaviour and how to correct it, all that is left to do is work with your dog, train them properly and give them a lot of love.

How to Stop Your Puppy from Pulling on his Leash?

Puppies can be great they are cute, cuddly and most of all they can be trained to do whatever you want. However, sometimes they can be a bit handful. What happens is that your furry friend may end up playing a game of tug of war with you, and to him it will be innocent playtime, however for you it can be a struggle to hold on to the pup, and to ensure that he doesn’t leave your side you need to invest in a good leash. I suggest that you buy one from Kustom-fit Halters, as they have some of the best designs and collections available.

You may have seen those well-behaved dogs who move side by side with their owners and happily wag their tails, but if you are reading this I think your pooch must be a bit rowdy and a nightmare to handle as he may tug and pull at his leash whenever he gets the chance. However, don’t fret there is a way with which you can train him properly and ensure that he is well behaved and obedient just like those other dogs who you see walking the streets with their owners.

Image Credit:

Training is important and I would suggest you take out at least twenty minutes from your daily schedule to train your dog, as it is not only important for his training and development but it will also teach him the desired behavior that you want of him.

First off it’s absolutely important to not tug on his leash when he is being disobedient. What you need to do here is implement the concept of loose leash walking. Now this can be a little tricky, but if done properly it can lead to some really fruitful results.

What you need to do is rest your hands by your sides and allow the dog to take the lead and walk besides him at a gentle pace. You will notice that both you and the dog will be moving in cohesion with each other, and more often than not you will find that your dog will be inclined to listen more if you just relax a bit and ensure that he has the freedom required to move. Pulling at his leash not only can harm his neck but will also hamper is learning process as well.

Furthermore, I cannot stress on this enough “DO Not Under Any Circumstances Use Choke Chains”. This can severely damage your dog’s neck. Let the dog walk on his own pace, and encourage him to sniff around. Remember this is supposed to be a leisure activity for your dog, and letting him sniff around will only aid in his development.

Image Credit: Wikimedia

When you feel like you have made significant progress proceed with the simplest of steps. For e.g. ask your dog to sit by your left leg. Do this in a location where you can practice comfortably, I prefer training my dog in the park, so do try doing that.

You can also try making your dog sit by saying heel, and when he does that give him a small treat, this only reinforces positive behavior, and will encourage your dog to repeat this behavior time and time again.

Enjoy your walks and allow your dog the freedom to express himself, with each positive action re-inforce his behavior by offering him a small treat.

Put this tips to good use and you will find that your dog will be more responsive towards you. Stay blessed and keep trying, cause the reward is worth it.

Effective Tips and Tricks to Train Your Dog

Training a dog can be hard work, there is a lot of determination required and you need to be on your feet constantly because that is what will make your dog listen to all your commands.

Training a dog comes with its own set of challenges, however there are times when trainers try to do a bit too much and in doing so complicate the learning process of their canine. I was the same and I remember going to get a leash from Kustom-Fit Halters for my pooch Prometheus, and when he did not obey I used to yank his leash, which I later learned was a practice frowned upon. Hence, here are simple tips and tricks which can help you train your dog efficiently.

Be Positive with your Dog

Source: Flickr

The key here is to be happy and upbeat when training your dog, your dog will respond better to positive vibes and will be more responsive to all of your commands.

Understand Your Dog’s Psyche

Dogs can take a bit of time comprehending the human body and language and hence you must be patient with him, and try to learn what his behavior indicates. This will lead to a stronger bond between you and your pooch and allow for effective communication.

Understand the Basics

Simple psychology tells us that behaviors which are reinforced are likely to be repeated, and the same thing holds true for your dog, as positive reinforcement will mean that rewarding your dog for a good behavior will likely encourage him to repeat it.

Short Training Sessions

Source: Wikimedia

This has got a lot to do with a dog’s attention span. Consider this if I give you soccer drills for one hour daily you will have fun doing them, but if I force you to do this grueling training regime for 4 hours a day, you are bound to hate me. Similarly keep your training sessions short and fun, and allow the dog to express himself.

Make Training a Daily Routine

You know how that old expression goes practice makes perfect, and that couldn’t be more true as daily practice is bound to improve your coordination with your dog and pretty soon it will become a good habit.

Use Low Distraction Areas

Again, this has a lot to do with the dog’s attention span. The environment where the training is taking place has got to be quiet and free of distractions so your dog can concentrate on the task at hand and get the job done.


This is extremely important your dog will not learn all its tricks in a day, it will take a lot of time and patience, but trust me it will be worth it. A dog who is trained with patience is going to listen to each one of your commands and is going to respond in the most positive way possible.

Use Toys and Food as Reinforcements

Source: Pixabay

Now here is a tried and tested formula. Every time your dog performs an action which you think is positive reward him with playtime with his favorite toy, or give him a nibble from his favorite snack. Just like you would prefer a raise after a hard day’s work, your dog also likes to be rewarded for displaying a positive behavior.

Training a dog is never an easy job, and it requires a lot of trust and wellbeing on the part of both the dog and the trainer to achieve a level of communication where both the dog and the trainer can read the mind of each other.

How to Introduce Your Puppy to a Leash?

A puppy is like a newborn child and it will need a lot of time and attention if he is to learn how to walk properly you will need to guide him each and every step off the way, and ensure that he gets all the love and support that he can from you.


The first thing you need to remember is the fact that you need to be incredibly patient with your pup. The concept of a leash will be new to him, and hence you must do your outmost to put him at ease. Take it slow initially and let your pup take his time whilst he is trying to adjust to his leash.

Find a Suitable Collar and Leash

Next up you need to remember the fact that you will need a collar and a leash which is suitable for your pooch. I would recommend you check out the wide variety that is available at Kustom-Fit Halters. I usually buy all of my collar and leashes from them and they seem to fit my dogs perfectly.

Baby Steps

Puppy Leash Introduction

Source: Flickr

First and foremost, let your dog familiarize himself with a collar and a leash. Be warned though some pets have a tendency to throw temper tantrums and hence they will have a tendency to resist putting on a collar or attaching a leash. Hence I recommend that you put the collar on preferably while you are feeding your pooch as at this time he will be occupied with eating food, and it is highly likely that he will be fully focused on his food and will not notice that you have slipped on the collar on his neck. From then on let him get accustomed to his leash and let time do his magic, sure initially he will try to scratch and claw the collar off but after a while you will find that your pup has gotten accustomed to the idea of having a collar around his neck, and doesn’t seem to mind it as such.

Leash and Playtime Go Together

Dogs on Leash

Source: Pixabay

Basic psychology indicates that if we associate a behavior with something positive, then it is more than likely to result in the subject looking forward to performing that action which will lead to the said behavior. In laymen terms the concept is famously known as Pavlov’s Dog. Hence similarly if you associate the leash with playtime, it is very likely that your pup will start associating his leash with a fun activity and will actually look forward the next time you attach a leash to his collar. Initially start of small and then take your pup to long walks, and maybe head towards the park. Such activities will only strengthen the association of the leash with playtime.


Dog Hi Five

Source: Auggie

Initially do not yank on the leash and expect that the pup will follow each and every one of your commands. If however he does listen to your commands that is great news for you, however the chances are that he will be a bit stubborn and will refuse to heel. When that happens just exercise patience and kneel down and encourage and pet your pup to guide him towards the desired behavior. Some dogs might just sit down and refuse to move, in such a situation move a few steps away kneel down and offer your pooch a treat. This is an effective trick and it works every time. The reason for this is again due to positive association.

Introducing your pooch to a leash can be a bit of a challenge but with love and a lot of care you can overcome it quite easily.