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Clicker training is a really great way of teaching your pet new things in a positive way and making learning fun for both of you. You can clicker train any animal, including dogs, cats, horses and rabbits.
Clicker training is a positive training method based on rewarding an animal for good behaviour. Your pet learns to understand that the sound of the click means “that’s right” and that a food treat is coming. A click is more effective than your voice for two reasons. Firstly, your mood will influence how you sound and can make your voice inconsistent. Secondly, by the time you’ve praised your pet they might have moved on to something else. A clicker gives a quick, clear and consistent signal to your pet.
When animals are rewarded for the right behaviour, they’re more likely to repeat it and look for ways that they can offer that behaviour so they get a treat, making training more of a game than a chore for them – and you!
TOP TIP: The click must be an absolute guarantee that your pet will immediately get a reward. So the golden rule is: every time you click, give your pet a treat, even if you clicked at the wrong time.
Dogs can be opportunists when it comes to getting their paws on tasty treats, but not all everyday food and drink are safe if they come into contact with them. Learn which nine items are particularly dangerous to your dog.
1. Onions, garlic and chives
The onion family, whether dry, raw or cooked, is particularly toxic to dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. Signs of illness are not always immediate and can occur up to a few days later.
However enticing chocolate is for humans and dogs alike, chocolate is another poisonous food for dogs. Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine (dark chocolate has the highest content of this) which is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.
3. Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts contain a toxin that can affect your dog’s muscles and nervous system resulting in weakness, swollen limbs and panting.
4. Corn on the cob
Corn on the cob could potentially be fatal if eaten by your dog. Although the corn is digested by dogs, the cob can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestine.
Avocados are another poisonous food for dogs. Avocado plants contain a substance called Persin which is in its leaves, fruit and seed and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.
6. Artificial sweetener (Xylitol)
Our desire for sweet treats, chewing gum and drinks together with low-fat, diet and sugar-free products (including some peanut butters so always check the label before using this as a treat) are often laced with an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which causes an insulin release in our bodies. However, if your dog digests one of these sweetened foods they can go into hypoglycaemia which is linked to liver failure and blood clotting disorders.
Alcohol has a huge impact on dogs even in small doses. The drink not only causes intoxication as it does in humans, but it can lead to sickness, diarrhoea and even central nervous system damage.
8. Cooked bones
Giving your dog a raw uncooked bone to chew on is great, but avoid cooked bones at all cost. These can easily splinter and in large quantities cause constipation or at worst, a perforation of the gut which can be fatal.
9. Grapes and raisins
Raisins are in many of the foods that we love to eat such as cakes, biscuits and cereals so it’s not just the fruit form we should be concerned with. The active ingredient which causes the toxin is unknown, however both grapes and raisins may cause severe liver damage and kidney failure. What should I do if my dog has eaten any of these? If consumed, even small amounts of these items can be fatal so always act immediately and take your dog to the vets.