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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's OK to Share on Thanksgiving

Safe foods all in moderation.  If you dog is accustomed to eating regular dog food their stomach can be upset by large amounts of rich food.  It is best to share the unsalted, unspiced version of your favorite holiday treats.  While you are cooking you can set aside some of the ingredients for your special friend.
               
Turkey-white meat is best but the dark meat is ok.  Be careful not to give fatty portions.
               
Mashed Potatoes-skip the gravy or add just a touch.  You don’t want to add too many fats-garlic-or onions.
               
Sweet potatoes-these are so healthy but make a portion for your pet without the marshmallows!  Sugar is not that great for dogs.
               
Green beans-vegetables are great! You will want to make them a portion without the onions and garlic.
               
Cranberries-if you dog likes them they are fabulous.  Most dogs will only eat a few if any.

Now to keep you dog from begging.  Always remember that behavior that is reinforced will be repeated. 

If you feed your dog from your plate while he has his head on your lap drooling then he will repeat that behavior because it go him a bite of food. 

Choose a station you want your dog to stay on while you are eating.  A mat or a bed works great for this.  Practice during a time when you can focus on your dog and reward him frequently at first.  If you need to you can use a tether and tie your dog so he will stay in that area.  At first you will probably need to stay close to your dog.  Gradually increasing the distance. 

Reward your dog for calm relaxed behavior on the mat.  Practice during a meal time but don’t expect to eat your whole meal without having to get up the first time you do this.  Be consistent!  If you tell your dog to stay on the mat and they get up go put them back on the mat.  Be sure to continue reinforcing them but gradually space the time between treats and be specific in your delivery when they are relaxed and calm. 

With consistent practice your dog will stay on his mat during the whole meal.  You can also use the mat in the kitchen during prep time.  I like to let the dogs help me clean up by doing the prerinse as the dishes are going in the dishwasher.  Of course they only earn the privilege of cleaning the dishes if they are acting calm.

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