Three Tips for Training Your Pet Using Positive Reinforcement

Whether your pet is a newborn puppy, an old timer, or a hyperactive fluffy tornado, a little obedience training goes a long way with pet behavior. Teaching your pup basic commands is a wonderful opportunity to not only bond with your pet, but also to train them to behave. Though teaching your pet commands is no walk in the park, pet obedience allows more opportunities for adventure in public places (yes, like the park) to socialize with other animals and people. How do you get there? The Precise team has the answer: a little positive reinforcement.

#1. Give them some love!

When you were a kid and accomplished something, a huge hug always let you know that you had done well. The same goes for our furry friends. When your pup masters a command, be sure to show them some love, and give them a great big petting.

#2. Use an uplifting tone

As you’re petting your pup, be sure to praise them! Use an uplifting, cheery tone to assure them that they have accomplished their task! On the flipside, if your pet is becoming frustrated, and is having trouble understanding your commands, continue to use an encouraging tone. Try not to become frustrated and exude that in your voice. This will discourage your pet, and eventually stop them from performing the command.

#3. Grab the Healthy Habits Treats

Reward you pet each time they follow through with a command correctly with a treat. This continuous reinforcement will communicate to your pet that they have accomplished the command. Once your pet becomes a master at the command, you may begin to add on a second step (sit…stay; down…roll). Over time, be sure to reduce the number of times you reward your pet with a treat, but always continue to praise them with an uplifting tone and a pet for when they have accomplished the command.

Be sure to start with the basics. Keep in mind that these commands are new territory for your pet, and it may take some time for certain commands to stick. Positive reinforcement is the correct way to encourage your pet to follow through with obedience training. Be patient and continue to practice; they will learn to master these commands before you know it!

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Get Outside and Play with Your Pet Today

Did you know your pets crave vitamin D just as much as you do? It’s true. January and February are known for being the busiest months in the gym, so let’s take your workout outside with the ultimate partner, your pet. The Precise team has come up with a few reasons why giving your pet time outdoors can make a positive impact on their daily lifestyle:

Improves Mental Health

Exercise is proven to reduce stress and improve mental well-being in humans, and the same goes for our furry friends. Try bringing your pets with you to local greenways, lake trails, or state parks to explore and release some energy! Be sure to bring a leash along for the ride, as not all parks have leash-free zones. Also, don’t forget to bring a bowl and plenty of water so your companion stays hydrated during your excursion.

Reduces Risk of Illness

Did you know 75% of dogs don’t get enough vitamin D? Plenty of time outside paired with our Precise Naturals Chicken Meal and Rice Foundation Formula can help reduce the risks of calcium deficiency, heart conditions, and high blood pressure in our furry companions. Less visits to the vet sounds pretty great—and we’re sure Fido would agree.

Social Interaction

It’s no secret that a great way to bond with your pet is by dedicating time with them daily. The simple commitment to visit a dog park on the weekends, or to go for a 30-minute walk everyday are both great opportunities for your companion to interact with other pets and people.

Improvement in Behavioral Traits

Let’s face it, when you return home from a day jam-packed with classes, or another day at the office, your pet gets a little excited when you come home and may even show you through chewing, scratching, or jumping. The impact of taking your pet outside to release their built up energy will decrease the likelihood of destructive behaviors when you return home.

Now it’s up to us, as pet parents, to commit to spending more time outside with our fur babies. It’s pretty safe to say your pet will be thrilled to be included in your pact to be more active together. How do you plan to spend more time outside with your pet this year? Comment below!

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Plan Your Pet-Cation 2016

Summer. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and a getaway adventure is calling your name—and your pet’s! Grab your pet’s leash, favorite formula, and get packing; the Precise team has sought out the world’s top-petcation destinations just for you:

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Key West, FL

If you’re in the mood to unwind by the coast, Key West, FL is the place for you and your furry friend. Not only are three three pet-friendly beaches at your fingertips, there are also a variety of activities that you can add to your itinerary too. If you and your pet love the water, Lazy Dog Kayak can supply you with a paddleboard or a kayak! To wind down the evening, head over to Island Dogs Bar for delicious bar food!

Gatlinburg, TN

Want to hit the trail? Head to the Great Smoky Mountains with your furry friend in tow, but make sure to bring their leash! Dogs are allowed to explore the camping grounds, picnic areas, and paved areas. Following your trek, you and your pet can shop ‘til you drop at Paws & Claws Pet Fashion and Simply Animals! When your day comes to a close, grab a burger at Howard’s out on the patio!

Tahoe City, CA

If you and your furry friend like a bit of variety with your adventure, you’ll enjoy Tahoe City. Head to Truckee River Rafting for self-guided rafting trips along the 5-mile stretch of river; be sure to bring some snacks and water for this 2-4-hour excursion, and some Healthy Habits Treats for your pup! When you’re ready to test out your land legs, head to Tahoe Cross Country for more than 8 KM of bike trails. Though your pet won’t have wheels of their own, racing down the trail along your side will be even more fun for them!

Alexandria, VA

Alexandria is filled with rich history, and plenty of dog trails! The former homeland of George Washington features a variety of outdoor tours like Alexandria’s Footsteps of the Past Walking Tour, that your pet can join in on for free! If you’re in the mood for a stroll, head to Old Town where you’ll find free treats and water bowls set out for your pet to enjoy!  With canine cruises, and more, this place seems to be a dog’s paradise. And get this, you’re not too far from Washington, D.C. where your furry friend can give the First Pets of the U.S. a howl!

Catch a wave, explore new terrains, or blaze the trail for your own adventure, all with your number one companion at your side. Where do you see yourself and your furry friend this summer?

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The 5 Most Important Commands to Teach Your Pet

Training your pet during their early stages of development is incredibly important. Not only will communicating with your pet strengthen your companionship with one another, it will also help you discover more about your pup’s behavior.

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The Precise team has defined the top five commands to teach your pup and how to jumpstart training! First, why don’t you pick up our Healthy Habits® treats to assist in your efforts.

Sit

To train your pup on how to sit on command, get down to your pet’s eye level. Grab a treat, and hold it close to your pet’s nose and move the treat up while holding your pet’s gaze. Your pup’s bottom will then naturally move downward. As this happens, say “sit.” If your pup sits, reinforce their good behavior by giving them a treat!

Stay

The “stay” command can be a bit tricky when all your pup wants to do is snuggle; however, it is a very important command to master. First, put your pet on a leash. Then, lower your palm flat toward their nose and say “stay.” Step away from your pup for a few seconds, and then move back beside them. If they stay, reward them, but also be sure to free them from the “stay” position by saying a release word like “okay.” Practice this command in multiple locations!

As we said before, “stay” can be tricky so be sure to be patient with your pup. They will grasp it before you know it!

Come

After you’ve mastered “stay,” try getting your pup to stay seated while you back up 10 feet. After holding your pet’s attention, bend down and wave your pet to come forward while saying “come” in an encouraging tone. When your pet comes to you, reward them. Try practicing this command a few times, backing up further and further each time.

Having trouble? The Humane Society has two other methods that may help!

Wait

Ah, the patience command. This one is quite tricky, especially at meal and playtime. Following playtime outside is a good time to practice this command. Stand by the door and get your pet in the “sit” position. Slowly open the door while reciting “wait.” If your pet breaks the “sit” position, close the door and begin again. If your pet sits and “waits” until the door is fully open, give them your release word, “okay,” and allow them to walk outside. When this is complete, reward them and continue practicing!

Leave it

The command “leave it” is communicated to dogs to stop them from interacting with a certain object. Sit on the floor with your pup. In one hand, hold a Healthy Habits® treat; in the other, hold a small piece of bread. Place the piece of bread in sight of your pup. When your pup goes to inspect the bread, cover it up while reciting “leave it.” If your pup leaves the bread and returns to the sitting position, reward them with the Healthy Habits® treat.

Practice makes perfect! Be sure to repeat the exercises above before mealtime, prior to walking your pup, or whenever you have free time. When they are successful at performing a command, do not forget to reinforce their good behavior by giving them a good back scratch, praising them, or giving them a treat.

Think we left anything out? Or did we get a paw-fect 10? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Fun Fall Activities for you and your Furry Friend

Fall is a great time of year; the air turns crisp, the leaves change, and there are new outdoor activities to enjoy. From hayrides, to apple picking, to bundling up with a warm cup of pumpkin spiced coffee; it’s safe to say that fall is a highly anticipated season by all, including our furry companions! Here’s a look at five fun activities for you and your pets this fall.

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1.Take a visit to the pumpkin patch

The coming of fall can only mean one thing: pumpkin season. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin bread are on the menu and now it’s time to make the annual trip to your local pumpkin patch. Before you go, call to see if your favorite pumpkin patch allows pets to tag along! Many will allow well-behaved dogs as long as you have them on a leash. Just remember to clean up after them and be sure to bring plenty of food and water!

2. Camping/Hiking

Fall is one of the best times of the year for getting outdoors! Cooler temperatures will allow for longer excursions and the changing colors of the leaves can provide some absolutely breathtaking scenery. It can also be a great chance to spend some quality time outside with your dog or cat! There are plenty of beautiful trails to walk and fires to sit by with your furry friend! Before you go, make sure that your pet’s flea and tick medicine is up-to-date so that they can have the time of their life without being hindered by annoying itches.

3. Football/Tailgating

Football season is officially back, and with it, the return of weekend tailgates. While you’re making tailgate plans, bring your dog or cat in on the fun! Dress them up in your favorite team’s jersey and let them get prepared for the game with you and your friends. And we all know that most pets aren’t content just sitting on the sidelines, so get them in on the action! Grab a ball and head outside to play a game of one-on-one. Both of you are guaranteed to have a blast!

4. Dog Parks

Fall is one of the best times of the year to bring your dog to the dog park. The cooler air allows for maximum playtime and there are plenty of leaf piles to pounce in and run through! Call up your friends and have a pet play date that will entertain both you and your pet for hours. Who knows, maybe your dog will meet some new friends!

5. Halloween

Last, but definitely not least, fall means Halloween. Halloween is one of the most festive holidays of the year, so why not let your pet get in on the hilarity? Dressing your dog or cat up in a costume can be loads of fun! Struggling to come up with a costume idea on your own? There are plenty of creative costume ideas right at your fingertips. You may even decide to coordinate with your pet! On all Hallows’ Eve, be sure to send pictures of your pet’s costume to Precise’s Twitter or Facebook accounts using the hashtag “#Howloween.”

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Quality Time: Digestibility studies

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

In our previous Quality Time posts, we discussed developing formulas and mentioned conducting a series of tests, including digestibility studies. When we develop new formulas, we want them to taste good, but also want to make sure they are healthy for your pet’s digestive system.

Digestibility studies are important because they allow us to understand how the animals are utilizing the nutrients in the food.

The process is simple. We feed several animals for a specific period of time and then begin collecting the feces. We then test the feces to determine what nutrients were digested and what nutrients were not.

If the results of this and additional tests meet our high standards, we move the formula into full-scale production and introduce the product to our Precise fans!

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Quality Time: Palatability tests

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

In our previous Quality Time post, we discussed developing formulas and mentioned conducting palatability tests. When we develop new formulas, we want to make sure they are not only healthy, but taste delicious too!

Palatability tests are run against competitive products to measure how tasty and appetizing a new formula is. The new formula is shipped to a palatability-testing lab that is contracted to offer these types of services.

To test the palatability, the animals are presented with two bowls. The bowls are presented at the same time with product A in one bowl and product B in the other. The observer makes note of the first choice the animal makes. After about 15 minutes, the bowls are removed and weighed to determine what food was not consumed.

On the second day of testing, the bowls hold the same products, but their position is swapped due to a possible left-right bias. Observers make note of the first choice preference and weigh the food, just as before. They continue this process for a third day. Afterward, they enter values in a computer and do statistical analysis to determine which was preferred over a three-day period of time.

After we receive the statistical information, we use it along with other test results, such as digestibility tests, to decide if the formula meets our high-standards and will satisfy and nourish our Precise pets.

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Quality Time: Developing formulas

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Here at Precise, everyone knows pet food like the back of their hands. That’s why ideas for developing or improving formulas usually originate with the folks in the field. After identifying a need for a particular product or segment of the pet population, we research the nutritional requirements and profiles of the ingredients used to put the formula together.

After the preliminary research is complete, we bring the materials to our quality assurance lab where we actually create the initial formula on a computer. The computer program produces a nutrient profile based on ingredients we have to work with. If there is a unique ingredient that we don’t normally have, we order a small amount of that ingredient for a test run to make sure that everything we need to create the formula lies within the capabilities of the plant.

Once we have our initial run and are successful, we conduct a series of tests – one for palatability and another for digestibility. Once these are successful, our new formulas are ready for happy pet consumption!

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Quality Time: Ingredient sourcing

 

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Curious about where ingredients found in Precise pet food are sourced? We’re happy to explain.

All of our products are naturally preserved and come from trusted distributors. Our chicken products (meal, chicken fat, chicken flavor) all originate from birds that are raised with the same standards and practices as those raised for human consumption.

Many ingredients (vegetables and fruits) found in Precise Holistic Complete also come from the same sources that stock your local grocery store. Additionally, the grains used are purchased based on specific USDA standards. When they are received, we check them very closely to make sure they meet our standards before we even unload them from the truck!

Our chicken products come from Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma, while our lamb meal is from New Zealand.  Our duck products come from Italy. Our fresh-caught salmon in Precise Holistic Complete is imported from Norway. Additionally, the grains and botanicals we use are both of U.S. origin.

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Quality Time: Near-infrared testing

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Another important test we perform on our pet foods here at Precise is Near-infrared (NIR) testing. These tests analyze properties such as fat, fiber and amino acids, and help us provide ongoing analysis along the production line as our food is being made.

What used to take hours can now be done in 15 seconds, which allows us to test more often and in a more effective way. Here are a few photos of the process. First, here is a sample being prepared for NIR analysis:

Then the sample is loaded onto the NIR machine:

Finally, our staff monitors the NIR results to be sure it meets our stringent standards:

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