Crufts 2018: Tips for tricks and treats for your pooch
Crufts, known as the world's greatest dog show, is back this weekend. The annual competition to find the UK's best-trained and groomed pooches returns to the NEC in Birmingham from Thursday March 8th until Sunday March 11th.
Whether you're lucky enough to be going to Crufts yourself or will be watching the highlights on TV at home, the event is a delight for all dog lovers, with a chance to see just about every breed you can think of at the show.
Last year's winner of the highly coveted Best in Show title was an American cocker spaniel named Afterglow Miami Ink, from Blackpool. Do you think your pet could have beaten Miami?
Instead of simply watching the show with your four-legged friend on your lap and thinking 'maybe one day', let yourself get swept up by Crufts fever and try to master a few clever tricks with your pooch. You'll both benefit from the mental and physical exercise involved, and it's a great way to spend some quality time with your beloved pet.
Of course, they'll deserve a reward afterwards, so we've included a few recipes for homemade dog treats here too.
Master these dog tricks
You're never too old to be amused by a dog shaking your hand, and it's actually fairly easy to teach your pet to master this trick.
Next time your dog is sat in front of you, there'll inevitably be a moment where he/she lifts up their paw. When they do this, give them a treat. The reward will encourage them to repeat the action, especially when you continue to give them treats.
When it's clear they've mastered this action, start to say 'paw' each time they repeat it. Your dog will soon associate the word with the action and the treat that comes afterwards, and you'll have a nice little party trick to impress visitors with.
Jump through a hoop
There are few things that'll make you feel more like a circus ringmaster than getting your dog to jump through a hoop successfully, and it's not actually as difficult as you might think.
Firstly, you need to get your pooch used to the hoop. Introduce it to their other toys as part of their usual playtime until they're familiar with it. Then, try guiding them to walk through it, luring them to the other side with a treat. Keep repeating this until they're used to it.
Then, all you need to do is begin raising the hoop off the ground each time gradually, until they are able to step up and then jump through it to reach their treats.
If you want your pooch to look even more talented, try introducing another person into the mix. If they can jump through a hoop, they'll technically be able to jump over another person who's lying on the floor or on all fours. It might take a bit of time for them to get used to jumping without the hoop again, but you'll have a lot of fun mastering this trick and your grandkids will love it too.
Make your own dog treats
Treats form a key part of dog training and practicing tricks, but you don't want your pooch to end up eating too many and putting on weight. If you make your own dog treats, however, you can control exactly what's going in to them and ensure your furry friend isn't overeating.
To make simple dog biscuits that your pet will love, mix 350 grams of whole wheat flour with an egg, a teaspoon of salt, another of beef or chicken stock and enough hot water to bind everything together (take care to add this gradually to prevent your ingredients from getting too soggy).
Bring the mixture together to form a dough, knead and cut into shapes - a bone-shaped cookie cutter will make these especially fun for your dog - before baking for around half an hour.
Another great idea from Cesar's Way that will be perfect after your pooch has spent the day running and jumping around, leaving them feeling hot, are frozen peanut butter and yoghurt treats. Make these by melting peanut butter in the microwave and stirring it through yoghurt. Pour into cupcake cases and place in the freezer so they're ready to cool your dog down next time he or she needs it.
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