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Let’s talk about antlers for your dogs!

Every day at Dog Training Now, we work with dogs on their “Place” command.  For new readers, “Place” is a mat or bed that we put on the ground, and your dog is required to keep his paws on it until we release him.  He can do whatever he wants while he’s there, but he may not leave the place.  In order to help your pup hold his place for extended periods of time, we regularly offer a special treat to occupy his time.  We almost always choose a deer antler.

By only giving your pup access to his antler while he’s on his place, we build a strong positive association between your dog and his place.  Staying on his place is a fun thing to do, and there’s no reason for him to be in a rush to get off.  We strongly recommend to all of our clients that you choose one toy that your pup only gets when he’s on his place, and antlers check a lot of boxes for us.  Here is everything that you need to know about giving your dog an antler chew:

 

They’re Durable

Even for heavy chewers, antlers are much longer lasting than many other chew toys.  That positive association that your pup has with his antler and his place will last for a long time.  However, the drawback to this aspect is that antlers are harder than many chews available to dogs.  To make antlers safer and less likely to cause tooth damage, it’s important to choose the appropriate antler.  First, dogs have tremendous vertical bite strength, so those back teeth can really clamp down.  It’s important to choose an antler that is large enough that your dog’s mouth is forced wide open when it’s at the back of his mouth.  This reduces the leverage available, and thus protects his rear teeth from damage.

It’s also important to select a fresh antler.  Those “chalk white” antlers that you find in the pet store have weathered white and hardened and many of them are imported from overseas.  Dog Training Now sources our antlers from “The Antler Guy”, who happens to be trainer Marcus’ neighbor in Cary, IL.  The Antler Guy’s antlers are all local, and show that sought-after brown coloring that indicates freshness.  The fresher the antler, the softer the antler.

 

They’re Safer

Antlers are far less likely than bones, hooves, or hides to splinter or break into pieces which can cause your dog to choke.  Instead, antlers wear down slowly as your dog chews.  They’re also all natural, with no synthetic chemicals to worry about, assuming that you acquire them from the right provider.  All of Dog Training Now’s antlers are natural sheds, and the only process completed is to cut them to appropriate shapes and sizes.  No slaughterhouses are involved in getting our antlers to your pups.

 

They’re a Source of Minerals

Antlers are great sources of calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, and chondroitin.  Calcium plays an important role in bone and teeth formation, blood clotting, muscle contraction, vision, and in the metabolism of hormones and enzymes.  Phosphorus is essential to combine with calcium to facilitate calcium absorption.  Glucosamine and chondroitin combine to help improve hip and other joint health.

 

They’re Cleaner

Antlers are a mess free chew.  No stains on your carpets, and no pieces to pick up.

 

They’re More Interesting To Your Dog

The challenge that antlers present to your dog keeps it interesting for a long time.  Chewing to earn the marrow from the core of the antler keeps the taste fresh and gives your dog something to earn.  That’s why we recommend whole antlers instead of the split versions because the marrow is much more challenging to access.

We have a full stock of fresh antlers ready to help your pup hold his place.  Stop by the studio anytime to pick yours up.