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Dog Care

Acclimating Your Rescue Dog

Jan 31, 2013

Dog lover tips for your newly rescued dog

Dog lover tips for your newly rescued dog

Opening your home to a rescue dog is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a dog. Whether it’s a puppy or a senior dog, providing a home for them is not only great for them, but it has an awesome effect on the owners.

However, now that they’re in their new home, how are they going to act? The one characteristic about rescue dogs is that you seldom know their history. While kennels and shelters do their best to investigate your pup’s history (medical, housing, previous lifestyle), they aren’t always accurate. In fact, dogs that live in shelters or kennels for long periods of time will often develop different habits that you might not be familiar with. They may have been potty trained, but probably haven’t had the opportunity to practice it.

Old habits die hard

One of the most serious issues with a rescue dog is that they may be hyperactive when you interact with them and they won’t quite be able to settle back down like most dogs would. It could be because they’re just happy to be free and have a home, but the condition often resonates long after they’ve moved in with you.

Additionally, their new environment may cause them stress. Many shelter dogs have accommodated themselves to living within a small area. Consider making them comfortable by surrounding them with something familiar and then gradually introducing them into a larger home. One of the most effective methods is the crate, and while it might seem contradictory to getting them out of the shelter, it does provide them with a place that is familiar while they are adjusting to their new home.

Another situation is the potty issue. Keep in mind that dog shelters aren’t focused on training and working with a dog, especially in this department. Many dogs will potty in their own housings (contrary to their own instincts), which can quickly and unexpectedly become a difficult habit to break. Be cautious about letting your recently rescued dog navigate your home unattended. If you aren’t with them, it’s best to keep them isolated in a certain location, such as a crate or their own room (make sure they can’t jump over doggy gates).

Comfort

Comfort is a big thing for a dog. [tweet this]

While we laugh because they can sleep just about anywhere (and in the strangest positions), dogs are often just looking for what makes them comfortable. The question is: where are they going to eat and sleep? Many shelter dogs are going to be accustomed to eating in the same spot where they sleep, and change can confuse them quickly. It may be necessary to start feeding them close to their crate or sleeping area, then gradually moving their food back to a designated location (kitchen). This should allow your pup to ease into their new lifestyle, rather than just surprising them with a whole lot of change.

One thing to consider is that shelter dogs are often going to be surprised by new objects, sounds, and even people. In order to provide the ideal comfort zone while they adapt, it’s generally good to check your home for anything that would “surprise” your new dog. This might include loud noises, such as vacuum cleaners, clocks, and other strange noises, that could stress out your dog.

Stress on your dog and how to address it

Keep in mind that stress has a physical effect on a dog as well. The introduction to a new environment combined with a change in diet often results in an upset stomach and even diarrhea. This is simply a fact, so don’t be surprised or upset with your pup if he is having stress-related issues, since you’ll only make it worse.

The best way to address this is as soon as your dog is introduced to the home, it’s time to begin potty training. Take them to a pre-designated location (indoor or outdoor) and allow them to take care of their business there. Be sure that this area is obscured from any outside stimuli, such as the neighbor’s barking dog or even elemental factors. The more comfortable and secure they feel in their potty location, the more quickly they’ll begin to accommodate themselves to your house rules.

Providing a home, even a temporary one, for a rescue dog is a wonderful thing. You’re making their life better by simply giving them a chance to make yours just as good. It might be a puppy, a big pooch, a tiny rascal, or even a senior dog, but what matters the most is that they now have a home and a place in your heart.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Reunited – How to Ease Back into Routine

Jan 24, 2013

Shy dog

Tips for dog owners that are reunited with their pets

Many dog owners feel comfortable leaving the pup at home while away at work. And while you’re away, your pup might find occasion to romp around the house or play with their toys (squeaking that squeaker while you’re away). Some might simply laze around, simply eager to get you back home so you can play with them.

But have you ever been separated from your pup for a long time? Perhaps you’ve promised your hometown a long visit to ensure its safety and to reunite with family, or maybe you’ve been in the hospital for a long period of time. There are even those whose dog was lost but found, and a reunion is set to happen. Regardless of the reason, seeing your pup again is a great experience for the both of you.

And while you both may be excited to see each other, things at home might be a little different now. Consider the fact that you’ve been separated for a long period. During this time, it’s easy to develop new habits and behaviors, even for a dog.

Different behaviors and habits

Initially, a dog may want to do things differently. They have likely been accustomed to a different schedule and perhaps a different number of people in their home. Don’t be startled if your dog is occasionally surprised by your presence. They may even mistake you for a stranger at times (standing in the shadows or dim area) and let out barks.

The best thing to do is spend time with your pup. Take turns feeding them, walking them, and playing with them. Upon your return home, it’s likely your dog is going to want to do all of these things anyway, but may still want to engage with those that took care of them while you were away. It’s important to understand that just because you’ve returned, it doesn’t mean your dog is going to go right back to feeling comfortable with you all the time.

This normally means that their habits won’t be the same as when you left. They may want to play at certain times or even need to do their daily business differently or in a new place. They may have even learned a few new tricks while you were away (ringing a bell to alert that they need to go out). Spend time with your dog and their caretakers together, so that you can catch up on any changes in your dog. This will help you adjust to caring for your dog so that your arrival won’t surprise him, but rather make him more comfortable in your presence.

Post-return and a little anxiety

Then there are situations where the dog knows what happened the last time you left. They know that you didn’t come back for a long time and this time might not be any different. Unfortunately, this can quickly develop into separation anxiety. They’ll want to follow you around everywhere and be with you. This can result in either destructive issues such as chewing on the rug or scratching on the door. But many times, it results in howling, depression, and just being downright sad or even scared because you might not be coming back for a long time again.

Dealing with post-return separation anxiety can be tough, but not impossible. While you may want to spend a lot of time with your dog now that you’re back, it’s going to be important that they be able to let go of you when you need to leave, without endangering their health or your home. Remember that this is likely a new habit developed, so you don’t want to let it endure or develop into something that is harder to break.

Desensitizing

In most cases, desensitizing them to your leaving is the simplest practice. Start by walking out the door and waiting a few minutes. Then return- but try a different door (garage door to front door). The idea is that you’re changing position and breaking your dog’s habit of waiting by the door for you to return because they don’t know where or when you’ll be arriving. Do this in longer increments until your dog begins to comprehend that you might leave right now, but you’ll be back soon enough.

There are times when owner and dog will be separated for long periods of time. But as long as you understand how your dog needs to cope with the situation, you can ensure that the experience is the best thing that has happened since you invited them into your home.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Items That You Need to Keep Away

Jan 17, 2013

Safe home tips for dog owners

Safe home tips for dog owners

Dogs are astoundingly curious, just like small children. When they see something new, then it’s time to investigate. When you bring groceries home, they have to inspect them (probably just looking for a new toy you brought home for them). But for the most part, dogs love to get into things- even when they know they’re not supposed to (think trash can).

Needless to say, it’s important that any dog owner understand that there are certain things (besides the couch cushions) that they need to make sure are off-limits to their pooch. Some can be dangerous and others can be deadly. Just be sure that these items aren’t just out of puppy reach, but that neither you nor any guests can give them to your dog either.

Medicine

Human medicine is specifically designed for the human body. We weigh differently, our body temperatures are different, and even the way our bodies operate are different. Certain medications, such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, and even allergy medications that are over the counter should be off-limits to your pup. There are specific medicines for your dog to address swelling, allergies, and even pain, and should be the only things that your pup ingests. But even these should be kept out of reach, especially since dogs don’t realize what they’re ingesting.

Snacks

Grapes, raisins, and especially wine are amongst the most toxic for dogs. These summertime favorites are great for countertop snacks and can even roll around when dropped (getting into those hard to reach or out of sight places), leaving them available for your dog to snack on later. While they’re good for humans, take precautions to ensure that any grape-based food product is kept away from your pup’s belly.

Another tabletop item is the sugar substitutes that include xylitol. While not everyone will have these readily available, a few loose packets can land on the floor and every pup owner knows how quickly a dog becomes a vacuum cleaner in these situations.

Chocolate has always had a bad rap when it comes to our four-legged friends (both feline and canine), and it’s justly so. There are chemicals within chocolate (the ones that make us feel good) that a dog’s body can’t process effectively like the human body can. Even in small amounts, chocolate can induce toxicity and leave your pup with the need to potty more than often. In large enough doses (or certain chocolates like semi-sweet or baker’s), chocolate can be a deadly mix for your dog.

Party time- but not for your dog

While it may seem okay to some for their dogs to drink, there are serious side effects to remember before you slip a little eggnog in your pup’s bowl. A dog’s kidneys do not have the capacity that a human’s does, and the result is that alcohol can quickly cause them to shut down. Do your dog a favor and don’t let them drink, even if you think they’re “of age.”

Charged and dangerous

Leaving batteries around is a big no-no. Not only does the packaging inform you that they’re toxic, but also that they shouldn’t be opened, crushed, or destroyed in any way. Now consider what your dog’s going to do when they find something new laying around- they’re going to chew on it. Dispose of your old batteries properly and store your good ones up and far away from your dog’s reach. This goes for flashlights as well.

Decorating

Decorating your home is something everyone does in some way. For some, its paintings, while others enjoy a little greenery. Before you start planting a few greens around the home or even in the yard, consider that lilies are actually poisonous to dogs. Dogs naturally enjoy eating grass or even a few leaves off bushes, and when there’s a plant around (lilies are naturally sweet), a dog might find it an irresistible snack. If you like lilies, it’s going to be safer for your pooch if you invest in a synthetic solution (plus you won’t have to water it).

As a dog owner, be aware of the common dangers that are lying around your home. While we might know better than to do things that are dangerous, your pup doesn’t always have the same reasoning or experience that you do. Keep your dog safe so that you both can enjoy this holiday season.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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You Got that Puppy in the Window

Jan 10, 2013

Preparation tips for new dog owners

Preparation tips for new dog owners

Your friend just showed up at your door with a furry friend. You pet them and note how cute they are. In fact, this pup seems to look just like the one you spotted in the window last week. And what do you know, you’ve just been surprised with a new member to your household. This can be a little exciting at first, but it can also be a little unsettling, especially if you haven’t made any preparations to accommodate your new friend.

While you may adore your new friend, you aren’t exactly prepared for what you need to do now that you’ve become a new dog owner. It’s important to understand that owning a dog is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. They will change your life in many ways, many of which will be a blessing if you understand the responsibilities of what it means to be a dog owner.

Puppy proofing your home

First things first, your pup is a surprise to both you and everyone else in your home. So, you’re going to need to puppy-proof their new environment. It’s best to start in a particular location. Dogs that have been freshly introduced into a new environment will not only need to be confined to smaller areas, but will actually feel more comfortable in them. This is because there are new sounds, scents, and activity that they won’t necessarily understand. Additionally, it’s about their safety as well. This means that you’re going to be cleaning up the house and getting ready for a small and curious companion who will undoubtedly find interest in just about everything.

Power cords are a big issue, especially around the holidays. Not only can they be chewed on, but they can also be a tripping hazard for young puppies who haven’t quite gotten a hold of their balance yet.

Chewable items can be just about anything, and the smaller they are, the more dangerous. Controllers, devices (electronics like your Xbox), cell phones, and even loose change can all be attractive items to nibble on or swallow.

Then there are the downright dangerous items that include chemicals and even food products. As a new pet owner, it’s important to understand what can hurt a dog that we humans often take for granted. Harsh cleaners should find their way into top cabinets. But, food is a hazard that many new owners don’t think about at first. Chocolate is well known as a dangerous poison to dogs, but the list also includes onions, avocados, alcohol, caffeine, and grapes, to name a few. As a new pet owner, it is wise to only feed your dog healthy dog food and refrain from any table scraps.

Addressing their needs

Preparing the home is one thing, but you’re also going to need to figure out what it is that your puppy needs from you. Feeding- what should you feed them? What’s in a healthy diet? Pay attention to what your choice dog food is designed for, such as puppy mix, adult, senior, or weight. The contents, texture, and size will all affect your dog’s ability to eat and their general health (puppies require more fatty acids and growth-stimulating nutrients).

And if they eat, they’re going to have to go potty. Choose a location for your dog to potty and take them back to it right after they’ve finished eating. Proposing a command will help associate your dog with the purpose of their particular visit to the potty location. Just be sure that your designated potty area and command remain the same throughout the training process.

The right toys for your pup

Toys are something else entirely. Young puppies aren’t picky about what they play with, so you could give them anything and they’ll jump right on it. Just be cautious about hard-plastic toys, stuffed animals, and objects that could be swallowed. Plush toys that lack stuffing are available and tend to be the softest for a young puppy’s choice entertainment.

While toys are good for entertainment, a young puppy is going to seek out your attention. You are after all, their new best friend. They trust you, look to you to teach them all the good habits, and to keep them happy. While the season can be full of hustle and busy schedules, this is the most important responsibility for any dog owner.

Being surprised with a new friend does happen, especially during the holiday season. Not everyone who gets a dog is expecting a dog. And while many people consider a dog a wonderful gift, it’s important to remember that it is the happiness that comes from the experience that is the true gift.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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How to Handle a Dog with Too Much Energy

Jan 3, 2013

running dog

Dog owners and how to handle energetic dogs

Pawing, pacing, and sighs are all signs that your dog wants you to play. You’re taking care of some work on the computer, and the ball plops down on your lap. Your dog looks up at you and sighs a “play with me” while his eyes say “please”. You toss the ball away, but your pup brings it right back and you’re back to square one. Ball in lap becomes ball on shelf. So, your dog goes and gets a fluffy toy and puts that in your lap. Notice the pattern?

The unfortunate thing is that you really don’t have time to play right now. This leaves your pooch a little upset, and quite frankly, they’re a bottled up fountain of energy now. Before long, they’re tearing through the house, jumping on the couch and doing what they can to get your attention.

This can be frustrating for any owner. However, consider the fact that it’s even more frustrating for your dog than for you. They want to play. They want to be entertained. And the truth is that they aren’t going to be happy until they’re satisfied. So, what can you do to satisfy their urge to get out all that energy – in a positive way? Sure, a few laps around the couch might help subdue them for now, but it isn’t the real solution.

Getting the energy out

Regular exercise is the best way to help get the energy out. For many breeds, such as the Border Collie and the Australian Shepherd, frequent activity is a necessity for both mind and body. Schedule daily walks and some time outdoors where they can stretch their legs and keep their minds stimulated.

Parks are ideal for dog activity and provide your dog plenty of social exposure. If your dog is exhibiting a lot of energy and becoming frustrated with being stuck inside (looking out the window and wishing they could play outside), consider finding them a puppy pal.

Do you have any fellow dog-owner friends your companion could spend time with? Fellow canine bonding is important for every dog and helps them adjust and build confidence when around other dogs. Many owners seem to neglect this important aspect of dog-nature, and prefer limited exposure with other dogs. But, it’s important for every dog to understand that there are other dogs out there so they can find friends that can keep up with them during a race.

One thing to consider when it comes to active dogs is that they adore education. Dogs love to listen and interact with you and others. The more time you spend teaching them tricks, the less hyper and chaotic they will be.

Spend a few minutes each day practicing tricks (sit, lay, return), to help keep their minds active and strong. Teaching them to navigate obstacles is also a great idea. Going through a tunnel, jumping through hoops, or even picking up a Frisbee turned upside down (this is inexpensive and isn’t easy to accomplish without opposable thumbs). Tricks and obstacles exercise your dog’s mind and not only help focus that excess energy, but channel it to make your dog smarter and a little wiser.

Of course, the aspect of the mind also reaches out to entertainment. Dog puzzles are actually very fun for a dog. The challenge keeps them busy and helps focus their energy into something rewarding and productive. Wooden and plastic puzzles are relatively cheap and give your dog hours of fun trying to figure out how to get to the hidden treat.

Other toys that keep them entertained would include the ball-in-a-ball. Normally costing about ten to fifteen dollars, depending on size and durability, they are quite simply one ball in a larger ball with holes. Nothing is more entertaining than trying to get the ball that always evades their reach. Kong is renowned for their durable toys, many of which have pockets that can be filled with treats or wet foods (wet food is harder to get all the way out and would keep them busy longer).

An extremely active dog can be a nuisance in your home when they decide to unleash a load of bottled up energy. Though they may get a little destructive, it’s not their fault. They’re just doing what comes naturally. As your dog’s owner and protector, you’re responsible for keeping them healthy and happy. Take the time to let them release that energy in a productive and safe way, whether it’s with you, some fellow four-legged friends, or even some practical toys that will keep them busy when you can’t play.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Can Dogs Suffer Strokes?

Dec 27, 2012

Dog care to avoid stroke

Dog care to avoid stroke

Human beings can relate to strokes. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain gets disrupted and shuts off the much needed oxygen supply to the tissue. The result can be deadly if not treated properly. Because of its rarity and inclination to happen mostly to humans, many a pet owner have wondered whether the same can happen to their animals.

Just like humans, it is very possible for dogs to have a stroke. There are basically two types of stroke; one where a blood clot travels to the brain and blocks the flow of oxygen-rich blood, and another where vessels in the brain rupture and cause hemorrhaging. Both instances can be fatal if not addressed in time.

What are the symptoms?

It’s essential that every dog owner know what symptoms to look out for when it comes to strokes. Symptoms will appear almost immediately, one of which is disorientation. This may come in many forms, some as subtle as turning the wrong direction when called, to eating out of only one side of their bowl. In more extreme cases, your dog may collapse and become unresponsive.

If the stroke isn’t as apparent or is left untreated because the signs are too subtle to notice at first, they may become lethargic and/or lose bowel control. If your well-trained pup suddenly starts urinating in the house or while they’re walking around, it probably isn’t their fault, so don’t make assumptions that they’ve suddenly decided indoors is their new potty. This may be as a result of the brain not getting enough oxygen to ensure proper motor skills and dexterity. They may feel dizzy and tired all the time and lose the ability to control their body movements.

In all cases where you suspect stroke, an immediate visit to the vet is strongly recommended. [tweet this].

For the most part, medications can be used to thin the blood to help get rid of the clot, if this is the cause. Because of the brain’s intricacy, surgery is not always the best option. Consulting with your veterinarian will narrow down your options and help you choose what is going to be the best solution for your dog’s recovery.

While strokes can prove fatal, if caught early enough and treated properly, it is possible for the dog to make a full recovery and enjoy many more years with you. Don’t assume that just because they’ve suffered a stroke that they aren’t going to be okay. Keep your thoughts positive and focus on helping your pup through it.

Don’t confuse one for the other

Strokes are indeed very dangerous, but there exists one condition that seems to result in almost identical symptoms. Vestibular disease can and is often mistaken for a stroke. It occurs when the brain doesn’t cooperate with the inner ear and basically results in a “super-drunk” state for your dog (minus the dangerous alcohol).

Unfortunately (or fortunately for the dog), treatment for this particular issue is to keep them comfortable, especially during an episode where falling down can prove dangerous. Such episodes can last for long periods, in which case it may be necessary to hand feed them (they might be picky because of the disorientation), but it’s crucial that you keep them nourished.

What to consider

One thing to consider is what types of dogs tend to be prone to having strokes. [tweet this].

Both young puppies and old dogs are naturally inclined to stroke. Injuries, such as broken bones, can also result in blood clots that can travel through the body to the brain, so be cautious with a dog recovering from a broken limb. When it comes to your dog’s characteristics, keep in mind that dogs with thick coats and short snouts (pugs and bull dogs) are at a higher risk due to their smaller respiratory system.

Take precautions

In all cases, be sure that you take care of your dog properly to prevent the chances of stroke occurring. Extreme temperatures, mainly hot weather, can result in over exertion. When your dog is having fun, they probably aren’t going to stop even after they begin to overheat. Proper diet and plenty of exercise are the best steps to prevention and will help keep your dog’s circulatory system functioning properly.

Be sure to keep an eye out for any change in your dog’s behavior. They adore habit and seldom change (unless some visitors arrive). So if you see your pup acting a little strange, take note and act on it to make sure they’re okay. At the end of the day, they trust you to take care of them and make sure they stay happy and healthy.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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We Love Being Dog Owners

Dec 20, 2012

Why we are dog lovers

Dogs are naturally inclined to support their companion. They care about you, even if they can’t say it. They always have time for you, though it has to be said that they may not want to take a bath when you want them to. But, for the most part, having a pet dog is possibly one of the best things that ever happened to its owner.

What is it about a dog that impacts our lives so splendidly? Sure, we love having a friend around that wants to do whatever we’re doing, but there are a few particular aspects that affect our lives in a healthy way.

Top 3 Reasons Why It’s Great to be a Dog Owner

1. Dogs make socialization easy

Who can resist patting a happy friendly dog? Dogs are an instant icebreaker. What kind of dog is that? What’s her name? We all have questions that spring to mind when we meet a dog owner walking their loveable dog. Any dog owner can testify to the fact that once you have a dog, it’s an instant conversation starter.

Some of the best places to meet other dog owners are at the park, through training classes, and even through online forums and discussions, posting a picture and your own story is a great way to start some conversation and talk about how great your pup is.

Not only is this good for you, but it is also great for your dog. Socializing and familiarizing with other people and pets helps your puppy to develop a friendly attitude that will likely turn them into an irresistibly loveable dog that wants to get out there and attract some attention for the both of you.

2. Dogs help you stay in shape

While dogs are a great way to socialize, they also have a positive effect on the body. Owners tend to maintain their health better than the average person. When we have a dog, we tend to go out for walks and enjoy a more active lifestyle. When we have a dog, we are naturally more inclined to live a healthy lifestyle.

They keep us motivated when we don’t feel like doing anything but watching a game or chatting with fellow dog owners online. While the average individual can stay at home today instead of going to the gym, we understand that it’s necessary to take our pup for a walk. Plus, it helps to reinforce this “encouragement to exercise” when they show up at the foot of the couch and drop the leash at your feet. It seems like it’s impossible to stay still when there’s a dog around because their main priority seems to include playing with you. Your dog just gives you the look that says, “Nope, it’s not time to sit down; we’ve got some walking to do and I’ve got to see what’s going on down the street.”

Additionally, studies have shown that young children exposed to pets tend to less likely develop allergies later in life. It seems a little strange, especially since most would regard dog fur and dander as instant allergy instigators. But during childhood, the introduction of pets can reduce the likelihood of developing allergies by one third and strengthen immune systems.

3. Dogs bring out positive feelings in people

While the body is important, it’s often that the inside matters even more. At times, we can feel a little depressed, perhaps because you caught the flu. Dogs instinctively seem to know that something isn’t right, and their special talents are needed.

Dogs are perfect for our heart and soul. They’re always there when we need them, and are loyal no matter what. When we’re feeling down, we can always depend on our dogs. They are always there to offer a few licks and hugs to make us feel better.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Tips on Stopping the Pull and Tug

Dec 13, 2012

Proper dog care when your dog keeps tugging and pulling

Have you ever taken your dogs to the dog park and found that they are actually taking you to the park? They lead the way by tugging and pulling you. Basically, your dogs are walking you rather than you walking your dogs.

Unfortunately, tugging and tugging can quickly become an ingrained habit that becomes harder to break as it develops over time. It can cause harm to both owner and dog alike. For dogs, it can damage the dog’s windpipe. For dog owners, it can put them in harm’s way – like being pulled towards traffic on a busy street.

For this reason, it is essential that every owner take the time to train their dog to follow rather than lead them. After all, you’re responsible for their safety and health, so it’s up to you to make sure that they perform properly, especially when on their leash.

Effective Ways to Stop Your Dog from Pulling and Tugging  

1. Use a body harness 

It’s important to note that tugging on a collar is a danger to dogs on a physical level. Due to their determination to be a pack leader, they are going to tug with the full force of their body in order to be in the lead. What happens is that a collar will dig into their neck, restricting the airway (trachea) and causing slight damage. While it may start out as coughing and wheezing, over time this can wear down their airway, especially with larger dogs that have more weight to tug with.

For this reason, the use of a body harness will help during the training process. These are relatively inexpensive – usually about the cost of a collar, and will displace the force of the leash across their chest rather than solely on their neck (it’s still necessary to use a leash for their tags and license).

Be sure that it fits your dog snugly and won’t chafe them, such as in areas under their legs. If the harness has a metallic buckle, consider using a cloth or tape to secure it so that it doesn’t strike their chest or flanks when they’re moving around; this becomes more of an issue when there’s too much slack in the harness.

2. Stop, turn and go

While you’ve addressed your dog’s well-being, it’s still necessary to get your dog to stop taking you for walks. So, stop and think about why your dog is tugging in the first place. Basically, a dog is going to move in the direction where they think you are going (they just don’t have the patience to wait up for you and your two-leg speed). They see the destination and basically want to get there in a hurry. For most of us owners, we tend to just go along with them, but this only enforces the fact that perhaps they are in charge right now.

In order to stop this behavior, the best place to start is when your dog pulls, you stop. This will leave your dog tugging against you, but they won’t be able to move on. Another good technique is to change direction regularly. If they’re tugging forward, stop, turn around and go the other direction.

Start out on the sidewalk, where there is no apparent destination for them to see or note. Start walking in one direction and when they begin tugging, stop and move in the other direction. Do this several times until they begin to wonder where it is that you’re going. They’ll eventually begin to wonder what’s going on and look to you for the answer. This is exactly what you want to happen. In order to stop the pulls and tugs, you need your dog to focus on staying with you rather than getting to the destination as quickly as possible.

  1. 3. Use commands and treats

The preceding process can also be associated with commands, such as “stop” or “stay” when you stop. If you stop, give your dog a command to “halt” or “stay with me.” This will help them associate the fact that they need to pay attention to you because you have the answers they’re looking for. Additionally, the use of a treat will help incline them to listen to you during the initial stages of training. But you will want to eventually wean them off treats and for them to respond to you on command alone.

Next time you take your dog out for a walk, be sure that you’re the one leading the expedition. With a little training and the right tools to ensure their safety, you’ll be able to take charge of your dog and guide them instead of them dragging you along for the ride.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Traveling for the Holidays

Dec 6, 2012

Dog care when traveling this holiday

With the holiday season here, many will be traveling to spend time with their family and friends. Whether you’re flying or driving, you’re probably going to find yourself in new surroundings. So, think about what will be necessary to help keep your dog safe during your holiday travels.

Practical Tips on Traveling with Your Puppy During the Holidays

Keep your pup calm and comfortable

Not all dogs like to travel. Some even get a little confused and distressed about the change. Dogs adore habit. They enjoy waking up in their familiar bed, eating at the same time, and using the same bathroom every day. For this reason, the changes that travel presents can make your dog a little uncomfortable.

During your travels, consider natural sedatives to keep them calm. Of course, always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any medications. It is your primary goal to make sure that your dog stays safe. Some dogs enjoy traveling, but may quickly become anxious and move around the vehicle (pacing) wondering why you aren’t going to the dog park today, which is why you need to make sure they’re secured during the journey.

Buckle your dog up

For dogs that are accustomed to traveling around with you, the use of dog safety belts – preferably ones that latch into the vehicle harness rather than tethering to another portion of the vehicle – is a great place to start. Just be sure that the harness doesn’t chafe them or give them too much room to move (such as allowing them to fall down between the seats and get stuck).

Of course, there’s also your vehicle to consider. Leather seats can be slippery for a dog, presenting an unstable sitting spot for the journey. A mat or a thick towel will help provide them with traction and keep your seat scratch-free.

One of the best ways to keep your dog safe is to put them in their crate, with the added advantage that it gives them a sense of security and familiarity. Unlike when using a safety harness, they can lie down and get comfortable during the trip. Plus they can play with a few toys that won’t fall down between the seats during the drive.

Keep a schedule

During your travels, dogs will still need to potty and eat just like you. Before you leave, feed them and give them plenty of time to take care of their potty business. Avoid feeding them too much while on the road, since safe potty areas won’t always be available.

Because your dog will inevitably need to go at some point, especially on a long trip, choose your potty areas wisely. Stay away from heavy traffic and open parking lots. These areas are commonly filled with debris and dangers, including broken glass and trash (you never know what your dog might pick up or stand on). Before opening any doors, be sure that your dog is on their leash, just in case they spot something that strikes their curiosity. And don’t remove their leash until they are secured in the vehicle again.

Plan an Airline friendly travel

Flying with your dog can be difficult these days, especially with all the rules and regulations. Keep in mind that not all airlines will permit dogs on board. Additionally, certain size and breed restrictions will apply.

Smaller dog breeds can sometimes make it into the cabin with you permitted they are small enough to fit in a crate under the seat. Also, remember that airlines reserve the right to reject any dog that they deem “aggressive” or unfit for air travel. So, before you make any arrangements, check out if your dog will be allowed to join you on the trip.

Prepare your dog for different environmental conditions

One thing to consider, especially during the holiday season, is the variable weather conditions you’ll be facing. While it might be warm and cozy in the car, the outside can be quite different. Snow, rain, and wind are all going to make it a lot cooler, so be sure that you’re ready for the unexpected.

Will your dog be warm when you let them out to potty? Will they stay dry? Some dog snow boots, a sweater, or a rain poncho might be wise additions to your travel kit. Consider where you’re going to be passing through and check weather forecasts when preparing essentials for your dog’s safety on the road.

Safety is the topic when traveling this holiday season, especially for your four-legged companion. The road will always present you with the unexpected, but as long as you and your dog are prepared, the journey is going to be an adventure that you both will remember.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Dog Weight Gain and the Holidays

Nov 29, 2012

Dog care this holiday season to avoid overweight

Feasting and food are everywhere during the holidays. Snacks for the on-the-go, the kitchen abuzz with commotion and delicious smells, and even family and friends who may not be aware of house rules (or simply ignore them) can leave your dog licking their lips and eager for that tidbit of food to drop.

The bad thing is that, with all the food and excitement, your dog can end up putting on a few extra pounds too. And while they might beg and whine for a taste of what you (or one of your guests) are eating, it’s important to be careful of what your dog eats during the holiday season.

Three (3) Effective Ways to Keep Your Dog from Gaining Weight During the Holidays

 1. Keep the food rules enforced

Now consider the fact that the holiday season brings friends and family together. Who is allowed to feed them? Be sure that your guests are aware of your dog’s food rules and inform them of the dangers that come with not following the said rules. For example, not everyone is familiar with dogs. They are not aware that there are certain human foods that dogs should never eat. Grapes, chocolate, and onions are a few of them.

There are numerous stories about people treating their neighbor’s dog to a chocolate chip cookie, so the best precaution to take is to simply prohibit anyone else from treating your dog to anything. Be especially careful with young children, since they tend to be easily persuaded by “puppy-dog eyes.”

Most other human food is consumable to a certain degree. The question is: Are they good for your dog? Fried and fatty foods in general should be avoided as treats. Fatty foods are extremely hard on their livers and store very quickly as excess weight. If you must or feel obligated to treat your pup to some holiday specials, fresh vegetables such as carrots or some fruit slices would be a healthy treat to indulge them. Only give your dog something that you have prepared, especially if your dog has allergies.

2. Don’t oversize your dog’s portions and go easy on treats

One of the other issues with the holiday season is that some owners may become a little “generous” with their dog’s food portions. Perhaps they believe that an extra scoop will help keep their dog’s belly satisfied and keep them from wanting to vacuum the carpet under the dining room table. But the truth is that most dogs will always want what you’re eating. It’s best to keep their food portions the same, and rely on a healthy treat as a substitute for an overfilled bowl.

But you should still be careful with your treat delivery. Dog treats are just what their name implies – treats. In excess, they aren’t good for your pup, and are only meant to help train or used as a reward for a special situation. You don’t have to indulge your dogs with treats to help them have a good time.

3. Keep them active

Because the holiday season is a busy one, an unforeseen issue with weight gain is that dogs aren’t getting the exercise they need to keep them fit. Their food portions may have stayed the same, but now they’re not getting the chance to use up what they put in.

So, what are a few ways to keep your dog active during the holidays? You could start by taking them on walks of all types. If you have to go to the mail, take your dog with you. Does your puppy have a playmate you could arrange regular play-dates with? When it comes down to it, it is the responsibility of every pet owner to make sure their dog has the opportunity to get the exercise they need. Take a walk in the evening or even while your turkey is roasting in the oven. Time is there, as long as you’re willing to look for it.

This holiday season brings about much festivity, and your pup is definitely going to want to hang around to catch a few crumbs that fall off the dinner table. As your dog’s owner and protector, you’re responsible for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Dogs don’t have to put on a couple of pounds to prove they had fun during the holiday festivities. As long as you take a few precautions and keep them active, your dog will have fun this holiday season.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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