Home Alone?

photoWhat does your pup do when you go to work? Or the grocery store? You can’t take your pup everywhere you go so sometimes you have to leave them at home alone. Some pups have difficulty with this, others don’t have as much trouble. Leaving them alone for long periods can be somewhat uncomfortable for even the most well-trained of dogs. As an owner, you are just as responsible for their happiness- as they are for yours.

Stress and anxiety

Leaving your pup alone in your home is a necessary fact of life. It is not possible to take them with you everywhere you go, and it would prove expensive to leave them with a pup-sitter every time you have to go to work. Dogs, especially young pups whom are used to constant attention can become worried and begin to stress when you are not around them. The bond you two share affects them deeply and can lead to emotional anxiety. They can become depressed or even in some cases- aggressive.

Time away

Unfortunately for some pups, prolonged amounts of time alone can cause stress and anxiety attacks. Enduring long periods of time away from your pup will cause their worry to grow. The anxiety becomes centrifugal- much like a snowball rolling downhill consuming all in its path. It doesn’t take long periods of time for this to happen. Dogs can sometimes develop anxiety while you are still getting ready to leave. Anxiety like this is more difficult to manage because you will have to train your pup to endure the separation.

Separation anxiety symptoms

These problems often result in depressed or frustrated characteristics. They may refrain from eating properly when alone, or may consume a lot more food than usual. Chewing on and destroying items that have your scent are most common. This is not done out of spite, so please don’t punish them as it will only make the situation worse.

Anxiety relief

Training your pup to endure these separations will take time. For pups that seem to have trouble almost immediately when they discover that you are leaving, you can try a simple trick. Dogs respond well to noise- especially keys. Jingling keys most often are familiarized with- leaving. Try jingling your keys randomly and doing activities that you would normally do before you leave. Hanging around the garage door seems to be quite effective as well. But don’t leave when you do this. This procedure should be done randomly throughout the day- and soon your pup will begin to worry less and less that you are leaving.

Another helpful hint is to slowly adjust your pup to longer periods of time alone. Depending on the pup’s anxiety symptoms- start at half an hour, move to an hour and so on. Each time you leave, stay away a little longer and when you get back- give them a treat so that they will understand that this is good. This helps slowly adjust your pup to understanding you will always return and hopefully reduce their stress.

If you are gone for extreme periods of time- and your pup must stay alone at home unwatched- consider having a friend stop by and spend some time with them, or leave them with someone that can interact with them regularly. This will help break them of the monotonous alone time and can reduce anxiety.

For a pup, spending time alone can be stressful. They are creatures eager to please and want to be around the people they love- much like us humans you could say. But situations cannot be as easily explained to them. As your pup’s owner- you are responsible for their happiness and health so spending a little extra time with them to train them to cope with being alone is important to them.

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Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

photoOh! You just got a blast of puppy breath and it smelled bad. Brushing your pup’s teeth is just as important for them as it is for us (not just to protect our noses). Cleaning your pup’s mouth is important, but it is also important to get your pup used to this chore. You don’t want them to fear the brush- or it may become something that you cannot keep up regularly.

Pups don’t get cavities, but they can get plaque, tartar and gum diseases the same as we do- which of course cause bad breath. Though you can simply take your pup to a dentist to get their teeth cleaned, this is something you as an owner need to consistently keep up with to. Regular brushing is necessary to keep your pup smiling with their pearly whites.

Motivate your pup

This can be difficult to accomplish if your pup is skittish about you touching around their mouth. You will have to get them used to you doing this through the course of time. Get your pup used to you brushing by flipping their lips up and using a clean, wet towel to scrub your pup’s teeth and gums. While you do this, talk to your pup calmly to help generate a positive response. Try not to force your pup in a rough manner- if they get anxious, stop and repeat after a minute. When you are done, give them a treat to reinforce the situation as positive. This process should be done daily to help familiarize your pup with the actual brushing process.

Cleaning their teeth

There are special toothpastes for our canine companions as their bodies are quite different from ours (not just the four legs). You need to make sure that you never use human toothpaste on a pup as the high fluoride content is toxic to their body. Choosing a brush that is right for your pup is just as important to them as it is to you. Finger brushes seem to be the most effective at accomplishing the process because of the easy maneuverability it allows. You simply apply the puppy toothpaste to the brush, lift your pup’s lips and start brushing- gently though at first. Be careful not to let your pup bite or try to eat the toothbrush. Remove the brush or finger if that is the situation, and try again from the start. Scrub for as long as you can before they become anxious; and when done- offer your pup a treat (positive motivation, remember!). Each day you should try to lengthen the amount of time you brush until you can fully accomplish the procedure (pat yourself on the back – you are your pup’s dentist).

The brushing is very important for your pup. Even if your pup isn’t excited about the situation at first, remember that it is necessary for their health. Don’t worry if it takes time to get your pup used to the brushing, their mouth is a sensitive area and even people don’t like someone messing with their mouth. Spend time with your pup and make them comfortable with the procedure. With a happy, healthy smile- pups can bring a lot of happiness to your home.

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The Dangers Of Laser Pointing

Some folks utilize an assortment of tools for training or entertaining their pups. The laser pointer seems would appear to have some down sides though, proving to be a double-edged sword. While it can be useful to assist a pup in finding or locating places and objects, it can have a serious mental side-affect that causes obsessive/compulsive habits.

photoLaser pointers can be a fun tool for pups as they love to chase and pursue that little spot of light. Some of our canine friends can become somewhat addicted to the “shiny” light. Glamor has always intrigued the curiosity of our four-legged friends, and with the laser pointer, has led to anxiety behaviors. The use of the pointer can develop OCD in some pups and result in anxiety when usage of the device is ceased.

Developing OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

There are certain signs of OCD in your pup which you should watch for. Your pup’s attention should move on to something else after the laser has been off for a few minutes. If they continue to claw and scratch at the area for a long period of time, you need to stop using the device. Another sign of this problem would be “stalking” the area. They may be hunting for the light as part of their nature would require them too. If they randomly return to the last area of laser use for no reason and seem anxious about being there, you should stop using the laser pointer because it is very likely your pup is becoming obsessed with the laser.

Maybe best to avoid it

Dogs by nature are a habitual creature. OCD is not just related to laser pointing, things like shadows and invisible flies may be signs of a problem. Not all result in anxiety, but laser pointing seems to have a very negative effect on a pup’s mental state if you do not continue to play with the light. The anxiety can be difficult to overcome after it has set in, so it may be best to try to avoid using tools like the pointer. Anxiety can sometimes lead to aggression or depression if the OCD continues to develop and may result in unhealthy bodily effects on your pup. Lack of eating and a raised tension within your pup can lead to heart problems as they stay in a panicked state when you are not using the pointer. If your pup has reached this state, it will be difficult to help them without the help of a veterinarian or a specialist on animal behavior.

Play is important to your pooch

Dogs love to play and there are more effective toys and training devices other than the laser pointer. A good game of fetch with a ball, or using an old rope to play tug-o-war with them will keep them just as happy if not happier. Laser pointers may be fun and a bit entertaining for you as you watch your pup be silly and chase that little dot. Before you pick up the pointer in the future, consider what may be going on in your pup’s mind. Instead of playing with a little red dot, have your pup play with you, and spend some real quality time with them.

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