Category - Advice

How To Introduce A Rabbit to your Dog

Rabbits can usually mingle around with other pets pretty well, like for example a cat. However, it can be tricky if you are pairing a rabbit to the dog, as they are primarily very different. You see, dogs are primal by nature since they often regarded as predators when they are in the wild. Rabbits, on the other hand, are regarded as the prey! So it may seem very unlikely or even possible to pair up the rabbit to the dog, hence if you ever intend to introduce a rabbit to your dog, you will need to take extra precaution so that the unique grouping can work out. Here are the essential XX steps that you can take so that the entire procedure can be a stress-free one for your rabbit.

Prep the dog

When you bring the rabbit home for the first time, you should ensure that your dog is proper prepped for the occasion. By this, we mean that your dog should have been trained to respond to your commands, whether by using a training collar or by using a clicker. This is essential as you do not want the dog to rush to the rabbit at the first instance without responding to your command.

Choosing a proper place

To introduce the rabbit to the dog for the first time, always ensure that you have selected a place that is neutral, and this means selecting a place that is not frequented by the dog. Some examples are the kitchen or even in your bedroom, assuming if the dog is not allowed into both areas. This will help to ensure that the dog does not bring up its territorial senses.

Place rabbit in enclosure

Once you have decided on the neutral ground, place the rabbit into its enclosure and bring it into the area. At this point of time, the dog should not be present yet. Allow the rabbit to sit in that position for about an hour or two to allow it to acclimatize to the new environment. If the rabbit is showing signs of stress, you should delay the introduction of the dog as you wouldn’t want the first session to be a bad encounter or experience for your rabbit. Signs of stress includes biting on the enclosure or fidgeting around the enclosure itself.

Put the dog on a leash

If the rabbit is showing no sense of anxiety issues, you can proceed to bring the dog into the neutral space, but with a leash on. Get a family member to help carry the dog and slowly inch into the room while you keep a watchful eye on your rabbit’s reaction.

Proper introduction

This is perhaps the most crucial step. For the first proper introduction, you must pay extra attention not to exhibit any sudden movements that might scare your rabbit. Allow the dog to slowly inch towards the enclosure and let it sniff around the place. I would suggest peppering in positive words so that the dog is encouraged to explore in a friendly and none-domineering manner. Once you notice that the dog is responding correctly, you can start to bring the pair closer together.

Removal of enclosure

Assuming that all of the above have been done properly, you can remove the enclosure, but take note not to allow the dog to have a free reign of movement. Keep it tightly leashed so that you are still in control of the dog. You can allow the rabbit to slowly inch towards the dog rather than the other way around. If the rabbit decides to run away anyway, it is a sign that it is still not comfortable in meeting the dog, and you should stop the session.

Keep a watchful eye

If both the dog and the rabbit are showing no signs of resistance or distress, you can allow a little bit more freedom to the dog. Gradually, the dog should be allowed to move around freely. However, that being said, you should not leave the rabbit and the dog together alone without your supervision at least for the first few meetings as you want to be sure that the dog will not be aggressive towards the rabbit.

Bite sized session

To ensure that the introductory sessions can be kept as positive as possible, keep each session short. !0 minutes will be a good duration for a positive session.

Separate feeding areas

Keep the feeding areas separate so that territorial boundaries are not breached.

Wrapping up

In time to come, both the rabbit and the dog will be comfortable with one another. While the training might take some time, the extra bit of patience is ce

How To Help Animals During The Coronavirus Outbreak

The current pandemic is perhaps the worst that we will ever see in our lifetime. It has brought about economic hardship to most people, and since most of us are in a lockdown stage, it has rendered us immobile for long periods of time, and there is no inking when conditions can improve. Business have come to a complete halt, and even shelters are forced to close down as many of these are run on a non-profit basis. If things do not improve, we might see more animals being put to sleep due to insufficient funds to maintain them, or some of them might be let loose on the streets, which will create a whole new set of problems for everyone else.
If you are an animal lover, or you simply wish to help the community, then read on to find out how you can help animals during the Coronavirus outbreak and how everyone’s help matters.

Volunteer at Shelters

During this tough and tricky period, you can do your bit to help the shelters stay afloat or even by offering your skills to help the public know about their plight. If you are skilled in advertising, you can offer your skills as a digital marketer to craft out compelling advertisements that can draw more attention to the shelters’ needs during the pandemic. You can also simply volunteer at the shelters so that you can spend more time with the animals as well as to support the staff in the shelters.

Donation

If you are able to spend time at the shelters, you can also opt to donate to the shelter as every penny can help to keep the shelter afloat during the Coronavirus outbreak. You can donate money so that the shelter can continue to operate, or you can choose to donate necessities such as their food or even their bedding.
Offer help to those in need

Some animals may require daily exercises, but it can be limited if the owner is under strict quarantine orders or they are under self-quarantine. If this is the case, the owner will not be allowed to bring the animal out for their daily walks, and this can be detrimental towards their physical as well as mental health. To help alleviate those, you can always offer to walk the animals instead! Of course, do practice safe-distancing, and always ensure that you are adhering to strict rules so that the owner as well as you are not breaching quarantine orders.
If you wish to you, you can also opt to foster your neighbor’s animal too this will help to prevent the animal from contacting the Coronavirus. It has been proven that dogs can also be affected by the Coronavirus, so it will be optimal if there can be someone else helping to take care of the animals while the owner is under quarantine orders.

Adopt a pet

As mentioned earlier, shelters are hit hard during the Coronavirus outbreak, and some of them might need to close down due to lack of manpower or due to a lack of funds. One good way to help alleviate this problem is by adopting the pet instead of putting it to sleep! Also, when you adopt a pet from the shelter, you are indirectly helping to lower down the cost of maintaining another pet, which will free up some funds so that there is still additional runway in hopes that the pandemic will go away soon.

Bake tasty treats

During the Coronavirus outbreak, you can help to lift up the mood in the house by baking delicious tasty treats and distributing them to your neighbors. This will be particularly useful if the owners are unable to leave house and they are running low on treats or other necessities that can keep the animal occupied.

Provide food to strays

During usual moments, strays can find food easily on the street, but when the crowd is thin, the amount of food that the strays can savage is lesser. Hence, to help these animals during the Coronavirus outbreak, you can choose to give food to these strays so that feeders are able to provide basic nutrition to the animals.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways at which you can help animals during the Coronavirus outbreak. While some of these suggested alternatives can require time and effort, it is well worth it if it helps the animal to cope better. Pay a little more attention to them too as we try to navigate these moments with trepidation, and we will all emerge stronger from this.

4 Tips For A Calmer Dog

If you have a dog that is constantly feeling anxiety, you will want to find means and ways to help them to be calmer. This is important, as anxiety issues in dogs can be bad as it can potentially affect their mental health or even destroy your furniture at home.

Here are the top 4 tips that you can employ for a calmer dog.

Getting them a dog house or dog crate
It is commonly misunderstood that the dog crate is meant to be used as a tool for punishment against the dog. This is completely untrue. In fact, the dog crate is a safe haven for the dog when your furry companion is feeling anxious. Indeed, one of the best ways to rectify separation anxiety attacks in your dog is by getting the dog to retreat into the dog crate. The dog crate or dog house creates an illusion of protection to the dog, and this helps to keep the dog calm. You can also opt to place a cloth around the dog crate so that the dog’s vision is limited too.

Frequent exercise
One good way to help dogs to calm down is by bringing them out for regular walks. It does help to keep the dog physically fit and mentally healthy too. Exercises also helps to release endorphins that will help to calm the dog’s raging nerves down too. The only caveat here is that you will need to closely monitor your dog’s condition, lest it suffer from heat stroke. Always make it a point to walk the dog only when the temperature is cooling. Avoid the late afternoons as the floor might still be hot and it can burn your dog’s paws. Also, bring along a bottle of water for your dog too.

Thundercoat
There are certain peripherals that you can wear on your dog to help calm them down. One such peripheral is the Thundercat. The Thundercat is worn over the dog’s body to help calm their raging nerves down, and it can do so due to the slight gentle pressure that it exerts on the dog’s body. It does help to reduce the anxiety attacks on dogs when they visit the vet or even during heavy thunderstorms.

CBD Oil
In recent years, CBD oil has been all the rage as researches found out that there are many benefits of CBD oil on dogs as well as on cats. CBD oil, or Cannabidiol Oil, is found readily in many countries in the world, especially if the usage of marijuana for medical purpose is legal. The compounds in CBD oil is able to help to keep the dog calm. If you ever wish to get the CBD oil for your dog, do ensure that you read the labels on the bottle carefully. This is to ensure that the CBD oil that you buy is made from organic ingredients. There can be unscrupulous merchants out there that add in fillers into the CBD oil, and this can be bad for the dog’s health.

Help! How to stop my from chewing?

It is natural for a dog to chew on things as it is literally ingrained into their DNA. You see, before they are domesticated as pets, dogs survive wholly on their instinct to survive, and this includes developing a need to protect itself. As such, dogs can be pretty destructive in nature, and they are not entirely to blame. Of course, inappropriate chewing of things can be destructive, especially if the dog starts to develop the habit on chew at everything in your house. Before we can go about training your dog not to chew on things, it will be good to understand why is the dog chewing in the first place so that you can use the correct remedy.

Why do dogs love to chew?

Other than their DNA, there are several reasons that contributes to this destructive behavior. Some of these problems are due to their character as well as the possibility of them having an underlying medical problem. Read on and find out if any of the following does resonate with you.

Playful

It is possible that the dogs are chewing on random things simply because they are playful. This is especially true for new puppies who are still very indifferent to objects in the house.

Scared

Not all owners will understand this though. When dogs are frightened or scared, especially by sudden loud noises that they are unfamiliar with, the dog will find ways to soothe their raging nerves, and they do so by chewing on things.

This is the same for dogs who are suffering from separation anxiety. When dogs are left alone at home, it can be pretty traumatizing for them, especially if they are too used to having humans around them hence relying on humans for attention. When left alone, they are unable to cope with the separation from their owners and will resort to chewing on items so as to alleviate their anxiety attack.

Seeking attention

Dogs can be an attention seeker too. When their owner leaves them alone without playing with them, dogs will have the tendency to destroy objects in the house as it knows that the owners will be triggered and will play with them! Cheeky little things!

Medical condition

It is possible that the dog is chewing on things due to an underlying medical condition that they might be suffering from.

How to stop dogs from chewing things

Now that we know the reasons that is contributing to this negative behavior, let us explore into the tricks that you can adopt so that you can train the dog not to chew!

Underlying medical problems

First of all, before you can start the training proper, you will need to rule out on the possibility that the dog is chewing because of an underlying medical issue. Most of the medical issue stem from a lack of a nutritional diet in dogs and hence creating a nutritional deficiency. If you suspect this might the case, always seek the advice from a vet so that you can be informed of the steps that you can take to help your dog.

Dog Proof the house

As a crucial step in training your dog not to chew things, you will need to dog proof the house so that dangerous items are kept away from the dog’s reach. This includes any food that you do not want the dog to rummage into, or even to your detergent or bleach that can be fatal if the dog consumes them. Items like shoes, socks, or even your clothing should be kept appropriately so that the dog will not chew on them.

Discourage negative chewing

When the dog starts to chew on something that it shouldn’t be chewing on, you can then use a firm tone to instruct the dog to stop. Note that you should not give your dog a treat at this point of time as the dog might associate chewing to being rewarded with a treat. Instead, you can provide your dog with an appropriate item that they should chew on, like a chew toy or something.

Having said that, there is an unorthodox method in discouraging chew in your dog. For example, if your dog has been shredding paper into pieces, one good way to discourage them from chewing is by giving them the firm scolding. After that, you can use the dog’s front paws and scoop up all the pieces of paper and throw it into the bin! We say this is unorthodox because this method might not work on all dogs.

Provide chew toys

Instead of them chewing on random stuffs due to the dog being playful, you can simply satiate their playfulness by giving them chew toys! There are many of these in the market, but the ones that we love the most is the tug-of-war toy.

Buy a dog crate

As mentioned, dogs can chew when they are suffering from anxiety issues. One good way to solve this is by providing a dog a safe haven for them to seek refuge in when the anxiety attack comes, and you can achieve this by buying a dog crate for them. The dog crate does provide an illusion that they are save and secure, and this does help to reduce the anxiety in dogs. However, note that you should not purchase a dog crate that is too large for the dog as it will not create that illusion of a safe haven. As a guideline, the dimensions of the crate should allow the dog to turn about in its place. The top of the crate should allow a maximum of two finger spacing when the dog is in a sitting position.

Playing with your dog

If your dog is seeking your attention by destroying items, you can change this behavior by playing with your dog and spending them with them. When your dog Is meaningfully engaged, they will not develop the habit of destroying things in your house. Also, when your dog is tired after a day’s activity with you, they wouldn’t have any excess energy to chew things in your house too.

How to Cope with an Overprotective/Defensive Dog

puppy-trainingWhen it comes to protection, most of us think of highly trained police or military dogs, who’s main purpose (usually), after all is said and everything is considered, is really to help provide safety to the handler. It isn’t to hurt criminals or to help ‘find the bad guy’, although those are useful skills.

After all, dogs are a naturally protective species. The desire to keep ‘family members’ safe is highly instinctual, even genetically ingrained. This makes perfect sense, since the average wild dog or wolf relies on its pack for survival.
Step One: Understanding
The first step to coping with an overprotective dog, even a dangerous one, is to understand the situation. What is causing the dog to feel the need to be defensive? Was it something that happened in the past, or does the dog view someone’s behavior as threatening? Certain breeds are simply more prone to defensive behavior due to original breeding, such as several livestock guardian breeds.

For example, the famous Rottweiler is believed to have been first bred during ancient Rome, about 2,000 years ago, to help guard and protect livestock (among other purposes).

You can’t truly begin to treat the dog’s unwanted behavior until you understand why it is occuring. What you Don’t Want to Do is simply try and punish these protective behaviors. Punishment might simply reinforce the dog’s need to offer protection.
Step Two: Reinforcing Social Skills
In fact, socialization is probably one of, if not the single most important skill anyone will ever teach their dog. Outside of trauma, such as a physical attack in the dog’s (either to the dog or someone else) past, a properly socialized puppy will very rarely ever become overprotective to the point of becoming a danger to the well being of others.

If they don’t see humans as a threat because they’ve learned to enjoy being around them, there is no need for a dog to feel defensive.

Counter-Conditioning
If a dog does feel the need to offer protection because he has learned to consider a person a possible threat, you’ll need to teach him to enjoy that person, not fear him. The basic training principle you need to consider is called ‘Counter-conditioning’, which essentially amounts to pairing something the dog enjoys with the thing he fears.

If the dog enjoys that ‘thing’ more than he fears the ‘other thing’, he should begin to enjoy that thing he once feared because it means he gets to experience the other thing he loves.

A loose example would entail teaching a dog not to fear water by slowly tossing the stick out further and further, so he is forced to gradually enter the water in order to retrieve it. Once the dog retrieves the stick, he is rewarded with that delicious piece of meat. The desire for meat far outweighs the desire not to get wet.
The Fearful Dog
To a human, that cowering, shivering, pathetic looking shelter dog huddled in the corner of his crate, doing his best to look as small and unthreatening as possible, has the potential to be more dangerous than that dominant animal snarling and standing tall, staring you dead in the eye.

This is because the dominant dog probably isn’t feeling his very life is threatened. He is just telling you to back off, this area is his. You know exactly what he wants. The shaking animal huddled in the corner, however, might feel his life is at stake. His capability of ‘flight’ has been taken away; it is the very definition of being backed into a corner. His only options left, as he sees them, is to either do nothing and hope the threat goes away or respond with force in order to protect himself.

An example would be a neglected puppy mill dog, or the victim of home abuse. These dogs have suffered a form of trauma, and socializing them could be a long and tedious process. In nearly every single situation these dogs can be saved with the gently care of an Educated, Experienced Trainer or Behaviorist.

When it comes to these extremes, you don’t want to simply ‘let things go’ and hope they improve, or try and cut corners by doing things yourself (unless you have done extensive research and are experienced).

Sometimes, all it takes to rehabilitate this dog is love, patience, and gentle nurturing over time.

Getting in Shape With Your Dog: 5 Activities for Summer

How long to train a dogThere’s something counterintuitive about leaving your dog at home while you go out for a workout.  Many domestic dogs aren’t getting enough exercise as it is, and we humans could always do with a little more fresh air and a little less Netflix.

Why not combine the two?  Rather than feeling guilty every time you leave your pup at home to head to a stuffy gym, consider ways that you can spend time with your dog and get some much-needed exercise for you both.  Read on for five summertime activities to help you and your dog get in shape while having fun at the same time.

Follow That Dog

Dog walking (or running, depending on the fitness levels of both you and your dog) is the obvious way of getting in shape with your dog.  Unfortunately, dog walks can quickly become a monotonous exercise, where the two of you robotically retrace the same steps and follow the same path day after day.

For a fun and interesting twist give your dog what they’ve always wanted and let them lead – at least part of the way.  Pretend that your dog knows exactly where they want to go, and let them use their inbuilt GPS (a keen sense of smell) to determine your route.  So as to not let your walk get out of hand (you don’t want to find yourself stranded three towns over) work out how long you’d like your walk to take – say, 30 minutes – and then let your dog lead the way for about two thirds of that time (in our example, that would be 20 minutes).  For the remaining time, you can take over the walk again and make a straight line for home.

Remember that part of the activity is to let your dog stop and sniff as much as they choose.  Imagine your dog’s delight!

Hiking

If you are lucky enough to live in an area with – or have easy enough access to – hiking trails, this could be the perfect way to have some outdoor fun in the sun with your dog.  If you’ve never hiked before, try not to be too worried about the equipment or fitness levels required. There’s nothing to say that you have to hike the entire trail each time – just do as much as you and your dog are both comfortable with, before heading back.  Just make sure you’ve got enough water and snacks to sustain you both, and slowly build your way up to longer heights.

Yoga

It may never have crossed your mind to combine yoga and playtime with your dog, but it’s a trend that’s becoming quite popular throughout the US.  Dog yoga, or “doga”, is being offered in some progressive pet-friendly yoga centers, with some even offering mindfulness classes for humans and dogs to take together.  

Even if you don’t have a dog yoga class near you, there are plenty of online videos and other resources that show different ways of practicing yoga with your dog.  Once you’ve mastered a few of the poses, ask someone to take some photos or videos of your efforts: if you’ve ever seen clips of dogs and humans doing yoga together, you’ll agree it’s incredibly clever and cute.

If you do manage to find a dog-friendly yoga class for both of you to attend, check out 5 ways to keep your dog safe at public events.

If yoga is not your thing, look for fitness or Boot Camp classes that include dogs.  We’ve even heard of classes that specialize in helping people in wheelchairs or those with limited mobility to improve their fitness and flexibility while spending valuable time with their dogs.

Water Sports

Summertime is the perfect time of the year to engage in outdoor water sports, and there are plenty of activities that your dog would love to join in.  Stand-up paddleboarding is the perfect example. It’s a good idea to get your dog used to standing on the paddleboard on dry land before venturing out into the water, and if you’re not an experienced paddleboarder yourself, it’s best to organize a lesson for both you and your dog so you’ll both get the most out of the activity.

Most dogs naturally love the water and are confident swimmers, but of course, you want to make sure you have a well fitted and brightly colored lifejacket on your dog just in case.  

Dancing

Dancing would come pretty high on the list of fun things to teach your dog.  It may be hard to believe, but “musical canine freestyle” is a recognized competitive sport that people and their dogs can take pretty seriously.  Involving humans and dogs dancing together to a choreographed routine, participating in events organized by the Musical Dog Sport Association can see dogs and humans earning trophies and training for hours on end.

If you like the idea of enjoying a fun dance workout with your dog but you’re looking for something a little more low-key, try turning on your favorite up-tempo music and using online videos or other guides to teach your dog dance moves, like moving in sync with you, and weaving between your legs.  As long as you’re both having fun and enjoying the music together, you’re sure to burn calories and have a few laughs at the same time.

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The benefits of heading outside with your dog for a mutually beneficial summertime workout are obvious: much-needed fresh air and exercise for both of you, plus a rare chance to spend some relaxing quality time with your dog.

There is an additional benefit of working out with your dog: it feels like fun, not like a workout.  You could probably burn off the same amount of calories in the same amount of time on an elliptical trainer at the gym or by going hiking with your dog.  You could increase your upper body strength by swimming laps at your local aquatic center, or you could take your dog stand-up paddle boarding.

Which would be more enjoyable?  If you had time for just one activity on a sunny Sunday afternoon, which would make you feel like you’ve had a weekend well spent?

About The Author: James Woller is a long-time dog enthusiast, and co-owner of Jet Pet Resort and Release the Hounds, professional dog service companies.

5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe at Public Events

We love to pamper our pooches and show them how much we appreciate their existence, and dog owners do this in many different ways. They make tribute posts on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Pooch parents also treat their fur babies to a fancy meal (like steak) and puppicino or take them out to the doggy park or the beach. Those who have the time and resources will take their pets for a fun trip to make the day extra special.

Whether you’re chilling at home with your pet or going hiking, the most important thing is to keep your pet safe and happy. To do that, follow these safety precautions.

Keep Your Dog Hydrated

If you’re going to the bark, beach, anywhere out (even your backyard), it’s important to keep your dog hydrated all the time, especially in the middle of the day. Dogs have a higher body temperature than humans do (101–102°F in dogs versus 97.6–99.6°F in humans). So look out for warning signs of dehydration in your dog, like panting, loss of energy and appetite, and dry nose and gums.

Dogs don’t sweat in the same way people do because dogs have insulating coats. Their sweat glands are on their pads and ear canal, but perspiring only plays a minor role in regulating their temperature.

Their coat keeps them warm in the cold and cool under the heat. However, dogs are usually very active creatures, so they can easily get overheated, especially when playing outside under the sun.

Bring potable water for your pet wherever you go, whether you’re going out or staying in on National Dog Day. In fact, you should make drinking water available for your dog all the time.

Check the Ground Temperature before Going Out

Your pooch isn’t as hard-wearing as you think they are (no matter how often you’ve seen them fall and get up like nothing happened). They can get bruised, wounded, and sprained too. Most of all, they can get burned when you take them out for a walk on hot concrete.

They may look thick and sturdy, but a dog’s paw pads can get easily injured when walking on sharp, rough surfaces and heated ground. Yes, your dog probably loves their walks, but that shouldn’t be a good-enough reason to risk their health.

If you have plans of going out with your canine friend, check the weather and temperature for the day. Go out when it gets cooler, like early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or during the evening. Check the ground temperature with the back of your hand. If it’s too hot for you to lay your hand on for five minutes, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.

Unlike people, they don’t have any protective wear on their paws. And even if you make them wear shoes, it still isn’t advisable to go out on hot days for fear of hyperthermia (a.k.a. overheating) and dehydration.

Dogs can get injuries and infection from their surroundings because of their active and dirt-filled lifestyle. Always check your dog’s paws after going out or if you notice them constantly licking or gnawing on the body part. Get it checked by the vet immediately if you notice an injury or something unusual on their paw.

Let Your Dog Wear a LED Collar

This year’s National Dog Day falls on a weekend, which makes it perfect for camping, hiking, or adventuring with your pooch. You can take your dog by a lake and enjoy barbecuing with the rest of the family.

Fido can go for a swim, help you catch fish, and explore the wilderness with you. They’re guaranteed to have a blast sniffing interesting smells and chasing tiny animals. The wilderness can offer many fun and exciting activities for you and your dog.

But accidents can happen in an uncontrollable environment. With how curious and playful dogs are, your buddy can wander off and get lost. If you’re planning an outdoor trip with Fido, you need to ensure their safety and prepare for unexpecting events. Let your dog wear a bright LED dog collar if you’re staying out or camping overnight. This way, you won’t lose sight of them even in the dark.

Sometimes, dogs exhibit their stubborn streaks at the most opportune moment. That’s why you should always keep your eyes on them or have them on a long leash when you’re outdoors. If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, you should get them chipped now. In case your dog gets lost, people can scan your dog’s microchip to find you.

Stay Away from Fireworks

Most, if not all, dogs absolutely hate fireworks. Dog hearing is much better than that of humans, so fireworks are much louder and more jarring to their ears. The deafening explosion can make them scared and anxious. This can cause them great stress, which isn’t good for their health.

Responsible dog owners know not to risk their dog’s safety no matter how beautiful or grand fireworks are. However, you can help your dog stay calm by creating a distraction for them. Some owner let their dogs listen to calming music with a earphone. Others use pressure wraps of vests.

On holiday when fireworks abound (like the Fourth of July), make sure to take your dog inside the house and give them a comfortable place to hide. Seal all exits to stop Fido from escaping outside out of panic, and give them a distraction so they don’t concentrate on the noise. Most of all, keep them company so they can feel safe and protected.

Avoid Unhealthy Food

Dogs are fond of eating scrumptious food (like meat, meat, or meat). They also love to eat not-so-scrumptious “food” that can’t be named here (lest it offends others’ sensibilities). But taste doesn’t always have anything to do with what’s good or bad for their furry bodies. Believe it or not, your dog is sensitive to a lot of food that humans eat (and don’t eat).

If you’re planning to treat your buddy to a delicious meal, make sure that it’s not something that they’ll throw up or will harm their body later. Don’t season that steak or give them a bone. Canine bodies are much more vulnerable to the unhealthy effects of sodium, sugar, and other seasonings.

Bones are also harmful to dogs. They can puncture the digestive system, cause intestinal problems, obstruct vital organs, and harm your dog’s mouth and teeth.

Other things you should never feed your dog are apple core, avocado, chocolate, garlic, grapes, onion, peach, persimmon, plum, raisins, and any food with alcohol, caffeine, and xylitol in it.

All dogs deserved to be loved and pampered by their owners. From bringing water (and food) to avoiding harmful food and treats, these tips will help you fill the special day with fun and excitement.

Helping a Dog That is Afraid of Thunder or Fireworks

jack-russelDogs can be very afraid of loud sounds. For some owners, this is a MAJOR PROBLEM. For the dog, it can be extremely traumatic.

Most owners don’t know what to do. What usually happens is this:

1. The dog will be shaking from fear.

2. The owner will pet the dog in order to calm it down.

This rarely works. In fact, I have never seen this work! What usually happens is that the petting has the opposite effect.

While petting the dog, the owner is unwittingly nurturing insecurity in the dog. This can make him think that shaking and being scared is pleasurable to you.

There are many ways to desensitize a dog to loud sounds. In this article, I will discuss 2 simple methods. For the 1st method, you’ll need a recording of thunder and/or fireworks.

Play the recording at the lowest level possible while the dog is eating or playing with you. Every few days or a week, raise the volume one notch.

The idea is to gradually associate thunder with eating, playing and good times. If the dog starts shaking at a certain volume, do not raise the volume any higher. If this happens, continue to work with the dog at that volume or lower.

Once the dog has success with a certain volume, then it is time to move up. This method will not work on all dogs. There is no “one size fits all” solution for all dogs. Every dog is different.

Looking for a simpler approach? What if electromagnetism was causing your dog to fear thunderstorms?

Every heard of the “Storm Defender” for dogs? It’s like a cape that can help them cope. In my experience, it’s more effective than the thunder shirt. Here is a link for the Storm Defender cape for dogs.

One Way to Reduce Dog Fights in Dog Parks

Photo by runge.marius

Dog fights in dog parks are very common. I have seen many personally. On rare occasions, dogs have even been killed in dog parks.

There are many ways to prevent or lessen the odds of a dog fight. Today, I’ll outline one of the simplest ways.

What I am going to write will sound counter intuitive to many dog owners. Yet, it is a simple trick that has been shown to work.

Let me start out by saying that many people bring their dogs to the dog park for the wrong reason. They bring their dogs to the dog park for exercise. This is a bad idea.

Dog parks should be used for socialization not exercise. For example, many people will throw a ball in the dog park. They do this so that there dog will run after the ball and get exercise.

I never bring toys into the dog park. I don’t even go in if I see someone with a toy. Fighting over toys is one of the most common issues in any dog park.

However, avoiding toys is not what this article is about. This article is about exercising your dog before they enter the dog park.

As I stated earlier, this will sound counter intuitive to many dog owners. I wouldn’t have believe it myself if someone had told me this a few years ago.

However, my experience has taught me a new way to look at things. I have personally seen and broke up dozens of dog fights.

Dog fights are very dangerous. Often, many dogs will get involved and sometimes humans get bit too.

A tired dog is generally a good dog. A common scenario goes like this. A person works all day while their dog is home alone.

When the owner comes back, they feel bad and take the dog to the dog park. There is nothing wrong with that but they should go for a long walk first.

The average dog needs a 1 hour walk before entering a dog park. A high energy dog may need a 45 jog before entering the dog park.

Bringing a high energy dog that has not been exercised first can cause a bring problem. That dog may be the aggressor. Or, that dog might agitate another dog.

Imagine if every owner brought their dogs in tired. I don’t mean that every dog should go into a dog park in order to take a nap. That would be silly.

Tired does not me exhausted. They still need enough energy to play and socialize. However, they shouldn’t have too much energy. This is what often leads to dog fights.

There are other reasons for dog fights. It can not solely be blamed on not exercising the dog. But, exercising the dog first will reduce the chances of a dog fight.

It allows them to sniff, play in a less rough manner and generally be less anxious.

Don’t believe me. I don’t want you to believe me. I want you to experience this yourself.

Jog with your dog for about 30 minutes before going into the dog park. Experience the difference in you own dog’s behavior.

Keep in mind, dog’s are often meeting new dogs in the dog park. They don’t know each other. Bringing them in calm is a safe way to introduce them to each other.

I’m not saying that this will prevent all dog fights. There are many factors that can lead to dog fights. With that being said, exercising them first is one way to reduce the chances of a dog fight from happening.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the dog park!

How You Feed Your Dog Can Affect Training

dog-biscuitsDid you know that how you feed our dog can actually affect their training? A dog’s feeding routine is one of the first questions I’ve always asked my clients about, and so many hadn’t been aware of the impact that food, and how it’s served can have on behavior and the training process. Sometimes, implementing a small change during that first visit makes a big difference very quickly. Most dogs are fed one of two ways. “Free-feeding”, or leaving a bowl of food out at all times or for several hours at a time for the dog to eat whenever they want, is one. The other is serving food at regular mealtimes. Food is offered at somewhat regular times and either eaten right away, or taken up after a certain amount of time if not eaten. For example, you feed your dog in the morning while you get ready for work, but pick it up before you leave, eaten or not. I have always recommended to my clients to feed their dogs meals, if possible, rather than free-feeding. This has several benefits.

A HUGE HELP IN HOUSE-TRAINING

Feeding habits should always considered in  the house training strategy. Free feeding can sabotage your new pet. Feeding regular meals will help establish a generally regular poop schedule. For puppies, that means you will have a good idea of when a big potty time is coming, before an accident happens – and setting your puppy up to succeed is the most important part of house training.

MOTIVATE YOUR DOG TO LEARN

Training your dog requires motivation on your dog’s part, and it’s up to you to find out what your dog will work best for. Something your dog really, really wants, AND that you can use to your advantage. It can be anything from a bite of a treat to a tennis ball or tug toy. Whatever gets your dog excited that you can also control. Food, naturally, is a very popular motivator used for training because it’s readily available and goes over very, very well with many dogs.

But what if your dog is hard to train because she doesn’t seem to care about anything you can offer? She ignores treats and is not ball-obsessed. It seems that if you don’t leave food out, she’ll starve.  But actually, not having constant access to food should improve and encourage the development of a healthy appetite. This can really help with “only dogs”, who don’t have another dog around to “compete” with over food or toys.

When your dog looks forward to their dinner (and breakfast or lunch), mealtime becomes a fun and highly anticipated event, and you are the focus for what your dog needs and wants. Instead of the always-full “magic food bowl”, it’s YOU who brings the deliciousness. You have control of that resource and that gives you your dog’s attention. And that means more respect – and better learning!

OTHER BENEFITS

Controlling meals also lets you easily keep an eye on how much is being consumed. If you’re trying to manage weight, portions are easier to control. If there is any change in appetite, you’ll pick up on it right away, and that can give you an early warning that your dog may be sick. And administering medication may be easier because it’s more likely to be eaten with a relished meal.

Depending on your dog’s age and specific needs, you may serve your dog as often as several times a day (puppies need more frequent meals) or as little as just once a day. Almost all dogs can benefit from meals rather than free feeding; but there are exceptions. Some dogs with medical issues and certain breeds are much more likely to experience conditions like hypoglycemia. If there is any question, ask your vet! But if your dog is okay to do so, consider feeding meals instead of free-feeding for awhile, and see what a difference it can make for you and your dog. Let me know what changes you notice!

How You Feed Your Dog Can Affect Your Training