Our friends at MobilityDog have been hard at work to help dog parents understand K9 body language. Are you adept at reading your canine’s body language? You need to be if you want a strong foundation of communication and a bond of respect between you and your pup.
Why is Body Language So Important?
All creatures communicate through verbal sounds. But much like humans, a great deal of communication also happens through non-verbal cues. In order to fully understand what your dog is trying to communicate, their body language also needs to be factored in for a full picture.
If you missed their earlier blog posts, you can catch up below:
Over three decades ago, Billie Groom began rescuing and fostering dogs. She noticed people, even those experienced with dogs, were stumped by behaviors common during the adolescent stage, approximately 8-18 months. Dogs in shelters, rescue organizations and “less-than-desirable conditions” were often challenging to integrate into their new families and homes.
Behaviors commonly associated with anxiety and aggression deterred many people from adopting since these dogs proved difficult to rehabilitate. Good people, with the best of intentions, were frustrated and felt out of options. Sadly, these problems still exist today; however, many people are discovering the benefits of Canine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
“Essentially, people hire me because they want to fix behaviors, but what we really do is create a bond, change perception, and develop skills that allow my client to build a relationship with their dog. In doing so, we prevent, and address, behaviors that lead to surrenders, returns, unsavory methods, or euthanasia.” (Billie Groom, Founder of UPWARD Dogology)
Next, let’s learn about the 5 priceless benefits behind K9 Cognitive Behavior Therapy!
Canine Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CCBT): The 5 Benefits
As mentioned in Part One, Canine CBT supports the human-canine bond by changing perception, which changes behavior. In the last post, we explored how CCBT prevents and addresses K9 behaviors with the K9 CBT principles.
Canine CBT is proven to offer the five priceless benefits below.
ONE: DECREASE SURRENDERS AND/OR REHOMING
Statistics have shown the number one reason for surrendering or rehoming dogs is behavioral. People with good intentions, who follow the advice of experts, believe they have tried everything and when conventional methods are ineffective, feel they are simply not the right home for their dog.
In some cases, the decision to surrender or rehome may be the best option. However, in most situations, once we switch from conditioning methods to CCBT, the dog stays in the home and lives a fulfilling life. The issue was not the home, it was the method to address the unwanted behaviors.
A Common Example
Dogs in the adolescent stage (approximately 8-18 months of age) that started life in a loving environment with responsible people. It is scientifically proven that dogs in the adolescent stage develop their cognitive abilities causing changes in their behavior. So, training techniques that were successful during puppyhood can fall short, or even backfire, as their cognitive skills develop.
To effectively work with these dogs, we need to recognizeand harness, not suppress, K9 cognitive abilities. By applying exercises that harness the cognitive skills driving these behaviors, we change the dog’s perception of us and our ability to calmly manage and relate to them. By recognizing what is important to them and providing them with options, they choose to change their behavior. When behaviors causing stress and frustration are eliminated, people commonly choose to keep their dogs.
TWO: INCREASE SUCCESSFUL ADOPTIONS
We all want to help dogs in need. Rescuing, fostering, and adopting dogs with disadvantaged pasts is a great way to help a dog in need. Yet many people feel ill-equipped to effectively bring these dogs into their homes and lives. The “unknowns” as to the behaviors caused by emotional stress, or a less-than-desirable upbringing, often deter good-hearted people from taking in these dogs.
Mainstream educators encourage patience with adopted dogs. Patience is good; productive patience is better. Simply relying on the “decompression period” (waiting three months before a bond or communication is established) can deter people from adopting and is also unfair to the dog.
Not all dogs need a decompression period. In fact, three months commonly recommended for “integrating” a dog can backfire (and also discourage people from adopting). Although it is recommended (and common sense) to allow dogs time to rest, especially if they traveled a distance to their new home, it is important to adapt the integration process to the individual dog.
If you adopted your dog from a foster-based rescue organization, and the foster home found the dog to be friendly, well-socialized, good on walks, with no signs of anxiety (including separation anxiety), then we apply exercises that establish platform skills in the first four to ten days. These exercises acknowledge the dog’s skills, intelligence, and personality. They create a bond and establish a communication base allowing you to easily integrate your new dog into your lifestyle.
If your dog shows signs of fear, anxiety, or behaviors associated with aggression, we apply exercises that respect the emotional intelligence driving those behaviors and create the necessary bond to change perception to change behavior. The program is flexible, allowing you to work at the pace of your dog and your schedule.
If your dog has been living independently (on the streets, for example), and it is challenging to bond with or the dog is showing behaviors they feel are necessary to achieve their goal, we apply exercises that harness those cognitive abilities driving those behaviors. The exercises show your dog:
You acknowledge the reason for the behaviors; and
Offers a reason for your dog to trust you. Therefore, your dog learns the value of bonding with you, and you learn to “read” your dog.
THREE: ELIMINATE THE PERCEIVED NEED FOR HARSH METHODS, QUICK FIXES AND PAINFUL TOOLS
When common methods prove limiting or unsuccessful, it is human nature to search for alternative approaches. Unfortunately, this can lead to people unwillingly feeling forced to apply methods or use products which can cause physical harm or emotional stress to their dog (and often themselves). The reality is these “quick fixes” can be effective in the moment, and people may see no need to discontinue using them.
It is commonly ineffective to simply tell people it is wrong to use these methods or tools when, essentially, they are solving their problems. Also, if they feel pressured, this can push people farther in the “wrong” direction. As with dogs, we cannot tell them what is right or wrong, we need to provide them with options that achieve their goal. We need to respect the reason why they feel the need to use these products or approaches and provide them with options that allow them to make ethical decisions.
To eliminate unsavory tools and methods, we need to provide people with force-free, effective alternatives. Although there are many styles of training included in conditioning methodologies, the platform and principles are not intended to change perception to change behaviors. Refer to Part One for more information. UPWARD Dogology, using K9 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is a proven effective alternative when conditioning methods fall short.
FOUR: PREVENT BEHAVIORAL EUTHANASIA
Shelters that do not uphold a “no-kill” policy, kill thousands of dogs across North America every day. Statistics show the most common reasons are behaviorally related. Euthanasia is justified by outdated assessments, which often do not respect the emotions or intelligence of individual dogs.
Veterinarians commonly provide behavioral advice, suggest resources, and/or recommend medication before suggesting, or agreeing to, euthanizing a dog. People do not want to euthanize their dogs and it can be extremely emotionally stressful for both parties.
It is common to justify euthanasia when conditioning methods fail to address behaviors consistent with anxiety or aggression. No one wants to see dogs suffer, live a life in fear, or endure emotional discomfort. Homing dogs with behavioral issues can be challenging and unsafe. Unfortunately, the majority of shelters and veterinarians are not aware of CCBT and dogs are euthanized before being exposed to Canine Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
Dog lovers are not satisfied with succumbing to the fact they must simply cope or manage, avoid situations, permanently rely on medications, or rehome, surrender, or euthanize their dog. They want to live life to the fullest with their dogs and provide their dogs with the best life. UPWARD Dogology is successfully spreading awareness and hundreds of people every year, for three decades, have enjoyed the benefits of CCBT!
FIVE: INCREASE THE HUMAN-CANINE BOND
All forms of positive interaction are bonding. From walking our dogs to canine enrichment games to agility training or scent detection. Conditioning methods, using positive reinforcements, are bond-creating, but differently from that of CBT.
K9 Cognitive Behavior Therapy takes:
A holistic approach.
Addresses the reason for the behavior (not the behavior itself), and;
Changes the dogs’ perception.
By communicating through exercises that:
Harness cognitive skills
Respect thought patterns; and
Recognize emotional intelligence
dogs begin to view their humans differently. This bond is noted through changes in behaviors that the dog chooses to do. For example, he may look at his person more (without being cued by a command or a treat), or he may follow his person less (if he followed due to anxiety) or follow more (if he was aloof).
The bond that is created through CCBT is, admittedly, challenging to explain. But it is like a “light-bulb goes on!” My clients literally feel it take shape. They feel:
Less controlling, yet they have more control.
More relaxed along with their dog.
Their dog trusts them more.
It is truly amazing! Once a bond, based on communication and mutual respect, is developed, we can creatively and effectively apply CBT to address behaviors associated with anxiety and aggression, and other behaviors common with adopted and adolescent dogs!
Award-winning author, member of the Dog Writers Association of America, Animal Behavior Society and the Comparative Cognition Society, and a graduate of the University of Western Ontario (B.A.). Billie developed the UPWARD Dogology formula from working with thousands of dogs over 3 decades. Her clients include veterinarians, psychologists, animal experts, canine professionals, rescuers, fosters, adopters, and first-time dog peeps. In 2002, The Humane Society of Toronto awarded Billie for her work with challenging dogs and she has continued to develop her methodology over the decades through hands-on application.
Billie’s Mission: I am motivated to spread awareness of UPWARD Dogology because every day I help people who are at their wit’s end. The most common response is, “Why is this methodology not “out there?” It grinds my gears when I hear about dogs being put down because of behavioral problems that Conditioning Methods were unable to effectively address. C.B.T. needs to be a part of mainstream dog rearing, in addition to positive reinforcement training and other non-aversive Conditioning methods, to effectively address the needs of dogs of all ages, personality types and backgrounds.
In today’s guest blog post, you’ll meet Billie Groom, the Founder of UPWARD Dogology; an expert in K9 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the past 30 years. Billie has helped thousands of dog parents, rescued dogs and organizations prevent unnecessary surrenders, re-homings or worse, euthanasia.
Keep reading to learn why YOUR dog, if he could, would ask to learn through CCBT!
Dog Training is Evolving
The landscape of teaching and communicating with our dogs is evolving right alongside the advancing science of how people really learn, feel and behave. Human Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (also known as CBT) reveals the relationship between one’s beliefs, thoughts, feelings and why humans behave the way they do. CBT is a more natural form of behavioral treatment which holistically changes thought patterns, problem-solving and decision-making and the actions/behaviors that follow.
These same principles and practices can be used with dogs – over the age of 6 months – to effectively prevent and address unwanted or negative K9 behaviors through K9 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
K9 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: What is It?
Canine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CCBT) is a scientifically-proven and evidence-based methodology that adheres to the principles and practices of human CBT and is designed for dogs over six months of age (the point at which K9 cognitive skills develop to a higher level).
The UPWARD Dogology formula offers a non-aversive alternative to determine which method is best for individual dogs at different stages in their lives.
As with humans, not all canines think and learn the same way!
The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy behind UPWARD Dogology, does not use aversive, harsh or negative techniques. The ONLY tool used is the dog’s brain, meeting him where he is at developmentally. The Canine CBT methodology is, above all, calm, logical, creative, flexible, adaptable, and most importantly, dog-approved!
Canine CBT and K9 Behaviors
The UPWARD Dogology methodology of CCBT prevents and addresses K9 behaviors:
Common during adolescence.
Associated with anxiety, fear, and aggression.
Common with rescued and adopted dogs, and dogs with disadvantaged pasts
Resulting from change in lifestyle or a specific incident.
The Principles of Canine CBT
CBT (again, not only for canines), changes perception, which in turn, changes behavior.
The application of CBT principles assumes dogs:
Know right from wrong behavior and as such, is choosing the unwanted behavior.
Understand their human is discouraging certain behaviors.
Have preconceived thought patterns.
Employ emotional intelligence to determine behavior.
Do not feel there is a valid reason to change their behavior.
Do not trust the alternatives, if they change their behavior based on reinforcements.
Have employed cognitive skills to make decisions, often ones which have saved their lives.
The design and intention of Canine CBT makes it effective with dogs over six months of age whose behaviors are stemming from cognitive abilities and driven by emotional intelligence. To effectively work with these dogs, we need to harness – not suppress – their cognitive abilities.
For example, if a dog rips apart the garbage because she does not know it is wrong to do that behavior, then non-aversive forms of operant conditioning can be effective in teaching “right from wrong.” On the other hand, if the dog knows the behavior is wrong and is doing it in response to getting an “unacceptably short walk”, then Canine CBT is recommended.
Canine CBT Supports the Human-Canine Bond
Thankfully, the narrative of mainstream dog education is, finally, changing and progressing toward a more holistic, proactive approach, while recognizing the importance of creating a foundation that allows the human-canine bond to flourish.
Industry leaders are recognizing the need to address the reason for the behavior, as opposed to the behavior itself, while respecting the emotional intelligence of all animals. To effectively embody these mindsets and approaches, it is necessary to move beyond traditional dog training or conditioning methods and incorporate a methodology designed to embrace these mindsets for the ultimate benefit of dogs and those who love them.
Award-winning author, member of the Dog Writers Association of America, Animal Behavior Society and the Comparative Cognition Society, and a graduate of the University of Western Ontario (B.A.). Billie developed the UPWARD Dogology formula from working with thousands of dogs over 3 decades. Her clients include veterinarians, psychologists, animal experts, canine professionals, rescuers, fosters, adopters and first-time dog peeps.
In 2002, The Humane Society of Toronto awarded Billie for her work with challenging dogs and she has continued to develop her methodology over the decades through hands-on application.
Billie’s Mission: I am motivated to spread awareness of UPWARD Dogology because everyday I help people who are at their wits end. The most common response is, “Why is this methodology not “out there?” It grinds my gears me when I hear about dogs being put down because of behavioural problems which Conditioning Methods were unable to effectively address. C.B.T. needs to be a part of mainstream dog rearing, in addition to positive reinforcement training and other non-aversive Conditioning methods, to effectively address the needs of dogs of all ages, personality types and backgrounds.
They are cute, adorable and cuddly WITH tiny little razors for teeth! If you are dealing with a new puppy who is biting, this blog is for you!
While a biting puppy is hardly the perfect picture you had in mind before you adopted your cute little bundle of fur, it’s first important to understand the following about your puppy.
Biting is a normal part of puppyhood, learning and maturing;
It’s not personal; and
You can teach your puppy how to control his biting!
Our friends at Arkansas Bear Creek Goldens and Doodles have a LOT of experience with puppies as breeders and in their latest blog post, they share valuable tips and tricks to get you through your puppy’s teething period without becoming a human pin cushion!
Anxiety can develop in canines at any age. Separation anxiety can lead to negative and even destructive behaviors and will only worsen with time. So it’s important to address any separation anxiety early whether it’s a puppy or a newly rescued adult dog.
Start with a dedicated space for your dog. It could be: ~ A crate or playpen. ~ A small, confined room in the house.
If you rescued a dog with separation anxiety, it will take some time and patience, but the problem can be solved. Please be patient!!
Never see confinement as a negative thing (your dog will pick up on this energy). Dogs are like wolves and see their “den” (i.e., a confined space) as their “safe place” when introduced slowly and properly.
Never use a crate, or any other space, as “punishment.” A crate also offers you peace of mind when you can’t be there that your dog cannot destroy your home. I have seen some horrible home destruction done by a dog.
Resolving K9 Separation Anxiety: Steps One and Two
FIRST, put the crate in an area of the house where the dog cannot see you getting ready or leaving the house. You might also want to use a plastic-covered crate, so the dog does not hurt themselves trying to get out.
Slowly introduce and acclimate your dog to their crate over an extended period of timebefore leaving them on their own for several hours or all day. The more time you spend on this training phase, the better the results will be for your dog.
In the beginning, let your dog explore the crate on his own leaving the door wide open. Once he is comfortable, put him in the crate with a deer antler or empty marrow bone with a little bit of (xylitol-free) peanut butter in the middle to create a happy and pleasurable association for your dog. Your goal is to get your dog’s attention on the bone instead of the fact you’re leaving him alone. Quietly close the door.
SECOND,go outside for 3–5 minutes (and increasingly longer) then come back in and quietly let them out of the crate. DO NOT say anything, just let the dog out, so they realize that they can be comfortable and happy in the crate. Every dog is different so be patient and work on your dog’s timetable and never force them to accept being confined.
Resolving K9 Separation Anxiety: After Training
Remember, dogs are very perceptive and quickly learn our daily routines. So, before you start getting ready to leave, put your dog in their crate (where they cannot see you) to avoid leaving your dog in a very high state of anxiety from knowing you’re leaving. Many owners misinterpret any accidents as being done on purpose; this is not true. With all the pent-up anxiety and fear, your stressed canine can no longer control its bodily functions. It’s just like a person with a nervous stomach, who cannot help but throw up or have a bowel movement.
If you are a stay-at-home parent or work from home, DO NOT have your dog with you at all times. Encourage your dog to be able to be on their own even if you are home. This is a good thing, no need to feel guilty! If you have the chance to leave the house for a little bit, even if it is for 15 minutes, please do, so your dog will get used to you leaving and coming home. When you do leave and come home, do not make a big deal because that will raise your dog’s anxiety.
K9 Separation Anxiety Begins Early!
I’d like to address something that’s been really bothering me lately. It’s also been a very big problem this year especially with all the new COVID puppies. Many breeders are selling puppies too young. There is no reason why puppies should leave their mom and littermates at less than 8 weeks old. They learn so much from their mother and littermates and this is negatively diminished when they are sold too young.
Not only are many breeders selling puppies too young, but then many are put into a crate and travel long distances in an overwhelming airplane cargo area. This causes major crate anxiety and fear from the loud noises and unknown smells. Then, when they finally land, these poor puppies are typically handled by people who are not gentle or even knowledgeable about these impressionable little creatures. Imagine being traumatized like this at less than 2 months old along with the fact that these puppies are usually covered in pee and feces!
Once traumatized, it is very difficult to fix crate anxiety and separation anxiety because these puppies typically pee and defecate from overwhelming anxiety as soon as they are put in a crate. This is because the confinement now represents a bad and even terrifying experience. Even if you switch to a playpen, which gives them more space, it can still cause major anxiety from what they’ve been through. This early trauma causes issues like: ~ Hurting themselves from trying to bite the cage or dig their way out at the bottom. ~ Unwanted and extreme barking, whining and crying. ~ Extreme shyness and fear making even a simple walk impossible once they hear loud noises. ~ Constant attempts to slip out of their collars from their natural response to flee when afraid.
So when is the ideal age to adopt a new puppy? Between 10-13 weeks.
K9 Separation Anxiety: Obedience Training is Priceless
Obedience training is so important for creating – and maintaining – routines along with daily peace and balance in your household. It establishes you as your dog’s leader and also helps tire out your dog from the mental stimulation of regular dog training sessions.
The best part is that training does not take long when done daily. Even if you work with your dog for just 10-15 minutes before you leave, that’s perfect! Also, take your dog out before you leave and remember to give them a bone in the crate and quietly walk out without making a big deal!
Remember, A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog!
K9 Separation Anxiety: Severe Cases
For severe separation anxiety cases, a Bootcamp program is the only effective training because the dog is separated from the family and stays at a training facility for several weeks. While the dog is being re-trained, the family is also learning how to change some of their own habits before the dog comes home. Remember, K9 anxiety and separation anxiety does not resolve on their own, so reach out for expert help, as soon as possible, for your dog’s overall happiness and well-being!
Meet Our Guest Blogger: Cherie Marquez
Cherie Marquez is The Dog Mystic and gratefully living her dream!
Cherie’s motto is Happy Dogs = Happy Owners and it’s her mission is to keep dogs in their forever home.
The Dog Mystic instructs dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds, and does not discriminate against any K9 breed. Cherie works on problem-solving, commands, and exercises to strengthen your bond with your dog(s) on the soul level, so they will always be family.
The holidays are a magical time whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday!
But it’s also a time to proactively protect your new puppy, dog or other pet from potential holiday dangers like holiday foods and drinks, ornaments, decorations and even holiday plants! Curious noses, paws AND mouths can put your pup in danger in the blink of an eye!
Our friends at Arkansas Bear Creek Goldens and Doodles have got you covered with great tips to keep your puppy – and other pets – safe and healthy!
“My dog is acting nuts,” I told the vet’s office lady over the phone.
“What do you mean?”
“She’s not behaving normal – just crazy,” I responded.
“What’s going on?” the lady asked in a tone that suggested I was the crazy one.
I know my dog . . .
If you have owned a dog for a while, you know their personality, their quirks, and their behaviors. I knew she wasn’t behaving normally (for her). I made an appointment for the next afternoon.
So, What Was the Crazy Behavior?
My 12-year-old pitbull, Lacey, doesn’t like to go out in the rain. She’s a big baby.
The weather was sleeting, and it was cold. Lacey wandered through the doggy door to the outside, down the steps and laid down. She wouldn’t come back in. I’d call her and she seemed confused. She’d start to walk to the deck stairs, pace back and forth, then turn around and lay back down.
She was now cold and completely soaked.
I hustled outside and brought her indoors. I wondered if she was getting dementia. Later, I found her standing with her head in the corner – again very weird.
Later that evening, she sat next to me on the couch and pressed her head into my chest rubbing up and down. I thought, “Aww, how sweet.” But then, as I ran my hand down her side, I could feel it tightening like contractions. Instantly, I knew my dog was in pain.
Urinary Tract Infections: Common Symptoms
The typical UTI symptoms usually include:
blood in the urine
strong urine odor
trying to pee, but not able to get much out
dribbling urine in the house – can’t control it
excessive licking of the genital area
loss of appetite
crying in pain while urinating
drinking more than usual
Know the Quirkier Symptoms
off-balance, dizzy, possible falling or tripping
walking with an arched back
sleeping in unusual postures
How Does a UTI Get Diagnosed?
First, you’ll need a clean urine sample; ask your vet for a collection container.
Take the sample to your vet to run a:
urine culture (this takes a couple of days).
This will tell the veterinarian what kind of bacteria or fungi your dog may have contracted, and which antibiotic to use (should you choose that route). You want to eradicate the infection the first time because having to use additional rounds of antibiotics can cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria which you really don’t want.
(I prefer the urine culture because it determines the specific cause of the UTI infection, bacterial or fungal. The treatment can then be targeted for that particular cause.)
Do NOT Let a UTI Go Untreated!
If left untreated, a UTI can turn into a serious and possibly life-threatening problem (once it travels to the kidneys). At a minimum, get a urinalysis or culture to see what your dog is dealing with and then treat it with prescribed antibiotics or holistic alternatives.
Once you know whether you’re dealing with a bacterial or fungal UTI infection, get your canine on an appropriate treatment immediately.
If you decide to use holistic options, only use organic, pesticide-free herbs on an empty stomach.
You could also use amino acid methionine. When used along with cranberry extract, it can be as effective as an antibiotic. Consult with a holistic vet versed in herbal treatments for proper dosing.
A Final Note
Whether you choose traditional or holistic treatments, the idea is to properly diagnose and treat your dog quickly.
I believe that holistic treatments and traditional treatments can work harmoniously. I use holistic treatment options on a regular basis with my dogs. But at times, you may opt for a traditional approach with antibiotics.
Pamela Morrison is a professional copywriter for the pet industry including marketers, pet product and service providers, veterinarians and holistic pet practitioners. She does home visits for a local rescue when she can and has been a dog foster mom. She lives in western Michigan with her husband and two dogs, Lacey and Zadie. Pam enjoys walking her dogs, reading, and drinking lots of coffee!
I thought I had heard it all when it comes to the trouble our dogs (and even cats) can get into. Well, I stand corrected, because recently I learned about a common danger that exists at this very moment in almost every household (probably including yours)!
Dogs are naturally social creatures that enjoy attention. As a matter of fact, nothing more can make them go gaga than chancing upon their own kind, regardless of breed. That should not come as a total surprise because dogs came from a long line of ancestors who had thrived living in packs.
Unfortunately, some puppies and even adult dogs find it hard to contain their excitement and go completely overboard when around other canines. A dog may bark, whine or lunge at other dogs when they are giddy. These actions may come from a friendly standpoint, but the other dog might perceive it as a threat, especially if their personal space is being violated.
If your puppy or adult dog acts this way, he might be in danger of being attacked by another dog. Also, if this hyperactive behavior is ignored, it may progress into aggressiveness. This tendency is more evident in dogs that show signs of fear and anxiety. But, addressing the issue should be done in the right manner. Yelling will not help and will only impose a sense of negativity to the dogs involved. Also, if you pull your leashed dog close to you when he is about to interact with another dog, this can create unwanted tension. If you reprimand your dog for acting this way, it will lead him to think negatively about associating with other dogs, fueling unwanted and negative behaviors.
Is Your Dog Excited or Stressed?
Did you know that dogs often look the same way when they are excited or stressed? This can be a shocker for most pet parents to realize what they once viewed as a happy behavior is actually a cry for help.
It is not bad for dogs to get excited, but there are key differences between:
Stressed and anxious energy; and
Happy and enthusiastic canine energy.
A dog’s energy depends on their mental state at the time. As owners, we often observe their physical behavior without understanding the true energy behind it. Dogs are “cute” when they are over-excited or over-stimulated, but this attitude is not ideal for your dog. Also, when we match this type of excited energy from our dogs, they respond with more excitement, heightening their already intensified feelings which can lead to unwanted behavior.
To identify whether your dog is exhibiting signs of anxiety or excitement, take note of how he behaves when he is in a relaxed state. You can see how comfortable a dog is based on his posture and behavior. It can also be characterized by a soft gaze with squinted or rounded eyes and ears slightly erect and placed forward (does not apply to dogs with floppy ears). When you talk to him, he acknowledges you by moving his ear backward and relaxing his mouth.
Other Reasons Your K9 is Overactive Around Other Dogs
Aside from anxiety, your dog might be displaying fear. So when he acts in a reactive manner, other dogs and their owners may walk away in avoidance or fear, which is your dog’s intention if he is fearful.
Another reason is frustration. Many dogs feel restrained due to the leash wrapped around their neck that holds them back whenever they are excited to see other dogs. You also see this type of dog behavior with closed fences and gates.
Defining Your Role as a Canine Parent
Your dog might be too overeager upon seeing other dogs. Acknowledging your dog’s need to be with other dogs is essential. But, he has to learn to approach potential friends – and even old friends – with confidence and calmness. To protect your furbaby and ensure that he is capable of handling different social situations, you need to identify the root cause of this excitement. As mentioned earlier, some dogs act all gung-ho when seeing other dogs to mask their anxiousness or fear. If this is the case with your dog, you will need to address potential issues with anxiety, fear or frustration when training your dog to be calm.
Prevention is better than cure, many would say. The easiest method to prevent your dog from acting out when they see another dog is to go the other way. But do not wait until your dog gets all riled up. Properly socializing your dog as soon as possible will also help avoid unwanted, unsocial and overexcited behaviors.
The following methods below can help your dog learn:
To channel their extra energy into something positive; and
Help them learn how to stay calm and collected when hanging out with his peers.
Two Ways to Calm Your Puppy Down
During training, use a well-fitted harness to protect your puppy’s neck if he lunges forward upon seeing another dog. You might also want to ask a friend to help out and lend you his or her emotionally-stable and mature dog that will not overreact to your puppy’s over-eagerness or unbridled playfulness. Always reward your puppy’s good behavior with his favorite treat!
Method #1: Calm to Me
Enlist the help of a friend with a calm dog. Meet them in a park or have them join you and your leashed puppy for a walk. Keep all training short and fun
Once you see your friend and their dog, ask them to stop at a distance where your dog is still comfortable and not becoming overexcited. Tell your dog to sit or stay.
Ask the other dog to slowly approach. As soon as you notice your dog starting to go into a frenzy (timing is very important), ask your friend and their dog to stop, turn around, and walk away.
Wait until your dog is calm once again and repeat the process. As long as your dog remains calm and remains in the sit and stay position, the other dog can continue to move toward him. But the moment he begins barking, lunging or getting aggressive, your friend and their dog should stop, turn around and walk away.
Repeat the process for a few days until your dog fully grasps the concept and use this process to introduce to him other dogs.
Have your friend bring their calm dog over to your home. Before the dog and his owner come, place your dog on a leash.
Once the new dog enters your premises, command your dog to sit or stay. Tug the leash gently to the side if necessary to get your dog’s attention (but refrain from pulling back).
If your dog maintains a composed demeanor and obeys your orders, hand him a treat. Repeat several times with different dogs for several weeks until your dog automatically calms down without any command when seeing a dog.
Once your dog has learned how to act properly when there is another dog, have him socialize with all kinds of other dogs.
Dogs are naturally sociable and reprimanding or pulling them back when they get excited will not resolve the underlying issue. Use the tips and methods detailed above to train your dog to be more social and less reactive with anxiety, over-excitement or even fear. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for expert help! A dog trainer or behaviorist can help identify behavioral issues and design an effective plan of action to create a happy, confident and social dog!
Meet our Guest Blogger:
Brian Larsen is the Co-Founder and CEO of RejuvaPet, LLC — the creator of RestoraPet and RestoraPet Hemp. He spent nearly 10 years developing these products to rehabilitate and protect pets at the cellular level, for a vastly improved quality of life.
The New Year celebrations are right around the corner.
As you’re making plans for your end-of-the-year parties and resolutions, be sure to include your dog and his comfort in your plans!
What do you need to consider to ensure Fido enjoys the festivities? Keep reading to find out.
With your dog’s incredible hearing ability, fireworks can be a dog’s WORST nightmare! Consider this: humans hear at a range of 20 and 20,000 Hz. In stark contrast, our beloved K9s hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz! With that kind of hearing, loud fireworks can rattle even the calmest dog.
Sadly, emergency vet visits increase this time of year and they can quickly destroy the holiday spirit and your budget! Remember, many of the foods, treats and drinks (alcoholic and those that are not) you enjoy can be potentially dangerous to your canine. Traditional favorites include (but are not limited to):
Turkey, skin & bones, ham ,etc.
Table scraps (especially those that are spicy and fatty)
Alcoholic beverages including egg nog, beer, wine and cocktails
Sweets (especially those with xylitol) and chocolate
New Year’s Parties & Celebrations
Not all dogs are well-equipped to deal with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, especially when it comes into their safe place/home. Keep in mind, these celebrations are never a good time to “socialize” your dog especially if they usually tend to not be social.
If you’re bringing the New Year’s Eve party home, make sure your dog (and even other pets) has a safe and quiet place so they are both secure and protected from running away or unleashing an unwanted bite (because of fear, anxiety or stress).
In addition, below are some other traditional New Year’s Eve items you should consider banning to keep the pets in your home safe during the celebrations:
Glow sticks & bracelets
With some thoughtful planning, you and your pets can enjoy the New Year’s celebrations safely!
Dogs are mindful, spiritual beings who generously give of themselves to the lives of their humans. If you appreciate the beauty of nature and animals or share your life with companion animals, you already appreciate this priceless, unconditional love. Many dog lovers believe the relationship with their canines is based on a pure, spiritual connection creating deep, long-lasting bonds. Reiki can help promote those closer bonds.
Unfortunately, just like their humans, dogs can also suffer from physical and emotional issues. This is especially true if an animal has suffered a difficult or traumatic experience; came from not-so-ideal circumstances or is struggling with grief, abuse or fear of humans.K9 stress may also occur due to:
A restricted or unnatural lifestyle like overbreeding;
Boredom and a lack of regular exercise or mental stimulation; and
An improper diet.
Any of these situations can produce an unhappy, unhealthy and stressed dog. Reiki can help promote healing and the ultimate return to health.
What is Reiki?
The word “Reiki” comes from the Japanese terms “higher power” and “life force energy.” Reiki is a non-invasive, respect-based and meditative energy healing practice. It was traditionally used in human circles for spiritual healing, stress relief and self-improvement. For generations, people have benefited from the peace, relaxation and healing shifts that come from a Reiki session.
But energy healing is not just for people. Reiki can also be a simple, yet powerful form of energy healing for enhancing calm and well-being in your canine companion while creating and fostering a closer bond with them.
Originally designed for use in shelters and sanctuaries to calm its stressed and anxious residents, Reiki has evolved into an effective tool to calm an upset dog as well as assist an ill or injured one. Regular sessions of Reiki may also help keep long-term, chronic diseases, disorders or pain in check and even help lessen the severity of the symptoms.
Hands-On or Hands-Off Reiki?
Reiki energy healing can be done in one of two ways: hands-on or hands-off (over distance). The hands-on approach is generally more effective if the dog enjoys being touched. In cases where the dog does not tolerate physical touching (for reasons ranging from medical to psychological), distance – or hands-off – Reiki may be a better option.
Most dogs enjoy the calming, soothing and healing energies employed by a skilled Reiki practitioner. Some dogs cannot get close enough during a session and may actually lean into the practitioner or even end up fast asleep in their lap.
For dogs in high-stress situations (such as shelters or when being transported for adoption or veterinary purposes), distance reiki usually works better. It can also used for K9s who do not live near their Reiki practitioner or who are in hospice.
Reiki works well with most animals because they are naturally open and receptive to energy. They naturally understand and respond to the flow of energy and tend to heal more quickly than people since they are not prone to mental blocks or defense mechanisms that can block the flow of healing energy.
What to Expect
Sessions can run from 20-60 minutes, depending on the dog and their willingness to staying still for an extended period of time. The greatest benefits from Reiki are achieved with regular sessions (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) determined by each individual dog and the level of healing they require.
Many pet parents report positive effects in their dog’s general health and disposition with the use of Reiki. Feedback from others have offered hope in the reduction of chronic pain and even the possible reversal or remission of severe medical issues.
However, please remember that Reiki is not a replacement for routine veterinary care, or a reason to disregard needed medications or medical procedures.
Reiki offers a non-invasive energy healing suitable for any dog and condition. It will not interfere or contraindicate with any regular veterinary care and serves as a useful tool in helping your dog with physical or psychological issues. Please keep in mind that even in healing sessions for ailing animals, it may only ease an inevitable passing. Reiki is powerful, however, it is not a perfect cure-all. Ultimately, it is always the animal guardian’s decision regarding what level of care to seek including which modalities.
When approached with an open mind and heart, Reiki energy healing for your dog may offer a healthier, calmer and happier life.
Meet our Guest Blogger:
Raven Hannah is a self-described animal whisperer, lifelong pet parent, and owner of HolisticPetsAndPeeps.com. She is certified as a holistic consultant, aromatherapist, Reiki practitioner (for animals and people), and pet nutritionist. She encourages others to celebrate animals as part of the family, as well as keep them happy, healthy, and spoiled! When Raven isn’t busy being a slave to her very demanding senior cats or helping her favorite rescues with fundraising projects, she is most likely working on growing her businesses and raising awareness in an effort to make this world a better place for all creatures.
Dog ownership is a popular way of life in the United States. With an estimated 89.7 million dogs owned (as of 2017 according to AmericanPetProductsAssociation (APPA)), chances are you have seen plenty of dogs out with their owners in public. Some of them are well-behaved and unfortunately, some are not. If you enjoy bringing your pooch to dog-friendly public places and businesses, make sure they earn a good reputation! Below are a few ideas on how to practice good doggie etiquette.
In many places, keeping your dog on a leash while you’re in public isn’t just good manners – it’s the law. A good leash (including retractable ones) should be long enough to allow your dog some freedom while you walk, but not so much that you lose control. Leashes also help let others know you are in control – many people will become uncomfortable if an unleashed dog is running toward them.
As you walk your dog, keep safety at the forefront of your mind. Use sidewalks if they are available; if not, always walk on the left side of road, facing traffic. If you are walking around daybreak or dusk, bring a flashlight and/or wear reflective clothing so you stay easily visible. Remember, darkness can fall quickly in the winter months so be prepared. Also make sure your dog is wearing identification tags so you can get him back in case he gets away from you.
Personal Space and Training
Make sure your dog maintains a respectful distance from other people when you are in public. Many people are afraid of dogs and others don’t want to be bothered or licked. It’s also important to realize that not all dogs you meet in public are friendly and letting your dog run up to them can cause negative reactions and possibly even a fight.
A leash is the best way to control your dog’s behavior coupled with training some basic voice commands. The basic commands should include:
leave it; and
It’s fairly easy to teach these basic commands using your dog’s favorite treats. For example, to train your dog to sit, hold a treat by his nose and slowly raise your hand up, which will cause his head to come up and his bottom to go down. Once he is in a sitting position (and holding it for a few seconds), say “sit” and give him the treat, along with some affection. Repeat until he can do it on command consistently (each dog learns differently, so be patient). You can follow the same basic procedure for other commands as well. If you want some help with training these basic commands, research training methods, attend an obedience class or hire a dog trainer for one-on-one training.
This is pretty simple – always scoop your dog’s poop. It’s a good idea to bring extra plastic baggies every time you go out to make sure you have enough. Letting your dog urinate in public is fine, but don’t let them go on anything a human might touch – flower beds, mailboxes, trash cans, etc. Your neighbors will appreciate it if you keep your dog from peeing on their lawns as well.
No matter what happens when you’re out with your dog, be aware of others around you. Know when your dog might do something inappropriate and always be ready to head him off. If you can’t stop him, at least acknowledge the issues and explain that you will take care of the problem. Sometimes, a simple apology or acknowledgement goes a long way toward defusing a potentially difficult situation.
If you are like many dog owners, you want to have your dog out in public with you as much as possible. Remember that good pet etiquette starts with owners (that’s you), so make sure you are committed to keeping your dog’s behavior within the bounds of acceptable social behavior. Follow the tips above and you’ll be able to enjoy years of socialization and fun with your dog.
Meet our Guest Blogger:
Jessica Brody is an avid dog lover and passionate advocate for rescue pets. She created OurBestFriends.pet to offer an online place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth and enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.
When even more information came out about all the potentially deadly chemicals used to mass-produce rawhide in China, “safe” choices became even further limited for canine guardians. (Not to mention numerous horror studies about rawhide pieces becoming stuck or causing obstructions requiring surgery to save a dog.) Click here to learn the harmful truth behind making rawhide.
Are Antlers a Safer Option?
So, what about something more “natural,” like antlers from wild deer or elk?
Like most subjects about dog health, “expert” opinions about whether antlers are a completely safe chewing option falls between both ends of the spectrum. From slick marketing campaigns raving about the wonders of antlers for your dog’s chewing pleasure to so-called dog experts decrying even the thought of offering an antler to your dog to chew. While the controversy rages on, educate yourself on the pros and cons of antler chews for your dog.
Factors to Consider
Deciding whether an antler chew is good (or not) for your dog involves a number of factors, including:
What kind of chewer your dog is;
Your dog’s current dental health;
The “grade” of antler you are planning to give your dog to chew; and
The supplier/distributor of the antler chews and whether they sell cheaper, low-grade or inferior products.
When you know better, you can make better choices for what to safely offer your dog to chew. Knowing your own dog is the first place to start. Is your dog a heavy or aggressive chewer? The chewing needs or habits are vastly different for a Chihuahua versus a Rottweiler. Smaller teeth and jaws cannot stand up to extremely hard objects like antlers.
Also, consider your dog’s current dental health. Have they suffered from dental issues that would rule out giving them hard items to chew?
Symptoms of gum disease like receding gums, bone loss, gingivitis and periodontitis? Gum disease can make teeth unstable and incapable of standing up to chewing. (Did you know that gum disease, is five times more common in dogs than in humans?)
If you have determined your dog’s dental health and chewing needs can tolerate hard chewing, keep reading to learn more about antler chews.
What IS an Antler?
Antlers come from moose, caribou, elk, reindeer and deer. Typically, elk antlers are the easiest ones to find.
It’s also believed that antlers do not splinter or chip as easily as some other bones or toys. While antlers may seem similar to “horns” … they are actually different. Cow horns are made from a substance call keratin; similar to our nails and hair. They also have a lining of bone inside them.
Antlers, on the other hand, are made from real bone and cartilage with a marrow core. They are actually a bony outgrowth of the animal’s skull. Since they are actual bone, they are also very hard. Antlers are typically shed each year allowing a new set to grow in their place. Antlers (unlike processed bones or rawhides) also offer nutritional value in the form of:
Iron and Zinc
For dogs fed a raw diet, bones are important to their diet. But, it is not necessary for them to eat very hard bones (like antlers or weight-bearing leg bones).
Grading Antlers: What it all Means
Antlers are “graded” on five different levels. Before you buy any kind of antler for your dog to chew, below is what you need to know first.
Grade A+ Antlers
These are the highest quality and most pristine antlers, previously reserved for high-end craft and artisan use. They constitute less than 5% of all antlers each year. Only a few stores and distributors are focused on selling antlers of this caliber.
Grade A Antlers
These antlers comprise the top 10-15% of all antlers each year. They have been shed during the current – or previous – year. These antlers will appear a little more on the light-brown side; as they have been freshly shed and have had only minimal exposure to the elements.
Grade B Antlers
This grade of antler comprises the bulk of all antlers sold online by the “high-end” brands. These antlers are easily recognized as they will be white from sun bleaching which also means they are dried out. They may also show visible marks of rodent chewing. These antlers are approximately one to two years old. While they may be sold by well-established brands, it does not mean they are “safe dog chews.” While they are not the worst of the antlers, they are definitely not the safest for your dog based on their age and being dried out which means they could splinter or chip much more easily.
Grades C and D
The final two grades are combined together because, for all intents and purposes, these antlers are “junk” and definitely not safe for your dog. These antlers are not only white from years in the sun and exposure to the elements; but there is also a white powder that can be easily scraped off the surface. In addition, the antler has almost a coral-like porous crystalline structure to it, due to having lost too much moisture. This makes it even more susceptible to breaking, splintering or chipping even with minimal effort. These antlers are commonly sold in the big-box pet stores and outdoor sports stores.
A Few Final Cautions
Make sure any antler product you buy and give to your dog is sourced from the USA (preferably from organically raised animals). Note: China does chemically process and ship antlers to the United States.
Also, make sure you buy the right size antler for your dog (one that cannot be easily swallowed).
Do not give puppies any kind of antlers to chew on. (The high protein content can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.)
And finally, if you do decide to give your dog an antler chew (or any other chew as well), always supervise them to keep them safe! No chew product is 100% safe and healthy for every dog. Digestive or dental issues, possible choking (in the mouth or throat) and intestinal obstructions are always a risk.
Check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any chew product.
For a passionate dog lover, there’s nothing better than coming home after a rough day and being greeted by a happy and jumping Fido. This display of unconditional love makes all the woes melt away.
But, what if someone else is coming through your door? Perhaps your young child’s friend? Maybe your boss? Or worse, an elderly person?
Do you really want your dog to jump on people in your home or anywhere else for that matter?
Not everyone loves dogs (I know it’s shocking, but those people do exist!). Even other dog lovers may not appreciate dog paw prints (especially dirty ones) on their clothes or dripping slobber on their face. The truth is that “hugging,” “kissing” or any unwanted jumping is not polite, acceptable dog behavior.
Why Commands May Not Work
FACT: Our dogs want our attention more than (almost) anything else in the world! If they get any reaction when they jump on you – or someone else – they will certainly do it again.
What’s often tough for humans to understand is that our dogs don’t understand any other language but “dog.” So, even when you tell your dog to “get down,” “no jump” or even “you should know better than to jump on people,” your dog simply understands that his behavior got you to notice him … in other words, to pay attention to him! One of the things they want most!
So, even if you’re trying to get the dog to stop jumping by giving him a command such as “off” or “down,” pushing the dog down with your hand(s), or trying to hold the dog back by his collar, he is stillgetting attention for the behavior. It doesn’t matter to him that the attention is negative; it still counts as attention (much like young kids who will do just about anything to get your attention, positive or negative).
When guests enter your home, you want to show them you are in control of your dog, so you are even more apt to talk, touch or restrain him during these times. Here’s the problem – the more you do this, the more the dog realizes (especially when new people enter) he will get lots of attention for jumping. Score one for Fido (zero for the human).
But you can’t just do nothing right?! So, what should you do?
Patience, Consistency and Calmness are Key
First, practice all training in the privacy of your home where your dog will be less distracted. In the beginning, limit the training to just you and the members of the household. Consistently practice the acceptable behavior with every single person (adults and children), every single time anyone walks in. Remember, it takes 100% consistency for a dog to learn something new, so be patient and stick with it. If you give up, he will quickly go back to his old habits and be even more confused about what you really want.
Second (and this one is a bit harder), as much as you love those “hugs” when you come home, by allowing Fido to continue this behavior with you, he will think it’s acceptable to hug everyone. How does he know that it is acceptable for him to hug you, but not other people? Stay consistent and clear in what you do want from your dog.
It takes time to break a habit (just like for us humans), so remain patient and calm. Getting angry, anxious or annoyed will only confuse your dog and make the training process longer and harder. If you find yourself running out of patience, end the training session on a positive note and try again later.
Begin with this basic exercise each time you (and others) come home. When Fido jumps on you, turn around so that you no longer face him (effectively removing the attention he seeks). He may jump on your back. Stand perfectly still and stay calm. If he comes around to your front, turn around again, so that you face away from him. He may jump on you several times, but if you completely ignore him (no eye contact, touch or talk), he will eventually get bored and try to figure out a new way to get your attention.
At first, your dog may try to get your attention in another negative way, such as by mouthing your hand, barking at you or tugging your pant leg. Remember, ignorethese behaviorscompletely. You are teaching him that these behaviors will no longer get your attention (the thing he wants most).
If you completely ignore him for a few minutes (each dog learns at his own pace; so again, be patient), he will eventually walk away, grab a toy, sit down, or even lie down. THIS is the time to pour on the affection! You want to show him that calm behavior – with all four paws on the ground – will earn him your attention.
At first, he may get so excited by your attention that he may jump up again. As soon as he does, immediately turn your back again to remind him that jumping will not earn him attention. You may go through the process of him jumping or barking again, but eventually he will choose the right behavior again. When he does, be sure to reward him with praise and affection. Repeat this process again and again until he can handle the affection without jumping up for more.
Always end each session on a positive note. Don’t walk away frustrated. Be patient. He has never done this before. What has worked in the past is no longer working for him. You need to be patient and consistent. Give him the chance to succeed. You will be so proud of him (and yourself) when he learns what it is you really want from him!
Now Practice with Someone New
Once Fido has stopped jumping on everyone in your own household, bring in a friend to help.
Inform your friend ahead of time not to talk to him or pay any attention to him if he jumps. Have the guest turn around if Fido jumps. As hard as it will be, you will need to refrain from talking to Fido, pulling him or addressing him at all. He (again) needs to figure out how to properly earn attention on his own. Ok, so jumping doesn’t work with my family, but when I sit down, they give me love. Maybe if I stop jumping on this person and sit down, she will pay attention to me too.
When Fido gives her the desired behavior, have your friend reward with either verbal praise or enthusiastic petting. Remind her, however, that if he jumps, she will need to repeat the process. Then start inviting more and more people to come over and practice. Soon enough, with practice, consistency and patience, Fido will stop jumping on guests!
The most important part of this exercise is to remember to reward Fido when he is calm with all four paws on the ground. Many people remember to ignore when he jumps, but then they forget to give affection for the desired behavior. This defeats the training purpose. Fido needs to learn what he should do to get attention. Remember, he just wants to please you and get you to pay attention to him. So show him how to politely get your affection and give him those “hugs” when he is on the ground.
Trust me; your bad day will still get better when you come home, especially when you see him so well-behaved and calm!
Now that Christmas has moved on, it’s time to give some thought to the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations … and your dog. While we humans love the excitement, parties and fireworks, it’s important to realize that not all dogs agree with our enthusiasm!
Last year, we wrote a very detailed post on planning ahead for the New Year’s celebrations in order to help your dog enjoy the time safely and calmly. You can read it here.
This year, we want to focus specifically on fireworks. We are incredibly lucky that our Great Danes actually enjoy fireworks no matter the time of year! They always join us outside on the deck and watch the show over Lake Tahoe. But not all dogs are so placid when it comes to loud noises and bright, unpredictable bursts of light and color.
How does YOUR dog react?
Just like humans, each dog reacts differently to loud noises. (A personal note: after living in a war zone for several years, fireworks were very difficult for me to deal with after returning to the United States. Finally, after many years, I can enjoy them without flinching.)
Remember, your dog’s hearing is ultra-sensitive. According to PetMeds.org:
The frequencies that dogs hear are much higher and lower than what humans can hear. Dogs hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz while a human range is between 20 and 20,000 Hz. Because of this, dogs have a difficult time with very loud noises. Sounds that may be acceptable to you can be uncomfortable to a dog.
Is it any wonder that fireworks can rattle even the most tranquil dog?
So, is Your Dog Afraid?
When dogs are afraid, they exhibit the following symptoms:
Cowering or hiding
Barking or growling
Trembling or shaking
Clinging to their owners
Changes in Energy are Also Important
Another important fact to remember is that all dogs feel energy. Some energy is expressed in frequencies, waves and vibrations; including light and sound. This is why some dogs become overwhelmed with the onslaught of both the sights and sounds of fireworks.
Options for a Sound-Sensitive Dog
The following are suggestions; always discuss the best option with your own veterinarian. (Note: We are not compensated for any of the suggested products below.)
Wear them out with exercise earlier in the day
Distract them with play or their favorite toy or bone
Provide a “safe” place; a quiet room (close the windows and curtains) or crate
Now Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to start planning your festivities to ring in the New Year! With some planning and foresight, you can make New Year’s Eve not only fun and exciting, but also safe for your family dog.
Bringing in the New Year conjures up thoughts of fun parties, sparkling drinks, tasty munchies and exciting fireworks. But regardless of how you decide to celebrate, also plan ahead for the comfort and safety of your four-legged friend.
Remember both the stress and changes in our daily routines can negatively impact our dogs. Dogs are creatures of habit and when familiar schedules change, they can become anxious. Imagine for a moment, through your dog’s eyes, the sudden barrage of unfamiliar sights, sounds, smells and people associated with New Year’s Eve. With a little planning, you can help your dog effectively deal with the upcoming New Year celebration.
YOU Know Your Dog Best
Each dog is as different as each human being. Only you know your dog’s limits and the situations they are comfortable in. Can they handle busy situations with strange people and overexcited children? If your dog is not well-socialized with all kinds of people, a New Year’s Eve party is not the time to try socializing them. If your dog becomes overwhelmed with lots of activity or people, give them a “safe place.”
A “Safe Place” for your Dog is Heavenly
Barking, pacing, sudden changes in behavior, urinating or defecating in the house, excessive panting, licking, yawning or turning the head away and retreating or hiding are all signs your dog may be feeling anxious. NEVER force your dog to do or accept something when they are showing signs of anxiety; this will only accelerate the discomfort, fear or even potential aggression that could lead to an unwanted bite.
Instead, create a secure “safe place” for your dog where they can relax and observe the festivities from a protected distance. Perhaps a crate with their favorite blanket, toy or bone or a quiet room blocked off with a baby gate. (Leaving your dog outside and unsupervised is not a good option.)
Using a “safe place” for your dog also offers an additional benefit when it comes to tempting party food and drinks.
Alcohol and Party Foods are NOT Dog-Friendly
Just like us, dogs love sampling those delicious smelling foods and it only takes a second for them to grab and run! So again, a designated “safe place” can keep your dog out of harm’s way when it comes to the party foods and drinks; especially when you’re distracted with hosting and serving your guests. Alcoholic beverages as well as rich, salty and fatty foods/hor d’oeuvres (including those containing the artificial sweetener, xylitol) are all unhealthy for your dog; and potentially, could even be dangerous if ingested.
Fireworks: Ouch, my Aching Ears!
With a dog’s ultra-sensitive hearing, fireworks can rattle even the calmest dog. The bright, unpredictable flashes of light can also be frightening and overwhelming for some dogs. Again, each dog reacts differently, so plan ahead for your dog. Are there homeopathic remedies that can help them relax? (Always try them beforehand so you know what to expect.) Would your dog be happier staying somewhere else, away from the fireworks, with someone they know? Could something like a ThunderShirt help them stay calm? Your vet can help you make the right decision for your dog’s comfort and safety.
A Tired Dog is a Happier Dog
One of the best things you (or a trusted dog walker) can do before kicking off the festivities is to spend some extra quality time exercising your K9; a tired dog is a happy (and relaxed) dog!
With just a little planning in advance, your dog can also safely and calmly enjoy the New Year’s celebrations.
The holidays are fast approaching which means dog owners will be looking for dog-sitters to watch over their furry family members.
But, before you hand over the keys to your kingdom (and K9s), make sure you know exactly what you (and your dog) are getting into! Don’t leave this important decision to the very last minute, you could come to regret it.
Below are some 8 due diligence tips you MUST do first:
Did the potential sitter come recommended by a friend or family member? Great! STILL get testimonials from other previous clients.
Always set up a face-to-face meeting with you AND your dog to make sure you both feel at ease with the potential dog-sitter. Make sure you’re meeting the actual dog-sitter, not just the owner of the dog-sitting business.
Are they acting in a professional manner? Do they offer you a contract that spells out exactly what they will do … and what they need from you as well? Are they are asking specific questions about the kind of care you’re seeking and making notes?
Do a trial run; have the potential sitter watch your dog for several hours or a day (at least once or twice) before you leave for an extended period of time. Notice how your dog acts/reacts around them; these are all clues about what you – and your dog – can expect.
Do they have the appropriate insurance or bonding to protect you and your property?
Do they have current First Aid certification? Ask to see it. Remember, you’re relying on them to protect your dog especially if something unforeseen happens.
Ask about any specializations they offer … do they specialize in small breeds? Big or giant breeds? It makes a huge difference with their comfort level and how well they can deal with your specific dog.
Does your dog have special needs? Make sure the person you’re looking to hire can comfortably handle those special requests (giving medication or shots, dealing with an arthritic/fearful/blind or deaf dog, etc.).
By taking the time to find and get comfortable with a potential dog-sitter, you will increase the chances of a pleasant and successful experience of bringing a caretaker into your home and your dog’s life.
Own a dog business? Let us write K9-exclusive content for you. We make it EASY to give your dog-guardian clients the content they want (building brand awareness and loyalty for your business).
At Cold Noses News, we are always working our paws to the bone to figure out how to best serve you, our readers!
So here’s our question: if our K9-exclusive newsletter was offered to you, the dog-lover (not just to business owners), would you be willing to pay a small fee to receive it each month in your inbox? And … what if we told you that each month, in addition to the useful content, there would ALSO be a valuable coupon that would more than cover the monthly cost?
In our July Cold Noses Newsletter, we talked about the top 3 summer dangers for your dog; sunburn, ear mites and the fact that not all dogs can – or want to – swim.
But with record heat temperatures this summer, it’s natural to want to let your dog in to your pool to cool off.
But should you?
We know there are often minor side effects for humans when swimming in – or exposed to – chlorine; dry skin, red eyes and a horrible, nasty taste if you inadvertently swallow some! But what about Fido? Are chlorinated pools safe for dogs?
Unfortunately, chlorine is a necessary “evil” in keeping pools algae- and bacteria-free. But could your dog – or any pet – be potentially poisoned by chlorine?
As with any chemical that could be potentially dangerous, it depends on the level of exposure. Properly maintained pools contain diluted chlorine levels usually unlikely to cause any lasting harm or toxic poisoning to animals or humans.
But, this doesn’t mean there are not potential risks. Concentrated chlorine tablets should always be stored in airtight and inaccessible containers (out of reach of pets and children). Any direct contact with undiluted chlorine (which could damage skin and eyes) or chlorine gas (which could be dangerous if inhaled) should always be restricted.
In addition, pets who swim regularly in chlorinated water may experience:
Recurrent ear infections (which could be related to the chlorine or simply more frequent dampness in the ears).
Minor stomach irritation especially if your dog loves to gulp water while in the pool.
Red eyes or itchy skin (especially if they spend extended periods of time in chlorinated water).
Potential airway irritation from the release of excess gas in highly chlorinated pools (typically inside where proper ventilation may be a problem).
So, for the average dog in the average pool, there’s really no serious danger or risks from the presence of chlorine.
But always watch your dog when they are swimming and monitor – and adjust if necessary – their time in the pool if you see any potential risks and/or adverse reactions.
When swim time is over, ALWAYS rinse off your four-legged swimmer with fresh, cool water to remove all chlorine from their fur, skin, eyes and between the toes to avoid any negative side effects.
It’s that time of year, yard work and landscaping are going on everywhere!
But if you own dogs, should you use mulch? Maybe or maybe not.
Here are two questions to help you decide if mulching will be safe around your dog:
What kind of mulch do you plan on using?
Do you have a curious – or even bored – dog that loves to chew?
While “mulch” may seem pretty much alike, not all mulch is the same, especially when it comes to the safety of your dog. While most mulch is non-toxic to your dog, there are some that can cause serious medical issues.
For example, most dog owners know that chocolate is bad for canines. Similarly, cocoa bean mulch (also known as cocoa mulch; cocoa bean shell mulch and cocoa bean hull mulch) can also be toxic to your dog. While many people like cocoa mulch because of its color and pleasant odor, it may also be a potentially dangerous choice to your dog’s health. Mulch made from cocoa shells (a by-product of chocolate-making) contains the potentially toxic chemicals of theobromine and caffeine (both nervous system stimulants). If large enough amounts of these stimulants (which is directly related to the size of your dog) are ingested, toxic poisoning could mean death for your dog.
Even in lesser amounts, these two potentially toxic chemicals can also cause: irregular heart rhythms, increased heart rates and blood pressure, muscle tremors, hyperactivity, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, anxiety and restlessness, excessive panting, increased urination, dark red gums and even seizures. (And the smaller the dog, the faster and more deadly the effects of toxic poisoning become.)
Going back to our earlier question about having a curious or bored dog that likes to chew, this kind of behavior can cause a severe choking hazard with many kinds of mulch. Also, if ingested, mulch could create life-threatening esophageal and/or intestinal blockages requiring dangerous and expensive surgery.
It’s also very possible that your dog – unbeknownst to you – may be allergic to some types of mulch and end up with reactions like skin rashes, bumps filled with pus, wheezing, excessive itching and hives.
Considering colored mulch? Here are some potential concerns you’ll want to address first:
What kind of wood is the mulch is comprised of? Typically, colored mulch is created with recycled wood (like wood pallets and “reclaimed” wood from demolition and construction sites, older fences and decks). Why is this important? Reclaimed, older woods could be contaminated with chemicals like creosote and chromated copper arsenate. (CCA was once used in the manufacture of older pressure-treated wood; although it’s since been banned.)
Added colors or dyes could also be toxic to your dog; particularly red and black mulch which contains arsenic. While manufacturers and retailers may tell you these colors and dyes are “safe” to use, do you really want to take that chance with your beloved four-legged family member (or even your child)?
It’s also important to know what pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers or mold inhibitors have been added to the mulch you’re thinking about using in your yard. In addition, avoid any mulch that contains essential oils or resins, which could cause drooling, vomiting and loss of appetite and if consumed in large enough amounts, even central nervous system depression and/or damage to your family dog.
So before exposing your dog to mulch in your yard, do some research first before you decide to mulch or not to mulch.
But, for many of our pets, the 4th of July is a frightening time. Exploding bright lights and deafening explosions that torture their ultra-sensitive sense of hearing. In response to this assault of uncommon sights and sounds, many dogs and cats will try to avoid the stress of the fireworks by bolting out the nearest open door, window or even out of their own yard. This is why July 5th is oftentimes the busiest day of the year for animal shelters who find themselves overwhelmed with locating lost pets and reuniting them with their worried families.
Did you know that lost pets actually increase as much as 30% during July 4-6? All due to fireworks pandemonium.
With the noisy celebration almost upon us, take some time with your family to learn what steps you can all take together to keep your four-legged, K9 furkids safe, happy and protected IN your home to avoid them becoming part of the lost pet statistic this 4th of July holiday.
As May comes to a close with the Memorial Day holiday, Dog Bite Prevention Month is also coming to an end; although preventing and avoiding potential dog bites never expires.
Preventing dog bites is a year-round, full-time commitment and mission.
To further help educate people about understanding canine body language and why dogs bite (critical in avoiding and preventing unnecessary dog bites), we offer this great graphic illustrating the process (or ladder) of how canines react to a perceived threat or stress.
Remember, the more we know, the better we can all do.
Please share this post with other dog-lovers, parents and their children and even non-dog-lovers to help more people better understand and interact with our canine companions.