Category Archives: Dog Behavior

Happy New Year to Dogs and Their Owners!

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.

 

Fireworks

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.

Click here to learn more from our blog post last year.

Holiday Food & Drinks

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
  • Yeast dough
  • Sweets (especially those with xylitol) and chocolate

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

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:

  • Confetti
  • Sparklers
  • Party favors
  • Glow sticks & bracelets
  • Party poppers
  • Noisemakers

With some thoughtful planning, you and your pets can enjoy the New Year’s celebrations safely!

Happy New Year's 2019

 


Additional Reading:

Holiday Pet Safety: www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/holidays.aspx

Holiday Safety Tips: www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/holiday-safety-tips

8 Tips for Helping Your Anxious Pet When There are Fireworks Outside: www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/noise-anxiety-staying-calm-during-celebrations

 

Guest Blog: Is Reiki Energy Healing Right for Your Dog?

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.


 

K9 Etiquette in Public: 101


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 American Pet Products Association (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.

Know Local Regulations 

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.

Safety

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:

  • sit;
  • stay;
  • heel;
  • leave it; and
  • come.

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.

Waste Patrol

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.

Be Aware

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.


 

Antler Chews: Are They Safe for Your Dog?

Should you give your dog antlers to chew?
Are antlers a safer option to other chews on the market?
Are all antlers the same?
How are antlers “graded” and what does it mean?

Dogs are natural chewers. Whether it’s a puppy exploring his new world through his mouth, or adult dogs chewing to release pent-up energy and/or stress, most dogs enjoy this instinctive behavior.

While almost anything is better than your K9 destroying your expensive leather shoes or couch to indulge their need to chew, are all chew treats created equal (and safe)?

Are all Chews Created Equal?

After the shocking revelation in 2007 about the toxic, Chinese-made dog treats sickening and even killing pets (dogs and cats); dog owners everywhere became more concerned and vigilant about the treats they were offering to their dogs.

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?

Not sure if your dog’s teeth are healthy? Click here to learn more.

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:

  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Glucosamine
  • Collagen
  • Magnesium
  • 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.

 


Additional Resources:

The Perils of Gum Disease in Dogs

Dogs Love These Chews, But They Fracture Teeth Like Crazy

Are Deer Antlers Safe for Dogs to Chew On?

Antlers for Dogs: Are Deer Antlers Safe for Dogs to Chew On?

Are Antlers Safe for Dogs?

Deer Antlers as a Chew Toy for Dogs

Are Deer Antlers for Dogs a Good Chew Toy?


© 2018. Cold Noses News. All Rights Reserved. Content may not be reproduced, displayed or published without prior written permission of Cold Noses News. Content may be shared with proper credit and link back to Cold Noses News.


 

Fido, I Love You; but STOP Jumping on People!

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 still getting 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, ignore these behaviors completely. 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!

 


Meet our Guest Blogger:

Shannon Sumner, MA, CPDT, is a dog behaviorist and owner of Polite Paws, LLC in Downingtown, PA. You can find her at www.PolitePawsDogTraining.com and also at www.facebook.com/Polite-Paws-Puppy-and-Dog-Training-LLC-129384990402/.


 

New Year’s Eve and Your Dog

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
  • Massage
  • Calming Wraps:
  • Play canine-friendly “healing” frequencies or sound therapy
  • Homeopathic Remedies:
  • Aromatherapy/Essential Oils:
    • lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang, valerian, valor and vetiver):
      1. Spray a small amount on your hands and massage your dog (including their chest and paws) or spray some on a bandana and tie loosely around the neck)
      2. Mist your house, dog beds and favorite hiding spots with an oil/water blend

Help! My Pet Just Ate Something Bad for Them!

We’re SO excited to be a Featured Blogger on Grandma Lucy’s blog especially in time for Halloween!

Go check out our guest blog and learn:

  • What foods are bad (not “dog-friendly) for your dog.
  • The symptoms your dog ate something bad.
  • What to do if your dog begins exhibiting these symptoms.

 


Thank YOU Grandma Lucy’s for helping to keep our pets safe!


 

« Older Entries