Stop Your Dog From Begging

Stop Your Dog From Begging

One of the most annoying bad habits that your dog can have is begging for food at the table when your family sits down to eat.  Some dogs will sit there fairly quietly and just wait for scraps to fall while other dogs will bark at you until you give them some of your food.  While we love to spoil our dogs and we are the ones that give them treats this is bad behavior that should never be encouraged.  Feeding your pup from the table is never okay and it can confuse your dog, yes it is hard to say no to those cute little faces. Here are some tips for breaking this bad habit.

Never Feed From the Table

Feeding your dog from the table not only encourages bad behavior it is a sure fire way to ensure that you never again enjoy a meal in peace.  Your dog doesn’t take long to learn that there is food nearby and they want some of it, they will keep coming back to anywhere they have been fed.  Don’t do it yourself and make sure your kids don’t feed the dog from the table either.  Yes, that may be easier said than done.  Also some human food is very dangerous for your dog and your kids may give them some accidentally.  You can feed your dog leftovers just do it from a bowl.

Train Your Dog

You want to train your dog to go to their place when you are eating, that could be their crate or their dog bed.  Start by bringing them to their dog bed and saying bed, reinforce that with small treats. Once the dog gets up to leave say “No” very firmly and lead them back to their bed.  You need to work your way up so that the dog will spend your meal time in their bed.   Once they have this command down pat then they can stay there while your family enjoys your dinner.

Keep Them Amused

Have a toy handy that your dog loves to play with so that you can enjoy your meal.  Keep repeating this behavior and they will associate the toy with your mealtime and they can keep themselves amused while you and your family can enjoy your meal in peace.  Begging for food scraps is one of the most annoying dog behaviors but it is one that you can break with some discipline.

How to Know if Your Dog is Playing

How to Know if Your Dog is Playing

Your dog loves to play and sometimes that play can seem a bit rough.  This type of play is for the most part harmless and it is perfectly normal for dogs to nip, chase, bark and lunge, they really are being friendly.  However problems happen when play turns to growling and biting and someone or one of the dogs can end up injured.  How do know when your dog is playing and when they are being aggressive.

Aggressive Behavior

What causes aggressive behavior in dogs?  Most of the time it comes from a place of fear, dogs will get aggressive when they are scared.  If your dog wasn’t properly socialized when it was young then that can cause the behavior.  Male dogs can get aggressive when they are around a female dog in heat, that is a natural instinct for them.

Aggression can manifest in a number of different ways, a bit of bad behavior doesn’t mean you have a bad dog.  Sometimes aggressive behavior is appropriate, if you have two puppies playing then growling when one puppy gets their tail bit is normal.  When puppies or grown up dogs play growling and wrestling is normal but if it turns aggressive then you will need to intervene.  At the same time you need to remember that aggression can be re-directed at you especially if your dog feels frustrated.

Should You Intervene

You should intervene if the playing suddenly becomes fighting, here are some of the warning signs to look out for.

  • Stiffness: When the dog gets tense they will stand stiffly and rigid, look for tense muscles, it may appear like the dog is frozen
  • Staring Down: When your dog tries to stare down the other dog, it is a sign of dominance. They may also start stalking or getting extremely focused.
  • Snarling: Growling and snarling can happen during play but the body language doesn’t indicate aggression, that is just play.  But when a dog’s lip curls up and they start showing teeth and the growling is low then you need to intervene.

Preventing Aggression

Preventing aggressive behavior starts young.  Train your dog and make sure they are well socialized, let them play with other dogs that are well-behaved.  Get your dog fixed, it will reduce the aggression caused by hormones and make sure you don’t end up with unwanted puppies.  Use positive reinforcement when training your dog.  Treating your dog well goes a long way to giving you a well-behaved dog.

Socializing Your Puppy

Socializing Your Puppy

If you want a happy, healthy and well-behaved dog then you need to start socializing them as soon as possible.  The earlier your puppy is exposed to other dogs and people will help them cope with new situations as adult dogs.  Let’s take a look at how and when to go about socializing your puppy.

When to Start

You should start socializing your puppy as soon as possible and if you get your dog from a good breeder they understand the importance of socializing and have probably already started the process.  You need to gradually expose your pup to different people and situation will help you to have a confident dog who is friendly.  Puppies start approaching people from as early as three weeks if that becomes a positive experience it can help your pup learn to behave appropriately.

Why Do You Need to Socialize Your Puppy

Socializing your dog makes them well-adjusted and confident, they are used to being exposed to new people, sights, sounds and smells and will generally react in a positive manner.  If your dog is socialized then they tolerate children, friends or even car rides better.  You can ward off behavioral problems later like aggression.  If something happens and you can no longer look after your dog then you can easily re-home them.

How to Socialize Your Puppy

The breeder will likely start the socialize the dog early, they do this by gently handling the dog and letting them explore the world around them.  Once the puppy comes home with you then that is when you really need to make the effort, this is especially true if you live alone.  Introduce the pup to new sights and smells and when you do that make sure they are getting positive re-enforcement.  You can use small treats to reward them.

Take it slow and don’t try and overwhelm your dog.  Start with the members of your household first and gradually introduce strangers.  Take them for walks and gradually go to more crowded places, let them smell new things and explore their environment at their pace.  Make sure that they have had all of their vaccinations before introducing them to new dogs.

Puppy School

Taking your dog to puppy school is a great idea.  Not only can they interact with other dogs but you can teach them basic commands at the same time.  Instructors are used to dealing with a variety of dogs and know how to make them feel safe and happy.  When you have a well-behaved and confident dog then you have a great companion.

Housetraining Your Puppy

House Training Your Puppy

Housetraining your dog is a lot of work but for you and your dog to live in peace then it needs to be done.  Once the puppy is housetrained then half the work of getting associated with getting a puppy is done.  Let’s have a look at the when and how of house training your dog.

When do You Start Training Your Dog

If you bought your puppy from a breeder then chances are you got it between 8-12 weeks old and you should start training your dog as soon as you get it.  If you leave it too long the dog will continue to mess the same spot because they have established their scent there.  How long the whole caper will take depends on things like the method you use, the breed of dog, and the age of the dog.

Find Routine

The first thing you want to do is to feed your dog at regular times throughout the day, that will ensure they need to go to outside at the same time every day.  Remove any uneaten food after 10 minutes so the schedule doesn’t get altered.  Now you want to make sure that you take the dog for a walk at the same time every day.  When you have a puppy you will have to walk them every couple of hours and make sure it is the last thing you do at night.  Dogs will want to use the same spot all of the time.  Praise your puppy when he’s done his business right away so he understands what he is being praised for.

Training Your Puppy

You should keep your puppy contained at first that will help with the training.  You can either crate train them or use a leash to keep them in one spot.  Dogs are reluctant to urinate or defecate where they live.  However don’t leave them too long without a walk, it is not only cruel but it can make your dog sick.  Your puppies bladder control improves with time. As a general rule they can hold it for one hour for every month of their age.  A two month old puppy can hold their bladder for two months.

Sticking to the routine will help get your house trained quicker, but accidents will happen while you are training your dog.  When an accident happens just clean it up, shouting and punishing the puppy doesn’t work, they don’t know what they have done and they just get anxious.  Once your dog makes it two months without an accident in the house you have successfully house trained your dog.

Does Your Dog Suffer from Separation Anxiety

Does Your Dog Suffer from Separation Anxiety

Dogs are inherently social creatures they naturally congregate in packs and in your world you are their pack.  So if your dog spends a great deal of time home alone it could be stressing them out.  Separation anxiety is a common problem with dogs and it can result in behavior that is self-destructive, aggressive and excessive barking.  This is not a medical condition per so but you still need to deal with it.  Here are some indicators of separation anxiety and how to deal with it.

Stress

If your dog is extremely anxious then that can be dangerous, not only will they wreak havoc on your environment but they can become aggressive.  Stress causes changes in the body for dogs just like it does for humans and your dog can make themselves sick.  Medication can help but you will need to do more. There are anti-anxiety meds for dogs but you will also have to do some training with your dog too.

Giving Attention

This part will be hard for anyone who loves their dog but you will need to show a little tough love.  When you come home after work and your dog is excited to see you and is jumping all over the place to get your attention you are going to have to ignore them.  You’re first instinct will be to pet them and show affection but hold off until they calm down.  That reinforces good behavior.

Your Dog is Bored

Dogs with nothing to do are the ones that develop behavioral problems, when dogs have nothing to do they get anxious and stress out.  You’re going to have to walk them more often or hire someone to walk them if you can’t do it yourself.  As a pet owner the care of your dog is your responsibility no matter how demanding your life is, invest the time in getting someone to train your dog and you will have a much better dog when they are done.

Talk to the Vet

If you are having trouble controlling your dog’s behavior and the separation anxiety is getting out of hand then it is time to have a chat with your vet.  Your vet can recommend some training exercises to help along with medication that will help keep your dog calm throughout the day. There are things you can do to help control your dog’s stress and resolve the separation anxiety issues.

Introducing Your Pup to the New Baby

Introducing Your Pup to the New Baby

Having a new baby is an exciting time in your life, it is also utterly exhausting.  Your dog will have to make adjustments too, there are new people, new smells and new sounds all of which can be overwhelming.  Introducing your pup to the new baby can help pave the way for a lifelong friendship  Here are some tips on a smooth transition.

Get the House Ready

This is good for both you and your dog, set up your crib and nursery furniture as soon as possible and give your dog time to adjust.  You can get your dog used to walking with you and a stroller as soon as possible.  Make sure they get to check out all of the new smells beforehand and let them check out the nursery so that when the baby does come they are not overwhelmed with new sights, sounds and smells.

Socialize Your Dog

Babies are noisy and that can be a big adjustment for you and your dog.  Your dog should be socialized from the time they are a pup but if they aren’t you should make the effort to socialize your dog.  Take your dog to the playground or to a friend’s place with children to see how they interact with kids and if you have to be cautious about.

Teach Your Dog to be Independent

Dogs are social creatures and will spend all of their time with you if they can.  When the new baby comes that won’t really be possible.  Do you have family members who can also bond with your dog and take them for walks.  When you know that you’re bringing your baby home from the hospital have a friend or family member take your dog for a walk first to burn off some energy.

Keep Calm

Once you bring the baby home your dog will be excited to see both of you. The time has come to finally introduce your dog to your child so you may want to do it slowly.  Let your dog come to you and check out both of you.  Have treats on hand so you can reward good behavior and if you think it is necessary have another person handy to intervene if needed.  Be wary of punishing your dog you don’t want them to associate your baby with punishments.  You want to create a positive experience instead.

This is going to be a learning experience for you and your dog so have some patience but at the same time don’t tolerate any aggressive behavior at all.

Keeping Your Dog Safe

Keeping Your Dog Safe

All pet owners want to keep their dogs safe and healthy, you keep it on a leash when you are out and about.  Make sure that it has the right foods that are healthy and generally do everything in your power to ensure your pup isn’t in any danger.   However there are many dangers that aren’t so obvious and with October just passing and it was National Animal Safety and Protection Month here is a refresher on keeping your dog safe.

Tags and Chips

One of the most effective ways of making sure that your dog is neither lost nor stolen is to make sure they have visible tags and a microchip.  Microchips are tiny and put under your dog’s skin.  It contains basic information like the dog’s name, the owner’s name and contact information.  If your dog gets lost and picked up by Animal Control they can make sure it gets returned to you.

Making Your Home Safe

If you are getting a puppy then it is a lot like getting a toddler, they will get into absolutely everything and you will need to make your home safe for the new pup.  Here are some ways you can do that.

Put all the medications, cleaning agents, laundry detergents out of reach of your dog.  If you have a large breed dog then remember how high they can jump.  Young dogs and puppies will chew on absolutely everything including wires so cover them where you can.  Cover your trash or you will find it all over the floor when you come home and use childproof latches to keep your cupboard doors shut.  If you have a lot of house plants you may want to move some of them as they can be toxic to pets.

In the Event of an Emergency

Emergencies happen whether you are prepared or not and they can be anything from medical emergencies to Mother Nature bringing extreme weather.  It is important that you are prepared and that includes making a plan for your furry friends.  Make sure that the information on the microchip or ID tags is current.  Keep your pets’ medical records in with your important papers.  Have a leash or carrier near the door if you have to leave in a hurry.  Make sure you have a place for your pet to stay in the event that something happens to you.  Keep extra food on hand in case of emergencies. Being prepared is half the battle when it comes to keeping your pet safe.

Keep Your Dog Healthy with Raw Dog Food

Keep Your Dog Healthy with Raw Dog Food

The idea of your dog eating raw food isn’t new, in fact before dogs were domesticated that was all that they ate. Commercial dog food is only something that was invented in the past 150 years. In the beginning it might have been relatively healthy for your dog but as the years went on more fillers were added to the food and today not all commercial dog foods are even remotely healthy. Many people have opted to make their own dog food and some have gone one step further and feed their dogs only raw food.

Why Make Your Own Dog Food

Making your own food guarantees that your dog gets fresh food made from the best ingredients like raw meat, vegetables and healthy fats. Commercial dog food contains a ton of ingredients that your dog doesn’t need. Here are some things that are in dog food that your dog doesn’t need and can actually do them some harm.

  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Artificial flavors and colors
  • Preservatives

These additives in your dog’s food can cause a host of health problems everything from digestive problems to canine diabetes. Your dog was never meant to eat wheat and before dogs were domesticated that was not part of their diet ever. They don’t have the ability to digest corn and wheat but commercial dog foods use them because they are cheap and act as fillers or binding agents.

What Dogs Eat Naturally

Dogs are predators just like their distant cousins the wolves and there are foods that your dog was meant to eat. Raw dog food is the type of diet your dug would have in the wild. Feeding them raw food should consist of proteins like meats (beef, liver, eggs, and chicken). They should also have some vegetables for fiber and natural oils. Dogs love broccoli, carrots and you can top it all off with a touch of olive oil or cod liver oil.

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

Raw food diets for your dog are exactly what your dog was designed to eat, you can also include organ meats as part of their diet. There are no chemicals or fillers in the food, just pure nutrition. You can reduce the risks of many canine diseases. There is less chance of them becoming obese. Your dog will like it better and offer them all of the right minerals, vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy.

You want your dog to stay healthy and live a long and healthy life then a raw food diet is the best way to do that.

How to Treat Doggy Breath

How to Treat Doggy Breath

Just like humans dogs can get really bad breath.  At the same time you can’t give your dog a mint to make it better.  You love your furry friend and their kisses but not so much when they stink.  Don’t worry there are fixes to get your puppy back to normal.  Here is how to get rid of puppy breath.

Brush Their Teeth

You brush your teeth a couple of times a day so your puppy needs their teeth brushed from time to time.  You can head to the local pet store and find everything you need to brush your dog’s teeth.  They have doggy toothpastes that are safe for them to eat and will break down the tartar around their teeth, tartar is what causes bad breath.

Get Some Chew Toys

Dogs clean their teeth by chewing, it helps reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar and keeps away gum disease.  Dogs also play with chew toys just for fun so they should have a couple of them anyway to keep them occupied.  Again head over to the pet store and grab some chew toys for your pup.

Watch Their Diet

First, you need to change your dog’s water often and keep the bowl clean.  Don’t just keep refilling the water bowl.  If your dog breeds is one of the ones that drools a lot then change the water a couple of times each day.  There are breath fresheners that can help with your dog’s oral health along with treats meant to reduce the buildup of plaque.

Bring the Dog to the Vet

You may also want to bring your dog to the vet to make sure that there is nothing wrong with your dog that may be causing the bad breath.  Gastrointestinal issues, cancer and a whole bunch of other conditions can cause bad breath in your dog. Rule out anything serious first then you can get your dog treats or toothpaste to deal with their breath. Your vet can also clean your dog’s teeth much the same way that the dentist cleans yours.  Keep an eye out for broken teeth or red gums indicating a bigger problem.

Oral health is just as important as the physical health of your dog.  Everything from your dog’s diet to the treats that you give them can affect their breath.  The right foods, treats and toys can either make your dog’s breath better or contribute to the problem.

What to do When Dog Meets Skunk

What to do When Dog Meets Skunk

Dogs are naturally curious and sometimes kinda dumb, they will chase all kinds of other animals including skunks.  More than one dog owner has headed to a vet with a stinky dog after dog meets skunk.  Skunks can spray up to 15 feet and do so pretty accurately, so if your dog starts barking at a skunk get him out of the way as quick as you can.  If you don’t make it in time here is what to do.

Don’t Bring them Inside

Once your dog has been sprayed leave them outside, once you bring them in you will have that smell stuck in your house.  The less of your furniture and stuff your dog comes into contact with the less you have to de-stink later on.

Make Sure Your Dog is Okay

Skunk spray doesn’t just stink it has chemicals that can harm your dog if it gets into their eyes, ears, mouth or nose. Look for any signs of redness or irritation and flush the area with water.  Make they got sprayed from a distance and didn’t get into a wrestling match with the skunk.

Dry Them Off

Grab a couple of rolls of paper towels, some rubber gloves and try and dry off your dog as much as possible.  Pat the dog with the paper towels don’t try and wipe or you will just spread it around.

Get Rid of the Skunk

Contrary to the old wives tail, tomato juice isn’t going to clean your dog, neither will lemon juice or plain old dog shampoo.  Here is what you are going to need:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap (Dawn works best)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Old towels you can throw out

You are going to want to do this outside.  Get a bucket or big container and mix together some peroxide, baking soda and dish soap, take the mixture and start massaging it into your dog’s coat.  Use an old facecloth around the face.  Don’t spray down the dog before you start you want to apply this to a dry coat. Leave it on for a couple of minutes but no longer than five minutes.  Grab the hose and start rinsing your dog off.  If your dog still stinks then repeat until they don’t smell anymore.

You might want to take your dog to get groomed in the near future where your dog can get a proper bath.  Watch your dog carefully in the summer months skunks might be cute but they don’t take to being chased well at all.