Car Chasing: Why Do Dogs Risk Death?

Gemma | April 16th, 2013
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The brakes squeal, the car swerves, the inevitable THUD of wheel meeting dog is followed by the sickening crash of the careening, out-of-control automobile. The victims? The dog, of course. The occupants, presumably. But who was at fault? The dog’s owner!

Whether legally guilty or not, the responsibility for the dog’s actions rest solely upon the shoulders of the dog owner, just as surely as a parent is responsible for the actions of his child.

Are We To Blame?

There are many reasons for such offensive behavior in dogs. Foremost, is simply the thrill of the chase. The instinct is strong in canines. Many mothers have warned their children to never run from a dog because it triggers an instinctive drive in the dog to pursue, overcome, and emerge victorious.

The wild canine ran down his prey. Nature gave him the instinct and the speed with which to accomplish the task. Chasing prey in the wild was serious business, and necessary for survival. And of course, there always was the thrill of the chase.

The domesticated dog no longer needs to chase prey for survival, but the thrill of pursuit still is a part of his natural instinct. Man capitalizes on that instinct with sporting dogs in the field. Man exploits the instinct in greyhounds by making them racing dogs, chasing a mechanical rabbit. And, combat tracker dogs chase an elusive enemy through the jungle.

An instinctive protectiveness is responsible, in many cases, for dogs chasing cars. They chase only the cars approaching their territory. What’s needed here is communication. It would be quite easy if we could just sit down with our dogs over a cup of coffee and say something like Look buddy, we have a problem here… but unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. And even if your dog responds to your verbal command of NO or STOP as he sees a moving car, he will always dash after the car in your absence.

Minimizing The Thrill

A way must be found to minimize the thrill and emphasize the disastrous consequences of chasing moving vehicles. While the thrill of the chase is instinctive and never can be entirely erased, it can be minimized, and made less important than the consequences of the behavior.

Most dogs learn to avoid situations where they can relate a negative experience to that situation. However, for those dogs that have been hit by cars, and survived, they typically will not retain the experience. The reason for this is because the shock of being struck by an automobile is usually so sudden, and so severe, that the dog just isn’t able to relate the pain to the automobile, or his behavior prior to the chase.

But along with the instinct to chase, mother nature also implanted something else; the ability of the dog to learn by association. He is capable of learning by associating his actions with pleasing, or displeasing results. You must successfully educate your dog to let him know that cars and bicycles are deadly.

Why You Should Never Shout At Your Dog

Alan | August 21st, 2012
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If you have a new puppy in the house and are unclear about whether or not you should use yelling as a way to get him to stop doing something wrong or barking too much, then this article should clear up your confusion. If anything, you should learn the simple fact that yelling at your dog it does nothing to fix a problem, stop what he’s doing, or induce any type of positive reinforcement.

Yes your dog may stop doing a certain activity temporarily after yelling at him, but he will only return to whatever behavior he was displaying which made you angry in the first place. Why? Because when you shout at your dog it does nothing to fix the issue, yelling only works as a temporary solution.

Most puppies think of their owners as other dogs. And when you start yelling at your pet, it only increases how excited he is about the situation. You also cause your dog to create a negative association between yelling and how he feels around you. He will soon start to connect yelling with the idea that he is disliked or unwanted, and will not have the ability to know that he is actually breaking a rule that you are trying to establish.

Not All Loud Voice Commands Are Bad

Even though yelling at your dog is considered to be of poor communication skills, there are definitely times when you need to firm up the tone of your voice and change the way you come across to him. There are three general forms of communication in terms of the way you speak to your dog that you can apply:

1. The soothing tone of voice. A soothing and delightful tone of voice should be used whenever you want to give praise to your dog. When you communicate this way, you should be able to relax and soothe him as opposed to creating excitability. Speaking to your puppy in a soothing tone of voice makes him feel secure and proud knowing that you are happy with him.

2. The second tone of voice used when communicating with your dog is more of a direct tone. A direct tone would be the same way you give commands to your puppy when you want to get his attention. It should be short, firm, and authoritative.

3. The third general tone of voice you can use with your dog is more of a disciplinary tone. However, you must learn to draw a fine line between a disciplinary tone and a yelling tone. Remember, you do not want to yell your dog but there are certainly times when you need to get across to him to back away from something quickly or to stop doing something immediately, all without actually scaring him off with shouting. Personally, I like to use two syllables such as “DOWN BOY” or “SPARKY NO”.

Understanding Separation Anxiety Disorders In Dogs

Gemma | August 20th, 2012
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Does this sound like you and your dog? Youve had him since he was a puppy. He is a sweet dog, eager to please, and enjoys being around you and your whole family.

But lately, youve notice that hes become destructive around the house whenever hes left alone, even for just a few hours. You come home and the house looks like it was hit by a tornado papers scattered everywhere, the trash can was knocked down, and your clothes were chewed into shreds.

Your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, a problem common with many puppies and dogs. Separation anxiety is a panic disorder exhibited by a dog in the absence of his owner. It is the fear of being left alone that results in unwanted, destructive behaviors.

Dogs are social creatures. As puppies it is natural for them to get dependent and attached to their mother and littermates. This type of attachment is transferred on to you, his owner, when the puppy enters your life. This attachment results in distress whenever the dog is left alone in the house, which is the most common cause of separation anxiety.

Signs Of Separation Anxiety

Your dog is suffering from separation anxiety if he displays the following signs: Destructiveness; excessive crying, barking, howling, whining, house soiling, pacing, depression, self mutilation, excessive salivation, hyperactivity, and scratching or chewing at walls, doors, windows, furniture, and other objects.

Causes Of Separation Anxiety

There are many causes for separation anxiety in dogs. Some were developed with experiences they had before the dog ever became part of your family, such as loss or abandonment of previous owner.

Below are six other causes of separation anxiety in dogs:

1. A traumatic experience such as an injury, thunderstorm, or an alarm system going off that happened while you were gone.
2. A loss or addition of a family member.
3. Premature separation from its mother and littermates.
4. Having a new pet in the house and spending a lot of time with that new pet and less time with him.
5. A sudden change in schedule, lifestyle, or environment.
6. Changes that occur in older dogs, both physiologically and mentally, that results from aging.

Train Your Dog Not To Run Through Open Doors

Kate | August 3rd, 2012
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Teaching your dog or puppy to wait is an invaluable training command that will not only improve his behavior, but can also save his life.

One of the most common problems that many dog owners have is preventing their pets from darting through the door at any given chance they get. As you can probably guess, this behavior can cause your dog to run from the house and face injury or even death from oncoming traffic.

The Wait At The Door Training Procedure

Step 1: Have your dog sit by your side as you face the door (inside of the house). Be sure that the door opens away from you. The idea is to show your dog that an open door does not mean it is okay for him to leave.

Step 2: Now give him the wait command as you reach for the door. If your dog does not move, say Good Boy and give him a treat. However, if he starts to move towards the door, give a cheerful No No, and get him to sit down again. Do not scold him, keep it positive. It’s supposed to be fun and productive.

Step 3: Repeat the process, but the next time do not reach very far for the door, a few inches with your arm will do. If your dog remains sitting then continue with the procedure while each time adding more length as you reach for the door. Your dog should be sitting until you actually touch the handle and jiggle it. Again, reward him with a treat for sitting still.

Step 4: Next, reach for the door and slowly opened it just an inch or two. Reward your dog if he sits still. And again, if he starts to move towards the door then say No No and sit him back down again. Repeat the process while you continue to open the door more and more each time.

Step 5: Your dog should be doing quite well by now. When you are able to open the door all the way while your dog remains sitting, the next step is to walk through it, turn around and face him. Wait about 15 seconds and then walk back to the dog and give him a treat. Every now and again you should walk through the door and call your dog to come to you as you stand on the outside porch. Give him the sit command along with a treat.

The End Result

Eventually, with enough practice and repetition of the above five steps, your dog will automatically sit every time the door opens up. Because of the training procedure he learned, his instincts will tell him to sit patiently and await for permission to walk through.

Leash Training 101: Start With The Correct Collar

Kate | July 29th, 2012
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One of the best leash training methods created today does so that encourages the dog to develop awareness of its owner. To begin, you should use a sturdy, flat or rolled buckle collar made of leather or nylon.

Although popular among obedience trainers, slip collars – which tighten and release in response to tension – are not necessarily a good choice for teaching leash manners. Most dogs are overly excitable on the leash and often pull heedlessly against this type of collar, sometimes resulting in damage to the trachea. Though appropriate in the right hands, this collar is best left to those experienced in its use.

For the determined dog that already has a habit of pulling, the headcollar is the most effective training tool. This relatively recent innovation loops around the top of the dog’s neck and muzzle. The loops are attached by an additional strap on each side of the head and one below the muzzle. The leash attaches to the headhalter, the concept is based on the simple physical rule that where the head goes, the rest of the animal must follow.

The headcollar turns the dog toward the walker whenever tension is applied as it simultaneously tightens around the muzzle and back of the head, encouraging the dog to move in the direction of its owner to release the pressure.

Specifically designed to offer a gentle alternative to other collars, initial hands-on instruction from a trainer who is familiar with its use is still a good idea in order to have the proper fit and more effective method.

For the standard size breed that is around six months or older, a prong, or pinch collar, may work best and also for the adult dog that naturally pulls. Made to constrict in response to applied tension, then instantly expand again when tautness is released, this metal collar has large prongs that turn inward around the dog’s neck, creating what could be described as a blunted, teeth-like effect.

As with the headcollar, correct fit and size are important and are best judged by a trainer well educated in proper prong-collar usage. One that is too tight pinches the dog continually, which is counterproductive to training and cruel to the dog. One that is too loose loses its effectiveness.

A properly fitted prong collar should sit high on the dog’s neck, just below the ears. You should be able to slip your fingers underneath the collar when pressure is not applied, but it should not be so loose that it slips down around the trachea.

Despite its somewhat formidable appearance, the correct use of a prong collar simply gives the dog cause to stop and take notice of its owner. The prongs only pinch if pressure is applied, such as when the dog pulls. The pinch is in direct relationship to the amount of pressure applied.

The more pressure that is applied, the harder the pinch will be. Prong collars work well for leash training because the dog controls how much pressure it puts on its collar, and therefore, controls the amount of pinch it receives. This allows the animal to avoid the pinch by maintaining slack in the lead.

How To Get Your Puppy To Stop Stealing Clothes

Samantha | July 28th, 2012
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Puppies are like little children in that they need constant discipline and a watchful eye to be sure that they can learn the rules of your house. Some puppies have major behavior problems, while others display the typical scenarios, such as stealing clothes and other small items around the house as if it were a game.

Puppies are notorious for stealing anything that they can get their mouths on and then run away with it. At first this little habit is cute and very comical. However, after a while it needs to be seriously addressed because as the puppy matures into an adult dog, he will think that he is allowed to eat anything in the house, including your expensive shoes and nice furniture.

There are several ways to handle a puppy that is stealing your cloths and other items from around the house. One way to get your puppy to drop something from his mouth immediately is to simply walk out of the room and shut the door behind you. For example, let’s say you are in your room and your dog grabs a sock from the corner closet and runs around the room avoiding you at all costs. This is just a game to him, nothing more. So what you need to do is quickly have him lose interest in the game by just leaving the room with the door closed. In less than 10 seconds your puppy will drop the sock and start crying for your presence.

Another way to distract your puppy from stealing clothes and other small items is to distract him by running to the door and shaking your keys so that he understands that you are going to take him outside (dogs quickly associate the jingle of keys to someone leaving the house).

Now take the dog into the yard or the sidewalk for just a few minutes. If you do this enough, eventually your puppy will be able to stop playing his little thief game anytime you shake your keys. It’s all about distraction and training your puppy’s mind to associate something else of importance whenever he attempts to break the rules.

Last but not least, as I always recommend for most common behavioral problems with dogs, get yourself a small water bottle that you can use to squirt your puppy. Of course you do not want to torture your dog by squirting them in the eye or anything like that, but a little spritz of water can go a long way when trying to get your dog to stop whatever behavioral problem he keeps getting into.

Whenever you see your puppy grabbing something and running around the house with it, give them a quick squirt and a firm “no” command. He will be so surprised and shocked that he will quickly drop anything from his mouth while learning that this is one rule he cannot break.

6 Moving Tips To Keep Your Dog Happy – Part 2

Kate | July 27th, 2012
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Many dog owners fail to understand that moving to a new house and uprooting all of your belongings can be extremely stressful on their pets. It doesn’t matter if you’re just moving across town, or across the entire nation, it is important to make sure that your dog’s well-being and his safety are part of your moving plans. Below are a few tips to assist you in cushioning your canine companion’s anxiety during the move:

1. If your dog is the type that gets overly anxious and sick during car trips, check into holistic therapies. For example, there is a product called Bach’s Rescue Remedy that helps calm your pet down during times of stress. All you do is rub it on his ears and feet.

2. Just like it is wise to keep your dog in a quiet, closed off room in the old house on moving day, the same rule should apply in the new house when you and the rest of your family arrive. Pick one room and provide enough food and water so that your dog can sit quietly without noticing all of the confusion around the new house.

3. When you arrive at the new home, unpack your dog’s belongings as soon as you get there. Be sure to keep the boxes that contain his stuff close by. These items would include hi bedding, his food and water bowls, and dog toys. This will help your dog adjust as quickly as possible by having familiar items around him while adjusting to the strange house.

4. Moving creates many security issues for dogs and other pets alike. With unpacking all of the boxes and miscellaneous furniture items, there are dangers all around when the household items have not been set up yet. Electrical cords, small objects, pantyhose, plants, etc. all have a possibility of being left out when unpacked and into your dog’s mouth.

5. Check the new house for possible places that your dog may escape from. Loose screens, holes in fences, and half shut doors will enable your dog to roam free and risk getting injured or lost in the new territory.

6. Now that you have arrived in a new town, your first order of business as it pertains to your dog and other animals is to find a veterinarian. Finding a groomer is also a good idea. And should you have to leave your dog alone during trips or when at work, look into a pet sitter service that can help your dog adjust in the new home until he is ready to be alone.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2

6 Moving Tips To Keep Your Dog Happy – Part 1

Kate | July 27th, 2012
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Moving your entire family into a new house can be a stressful change, not only for you and the rest of the family, but for your dog as well. Of all of the life changes that your pet can experience in his lifetime, moving can be the biggest.

Your dog’s temperament will have a big influence on how he reacts to all of the confusion, however, it is safe to say that regardless of what breed your dog is, there are some very useful tips that you can use to alleviate the stress. Below are a few:

1. If you have a small dog, be sure to have invested into a sturdy carrier that you can use to transport him to the new house on the day of the big move.

2. Because your dog feels a sense of security in his day-to-day routine, try your best to gradually make changes with your moving plans by packing boxes and storing household items weeks ahead of time. This is far better than waiting until the last minute and totally confusing your dog with the extreme upheaval of the entire household.

3. Dogs do escape so be sure to have an appropriate ID tag attached to his collar with the current address and phone information. He may become disoriented from the move and try to dart away.

4. If you have to travel a long distance to your new home and run the chance of making an overnight stay at motel, plan ahead of time for a pet-friendly establishment. This will save you a lot of stress trying to find a suitable hotel in the middle of the night.

5. Moving day means that your dog should not be around while everyone is making their last minute adjustments and packing finalities. During this time it is wise to tuck your dog into a room of his own with food and water and do not disturb him besides bathroom breaks of course. Keeping him in private and away from the confusion will prevent disorientation and stress.

6. If you happen to be flying to your new destination, it should go without saying that choosing a pet-friendly airline is of utmost importance. Plan ahead of time with a suitable airline and do not be shy about asking questions as it pertains to dog travel and whether or not he is small enough to be carried on board with you. If the airline makes you feel uncomfortable as you ask questions, choose another carrier.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2

Are You Avoiding Veterinary Check-Ups For The Family Dog?

Alan | June 16th, 2012
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Recently, waiting to welcome a friend at the airport, I witnessed many departures and arrivals. The one I liked best involved a young couple returning from some far-off island who couldn’t wait to see their son.

How is he?

Did he sleep?

Did he eat alright?

Where is he?

When the son was brought forward and turned out to be a tiny, quite excited Pomeranian, we wondered why we weren’t more surprised. Then we remembered that it is not at all uncommon for dog owners to regard their pets as children. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with such a situation; neither owner nor dog appears any worse for it.

The trouble is that it often doesn’t go far enough. Right now, for instance, with Jack Frost standing in the wings during a harsh winter, many of us are telling one another to get down to the doctor’s office for a flu shot, and while we’re there, we’ll have our annual check-up.

Dogs Require Check-Ups Too!

But what about the tiny Pomeranians and all their canine brothers and sisters? They require an annual check-up too.

Indeed, according to no less an authority than thousands of professional veterinarians, a yearly check-up is five to seven times more important to a dog than it is to an owner, because dogs mature five to seven times faster than humans. A dog ages as much in its first year as his owner does in twenty!

Many dog owners put off taking their family pet to a veterinarian until they notice something wrong. The dog won’t eat, or he sleeps all the time, or he’s biting everybody on the block. Perhaps, had he been checked by a veterinarian long ago, none of these conditions would prevail.

Also, it is well to remember that dogs are subject to many hidden hazards, just as we are. Dogs get arthritis, they suffer from tumors, heart trouble, kidney ailments, etc. Caught in time, a lot of pain can be avoided.

What does a visit to the veterinarian involve? Some owners we’ve talked to think it’s an all-day affair, costing a fortune. Not so. The cost is moderate and the time consumed is seldom more than an hour. Most often, it’s a matter of minutes.

The doctor will use a stethoscope, an otoscope, and an ophthalmoscope, the last two instruments for the ears and eyes. He will have a good look at the dog’s teeth and gums (dogs can get pyorrhea), he’ll check the dog’s coat, weight, pulse, and temperature.

Most dogs learn to enjoy their visits to the veterinarian. Incidentally, it’s a very good idea to take the dog to the same doctor each visit, just as you would yourself. In their own way, some dogs even demand it!

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (Sporting Group)

Gemma | April 9th, 2012
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The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a member of the sporting group. This dog makes an excellent pointer, a versatile gun dog, and a solid all-around hunting companion. When on the job, these dogs have a deliberate point and retrieve style as they stick closely with the hunter’s gun.

Equally enjoyed by families all over the country, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon makes a loving house pet and gets along moderately with strangers and other animals. They are a devoted breed, always willing to please, and even displays a somewhat comical personality when having fun in the house or romping around the yard with the family.

A Brief History Of The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

France is the area of origin for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. And unlike most breeds that came to development over time, the creation of the Griffon was carefully deliberate. Every step along the way is well documented.

The breed started during the middle of the 1800s when the Cherville Griffon was created and later crossed with the pointer and the setter. Further development and refining of the breed is credited to a man named Edward Korthals, from Holland. In fact, the dog is still called by the name Korthals Griffon in many parts of the world.

Mr. Korthals began his work of refining the breed in 1874. It is said the he crossed twenty other dogs from the following breeds: spaniels, setters, water spaniels, griffons, French pointers and German pointers. As he traveled throughout France Edward helped build up the breed’s popularity all over the country.

By the year 1887 the first breed standard was published for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. In 1888, England offered the first show classes for the breed (although at that time the dog was referred to as a Russian Setter).

The popularity of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon continued to skyrocket until World War II. After the war it’s reputation for being an excellent hunting companion brought the breed back to new life, but the numbers never quite reached the same peak as before the war.

Upkeep Requirements For The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Owning a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon means having plenty of open space outside and an active lifestyle. Like all members of the sporting group, this breed needs daily stimulation from a romp in the open wilderness, jogging, or fun games with the family. They especially like swimming.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon dogs are able to live outdoors so long as the temperature does not reach overly hot or excessively cold levels. It’s best to allow the dog to remain outside in an open yard during the daytime hours, but to sleep indoors with the family at night. Due to its harsh coat, grooming requirements for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon calls for heavy brushing twice per week.

Health Concerns

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon dogs can have a long life span of up to fourteen years, with twelve to thirteen being the average. A healthy breed, these dogs have no major health concerns to worry about. Minor health issues include otitis externa, CHD, ectropion, and entropion. Veterinarians suggest that Wirehaired Pointing Griffon dogs get tested for potential hip and eye problems.