The Best Way To Socialize The New Puppy With Your Kids

Peter | November 11th, 2011
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Having a new puppy in the house is a very exciting and memorable experience, especially when you have children in the family. However, every interaction between your child and your new puppy must be closely supervised, especially for the first few days after your puppys arrival.

When meeting the puppy for the first time, have your child sit on the floor with her legs crossed. Slowly bring the new puppy up to her. Tell your child to lay out her gentle hands as she reaches over to the puppy with palms down and knuckles up so the pup can sniff them.

Give the puppy some time to sniff, but dont force him to do it. When hes done smelling her scent, pick him up and put him on your childs lap while she is sitting on the floor. Let your child pet the puppy, always using her gentle hands.

Your new puppy will do one of two things. First, he may stay on your childs lap while enjoying every second of being pampered. He may even fall asleep after a few minutes. Second, he will leave to walk around and explore his new environment. If he decides to explore, let him do it while you are watching to make sure that he doesnt get himself into any kind of danger.

If the puppy decides to walk around, tell your child not to chase or pull at him. Your child will likely be very fascinated with the new member of the family that she will want to grab him and put him back on her lap. Remind her about using gentle hands when petting.

Be sure to tell your child not to pull, grab, squeeze, drag, or poke the puppy. Doing so can hurt the little dog or result in him reacting aggressively to the child, which could injure or cause the child to fear the puppy.

Gently grab the puppy again and place him back on your childs lap. If he tries to bolt, let him walk around for a few minutes. Keep in mind that he may still be in shock from being separated from his mother and the newness of his surroundings, or he may just want to explore his new home.

If your child seems discouraged about the puppy continually escaping from her lap, make sure she understands that it is not because the puppy doesnt like her.

After a few minute of letting your new pup run around, pick him up again and place him on your childs lap. To make sure that he wont try to escape, bring a few of his favorite treats along with you.

When he starts to show signs of escaping, show him the treat and have your child gently feed it to him. Your child should place the treat on her palm for the puppy to lick, not on her fingertips where the puppy can accidentally nip her while he grabs for the food.

Remember to stay calm and positive and keep your voice low. This is an exciting time for everyone, an experience that will set the stage toward a happy and healthy friendship between your child and your puppy.

Questions To Ask The Animal Shelter When Adopting A Dog

Alan | May 12th, 2011
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There are too many puppies being born and sold by amateur breeders and not enough homeless dogs being adopted and raised in a good homes with loving families. If you are a true dog lover and have a passion for these animals, consider visiting your local animal shelter instead of purchasing a new puppy from the newspaper or pet store.

I realize that most families prefer to have a puppy raised from birth, but there are thousands upon thousands of well mannered, healthy dogs that need a home like yours. Most of these dogs and puppies that are living in animal shelters are there for various reasons that do not include acts of violence or sickness.

In fact, it seems to be a common thought that dogs from animal shelters are tainted. Yes, there are many of them that have had problems in the past with abuse or have developed survival instincts from living on the streets, but these animals can all be trained to perfection in most cases.

How To Interview The Animal Shelter

Like any service or product, animal shelters are there to provide a specific function that you, as a consumer, should investigate before making your decision. There should be specific questions asked which are directed straight to the animal shelter that you are considering adopting a dog from.

Very important questions that should always be asked are about how they take care of the dogs. Do they get more than just food and water? Does the animal shelter place emphasis on socialization? Do they allow the animals to move around and interact with the other dogs?

Dogs To Avoid

The last thing you want to do is adopt a puppy who has been crammed up in a small cage during its entire stay at the shelter. This kind of treatment can certainly induce traumatic anxiety disorders, stress, and fear of the outside world.

If the shelter does indeed allow their animals to socialize and spend time outside of their cage, ask the staff how long they are allowed to enjoy this free time and how much human contact is received.

Another addition to your bag of questions when considering dog adoption from an animal shelter is to find out about any types of services that are offered after you bring home a new dog.

Do they provide pamphlets or brochures that explain the best way to handle an adopted dog or puppy? Are there tips in the form of a newsletter or website information that can help your adopted dog adjust easier? What about training, can they refer you to a qualified dog trainer that specializes in shelter animals?

Territorial Aggression

Gemma | June 13th, 2010
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Why Do Dogs Display Such Aggression Over Territory?

All dogs have one form of aggression or another and to some degree, it is perfectly natural. However, since our pets are domesticated then there is a certain level of calmness that we should expect from them. The most common aggression behavioral problem that dogs display is called “territorial aggression”. To sum up the definition of territorial aggression, it simply describes a dog that goes absolutely crazy whenever a stranger approaches their home.

Why does a dog display such aggressiveness? What sets a dog off?

As we stated earlier, it is natural for your dog to want to defend his home and make it known that the area is his territory. However, the following scenarios may cause your dog’s aggression over his territory to escalate:

1. Aggression is reinforced in a dog whenever, for example, a delivery person approaches the house and then after dropping off a package he leaves the territory. Your dog actually thinks that he drove the stranger away and this in itself creates more aggression.

2. When riding in a car, a dog with extreme territorial aggression tends to bark incessantly at every person he sees and every moving thing outside the window. He is saying to them “stay away, this is my territory!” And of course nobody is going to approach the car so your dog actually thinks he is “winning”. Therefore, the dog will bark even lower to celebrate his victory.

3. Another very common reason why a dog may increase his levels of barking and aggression is whenever he is acting up and barking at the door (for whatever reason) and the owner starts to yell at him in order to shut him up. Most dog owners do not realize that yelling at their dog is doing nothing but creating more aggression. A dog will think that you are “supporting” his aggression towards the approaching stranger or delivery person.

4. A fourth reason why a dog may have heightened levels of territorial aggression is whenever he is isolated or locked up when there are guests and strangers inside the house. When you first think about it, it seems very reasonable to take your barking dog and lock him up in a room or crate whenever you have guests. However, during this time, your dog can smell the “intruders” and since he can do nothing about it, is aggression levels can rise dramatically, causing stress and anxiety, which of course leads to more behavioral problems.

Signs of Fear/Aggression

Be Prepared To Ask A Lot When Adopting A Shelter Dog

Kate | May 8th, 2010
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Do you think you have what it takes to be a true dog lover? If there was one thing that you can do in this world that would greatly contribute to the canine family, would you be willing to sacrifice a little extra time and patience?

What I am talking about is adopting a dog or puppy from your local animal shelter. There is no better service you or I could make in terms of raising a dog than by providing a positive, loving home to a perfectly good shelter animal.

For some of you, the idea of adopting a shelter dog will instantly cause you to become negative or feel defensive toward these animals. You have too many preconceived notions and assumptions that could be stopping you from saving a dog’s life, one that would make a great house pet if you just had the open mind and a little bit of extra time to train it.

Have I Talked You Into Adoption Yet?

I’m sure it may take a bit more persuasion for some of you to open up your hearts and minds to adopting a shelter dog, but for the rest of you who have decided that you want to visit your local animal shelters to find a dog or puppy who needs a good home, make sure that you approach the staff with a few questions before making your decision.

Ask about what kind of medical treatment the dogs receive. Most organized animal shelters will at least provide the minimum care necessary needed for a dog to go home with you, however, there are some places that unfortunately neglect important medical guidelines.

What To Look For

Any organization that handles animals should have a licensed veterinarian on staff at all times. This veterinarian will provide vaccinations in order to prevent hepatitis, distemper, and other health issues. Ask the staff, or talk with the veterinarian if possible, if these dogs have had their blood checked for heartworms. And is the skin clean of fleas and other parasites?

These are just the basic medical requirements that every person should look for when adopting a dog from an animal shelter. Other needs may be a bit more complex.

For example, do you have your sights set on a dog that has been injured in the past, or is currently healing from an injury? What type of injury is it? What type of medication and treatment has the dog received? Ask about the cost of future treatment and medical needs that will arise.

And Don’t Forget…

Another important set of questions and research that you should talk with your local animal shelter about is whether or not they have a professional who evaluates each dogs’ temperament. Most shelters have this information posted on the front of each cage that is designated to the specific dog, or other animal.

It is important that you take this information and assess whether or not it is detailed enough so that the dog can be trusted with your family set up. The staff should also know how the animal reacts with children and around outside stimulants such as moving cars, other people, etc.

This information is valuable in determining whether or not the shelter dog you are considering will be a good match for your home situation. In addition, ask the staff specific questions regarding a dog’s attitude towards being submissive or dominant. Are they overprotective of territory? How often does aggressive behavior occur and for what reasons? The more questions you ask, the better you will feel when you take your adopted shelter dog home.

Be Wise To The Dog Adoption Process

Gemma | February 2nd, 2010
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When selecting a dog at your local animal shelter it is important to keep in mind that, just like people, animals are not perfect. Whether a dog is a $10,000 show dog or a mixed puppy that is free to a good home, each will have specific faults in either their physical bodies or psychological makeup.

While it is important to select a dog that seems to be in good health and high spirits, no dog will come with a guarantee.

Therefore, should your puppy or dog have minor issues such as parasites or kennel cough, try to be tolerant and understand that these are basic issues that most dogs will have.

With a little care and some extra help from you, your adopted shelter dog will overcome these shortcomings fairly quickly and then blossom into a strong, robust house dog that you can show off around the neighborhood.

And if you insist on finding a dog that must be perfect in all respects, may I politely suggest that you go to the nearest shopping mall and buy a stuffed toy dog, because that is as close to perfect as you will find!

Be Critical Of The Animal Facility

I am certainly not suggesting that you let all negative signs slide from the dogs you are trying to choose from at the animal shelter. In fact, besides common issues and idiosyncrasies that all dogs will have, you should have a good idea of what you are in for when selecting one of these animals and be on the lookout for signs of good health.

In addition, do not just focus on the condition of the dogs themselves. Pay attention to the animal shelter and do not hesitate to be critical about the condition of the center itself.

Is it clean, free from odor, and well-lighted? Do the dogs have adequate space or are they crammed with 2, 3, or more other dogs in the same small space? Is there plenty of fresh drinking water available? Does the shelter staff seem genuinely interested and enthused about the work they do? Take a look at the dogs when a staff member approaches them, does the animal respond positively or back away in a state of fear?

The answers to every one of these questions should be a blueprint in your mind that tells you whether or not these dogs are getting the care and treatment that would make them a good candidates to bring home to your family. There have been numerous shelters in the past that treated their animals very harshly and therefore caused more stress and emotional issues for the dogs when they were adopted.

And let’s not be too selfish here on the issue. Don’t just look around and decide that you don’t like the dogs and go home, help do something about the organization in question. If you are visiting an animal shelter with the interests of adopting a dog or puppy, and the entire place looks rundown with staff that obviously is mistreating the animals, call the local authorities to investigate further.

Is Your Dog Annoying?

Peter | December 11th, 2009
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A well trained dog brings joy to their owner as well as friends and neighbors of the owner. A dog which doesn’t get at least basic training can be a real pain to be around. Even though the owner may think it’s cute, it may at times be a danger to itself as well as to others.

A dog which won’t come to its owner on command can run into the path of an approaching car or motorbike and cause an accident. Not only could your pet be injured or killed but so could the occupants of any vehicle involved in an accident.

It Will Never Happen To My Dog…

Imagine for a moment that you’re leaving the house with your dog. Since you’re getting in the car you don’t bother putting the dog’s leash on. Your untrained dog sees a cat or another dog on the other side of the street. If you dog runs off and starts to cross the cross will the respond to your command to “come here”?

How about another scenario in which you’re across the street chatting with a neighbour. Your dog gets out of the yard and wants to run across to you. There is a car coming towards you. Will you dog “sit” on the other side of the road when you tell them to? Or will they run into the path of the car?

But My Dog Doesn’t Need Training Because Of It’s Breed…

The size of your dog and it’s breed have nothing to do with basic dog training. Small dogs can provide just as much a hazard as larger ones in many situations.

A large Saint Bernard may knock you flying when it’s just trying to greet you, but a Miniature Schnauzer might get under your feet and trip you up when you have an armful of packages. The point here is the size of the dog doesn’t matter. There is situations where a lack of training can be down right dangerous.

Not all situations are dangerous however, some are just plain annoying. Imagine when friends visit and your dog won’t stop barking, jumping up and making a nuisance of themselves. Wouldn’t it be great if your dog would “lie down” on command and calm down.

But I Don’t Really Have The Time To Train My Dog…

Training your dog can actually save you time. Imagine not having to chase after your dog and them actually coming to you when you ask.

Training a dog so that they follow simple commands isn’t time consuming at all. In fact if you train them the smart way you actually don’t have to spend lots of extra time because you modify their behaviour during time you would be spending with them anyway. Get a dog clicker and reward good behavior with a tasty treat and a click. Pretty soon your dog will associate the click of the clicker with a reward and you can simply click to reward good behaviour.

When it comes to your dog there really is no excuse for not giving them at least basic training. You are their role model and it’s up to you to teach them the difference between good and bad behaviour. Training your pet is your responsibility and with the right care and attention your dog will be a pleasure to be around. You may even have some fun while training them!

Clicker Training Basics

Gemma | December 8th, 2009
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Training your pet is all about communicating with them effectively.

The more clearly you communicate with your pet the faster they will learn. One of the best training aids you can use to communicate clearly with your pet is a clicker.

Clickers allow you to clearly communicate with your dog. They can be used to send a clear message at the exact moment you need to communicate with your pet.

If you use it correctly the animal will recognise the clicker as a sign they are about to be rewarded for good behaviour.

There are many different clickers available and most are inexpensive devices that make a sound like a cricket.

They are usually small plastic boxes and can be taken anywere you go with your pet.

How Clickers Work

When you first get a clicker it will mean nothing to your dog. It’s up to you to give it meaning. To give the clicker a meaning to your dog you simply click it at the same time as giving your dog a tasty treat like a piece of chicken, dog biscuit etc. Food is actually one of the things called a “primary reinforcer”. These are things which you can use to condition or train your dog. Other primary reinforcers include affection, play and water.

When you click the clicker and give the dog food the clicker becomes a “secondary reinforcer”. The dog begins to associate the click with the food.

Now that your dog has linked food with the clicker you can begin using the clicker sound to train your dog. This is known as “operant conditioning”. A click now has a positive association in your dog’s mind.

When you are clicking you are sending a clear message to your dog that what they are doing is good. So if you want your dog to sit and you say “sit”, when they sit you click the clicker to tell them sitting is good.

The clicker can be used to make your dog repeat positive behavior which is the basis of training your dog. The more you use the clicker method the more effective it will become.

Dog Behavior – Chewing

Kate | December 3rd, 2009
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It’s been centuries since humans first domesticated dogs. In bringing them into our society and homes we have placed upon them our expectations of how we they should behave. Much of our expectation changes the way dogs behave and feel. Making a dog part of a human family brings human emotions such as jealously and boredom to what was one a wild creature.

In younger dogs between the ages of six to sixteen months these emotions can’t be controlled as easily as they can in older dogs. In the same way a teenager isn’t capable of exercising the same restraint as an adult, so young dogs may have problems when expressing their emotions.

Chewing Cause #1 – Boredom

Research has shown that the most common cause of chewing is actually boredom. If you spend a little time each day with your dog and give them your total attention much of the chewing can be eliminated. Try spending 15 minutes a day each day to give you dog your full attention.

Chewing Cause #2 – Spite

Spite is another common cause of chewing. A story about a twenty-month old Boxer would be a great example in this case. Ever since he was a puppy, this Boxer had been an “only child” to a couple who spoiled him with lots of love and attention. The dog went along with them shopping, running errands, and visiting friends. He would walk gracefully and loved tagging along with his parents.

Then, a new baby had arrived and things changed. Suddenly, the dog found himself left in the car during errand trips. On one occasion, mom and dad returned to the car only to find the entire interior completely destroyed! The car seats, the padded dashboard, the upholstery, all ripped to shreds, totally obliterated.

The Boxer dog was venting his wrath the only way he knew how. This is a case of spiteful chewing, not jealousy. The canine was not jealous of the new baby in the family, but he was not willing to give up his former position in the family and go back to just being a dog.

Change Your Dogs Chewing Habit

When you catch your dog or puppy chewing a sock, shoe, or other object that he’s not supposed to, take the object away from him, followed by a firm “No!” The object should be replaced with his own chew toy. The toy will take his mind off the object that he was chewing and won’t make him think that you are taking something away from him.

If your life suddenly changes and alters your dog’s life too be sure to pay attention to the new schedule and adjust your focus to avoid your dog’s destructive chewing. Your pet will need a little extra care and training to prevent such behavior and to settle in with the new changes.

Training Your Dog To Dig In One Spot

Gemma | November 30th, 2009
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Dogs and especially puppies love to dig. It’s simply in their nature and for many puppies it’s their favorite hobby. Young puppies are especially likely to start digging as it is a natural way of dealing with and relieving doggy stress.

Being a puppy is quite stressful even in a quiet house. There are lots of new experiences to deal with and it’s common sense that this may cause a young puppy to get stressed. Strange smells and sounds, lack of attention and many other things may cause your new dog to dig in order to release some of the pressure they may be feeling.

The good news is that there is a way for you to allow your puppy or dog to dig and release their stress without them destroying your garden or other valuable possesions.

Follow the simple instructions below to help to train your dog to only dig in an acceptable area and leave other areas alone. These instructions will train your dog not to dig and claw in areas that you don’t want him to. It creates a place for your dog where he is free to dig without worrying about upsetting you.

1. First you need to determine an acceptable area where your dog can dig or claw as much as they want to. This could be a small patch in the backyard, local park or even somewhere in your house.

2. Make it as much fun for them to dig in this area as possible. Try burying or hiding their favorite toys in this area. Now your dog can dig and have fun trying to find their toys at the same time. Try digging along with them to make it even more fun for them.

3. Each day go back to the chosen area and instruct your dog to start digging with a command such as “go dig” or “find it”. After a while your dog should associate the command with digging in the dirt. You can try burying a dog treat in the dirt but be sure to make sure they find it!

4. If you see your dog digging in another area be sure to correct them with the “NO” command. Say it firmly but don’t yell. Then guide them to the chosen digging spot. This is exactly the same routine you would use to housetrain a puppy. Eventually your dog will automatically go to their digging spot when they feel the urge to dig.

Teach Your Dog To Cross Their Paws

Gemma | November 29th, 2009
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Not all dog training is about stopping bad habbits. There are various tricks you can teach your dog which are cute and make your dog look even more adorable than they already are!

A relatively simple truck to teach your dog is how to cross their paws. Dogs will often do this by accident anyway and it always makes me laugh when I see it. Follow these simple instructions to get your dog to cross their paws and then show all your friends and family.

Step 1.

Your dog will need to be in the down position. Obviously you need to train them to lay down before you can attempt to train them to cross their paws.

Step 2.

Now you need to get your dog to offer their paw on command. If they don’t already do this simply reach out and gently grab a paw. Make sure you click once using a clicker and offer a small treat each time you do this. Make sure your dog remains in the down position while doing this.

If your dog is struggling to undersrand how to give you their paw just use the treat in the palm of your hand. Put your hand a few inches away from one of their paws. In time they will naturally touch your hand in the hope you release the treat. Be sure to click each time they touch your palm.

Step 3.

Carry on getting your dog to offer you their paw but only focus on one paw at a time and do this repeatedly and click with a treat every time.

Step 4.

When your dog has reached the stage where you can rely on them to target your hand with one of their paws, slowly move your hand closer to your dog’s other front paw. Now in order to offer you is paw, they must lift it up and move over sideways in order to reach your hand. What may happen is that they may choose to lift the opposite paw instead of continuing with the trained paw. Each time this happens, all you have to do is pull away your hand and simply ignore this response from your dog.

Step 5.

Your almost done. When your dog can target your hand as it has moved to the opposite side, near his other paw, quickly snap your hand back at the last second. Their moved paw should now land right over the other paw and in a crossed-paw fashion. Be sure to click and offer a treat.

Step 6.

Continue repeating this training regimen and each time their paw crosses over, slowly fade your hand away so it is further from the dog. Eventually, your dog will automatically cross his paws when he sees your hand signal, and at increasingly longer distances away from you!