Driving With A Barking Dog In The Car

Gemma | November 28th, 2009
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If you have ever been driving with a barking dog in the car you will know it is enough to make anyone crazy. It seems like everything you go past in the car makes them bark.

It doesn’t matter if it’s cars, bikes, children, cats, other dogs or even non threatening objects like houses, your dog just seems to bark at anything and everything.

Most of us will lose our temper and end up yelling at the dog in an attempt to get some peace. Driving is often stressful enough without a barking dog to contend with. But this is only going to excite your dog even more.

If you start yelling you’re actually confirming to the dog that you feel the same as they do. They bark and you shout. Your dog is probably thinking that you are in total agreement with them.

If you follow these three tips while out driving with your dog you should with a little time and patience reduce the amount of barking and eventually stop it altogether…

1. Try To Relax

You want your dog to be relaxed so try leading by example. Play some relaxing music at a low volume and stay calm and collected even if your dog gets excited. Talk softly to your dog without stress in your voice and give their head a little rub (without crashing the car).

2. The Water Trick

If the first tip doesn’t work you can try something more drastic. Carry a small water bottle or water pistol with you. When your dog starts to bark quickly give them a little squirt of water and at the same time firmly say “no”. Most dogs will immediately stop barking. Saying “no” in a firm voice will eventually stop them barking even without the water because they will learn to associate it with the water spray.

3. Use A Dog Crate

Another thing you can do is use a dog crate. You simply use a crate that your dog can sit in whenever they are in the car. The crate should limit the dogs field of view so they can’t see everything rushing by. Without the stimulation of everything rushing by they are unlikely to start barking. This is a better option for small and medium dogs but can be difficult with larger dogs.

Whatever technique you use, try to stay calm. Getting stressed doesn’t do you or the dog any good. Also remember to focus on the road and try to have a safe journey!

How To Stop Your Puppy Chewing & Nipping

Janet | November 27th, 2009
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Everyone loves puppies when they are being cute and well behaved. But sometimes they act out in bad ways and aren’t so well behaved.

In order to to keep your house a safe and peaceful place your puppy has to learn how to properly behave in the human world. It is your job as their owner to show them how to act and what is acceptable behaviour.

Given a little time and effort even the most difficult puppy can be trained to stop chewing and nipping. It’s just a matter of getting the right technique and repeating it successfully until your puppy learns how they should behave.

How Can I Stop Nipping?

Nipping is quite natural for puppies during their playtime. Puppies will often nip when they get excited and you may be tempted to let it go but shouldn’t. Nipping is a really bad habbit that needs to be stopped right away. If you allow your puppy to nipp at your skin you are setting them up for problems later in life. If your puppy thinks it’s okay to nip at human skin they may end up biting someone in the future.

The trick with nipping is to divert your puppies attention elsewhere. When your puppy starts nipping try to get their attention onto a soft chewable toy instead of your hands. It helps to have toys that are easily chewable and attractive from a dogs point of view.

Experiment with different chewable toys to find one your pup really likes. There are many colorful and soft chewy toys available in pet stores. There are even chew toys with treats inside which will reward your pup for chewing the toy instead of your hand! Your pets favorite chew toy may even turn out to be an old sock or other household item. Just be sure that it’s safe for the puppy to chew and that they like chewing it.

When Can I Train My Puppy?

Puppies can start learning very early. You can start to train the average puppy as young as 8 weeks. If you are consistant in your behaviour this will send a clear message to your puppy. If your puppy bites you during play say “no” in a firm voice without shouting and back away from them. If they start to bite again, simply move away from them and go to a different room of the house, closing the door behind you.

You shouldn’t leave your puppy alone for longer than a minute. This will be long enough for them to get the message. Leaving them alone for a brief moment teaches them that if they bite you then the attention stops. Some puppies may reduce the strength of their nipping but not stop altogether. If this happens then continue to say “no” and move away. Eventually they will learn to associate nipping with you a lack of attention. They know if they nip and bite that your attention will switch off.

What About Chewing?

Chewing is another habbit that can cause problems especially with puppies. Puppies seem to have an unstoppable urge to chew just about anything they can get their paws on. When a puppy is teething they chew to soothe their aching gums and it’s something they should be allowed to do.

However, what you allow them to chew is really up to you. Once again it’s a matter of redirecting their attention onto a favorite chewy toy instead of your shoes, chair legs or other household items.

Make sure that your puppy has a good selection of chewy toys to chew on. Get them used to chewing on these toys from an early age. It’s really important to place all these toys within a confined area with your puppy. If your puppy is allowed to roam the house they will probably go from one object to another and this includes your shoes!

Try to develop a small and secure area where your puppy can move about in but where they can’t access the things you don’t want them to chew. Fill this area with all their chewy toys so their attention is focused on only their toys.

Whenever you see them chewing on something they’re not supposed to say “no” in a firm voice and replace the item with a chewy toy. Instead of trying to grab the item out of your puppy’s mouth and ending up in a tug of war, simply play with their chewy toy and give it all your attention. In that way they should lose interest and drop your shoe or other item in favor of getting the chewy toy which you are playing with!

4 Tips For Dealing With A Barking Puppy

Gemma | November 26th, 2009
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Young puppies will often bark loudly and this can be quite unnerving for a new owner. Many new puppies will bark and yelp intensely when they arrive at their new home. Although this is quite natural and should be expected, if your new best friend doesn’t quiet down after a while and is driving you nuts at night these tips may help.

One of the biggest phases that a puppy will go through is the fear of being alone. And I’m not talking about being alone in the sense of you leaving the house. Some puppies will go absolutely nuts even when you only leave the room for a split second. They just can’t bear to be alone because they are used to having their mommy or littermates around non-stop.

When faced with this situation, what you do? If you run to your puppy to sooth and caress him every time he cries, then you are only feeding the behavior and creating a spoiled dog. On the other hand, if you ignore him and let him bark his brains out, the rest of the family (especially your spouse) will become very annoyed with you for letting the barking go on.

It’s like being stuck between a rock and a hard place, however, we do have some tips to help you deal with your puppy barking situation:

1. Don’t Yell

The first step is to try to ignore your puppy’s barking if at all possible without yelling at him. Yelling will either scare him from wanting to come near you or will further add to his anxiety levels that and he will continue barking.

2. Use A Teaching Lead

There is a product called a “teaching lead” which will enable your puppy to be around you at all times in the house. Use these types of tools so that your puppy can be around you while he is getting used to his independence.

3. Leave & Arrive Calmly

When you leave the house, try to refrain from long and drawn out departures. Although it’s understandable to want to pet your puppy and talk sweet to her before leaving the house, it only creates more stress because she will start to associate your behavior with you leaving her side. The same advice goes when you arrive home. Avoid big and exciting welcomes after walking through the door.

4. Use A Simple Training Aid

Try using a simple training aid to get your puppy to quiet down immediately when she is barking. A water bottle that sends a quick burst of streaming spray is a perfect idea. Or you could use a small tin can filled with a few pennies in it. When you go to leave her side and she starts barking, simply throw that can in her area. It will create a startling noise while at the same time diverting her attention.

Problem Dogs Are Created

Gemma | November 25th, 2009
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Your dogs personality is largely created between the age of 2-4 months. During this time the environment in which your puppy lives is really important and needs to be closely monitored. An eight week old puppy arrives into their new home and has a completely blank chalkboard.

Whatever is written on that chalkboard will determine the personality and character of the puppy. Unfortunately, it is purely a lack of knowledge on the part of the dog owner that is responsible for what later turns out to be a “problem dog”.

Dogs are not born problem dogs. They are either allowed to become that way, or are made that way as a result of the puppy’s environment. The responsibility rests solely and squarely upon the shoulders of the person who owns the dog.

Most obedience classes will not accept a puppy for training unless it is six months or older. This is quite understandable since most trainers know that the average dog owner just doesn’t have the necessary patience to cope with puppy training.

It is unfortunate, however, that by the time a dog reaches six months of age, he has already become a “problem dog”.  Obedience training may or may not help. In too many cases, it does not – not by that age.

Just last month a local standard Schnauzer was put to sleep upon the request of the owners. Every member of the family had been the recipient of at least one serious bite from the dog. The dog was only eight months old – still a puppy as far as dog trainers’ are concerned.

The first bite occurred when the puppy was just 12 weeks of age, its final bite at eight months of age. In between, the bites became progressively worse, yet not one single member of the family could bring themselves to properly discipline the dog. They “loved” their dog too much and thought it would be too mean to discipline the animal.

Mistaken kindness can be a bitter and unneeded cruelty. One must remember that when a dog is placed in a dog catcher’s truck and taken to the pound to be murdered, the blood is on the soul of the dog owner, who thought so little of his pet that he failed to demand respect, and therefore keep his pet under control.

It’s Only Natural…

The natural instinct of the canine is to try to assume dominance within the pack. The pack in this case is you and your family. The fact that he will test you periodically and try to assume control does not mean that he doesn’t love you.

Neither does it mean that he doesn’t respect you. However, if you are permissive and weak, thus allowing him to achieve dominance, his love and respect for you will quickly wane. You then become inferior in his eyes and are destined to be “owned” by your dog.

5 Tips To Ease Your Dogs Seperation Anxiety

Gemma | November 25th, 2009
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Whenever you leave the house your dog may suffer from seperation anxiety. Remember that your dog is dependant on you and being left alone can be a scary and daunting prospect for many dogs.

You’ve probably noticed the signs when you are preparing to leave and are wondering what you can do to ease your dogs stress and anxiety each time you leave the house.

Here are several tips to help soothe separation anxiety for your dog in order to help them feel more secure while you are away… 

1. Don’t Give Your Dog Too Much Attention

Having a new puppy or a new adult dog is an enjoyable experience. It is so easy to give the new member of the family tons of love and attention. But spending all of your time with your new dog can create negative consequences, especially when you return to your normal schedule where you are out of the house all day.

Give your new dog a lot of attention, but also get him use to being alone, even when you’re at home. Getting him used to your absence should be done gradually so it doesn’t create a traumatic experience.

Start by going to a different room and closing the door behind you, leaving your dog by himself in another room. Do this several times every day. Next, leave him alone in the house for five minutes, then fifteen, and so on, until he is comfortable enough to be left alone for several hours at a time.

2. Use Positive Association

Being home alone should be a good experience for your dog. This can be done by linking a positive association with that of you being away. Give your dog a new toy before you leave the house. Provide him with different toys when you are home so he doesn’t associate the toys with you going out and leaving him. Another strategy is to give him his favorite snack or a hollow bone filled with tasty treats that will take the dog a while to finish. These are two pleasant activities that your dog can engage in that will relieve him of the feelings of anxiety and fear.

3. Create A Secure Environment

Sometimes it is necessary to confine your dog when you’re not home. If you must do this, be sure to create a positive association with that room. Make him feel that he is going to a fun place. Do not put your dog in a crate because this will only increase his feelings of loneliness. Instead, pick a safe room where he feels secure. And when you are home, make it a point to spend some time and play with him in that room so he can associate the area with fun.

4. Don’t Make A Big Deal Out Of Leaving

Do not make the act of leaving the house a big deal and do not feel guilty about it. Ignore your dog for about ten minutes before you leave the house, and then another ten minutes upon returning home. This eliminates the excitement of you going away and coming back.

5. Exercise Your Dog Before Leaving

Another way to ease your dog’s feeling of distress is by giving him enough exercise, especially before you leave the house. Taking him out for a jog or a brisk walk will make your dog feel relaxed and tired, ready for a long nap while you are gone.

Is Adopting A Dog From A Shelter Like Buying A Used Car?

Kate | October 30th, 2009
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Unfortunately, many dogs, who are otherwise healthy and happy animals, wake up one morning to find themselves without a home and quickly become guests at the local animal shelter or pound. This happens every day, all around the world, when dog owners are not able or no longer willing to care for their pets.

At this very moment, there are millions of homeless animals that are confined to cages all over the country and awaiting the day they are put to sleep unless a generous family comes along to adopt them. Mixed breeds and purebreds; young puppies and aging dogs; male and female; all of these canines are available to anybody, and at a low adoption fee.

While purebred puppies and dogs are the exception to what’s available, rather than the rule, there always intelligent and beautiful mixed breed dogs that range from all ages, just waiting patiently and hopefully to be taken home.

If you are interested in a show dog or a rare purebred with the look of nobility, then the adoption arena is probably not your best choice. If this is the case then your best bet is to visit with a professional breeder or a kennel that allows you to purchase a dog that fits exactly what you are looking for.

Healthy Dogs Only Please

Selecting a dog from an adoption center is just like choosing a pet from any other source, with just a few additions. You want to make sure that the dog or puppy you are considering is healthy. His coat should be shiny and free from bare patches. The eyes should be bright and his attitude alert. Check for discharge coming out of the eyes or nose, which is not a sign of a healthy dog. Their should be no coughing, diarrhea, or vomiting.

The dog you are considering for adoption should be at a decent weight. Rest one of your hands across the dogs’ hip bones on his back. If you can feel the spine in between them, he is considered to be underweight.

Unfortunately, just like buying a used car, it is impossible to know precisely what you are getting until you take your puppy home for a test drive. While the odds are high that your newly adopted dog will be perfectly fine and healthy, there is a possibility that he may be equipped with idiosyncrasies and emotional issues that were developed from living in the shelter.

Most frequently, these types of dogs arrive at your home full of insecurities from the past experiences of being homeless and then forced into living inside of a cage at the shelter. The good news is that these troubles are usually temporary and will fade away in time, provided that you surround the newly adopted dog with love, affection, and without any harsh dog training techniques.

So You’ve Chosen A Shelter Dog To Adopt?

Gemma | August 6th, 2009
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One the most remarkable features about adopting a dog from the animal shelter is the diversity in the types of dogs that are available, their size, as well as the different temperaments. It is truly a fun experience for the family that is intent on going home with a newly adopted dog to choose from hundreds of different mixed breeds, all with interesting characteristics.

Another positive note about adopting a dog from the animal shelter is that most of the dogs are already older and housetrained. This is good news for the busy mom or dad who does not have the time to devote to a new puppy every day until the animal is properly socialized.

Not only are many of these dogs housetrained, a large majority have also had some level of obedience training. Between being house trained, been through obedience training, and already spayed or neutered, an adopted dog from the animal shelter is a prime choice for many people.

Congratulations, You’ve Made Your Selection, Now What?

Once you have selected a dog, be prepared to pay a small adoption fee. This money goes towards the support of the animals that have not yet found a home, as well as the staff that takes care of them.

In the past there have been numerous shelters of the Humane Society that have provided dog adoptions free of charge, however, through trial and error, they have come to learn that most people do not appreciate and take care of something they received for free.

It is sad to say, but the truth is that pet owners that do not mind parting ways with their money in exchange for an adopted dog will always treat the animal much better than those people who receive dogs at no charge. Many cases of neglect and abuse led authorities to owners that received their dogs for free.

Health Records

Many animal shelters provide a thorough history of the dog’s health records. But when it comes to stray dogs that end up at the shelter there is typically very little information that can be provided. Regardless if the dog you choose for adoption has detailed health records or not, you should always take him to the veterinarian immediately for a checkup.

Arrive at the veterinarian’s office with not only the medical history that the adoption agency supplied you with, but also a sample of the dogs fecal matter for tests that the vet will give. There should also be both vaccination and worming information included with dates and any product that was used at the animal shelter. If for some reason you are unclear if the dog has been vaccinated or not, it never hurts to re-vaccinate him.

Having your adopted dog vaccinated a second time, if need be, is a much safer procedure than assuming he is clean and free of diseases which could end up harming his life. And unfortunately, most shelters are overcrowded and may expose dogs to more communicable diseases than other kennels. Therefore, it is that much more essential to have a prompt, detailed examination and vaccination of your newly adopted dog.

Choose An Animal Shelter With Strict Adoption Policies

Gemma | June 3rd, 2009
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Be aware that some of the dogs that are up for adoption at your local animal shelter are there for reasons that have to do with specific behavior issues. For example, many of these dogs may have had difficulty with housetraining, messy grooming needs, noisiness, not getting along with other pets or children, hyperactivity, biting, or destructiveness.

These are all typical reasons why most dogs are given up for adoption. Should any of these characteristics prove to come to light with your dog that you have selected when he is home, the best advice is to consult with a professional dog trainer who specializes in adopted dogs. He or she will be able to help solve the problem for you.

However, as what happens just as frequently, a dog is routinely placed for adoption simply due to a lack of space when the owner moves from a large home into a smaller apartment or condominium. And there are reasons of children. Oftentimes puppies are purchased is nothing more than a gift for the kids. But what happens when the children get bored and do not want to take care of the dog anymore? You guess it, off to the animal shelter it goes!

Do Not Be One Of These Owners

When you are ready to take your newly adopted dog home, you should have already asked yourself a ton of questions about how you will take care of the animal.

Will he be an indoor dog or an outdoor dog? Do you have the necessary sleeping equipment for the outside? Do you intend on tying him down or putting up a fence in the yard? Is he fixed already? If not, then do you plan on having him taken care of? Will he be living with other children? How about other animals?

Look For An Animal Shelter With Strict Adoption Policies

Quite often, animal shelters can be extremely selective about the homes in which the dogs will be going to. And it only makes sense to keep a dog at the shelter, or even have it euthanized, instead of it being brought into a destructive home that abuses the animal.

Many animal shelters make occasional visits to the homes in which dogs were brought to after being adopted. Some organizations require certificates from a veterinarian that validate vaccinations administered and proof that neutering surgery was performed.

Any dog or other pet that is adopted under these agreements are generally sent to good homes. It is quite obvious that anyone who does not agree to these guidelines would probably not make a good pet owner. As you can probably guess, these types of strict adoption rules send more dogs to better homes over the long haul. In fact, I wish every animal shelter operated in this fashion.

How Does The Adoption Process Work For Rescue Puppies?

Sarah | January 20th, 2009
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For all the dog lovers out there it goes without saying that a new dog for the family should come from a shelter or breed rescue group. While the shelter works with all breeds that are dropped off, rescue groups work with one specific breed. Both strive to prepare their animals as best possible to be adoptable (training, care, health).

At the same time that a shelter or rescue group prepares a puppy or dog for adoption, they also try to find eligible adopters. Both types of organizations place advertisements on the Internet and in local newspapers that describe available animals. Potential adopters might respond by phone or e-mail, or visit in person.

However, not all potential adopters make the grade. Many facilities have very strict guidelines and restrictions on who gets one of their puppies. For example, the following criteria is standard for people looking to adopt a pup from a high-quality shelter or rescue group:

1) A stay-at-home parent (or one that works from home) should be present. This is because puppies can’t stay alone in a crate for more than a couple of hours.

2) There should also be another dog in the family that the new puppy can learn from. This helps immensely in the pup’s socialization.

3) A fence is mandatory if there are children in the house younger than the age of six.

4) And finally, a commitment from the adopter to continue socialization and a willingness to take the pup to professional training.

Just as rescue groups and animal shelters are fussy about who can adopt their puppies, potential adopters should be equally fussy as to whom they adopt a puppy from. For example, at a shelter, there should be co-housing: puppies housed with other puppies for critical socialization to dogs.

Also, the premises should be clean, and there should be appropriate toys and bedding with the puppies. There should be some sort of program or schedule for getting the puppies out of the kennel to interact with people and see different sights and sounds.

Visitors to a shelter should be greeted by a pleasant and knowledgeable staff member or volunteer. Both shelters and rescue groups should be able to provide information on why the puppy was brought to a shelter or into rescue, confirmation that the puppy has received all immunizations, and information on other resources such as owner counseling or dog training.

Once the shelter or rescue group passes your approval, a prospective adopter should look closely at the puppy he or she is interested in before making a final decision to adopt. A puppy that shows signs of illness or poor care such as excessive amount of fleas as an example should be avoided. The dog should have no diarrhea on his rear and hind legs, no discharge, and you want a puppy who shows an interest in you and is at least somewhat active.


What Types Of Service Dogs Can You Adopt?

Gemma | January 17th, 2009
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If you’re lucky enough to be purchasing a dog that was trained to provide a service for people, or a least adopting a dog that was accepted for such training but did not make it for some reason, you are in for a special treat. Most people aren’t even aware that such dogs exist.

What type of pets are we talking about? Any dog that was trained for or actually worked a career by leading the blind and helping other disabled people is a prime example.

You Have 3 Choices Of Service Dogs To Choose From

When looking to adopt a professionally trained career dog, your choices come in three different forms: dogs that are retired from being guides, career changing dogs, and finally, there are the canines that for some reason did not make it through the training program, or simply put – flunkies.

Guide Dogs No More

Just like people, service dogs cannot work their jobs forever. As these animals get older, they become slower and are no longer effective in helping their owners. The average amount of time that a service dog can work is approximately 8 years. At this point they become prime candidates for adoption by people like you and me.

Dogs That Had Multiple Careers

Many dogs can be taken out of one service job and then trained for another. The reasons for this can vary. It may be because of temperament issues, medical concerns, or perhaps a dog was just not a suitable match for its owner. For example, a dog may be retired from guide service and then prepared and transferred to work at a rehabilitation hospital or a nursery home. Sometimes these types of animals are even assigned to children’s homeless centers in order to play with the kids.

Just Didn’t Make The Cut

Finally, we have our flunkies. Now before you consider a flunky to be a negative thing, reconsider that notion because quite the opposite is true. Thousands of dogs are trained every year by organizations which lead them into service jobs.

Not all of these dogs make the cut and move on to work with people. They are considered flunkies for whatever reason, whether it is from temperament problems, health problems, or perhaps were a little too excitable for service work. However, the important aspect to remember here is that these dogs are still a cut above any other pet you may find elsewhere.

Just to get accepted into these types of programs for training preparation means they already had natural first-class qualities and characteristics which made them ideal candidates. These dogs are typically between the ages of one and two years old. Most are very gentle and loving and have had some type of extensive obedience training during the beginning of the program.