Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

How To Help Your Puppy Adjust To Your New Baby

Sarah | November 19th, 2008
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Bringing a new baby into the household that already has a puppy living in it can prove to be a little difficult at times. You need to understand that a puppy who has been in the house for a while views the home as his territory and when you bring home a small child then this toy-like new person can feel like a threat.

There is no best way to prepare for this scenario, however we do have a few suggestions to help your puppy adjust to the new arrival of your baby:

1. Once your new baby comes home, the puppy is going to experience times when he will be ignored. It is just unstoppable and he must get used to it. Your baby will need your full and undivided attention and sometimes your dog may not be able to participate.

In order to start helping your puppy adjust to these times, start by ignoring him at least one full hour every day. This exercise should be practiced a few weeks before the due date of your baby. Be sure that you are in the house doing something simple such as watching TV or folding your clothes, etc.

2. Keep in mind that you’re going to have a lot of baby items laying around the house, especially toys. While you can do your best to keep your home clear of these toys, there are times when your dog may make an attempt to grab them. Therefore, you must try to discourage your puppy from eating the toys.

You can do this by having a few baby toys laying on the floor next to his play items. When he goes and reaches for the baby toys, give him the “no” command and then shift his attention to one of his own toys. One way to make your dog remember the difference in the toys is to mark all the baby’s toys with mouthwash. Soon he will associate the “no” command with the smell and taste of mouthwash and ignore the toys altogether. Needless to say, dogs hate the smell and taste of mouthwash products.

3. You are going to have to allow your puppy to sniff and get used to the baby. However, keep in mind that babies love to tug and pull at everything they see. This may startle your puppy when the baby goes to tug at him. So in order to get your puppy used to this behavior, start by tugging and pulling at your puppy whenever you praise him. For example, give his ears a quick tug when you pet him. Grab at his coat when you go to praise him. And for extra training, perhaps make some baby sounds as you go along. Remember, your goal is to have your puppy desensitized to the new sounds and actions that your baby will display when he or she arrives at the home.

3 Things You Can Count On When Raising A Labrador Retriever

Kate | June 8th, 2008
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To completely understand the true nature of the Labrador Retriever, dog owners must have a firm grasp on the 3 most important aspects that make up this animal’s temperament and personality.

1. Labs Are Natural Born Hunters: Unlike most other hunting dog breeds, Labs do not just wait for its human hunting companion to command them to retrieve fallen birds. These dogs have to be so attentive that they can mark the fallen foul themselves.

It is believed that Labrador Retrievers are more aware of their surroundings than other hunting dogs because of their heritage. When hunting, Labs await for the right signal from their hunter in order to seek out and find the prey. Similarly, at home, they constantly wait by their owner’s side for the next task or command, regardless of what it is. It could be to walk, eat, anything really. This is what makes Labrador Retriever dogs a bit too needy for some dog owners.

2. Labs Must Have Proper Training: As hunters, Labs must be able to follow specific directions in order to find birds. And even if they do not have a direction to move in, they will keep hunting without giving up. In other words, a good Lab literally takes matters into its own hands to get the job done.

These characteristics are great for people to enjoy having a service dog that can take on its own in certain situations. On the other hand, it’s bad for dog owners who are incapable of providing absolutely no direction whatsoever. This is where most problems lie with new Labrador owners.

Many people see perfectly trained Labs at the park or walking with their owners and think to themselves I want one of those dogs. They are so well trained! Little do they realize that these animals are never born trained. It takes continuous progressive dedication to specific training protocols, all based on a Labrador’s genetic make up. This can prove too much work for some people to handle and end up with nothing but problems and frustration with their dog.

3. Labs Are Like A Box Of Chocolates: The last and most important thing to understand with Labrador Retrievers is that they are individualistic and not every Lab is the same. As Forest Gump says, Labrador dogs are like a box of chocolates, they come in all varieties and you never know just what you will get as they grow up.

Most Labs demonstrate the same interests, hunting, running, retrieving, and swimming, but oftentimes you may get a Labrador puppy that may absolutely hate water. And if you are fortunate enough, your Lab may not have an oral fixation, which causes many of these dogs to eat anything they can get a hold of.

The one thing you can definitely count on is that every Labrador Retriever is special and through proper training, attention, and love, you will have a wonderful dog that will display the utmost in loyalty and affection until its last day on earth with you.

The Labrador Retriever: Much More Than A Family Pet

Kate | June 4th, 2008
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Labrador Retrievers have become one of the most popular breeds used today as both assistance dogs and dog guides for the blind. The skills necessary for these two working jobs are extremely varied and are physically and mentally demanding, nevertheless, the Lab has once again proven that its popularity is based on much more than its good looks!

Dog Guides For The Blind

Nobody will forget the amazing story of the brave and courageous yellow Lab named Roselle, who on the disaster of 9/11, guided her vision-impaired owner, Michael Hingson, down 78 stories in the World Trade Center’s Tower One.

The pair exited from the choking smoke, dust and fumes just moments before the entire building collapsed on that horrible day. Roselle was bred, raised and trained by the Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California. As amazing at it sounds, she was just doing her jog that day.

A position originally dominated by German Shepherd Dogs in the early 1900s, dog guides for the blind now include a large percentage of Labrador Retrievers, as well as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs and Lab-Golden Mixes.

The Lab has risen to popularity in this service mostly because of their highly-qualified work ethic needed for such services: a stable temperament, a willingness to work, a moderate size and weight, and a low-maintenance coat.

Assistance Dogs

The type of work an assistance dog can perform is perhaps only limited by a trainer’s imagination. Labs are trained to assist those with limited mobility by picking up dropped items such as pencils, credit cards and keys.

Some dogs are trained to alert hearing-impaired handlers to a knock at the door, a baby crying, or in the case of a child, the sound of the school bell signaling a class change. Other Labs are trained to help disabled individuals to lean on and hold onto.

Some Labs even alert handlers to oncoming seizures before they happen and provide assistance during a seizure. Labrador Retrievers have been taught to pull wheelchairs, turn lights on and off, and even remove the handler’s socks before he or she goes to bed.

The benefits of an assistance dog can be seen at many levels. One of the greatest benefits is that people with assistance dogs regain a sense of independence, as well as an increase in self-esteem and self-worth because they can rely on the dog to help them, rather than have to rely on other people.

Assistance dogs can also serve as ice breakers. Disabled individuals frequently feel shunned because the general public feels uncomfortable in their presence. The company of an assistance dog, particularly a friendly Lab executing amazing skills for the disabled individual, is often the attraction that can facilitate conversation, social interaction and the formation of friendships.