How to Use Puppy Pads & Outdoor Potty Training Together

28 Oct 2014 | Filed in Dog Training

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When you bring a new canine home, one of the first orders of business is house training, or teaching your puppy appropriate places to use the bathroom. If you work long hours, have health issues that prevent you from walking your dog, or live in a high-rise apartment, going outside regularly isn’t always an option. It may be beneficial to simultaneously train your dog to eliminate outside and train him to use pee pads inside.

Set the Rules

Start establishing firm habits from Day 1. Choose specific places to be your outdoor puppy bathroom and your indoor puppy bathroom. Stay away from high-traffic areas or locations unsuitable for a potty area, like a frequently used bathroom, kitchen, children’s room or living area. Pick a place you can live with long-term, as relocating your dog’s inside bathroom later can cause problems. Use commercial puppy pads or, alternatively, newspapers or even a cat litter box filled with sod. Alternate where you take your dog so he gets used to both spots.

Train Your Dog

After your dog wakes up from sleeping, and after he eats, drinks or chews for a long time, put him on his leash and take him to one of his designated bathroom spots, alternating between indoor and outdoor spaces. If he doesn’t go within a few minutes, remove him from the space but keep him tethered to you, or supervise him closely to make sure he doesn’t try to eliminate elsewhere. Repeat the process every few minutes until you have success, and lavish your pup with praise. Get into a habit of going through these steps every time you think your dog needs to go.

Positive Reinforcement

Use treats like doggie snacks as a reward when your dog uses one of his designated bathroom spots. This positive reinforcement will demonstrate that good things happen when he goes to the bathroom where he’s supposed to. It will also make potty time fast. Dogs, especially young puppies, often get distracted and want to play when they’re supposed to be using the bathroom. Knowing they get a treat immediately after elimination will make them more likely to get down to business right away.

Be Mindful of Age

Very young puppies and older dogs have a difficult time controlling their bladders and bowels. The Humane Society of the United States says, on average, a puppy can hold its bladder for approximately one hour for every month old he is. During your initial training stages, create a schedule for feeding your dog and taking him to his designated bathroom areas. To help prevent accidents, place a piece of linoleum or plastic sheeting under the inside pee pad until your puppy gets used to going in one of his two designated spots and doesn’t have accidents.

Things to Consider

While there are practical reasons for teaching your dog to eliminate both inside and outside, it can be more challenging than an outside-only housebreaking regimen. Be prepared for initial accidents and don’t lose your patience. Rather, give positive rewards and stick to your plan, long-term. To maintain a nice-smelling household, change out pee pads on a regular basis so you don’t have lingering odors. If your puppy has an accident elsewhere in the house, immediately clean it up and treat it with an enzyme-dissolving agent to ensure he doesn’t consider the accident area his new bathroom.

Transitional Training

If your ultimate goal is to wean your pup from pee pads to full outdoor elimination, make a gradual transition. If your indoor bathroom area is located far away from a door, slowly move the pee pads closer to the door week by week. Do this until your pup reaches an age when he can be expected to hold his bladder and bowels for several hours, or when an adult dog is in a regular habit of using his designated spots. Eventually you’ll move the pee pad right next to the door, and then outside the door to his outdoor elimination spot. You can then be done with the pee pads.

Simple Solutions For Behavior Problems

24 Oct 2014 | Filed in Dog Problems

What would you give to make your pet’s behavior problems disappear? Believe it or not, most issues can be resolved in three simple steps. Follow along, and your pet will be humming “Ain’t Misbehavin’” in no time!

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ThinkstockRule Out Medical Problems

Be careful not to confuse a behavior problem with a health issue. For instance, cats with feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) often urinate outside their litter boxes. Prescribed medications can also have behavioral side effects. Consider the commonly prescribed medicine prednisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid. Side effects include increased water consumption and, as a result, increased urine output. Some of the cleanest dogs I know have house-training lapses when taking prednisone, unless their guardians provide additional elimination walks. Whenever medication is prescribed for your pet, ask about the side effects so you can be prepared.

Watch Your Reward Process

To paraphrase Thorndike’s Law of Effect, rewarded behavior is likely to increase in frequency and unrewarded behavior is likely to decrease in frequency. Take Miss Puss. Each morning, she taps you on the face at four o’clock, letting you know that she’d like a can of kitty morsels. She seems in dire need of a meal, so you do her bidding—and unwittingly reward her behavior. You can bet she’ll be back the next morning! She has learned that tapping yields tasty treats. However, if you had turned a cold shoulder to her early-morning pleas, Puss would have had no reward and no reason to try that tactic again.

What to do? You resolve to hang tough and ignore Miss Puss’s entreaties from now on. But be warned: what started out as a gentle love tap may now escalate to a forceful, extended-claw swat. This worsening behavior is called an “extinction burst.” The animal throws everything she’s got into the behavior that once netted her a reward, testing what it may take to garner a payoff before she gives up and moves on. Her poor guardian must remain unmoved in order to extinguish the misbehavior. Giving in teaches the animal that a concerted effort just might work.

Sometimes, figuring out what rewards an animal can be tricky. Consider canine greeting behavior. You walk through the front door, and Bouncing Betty greets you with a well-placed slam to your solar plexus. You double over in pain and holler a few choice expletives. Is this rewarding to Betty? Yes—you have lowered your face closer to her, and she has your attention. Dogs are like children—both prefer negative attention to no attention at all. Withdrawal of attention (walking back out the door or turning to face the wall) whenever her paws are off the floor would remove Betty’s rewards. To encourage appropriate behavior, teach her to sit, or pay attention to her only when she has all four paws on the floor. Note:

Sometimes we are so relieved when bad behavior has stopped that we don’t acknowledge good acts. Don’t

forget to add a quiet “good pup” or slip Betty a tidbit to celebrate a job well done.

Consider Environmental Management

Some guardians are training junkies—in the best sense. For them, resolving problems by teaching alternate behaviors is a pleasure. Others are less committed to training and more interested in keeping things simple. If that is your philosophy, environmental management may suit you better. Does one really need to spend countless hours creating setups to teach Snoopy to stay out of the garbage, when just keeping the trash can out of reach would suffice? Don’t want the cat on the bed? Close the bedroom door. Hate it when the puppy eats the kids’ toys? Put the toys away when the pup is out and put the pup away (in a crate or gated area) when the toys are spread all over the living room. It’s quick and easy and may be just what the overscheduled guardian needs to resolve certain problems. Note: Please make sure not to abuse this solution by socially isolating your companion animal in a crate, garage, yard, or basement for long hours every day.

How Can Owning a Dog Increase Life Expectancy?

23 Oct 2014 | Filed in Dog Life Style

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As the saying goes, “dog is man’s best friend,” and now we have proof. Pets, especially dogs, can help you live a longer life. Various studies by the National Institute of Health, the American Heart Association and universities confirm that dog ownership can help you live a longer, healthier and more productive life.

Cardiovascular Health

Dog owners get more exercise just by taking their dog out for a walk. The American Heart Association says that 54 percent of dog owners are likely to get the recommended amount of exercise for good health. All this exercise lowers cardiovascular risks and cholesterol levels, making pet owners more healthy and more likely to live longer lives.

Lower Blood Pressure

Due to the calming effect petting a dog has on people, dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure than those who do not own pets. Dog owners lower blood pressure also may be due to the amount of exercise they get.

Socially Connected

Dogs can help you stay socially connected, which is vitally important for people who are at risk of social isolation. Walking with a dog often leads to more conversations and more connections with people. The National Institute of Health states that people who have more social contact and more friends live longer and are unlikely to decline as quickly as those who do not.

Anti-Depressant

Studies done at St. Louis University and Miami University by psychologists showed that pet owners were less likely to suffer from depression, had higher self-esteem and experienced less loneliness. When people see dogs, their brains release endorphins, which are natural antidepressants.

Visiting Therapists

Dogs are used more and more for therapy in hospitals. Although few studies have been done on therapy dogs and the effects on patients, most clinicians say they can see the benefits, according to the National Institutes of Health. Dogs help patients by reducing their anxiety and improving their mood. These benefits clearly help patients heal and may help improve the prognosis for their illness.

Pug Dog Health Issues

21 Oct 2014 | Filed in Dog Health

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Pugs are one of the oldest dog breeds, having been around for more than 3,000 years. The breed has been a member of the American Kennel Club’s toy group since 1885. People know pugs by their wrinkled faces, stout bodies and curled tails. Pugs are popular dogs, and while they are generally healthy, they can suffer from some health issues.

Skin Infections

Pugs have wrinkles in their skin, and dirt and debris can become trapped in the folds. Make sure you keep those folds of skin clean because bacteria can cause painful skin irritation or infections. Bathe your pug regularly to avoid skin infections.

Pug Dog Encephalitis

Pug dog encephalitis was once thought to be an affliction that affected only pugs, hence the name. It has since been reported in other breeds. Pug dog encephalitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the brain and the central nervous system, causing seizures, depression and blindness, among other symptoms. There is no cure for this disease, but medications can be used to help with its symptoms. Pug dog encephalitis is a terminal diagnosis.

Tracheal Collapse

Pugs and some other toy breeds are prone to tracheal collapse. This happens when the windpipe narrows, making it hard for the dog to breathe. Your dog may be experiencing tracheal collapse if he has a cough, breathes harshly and gags. Surgery can repair the problem, but this is a serious health issue.

Stenotic Nares

Pugs with this birth defect are born with nostrils that are too small. The pug will have a hard time breathing though his nose. This will put a considerable strain on his whole body and can result in an enlarged heart, chronic bronchitis and tracheal collapse.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is often seen in large dog breeds, but the pug may be susceptible because of its size. While pugs are only 10 to 14 inches tall, they can weigh up to 20 pounds. Hip dysplasia caused by the malformation of the bones that connect to form the hip, resulting in a bad fit. This disorder causes intense pain and sometimes lameness. Surgery can repair the problem.

How to Choose a Dog Grooming Table That Suits Your Needs

15 Oct 2014 | Filed in Dog Gooming

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Whether your dog is a champion or a stay-at-home pet, you need a grooming table if the breed’s grooming requires a moderate amount of your time. The right grooming table reduces your back strain and can make your dog feel more at ease while you are caring for his physical needs. An unsuitable grooming table, however, can make grooming a nightmare. Your table should be appropriate for your height, for the dog being groomed and for the frequency of use.

Size of Dogs Being Groomed

A grooming table must allow a dog to stand and recline in comfortable positions without giving him too much room to move around. Commercial grooming tables are frequently 18 or 24 inches wide and 30 to 48 inches long; however, sizes can vary between manufacturers. If you will be grooming dogs of different sizes, choose a table that takes the comfort of the largest dog into consideration. A small dog grooming table, which typically consists of a round, rotating tabletop on a frame with a nonslip base, is suitable for use with toy- and small-breed dogs. It can rest on top of any counter or table to make grooming a small dog more comfortable for both parties involved.

Size of the Groomer

A grooming table should be appropriate for the height of the groomer in relation to the size of the dog. The table should bring your dog up to approximately the level of your waist, to prevent bending or stretching while brushing, combing or attending to ears or nails. Grooming tables with adjustable legs allow you to groom dogs of different sizes. They also permit you to stand or to sit while grooming. Hydraulic grooming tables can be expensive. Regardless, they are worth the investment if you need assistance lifting a dog onto the table or if you will be grooming often. You can adjust a hydraulic table even with the dog in place.

Construction and Portability

Your table should be sturdy enough to withstand the weight and energy of your dog. A lightweight wooden fold-up table would not stand up to use with a Siberian husky, even if the dog would fit on top: Its base would wobble and the tabletop would eventually buckle or crack. By the same token, a 5-pound dog does not need a table with all-metal construction. Sometimes, portability is important. If you will be keeping your table at home, a well-made, slightly heavy table might be the better investment. If you will be traveling with it, however, a folding table constructed of lightweight metal or wood is ideal.

Frequency of Use and Storage

If you have more than one dog or if your dog requires frequent grooming, you may prefer to keep your grooming table set up all the time. In this case, you will want a table that fits into the space you have set aside for grooming. If you will be grooming infrequently, a table that suits the size of your dog and folds to store under a bed or in a closet is likely more appropriate.

Food Trucks for Your Pup!

12 Oct 2014 | Filed in Dog Food

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Fifty-nine percent of pooch owners have patronized food trucks, and 48 percent would likely take their dog to lunch or dinner at a truck that offered food for dogs if one was in their neighborhood, according to a recent survey by Chef Michael’s, a line of dog food.

That’s why Nestlé Purina PetCare debuted a traveling food truck for dogs in July 2012 to promote its Chef Michael’s brand. “People who want to share the food truck experience with their dog can now do it in a healthy way,” says Niky Roberts, a spokeswoman for Chef Michael’s. The truck, which visits numerous cities throughout the country, passes out free samples of Chef Michael’s products.

Yet, Chef’s Michael’s isn’t the only truck on the block, so to speak. In Orlando, Fla., for instance, you’ll find the Sit ‘n Stay Pet Café, a food truck that operates year-round on varying days. Two sisters — Lauren Hicks, a veterinary technician, and Kathy Trimble — are the brains behind this two-year-old operation, which attends regular monthly events but doesn’t have a set route.

It does have crowd pleasers, though. The sisters have created more than 30 different treats, which they rotate on the menu. Their most popular items? Doggie cupcakes, Italian Mutt-Balls, and jerky treats. “We try to mimic human goodies as much as possible,” says Hicks, adding that she once had to stop an owner who almost popped a Quesadilla Cookie in her mouth.

Meanwhile, in Austin, Texas, Lara Enzor is dishing out doggie treats and ice cream through the Bow-Wow Chow food truck. She opened her truck in July 2012, and the response when she pulls into dog parks, groups for dog owners, or special canine events has been overwhelming. “It gives people a way to enjoy special time with their pets,” she says.

Fortunately for dogs, the trend isn’t going away soon. Enzor, for instance, has purchased two more trucks and is offering licensing opportunities to grow her food truck brand. As she says, “Whether you’re a person or dog, eating from a food truck is just plain fun.”

What Breeds of Dogs Have Masks?

7 Oct 2014 | Filed in Dog Breeds

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Masks aren’t just for superheroes; a number of dog breeds sport multicolored facial markings that give them a masked appearance. Large and small breeds alike may sport masks, and while this list does not cover all breeds, it gives a comprehensive overview of masked dogs.

Small Masked Breeds

Pugs are one of the most recognizable of all masked breeds. These jovial little dogs come in a number of colors, but the fawn and apricot with black masked markings are most common. The shih tzu also sports masked markings, although the mask may be any color that is different from the base color of the coat.

Medium Masked Breeds

The Siberian husky comes in a plethora of colors, and may be born with or without masks. Huskies tend to fade as they age, so a heavily masked puppy may mature into a minimally masked adult. The Australian shepherd is one of the most colorful breeds in the dog world, and their masks follow the same colorful trend. Aussie masks often come in black or tan like many other breeds, or may be a lighter or darker variation of the base coat.

Large Masked Breeds

German shepherds are known for their rich tan or red coats and black saddles, although many people do not realize that their characteristic black muzzles and ears are a variation of the masked gene. Great Danes also display masked coloration, which may be present in all coat patterns and color varieties.

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