Dog Training Boot Camps

27 Jan 2015 | Filed in Dog Training

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Ideally, you are the leader in your relationship with your dog and he follows your commands. In reality, that’s not always the case. If your dog dominates you with issues resulting from that upside-down hierarchy, he may require professional training. Spending time at a doggie boot camp teaches your dog that he must become subordinate, while instructing you on how to become the leader of your particular pack.

Intensive Training

While you might bring your dog to basic obedience classes once a week, working on exercises in the meantime, boot camp is far more intensive. Usually consisting of between one and two weeks of straight sessions, many canine boot camps require that the dog boards at the facility for that period. During part of that time, your presence is usually required. After your dog completes boot camp, some facilities recommend a series of private training sessions to reinforce and enhance your dog’s education.

Specialty Training

While all dog training boot camps provide basic training, most address specific behavioral problems in individual animals. These issues include aggression, destructive behavior, nuisance barking and housebreaking. Some canine boot camps offer sessions for training dogs in certain disciplines, such as hunting or guarding, rather than correcting canine problems. For example, if you own a bird dog, you might send him to a boot camp that works on retrieving training and conditions him to gunfire.

Typical Schedule

While canine boot camp schedules vary according to the facility, keeping to a strict schedule is part of doggie discipline. Typically, dogs receive at least two 20-minute training sessions daily, which includes exposing them to a variety of other canines. They also receive ample time for exercise, consisting of three or four workout opportunities of at least 20 minutes each. It’s important that dogs receive plenty of mental and physical exercise as part of their routine.

Becoming the Alpha

All the training in the world isn’t going to help your dog if you don’t learn how to become the alpha, or pack leader. A professional dog trainer observes your interaction with your pet, determining how your behavior affects your dog’s actions. In some camps, dogs spend the first week in retraining with the professional, while the second week consists of the professional training you and your dog together. In the best facilities, it’s dog and owner training boot camp.

Can Prednisone Trigger Problems in Dogs?

26 Jan 2015 | Filed in Dog Problems

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Prednisone is a corticosteriod used to treat a wide range of chronic problems, such as asthma, lupus, arthritis, cancer, allergies and autoimmune disease. Since it is a powerful hormone, prednisone can give your dog immediate relief from uncomfortable symptoms. On the flip side, however, its powerful effect on the body can cause serious problems.

Length of Use

The type of side effects or problems caused by prednisone depend greatly on how long your dog takes the medication. When used only for a short time, the side effects generally are limited and temporary. If given over a long period of time, however, prednisone can cause permanent, serious health problems. If your veterinarian is recommending long-term treatment with prednisone, be sure to discuss whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Even though there are some serious potential side effects, for some diseases prednisone is the medication with the lowest risk.

Short-Term Side Effects

When used for short-term treatment, often for severe allergies or skin problems, prednisone can cause excessive thirst and frequent urination. These symptoms should abate as soon as the treatment is over, but in the meanwhile it may be necessary to let your dog outside frequently to prevent accidents. In some dogs prednisone can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Contact your veterinarian if your dog has any of these side effects to determine whether to continue treatment.

Diabetes, Cushing’s and Addison’s Disease

Prednisone changes your dog’s body in many ways when taken for long periods of time. For example, high doses can raise your dog’s blood sugar level, eventually leading to diabetes. The constant high levels of corticosteroids can alter your dog’s hormones and metabolism, which can result in either Cushing’s or Addison’s disease. Signs of these illnesses include dry skin, a pot belly, hair loss, oily skin and weight loss.

Suppressed Immune System

Corticosteroids such as prednisone work by suppressing your dog’s immune system. This can stop autoimmune diseases or allergies in their tracks, but it also leaves your dog vulnerable to illness and infection. For example, a small cut that would normally heal without incident can become infected because your dog’s body cannot react to protect him against bacteria in the wound. Keep a close eye on your dog while he is taking prednisone and contact your veterinarian immediately if he shows any sign of infection or illness.

Other Side Effects

Long-term use of prednisone can lead to stomach ulcers, changes in behavior, stunted growth, kidney disease, colitis and fluid retention. Stopping the medication suddenly can lead to serious problems, such as a heart attack. Your dog should be tapered off of prednisone.

Can My Blind Dog Have a Good Life?

23 Jan 2015 | Filed in Dog Life Style

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Sadly, many dogs begin losing their vision as they get older; others may go blind due to illness or injury. While the changes may be stressful to both you and your companion, with some time, a few changes around the house and a little assistance from you, your dog will adjust to the challenges of her new life and resume normal function.

The Adjustment Period

Your dog can live a happy life with her blindness, but for many dogs, there is an adjustment period. Young dogs who live indoors and have a gradual onset of blindness usually adjust the most quickly, while older dogs, outside dogs and dogs with a sudden loss of vision might take a little longer to get used to their new conditions. For the first few weeks, your dog may show signs of increased fear or aggression, or may seem listless and depressed. This is normal and should improve as your dog regains her bearings. She may develop separation anxiety as well, since she will be more reliant on you.

Helping Her Navigate

Sight is the third most important sense for dogs, after scent and hearing, which leaves your pal with some powerful tools to adjust to the new challenges in her life. There are a number of steps you can take to make your home easier to navigate using senses other than sight. Try to keep important objects, like furniture, your dog’s water and food bowls, and the dog bed or carrier, in the same place in the house and keep the floor clear. Use scented oils or perfume to map out important areas or hazards. For example, dab vanilla at the top and bottom of the stairs, and use a different scented candle or plug-in for each room to help your dog navigate. Leave a small mat or rug in each doorway so your dog can tell when she’s crossed from one room to another, and tie a bell or wind chimes to the back door so she can find the yard when it’s time to go out. Place plants along the house, fence and porch, so the leaves will touch her before she runs into something. You may also want to pad any sharp corners on your furniture.

Training

Teaching your dog a few new commands will allow you to communicate dangers clearly to your furry friend. Use clicker training, a method based on sound, and verbal commands to teach “stay,” “come,” “slow,” “stop,” “step up” and “step down.” If you use these words consistently every time a hazard comes up in addition to training sessions, for instance saying “step down” when you reach a curb on a walk, your dog will naturally begin to learn what they mean.

Play and Socialization

Talk to your pal frequently to let her know where you are and help her feel more secure. Remember that she cannot see you approach, so always make noise and make sure she is awake before touching her. Always allow her to sniff strangers’ hands before they pet her. You may want to get a bandanna or other clothing article for her that indicates she is a blind dog to prevent strangers from walking up and petting without asking. Invest in some toys that either smell or make sounds. You can scent the toys you already own with different essential oils to help make them distinct. Toys with bells inside, strong scents or those that play a sound for 30 seconds or more once pressed can make fetch possible with your blind dog.

Let Her Make Mistakes

Watching your best friend struggle with blindness can be heartbreaking. In fact, some owners take it harder than the dogs do, but it’s important to let your dog figure out her new world through trial and error. Avoid the urge to pick her up and carry her when she’s having a hard time. Imagine how confusing it would be to be blindfolded and suddenly transported to a random location in your house. Instead, use the sound of your voice to encourage her around obstacles. While the adjustment might take some time, your dog will soon start compensating with her other senses and return to the happy and energetic dog she’s always been.

Boxer Puppies and Health Issues

19 Jan 2015 | Filed in Dog Health

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boxers were the seventh most popular dog breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club. But boxers are prone to many health problems, especially puppies. Anyone considering purchasing or adopting a boxer puppy needs education about common health problems of the breed such as bloat, heat stroke and hip dysplasia.

Bloat

Boxer puppies are prone to bloat because they possess an insatiable appetite coupled with a conformation conducive to bloat — deep chests and narrow waists. Boxer puppies or adults that bolt their food can develop bloat, also known as stomach torsion or gastric-dilatation volvulus. Gas pressure accumulates in the stomach and expands the stomach to dangerous degrees. The stomach presses on other organs and can shut off blood supply to the stomach and heart. Bloat is a medical emergency. Symptoms include abdominal swelling, dry heaves, drooling and panting suddenly due to pain.

Heat Stroke

Boxers possess a very short nose or a brachycephalic face. Although this makes a boxer cute, the shape of the nose can lead to serious health issues, most notably heat stroke. Dogs regulate their body temperature through panting, not sweating. The tissues inside of a dog’s nose help cool inhaled air. But brachycephalic noses like boxers work inefficiently because they lack enough of this tissue. Boxer puppies play vigorously, even during hot and humid weather. They may play until they collapse with heat stroke. Heat stroke can be fatal. Symptoms of heat stroke include panting rapidly, struggling for breath, bright red gums and loss of coordination.

Hip Dysplasia

The American Boxer Club states that hip dysplasia is the leading cause for lameness in boxers and that 11.3 percent of boxers develop dysplasia. Hip dysplasia, mostly seen in puppies, is a genetic disease that causes malformations of the hip sockets. The head of the femoral leg bone rolls loosely in the socket, causing pain, lameness and arthritis. Puppies begin to show signs of lameness and sitting awkwardly when they are from 6 to 18 months old, according to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center. Hip dysplasia is treatable, often through surgery.

Cardiomyopathy

Sometimes known as boxer cardiomyopathy or arrythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, this is a genetic heart problem that can cause sudden death from congestive heart failure in boxers of all ages. Boxers with this condition may suddenly faint or go into a seizure. Boxer cardiomyopathy is treatable with medication.

Beginning Dog Grooming

15 Jan 2015 | Filed in Dog Gooming

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Grooming your dog at home can save time and money that you would have spent in a salon, but it isn’t always easy. The more complex your dog’s needs, the more work you have to do grooming him. No matter what type of dog you have, the basics are generally the same, so make sure that you have the supplies you need before getting started and your dog will be on his way to looking prim and proper.

Brushing and Trimming

While you brush your hair after a shower, you should brush your dog’s fur before his bath. This clears away the dead hair that could otherwise end up in your drain. Also, if your dog has mats in his fur, getting them wet makes them more difficult to remove. Choose a brush suited for your dog’s type of fur — for example, short-haired dogs need soft-bristled brushes — and give him a thorough brushing from head to tail at least once a week, and before every bath.

Bathing Your Dog

According to the ASPCA, you should only bathe your dog once every three months, or as needed in between. This is because dogs produce protective, natural oils that coat their skin and fur, and washing your dog can strip those oils away. Choose a low-foaming dog shampoo and wash your dog in lukewarm water, lathering him according to the shampoo’s instructions. Be careful not to get any in his eyes, ears or mouth — when it’s time to wash his face, use a wet washcloth.

Nail Care

When a dog’s nails get too long, they make it difficult for him to walk — this can even affect his gait and his posture, and leave his paws deformed. When your dog’s nails are long enough to hear tapping the ground when he walks, they need to be trimmed. Use a special pair of canine nail clippers and carefully snip the tips, being careful not to cut through the visible vein running into the nail. If you cut this vein, called the quick, apply styptic powder to the cut to stop the bleeding. Not all dogs like having their nails trimmed, especially if this is your first time, so save it for when he’s tired and relaxed. If he resists, don’t force him to undergo all four paws at once — you may have to do a few nails at a time until he gets used to it.

Other Considerations

Your dog’s breed determines the other factors you may need to consider before starting to groom him yourself. For example, pugs and other dogs with facial folds need to have them cleaned out at least once a week. Dogs with large ears, like basset hounds, need to have their ears cleaned out once a week. Ask your veterinarian if your dog has any special needs like these, so you can incorporate them into your new grooming regimen.

Homemade Dog Food in a Crock Pot

11 Jan 2015 | Filed in Dog Food

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Crock-Pot dog food is easy and convenient to make for you, inexpensive for your pocketbook and good for your dog — so much so that it could be called the lazy man’s way to a happy and healthy pet.

Cook’s Duties

Put it in, turn it on and walk away — just walk away. That’s all there is to it. No stirring, no clock watching. The hardest part is deciding what to put into your slow cooker. The combination of meats, vegetables and grains is entirely up to you, but your pup is sure to love chicken, brown rice and carrots or ground beef, oatmeal and chopped spinach. Once you explore the range of suitable and available foods, neither you nor your dog will ever find puppy supper boring again.

Control

Homemade dog food gives you complete control of what your dog eats, and it’s up to you to see that he gets a balanced diet. That means considering the ratio of ingredients, as well as that of calcium to potassium. The former is easily satisfied by a 1:1:1 ratio (or the Rule of Thirds — one part meat to one part veg to one part grain), and the second by feeding bones. With long, slow hours in a Crock-Pot, you can cook poultry bones until they disintegrate and become one with the food, thereby supplementing your dog’s calcium intake.

Convenience

It doesn’t get much more convenient than homemade dog food in a slow cooker. It means no labels to read, impossible names to pronounce or heavy bags of kibble to lug from the store to the car to the house. It also means no slaving over a hot stove. The dog’s dinner can perk along all night, while you and he pound your respective pillows. It can also simmer while you’re at work or out shopping; just put the pot somewhere Snoopy can’t possibly get to it, as he may not be able to resist the enticing aroma. Recipes are plentiful and easy to find, and you can let your creative inclinations run riot (as long as you stay within his dietary needs).

Costs

Homemade dog food doesn’t have to break your food budget. Not all the ingredients you put into your dog’s dinner need to be what you would serve company. Check with the produce man at your grocery store or farmer’s market about a price break on vegetables that are a little too tired to be on display — the dog will neither know nor care if the carrots are limp; dogs approach food with their noses, not their eyes. Grow your own veggies. Look over the meat displays at your local mega mart for special labels that mean reduced price. Check your freezer for freezer-burned meats. If you have hunters as friends, they may have some game they’d like to get rid of to make room in their freezer for this year’s bag. Rolled oats, whole barley and brown rice are downright cheap.

What if a Female Dog Breeds With Two Different Kinds of Males?

9 Jan 2015 | Filed in Dog Breeds

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If your dog produces a litter of “rainbow puppies,” with every puppy looking like a distinctly different type of dog, she might very well have mated with more than one male. That will be especially obvious if you bred your purebred female to a purebred male and ended up with puppies that definitely aren’t that breed. Then you recall she did briefly get loose during her heat cycle…. Canine Reproduction An intact female dog generally comes into heat twice a year, approximately every six months. Small breed dogs experience more estrus cycles, perhaps as many as four per year. Very large breeds, such as great Danes, might only come into heat annually. Most dogs reach puberty at about 6 months of age. You’ll notice a bloody discharge when the cycle starts, but your dog shouldn’t get pregnant at that stage. Between a week to 10 days into the cycle, when the discharge becomes watery, the dog ovulates. However, there’s no truly safe time during heat when she can’t get pregnant, because every dog’s body is different. Multiple Fathers Once female dogs start ovulating, egg release continues over several days. Sperm can survive in the reproductive tract for a week after mating. This means if your dog mated with one dog shortly before ovulation, she could still become impregnated seven days later. Breeders usually recommend two or three matings over a few days to ensure pregnancy. Accidental breedings with different males can just as easily occur over that time period. Avoiding Accidents The easiest way to make sure your dog doesn’t get pregnant is by having her spayed. If that’s not an option because you intend to breed her, ask your vet about prescription hormone medications that can act as canine birth control. When your female dog is receptive to males, not only will she want to get out of the house, but intact male dogs in the area want to get to her. You can’t leave your female dog unsupervised for even a brief period when she’s in heat, and that includes leaving her in your normally secure fenced-in yard. If you take her out for walks, she’s leaving clues that’s she’s available every time she pees. Even if you’ve bred her deliberately, with two or more matings with the same dog, as long as she’s still receptive some strange dog could try his luck. Registration The American Kennel Club, the governing body of purebred dog registration, shows and many canine sports in the United States, recognizes that puppies in a litter might have different dads. While the AKC allows multiple-sired litter registration, the fathers must be the same breed as the mother. In order to register such a litter, the AKC requires DNA testing for the mother, potential sires and all puppies. Once the AKC determines the sires of particular puppies, registration can ensue. If one of the sires was a purebred dog of the same breed as the mother and the other was a different or mixed breed, the AKC might register the purebred puppies if DNA of all parents and puppies is submitted.

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