Information on Training a Yorkie

29 May 2015 | Filed in Dog Training

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The mistake many owners make when purchasing a Yorkshire terrier is thinking they are purchasing a low-energy lapdog. Telling your friends that you’re adopting a “Yorkie,” as they’re often called, negates the most important part of their name: terrier. Like most other terriers, Yorkies need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation and can often be stubborn and mischievious. Thus, even though Yorkies are small dogs, they still require plenty of training.

Features

Yorkshire terriers are a mix of several different terriers bred in Yorkshire to catch rats in clothing mills in the 19th century. Thus, they were owned largely by working-class individuals who needed a high-energy dog with an excellent prey drive. Though they rarely grow to larger than 7 lbs., they still have the energy of a rodent catcher and may use excess energy to remodel your house or yard (by chewing and digging, of course) if bored.

Considerations

Before adopting a Yorkie, recognize that you aren’t getting just a lap dog that will sleep all day. Yorkies need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. A training program can help provide mental stimulation so begin to teach your dog boundaries, recall (come when called) and other tricks as soon as you bring it home. Yorkies also require a lot of grooming, including daily brushing if you are going to keep the long hair, so begin to teach it to tolerate grooming immediately. This can be done easily by brushing only a little and giving rewards. Keep the sessions short and build up to brushing the whole coat. Don’t let the coat get matted, or grooming will become very difficult on you and your dog.

Socialization

One major problem most Yorkie owners face is excessive barking. Yorkies are excellent guard dogs despite their small size, but an underexercised, undersocialized Yorkie can drive owners crazy barking at every noise. To avoid this, begins socializing your puppy as soon as you get it to everything you don’t want it to fear: men, women, children, walkers and crutches, hats, beards, skateboards, bicycles and so on. Make this a positive experience with lots of treats. When your dog barks, say “quiet” and reward it when it listens. If not, put your dog in a quiet room for timeout and ignore it until it’s quiet.

Potty Training

The other major problem facing Yorkie owners is potty training. Because Yorkies are small, they can hold their bladder for only an hour or less when they are puppies. Use a strict potty training regime by keeping a journal of when and how often your Yorkie relieves itself. When it is time, lead it outside (no carrying) through the door you want it to use. If your dog goes, give it a treat and let it back in the house for free time. If not, put your Yorkie in its crate until its next bathroom break. If your dog can hold it for an hour, repeat in an hour. Continue this until there are no accidents.

Training with Children

Many Yorkie breeders caution that Yorkies should not be placed in a house with small children, because they are so fragile and easy to injure. If you adopt a Yorkie and have children, don’t allow any roughhousing. Teach your children how to politely interact with the dog and always supervise any interactions. Teach your Yorkie to be calm around your children as well by keeping it on a leash and using timeouts if its behavior gets too excitable. Remember to give lots of additional exercise if using timeouts frequently.

Can a Dog Gate Help With Training?

28 May 2015 | Filed in Dog Training

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Basic obedience training benefits both you and your dog. It lets him know what the rules are and gives him an understanding of some simple commands that make life more pleasant for both of you. When you need to keep your pet safe and out of trouble, a dog gate can help you train him by limiting his access to restricted areas and items in your home. A gate is especially beneficial in stopping him from chewing your good shoes, electrical cords and other items in your home. Method

Use a dog gate to confine your dog to a single area of your home where he can stay when you can’t be there to supervise him. Make the area as safe as possible by removing potential hazards such as electrical cords and fragile items. Give him plenty of toys to keep him busy while he’s confined; a solid rubber toy stuffed with food is a good way to keep him occupied. Confining him with a dog gate takes away the opportunity for your dog to be destructive and helps to teach him what you want by providing him with nothing but acceptable alternatives.

Dog Behavioral Problems: Licking

26 May 2015 | Filed in Dog Problems

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When your dog licks you to show affection and playfulness, it can be a pleasurable experience that makes you feel loved. But if your dog repeatedly licks his paw, lips, backside or even the floor or some other object, it may be a sign of a compulsive behavior. Address this annoying and sometimes destructive behavior with the right intervention and training.

What To Look For

Repetitive licking behavior, known as acral lick dermatitis (ALD), can be painful for your dog and difficult to diagnose and treat. Certain large breeds such as Labradors, German shepherds, Doberman pinschers and Great Danes are more prone to obsessive licking. They will most often lick their paws, although other parts of the body, such as the flank or tail, can also be affected. In the worst cases, constant licking will cause hair loss and create open wounds that will expose the dog to infection.

Causes of Licking

Obsessive licking can be caused by neurological or physical problems, but most often the source of the obsession is anxiety or fear. Dogs who are left alone or crated much of the day are the most likely to be bored and nervous and resort to self-licking or other repetitive behaviors. Consult your vet to make sure the behavior is not caused by a medical problem. A burr that is embedded in a paw, mites, allergies and other physical problems may also cause a dog to obsessively lick.

Possible Treatments

Some dogs may need a behavior modification program to break them of the licking habit. First make sure your dog gets enough exercise and plenty of love to help relieve his stress. Distract him if he begins to lick himself, but don’t yell or punish him, as this creates more anxiety. Spray a taste deterrent on his favorite licking spots throughout your home. Hide treats in toys around the house as a way to keep him busy when you are away. Use a cone collar to prevent licking and further injury. An overly anxious dog may benefit from medication along with behavior modification, so talk to your vet if your dog’s licking won’t stop.

Where To Get Help

If your dog needs additional help, consult an experienced trainer or animal behaviorist. Some clinics, such as the Purdue University Animal Behavior Clinic, will consult with owners to determine the cause of behavior problems and help find solutions. To help diagnose your dog’s issue, experts may take an extensive look at the dog’s background and consider his breeding, personality, exercise routine, diet, humans in the household, medications and how you obtained him.

How to Take Care of Old Dogs for Quality of Life

21 May 2015 | Filed in Dog Life Style

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Your best friend’s reached his golden years. He’s not as spry as he was. Maybe he doesn’t see or hear as well. Older dogs require special care, but they also bring special gifts. You want the best for your old pal, giving him the highest quality of life you can.

Feeding

You might want to switch your dog to a special diet formulated for senior canines. It’s important to prevent Fido from becoming fat. Obesity isn’t healthy at any age, but it’s a condition that less-active senior dogs consuming the same amount of food they did in their prime can easily develop. Talk to your vet about your dog’s diet and any special nutritional requirements he might have.

Preventive Care

If you’re lucky, your senior dog is healthy and you want to keep him that way. That might mean taking him to the vet more often than his once-a-year checkup. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, older dogs “in the last 25 percent of the predicted life span for their breed” should optimally have an examination about every six months. Your vet monitors your dog’s weight, inspects him for any arthritic changes and examines his skin for any lumps or bumps. Regular blood, thyroid, fecal and urine tests alert your vet to any changes requiring further investigation. Tell your vet about any changes you’ve noticed in your dog’s behavior, even if it seems minor to you.

Supplements

While your vet prescribes any necessary medication for your old dog, some over-the-counter supplements may improve his quality of life if he shows certain arthritic changes. Supplements for dogs containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and methyl-sufonyl-methane may slow down the cartilage breakdown that is the essence of arthritis. While these supplements might help put a spring back in his step, always check with your vet before giving your dog any over-the-counter treatment.

Exercise

Even if your dog develops a little hitch in his get-along, he still needs exercise. Regular exercise keeps joints mobile, but his activity level probably isn’t what it once was. Instead of going for runs, take him for walks. Maybe he isn’t up for a half-hour spin around the neighborhood every day, but 15 minutes or so might suit him just fine.

Making Adjustments

Maybe Fido can’t get up and down the stairs as easily as he once did. If you allow him on the furniture, it might be tough for him to climb onto a chair, sofa or bed. You can purchase or build ramps to help him get where he wants to go more easily. If he can’t navigate the stairs to the places he once slept, provide a convenient new sleeping area for him.

What Health Conditions are English Spaniels Prone to?

19 May 2015 | Filed in Dog Health

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While English spaniels are generally a healthy breed with limited serious health issues, poor breeding can exacerbate some conditions the breed is prone to. For best results, only purchase English spaniels from reputable, licensed breeders and inquire about parent genetics and health testing to ensure you are getting a strong, thriving pup. If you’re adopting or rescuing a dog and knowing your dog’s health history is important to you, consider DNA testing to ensure you have a good understanding of the dog’s lineage.

Eye Conditions

English spaniels are prone to progressive retinal atrophy, a type of inherited degenerative condition that can result in diminished vision or blindness. While it primarily impacts middle-aged dogs, even dogs as young as 2 years old can develop the disorder. According to the English Springer Spaniel Club, this breed also may develop glaucoma in one or both eyes. Depending on the severity of the condition, the dog can lose its eyesight or even lose an eye as a result. Cataracts and retinal dysplasia also can develop in this breed. Regular eye exams can help identify potential problems and address them early to reduce the potential for pain and vision loss.

Inherited Diseases

Canine fucosidosis is an inherited disease of the nervous system that can be fatal if not identified and treated quickly. The English Springer Spaniel Club indicates this disease is most commonly found in young dogs and includes symptoms such as loss of coordination, problems with vision and hearing and digestive issues. The condition is caused by the missing enzyme alpha-L-fucosidase. Genetic testing is available to determine if your pup has the potential for this disorder.

Hip Dysplasia

English spaniels may be subject to the joint condition hip dysplasia. Symptoms include lameness in hind legs, a tendency to be slow to stand or hopping when running or walking. Hip dysplasia, left undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to a painful arthritic condition and severely limit movement. According to the Baker Institute of Animal Health, your vet can identify the disease through X-rays. The symptoms of the disorder can be minimized through pain relief and treatment with joint-lubricating supplements.

Epileptic Symptoms

Epilepsy can occur in English spaniels. Dogs of this breed who contract the disorder usually exhibit symptoms in the first three years of life. According to the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, the condition is characterized by repeated seizures and often is confused with other neurological and health conditions. English spaniels also are prone to canine autoimmune disease, which can exacerbate various forms of epilepsy, so proper diagnosis is essential to effective treatment.

Pomeranian Coat Grooming Tips

16 May 2015 | Filed in Dog Gooming

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The Pomeranian descended from the sled dogs of Iceland. In the late 1800’s, Queen Victoria of England fell in love with the breed and its popularity spread from there. In early times and today, caring for a Pomeranian involves a lifetime of grooming. The long, lush double coat requires continuous care. Luckily, learning few tips and tricks, helps cut down on grooming time.

Preparing

The first step in grooming a Pomeranian successfully is early preparation. Since the Pomeranian requires routine grooming, it is important she learns early to accept the process. Teaching her to stand for grooming and lie on her side or back when she is a puppy helps make grooming pleasurable for the puppy and the groomer. She should enjoy the bonding time associated with grooming and not dread it.

Brushing

Brushing the Pom daily is ideal, since his thick, double coat will get matted and tangled. However, not every pet owner has an extra 30 minutes a day. In this case, two weekly brushings is the minimum you can get by with to maintain his soft coat. Using a curved-bristle slicker brush, start with the hair on the Pom’s back and hold a section in your free hand. Brush downward from the part using a method referred to as “line brushing.” When brushing your Pom, make sure you don’t bear down too hard and scratch his skin. Follow up with a metal comb, and make sure all mats and tangles are gone. If any remain, hold the hair out from the skin and work them out using the comb, starting at the end of the hair and working toward the skin.

Bathing

The Pomeranian requires a bath only about once a month. After a thorough brushing, wet the Pom and apply a dog shampoo for sensitive skin, such as oatmeal shampoo. Rub the shampoo in until it forms suds. Rinse the Pom well and spritz his coat with a light leave-in conditioner for dogs. Finish up his bath by blotting his coat dry with a towel. Dry the Pom completely using a hairdryer on the lowest setting. Use a slicker brush to enhance the coat’s shine.

Clipping and Trimming

Many Pomeranian owners and breeders choose not to worry with grooming the thick coat. In this case, they choose a lion cut. This cut may be a low-maintenance solution; however, it takes away from the natural protection. Also, once the Pom’s coat is cut short, it may never grow back with the same thickness and shape it had previously. Therefore, scissoring only the anal area and hair under the paws is recommended by the Pet Pom website. Additionally, plucking the hair out of the Pomeranian’s ears helps prevent ear infections. A groomer should clip the Pom’s toenails when they are long.

Ingredients for Homemade Dog Food

11 May 2015 | Filed in Dog Food

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You may be anxious to flex your culinary muscles for your pup, which can be great for both of you. Duke probably will appreciate a tasty, healthy alternative to kibble and you may save some spare change. Keep in mind, it’s not about ingredients, but more about nutrition.

Proper Nutrition

Though it requires time and effort, cooking for Duke gives you ultimate control over his diet. During the past several years, there’s been controversy surrounding pet foods, including the safety of manufactured pet food and the wisdom of feeding dogs and cats raw food. Homemade cooked food for pets has evolved into a satisfactory middle ground for many people, including veterinarians, provided the diet meets the animal’s specific nutritional needs.

Protein Requirements

Dr. Ronald Hines recommends protein ingredients comprise 20 to 45 percent of a dog’s diet. Options include ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, fish, eggs and dairy. If Duke loves beef, try a mixture of two-thirds to three-quarters of extra lean beef, with ground chuck filling out the balance; Duke will meet his dietary fat requirements without the benefit of supplements. Turkey that has 7 to 15 percent fat will work well in a homemade diet for a dog that isn’t watching his weight. If your pup has a taste for seafood, salmon is a good choice, with high omega-3 fatty acids and low mercury. Dr. Hines recommends limiting fish to two meals per week. Whole cooked eggs and cottage cheese are good sources of protein, though some dogs may have a difficult time digesting the cow’s milk in cottage cheese.

Carbohydrate Requirements

According to Dr. Hines, carbohydrates can comprise between 20 and 35 percent of Duke’s diet. Rice is a solid choice because it contains protein, as well as important minerals, such as phosphorus. If your pooch enjoys macaroni, it can be added to the mix, as wheat products don’t tend to cause dogs problems. Cooked potatoes are also fine and provide fiber and vitamin B-6. Dr. Hines recommends adding high fiber carbs such as oatmeal, canned pumpkin, cooked carrots and sweet peas gradually to the diet to avoid developing diarrhea.

Fat, Minerals and Vitamins

Fat is important to Duke and should comprise about 5 to 10 percent of his diet. Chicken fat, beef suet and flax seed oil are a few options for add-ins if your pup isn’t getting sufficient fat from his protein. The basic ingredients for protein usually aren’t quite enough to ensure your dog’s proper nutrition because meat and fish are too low in calcium and vitamins. Calcium carbonate antacid tablets are a fine addition to the homemade mix. A professional supplement, such as Balance IT, may give you peace of mind that Duke’s getting the minerals he needs. Too much of one vitamin can be as harmful as a deficiency, so it’s not a good idea to add vitamin supplements just in case. If you’re serving a well-balanced diet, you won’t need to worry about supplements.

Research is Important

If you want to cook for Duke, do your research to be sure your recipes are balanced and nutritious. It’s also a good idea to consult your vet to make sure your pup doesn’t have any special needs or issues to consider. Your vet should be able to guide you on the potential need and use of supplements.

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